Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Upside-down Cake

 My husband made me a great cake last week. He said the key step was to cool it completely on racks--preferably not the oven rack as he accidentally did! Good save by flipping the entire oven rack over to get the freshly baked cake back into the pan it had just flipped out of. I probably would have tried lifting it with a spatula only to have it crumble. Frosting conceals all!

Week 61--Eggs on the sidewalk

Monenchiladas (freezer left-overs)
Tuesalfredo* with carrots
Wedsbrats and corn; potluck (picnic with neighbors)
Thurs halibut tacos (Taste of Home)
Fri potato sausage foil pack (Taste of Home)
Extras IKEA!
Lots of menus went uncooked last week due to birthday celebrations and IKEA's kids-eat-free through Aug 15 deal. Definitely taking advantage of that a couple of times before it ends in this hot weather. A cool place for them to play, and someone else cooks. I'm there!

This week we start on our step and patio project. Let me rephrase that. Someone else starts on our project while we write checks and offer input from the sidelines. Hopefully this means we'll be grilling and picnicking out in great style in a couple weeks. Happy cooking.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Plate Facials

Always trying to make mealtime enjoyable for my oft reluctant toddler. This meal was composed, literally, of grilled chicken and squash (very easy way to prep squash, by the way -- slice and plop on the grill!), and cornbread squares for eyes. It kind of worked. Lots of eyes were eaten that night. And it was fun to ask if anyone wanted more noses or lips.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Had a scattered AM trying to get out the door to the Children's Museum. I was working on packing a lunch to avoid fast-food temptation after the museum visit. Kids were needy at clashing moments, someone, then another, was wanting to be held for various reasons, which slowed things down. Spreading cream cheese on a mini bagel with one hand anyone? You've been there, I know.

So, I finally get a reasonable lunch packed, get the kids loaded into the van. We arrive at the museum to find that the rest of the city has also decided to attend on this day. Then I remember I'm supposed to meet my 90-year-old great-aunt for lunch in Burnsville in 2 hours. Argh.

We made it through enough of the museum to satisfy, then to a cafe in Burnsville where my kids ordered: broccoli, cream of chicken soup, and pancakes. How much easier the morning would have been if I'd remembered that we had lunch plans! Better luck next time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Week 60--All creatures great and small (for dinner)

MonBBQ chicken* and corn bread, greens (crockpot cut up chicken w/bbq sauce on top)
Tuesalfredo* with carrots
Wedspotato sausage foil pack (Taste of Home)
Thurs curried apricot pork chops (Taste of Home)
Fri grilled salmon and asparagus*
Extras halibut tacos (Taste of Home)
Returning to my original weekly menu count this week since I was continually confused by the new naming convention. That said, the menu plan itself is all about variety.

I am also pursuing my "dinner in 15 minutes" query and trying out a few recipes this week that might fit this description. I'll mark them with an asterisk, then plan to log the ones that work out for future use. These will hopefully become part of a substantial list I can reference for fast ideas down the road. I created a list of 15- 20- and 30-minute meals for toddlers when I was first learning what to feed a little person. I suppose I'm just advancing that now to family-oriented recipes. Happy cooking.

*Indicates this dish will be ready within 15 minutes. I hope. If not, well then sad news for the chef.

At-Home Creamy Sweet Tastilicious Latte

Fill cup 1/2 way w/coffee
Top off with vanilla coconut milk (not the kind you cook with, but rather the kind you can now get at Target or maybe Whole Foods that's used for regular drinking)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dinner in Neverland

We did it. We officially had the most hedonistic dinner ever served tonight. Husband not at home. Freshly back home from a 5+ hour car trip from Grandma's house. It was basically bedtime. Menu? Lucky Charms.

The kids were utterly unphased and didn't even regard this as a particularly special treat. I expected wide eyes and giggles. They just sat down and ate. Interesting. Very interesting.

By the way, I did initially pick up a bag of frozen veggies and some cheese and bread. But I put them all back. Sometimes you just need to be bad.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week of 7/12

Mon –  Grandma's house
TuesGrandma's house
WedsGrandma's house
Thurs goulash
Fri – bbq chicken (crock pot)
Extras fish sandwiches
The chicken enchilada recipe from 2 weeks ago was fantastic! Thanks for sharing, Jody. We had a great dinner with it, plus left-overs the next day for lunch and enough to freeze for another meal. We're traveling part of this week, so not much to plan. Happy cooking.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Truly 15 Minutes to Dinner?

I've been thinking lately that I need to write a cookbook that is an honest-to-goodness 15-minutes-to-dinner cookbook. How often do you start a recipe that says "30 min to prep and cook" to find yourself shoving snacks at the kids to hold them off another 45 min until it's actually done?

The thing is, I know there must be dozens of these out there. The key is having the right ingredients on hand. So while many of those promised quick-recipes are out there, if you don't typically buy pre-shredded cheddar or you have to thaw and cook your chicken breast before chopping and tossing in, well, they might as well just be honest about it.

30 min to dinner if you're using a prep chef that has conveniently laid everything out in little bowls like a tv cooking show. 2 hours for the rest of you sad sacks.

In the meantime, if anyone does have REAL 15-minute start-to-finish recipes, share! I'm not talking box mixes for the most part, unless they're special somehow. I'm holding out hope that fast homemade cooking isn't an oxymoron.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pepper Mill Love

When my pepper mill of the past 7 years broke this spring, I went on the prowl for a new one. They're not cheap and you have them for years, so I wanted one I wouldn't wish death upon after purchase. This style is one I've wanted to work really well, but didn't believe actually would. My sister was shopping with me and had purchased this for her husband over the winter. They love it. Now, I do too! It's a Minosharp, purchased at Kitchen Window.

- pretty cheap as far as pepper mills go (around $20)
- one-handed action is convenient, especially when you have a baby in the other hand
- obvious how to use it--nice with visitors that don't necessarily want to be schooled in pepper milling when they just want to spice up their taters a bit

- can't adjust the grind. Not that I care about adjusting my grind. But if you do...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Explosive Friendship Bread

Just a heads up that if you're ever gifted some Friendship Bread, it WILL explode if you don't let some air out of the bag as it expands. Or maybe this is somehow a comment on the relationship between giver/recipient? Uh oh...

Monday, July 5, 2010

By the way...(Week of July 5)

After prepping lots 'o food for a semi-spontaneous July 4th gathering, this week's menu is something like this:
chicken fingers

Happy cooking.

Comments Made Easy

FYI, I've now made it easy to comment on the blog. If I find that I'm getting random bizarre spam-ish comments, I'll use the login process again. For now, comment away, anonymously if you prefer! I love hearing from you.

On that note, this comment was made on the sidelines/off-site about Choco-Hoto-Pots:
Out of curiosity I googled Choco-Hoto-Pots.  Would you believe there are MANY entries/images, and this actually looks like something I'd love to try.  Apparently Nigella Lawson has a recipe that accounts for most of the google results, including a link on Oprah.com.  You'd think a better name would probably help this recipe's popularity, though.

Let me know if anyone tries these things.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Something I Will Likely Not Ever Make

Found in my Hy-Vee Cookbook tonight:

Some sort of dessert. I guess.