Wednesday, June 27, 2012

crafting: crocheting esme's baby blanket

i learned to crochet when i was 6 years old
my mother would sit on the couch and i would play around with a ball of yarn in a hot mess and try to make something resemble a scarf...
well i decided to pick up the good ole' needle and make baby #3 a blanket
this pregnancy has been keeping me off my feet more so than my others
so crocheting and watching stupid TV has been a godsend
i decided i wanted it to have some granny appeal so i chose a chunky knit yarn
 and it so happens to be named "mimosa" which is just another reminder that i can't drink at brunch
i love that this blanket has a plethora of colors mixed together- purples, peaches, corals, pinks
it's girlie but not so over the top that craig would be embarrassed to carry it around!
i think craig is more embarrassed that his wife has grandma like tendencies... but for the sake of crafting and cuteness, i'm OK with it!

if you want to learn how to single crochet like i am for this blanket Annie's is a great resource for beginners!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

cooking: baked eggplant parm

craig works part time so on his day off we head to the gym and the grocery store
because we are WILD like that!
i found some great eggplant and decided to make a baked version of eggplant parmesean
thickly slice your eggplant and season with salt and pepper
 dredge your slices in egg and then bread crumbs
 place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degree until crumbs are browned
this was about 10 minutes per side
 lightly sauce the bottom of a casserole dish
 layer your crisp and baked eggplant slices in your dish
 layer some parm and mozzarella cheese on top
 add some italian seasoning on top of the cheese for some extra kick
 repeat layers until complete
finish with some fresh basil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes
this gives you enough time to cook and dress some spaghetti as a side 
plate together...
 and eat together!
 surprisingly the kids loved this
kyler asked me to make this again for dinner the next night... thank goodness for left overs!

Monday, June 25, 2012

cooking: family favorite pancakes with blackberry compote

on nights that i don't have anything for dinner planned, i make pancakes and bacon
we always have all the ingredients in the house and it's a family favorite
i try and make it fancy with some berry compote since we stash frozen fruit in the freezer as a staple
and the aroma of bacon fills the house... who wouldn't smile at the smell of that?
 in a small dish, add 3/4 cup milk and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to let 'sour'
 gather all your ingredients for the pancake mix
 combine 1 cup of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 tablespoon of salt
 add a good amount of cinnamon
 after letting the soured milk mixture set for 5 minutes, add 1/2 teaspoon of maple flavoring
i like to add the maple to the mix since we don't use syrup on the pancakes
 whisk one egg into the milk mixture
 add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients
 whisk until there are no lumps
cook pancakes in a non-stick pan
flip when one side begins to bubble and edges are slightly browned
your pancakes will be slightly darker than traditional cakes because of the maple flavoring
so aesthetics aside... the taste is worth it!
 while your pancakes are cooking begin making your compote
add two cups of frozen blackberries with a dash of cinnamon and ground cloves and two heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
 fill your sauce pan with enough water to just cover the bottom
remember the frozen fruit will release water as well
boil compote down until it is the consistency you like
you may want to use an immersion blender to smooth out the chunks
 plate your pancakes with your compote and sprinkle lightly with some powdered sugar
 my favorite way to eat this dinner is take one bite of these sweet and fluffy pancakes with one bite of salty smoked bacon!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

cooking: shrimp and feta bake

being a stay at home mother, you would think i spend hours in the kitchen, right?
i love a one dish dinner just like everyone else!
craig also appreciates my fondness for efficient use of pans in the kitchen since he is the one who does the dishes
 saute red onion and garlic in some olive oil
 once browned, add a large can of diced tomatoes
 season heavily with oregano, basil and parlsey
 don't forget the salt and pepper!
 i added some artichokes because i like to scam as many vegetables in a dish as possible
 simmer till heated through
 add your shrimp to the pan
i like to use jumbo ones especially if you have to peel them
it makes the work worthwhile
 bake at 350 degree until the shrimp are cooked through
 sprinkle some feta on top,
 serve with some sliced bread
and dig in!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

baking: banana cake

we were lucky to have my brother in law celebrated his birthday weekend with us!
 we got him his favorite beer, filled the guest room with tons of balloons and got some wood for a fire to hang out around
but i also made him a birthday cake!
brandon's grandmother would always make banana cake with cream cheese frosting... so this was my version of a family favorite and let me tell you,
it hit all the right notes!
 in a large mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup of butter, 1 cup of white sugar and 3/4 cup of brown sugar
 beat two eggs into this mixture one at a time
 mix in 4 ripe bananas
make sure they are mashed up REAL good!
 add your dry ingredients 
2.5 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 pinch of salt
 add 2/3 cups of buttermilk
 and a good ole' whomp of walnuts
 grease and flour your baking pans
 bake for 30 minutes in your preheated oven at 350 degrees
 while the cakes are a cooking, begin your icing with 1/2 cup of butter and 1 eight ounce package of cream cheese
 mix together and add one teaspoon of vanilla 
 add 3.5 cups of powdered sugar and smooth at a low speed
or sugar will be flying everywhere!
 your cakes should be golden brown
let cool and then assemble your cake!
the icing was like a little cloud of heaven!
what i loved about brandon's birthday weekend was the celebration of new traditions and being a part of something new and wonderful.
family... it's what it's all about!