Monday, August 31, 2009

Italian Class

We got a catalog in the mail last week for night classes at the public schools in the next town over. Classes yes, but not typical high school fare. Stuff like crochet, Spanish language, and cooking!

I should mention that though I write the blog, Brian is a fabulous cook as well. He's signing up for a six-week Italian cooking class!! Pastas, meats and Italian desserts! He can't wait to learn, and I can't wait to benefit from his new skills! :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Autumn's a Comin'

It's the end of summer. What a short, cruddy summer it's been this year. First nothing but rain, and then like two straight weeks of ultra-hot weather. You know, the kind that you don't want to cook ANYTHING, just park on the couch and wish for someone to make dinner. This weekend has been a change, with cool, almost chilly air and a lot of rain. Is Autumn coming early??

I'm already dreaming of cooler-weather fare, like Shepherd's Pie, chili and apple dumplings. Actually, I've never made an apple dumpling but they certainly look delicious!

What are some of your favorite autumn foods?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


After a dinner of cheesesteaks and tater-tots (Monday night dinners are usually pretty easy in this house) we ventured out to pick up my books at the library and then to Friendly's for ice cream. This was my third attempt in going to the library to get my books, their hours have been cut for budget reasons. Off to Friendly's!!

Will's not crazy about ice cream, which is just foreign to me. But we were at the carry-out window and he said he wanted a chocolate one. I didn't want to get him his own, because I knew he wouldn't eat it. So I asked him to share "his with me" and he readily agreed. I ordered a vanilla and m-n-m Friend-Z, which I didn't really want but hey, Moms are making sacrifices all the time! We brought them back to the house, and I put some in a cup for Will. Yeah, he didn't eat it. He decided that it was more exciting to let it turn to soup. So I started eating....and promptly stopped. I wasn't aware that MnM's freeze in ice cream! Ouch!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peaches n Cream

Yes, it's another post about peaches. Summer's almost over, and they won't be around much longer so I have to get as much out of them as I can! (and I found a peach salsa recipe last night so that's probably next)

I bought peaches to bake a pie last weekend and they were taking FOREVER to ripen. They're also huge, I have no idea why they were so big last week compared to every other week. Well, New England is in the midst of a heatwave. It's been a sticky, gross 90+ degrees for the past three days. Not exactly baking weather! But I realized last night that the peaches were starting to turn, so it was heat be damned: I'm baking!

This peach cream pie came together pretty well with a frozen piecrust. (Yeah, I don't roll piecrust!) The baking part was interesting, you baked it at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, then turned the oven down to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then you pulled out the pie, sprinkled on the crumb topping, and baked it at 400 for an additional ten minutes.

it wasn't cooled off enough to have for dessert. But it just proves what I've always known to be true: a slice of pie and a cup of coffee makes an excellent breakfast!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Peach Doesn't Get Away this time....

It happened again! I bought a bunch of peaches to make that pie that I was talking about. I even got some tips from friends on how to keep them from spoiling. Two of them didn't make it, and I ended up being short for the pie. So instead there's a peach cobbler in the oven. I was going to make it peach and raspberry, but the berries got moldy before I could use them, too. (Maybe it's just me!)

The cobbler comes from my favorite cookbook of all time, The Joy of Cooking. I have not made a cobbler in a very long time, but I have to say that they are really, really easy! (Waaayyyyyyy easier than pie. Though I stopped rolling my own piecrust a long time ago, I just get too frustrated. Brian's really good at piecrust, that's why he's in charge of Thanksgiving pies!)

This particular recipe has a biscuit topping instead of a crumb topping. I had never tried making biscuit topping, but I think I like crumb topping better. Crumb is sweeter, while the biscuit topping is more savory. Either way, it still smells awesome as it's baking!

Pitting and slicing, then arranging them into a pan. I'll admit it...a couple of slices didn't make it to the dish. :)

Mixing the biscuit dough. I LOVE my stand mixer, one of the best Christmas presents ever!

Dropping spoonfuls of biscuit dough over the peaches. It doesn't get any easier than this!

The recipe said to bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees. I checked it at 35 and decided that that was "golden brown" enough. Any longer and it would've gone from cobbler to "crisp." (Ha ha)

The finished product!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Crockpot Creations

Any serious crockpot users out there? I'm looking to take more advantage of this nifty appliance. I don't see too many recipes out there that both Brian and I (and rarely, Will) will eat. Brian's not a fan of beans of any kind.

I like to make a sweet and sour chicken thigh recipe in the crockpot, and my mom makes a really mean fudge cake. But that's about the extent of my crockpot experience. It's definitely something I want to improve on. I love the idea of "put the ingredients in, ignore it for 5-7 hours and then BAM! Dinner is on the table. Very appealing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Things Can Be Disappointing...

Though I write a menu still every week, we've been rotating the same meals over and over. So being in a rut, I pulled out the newest copy of "Taste of Home" for inspiration. My eye caught an article about cheap pasta dinners, so I put the recipe for "Lemon Chicken Tortellini" on the menu.

SO Disappointing! It had all the ingredients to sound successful....chicken, frozen tortellini, red pepper, baby spinach, lemon zest.... The problem was the sauce. I usually let Brian make any homemade sauces, because they are not my forte. This one was a butter and chicken broth sauce, and you thicken it with flour like a white sauce. Well, the recipe called for 1/3 c. flour. Brian whisked it in and was immediately sorry that he had. Upon tasting, I thought there would be a pleasant burst of lemon and a bit of kick from the red pepper seasoning. Nah........bland as the glue on an envelope seal. :( Needless to say, our garbage disposal ate well tonight. I guess if I'm hungry later I can always make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Favorite Hot-Day Treats

On ridiculously hot days, I like to make milkshakes. Just some ice cream from the freezer, a little milk and a few dollops of Hershey's Syrup. Coffee milkshakes for me and Will today!

Another one of my favorites is what Applebee's deems a "fizzer." Raspberry syrup, lemon-lime soda and some fresh lime to boot. Oh boy, do I love limes!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Garden Update (aka Name that Bug)

---Sadly, my zucchini plants have kicked the bucket. I'm not sure if it was the ravaging rainstorms or if I planted them too close to the shed. I did get three or four zucchinis before they died. Considering the plethora that I had last year that I had to find people to take it off my hands, I'm not all that disappointed. I'm really the only person in the house that eats it. Will only eats it clandestinely. Usually in some form of chocolate baked goods!

---Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes! I have lots of grape tomatoes! The only thing I've come up with for grape tomatoes is to put them into a salad. I'm going to have plenty of plum (Roma) tomatoes when they turn red though, and those are good in a variety of things. And there's two regular tomato plants....salsa here we come! I also have been hankering for a tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella sandwich on ciabatta bread, like we used to make at the coffee shop I worked at in college.

---Tons of herbs. Especially oregano. I'm not sure just yet what I'm going to do with all of it.

---Cucumbers! I'd say I have a dozen sprouting. I love cucumber. I find that they work really well in an Asian Steak Stir-Fry with red peppers, onion and a homemade stir-fry sauce. (Great, now I want that too!) Though I find a slice of cucumber with just a sprinkle of salt is quite good, too. And I recently had a slice or two of cucumber in a glass of water at a spa.....different than lemon and definitely refreshing.

Tonight, Brian was pulling some tomatoes and he noticed this weirdo catepillar thing. I have NO idea what it was, but being a total bugophobe, it creeped me out!! It had a face almost like a parrakeet, and Brian had a difficult time removing it from the tomato vine. It was the exact same color as the vine, so he missed it at first. Anyone know what it is?? Email me if you do.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just Peachy

What is it about peaches?? You buy them at the grocery store and they're rock solid! You set them out to ripen, come back in two days and they are so moldy/slimy that there's no salvaging them! I got a nasty, rotten surprise when I stuck my hand in the bag to get one to take with my lunch. Augh!

I'm crushing on a pie recipe in Taste of Home this month. It's a sour cream peach pecan pie. I attempted a peach pie once and the bottom was soaking wet. So I'm a little apprehensive....especially if the peaches can't stay useable long enough in my kitchen!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Those Cravings....

I've apparently reached the craving stage of pregnancy. At lunchtime, I was seriously craving mashed potatoes. So we went to Boston Market, where I devoured a mound of them with gravy, as well as a little turkey. Then, on the way home I was dying for some hot and sour soup! So I sweet-talked Hubby into Chinese food for dinner. (there wasn't a lot of arm-twisting involved) Wow that's spicy! But just what I needed. Now I'm a happy lady.

The first time I was pregnant, I craved sweets. I was hopelessly addicted to Hostess chocolate cupcakes, but I was pretty strict about it. I bought a big box at BJ's and only allowed myself one a day. And then, one night I had a dream about Thanksgiving and pie. When I woke up in the morning pie was ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT!! By 10am I had caved and told my co-workers I was headed to the local grocery. They thought I was nuts, but enjoyed the apple and cherry pies right there with me!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Spaghetti Night

I LOVE spaghetti nights at our house! Since we're busy people like most everyone else I know, we tend to have spaghetti at least once a week. I usually keep frozen meatballs for this occasion, I haven't rolled my own in eons. But tonight was Chicken Parmesan it! Unfortunately, I ate way more than my fair share and now feel like I need to fall asleep on the couch. Oh well, it was totally worth it! :)