Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Winter Squash Hash...

with black rice and a fried egg on top.

I tried this recipe from the New York Times. I fried the egg since I am not confident of my poaching skills. Anything with a fried egg on top is pretty delicious, isn't it? I made the black rice in the rice cooker. It had a nice crunchy texture to it (or is that because I mixed it into the pan with the vegetables after is was cooked?) and tasted great, especially for a whole grain! I would definitely make this again. I probably would dice up the butternut squash and roast it in the oven (maybe even with the brussles sprouts?) instead of cooking it whole and then scooping it out (too messy). Now I need another recipe for the rest of the black rice. I think black rice is "in" right now, isn't it?
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Anniversary Map Papercrafting Project

I felt a little guilty about not finding a unique gift for my parent's anniversary last month. Actually, it wouldn't have been so bad... except I didn't send my mom anything for her birthday which was two weeks prior. I'm the kind of person who will get a gift if I see something great. If I don't see anything I like, I just might not send anything. It's not very nice or consistent but I have a lot of gift angst. It doesn't help that certain people in my family are pretty good at picking out gifts. My family is hard to shop for and I just can't handle the pressure!

The night before my parent's anniversary I started feeling guiltier and guiltier so I spent two hours scouring for something special. I found a lot of contenders (must keep them in mind!) but most had a long turn-around time so I drew inspiration from a few artists and came up with this gift myself. I bought an atlas at the bookstore and a cloud punch plus a deep frame from the craft store. I enlisted some help to pinpoint the exact cities that my parents had visited over the years. I punched them out of the maps and affixed them to the frame. It took quite a while to figure out the best way to attach them (sewing was involved!) and the best configuration for them (approximately spatially according to city). The best thing about it is that I haven't made much of a dent in their travels-- I only covered Europe and Asia! This means that next year I can give them Africa and the next South America and then Australia! So in the end, I get a few years worth of anniversary gifts out of this one idea! How awesome is that?
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Slightly Belated Recent Happenings

Packers won

Shayna hangs out in her favorite spot

Talia has a tea party for her new American Girl Puppy, Coconut.

I acutally made cookies. From scratch. I let the kids help. It wasn't fun.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pasta with Mushrooms, Winter Squash and Spinach

Delicious winter pasta dish. I didn't use this exact recipe-- no cream in mine-- but pretty close. This picture is making me hungry!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I've done some more knitting...

I finished Alex's hat and made one for myself. Mine's a slouchy hat and looks a little too hippie-ish for me but is really fun anyway. I got the pattern off Ravelry, which is a new discovery. Wow, what an awesome website! Last night I started a hat for Shayna. I was going to make her a matching bunny ear hat but... she already has one (though it's newborn sized) and she'll just pull it off anyway. I'm going with the marshmallow bonnet from the same book (shout out to a Madison author, woo hoo!). Hopefully the chin strap will help Shayna keep her hat on. Then I promise promise promise I'll make one for Ron. The only problem is... I REALLY NEED TO GET BACK TO QUILTING. I have some major projects to finish and get underway. Knitting is just so much more social. I can do it and still sort of take care of my kids. I can knit while I'm spending time with Ron. I can hold a conversation. I can't quilt and do anything else with it except maybe listen to the radio or watch a little mindless tv. Certain people (like my nephew Joel who is now over 3 months old and hasn't received his quilt yet!) are suffering.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Look who turned one!

Shayna had a fantastic first birthday party surrounded by family and friends. I can't believe she's one! She enriches our lives immeasurably. Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us. Check out that cute cake from Bloom Bake Shop!
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Sunday, February 06, 2011

I don't remember what this is.

I found it in my picture folder for last month. I have no idea what it was but it sure looks good!
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Friday, February 04, 2011

Winter Vegetable Tart

This was just delicious! It uses a few too many dishes for my liking but it could DEFINITELY be made ahead and cleaned up and then popped into the oven at dinnertime. This is from the Roasted Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman (She called it a Fall Vegetable Tart but it's winter now, so there!). I forgot the red pepper so I cut up some jarred roasted red peppers and added them in once the rest of vegetables were roasted. I use fontina cheese, which was a great texture -all gooey!- but I would like to try gruyere or goat for added taste. I ended up making to two separate "pies" with this so we had one for dinner and one for lunch. Enjoy!

2 medium beets, peeled and diced small
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced small
1 medium red or yellow onion, sliced thin
1 medium red or green pepper, diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Large splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbl (or more!) fresh rosemary, minced
Pastry for 9-10” pie (store bought is fine!)
8 oz fontina, gruyere, or goat cheese (2 cups) grated

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare vegetables by cutting into medium dice and placing in a bowl with the rosemary and salt/pepper to taste.
Toss with just enough good quality olive oil to lightly coat the vegetables.
Spread onto a lightly oiled baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven until tender, about 35 minutes.
Move vegetables around with a spatula every 10 minutes for even browning.
Remove from oven, set aside to cool, and reduce heat to 375 degrees.
Roll out dough to a 9 -10”circle, place on foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle cheese to within 2” of the edge.
Top with the roasted vegetables and fold edges of pie dough up and over to partially cover the vegetables.
Pinch and seal dough around edges to create a rustic looking tart.
Bake for 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Serve warm.
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Thursday, February 03, 2011

DIY light box

1 "under the counter" light + 1 clear Sterilite or Rubbermaid container = DIY light table.
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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Feta, Lemon and Orzo

This is one of the very few recipes in which I can remember all the ingredients without a list. That's good because I often find myself at the grocery store without a set plan for dinner. The recipe calls for grilling the asparagus but I find roasting it is just as tasty! I got it from The Vegetarian Grill by Andrea Chesman.

few jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
1 lb Asparagus, cut in 2 in lengths
1 lb Orzo
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 oz. Feta Cheese
Lots of fresh mint and Parsley

Lemon Garlic Marinade, recipe follows

Instructions for Roasted Asparagus with Feta, Lemon and Orzo:
Heat water for orzo.
Cut asparagus into 2-inch chunks and place in bowl and toss with Lemon Garlic Marinade.
Add orzo to boiling water and cook until tender. Drain.
Place in serving bowl, toss with feta and roasted red peppers.
Remove asparagus from marinade (save as much marinade as possible!), grill,* tossing frequently, until tender.
Remove from grill and add to the orzo.
Add remaining marinade, mint + parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

*I roasted the asparagus in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes, turning frequently. I also deglazed the roasting pan with a little white wine and added it all to the dish.

Lemon Garlic Marinade:
1 tablespoon minced Garlic
1 Lemon, zested
handful chopped Parsley
1 teaspoons Sugar
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon Mustard, Dijon
1/4 cup Olive Oil

Instructions for marinade:
In food processor fitted with steel blade, combine garlic, lemon zest, parsley and sugar. Process until very finely chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add the mustard and the juice from one lemon and process again. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and continue to process until the oil is emulsified.Stir in salt & pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

My NEW sous chef

Move over Alex-- I have a new sous chef! Shayna has made it to the Learning Tower (best purchase EVER) and has been joining me in the kitchen. Apparently she'll eat anything. Yesterday it was raw butternut squash and tonight it's raw aspragus. She seriously ate all of the tips. Of course Alex had to join her (in the cooking, not the eating, God forbid!) and there wasn't a lot of room in the cooking area after that. With just Alex I can leave my knives out but obviously I had to keep them (and just about everything else) from Shayna so I just kept inching away until I was on the other side of the kitchen. She is quite happy to stand at the counter and "help" though.
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