Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Isaac!

Wearing Dada's shoes around one day.

Here is a belated birthday post for this little man!  We started his birthday with a mickey mouse pancake - most excited breakfast boy ever.  Since then, every time we have pancakes he points at the plain round circle and says "Mickey? Mickey?"  For dinner we had homemade pizza and chocolate cake.  It was a good food day, if I do say so myself.  Here's a bit about 2 year old Isaac:

Favorite Book: Little Golden Book's version of Pixar's Cars - so much so that the other day after reading it to him for the 10th time that day, mom took her chance and hid the book behind the cushions of the couch.  She needed a break.
Favorite Movie: Cars
Favorite Show: "Cats!" The first time he watched this he laughed uncontrollably for the first 2 minutes and spent the last 2 minutes catching his breath.  Now everyday he walks over to the computer and asks for "cats? cats?"

Latest Obsession: Mickey Mouse.  In addition to loving Mickey pancakes, he is thrilled if mom draws a picture of Mickey for him when we're coloring and he is convinced that one of the cacti in the Little Golden Book Cars is shaped like Mickey.  He points at it and yells "Mickey!" every time we read that page.
Favorite Food: Cubed ham, cheese, or Mac & Cheese
Favorite Toy: Any car.  He is an equal opportunity car lover, which is fortunate as I'm positive cars are disappearing and it would be problematic if he had a favorite that he couldn't live without and it went missing.
Favorite Shirt: A red shirt with a motorcycle (pictured above).  The other day I wanted to dress him in this shirt.  I knew it was clean and that I had put it away just a few days ago when doing laundry but I couldn't find it in his drawer.  So I asked Isaac "Where's your motorcycle shirt?" To which he responded "Bike! Bike!" and ran into his closet where he had stashed the motorcycle shirt in the corner, along with a collection of toy cars and a dump truck.  Usually I know if he's been emptying his dresser as clothing is strewn all over the floor, but only the motorcycle shirt was taken.  Silly kid.
Cutest Thing:  When dad is about to leave in the mornings, Isaac runs to him and yells "Hug!"  Geoff obliges and give him a hug and boy does that kid death clench to his neck for a good minute or two before he will let him go.

Boy is this kid a cute little thing, even if he does run mom a little crazy (and a little tired - we had to leave the park the other day after the chase after Isaac had caused 7 contractions in too little time.  We'll have to avoid parks with lakes in the future if mom doesn't want to have to take her prescription of Terbutaline.)  He loves hugs right now and tries to bestow them on a less than excited Tina.  Poor thing tolerates the abuse but has been known to try and hide between the piano and the piano bench.  It's fun to watch the two of them play outside, though.  He'll get her riled up so she goes sprinting in circles around the yard and that makes him giggle so hard he falls over into the grass.  She'll come over to him and play-bow excitedly, waiting for him to get back up.  Then he'll try to get back up, still giggling, and she'll jump up in the air, causing him to erupt in giggles again and fall back down in the grass.  This can go on for quite awhile, much to mom's amusement.

Well, enough about the crazy little goose.  Time for a recipe:

Carmel Apple Pie

Yes Please!

Cider caramel:
4 cups apple cider
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Apple Pie Filling:
5-6 cups sliced apple, thinly sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup cider caramel, warmed

Double Pie Crust (My favorite recipe is here).

To make the caramel:

I have to confess, my mom made most of the caramel while I made the crust and chopped apples.  The process took a little longer than we anticipated, so make sure you get that cider good and bubbling so it can reduce faster.

Boil cider until reduced to 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Add butter & sugar, cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to 1 1/4 cups. Can be made 2 days ahead, (store in the refrigerator.  Stir before using).

To make the pie:

In a large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, vanilla, and caramel. Mix well. Spoon apples into pie plate (I read that you want apples to be very thin and then spoon them into the crust so they are all laying more or less flat - this will help avoid air bubbles in the crust). Cover with remaining crust. Cut steam vents into the top crust. Brush with  a little milk, and sprinkle with sugar & cinnamon.

Bake until crust is brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool before serving.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sweet Potato Soup


Sweet Potato Soup?  Yes please.  The fresh parmesan and bacon garnish really made this dish so don't leave them out.

 2 lb sweet potatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 C water
olive oil
1 C onion, diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper
4 C chicken stock
1 slice bacon/person
Parmesan cheese for ganish

Place potatoes cut side down in a microwave-safe baking dish.  Add 1/4 C water.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave 10-15 minutes (depending on size of potato) until tender.  Cool slightly and discard skins.  I couldn't fit all my potatoes in the dish at once so had to split them into two cooking shifts.

Heat saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add oil.  Saute onion for 1 minute or so, stir in cumin and red pepper.  Add stock to pan, bring to a boil.  Place sweet potato and stock mixture in blender.  Blend till smooth (make sure you allow steam to escape through an opening in the top of the blender.  Mine has a tiny hole at top which is adequate but I've also opened the whole top and covered with a paper towel to allow steam to escape as it blends).  Return to pan and repeat with any remaining broth/potatoes until the soup is pureed.  I made my soup an hour before Geoff got home so it sat on low for an hour with a lid, but the directions say you can serve immediately.

Garnish with 1 slice bacon, crumbled, and some shaved parmesan cheese.

 And now a few pictures from Halloween night.  It was pretty cute following this little guy around as he went trick-or-treating.  He got side-tracked at one house where they had a TV outside and were sitting in chairs watching a football game.  He crawled right up into an empty chair, ignoring the offered candy, and said "ball, ball", happy to watch the game rather than get more candy.  Goofy kid, we had to forcibly pull him away from that house.  Oh, and yes he's shirtless but it was plenty warm Halloween night in Houston - comfortable in sorts and a T-shirt and no bugs to speak of.


Enjoying the spoils of his work.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween and Dinner in a Pumpkin!

We took Goose to a pumpkin patch last week and much to my delight they had sugar pumpkins for baking - those are hard to come by out here where all we ever see are jack-o-lantern pumpkins.  So, logically, when we got home I promptly starting looking up recipes for Dinner in a Pumpkin and here's what we came up with:

1 lb ground beef (or turkey, which is healthier and ALWAYS cheaper out here)
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
2 C cooked rice, give or take (we just used leftover rice.  I don't know how much it was)
1/4 C soy sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Cut 3 inch circle top off pumpkin and remove seeds and strings.  Replace pumpkin top.  Place pumpkin on a cookie sheet covered with foil.  If desired, draw a face on the pumpkin.  Brush the exterior of the pumpkin with oil and the interior with melted butter.  Bake the empty pumpkin for 45-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef with the veggies until the meat is cooked and the veggies are tender. Drain any fat, if necessary.  Stir in the soup, rice, soy sauce, and brown sugar.  Fill pumpkin with meat mixture.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 1-2 hours, until pumpkin is tender when poked with a fork.

To serve, remove some of the meat mixture so you have room inside the pumpkin to scrape pumpkin flesh off the walls.  Mix pumpkin flesh into the meat mixture.

This was quite yummy.  We didn't pre-bake the pumpkin, but after 2 hours of baking the filled pumpkin it still wasn't done.  So when I make this again, I will for sure pre-bake the pumpkin as I directed here.

And finally, happy Halloween from Wilma, Fred, Bam-Bam, and Pebbles (coming Feb 2014!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pineapple Chicken Burgers

1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded thin and cut into two pieces
1 small can of pineapple slices (4 slices)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar + some brown sugar for pineapple
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 buns
Provolone cheese

Combine the juice from the pineapple can, soy sauce, brown sugar, and mustard.  Marinate the chicken overnight in juice mixture.

Rub some brown sugar onto the pineapple slices.

Send the husband out to grill the chicken (about 7 minutes on one side and 6 on the other, he said).  Add the cheese near the end so it can melt.  Right after you flip the chicken, throw the pineapple rings onto the grill, turning once.  Serve on buns with two pineapple slices per sandwich and any other fixings that sound delicious to you.

Here are some pictures from out trip out to Utah in September.  Since we spent most of our time chasing Isaac, most of the pictures we got were of his back as he swiftly ran off to explore something else.  

We spent most of our time at temple square trying to keep him out of the fountains.  We ran into my uncle and a few cousins and stopped to chat for a brief moment.  When we looked down at Isaac he had a foot in the fountain (not the fountain in this picture) and was seconds away from getting the other leg in, too.  My cousins two year old obediently stayed with his parents, watching our son spew craziness in every direction.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mom's Strawberry Shortcake

Delicious!  If you are picturing fluffy angel food cake, this isn't the recipe for you.  This is dense and delicious, almost biscuit-like shortcake.

1 qt fresh strawberries
3/4 C-1 C sugar

Slice strawberries.  Sprinkle with sugar to taste.  Let stand 1 hour.

2 C flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 C shortening
1 C milk
Whipping cream, whipped with a touch of sugar and vanilla

Combine flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in shortening until mixture looks like coarse meal.  Stir in milk just until blended.  Pat into pan.  Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes in a greased 8in round pan.  Shortcake should be golden brown.  Enjoy while still warm.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Creamy Veggie Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup was fabulous!  But who can turn down a good tortilla soup.  And then, added bonus, it used all sorts of things sitting in our fridge that were begging to be used and even used a few carrots from the garden.

Another food that doesn't picture well - or at least doesn't picture well by me.  But trust me, it's delicious.

And, I know this looks like a lot of ingredients upon a quick glance, but they are mostly spices.  You probably have most things on hand to make this easy and delicious recipe.

Olive oil
1 small onion (or 1/2 of the huge mega onion that I had)
1 C diced carrots
1 C diced celery
1 bell pepper, diced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 C chicken stock
1 C water
2-3 tomatoes, diced and then "crushed" in a mini food processor (it calls for canned crushed tomatoes but I needed to use up fresh)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4-5 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 C cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 C half and half (or just use milk)

Optional Garnishes:
Tortilla chips
Shredded Cheese
Diced Tomatoes
Cream Cheese
Green Onions
Diced Avocado

Heat oil in a large soup pan.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until veggies have softened (6 min).  Add the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  Stir until fragrant (2 min).  Add the broth, water, tomatoes, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Add tortilla strips.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tortillas have disintegrated (45 min)

Add chicken and half and half.  Simmer an additional 15 minutes.  Serve with any desired garnishes (we garnished with cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream).

Thanks My Favorite Things for the recipe.

Our budding pianist.  This was not posed.  He crawled up there one day and sat down to play.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mississippi Mud Cookies

These cookies were very good and if you have never had Mississippi Mud Cake you'll think they are fantastic.  However, if you have had Mississippi Mud Cake, you'll eat these and think "too bad this isn't cake."  Perhaps the reason is actually because I don't want to sit there and frost individual cookies all day.  Cake vs. Cookies aside, don't frost the cookies too early.  The marshmallow creme gradually slides off the cookie, taking the chocolate frosting with it.


1 C butter
1 2/3 C sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼ tsp vanilla
¾ C unsweetened cocoa
¼ tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
2 1/3 C  flour
Beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add dry ingredients.  Scoop cookies and flatten slightly.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. 
1 small can Marshmallow Creme
Chocolate Frosting
1/2 C butter, softened
2-2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
Beat butter, cocoa, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add a splash of milk (I probably used 2-4 Tbsp) and vanilla, blend well. 
Assembly: Cookie, marshmallow creme, frosting.

Helping mama plant the jasmine.  Now the trick is keeping him out of the dirt

Waiting for Dada to come out of the bedroom one morning.  The first thing this little guy says every morning when I get him is, without fail, "Dada?" 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Yummy Tomatoes and Avocado

A little boasting: our tomatoes are doing awesome.  Here is what I picked the other day, along with some green beans, a carrot, and a couple of onions.

Then just the other day I ran into this recipe in the last Cooking Light magazine and knew I had to make it.  I have the most wonderful husband who puts up with my cooking, even when it features things he doesn't like (such as tomatoes, avocados, and corn cut off the cob - he's convinced it should only be eaten if bit directly off the cob).  So I made this dish expecting a kind husband who would put up with an unfortunate meal.  Boy was I surprised when he took seconds of the tomato salad.  Even more surprised when he said this would be a good dish to make when we have people over for dinner, and that he would be happy to have it regularly throughout the summer while we have cherry tomatoes.  Moral of the story: make this recipe.  It's so good, it will convince even your picky eater.

1/4 C buttermilk (or I used 1% milk with a splash of lemon juice)
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh parsley (I used 2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp shallots, minced (I used red onion, but shallots would be yummy)
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
fresh ground salt, to taste
1 garlic clove, minced

Whisk together dressing ingredients.  Chill until ready to serve.

2 chicken breasts, cut in half
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp cumin
salt, to taste (btwn 1/4-1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp chile powder

Combine oil and spices.  Rub oil mixture onto chicken breasts.  Send husband outside to the grill.  He will return 8-10 minutes  later with perfectly cooked chicken (turn chicken once).

Tomato Avocado Salad
2 ears corn, shucked
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2-4 tomatoes, diced
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, diced

Grill corn and onion while grilling chicken (turn the corn regularly, turn the onion once).  Roughly dice onion.  Cut corn from cob.  Combine corn, onion, tomatoes and avocado.  Serve with chicken and dressing.

Amazingly delicious!
Original recipe from Cooking Light June 2013

Ok, the promised update from our trip to Frederick MD to visit Rob and family.  We had a superb time, eating varieties of deliciousness - including crab cakes, strawberry rhubarb pies (I wish we could grow rhubarb here), lentil tacos, and spinach artichoke pizza and sandwiches.

What if I just left it at that - told you what I ate and nothing else.  Sounds like classic Tiffany, right?  Ok, I'll give trip details.  We went to the air and space museum by Dulles airport.  Little boy, the goof ball, ran around screeching at the planes.  It took at least 15 minutes just to get him past the entryway planes so he could get to the main floor of the museum.  Once in the museum, he would run from plane to plane, screeching.  Occasionally he would want to get a better look at one of the planes hanging from the roof.  So, logically, to look up at the ceiling he would have to abruptly stop in the middle of the walkway, lay down on his belly and hands, and then crane his neck around so he could look at the plane above him.  I think he felt off-balance when standing and tipping his head back.  It was pretty funny to see him lay down and twist around, but it did make for near-miss trampling's.  We also went to DC one day to tour monuments and to take Little Boy into the history of transportation exhibit in the American History Smithsonian.  Isaac made sure we visited some of the lesser known sites on the mall, such as the shrubs around and behind the Lincoln Monument.  Also, we thoroughly conquered a small hill hear the Washington monument - Isaac, who is cursed to live in flat Houston, repeatedly climbed this small hill, more of a bump really, and then ran back down it.  Much to his delight and his parents amusement.  We also hit the beach in Annapolis and visited Mt. Vernon with Geoff's cousin and her two kids.  All in all, a fabulous trip.  Thanks to Rob and Anna for having us.

Cousins making trouble together

Isaac is getting ready to go chase some ducks that are just behind me

Mt. Vernon

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pancakes with Yogurt and Blueberry Sauce

 I love breakfast.  It's dessert disguised as a meal - what's not to love?  The pancake recipe is from my mother with two changes from Rob and Anna - using butter instead of oil and the addition of a banana.  Quite yummy.

1 C buttermilk
1 egg
1 Tbsp melted butter (or oil, but it doesn't have as good of a flavor)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 over-ripe banana, well mushed (optional, but delicious)
1/2 C flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine buttermilk, egg, butter, sugar, and banana.  Add dry ingredients, do not over-beat.  Cook pancakes.

Berry Sauce:
1 C berries (I used frozen mixed berries but the original recipe calls for blueberries)
2.5 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla

Combine berries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt.  Bring to a boil in a small saucepan.  Crush berries as they cook.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Spread pancakes with a thin layer of vanilla yogurt.  Top with a little bit of berries.  Feel absolutely no guilt for eating something that tastes like dessert for breakfast.  (Eggs, that's nutrition!  Yogurt, fruit.  You can't go wrong.  At least it's not chocolate cake.)

At the beach in Annapolis, MD

Little Boy has two milestones to report:

1st - He ate rice!  The boy has refused rice for the better part of 8 months and today I decided to put the rice in a bowl with a fork.  Figured he might not eat any but he could at least practice playing with utensils.  And he promptly ate mexican rice.  I even gave him seconds!  Amazing.  Granted, the rice was topped with sour cream and cheese.  Who can refuse such a combination?

2nd - He has officially regressed to baby food.  In preparation for a plane flight to Baltimore (more on that in a future post) I was buying an assortment of food to entertain a busy 18 month old.  While at the store I thought, what the heck, and bought one of those Ella's Kitchen pouches of squash and blueberry baby food.  The little wild boy slurped the squash-berry sauce up like he hadn't eaten veggies in months (which is true, though not because they haven't been offered).  So when we got to Maryland, Geoff went and bought a few more pouches, including peas and spinach, and carrots and beets.  He ate them all.  He never ate peas very well even when he was only eating baby food.  The verdict: veggies are veggies.  And if that means I need to puree them, so be it.  So today with dinner I made him pureed raw apples and steamed carrots.  One small step backwards for little boy, one giant leap forwards for veggies everywhere.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Citrus Mahi Mahi!

Note the green beans.  From our garden!

1-2 lb Mahi Mahi filets (we had about 8 oz and that was plenty for the 3 of us - Isaac, of course, didn't touch his)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 C fresh orange juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp allspice or pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp red pepper

1 avocado, diced
1/2 C red onion, diced
1 orange, diced
1/2-1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and diced (use half the pepper or all the pepper, to taste)
 2 tsp lime juice
3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Combine the oil and 1/4 C orange juice in a large bag.  Add fish and squish around to coat.  Combine spices in a bowl.  Open bag and rub spices onto the fish filet.  Close bag again ad squish around again.  Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.

When husband gets home, hand him the fish and send him outside to the grill.  Wait 5-10 minutes for husband to return inside with perfectly cooked fish!  (He heats the grill and cooks skin-side on the grill rack until the fish looks lovely and flaky.  He has oiled the grill rack in the past so that the skin doesn't stick to the grill - he doesn't oil the grill every time, though.  I don't know how often he needs to or if sometimes he just feels lazy and throws the fish on regardless.)

Combine all salsa ingredients.  Serve with fish.  DELICIOUS!  I'm sure you could do this with tilapia and even salmon, too.

And now for little boy:

Little boy is OBSESSED with cars.  When we drive anywhere, it is to a continuous stream of "car" "car" "car" coming from the back seat.  He points out every car, parked or moving, that we see.  It used to be a cute little high pitched baby voice saying "car-car".  Now it is a caveman, guttural,  grunt of "car".  Pretty cute.

He also found his new favorite book: Daddy's large classic cars book (a coffee table type book).  He just loves turning the pages and seeing all the cars. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Asian Style Brown Rice "Salad"

 We enjoyed this salad for dinner.  And by we, I mean, Geoff and I.  Isaac fed his portion to Tina.  Isaac doesn't like rice - problematic since we eat rice at least once a week.

3/4 C brown rice
2 C water

1 C edamame, cooked and shelled
1 C carrots, finely diced
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 C toasted slivered almonds
3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 C Black beans, cooked (1 can)

Combine rice and water in a saucepan.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Turn off heat, let stand covered for 10 minutes.

Add dressing, edamame, carrots, green onions, almonds, cilantro, and black beans to the rice.  Serve at room temperature.

Dressing - Whisk together the following:
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp sesame oil, toasted
pinch of red chili flakes

This weekend we took little boy and little dog down to the creek with some friends of ours.  Isaac LOVED it!  The world was literally his sandbox.  We got there and he promptly started filling things with sand - the wagon, the bag of coals, the box of muffins. . . Then he discovered the creek.  He sat there in little boy heaven throwing sand into the creek, onto Dada's pants, and occasionally at Tina.  After running out of new places to put sand, he decided it was time to go into the creek.  He occasionally got his feet in, but it was a bit chilly and so we tried to keep him dry.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Terribly Belated Pi Day Post

I am a blogging slacker.  I had good intentions of blogging right after pi day.  Just as I had good intentions of blogging right after Easter.  Better late than never?

Isaac painting with his slice of blueberry pie.  I'm not sure he's ever been this quiet and content.  I'm going to start giving him slices of pie when I need a break from chasing him around.

Pi day was delicious as usual.  Every year I panic, thinking we won't have enough pies so at the last minute I throw together a third pie, only to have ridiculous amounts of pie left over.   Next year I need to remember to only make two pies.  It would be more than adequate, as so many people bring pies of there own to share. Fortunately, I've learned my lesson from last year and I stubbornly refuse to allow anyone to leave leftover pie that they brought so we didn't have more leftovers than the three of us can eat alone.

This year I made a walnut-brownie pie (um, brownie in a pie?  Yes please!), Creamy White Chocolate Strawberry pie, and in response to my unfounded panic that we wouldn't have enough pie, I threw together the Key Lime pie we have at every occasion that could possibly warrant a pie (the husband's favorite).

Brownie Walnut Pie
1 pie crust, rolled out and in a pie pan, unbaked
1/2 C butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut up
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 C chopped walnuts
Garnish with hot fudge and or strawberries

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently.  Cool 20 minutes (this would be a great time to make your pie crust).

Combine eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla.  Stir in the chocolate mixture and the nuts.  Pour into pie crust.  Cover edges with foil to prevent over-browning (I forgot this step - oops).  Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

We also celebrated pie day with a delicious quiche.  And, in retrospect, I determined that quiche doesn't photograph well (or, I should say, doesn't photograph well for a photographer, we use that term loosely, who just points a camera at something and presses the button).  But, believe me that the quiche was delicious, regardless how the picture looks.

1 pie crust
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C half-and-half or milk
1/4 C green onion
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
dash ground nutmeg
3/4 C chopped ham
1 1/2 C cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, etc)
1 Tbsp flour

Line pie plate with pastry crust.  Do not prick.  Cover with foil and bake fr 8 minutes at 450.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Stir together eggs, half-and-half, green onions, and spices.  Stir in ham.  In a separate bowl, toss together the cheese and flour.  Add to the egg mixture. Pour egg mixture into hot pastry shell.  Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent over-browning.  Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

And as a special bonus for actually checking my blog even though I never post anymore, here is a video of the little boy.  Did I mention that he is adorable?

The diaper box in the background is filled with sand. At the rate he throws sand, we'll need it soon enough.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Picnic Table

This is "the husband."  You know, the one who objects to Tiffany's excessive use of vegetables and lack of meat in many of the dishes she posts on this blog.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Most of the food she prepares is delicious,  but I am required by the rules of manliness to object when the meat/vegetable ratio becomes skewed in the wrong direction. 

Anyways, I have commandeered Tiffany's blog to bring you a recipe of my own:

Picnic Table

No, it is not edible, but many delicious things can be eaten on it (like meat).

Now, without further ado, here is my recipe for Picnic table:

1 "Octagonal Picnic Table" blueprint from
1 Compound Miter saw
1 handheld power sander (belt, or otherwise)
1 power drill
1 hammer
Lots of galvanized screws (details in blueprint)
Lots of galvanized finish nails
2x6's and 2x4's in massive quantities
8+ trips to Home Depot
2+ trips to Lowes

Step 1: Go to Home Depot, ask if they carry cedar wood.  Salesman takes you to the fence aisle.  Ask if they have 2-bys.  They say no.

Step 2: Go to Lowes.  Repeat step 1.  They finally find the 2-bys.  Rummage through entire stack of 2x6's, looking for wood that is worthy of your table.  Fill half of your quota.  Ask the salesman if he can open up another stack.  He says no.  Rummage through stack again.  Pick out less suitable 2x6's.  Note annoyed look on salesman's face.  Rummage through stack again.

Step 3: Repeat step 2, except looking for 2x4's.  Note at this point, salesman starts pointedly telling his co-workers he will "take his lunch break later."  Add an extra rummage through this stack for good measure.

Step 4:  Bring wood home, begin following instructions on blueprint.  Cut a few pieces as specified in blueprint.  Quickly realize that measurements in blueprint are wrong.  Commence cursing.

Step 5:  Find out jig saw is required.  Go to Home Depot.  Purchase one.  Continue following instructions.

Step 6:  Learn that not only are 2x4's not actually 2" by 4", and some of your pieces are not even 3.5", but vary by at least 1/4".  Realize you need to re-cut everything again.  Continue cursing.

Step 7: Finish Step 3 in the blueprint. Admire your handiwork thus far:

 Step 8: Realize you have just spent a week on these three steps.  And you have 11 more to go.  Commence crying.

Step 9: Begin work on table top.  Start ignoring blueprint.  Feel better about your project.  Learn the subtle art of "eyeballing it."  Feel much better.

Step 10:  Get to step 7 in the blueprint.  Notice it says "due to the differences in mass produced lumber, you should double check each board and measure separately for fit."  Yell at blueprint "Why couldn't you have told me that in step 1!!!!"

Step 11: Admire handiwork:

Step 12:  Attach frame to table top, remembering once again to pointedly ignore the measurements in the blueprint. Admire handiwork:

Step 13:  Start work on table legs and seats.  Realize you are actually starting to have fun. 

Step 14: Realize none of your drill bits are long enough to drill through 6" of wood.  Take a trip to Home Depot to purchase longer drill bit.

Step 15: Finish step 13.  Admire handiwork:

Step 16:  Sand everything.  This will take several hours.  At this point a neighbor will come and visit, note your progress on sanding, and offer you a larger power sander.  Graciously accept the sander.  Finish sanding in 1 hour.

Step 17: Stain and attach table top to table frame.

Step 18:  Have a friend help carry your table to the backyard.  Admire handiwork:

Step 19:  One day later, while admiring your handiwork, notice that someone else has been admiring your handiwork:

Step 20:  Log in to computer.  Begin searching for bird deterrents.