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.