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.