January 9, 2012

Racheal Ray is Awesome

Midwinter Minestrone was the special for today’s Sunday Soup. Its a recipe that I found one of my Racheal Ray cookbooks. The ” Look + Cook”. This soup was amazing and crazy easy to make. My 10 month old even enjoyed eating the soup. Its a 30 minute meal, something easy for the weekday. Or use it to impress your friends. It goes very well with some fresh baked french bread.

The picture should be linked to Racheal Ray’s website with the recipe, but if you’re feeling to lazy to click the photo, below is the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice (optional)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 large or 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ounce dried porcini or mixed wild mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soft sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (32 ounces)
  • 1 small bunch purple or green kale, washed and dried
  • 1 cup semolina or whole wheat ditalini or other short-cut pasta
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated or shredded, to pass at the table

PREPARATION

Place a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the pancetta to the pot (if using) and cook until crispy, 3-4 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, bay leaves, garlic and onion(s) to the pot; season with salt and pepper and cook until the veggies are tender, 7-8 minutes more.

Add the mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, stock, and 2 cups water to the pot, and bring up to a boil.

Hold the kale by the stems and curl up your opposite hand around the greens at the base of the stems. With a quick jerking motion, strip the greens off and away from the stems and chop the greens.

Add the kale, pasta and chickpeas to the soup pot and cook the pasta to al dente. Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard the bay leaves.

Ladle the soup into shallow bowls, top with the Pecorino Romano and serve.

January 5, 2012

Wish I Took Naps

3 am baby boy starts crying. Get up give pacifier to him and put him back down. Go back to bed.
3:10 am baby boy cries again. Give him a bottle and clean diaper, he starts dosing. Put him back down. Go back to bed.
3:20 am baby boy is up crying again, hubby rocks hims, puts him back down. Goes back to bed.
3:30 am baby boy is crying again. Let him cry.
3:55 am, can’t handle the crying any more. Get up, snuggle him on couch. Didn’t work. Give him more bottle. Snuggle sleepy baby on couch. Decide to lean back to snooze a bit. Baby boy wakes and cries.
By this point I give up, put him on the floor so he can play. He is a happy baby boy now.
3 am is my wake up call, finally excepting that fact at 4:25 in the morning. Coffee is brewing and its going to be a long day.
Wish I took naps

November 17, 2011

Blogging vs Time

So I have come to the conclusion that those who blog and have children are way more organized then me. Blogging is very time consuming and a baby is also very time consuming. Nap times are a great time to eat, pickup and really clean one item. Which leaves no time for a blog, much less with one that has photos. I just don’t want to give up this blog, because I do enjoy it. hmmm…what to do?

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July 3, 2011

Sunday Soup with a side of Grout please!

Today is Sunday, therefore it is Soup Day! My parents were going to come over today, and I planned a soup with my fathers two favorite foods, avocado and steak. I was going to make a Avocado Soup with Grilled Steak garnished with Guacomoli. But plans changed and so did my soup choice. The soup choice changed because my husband is not a huge avocado fan. He is just now starting to try it with different types of foods, and I felt making a soup with avocado was going to be to risky for me to make just for the two of us. It will be made in the future though! When, is the question. So today I made a White Bean Tomato Soup in its stead. The cool thing about it was that I made it with homemade veggie stock. The soup was pretty darn yummy! and simple.

White Bean and Tomato Soup Recipe:
about 3 tbsp olive oil
Half red onion diced
3 to 4 garlic cloves
about 3 celery stocks diced, with leaves
about 4 cups peeled cut tomatoes
5 1/2 cups veggie stock
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
2 cans of caninellini beans, drained and rinsed
 
Pour the olive oil around the pot a few times, let heat up. Toss onion, garlic, and celery in and let cook for about 5 minutes. Toss in tomatoes and let cook with a few turns of the spoon, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then add stock, bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. 
 
Meanwhile, take flour and butter in a bowl, using a fork smash them together to make a paste. When soup has simmered for its lotted time, add the paste one small chunk at a time. Making sure each bit has completely dissolved before adding more. Add beans, let cook for 5 minutes.
 
(this is where I take a hand blender and gave it a whirl, being sure I didn’t blend it perfectly. I wanted it chunky and smooth. Its not what the recipe called for, but I took the liberty. its all about what you like!)
Plate, toss torn parsley atop and serve.
 
There were a few things that the recipe called for that I didn’t use, because I didn’t have them. Those items are Red Bell Pepper diced and Tomato Paste. I am sure they would have been a nice touch.

(cookbook used: 1 stock, 100 soups. bought at world market. I used a different recipe for the veggie stock)

“SIDE OF GROUT PLEASE”

Today was not only Soup Sunday, but day 4 of our pantry project. Not a had labor day, but a time consuming day. Grout is spread down over the tile, let dry then wiped down with water and a sponge a few times.

Now all thats left is the small details. Like the quarter round, bookshelves and organizing the pantry. Reclaiming my dinning table!

July 2, 2011

Pantry Project – part 3

Day 3 – tiling the pantry floor.  This was totally a husband project. So while he tiled, I baked. Before I go into the details of the tiling, here’s my cookies!

So yesterday, when my son took the longest nap ever! I had a little time on my hands, so I decided to see if I can make a better chocolate chip cookie. The picture on the right is what happens when I follow a Betty Crocker recipe. The cookies to the left is what happens when I adjust the recipe just a bit.

Here’s the recipe that I will be using:

3/4c granulated sugar
3/4c brown sugar
1 stick of soft butter
1 egg
2 1/4c AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 palmful of chopped nuts
1c or half bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
 
 
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together the sugars and the butter. Once its mixed well, add the egg, flour, baking soda and salt. 
 
 
 
Once its all mixed, add the nuts. (I like chopped walnuts) Let that mix well, then add your chocolate chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now your ready to prep them for baking.  I like to use a tablespoon to measure out my cookie size. It keeps me from making huge cookies. Therefore keeping my calorie count down! Scoope out your cookies, spreading them a few inches apart. Then bake for about 10 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for maybe 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Now that you saw what I was doing during day 3 of our pantry project, here is what my husband was doing:

His first step was to line up a few of the tile, then used the chalk string tool to make sure that he has a straight line.

Once he had that figured out, he started the dry run.  Thats allows him to set everything down, make sure he has all the tiles. Also to cut the tiles for the edges.

Measure twice, cut once.

While I was in the kitchen baking away, he was doing all the tedious measuring and cutting. From time to time I would hear a loud crack and a choice word or two escape from his mouth, and I knew a tile snapped in the wrong way. With time, a few curse words his dry run was finally completed. The rest was easy from there.

Now the tile sits over night, and tomorrow, it will be grouted and I will have a finished floor in my pantry!

July 2, 2011

Pantry Project – part 2

Day two of our pantry renovation is complete. My dinning room is covered with everything that was packed into our pantry. This picture actually doesn’t show everything. This is about half.

Today I had the joyful task of painting the pantry. Changing it from dingy yellowed old paint to nice new bright white. Thankfully, God interceded and my 4 month old took a 3 1/2 hour nap today. Which he has never done before. That left me with plenty of time to paint, and even take a break for lunch.

That brings me to a nifty trick that my husband taught me when we painted the rest of the house. If you need to take a break for a few hours or over night, take some plastic wrap, completely cover your brushes. That keeps them from drying out. Its a very helpful trick.

Tomorrow we (by we, I mean husband) will start the tiling of the floor.


June 30, 2011

Pantry Project – part 1

Forth of July weekend will be spent reworking my pantry. Its a horrible mess. Everything will come out.

Encluding the carpet. Our home is wood floors except for the closets! The previous owners left the closest carpeted. My husband will replace with tile. Walls will be painted. New shelves will be put in.

Then everything will have a place! I will be able to find things! I can’t wait. It begins tonight! You get to see our daily progress. Lucky you.


June 28, 2011

Farmers Market Produce

Had some alone time this morning. Went to the Farmers Market in Fairfax, picked up what I need for the Veggie Stock that I plan on making on Thursday, plus a few very yummy apples.

June 27, 2011

attempt at fresh mint iced tea

I had a lot of fresh mint leftover from yesterdays meal and I had no desire to let all that mint go to waste. So I decided to look up mint tea.  Since my husband grew up on iced mint tea, I was hoping to find whatever recipe that his family used online somewhere. I couldn’t find anything. So if any of his family reads this, please send me the recipe so I can make it for Chris.

Here’s my attempt at Iced Mint Tea.

The first thing I did was boil 8 cups of water.  Once the water started boiling, I added 2 cups of sugar into the boiling water, letting the sugar completely melt into the water.  Making sugar water.  I know that sounds a lot of sugar, but I like my tea sweet and I am diluting it with ice.

From there I bundled up 12 bags of tea, using a reusable bag clip to hold them together making it easier to handle.  I put two sprigs of mint into the water with them. I let them simmer for about 5 minutes.

I took the tea bags out. I tasted the tea to see how minty it was. I didn’t think it was all that minty. So I added more sprigs. Covered the pot and let it simmer for a bit more.

I kept on tasting and adding more mint until I felt like I was there.

Strained the tea into a bowl.  From there I poured the tea into a pitcher full of ice.

I like the taste, but its a pretty dark and really doesn’t taste like what my husband family makes.  Here’s hoping he likes it anyway.  I’m going to have to try making it again, but with fewer tea bags and maybe a 1/2 cup less of sugar.  Just might try with green tea instead.

At least I can say I did something today.

June 26, 2011

Sunday Soup

About a month ago I decided that the Yoder’s (my husband, son and myself) needed a new weekly tradition. This is where Sunday Soup came from. My husband only day off happens to be Sunday, so its kind of nice to have something special to look forward to. I am looking forward to seeing this lovely tradition evolve over the years.

The Soup menu for this Sunday is Pea Soup (click here to see the recipe) with fresh baked Onion Bread (here to see the bread recipe). I found the recipe for the Pea Soup on a blog that I am falling in love with, 101 Cookbooks. The bread at The Fresh Loaf website, another new fav of mine.

Before I go into details about the meal that I put together, here is the reason why I have decided to make all our food fresh as possible, and to have little traditions that can be groomed for years to come. Making our condo a home, Hallowed Ground if you will.

My wonderful husband Chris, the most amazing man that I have the honor of spending my life with and my adorable (if I don’t say so myself!) son, Jones. Yes, Jones is his first name.

(my husband moved the laptop so I could see that he was chewing the table. he makes it look enjoyable)

On to the food! It started last night, making what is called Poolish. I have to be honest, I did not take the time to learn what Poolish is, and why its called Poolish. I just followed the recipe directions. Poolish recipe (as it is for this bread) is 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. Then you cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit over night. Thats it. As you can see, its all watery.

Above – what it looked like last night.

Below – what the Poolish looked like after hanging out over night. 

This morning, I took this Poolish mixture and added it to the rest of the recipe, which you can read Here. Now, the recipe you will read is for a braided bread. I actually tried to do a twist. Failed! Its is so much harder then it looks. So as you can see, I just rolled it in to a odd shaped ball.

The aroma that spread through the house as it baked was simply amazing.

The texture and taste surpassed the smell.  If you love fresh bread, I highly recommend this recipe. Its amazing! My husband could not wait to eat with lunch. It was quite nice to munch on while making the Green Pea Soup.

The Onion Bread was a beautiful combination to the Green Pea Soup. The soup had, well peas, ginger, serrano chiles, garlic, onions, cumin, topped off with fresh lemon juice, queso fresco, and fresh mint. Please check out the recipe made by the original creator at her site 101 Cookbooks.

I bought a hand blender this weekend, and I have to say it is so far the best kitchen purchase I have made thus far. If you don’t have one, and enjoy soups, I highly recommend you getting one.

I think my husband would agree, I set the bar high after today’s Sunday Soup. We will see what will happen next Sunday.