Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thank God for Multivitamins

I have a secret to tell you. My kids don’t eat vegetables. Surprisingly, the only think they’ll eat is spinach souffle and it’s actually frozen and comes out of a box. Before I had children I had this picturesque vision of my sweet boys sitting at the table nice and neatly eating their asparagus that I had gently steamed topped with aioli and pancetta. Organic of course. “More please!”, they would ask and I’d happily wink at Chris as he gives me a “thumbs up” for raising our kids right. I’m actually laughing as I’m typing this because the only way my boys will touch asparagus is to allow them to use it as swords and I’m not sure Chris has ever given me a “thumbs up”, so if he did it would probably weird me out. So you know what? I’m over it. Some people may think that I’m doing my children a disservice, that I should force my children to eat their veggies. I’m just not going to do that. I see this point in my life as a teaching experience. My kitchen is a classroom and although they won’t eat my veggies, they can smell how yummy they are, they sure as hell can tell me WHAT they are, how to chop them up and which ones Daddy likes. They can sit on the counter top and sing with me as I cook and know that everything I’m making is yummy (even though they won’t try it), fresh and made with love. My kids know where their vegetables come from. They garden with me in the spring and pick all the peas to shell. I’d rather have those memories then have my kids eat vegetables and be crabby and boring. My kids rock…even if they don’t eat veggies. So, now to the recipe. I thought of this post because Chris loves roasts and although Lucas helps me with every bit of it, he won't touch it. To be quite honest, I had never made a roast before because I refused to be that mother who uses her crock pot for everything she makes. It turns out my crock pot is awesome and I’m using it more!! Hope everyone enjoys this recipe. It’s perfect for the busy days and is absolutely DELICIOUS!!! I’ve started making it once a week until Chris gets tired of it.


2 pounds boneless beef roast (I like to use round roast)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 onion, quartered

a bag of baby carrots

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup (if you use fat free it tastes the same )

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the roast in the oil for 15 minutes, or until all sides are well browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Place the onion, carrots, garlic and parsley in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the roast on top of the vegetables and pour the soup over the roast and the vegetables.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low setting for 6-8 hrs.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Sweet Spot

I've had a lot of cucpake orders lately which makes my heart happy.  If you are new to my blog or a new friend, I'm a baker at heart. If you come over, I'll usually whip something up for you if it's not already made. I love to cook of course, but I've worked at it. Baking came very natural to me. So, when my husband and I decided to adopt from Ethiopia I thought it would be a perect time to share my talent and fundraise for our adoption at the same time. In the past few weeks I have dabbled in some new buttercreams and cake flavors that have turned out to be phenomenal!!! I mean seriously.... So, I thought I'd share with you my Lemon Chiffon Buttercream which is my favorite. I love, love, love lemon and my favorite cupcakes are from Sugar Mama's Bakery in Austin. For my birthday last year, Chris had them make a cake for me with their lemon buttercream and I've been trying to recreate it ever since. I think mine is better (just sayin'). It must be all that love and elbow grease I put in to them since the motor in my mixer is going out ;). Hope you enjoy this recipe and for God's sake try it! You can top any of your vanilla, lemon or strawberry cupcakes with it!

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
2  lemon, juice and zest of
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine butter, sugar and salt and beat till well combined.
Add lemon juice,zest and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minute or until creamy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mark the day...

*enter Handel’s Messiah* My husband cooked this weekend. For some of you, this may sound normal. You may have one of those husbands (like my brother Raymond, bless his heart) who whips on an apron, sings in the kitchen while tossing salt over his shoulder for good luck and baking everyone’s birthday cakes. Chris is not one of those husbands. Amazing, yes. Wonderful father, yes. Adoring husband, oh yes. Cook, nah. I will say in his defense, he loves to eat and he is more than happy to do the dishes and do them well. So, in my mind, we’re absolutely perfect for each other. Let’s also be frank here, I’m a competitive person, I don’t need someone showing me up in my own kitchen. So, maybe you’re thinking, “Wow, turning over a new leaf?” or “great new years resolutions!!”, let me stop you there. Three words…lost at golf. Oh yes, it’s the new thing. Anytime he plays with his friend Jeff, the loser cooks dinner. Luckily Chris has won the last two times so Jeff and his wife Michelle cooked for us.  Lucky for them, it was his turn. After he lost he immediately told me that he was going to need some help figuring out what to cook. He knew I wasn’t cooking for him (as sweet as I am). I had bought a new Giada DeLaurentiis food processor and there was a “Penne with Spinach Sauce” recipe that I just KNEW he could pull off. Pasta is easy. Pasta with a sauce is yummy. So this week I’m sharing Chris’ recipe. He did a great job and although he swears he’s buying Costco pizza for everyone if he looses again, I wouldn’t mind having him make this. Well done sweet husband!


¾ tsp salt
1 lb whole wheat pasta
3 garlic cloves
2 oz. goat cheese
1 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
6 oz. baby spinach leaves
2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
(if he makes it again, I may have him add a couple TBS’s of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to make the sauce a little creamier!!)

-          Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
-          Meanwhile, mince garlic in food processor. Add goat cheese, cream cheese, salt, pepper and half the spinach leaves. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl. Add the drained pasta, then scrape the cheese mixture over the pasta and toss and coat. Add enough cooking liquid to moisten. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Slap You Silly Chili

Looking out my desk window this morning, the rooftops are dusted with white snow and the stubborn leaves that wanted to watch the boys play in the yard a little longer have since blown off from the front that moved in yesterday. These types of days are my favorite. To some, like my sister Ellen who is a beach lover, this may seem completely crazy. But, I do, I love this weather. So, for me, when weather comes, so does food. In the summers while the kids are school free and sugar rushed they'll run around outside eating popsicles and playing in the pool I'll make frozen grapes or a watermelon salad. When it snows, inevitably we make chili. If there's even a hint of nip in the air, we make chili. My husband loves it. With that said, Chris doesn't love food like I do. I'm an eye ball rolling, bang on the table, slap your momma it's so good, kind of food lover. He likes food of course, but "it's good", or "it's OK", is the most you'll really get out of him. (such a shame) The only way you know he really LOVES something is if he asks for it over, and over and over again. He definitely loves chili and cornbread. I've tweaked my chili recipe a lot because I've made is so many times but here's the basic recipe. For the cornbread, I usually just buy a Jiffy mix and add a can of diced green chilis and a handfull of cheese and fresh corn. Don't be scared to add your own stuff to either of them. If you keep the spices and stock the same your base is complete. Add a pound of spicy sausage or deer sausage. Add any kind of beans you like. Chili is EASY to make "your own". So enjoy the chili and enjoy your day! Happy Moday!

• 3 pounds ground beef (or ground turkey)
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3 cups chicken or beef broth (low sodium)
• 3 cans of black beans
• 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
• 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
• 1 6 oz can tomato paste
• 2 large onions, diced
•  1 large green bell pepper, diced
• 6 cloves garlic, minced
•  3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
•  3 tablespoons pasilla chile powder
• 1  tablespoon sugar
• 3 tablespoons cumin, ground
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
•  1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
•  1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 4 chipotle peppers, chopped in adobo sauce (seed them if you don't want the spice)
1 can of dark beer (shiner is good)
In a stock pot brown your meat and drain off fat. If you're using turkey there won't be much fat so do you don't have to worry about draining any off. Add the onions, garlic and bell pepper and cook for 10-12 min until translucent.  Add in all of the spices and beer then cook on med. for another ten minutes. Add your broth, tomatoes, and black beans and simmer for at least a couple of hours. If you wanna kick it up a notch, you can add a pound of andoullie sausage to replace one of the pounds of meat.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I hear cucpakes are dead...

First, I'd like to say that I loved cupcakes before cucpakes were the new trend. Everywhere you turn these days it's been "cupcake this" or "cupcake that", cupcake wars, DC Cupcakes, blah blah blah... I get it. They can be tiny and cute, modern or traditional and of course they're totally versatile. Ice those suckers up with ganace, cream cheese frosting, butter cream or my personal plain Jane (especially my red velvets). But, I heard that cupcakes are loosing their steam to soming bigger, better and crustier. Pies. I found this really interesting because over the Thanksgiving holiday I had this wave a pie making, I'm tellin' you, I was a pie makin' mama!! I had forgotten how easy and delicious a fresh piece of pie can really be. Needless to say, Chris came home from work knowing that I'd spent all day in the kitchen baking and was surprised at the ammount of pies we had floating around the fridge. This was also the day that I made fresh dinner rolls, so I think he was carb crazed. I gently explained to him my urge to make pies that day and went down the list of pies I had made. I went down the list and stopped at Buttermilk. He looked at me funny and kind of cocked his head and smooshed his face up and said one word. "Buttermilk???". "Ummmm...yeah, buttermilk, it's my favorite, ya know...buttermilk pie". He didn't know what the hell I was talking about. My friends, my husband had never had buttermilk pie before. YOU may never have had it either but I kind of just stood there in a baking stooper for a moment because I knew his mother was a pie making machine back in the day so how in the heck did he not EVER have a slice before? So I decided to go straight to the source, my mother-in-law Margaret. Sure enough, she'd never made buttermilk pies before and from what I understand now, it's a southern thing and being from Iowa, well, that's definitely not the "south". So today, after reading NPR's article today on the "death of cupcakes" I thought I'd share my buttermilk pie recipe with you since pies are the next big thing ;). Beware, the pie is not hip, thigh, back or butt friendly. Everything in moderation is fine tho...nothing a yoga class can't take care of the next day! Enjoy friend...

3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 sticks of butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 unbaked 9-inch pie shells
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix well. Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake 10 minutes at 400°F. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes. Makes 2 pies. I usually cover the crust after about 35 min. so it doesn't get too dark!