Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Even though it was a weekend filled with disappointing football, there's nothing like a new breakfast favorite to look forward to now that we've found it! I would say this recipe is a bit labor intensive for school mornings. FABULOUS for the weekend or a brunch. Just not your best, throw it together before you run out the door to school type of muffin. The way we decided on "DUFFINS" is that the muffin taste as yummy as a doughnut! Which in our house means V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! There has never been a bad doughnut according to my boys. Check these out for a tasty treat minus the fryer and the mess!
French Breakfast Muffins (aka DUFFINS)
Colorado Cache Cookbook
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter melted (recipe called for 1/3 cup but I found we needed more)
Preheat oven to 400. Combine first five ingredients. Add milk, egg, and 1/3 cup melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Grease mini muffin tins (the recipe called for small muffins but we LOVE mini muffins). Fill each tin 1/2 full and bake for 8-9 minutes. While baking, melt additional 1/2 cup butter and leave in a small dish that will be easy to dip each muffin into. Mix cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla together in pie plate or shallow dinner plate. When the muffins are finished, remove immediately from pan and dip in butter. Then roll in cinnamon mixture. The recipe suggests serving warm which we did but then, this afternoon, my boys said the DUFFINS were even better once they had set up a bit and the cinnamon mixture had gotten crunchy. Either way, they were a big hit and I know you will love them too!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sometimes you meet friends early in life, somewhere in the middle, or at the end. A lot of friends come in and out; once, twice, many times. Others come and stay forever. Mama Bridgie is a dear friend from middle school days gone by who I was fortunate enough to reconnect with this last year. In almost 20 years, she has become a lovely, gregarious, and fun loving woman with a cutie husband and their first baby on the way. Never shying away from the vivacious, spirited character of her youth, I am so blessed to call Mama Bridgie kindred spirit once again. Enjoy her recipe, it will bring the warmth and soul of her kitchen into yours.
Mama Bridgie's Big Ol' Cast Iron Skillet of Beef Stroganoff
- 1lb sirloin or round cut into thin strips
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 8oz sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 10oz beef broth
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons white wine (if you have it, if not no biggie)
- flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper the strips of meat and toss in flour. Melt butter in pan and add meat, brown quickly. Remove from pan. Cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms in pan. Add tomato paste, beef broth, wine and return meat to pan. Cook over medium/high heat until thick and bubbly. Stir in sour cream and parsley. Serve over hot buttered noodles.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
If you find yourself wondering these things, fear not. I have a simple fix which takes all of three minutes to do everyday and will help your house look and feel less chaotic. Can you give me three minutes? Fantastic!
MAKE YOUR BED.
RIGHT WHEN YOU GET UP.
Shocking, I know. If you are not a bed maker, please please become one. It will do wonders for the neatness of your home. If you are one of these, "I just get back in it at night and this makes no sense" kinds of gals, you probably won't find many things on my blog helpful. Good luck. But, if you can do this right after you roll out of bed and teach your children to do the same, your home will feel tidier instantly.
Then, at the end of the day, when you wonder where the many minutes you were given disappeared to, it will feel almost indulgent slipping into a made bed. And oh heavens, if you've washed the sheets that day, it's like a damn vacation. Sweet dreams (get your rest, you have beds to make in the morning!).
Monday, October 18, 2010
Loretta Castorini (Olympia Dukakis) makes wicked-good food in Moonstruck. There is one scene in particular where she is cooking breakfast and every time I watch it, I have to pause the movie, and go make what she is making! Or a version thereof. I have to plan accordingly, it's not a movie I can watch hungry! So, throw in Moonstruck, make this dish, and enjoy a bottle of good champagne with a cube of sugar in your flute. (*Watch, you'll see.)
"I have a feeling this is going to be just delicious." - Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage)
Eggs in Purgatory
The Sopranos Family Cookbook
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups canned tomato puree
- 4 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces (or a pinch of dried oregano)
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 8 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon parmigiano-reggiano
In medium skillet, cook garlic in oil over medium heat for two minutes or until lightly golden. Add tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until sauce is thickened. Discard garlic.
Break an egg into a small cup. With a spoon, make a well in the sauce and slide the egg into sauce. Continue with remaining eggs. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook for 3 minutes or until eggs are done to taste. Serve hot with crusty bread.**In the movie, she cooks the eggs directly in bread on her griddle, but this recipe is excellent. You can make it for brunch or dinner!
Friday, October 15, 2010
The Shops at Willow Bend
When my sister moved back to Colorado, we were all sad for a variety of reasons. One of the top ten for sure is that she is an amazing hair colorist. And while she will only do color for the rest of you, being her one and only beloved sister, she also cuts my hair! Little bit of bragging here. But you Coloradoans are in luck while her absence is our misfortune!
Going sans-color recently, all I needed was a trim. Trying to make it until our trip home for the holidays had me fearful Crystal Gayle would call and want her ponytail back. So... I had noticed a small salon carrying Kerastase products, the BEST, at Willow Bend. My sis assured me I would be safe in the chair of another, especially since my hair is all one length and straight as a board. I called mid-afternoon in the middle of the week and not only did they get me in, they got me in that night. At 7PM!!! How beautiful is that?!? Come to find out Mina's is open 7 days a week and stays open late too!
Ali answered the phone when I made the appointment and upon my arrival I was greeted very nicely by two other stylist, one of which was his son, and then he arrived within 5 minutes. Ali, who happens to be the owner, was so gracious I just had to pass his information on to you. I can't speak of his color technique but his cut was great, conservative and he checked in with me regularly to make sure it was to my liking. He was so pleasant and warm with no trace of creepiness. Pricing was quite reasonable and he never pushed product sales on me.
All in all, a great choice. So, give ALI at MINA'S SALON in The Shops At Willow Bend a shout. He couldn't be nicer and it's not the hair factory you see in so many salon windows these days. He's local, he's great, and he deserves your business. Tell him Austin sent you!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
How can you not have a good day with a good chocolate chip cookie? There are many schools of thought on what constitutes a good one, in our world, it's a big, soft and chewy cookie. Below is the recipe for happiness for all ages. Let the kids help you make them on the weekend or surprise them with a warm cookie after school. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups chocolate chips ( I use 1 cup semi sweet and 1 cup milk)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (best invention ever).
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together melted butter and sugars. Beat in vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in sifted ingredients until just mixed. Add chocolate chips with spoon.
Use large table spoon and scoop dough onto cookie sheets a couple of inches apart. Bake for 14 minutes and let cool a couple minutes on sheet before removing and cooling completely on wire rack.
Monday, October 11, 2010
We have fallen on sad times. I live smack dab next to a Tom Thumb. I mean, I could walk there if I lived in a place where people did such things. Amazingly enough, in the three years we've lived here, the staff there has been the same which is saying something. Their day time produce staff is beyond friendly and genuinely so. The store manager must never go home because he is always there as all. All fine and dandy.
What's NOT fine and dandy people is the following. No matter what time of day or night, it is near impossible to get somebody to sack your groceries for you. The self checkout thing is not the best when shopping with two children and $150 worth of groceries which automatically exempts you from the express line. The only other one open. (*Note: the express line is always operated by a woman who was definitely alive when God was a boy, no kidding.)
Before you have an opportunity to sack your own stuff, please be leery of the produce department at this Tom Thumb. Don't let the nice staff distract you from your goal! I have a little tally going and the last THIRTEEN times I was in this store for produce at least TWO different produce sections had moldy items in them. I mentioned it, very discreetly, to my least favorite produce gal (the guys there are much friendlier) and she just said, "OK". Not thank you, not sorry, nothing! She didn't care because at the end of her shift, she gets to clock out, and take home a paycheck every two weeks. No ownership! Ok, I feel better.
I want to be able to run into Tom Thumb for last minute items and whimsical recipe ingredients that I hadn't planned on. They have lost my regular business at this location forever. It will be an emergency if I go there. Unfortunately the one stop shopping thing is not happening for me. I now visit Target for some items and then a separate trip to Central Market for others. Ugh. So Mr Tom Thumb, while I want to give you my business, you have made it perfectly clear you do not want it. So hello vinegar category for you. Spend your money wisely ladies, eventually if we all do, they'll catch on.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Classic Greek Salad
from Colorado Collage Cookbook
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- salt and pepper
- 8 cups romaine
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) crumbled feta
- 2 small zucchini sliced (you could also use and English cucumber here)
- 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 16 kalmata olives (definitely did not include this at our house)
Combine oil, lemon juice, and oregano in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. If you make it ahead just store in sealed container in your fridge. In large serving bowl combine all vegetables and dress salad right before serving. OPA!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Gloria Steinem fear not! My point here housewives is that our happy husbands are pretty easy to keep happy. A male friend of mine once told me that men are simple and need three things.
One: Something good to eat.
Two: Something clean to wear.
Three: Somebody who wants to, well you know.
I believe this is absolutely true. Who wouldn't like to come home to a home cooked meal, clean laundry, and some TLC? We all would. And if you know there is something a little extra your Mister loves, than why not do that for him?! A favorite dish, a particular sporting event to watch or get tickets to, or a simple "Thank you for working so hard for our family so I can be home raising our family." We all like to be appreciated.
We should take pride in raising our families and caring for our homes! This is our career ladies! Give it 110% just like when you were in the working world. Happy Mamas & Dads are the foundation for happy kids. Try it out and see if making a little extra effort in the hubby department doesn't pay multiple dividends in other areas. My husband is a true partner and always helping whenever he can. I know I am spoiled but I also try to spoil him!
For example, at our house, it's the little things! I know Jake LOVES green chile, like the kind he grew up eating in his family's restaurant. Since the chances of me getting my hot little hands on the family recipe are slim to none and slim just left town, I have spent two years creating my own. And he loves it! He even loved the first batch which was sub-par to say the least. I think he appreciated me trying so hard. Just a little treat like that or a cherry pie sends him to the moon!
We both have chores we hate. I am sure that is true for everyone. I LOATHE emptying the dishwasher and putting gas in my car. Jake hates having to get the coffee pot ready early in the morning and would rather just push the "brew" button to get the caffeine started. Small trade offs like me getting the coffee ready the night before and him gassing my car are wonderful.
One more tidbit and then I will send you off into the husband world as a peacemaker and diplomat! We are OBSESSED Denver Bronco fans. The whole crew: husband, wife, 5 year old, and 1 year old (getting these boys started off right). So during football season, I make it a point to plan nothing on Sundays during game time if at all possible. A nice day doing something he (and the rest of us) enjoy gives him some reprieve and shows appreciation.
So, if you feel that I've sold my soul and identity to June Cleaver and Carol Brady, then you don't know me very well. You don't know how important it is for me to do the absolute best job I can all day, every day for my family. This isn't something we have to do in my opinion. It's something we are BLESSED to be able to do. I know it's hard sometimes when you wonder if you've talked to any other adults all day and suddenly 7pm comes around and you don't know why it feels like 11pm. But they are worth it and so are you. Give your hubby those three things he needs and I know you'll be paid back in a plethora of ways.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Yesterday, I confess, I was this woman. A brief synopsis of my day: up at 5am after a fitful night with the 1 year old teether who also has a runny nose; breakfast & lunch made; laundry started; 5 year old to school at 7:30am; back home to play date at 8:30am at our house; 1 year old down for what would be a brief 45 minute nap at 10am; at 10:45am fed said 1 year old; off to play group and lunch with friends at 11:30am; stopping on the way at Sephora to spend birthday gift certificate on Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer (*which I love but was hoping to get something non-essential with the gift card); play, eat, and then leave fun friends at 1:30pm; stop at home to refill milk, water, & snacks for 1 year old; pickup 5 year old early from school at 2:15pm; head to new pediatric dentist for appointment at 3pm (*got there early so they got us in early!); 3:20pm stop at ChickFilA for treat for 5 year old for rocking his first teeth cleaning and being a superstar; drive North to arrive home at 4pm; 1 year old asleep in car so attempt transfer to crib which works shockingly enough and he sleeps until 5pm; 5:30pm feed children dinner; 6pm both boys in bath; exhausted husband returns home at 6:30pm; feed husband green chile - which thank god he loves because I never got to make the dinner planned - again at 7:00pm; head to the grocery by myself at 7:20pm where I was super frustrated by staff and poor produce (*must enter later); 8:20pm home to two sleeping children put to bed by amazing husband and realize I didn't eat dinner. Bed please!
I know it's a long and detailed confession. But I want you to know, that it happened and it was completely my fault. I am beyond lucky that my husband is so understanding and so helpful with our boys. I could never survive without him! The moral of my story is try to avoid doing this. It's you and your family who suffer in the end. An overbooked housewife is an unhappy housewife, and a tired one at that.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
This recipe is super easy and wonderful for a Sunday afternoon family dinner or to drop of with your favorite new mom and baby. Thank you Ina Garten for yet another scrumptious dinner... yum!
Mac & Cheese
Barefoot Contessa (*A few Austin changes)
- Vegetable oil
- 1lb your favorite small pasta (spirals, cavatappi, etc)
- 1 qt whole milk
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 12 ounces (4 cups) Gruyere cheese, grated (this is super expensive cheese, feel free to select another cheese or a mixture of cheeses)
- 8 ounces (2 cups) extra sharp Cheddar, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat oven to 375.
Drizzle oil into large pot of salted water. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a saucepan, do not boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, whisking. While whisking, add hot milk and cook for a couple of minutes until thickened and smooth. Take off heat and add cheeses, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add cooked pasta and stir. Pour into 3 quart baking dish.
Slice tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and pasta is browned on top.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Living in Dallas is a bit like living with full time concierge. One of the beautiful/scary things about living here is that few people do anything for themselves. And that goes for mowing your own lawn. The house we bought had a lawn man but, being renaissance folks, we mow our own lawn. This past Spring we needed some large items removed from the landscaping in our backyard and my hubby was too busy (thank you God) with work to do it himself. So... one sunny Thursday I looked outside and the gentleman who used to take care of our yard for the previous owner was doing the other lawns on our street. All hail Pedro!
The reason I am putting Pedro's information on the blog is because he is one of the most honest and hardworking people I have been fortunate enough to meet. His work is impeccable, he is always punctual, and second to my husband, may be the hardest working man! Please give him a call if you are in need of any sort of lawn service. Whether it's regular maintenance, big projects, or tree trimming, Pedro is your man. This is a prime example of spending money with a company that earns it and values your business! Don't waste time with mediocre service anymore Dallas friends, call today!
Monday, October 4, 2010
1. Oreck Vacuum
If you are tidy, if you have a dog, if you have children, heck if you take any pride in your house at all, you are probably loyal to your vacuum. This relationship parallels car branding in many ways. And in my house, we are Oreck people. It all started with the cleanest person I have ever met, ever. My parents' housekeeper (circa 1998 - 2006ish) would kick any other housekeeper in a clean off. I would bet my children on this. The house we lived in when she started with us was a bit larger than average and the woman cleaned all the cherry hardwood floors and slate floors BY HAND. I'm talking on her hands and knees. And she was in her mid-50s. Along with that kind of commitment to clean comes a certain eclectic personality. She introduced us to the Oreck. Based on what you already know about her, wouldn't you buy one too? She turned us onto them because they weigh 8 lbs and do an incredible job, bar none. So, you Dyson folks who swear by yours (even though that guy with the freaky accent is the spokesperson/inventor) must love to workout your arms when you lug that 50lb thing around your house. For those of you in the vacuum market, do your homework. And by that, I mean read this. And buy an Oreck. You will not regret it. EVER.
2. Spray'n'Wash with Resolve (*Inspired to write about this by WW, thanks girl.)
Sometimes a girl gets lucky. Sometimes it's like shooting fish in a barrel when you pick out a new cleaning product because they are all the same. But sometimes, finding what you need is harder than listening to native Texans speak Spanish. No offense guys. There are a multitude of prewash stain removers but I am developing a strong fondness for Spray'n'Wash with Resolve. It works, it smells nice, and it's not the priciest one on the shelf. Done and done.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Courtesy of Mimi's Kitchen
- 1 can bean dip
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1/2 package taco seasoning mix
- 4oz diced green chiles
- 2 avocados
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 2-3 green onions chopped
- 2 cups grated cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese
In small bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, taco seasoning mix. Spread over bean dip. Sprinkle with green chiles. Peel, pit, & mash avocados. Combine with lime juice, salt, & garlic powder. spread over chiles. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, green onions, and chopped tomatoes. Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips are great too!
Our Sundays in the Fall are the best. Football is literally on all day long, from NFL Countdown to the Sunday night game. Even with the tumultuous Bronco games all Bronco fans endure, Fall is the best time of year. Seeing all three of my boys in orange and blue makes a Mama proud! This home bound Sunday schedule also allows me to get my week planned. It's absolutely wonderful to start Monday morning with very little laundry, grocery shopping done, meals planned, and week's activities unfolding. Make it easy on yourself. For instance, my five year old has soccer on Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30pm and soccer on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30pm and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30pm. I know there are certain nights it will be more challenging to get an elaborate meal on the table, boys showered, and in bed on time. Sunday is a good day to cook something large you can use in various ways throughout the week.
This does not have to be daunting, it will save you later in the week. To give you an idea, here is what our meal schedule looks like for this week:
Cooking red sauce all day to use later in the week.
Dinner: Pizza, had 2 leftover take & bake pizzas from our Red River Shootout party yesterday.
Cooking green chile all day to use throughout the week.
Dinner: Italian sausage tortellini with red sauce, salad, & garlic bread.
Dinner: Green chile burritos.
Dinner: Meat loaf, fancy smancy mashed potatoes, & steamed broccoli.
Dinner: LEFTOVER night!!! A smorgasbord of whatever you are hungry for and can be found in the fridge.
Kid Dinner: Spaghetti & meatballs, steamed veggies.
Adult Dinner: Dinner party at our house. I am making the main dish and dessert. I am going to make traditional lasagna with the red sauce made today and for my dessert will probably make (don't hold me to it) tiramisu or cheesecake.
There you have it. Even a rough outline will help free up time during the week and reduce dinner time stress and McDonald's drive thru emergencies. You can still relax on Sunday Funday but do a little Mama work too. This is a prime example of spreading everything you have to do out over the week so you're never bogged down. I am excited to hear how it goes for you! I know you can do it!