Monday, August 6, 2012

in the kitchen: challenge update

Good morning!  How was your weekend?  A good friend of mine joined me for a lovely picnic (see our menu below) and a couple hours of kayaking on a local reservoir on Saturday afternoon.  Having some girl time and relaxing on the water was just what I needed to recharge my worn out batteries.  We ate at a picnic shelter overlooking the water and then paddled along underneath a beautiful blue sky and never once felt like we were in a sprawling suburb.  It was fantastic. 

I've been cooking up a storm since last week, preparing some things ahead of time to make meals a bit easier.  I tried to remember to take pictures of most of our food, but sometimes I just plain forgot.  Oh well.  Here's what we've eaten so far:
Yogurt with homemade granola (recipe adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution - see below for link), blueberries, and honey, iced coffee

Blueberry banana muffins from here

Lunch:  sandwiches/chicken salad stuffed tomatoes (recipe courtesy of Carrie from last week's Seasonal Suppers post)

Wed. 08/01  Homemade pizza, salad, strawberry chocolate crepes (taken to my father-in-law's house since they invited us out for dinner and we couldn't go out...I totally forgot to take a picture)

Thurs. 08/02 
Chicken salad stuffed tomatoes for me, pasta with butter and cheese for the boys and Annabel (since they don't eat tomatoes)

Fri. 08/03 
BLTs and corn on the cob

Sat. 08/04 Picnic dinner: bread, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, artichoke hearts, blueberries, watermelon, zucchini bread (this last treat was courtesy of my good friend Sharon). The boys grilled sausages at home.

Sun. 08/05 
Pasta with peas and bacon from Jamie's Food Revolution

So far so good!  I was a little worried about this challenge last week, mostly because I'm slightly addicted to the hazelnut iced coffee from McDonalds.  Have you had one?  Amazing.  But I have to say, I figured out how to make a pretty mean iced coffee right here in the cozy comfort of my own kitchen.  Here's how:  make coffee...let cool...put in refrigerator...let cool...pour into  glass...add hazelnut creamer.  And you know what I think the secret is?  You'll never guess...shh...put it in the refrigerator!  (Gasp!)  Ok, so I know what you're thinking....."Duh."  I know, I know.  All the times I've tried to make it at home before, I think I rushed that most crucial step to making ice cold coffee:  let it  I always took it out too soon and it was watery and gross.  No longer.  I can now enjoy iced coffee anytime I want, which may or may not be a good thing.  We shall see.  

I've been feeding Annabel lots of fruit, blueberry muffins, and pasta this week.  I haven't tried any recipes specifically for toddlers, but I did get Rachel Ray's Kid Food out of the library and wrote down about 20 recipes to try.  I'm planning to make a couple this week so I'll let you know how they go over with the family.  One meal I know has passed the "kid test" is Pasta with Ricotta and Peas.  I have no idea where this recipe came from (girls, do you know?) but it's really good and Tommy and Annabel love it.  I don't measure anything, but here's how I make it:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta (we like to use shells).
Melt half a stick of butter in a big pan, then add milk or cream until there are even amounts of butter and milk.  Add a few heaping spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and stir until it sort of melts.  The sauce should be thick with the cheese but not pasty (thick enough to coat the pasta). If you think it's too thick, add some milk...too thin, add more cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour in frozen peas (probably 1 to 1 1/2 cups).  Heat until peas are warmed through.  Add cooked pasta and toss.  Serve with a green salad and bread. 

I cut Annabel's peas and shells up really small and let her pick them up.  She loves it, and Tommy says it's his favorite meal.  Give it a try!

On Friday, we picked 9lbs of blueberries at our local You Pick farm.  Many will be used right now for pancakes, muffins, and cobbler, and the rest will be frozen for the winter.  This Saturday, I'm planning to go back and pick again to make sure we're well stocked.  We also bought a most amazing jar of local wildflower honey at the farm.  It's so good mixed into a cup of tea or drizzled on top of a muffin. 

I love listening to music while I cook and do the dishes.  Lately I've really been into The Infamous Stringdusters who I first heard at Bristol's Rhythm and Roots Reunion a few years ago.  If you like bluegrass music, you should definitely check them out.
So, one week down!  Looking forward to getting back in the kitchen for some more homemade meals this week.  How's it going in your kitchen?

1 comment:

  1. Wow - looks like are busy busy as usual. Glad you took some time to enjoy the water on your new kayak!