Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gerber Generation Celebration! House Party

So I've found this great new site where you get to try out new products from brands you love! I recently applied to host a Gerber Generation Celebration! House Party and I'm hoping that I will get selected. This seems like a perfect fit for us since we're always hosting playdates here at the house.

We were lucky enough to have been able to host the Bull's Eye BBQ Sauce and Boboli Beat BBQ Boredom parties and had a blast with our friends and family. If you love hosting parties and trying new products you should head over to HouseParty.com to get started!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

So last week ended up being a complete disaster as far as menu planning was concerned. I found out that Beauty & the Beast was playing at our local Opera House and just HAD to go!
It was quick spur of the moment and a nice treat, I went with my mom and so we grabbed drinks and dinner before the show downtown at a super yummy place called The Iron Cactus. So Wednesday's meal was shot and after that it was just all down hill. Thursday afternoon, little man came home from preschool with a fever and a rash so dinner was really just a mom & dad snack 'cause he didn't feel like eating. So this week I'll be playing catch-up with a few items....

Monday: Quick Roast Chicken, Yeast Rolls and maybe Chocolate Pie?
Tuesday: Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Crash Hot Potatoes and Grilled Corn on the Cob
Wednesday: Seven Veggie Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti, Garlic Toast
Thursday: Honey Teryiaki Salmon, Fried Rice and Orange Broccoli
Friday: Frito Pies! Hubby has requested this for awhile now so I'm giving in.
Saturday: Picasso's Pizza - It's Date Night! (well kinda, we'll still have the baby but the 'lil monster will be a grandma's)
Sunday: TBD I really need to do at least 1 new recipe to cut down my pile that's overflowing!

Check out I’m an Organizing Junkie for more meal planning inspiration.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


It's been a roar-ing weekend and I can't believe it's Monday already! I feel like these days just seem to fly by now and I don't know where the time goes. How can our days feel so rushed when we really don't have school activities and neither my hubby or I work outside of the home!?!

So anyways I've been scrambling to figure out dinners lately so I really need to get back to my meal planning. I started back up with freezer cooking this month and I've found it's super helpful already!

Here's what's on the menu for this week. (I'm just doing dinners right now since I've got a stockpile of breakfast freezer foods)

Monday: Parmesan Fried Chicken Cutlets and Ratatouille
Tuesday: Purple Hull Peas & Rice, Fried Okra and Skillet Ham Steaks (trying to use up the rest of my CSA bushel)
Wednesday: Pork Chops stuffed with Feta & Spinach with Herbed Pitas
Thursday: Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Crash Hot Potatoes and Grilled Corn on the Cob
Friday: Frito Pies! Hubby has requested this for awhile now so I'm giving in.
Saturday: Beer Brats, Summer Pasta Salad, fresh tomatoes
Sunday: Quick Roast Chicken, Yeast Rolls and maybe Chocolate Pie?

Check out I’m an Organizing Junkie for more meal planning inspiration.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July Freezer Cooking

With 100 degree plus temps around here I'm really working to utilize my "pre-made" meals and crockpot. I've also found that if I can time things well, I can do some oven/stovetop cooking in the early morning before the temps soar. So this has meant that I've really started doing FREEZER COOKING once again. It came in handy when Cody was first born and I'm finding it useful again. The only thing I'm having trouble with is finding summertime recipes that really work for freezer cooking.

In addition to freezer cooking I've been testing my veggie variety. We been participating in a local CSA and I've gotten some great new veggies to experiement cooking with. Since I don't know what I get in each basket until I pick it up, it's thrown my meal planning for a loop.

However here's my tenative freezer cooking plan for July....

Pumpkin French Toast Sticks
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Cups (x2) (1 batch sausage, 1 batch bacon)
Cinnamon Rolls (x3) (using Paula Deen's Recipe)
Frozen Fruit Cups
Chocolate Butterhorns
Zucchini Bread
Sausage Cheese Biscuits

Beef & Bean Chimichanga Meat
Ham, Cheese and Corn Muffins (I'm adding frozen corn to this recipe)

I'm sure I'll find a few more things to add along the way, and as always I'll prolly make some spaghetti meat sauce or sloppy joes to keep on hand.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review of "An Evening with Julia Child"

I decided to really kick things up a bit in my cooking coutdown and threw an extravegant dinner party. One in which the guests (my brother and his girlfriend) were involved in the cooking process. It was a long drawn out evening in which we were extremely abitious and I created 6 course dinner. Yes you read that correct SIX COURSES! Cooking was to begin at 7:00 PM when they arrived and I was aiming for an 8:00 PM begin to our meal while the cooking continued in shifts. Here is what our game plan was....

L'Apéritif (Aperitif) During the first course in a French dinner, hosts invite guests into their living room and serve them light alcoholic drinks and small appetizers to stimulate their appetites for the meal ahead. A glass of champagne is the best alcoholic drink to be served during this first course in a french dinner. Nuts, olives and crackers are also served alongside these alcoholic beverages.

Pissaladiere Nicoise
(Onion Tartelettes with Anchovies and Black Olives)

Canapes au Fondue au Gruyere
(Cream Filling w/Swiss Cheese)

L'Entrée (Appetizer) While it is the second course, the entrée is the start of the dinner that is presented to guests. Appetizers in a French dinner vary from cold dishes such as beef carpacio, Roquefort flan, and salmon mousse with capers to hot dishes like French onion soup, cheese soufflé, and sole filet terrine.

Souffle aux Epinards
(Spinach Souffle)

Le Plat Principal (Main course) The main course of a French dinner typically includes either meat or fish, served with side dishes of salads, rice, or pasta. Wine is served throughout the meal – red wine to go with red meat and white wine to go with white meat or fish.
Poulet au Porto
(Roast Chicken Steeped with Port Wine, Cream, and Mushrooms)

Pommes de Terre Sautees
(Potatoes Sauteed in Butter)

Carottes Vichy
(Vichy Carrots)

Le Fromage (Cheese) There are more than 400 types of cheese in France, so it should not come as a surprise that cheese, in itself, can be a course in a French dinner. In this course, a cheese board is prepared, consisting of cheese of varying textures and flavors. The cheese board is accompanied by fruits, nuts, and baguette bread on the side, along with more wine, of course.

Various Cheese
Humboldt Fog
Various Cheese
Fresh Fruit
Candied Nuts & Figs

Le Dessert (Dessert) Since it is served towards the end of the French dinner, dessert is commonly light and small to prevent guests from feeling too full. Popular French desserts include chocolate profiteroles, chocolate mousse, and apple tarts.

Tarte aux Pommes
(Warm Apple Tart)

Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

Le Café (Coffee) Each guest is served coffee in a small cup, accompanied by a square piece of dark chocolate or a chocolate truffle, which is believed to enhance the aroma and taste of the coffee.
Let me say that this was a LONG but fun evening. We drank, we cooked, we ate and didn't finish eating the last course until 1:00 AM! Recipe reviews to come....

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Hiatus

So the temps are climbing higher, we're well in the 90's daily and the desire to turn my stove, let alone the oven on is completely gone. With that being said I'm forced to take a break from my Julia Child cooking. Almost all recipes require the stove or oven or both. So while the temperatures here are a blistering I'm going to resort back to my crockpot, the only method of cooking that doesn't heat the house up. I might try to do a few recipes, if I can find any that don't require the oven over the summer. And then when the weather starts cooling off again I can resume my French comfort food cooking!

Oh I still have lots of reviews to write up though so they're still to come.....

Monday, May 3, 2010

French Cooking Countdown.....

I've been a bit slow in my cooking and even slower in my reviews or taking pictures. After 1 week of French cooking I needed 2 weeks of light cooking to keep the weight off!

Ouefs en Croustades a la Bearnaise (Poached Eggs and Mushrooms, Bearnaise Sauce) - this meal was absolutely delicious! Again I'm still working on my poaching skills, I'm not breaking yolks but they're still not as pretty as I would like. The best part of this dish is the mushroom mixture. I think we could have eaten it alone. I served the eggs on Crepes de Pommes de Terre (grated potato pancakes) since I had a ton of them leftover from the night before's meal (to be reviewed..). I had added mushrooms to the pancakes since I had some mushrooms that I needed to use. The pancakes were perfect with the eggs. Very similar to eggs and hashbrowns.

I'm really becoming an expert at making quiches, if I can brag. It's really something that seemed very complicated and difficult to me before I actually ever saw the recipe and attempted it. But now that I've made one I can't believe how easy they are! They have becoming my go-to dish to bring to a potluck. The crust is so simple and easy, especially using the food processor. And I always seem to have extra dough leftover so I'm cheating and I just wrap it back up and stick it in the freezer. So after a few batches I'll have enough leftover to make an complete batch from leftovers!

Quiche Lorriane (Cream and Bacon Quiche) - So you're supposed to use bacon in this recipe but you have to blanche it in water to remove it's smokey, salty taste. When I read this I just about died! Seriously how could one do this to BACON! Bacon is amazing and I pay good $$ for my bacon to taste just like that, why would I ever take that away from it. So in the fine print Julia mentioned you could use diced, cooked ham so that's what I did. I saved my bacon. :) I made this as a dish for a potluck brunch at my brother and his girlfriend's new loft. It was a great centerpiece to the fruit and cesar salads. Plus left plenty of room for the lemon almond tartlettes that I made for dessert. It was so creamy, no one could believe that there wasn't any cheese in it.

Quiche aux Epinards (Spinach Quiche) - Again another potluck take and I got rave reviews. The recipe was really simple and I was able to whip it up in the hour before I left. What was nice about this version is that it's veggie friendly. I have a few vegetarian friends who were able to eat this and asked for the recipe.

Poulet Saute aux Herbs de Provence (Chicken Sauteed with Herbs & Garlic, Egg Yolk & Butter Sauce) - This dish was delish! Although I did end up having to do it in 2 parts just because I didn't want to be eating at midnight. I cooked the chicken the first night. It was a quick and simple saute but the smell from the herbs was amazing! After the chicken was done, I let it cool for a bit then put it in the fridge for the next night. On the 2nd night I finished the sauce and reheated the chicken. It was a great meal, the chicken was flavorful and the sauce was rich and creamy. Which turned out to be great even on the Crepes de Pommes de Terre (grated potato pancakes). This was my second attempt at making potato cakes so I was a bit wary of how this would go. The 1st attempt came after grabbing one of those "Dinner for Two" from a local grocery store and they had these amazing potato cakes. So I foolishly thought that I could make some without knowing really what was in them or how to begin. That ended in disaster. This time I had a recipe though and my handy dandy food processor made shredding so much fun. Turns out the batter was very much like pancake batter with potatos just thrown in, that was my mistake the 1st time. My batter was basically potatos and a little bit of flour. The directions let you know that it will be very runny batter, which was super helpful. Since I had lots of mushrooms hanging out in my fridge I threw those in the mix for good measure. This was a breeze it turns out! 18 crepes really were not enough, we ate those babies with everything for the next few days.

Tarte au Citron et aux Amandes (Lemon and Almond Tart - Cold) - I did this as tartlettes instead and took these to the potluck brunch at my brother's new loft. The sugar crust was super easy to make and basically the same as making the quiche crust, except I added lots of sugar. The only thing that really took any effort was making the candied rind. Other than that it's the simple egg yolks and sugar mixture poured into the crust with pulverized almonds. These tartlettes were extremely sweet! So sugary and rich that even a tiny 4 in tartlette was too much for one person alone, unless you're really craving sugar or ate something very salty prior. They however were warmly recieved and were a great ending to the quiche brunch.