Sunday, December 14, 2014

Three Cheese Tortellini In No Time At All

You know how sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table?

Preferably a good dinner- though I'm sure we all have the occasional  boxed-macaroni-and-a-can-of-veggies nights.

There's really something to be said for a yummy, filling meal that you can have on the table super quickly.

Well, this is totally it!
Bonus points?  My husband AND my daughter both enjoyed it, and the two of them belong to completely different culinary fan clubs.

This month's Allstars partnership was with Barilla, and although they have a ton of recipes that look yummy over on Allrecipes I wanted simple- lol I've been insanely busy making popcorn and keeping up with the kids' holiday activities lately.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Double Fudge Cookies and One Long Night

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you about a recent evening at my house...

Now, my husband had been out of town for four days.  I love him.  Oh goodness I love him.  I am grateful that his job provides me the opportunity to stay home with the kids even if that means a few times a year he has to travel for work.

That being said, a few days into his trip I  get a little...frustrated.  Jealous of freedom.  Rundown by single parenting, a very active daughter, and a son with autism.

Oh I had such great plans for that night!  I was going to be like...Pinterest Mommy of the Year or something.  You know, all rainbows and unicorns and happy childhood memories.
My daughter came home from her after school activities and immediately showered and got into cozy PJs.  Homemade double fudge cookies were baked.  Homemade chicken noodle soup was consumed.  We had a girly evening styling our hair and painting our nails.  We piled into the car to drive aimlessly and enjoy Christmas lights.  Upon returning I popped delicious popcorn, started the fire in the fireplace, and we all curled up together by the tree to watch Peter Pan live on TV.  Then we headed off to bed with visions of sugar plums dancing through our heads.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Candy Cane Cookies for the Holidays

My grandma did Christmas well.
Each year the tree was decked out with ornaments that she had made herself.  I remember fires in the fireplace and a living room full of family.  I'm sure those times at my grandma's house have taken on that kind of rose-colored quality that can sometimes come over our childhood memories, but that's ok.  They were good times.

By all accounts, her candy cane cookies were pretty great.  They are inextricably connected with the holiday season in my mind.  Just as the sight of a jar of Almond Roca will always bring me right back to the jar that was ever-present on the shelf in her (off-limits!) dining room, those cookies always bring me back to Christmas at Grandma's.

I can still close my eyes and remember the taste of my Grandma Martin's beef stew, goulash, or buttery noodles despite all of the years that have passed since I was last able to actually eat them.  Alas, I don't remember what my grandma's candy cane cookies tasted like in that same way.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Only Gift I Need

I don't need anything for Christmas this year.

I really don't.  I can't think of anything that could beat what I've already experienced this holiday season.
My son gets that it's Christmastime.
He got that it was Thanksgiving.
He understood that it was Halloween.

He may not have the slightest clue what any of those things actually mean.
He wouldn't eat his Halloween candy (that makes two years in a row his sister has really lucked out).
He ate a grilled cheese sandwich while we stuffed ourselves with Thanksgiving dinner.
He doesn't know to look forward to Christmas gifts.

Mom's Potato Pancakes

My mom's potato pancakes were one of my favorite breakfasts when I was growing up.  She didn't make them often (I'm sure if she'd had a food processor to speed things up I might have enjoyed them more frequently!) but when she did make them I'd absolutely stuff myself on those golden, crispy little pancakes.
When I got a little older I realized that her "potato pancakes" were also called latkes and are often served during Hanukkah.  Apparently they're often served with sour cream or applesauce, though we always just ate them plain.  My daughter even likes to eat them with ketchup- they are kind of like a hash brown's tasty cousin.  :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chicken Stuffed Mushrooms

A few months ago Allrecipes asked me to develop a recipe using Diamond Crystal Salt and I came up with super yummy (and easy) Roasted Asparagus with Sea Salt and Parmesan.  I loved how it turned out- and that my daughter loved it too!

Well, since I helped them out over the summer they asked the other Allstars who created recipes and me to make a recipe from their collection.  There were a lot of yummy recipes on that list- everything from Easy Cashew Sea Salt Toffee to Salted Naan Sticks with Mango Chutney.  The choices definitely ran the gamut, but they all sounded so tasty!

In the end I decided to go with Chicken Stuffed Mushrooms- I was trying to stay at least a little bit on the lower carb end of things... and I'm a sucker for a stuffed mushroom.  :-)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mastering The Perfect Southern Breakfast Gravy

Once upon a time, 14 years ago, there was a girl in California that had never heard of biscuits and gravy.

In fact, she didn't even know gravy existed in any shade other than brown, and generally only ate it on Thanksgiving over mashed potatoes.

I know, crazy, right?

When I was 18 my best friend and I got our first apartment.  Literally two weeks after my 18th birthday we were out on our own.  It was then that I was first introduced to the idea of biscuits and gravy.

Sometimes she would make them for us on Saturday mornings.  Goodness we felt so grown up back then...we were babies!  But when we would have "the guys" grill for us on our itty bitty balcony, get dressed up and make lasagna and drink Arbor Mist (ugh), or sit around in our pajamas eating a real meal of biscuits and gravy on a Saturday morning we felt SOOOO grown up.