Saturday, July 15, 2017

Homemade Butter and Fun With Kids

I've been keeping a running list of things that I want to do with the kids over school breaks for the past few years.  It just seems to grow and grow!  Every time I mark off a park, museum, or activity I seem to add four more things in its place.

Lets just say we're never really at a loss for things to fill our time.

This afternoon we had an awkward bit of time between places we needed to be and my kids were sitting there lost in their electronics, oblivious to the world around them.

I decided to turn to the list to see what we could do with our time that might be a little more...engaging.

I found...drumroll please....BUTTER.

Yes, butter.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Frozen Caramel Coffee

I try to avoid coffee places...but not because I don't like coffee.
Far from it, actually.

No, I love coffee.
Especially those drinks that *true* coffee lovers turn their noses up at.
Give me a sugar-laden flavor-of-the-season any day of the week!

While I certainly enjoy a warm drink during the colder months, for most of the year my biggest temptation is anything iced or frozen.  Flavored, loaded with syrup...yeah...I don't avoid coffee places because I don't like coffee.
I avoid coffee places because my waistline really can't handle my lack of self control.

Sure I tell myself that I'm just going to order a regular coffee.  Something strong and dark.
Then the next thing I know I'm staring down a very large drink with a very large swirl of whipped cream on top.  Possibly some kind of chocolate shaving on top, as if the whipped cream wasn't enough.

You might wonder why I'm telling you all of this while you're staring at pictures of a coffee drink that is 1)topped with a very large dollop of whipped cream and 2)dripping with caramel.

I can understand your confusion.  Just stick with me for a moment.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Homemade Sushi Feast

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that I had started a post about our New Year's Eve sushi extravaganza 7 MONTHS ago and hadn't gotten around to finishing it?

Yeah well..I finally decided to get on that.

This stuff is just too good not to share- sushi is fabulous.

My problem hasn't been laziness, but rather that I didn't want it to to be incomplete picture-wise.  I kept planning on re-creating our entire sushi feast so I could get some decent pictures for you guys and for one reason or another I just haven't gotten around to it.

Sorry about that.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies and A Little Nostalgia

My husband loves Milk Duds.

Like loves them.

Personally, I find them too sweet and too chewy and too...just not my kind of candy.

That man, however, can put way some Milk Duds.

He named his cat Milk Dud long ago.

They're kind of the way to his heart.

Have we been bickering?

Was I kind of short with him on the way out the door?

Did he have a bad day at work?

Buy the man some Milk Duds.  It'll make things better.
Or at least it will be a start.  :-)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hot Days and Cold Coffee Treats

Five years ago this month I took a trip to Seattle courtesy of Allrecipes.
I've taken a number of Allrecipes trips since, but this was the first- and my anxiety was high.
Now don't get me wrong- I was excited about all of the fun stuff they had planned for us.

They flew their Allstars out to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Allrecipes.com, put us up in a very nice hotel, wined and dined us at their headquarters...it was all quite exciting.  At that point in my life I was one year into being a stay-at-home mom and life really revolved around all things children and homelife.  This blog was in it's infancy, and I was just...you know, a mom.

Have I mentioned I have just *ahem* a touch of social anxiety too?
So I was flying cross-country into a totally new situation to meet up with people whom I had only interacted with online.  I hadn't lost any of the weight I'd gained during my pregnancy so I was even more self-conscious than normal- which is saying a lot.
I seriously almost passed on even taking this incredible, free trip!

But I didn't.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Delicious (and easy!) Poppy Seed Dressing

I almost never make my own salad dressing- for a few reasons.

First of all- I'm super lazy.
Ok, not really.
Well...maybe it depends on the day.
Let's go with that.
Secondly, my husband loves blue cheese and my daughter loves ranch.  I don't like making more than one kind.

Lastly, I feel more pressure to finish off a batch of homemade dressing when it's in my fridge.  I think I trust the preservatives and foods I can't pronounce on the back of the commercial dressing to keep the store-bought stuff edible longer lol.

Sometimes, though, I go ahead and make the good stuff.

I throw together that creamy goodness from the BLT salad.
I might get a little nuts and toss together a little oil and vinegar every once in awhile.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

'Tis The Season For Fresh Fruit & Salad With Peaches

We've been going through a lot of fresh fruit around here lately!
My countertop has been overflowing with pineapple, watermelon, mangoes, cherries, grapes, plums, dragonfruit, peaches...pretty much whatever I can get my hands on!

I mean seriously...$1.48/lb for cherries?
Uh, yes.
I think I'll take two giant bag-fulls and not even worry about weighing them at the store- I've been eating my weight in cherries lately with that kind of markdown from their normal prices!

 My husband has been stuck on peaches.
I love peaches too (try the Molasses Grilled Peaches I shared last summer- SO GOOD!), but he's been really into them this year.  He tends to forget that they're sitting there on the counter and doesn't really just slice one up to eat it, but he LOVES it when I cook with them, like when I made that Grilled Prosciutto and Peach Flatbread Pizza recently.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Chocolate Ice Cream Trumps Memories Of Bad Ice Milk

When I think of the homemade ice cream of my childhood I think of only one thing:
We had a plethora of fruit trees when I was a kid- a peach tree in the front yard, and then the backyard had two apple trees, an apricot tree, a plum tree, a poorly performing pear tree, an abundance of grape vines, a number of berry bushes, and- until we got a dog- a strawberry patch.
There was also an ill-fated artichoke plant in there for a few years, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count as fruit.

Or does it?
I don't know.  Maybe I'll look it up later.
Either way, I'm pretty sure it has no place in ice cream.

Anyway, we had a ridiculous variety of fruit, and I might even be forgetting a thing or two!
For real.
Our friends and neighbors got so. sick. of fruit.

So did we come to think of it!

What we didn't eat fresh or pawn off on whoever would take it was made into fruit leather, baked into cobblers (that I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole as a staunchly 'anti-cooked fruit' child), frozen and forgotten in the back of the freezer, or made into ice cream.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Generally speaking, side dishes are my favorite part of a meal.
I couldn't care less about the turkey!  Nope, I'll be loading up on the stuffing, potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, and all of the other goodness.

Grilling out?
I might eat a hot dog or burger, but I'll definitely be leaving the steaks and such to my carnivorous family.  Show me the sides!

A few nights ago I was planning dinner.  I already knew that I was going to be serving those Carne Asada Enchiladas that I wrote about but I wanted to serve something alongside them that was more interesting than rice and beans, you know?  Don't get me wrong, I serve those often when doing Mexican, but I wanted to do something fun.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Carne Asada Enchiladas & Happy Families

It can be hard to please all of my family at the same time.

I tend to like the- as my husband calls them- "frou frou" foods.
While sometimes our tastes overlap in that category, generally my daughter steers clear.

My husband and daughter?
They could easily be carnivores and be perfectly happy.
I've mentioned over and over again that I can really take or leave meat for the most part, so meat-heavy meals definitely aren't going to make me happy.

My son.
Oooooh my son.
We've talked about him.  The autism and sensory issues that carry over so significantly and frustratingly to his eating habits.  He'd be happy with chicken nuggets (sans sauce) and pizza for every meal for the rest of his life.

So.  Menu planning and meal times can be quite challenging!  To be honest, for your average weeknight meal I often plan around the carnivores, go to the old stand-by's for my son, and just graze a bit myself since I'm rarely desirous of a big heavy meal anyway.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mandarin Teriyaki Pasta Salad

Here I sit, at a little after nine in the morning on a balmy July Wednesday, forcing myself to recover from a late night of fireworks and festivities, as my son energetically runs circles around me.

No really.
Like actual circles around the couch.
So.  Much.  Energy.

My daughter has reached the age where she will pretty much stay in bed until I force her to join the world of the living, and today I'm kind of ok with that.
I'm old.  Late nights never used to take a toll like this!

So here I sit.
Optimistically decked out in my workout clothes, as I know that the elliptical should be my next stop.
I'm not going to lie, though...I might be parked on this couch for a bit longer.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summery Blackberry Pie

I remember sitting at the computer in my room when I was in high school, using dial-up internet, and- totally on a whim- typing in cookierecipe.com to my browser (Netscape, of course).
It was a real site!  Holy cow!

I decided to try another one- cakerecipe.com.  And then another- pierecipe.com.

They were there too!  Will the wonders of the internet never cease!

I kept going down the list.  There were sites for all kinds of food.

Allrecipes you might even say *winkwink*.

It wasn't until many, many years later when I was sitting in the Seattle headquarters of Allrecipes.com  for an Allstars trip to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Allrecipes.com, that I even connected those old sites to the current iteration of the site I do so much work with.  All of those individual little domains were bundled up into the neat package that has been known for a very long time now as Allrecipes.com