Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes For My Kiddos

Feeding my son can be frustrating.
The nuances of what he's ok with eating vs what he will physically cover his face to get away from can be tricky to navigate.

For example, sometimes he will eat orange goldfish crackers.  Sometimes.  However he won't eat the goldfish crackers that come in different colors- he won't even eat the orange crackers if he sees you picking them out of the multi-colored variety.
This lovely pink-topped confection was for my daughter!

He loves french toast sticks because they're dry and crisp on the outside, but won't touch a soft pancake.  Period.

He will eat yogurt with fruit blended in, but not the kind with even the tiniest of fruit pieces in it.

He will eat a peanut butter sandwich, but only if there is literally only enough peanut butter to hold the pieces of bread together- otherwise it is cast aside completely.

You know how some kids are just picky and will eat eventually if they get hungry enough?

Yeah...this isn't like that.  He really won't eat regardless of how hungry he is.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grilled Dijon Lemon Pepper Salmon

I'll be honest- I had zero desire to cook yesterday.

The day had been lazy and wonderful.
It started with donating blood (woo hoo!  I'm super excited that my little guy is in preschool a couple of mornings a week now so I have time to do things like stop by blood drives again!), some very light house cleaning, and a walk around the neighborhood when Little Man and his sister got home from school.

The sun was shining, it was warm but not overwhelmingly hot and humid, and I was overall just feeling lazy and wonderful.
I simply could not bring myself to ponder dinner or think about spending time in the kitchen.

Lightbulb moment- appeal to the husband's love of grilling and simply break open the freezer.  Side dishes?  Grilled asparagus and some ready-to-serve salad mix.
Delicious.  Simple.  Pretty much zero work- at least for me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Roasted Asparagus with Sea Salt and Parmesan

My mother absolutely hates asparagus- as in, she has a 60ish year-old story she has related to us countless times about hiding it from her mother behind the drapes when she was a child to avoid eating it.
Needless to say, she didn't cook it for us when we were kids- ever.
In fact, I remember the exact moment when I tried it for the first time...
It was the 4th of July, 1997- I was 15.  I remember this because we ate in front of the TV that year rather than the kitchen so that we could watch the Mars landing.
My mother and sister were visiting my grandma in Wisconsin and my dad and I were celebrating the holiday with close family friends.

Somehow asparagus came up in the conversation and when our host, Sue, heard that I had never even tried it we dropped everything and drove to the store.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dear Churches...We Need You.

I need you.  WE need you.
You see, you are not only my family- you are my lifeline.  My son has High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder- a mouthful, I know.
He is sweet.  He is funny.  He is borderline brilliant.  He is not yet 3 1/2- yet he can read you his children's Bible, start to finish, unassisted.  He can write "xylophone" and "mother" and "queen" and any other word you throw at him- ambidextrously and in better handwriting than my 8 year-old.
He does not, however, call me "Mommy."  He does not understand potty training and is still in pull ups.  He won't eat the goldfish crackers you offer at snack time, because, well- who knows why.  Because his quirks and sensory sensitivities extend to his eating habits.
I know he shakes your expectations a little- if I wasn't his mother I would probably be a little confused by him as well.  But his hand flaps, excited vocalizations, and food preferences aren't any extra work, really.  To paraphrase Temple Grandin- he is most definitely different, not less.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Toasty Sweet Coconutty Graham Chex Mix® with GOLDEN GRAHAMS!!!

Yesterday I found myself in a minivan loaded with adults headed to Pigeon Forge for lunch and go-karts.
My husband's boss ok'd him taking the supervisors he manages on an out of town team-building off site to Pigeon Forge and I managed to finagle myself an invite.  I tagged along, keeping my nose in a Sunset magazine during the "work half" of their day as they talked about business stuff, then enjoyed myself and my child-free time in the afternoon after their work day was officially adjourned.  Gotta say- definitely better than staying home and cleaning the house!

Anyway, when they found out I was tagging along, the first thing- I'm told- my husband's coworkers asked about was snacks.  I have a bit of a reputation for providing good ones!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Garden's Bounty: Bell Pepper Frittata Cups

In the six years that my husband and I have been together I have made stuffed peppers exactly twice.

The first time was early on in our relationship...well, at least early enough that he dutifully downed his entire pepper, trying not to show his displeasure, before kindly telling me that- while it wasn't my fault- he really didn't like stuffed peppers.  At all.  Of any kind.

They have been on the "do not make under any circumstances" list ever since.

Until about a week ago, that is.
You see, the yellow bell peppers in my garden are finally ripe.  They are HUGE, firm, sweet, lovely, specimens.  
I have approximately 5 million of them that I'm working through at the moment- it's all peppers all the time.  Good thing he likes fajitas!  I said something offhand to my husband along the lines of, "too bad you won't eat stuffed peppers, that would sure help get rid of some of these!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Zucchini Ranch Meatloaf and Bountiful Gardens

So you're still drowning in zucchini, you say?
Still overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ginormous specimens your plant has produced?
Missed out on "Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night"?  Didn't know that was a thing?

Well, judging from the sheer volume of you that have been checking out the zucchini recipes on the blog lately, I'd say there's a good chance you're suffering from whatdoidowithallofthiszucchiniitis- and thankfully I've got you covered!
Just to recap (and help you out with your zucchini issues!) I've written about...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Leftover Dressing and Pasta Salad

Remember that trip to Rugby, TN I talked about a couple of weeks ago?

Well, I went a little crazy.
We were only there 2 1/2 days and I brought enough food for like a week- and that was just me!  My inlaws brought enough to feed an army too, so we ended up bringing home a LOT of leftovers.

One of those leftovers was a bottle of Italian salad dressing that went completely untouched.  I brought green salad along with us, but forgot dressing.  We stopped and bought a bottle of nondescript Italian dressing at the last bastion of civilization on the way out to Rugby- a Dollar General.

Anyway, long story short, my family doesn't really use Italian dressing, especially of the rather bland variety we had sitting in our fridge.  I didn't want to throw it away, though, so I went looking for recipes in which to use it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Simply Delicious Chopped Ahi Burgers

Asheville, NC is one of my favorite places on Earth.  Tucked away in the mountains, it's a haven for foodies and artists alike.  When my husband and I need to get away from reality for a bit, it's easy to jump in the car, drive an hour over the mountains, and spend the day sipping wine, eating good food, and wandering the countless galleries and stores downtown.

Also, it reminds me of home.  Like really reminds me of home.

It feels very much like downtown San Luis Obispo, CA to me- and I've heard the "it feels like home" comment from other West-coast transplants...

It feels like Portland.
It feels like San Francisco.
It feels like Seattle.

It just has that vibe.  To be honest, my adopted home- though beautiful- is way different than what I will always consider to be my real home, and it's nice to have such familiarity within driving distance.

That and food.  I kind of love food.
I have a laundry list of much-loved Asheville restaurants I've worked through, as well as an ever-growing wish list of places to try on future visits.  One of my favorites is Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville.