Saturday, April 30, 2016

Beef Stew and Grandma's Cooking

So in my last post I made mention of my Grandma Martin and her cooking skills.
She had quite a repertoire- none of it fancy, all of it freaking delicious.

One thing that really sticks out in my memory- in addition to her pizza, goulash, butter noodles, and can of McCormick MSG hanging out on the windowsill in the kitchen- is her beef stew.

I LOVE beef stew.
So much so that when I was a vegetarian for 5 or 6 years there in high school and slightly afterward I asked my mom to make me a separate batch of beefless stew when she would make it.  FYI that's called potatoes and carrots.
But whatever.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sloppy Joes and Childhood Memories

For almost 30 years Sloppy Joes have been forever entwined in my memory with Grandma Martin.

Not my Grandma Martin, though I did have my own one of those who did some rather amazing cooking of her own, but rather my childhood friend Molly's Grandma Martin- we each had one.

 I always thought that was kind of neat.  :-)

The first time I remember ever eating a Sloppy Joe was at Molly's house.  Her parents were out and her Grandma Martin was babysitting.  She was so full of life and such a fun lady to have around.
Also, I LOVED her Sloppy Joes.  Love at first bite.

The next time I stayed for dinner when her grandma was there she made sloppy joes again- and I loved them just as much.  I don't know if this was a regular thing, or if she just happened to make those sloppy joes twice and I was there both times.  It doesn't really matter.  Forever more I will think fondly of those nights with the Other Grandma Martin and her sloppy joes.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Another Fun Salad: Orzo and Wild Rice Salad

The other day my husband made an off-hand comment about how much I enjoy entertaining.  I'd never really put much thought into it before, or considered myself much of a hostess to be honest, so I was a little taken aback when he said it so matter-of-factly.  I kind of batted his statement around in my head for awhile and realized that he's 100% right.  I really do love entertaining.

I love breaking out a bottle of wine, setting up a cheeseboard with fun crackers, meats, and olives.
I love having an excuse to pull out the tablecloth and fold napkins on holidays.
I love making up appetizers and delicious desserts.
If I was a 60's housewife I totally would have embraced the cocktail party and excuse to wear a cute dress and fill a punch bowl.

I love cooking.  Love.  You may have picked up on that fact.  Do you use Penzey's spices?  They sell these towels that say "Love People.  Cook them tasty food."  I fully embrace that sentiment.  It's a major way that I show that I care.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cheesy Beef and Bean Bake: Sometimes Good Food Is Ugly

I'm just going to throw my cards on the table from the start and say this is one ugly meal.  It's also not something I would normally have thought to try.  On the surface it just doesn't sound all that good.
But it is.  It's actually very good.

 You see, one day last week I was extremely busy with popcorn orders.  I didn't have time to run to the store, I didn't have time to defrost the whole chicken I had in the freezer, I didn't have time- or energy- for much of anything.  What I did have was leftover mashed potatoes- you know, the same recipe I wrote about a few days ago.  So I searched for recipes that used mashed potatoes as an ingredient.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Rich and Creamy Homestyle Mashed Potatoes

This has been a week of rough mornings.  Begrudgingly dragging my sleepy self out of bed each morning to get the kids up, ready, and out of the house.  I've been longingly awaiting the arrival of today- a day when I could sleep in (though "sleeping in" these days rarely puts waking up past 7am) and not awake to an alarm ordering me out from under the covers.

 So of course, after a week of gleefully looking forward to spending this morning cozily curled up in bed getting a little extra rest, I'm up.
I've been up.  Since 4am.

This hardly seems fair.  After staring at the ceiling and fiddling with my phone in bed for a couple of hours I finally caved and decided that if I couldn't sleep at least I could have some quiet time on the couch before the rest of the family awoke.  Of course when I peeked in on the kids I found that my son was also wide awake before the sun and he promptly hopped out of bed to join me.

:-) Couldn't really ask for better company on this couch this morning.
While sleep may have escaped me cuddles and Spongebob with Little Man are a pretty sweet alternative.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Light and Refreshing Avocado & Tuna Tapas

I know I've been talking about my anticipation of summer a lot lately- I just can't get over it.  I go outside and see that blue sky, feel the warm sun on my skin, and my soul just sings.  It's the yin to the yang of my love of gray rainy days.  I love those too- so deeply.  Yet that sunshine...that warmth...ahhh...I'm pretty sure I'm part cat, as I'm quite content to lazily soak up the heat in a warm sunny spot as often as possible.

Just thinking about it makes me light up inside.  

Throw in extra adventure time with the kiddos and not having to wake up to an alarm for a few months and summer is pretty much sounding like heaven at the moment.

Honestly, in general I'm not a big fan of heavy meals but that is never more true than when it's hot outside.  Nope, when it's hot out I want something light and refreshing.  This dish really fits the bill!

Tastes Like Summer: Mojito Fruit Salad

This recipe had me at "mojito."

I tried my first mojito the night my (now) husband took me out on our first date.  It was love at first sight- lol well, between the mojitos and I at least.  :-) We had a fabulous evening that has turned into an even more fabulous 7 1/2 years and counting.

I LOVE mojitos.  Not quite as much as I love my husband, but they are definitely one of my favorite grown-up drinks.

 I almost never drink them since I don't exactly keep a stocked liquor cabinet and I rarely think to grab the makings for an adult beverage other than wine anymore- not to mention that nights out sans kids like our first date are few and far between these days!

Nevertheless, I really enjoy a good mojito.  There's just something about that crisp, refreshing flavor of lime and mint.  In fact, Margitos are pretty freaking outstanding too- you should totally check out the recipe when you get the chance if you're into fabulously tasty drinks.  They're a lovely drink for a warm evening outside!

Anyway, back to the salad.  :-)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tastes Like Summer: Southern Dill Potato Salad

It's hard to believe that it has been an entire month since the last time I posted anything!  Between Spring Break, my daughter's birthday, and visits from family the time has really been flying by.
I don't know about you, but for once I'm actually ok about time passing quickly these days since I seriously can't wait for summer!  We've been grilling out a lot lately since the weather has warmed up and while my husband is in charge of the grilling I'm always in charge of the side dishes.

That's the fun part as far as I'm concerned!