Monday, January 31, 2011

Spam and Anchovies Cooking Club



A few months ago my friend Melissa (Purpose and Perfection) asked a few ladies to get together to form a cooking club. This weekend was the third meeting of Spam and Anchovies. We thought about naming the club Truffles and Tidbits but one of the girls thought it sounded dirty. Spam and Anchovies was born. :)


This month we were hosted by the lovely Vanessa (Crayons in my coffee). She is hilarious and such a good friend. She has a daughter that says and does the funniest things. Make sure to check out her blog to keep up with the happenings in her neck of the woods.
When a person hosts it is their responsibility to select a menu. Everyone brings ingredients and we prepare the meal together, drink some wine and have some good conversation. This months menu was an Asian inspired affair.
While I prepped the egg drop soup, Melissa shredded cabbage for the egg rolls, and Kenna moistened the spring roll wrappers for the egg rolls.
 The recipes came from several different websites so it was really handy to have the laptop open to see them. We were even able to look up a tutorial on the spring roll wrappers to see exactly what we needed to do.
 Erin (One Particular Kitchen) prepped the chicken by cutting it into bite size pieces and then shaking it up with some cornstarch. This was then coated in egg and then browned before being put in the oven with sweet chili sauce.
 So far, this has been such a fun cooking club. Everyone cooperates so well in the kitchen and everything comes out fantastically. These were the good looking egg rolls. There were a few others that stuck a bit. We did leave out mushrooms and I was glad. I would have eaten them anyway. :)
 The egg drop soup turned out perfectly. I did discover that I am not a huge fan of egg drop soup but it was tasty. The texture was just off a bit for me. Melissa finished up the soup and managed to make it look like it came from a restaurant.
 On the stove we have Sweet and Spicy and Sour chicken, rice and egg drop soup. I am pretty sure everyone went back for seconds on everything.
Last but not least, Vanessa whipped up some green tea ice cream for all of us earlier in the day. It was very refreshing but one of the ladies said she couldn't get past it looking like Wasabi. :) Another comment was that it looked like pistachio ice cream.
 It is so fun to hang out with a bunch of other ladies, make a delicious meal and have some stimulating adult conversation. I get to host next time and I think we will have a southern meal. Now off to look for some recipes. :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mark Wills - Looking for America.


Look for me in the video. :) You might get a very brief glimpse. I am wearing a black hoodie.

Snow Day #....um something

I do not know what # this snow day was but it was Wednesday. The roads were clear and we were still home. My poor husband had the flu and we needed a few groceries. I ran to the store and on the way home I couldn't help but stop and take a few photos. This was also the day I felt like I was trapped in the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds" There are several clips on IMDB if you want to be terrified! Enjoy! :)






Saturday, January 29, 2011

{FFwD} Chicken B'stilla and Micheal Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

So here is it Saturday and I am just getting my recipe posted for French Fridays with Dorie.  I have been a bad blogger. :( I am catching up from last week as well and have included Double Chocolate Mousse Cake.

I actually made this on Wednesday, another snow day. I was really glad that I had all day to make it because it took all day to make it. The first hour was spent cutting onions and garlic, measuring spices and popping the chicken in the fridge with all of the cut and measured ingredients to marinate. Once the marinating was done the next hour was spent simmering so that the chicken was fall off the bone tender.

I should mention at this point that I realized that the chicken thighs I used were boneless...after they were cooked. I am not sure that it mattered. It did make it easier to shred once it was cool enough to handle.

Several other cooks mentioned that they do not like working with phyllo dough but I found it wasn't too difficult for this recipe. I may or may not have had issues with that in the past.
Once the 40 minutes in the oven were up my house smelled delicious and we couldn't wait to dive in. My son took one look and said he didn't like it. My daughter, the foodie in training, was optimistic but then she didn't like it. We told her it tasted like food from Morocco and she said she doesn't ever want to go there.
Hubs really liked it and went back for seconds. He said it tasted complicated...in a good way. :) 
I really liked this as well and thought it was worth the time I spent in the kitchen on it. I may make this again if I need a fancy, impressive recipe. :)

Another recipe I was really looking forward to was this chocolate mousse cake. It was not difficult to put together but it was kind of fussy to make. It required baking and chilling and baking and chilling. It was a pretty short cake and it actually tasted a lot like the fudge pie I make that takes about 15 minutes to put together. Believe me it was really tasty but I am not sure it will go in the repertoire when the easy pie tastes just as good. I am glad I got to try this process though.

Make sure to check out the LYL to see how other cooks around the world did with Chicken B'stilla this week! :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

{TWD} Nutty Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

 A big thank you to Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort for choosing this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Not only is she a fabulous cook she is taking on the challenge of 52 books in 52 weeks. Add her to your reader to see her reviews each week. The cake in the kitchen smells delicious. I am wrapping up 21 days of fasting with my church and my actual fast ends at midnight tomorrow. So when I say this smells delicious I am not kidding.
What is not to love about this lovely cake? The swirl is chock full of walnuts, mini chocolate chips, mini white chocolate chips, sugar infused with orange zest  and cinnamon.
Hubs is my taster tonight and said that he can really taste the orange and the walnuts. I left out currants because my family would pick them out anyway. Hubs said he needed a second piece to make sure it was good. I am glad he approves because the rest is going to my new students tomorrow. :)

Check out the LYL to see how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers did this week. Better yet pick up Dorie's Baking From My Home to Yours.

Check back next week for Great Grains Muffins. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Adoption Rocks, Clothes and Cooks

Every where I turn I have friends adopting. Some are adopting internationally and some domestically and all have amazing stories to share. It is very expensive and an extensive process to go through. Check out some of the stories on these blogs and some of the ways they are raising money :

Sarah and Jason: They have t shirts for sale on their site and are so close to bringing their twin baby girls home.

Brea and Jonathan: They adopted domestically and she is a great resource if that is where your heart is. :)

Toni and Scott: They have had their babies home from Ethiopia for 3 months. They have a Penny Jar project and T-shirts.

Jesse and Marisa: They are also adopting from Ethiopia. They have Adoption Rocks T-shirts and had tote bags as well. In the midst of the process they are also planting a church in Seattle!

Brandon and Leslie: They are adopting from Korea. They have 1lessorphan t-shirts and they also have cookbooks. They are drawing at 10 pm tonight for a cookbook. Go check out their site and give some comment love!

It is amazing to me the selfless love each of these families is showing by going through the adoption process and bringing home these sweet babies. Go check each one out to follow their stories!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Sickies Have Hit Our House

I see it all over facebook. People are sick all around the country. It is our turn now. Munchkin started coughing yesterday, a stuffy nose last night. A trip to the ped today confirmed she has the Flu Type A. I am coughing as well and probably have it as well. So far I don't feel terrible. I have a low grade fever and a cough.

Munchkin is a very active child. She has never been a great sleeper and is in constant motion....well not always, she can sit for an hour and read a book but she is tapping or pacing or jumping. From the time she was under a year we could tell when she was getting sick. She got quiet and cuddly. It is the same now as it was then. If a fever is coming on she gets clingy and sweet and sleepy. She never falls asleep early. Tonight we are watching American Idol, one of her favorite shows, and she is crashed out next to me on the couch. So sweet. I am praying that she feels better very quickly. She is supposed to go on a field trip Friday but it looks like she will miss it. I am hoping for one more snow day so it can be rescheduled.

I am also praying the hubs and Little Man stay away from the sickness...I may be sleeping on the couch. I hope you and yours stay healthy as well!

Monday, January 17, 2011

{TWD} Lemon Poppyseed Muffins


Have you ever heard that eating poppy seeds will make you test positive on a drug test? I have no idea if that is true or not but I think about it every time I eat poppy seed muffins. :)

Todays recipe was chosen by Betsy of A Cup of Sweetness. You will be able to find the recipe on her blog. Although, I don't know where she has the time because she has the sweetest new little baby that has been recently featured! :)


These were well loved in our house. Hubs said the texture was more biscuity though than muffiny and I agreed with him. They were delicious even if they did taste more biscuity. The entire batch was gone as soon as they were out of the oven. 


Thanks Betsy, for choosing such a delicious recipe this week! Make sure to check out the LYL to see how bakers around the world did with this recipe this week. :)

Sledder

Munchkin loves to sled. On day one of our snow days she was up and dressed and ready to go before the rest of us. This photo just captures how much she loves it!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Pasta and Squash

 The other day I asked for some suggestions on what to do with my whole wheat pasta. The common theme was olive oil and some kind of vegetable. This is what I came up with, with what I had on hand.
4 oz whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 white onion
olive oil
2 small yellow squash

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, add squash and cook until soft. Add pasta and enjoy.

This was very filling and very tasty!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

{FFwD} gnocchi a la parisienne

Have you seen those prepackaged packages of gnocchi at the grocery store? They are perfectly formed little balls of dumpling glory.

Mine were not perfect but my family loved them. Hubs said it was really good but the sauce could use a little more flavor and he was having a bit of difficulty with the texture. Knowing that they were dumplings though, made it a little easier to swallow. hehe

Munchkin really liked it and said she would eat this dish again.

Little Man asked how much he had to eat and proceeded to choke on a piece of gnocchi. Did I mention this one has some sensory issues? Peanut butter is his best friend.

I did not get to try it as I am only eating fruit, vegetables and whole grains this month, It looked delicious though.

I did make a couple of subs. I used 1% milk instead of whole, because that is what I had on hand. I also used mozzarella cheese rather than Gruy√®re again, because that is what I had on hand. The other cheese probably would have helped with the extra flavor though.

This was an interesting recipe for me to make. It came together fairly quickly but used a lot of dishes. The fam liked it and I think it is one that I will for sure make again. :) If you would like to see how many other bakers around the world did with the gnocchi make sure to check out the LYL over at French Friday's with Dorie.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011 Day 3 ;)

 So, you might have heard there is some snow in Tennessee these days. It cracks me up every year when it is the end of the world that we got snow. It seems like this is not even as much as we got last year as the kids were able to sled down our street. They couldn't do that this year. However, it is the third day in a row that we have had the fluffy stuff falling out of the sky and sticking to the ground.
 Because here in Tennessee the snow accumulates and then melts and then refreezes we tend to have an icy mess on our hands the second day of snow. This means that we are on day three of snow days. Day one was spent sledding, sipping hot chocolate and playing games at home.
I teach at a local college and school for me was not called off on day 2. So, day 2 was spent with me driving 30 miles to work while the kids went to work with hubs. They spent their day reading books and playing quietly with the toys they took with them. The highlight though was eating in the company cafeteria. They LOVED that! Once we got home there was more playing outside and building snowmen and more hot chocolate. I made the hot chocolate with milk and leftover hershey kisses from Christmas. Munchkin drank hers and then Little Mans as well. :)
This is not our dog by the way. It was a random dog at the sledding hill we go to. Today is day three of snow days and I had grand plans. We were going to go to the library, watch a movie, clean the office and do some laundry. That may all still get done....if I get out of my PJ's....
 The kids have already skyped with our friends in Georgia, Munchkin went out and built another snowman and now they are playing Star Wars on the computer. It could be worse. :) It has been funny reading status updates on Facebook this morning. There are quite a few people who are ready for a padded room. I suppose not being able to get out will do that to you. I have really enjoyed these three days but there are moments when I want to pull my hair out....fighting amongst siblings comes to mind. For the most part though the kids have been really good and haven't needed me to entertain them every second.
 I suppose I should get dressed and take the kids to the library. I don't think any of my books that I requested at the library have come in yet. Hopefully they will come in soon so I can pick them up. Both kids do need more books though so off we go....really..I'm moving.....

Wordless Wednesday - 4th Quarter - Oregon/ Auburn Game

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

{TWD} Chocolate Fluff Filled Madelines


Have you ever had these cute little cookies? This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Margot of Effort to Deliciousness. She will have the recipe up at her site. The only special item you need for this is a Madeline pan. I didn't have one but s luck would have it, I got a gift card to Bed, Bath and Beyond for Christmas and was able to pick one up. 
I think I am going to need some practice with it though as I over filled several of the molds and those had to bake an extra amount of time. I know you can't see the fluff in these but I promise it is there. 
I made a giant mess trying to fill these. Since, for some reason I don't have a pastry bag or dedicated tips, I found a random tip and used a snack sized ziplok bag...which would have been fine had the bag not exploded. Have you ever gotten marshmallow fluff of your hands? It is sticky.

These were really tasty little cookies. My kiddos LOVED them and even took some in their lunches. I really liked trying out the new pan and it will definitely get use in my kitchen. I may not fill them the next time but it was worth it this time. :) Check out the LYL to see what creative ways other TWD came up with to bake these.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Salient and Investigation Discovery

If you get the channel Investigation Discovery you can watch the brand new show Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets. Salient's song "I Remember" will be used on the show tonight. It will air TONIGHT (Monday 1/10) at 10pm Eastern and re-airs at 1am Eastern on Tuesday 1/11.

Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets is a true crime show where the murder is told in first person by the victim. The victim is all knowing but never reveals the killer. Instead, viewers must piece together the who-dunnit based on clues from investigators and family/friends.

Daddy's Princess Air Date: Monday, January 10th
Ali Kemp, a beautiful 19-year-old college student with a bright future, returns home for the summer to work at the local swimming pool. But one afternoon when Ali is nowhere to be found, her father makes a gruesome discovery; Ali's body in the pool pump room — she'd been brutally beaten to death. With her killer on the loose, investigators launch an intense investigation. But despite DNA evidence and a reliable witness, police search without success for three years. Then refusing to give up, Ali's father comes up with an idea that leads to her killer's arrest.

Snowpocalypse 2011


Last night my kiddos waited expectantly for the news to call off school for them. It didn't happen. Sure, a few counties called off but those were some that have hollers and icy backroads. 


This morning I got the phone call at 5:30 AM. I always love to wake up at 5:30 am.... I did manage to turn off my alarm and go back to sleep.


About an hour later my little ones started to stir. They came in a told us they were going to check the news to see if they had school. A few minutes later we heard a whoop from downstairs and two very excited voices. 


Hubs and I went back to sleep for a bit and then I went out to snap these before there were a ton of tracks in the snow.


It looks like a day of sledding, hot chocolate, and movies is in the works at our house. 


How about you? What is on your agenda for this nippy Monday?

Friday, January 07, 2011

{FFwD} Mushroom Soup and Mark Wills

Well, the title may be a bit misleading. One of the nice things about French Fridays with Dorie is that there are no posting requirements to stay in the group. This weeks recipe was for Mushroom soup. I don't eat mushrooms and hubby doesn't eat soup so there was no sense in making it. Actually, hubs probably would have liked it. So, sorry my FFWD amis, I will be back with you next week. :)


Today I got the chance to be an extra in a music video. Mark Wills was filming in my neighborhood for his video "Looking for America"in conjunction with Operation Troop Aid. It was fun but it was really really cold. When we were just about done this guy showed up with fluorescent clothing and jumped in as an extra as well. He was eccentric and I am not sure if he was just trying to stand out on film or didn't get it that he needed to be quiet at the end. They filmed a second section later in the afternoon but I wasn't able to go back for that. I also must say that I am quite short so you may not be able to see me in the video at all. Oh well, it was fun anyway. :)