Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sleep, stings and souffles.

It has been so long since I have had a night of uninterrupted sleep that I almost forgot what it was like! We started doing a very mild form of sleep training a couple weeks ago, and for the last week now Seth has been sleeping THROUGH the night! Not only that, but he goes to sleep on his own for naps and bedtime. YAY! He typically goes down around 7-7:30 PM and wakes up about the same time in the AM. Next step..figuring out two long naps rather than 3 half hour ones.

I am officially not happy with bees or spiders these days. Thing is I don't know which one it is. Last week Tuesday I was taking Seth for a walk in the beautiful sunshine; we only got a few steps from the house when I felt a sharp stinging pain under my left arm. Something (I wish I knew what) bit or stung me! It was terribly painful for the rest of that day, and then insanely itchy off and on for the next week! Now, about a week and a half later it is finely starting to look normal. It had a purple-ish spot and was slightly raised for over a week and in the end that spot kind of became a scab. All this is beginning to make me think it was a spider bite, and not a bee sting.....

I love cooking, and watching cooking shows, especially the reality show kind. I have always seen recipes for souffles but never had/made one and didn't really know what they were all about, just that they looked cool. While watching Master Chef a couple weeks ago I learned a little more about souffles and they were starting to look really good. So when I finally found some good oven safe ramekins this week, I decided to search some souffle recipes. I managed to find one that worked with the ingredients in my house, and here is the result:
YUM! They were delicious, and actually pretty simple to make. I want to try tweaking the recipe a bit though and then maybe I'll pass it on;-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The recipes and more!

So, after all the wonderful smells in the house yesterday, dinner was a delicious success! Now that I know the recipes were good, I will share:)
The original recipe for the pulled pork spice mix (I believe originally from Cooks Illustrated) was as follws:

(I have added my modifications in the parenthesis beside the ingredients)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons paprika (I did smoked paprika as it later calls for liquid smoke which I don't have...LOVED this change, I think it added a lot to the flavor)
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground white pepper ( can just do additional black pepper if desired, I didn't though)

1 (6-8 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, see above)
2 cups barbecue sauce

1. Mix all spice rub ingredients in small bowl. (it was enough mix to do 2 large roasts, and I still have close to half left for another time!)

2. Massage spice rub into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (For stronger flavor, the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

3. Unwrap roast and place it in slow cooker liner. Add liquid smoke, if using, and ¼ cup water. Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until meat is fork-tender.

From here you would just add your bbq sauce and heat for another 30-60 mins.

One thing I dislike is dry bbq'd pork. So often I have been disappointed when ordering it at a restaurant as they can be rather dry. In order to prevent that from happening, I reserved some of the cooking liquid, skimmed the fat, and then added a little of it back in along with the bbq sauce to keep the pork nice and moist. Plus, with all the flavor from the spice-rub in that juice, it only helped to enhance the taste as well! Enjoy:)

The 'No-knead Bread' I pulled from here.
But I used active dry yeast instead of instant. Some places will tell you to 'proof' the yeast first when using 'active dry' instead of 'instant' yeast, but I just followed the recipe as it was and it turned out beautifully! Super easy to make, and super delicious! I will definitely be making more of those in the near future.

I tried another new recipe tonight as well. I was planning on making Spud Stuffed Green Peppers and was having a hard time deciding what to put with it as the pepper ended up being your meat, potatoes and veggies all in one. In the end I decided to try a Curried Cauliflower Soup as a starter. Success! It was pretty easy, basic ingredients, and delicious. The only change I made to this one, was serving it with a dollop of sour cream instead of the honey. Again, delish!

For about a month or so now Seth has been mobile. He moves very well and loves to chase the dog, and especially her toys, all over the house! Keeping track of these two definitely keeps me busy:)

I use cloth diapers, so usually after changing Seth I leave him in his room while I run to the bathroom to rinse the dirty diaper. I am currently changing him on a towel on the floor as I have yet to find a change table that goes with the baby-room. Actually, because I couldn't find anything that would work I am having one custom made. The pastor of our church does some woodworking on the side and was found willing to make one for us! I am super excited and can't wait to finish the room after the table/dresser arrives. Anyways, within a minute or so of leaving him this is what I see:
Sorry the image is slightly fuzzy, I took it in the mirror, which is where he is able to see me when he peaks his head around the corner in his room. I love the way he knows exactly where he can find me after a diaper change:)

My darling little boy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lists and a productive evening!

I am starting to like lists. For some reason, if you make a list, whether mental or written, the chances of things actually happening seem to increase. At least this is what I have found.

Last night when my husband got home from work, I informed him of my list of things I wanted to accomplish before bed so that he could help ensure that I/we accomplished all items. Several items on that list had to do with tonight's dinner. I had just purchased some pork shoulder roasts the other day with the intention of making BBQ pulled pork. In doing some research on recipes, I came across a spice mix that was rubbed on the pork 3+ hours in advance of cooking. Let me tell you, that spice-rubbed pork sitting in my crock-pot all day has been smelling GOOD!!

Another item on the list was this:
My favorite part of the library right now is the cooking section. New cookbooks with recipes to try, and just information on cooking in general. While browsing this section last week, I came across a novel called "The art of eating in: How I learned to stop spending and love the stove." It was written by a gal who lived in NY and decided not to eat out for 2 years, and blogged about it through those years. Now she has written a book about it. While reading said book, I came across a recipe for 'No-knead Bread'. I'm sure I've heard about it before and all, but never really looked at a recipe and realized how easy this bread would be. The biggest factor in this bread, is that the dough has to sit for a minimum of 12 hours, and is even better after 18 hours. So last night, I mixed together bread dough, and spiced the pork.

I just had a piece of fresh bread..mmmm yummy! And it looks like a loaf found at a bakery! I think I just might be sold. If it still tastes just as good tonight when we have it for dinner, I think I might be making "no-knead bread" on a very regular basis.

Well, it sounds as though my son is waking up from his nap and the pork is just about in need of shredding...gotta run!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A new chapter begins...

Yes, a new chapter in our lives began 7 months ago tomorrow. 7 months ago our son Seth made his appearance. One day I was at work, working full-time, and the next day I was in the hospital having our first child, what a blessed day!
So, for the last half a year + we have been keeping busy living lives as parents.
I am now a stay-at-home mom, and am thoroughly enjoying every moment of it....well, maybe a little more sleep at night would be great, but hey, it is all part of the package. They say you can't have your cake and eat it too...I think we should change that to: 'you can't have a baby and your sleep too'!
We are working on the sleeping 'through' the night. Every time we think he is starting to do better, it changes and seems to almost get worse. We had two really good nights the beginning of this month, and then the next 3 and counting have been HORRIBLE! Hopefully that changes again real soon! It sure is hard, despite the lack of sleep, to get too upset with this cute little face:)

One thing that I have always enjoyed, has been cooking. I love trying new recipes, and new things. Here are a couple recent ones we tried and found to be rather tasty. A Rustic Roasted Vegetable Tart:
This one was really good, and I think I will definitely make it again, but with a few minor changes. The recipe called for eggplant, and having never had eggplant before, I thought I would give it a try. I think the recipe would be better without, I did not find the eggplant to add anything 'good' or necessary to the tart. I also think I will add dried basil to the veggie mix before throwing them in the oven to roast. I love playing with recipes and making changes based upon ingredients in my house, and personal tastes.

Here is another one: Roasted Pork with Peaches:
Another really good dish, that I will most likely make again. I used frozen peaches this time, but I think next time I will try fresh just to see if it makes much difference.

One of the big challenges for me in searching for new and exciting things to cook, is finding recipes that are different, but yet use common ingredients. I don't mind purchasing the odd 'special' ingredients here and there, providing they aren't super pricey. But, recipes that use items that are already stocked in my kitchen are the best.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One plus one...

For those who are wondering:
Yes, we do still exist in cyberspace — All three of us!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Florida time

Posted in the Lynden Tribune on Jan. 7.

  When I think about the fact that Florida is three hours “ahead” of us, it fills me with a sense of irony, since, in reality, everything seems to move pretty slowly there.
  My wife and I just returned from spending Christmas in a corner of the Sunshine State that moves even slower than the rest of it. Perhaps it’s the fact that the island is populated by a large community of retirees. The rest of the occupants are either vacationers or a few original residents who have adapted to the slow pace.
  Just walking through a grocery checkout on our first day in town was interesting. The lady behind the counter took the time to observe that we were missing coffee in our small pile of groceries -- she had noticed it was all breakfast food (we did have coffee, but it was buried under the grapefruit).
  This touched off an assumption that we were out-of-towners, whereupon she asked where we were from. She obviously had plenty of time.
  Other interesting quirks I noticed: No one sets a definite time to be somewhere. Instead, you have lunch at “1ish,” catch the bus at “3ish” and close your store at “5ish.”
  Rather than being annoyed by the slow pace, Lindsay and I found it to be exactly what we needed -- a chance for us to slow down.

  Situated in the center of the island, our rental house was a five-minute walk from either side. Anytime we felt like it, which was pretty much every day, at least two or three times, we could walk to the beach and soak in the best of the Gulf of Mexico.
  The water was so shallow at times, that you could walk out as many as 200 feet in places and the ripples would still only be up to your knees.
  The beach pretty much took up the entire vacation except for the holiday festivities and some shopping. What better time to start a collection of shells? How about a winter tan to make everyone at home jealous? Well, “tan” is relative to your ability to tan in the first place.
  So while I have given our vacation destination pretty high marks, you will also notice that I have refrained from giving the actual name of the place. I’m sure you can figure it out anyway, but I’m not going to help you, since the residents prefer that it stays as quiet as possible.
  As a resident of Whatcom County, I can relate. However, I can’t help but cringe when I hear of the government measures that are taken to slow development -- these are on top of the already frighteningly high price of real estate.
  The number of permits that are required to improve a house, let alone build a new one, is staggering.
  There is one more thing to be warned about if you plan to visit: Just because it is in the Eastern time zone doesn’t mean you will find a lot of visible history.
  Don’t get me wrong, the place has its historical appeal. You just won’t find it in the architecture. The only styles I noticed were mixtures of quaint cottages and modern bungalows on or off stilts with the occasional Tuscan residence thrown in. Mostly, people just build what they want, and that makes sense, if many of them are for visiting renters like us.
  Finally, it’s worth noting the friendliness of the population.
  Where else can you get a full helping of marriage advice on Christmas Eve from a server at an ice cream shop?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rubbing it in

I'm not trying to make ANYONE jealous. I'm just giving you a more distinct idea of where we are going to escape the snow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gift ideas

I thought this was a real winner for a pen geek like myself:
Save $200 in 2 minutes and have the worlds best writing pen
transform a $3 pen into a $200 pen in just seconds. Mont Blanc pens are the worlds finest writing pens but they make specialized refills so you must buy their $200+ pens to use their amazing ink...until now. This is the easiest hack/adaptation to give anyone the king's writing ink.
The 12-step guide tells you how to buy the refills for an expensive pen and put it into the Pilot G2.

Personally, I'm a pretty big fan of the Uni-ball Jetstream -- but I can't even find refills for the thing. Also, it gets a lot less smooth after it is half empty. Also, the one time I had one malfunction, I sent it back to the factory for a replacement and it didn't come. I was sorely disappointed. Nevermind that I was really hoping they would send me a box of replacements. Lately I've been borrowing a Pilot PreciseGRIP extra fine pen from a coworker. I'm not a fan of super fine points. It's all about how it feels in my hand plus how it rolls.

Wait, I thought this post was about gift ideas...