Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for my wonderful family. Some of whom traveled many miles to be here this holiday. I am thankful to be hosting my very first Thanksgiving dinner & being the one who doesn't have to travel this time. I am thankful for my precious boys & my loving husband.
And, right now, I am thankful that I am done cooking...for today.

Thanksgiving Menu 2009

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Crudités with Ranch Dip

Brined Free Range Turkey with Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Spinach
Roasted Broccolini, Asparagus & Haricots Verts with Shallot Butter
Chestnut Leek Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce (the jelly kind)
Cranberry Orange Relish
Mixed Green Salad with Fennel & Cranberries

Bourbon Pecan Tart
Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Vanilla Ice Cream

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I saw this recipe in an article from Mother's Day, back in May. Why do I now decide to make them? When it's the week of Thanksgiving & I have a million other things to think about cooking? Maybe it's the jar of poppy seeds that's been sitting in my fridge, calling out to be used up. Or, maybe it's just that I felt like it.
These itty bitty muffins are super easy, irresistibly cute & the Bozos loved them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kitchen Tool of the Week...

This tool is not only helpful come Thanksgiving. It's great for Sunday night roasted chicken dinners, making homemade stock, or chicken soup.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Squash & Red Pepper Pilaf

I think it's such a bummer that Gourmet magazine is gone. This recipe is from their final issue {November 2009}.
When I read it, my initial thought was that it sounded really healthy. Secondly, it looked very easy & quick. I love that it's a simple way to add some extra nutrition into plain ole' rice. It reminds me a bit of risotto...just lighter.
If you're not a fan of butternut squash, or bell peppers, you can easily substitute any veggie you'd like.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bozo Picture of the Week...

Hockey Tryouts from katherine on Vimeo.

After only playing the goalie position twice & earning many compliments & encouragement from his coaches, he tried out for the travel team. Here are some shots from those tryouts.
Excuse the especially corny music. I added it as a special touch for my tough guy, as it's his current favorite song {thank you Guitar Hero}.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spice Sugar Cookies

My 7 year old was begging to make some cookies yesterday. I looked around at what we had on hand in the house & decided to make these. He loves any kind of spice cookie, especially ginger snaps. These came out looking very similar to the ones you buy in a Nabisco box, but tasted even better.
I think I may have to add them to the Holiday cookie list.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guinness Beef Stew

It's the time of the year when I dust off the old crockpot {nowadays, called a slow cooker} & get to cooking up some stews, chili, or pot roasts. On Saturday, it just felt like a good beef stew day. No plans. Just a family day, with a few hours of hockey thrown in there. I dug around in my bulging recipe file {a manila folder stuffed with torn out magazine pages} & came up with this recipe from Cooks Country magazine.
This recipe makes for a great weeknight meal, even if you're gone all day at work, because the prep can be done the night before & it takes all day to cook {on it's own}. I love the addition of Guinness & bittersweet chocolate. It makes an amazingly rich, dark sauce. I know it will be a hit with whoever you make it for.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Ciambotta, pronounced "chumbot", is a Southern Italian vegetable stew. You can say that in your best Sopranos accent. It's very much like an Italian version of the Provençal dish, Ratatouille.
I saw this recipe in the October 2009 edition of Gourmet & was intrigued by the beautiful photo. But, after reading the recipe thought that maybe it might be a bit bland. However, I read the reviews...most of which were raving & decided to try it.
Even with the only seasoning in this dish being garlic, salt & pepper, it is anything but bland. It's delicious. I know that it will be a regular for me.
It's also super healthy. Basically, a winter salad. Just warm veggies, cooked perfectly. The recipe calls for blanching several of the vegetables separately & then adding them into the stew later on. This step is essential, as it prevents everything from becoming a big soggy mess.

Kitchen Tool of the Week...

I've had my eyes on these for quite some time. Then, recently, I finally picked up a set. It's funny the little things that make me so happy!
I think home-made chicken cutlets, strips, nuggets, might be the most popular dinner item for all the guys in this house. I can't stand making them, because they create such a mess & dirty so many dishes. In the past, I would use dinner plates, or Pyrex pie plates to bread the chicken. But, these trays hold more of the ingredients & take up much less counter space than plates. They are a breeze to clean & keep the counter mess down. I love them!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I love this cake. The first time I had it was at my Dad's house & since then, I've been making it for years. The recipe is from the amazing, Susan Branch...who has the most beautiful, hand illustrated cookbooks. It's a simple recipe & comes together very quickly. I always make the vanilla sauce to accompany it. This extra step makes it over the top good.

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees & melting 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan. You will need a springform pan for this recipe. If the one you are using is not non-stick, I recommend greasing the sides of the pan, to aid in easy releasing later on.
Pour the melted butter into the bottom of the pan.