Monday, February 21, 2011

Bozo Picture of the Week...

Posting will be light for the next week, or so. We just returned home from a 3-day trip to Providence, RI, for a hockey tournament. Now, we start the end of the season State Tournament this week & will be traveling a lot! I will be back here as soon as I can...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Birthday...

to my 1st born child, who turns 9 today!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Some Things I Just Love...

Some Things I Just Love...
{a.} wee little porcelain tea cups with vintage metal type from gleena {b.} I get so many compliments on my little blue rose earrings from funky vintage kitchen {c.} my solution for packing an extra set of shoes {or, snowboots} in my boy's backpacks with these XL zip bags from Baggu {d.} one of the best shopping list solutions I've ever the multiple store sections...from Brooke Reynolds of Inchmark, via Design Mom {e.} love my beautiful & delicate, engraved ring from cinnamon sticks jewelry can buy a stack, or just one {f.} I am inspired to make my own hanging jewelry organizer after seeing this one, from blue bird heaven, via etsy

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chili Con Carne

I was given my first French oven {a.k.a. a Dutch oven, or an enameled cast iron pot} about 10 years ago, by my mother-in-law. Since then, it has been used more times than I can count. I love it & consider it to be one of my most essential kitchen tools.
However, I do have one complaint with's heavy! Lugging it out & washing it are tasks I do not look forward to.
For years now, a smaller version has been on my wish list...something more practically suited for a family of four & everyday cooking. In particular, I've had my eye on a 5 1/2 quart white Le Creuset. Unfortunately, they are super expensive. So, when I recently won a gift certificate to a cooking store, I finally took the plunge & bought myself one!
It's been sitting on my stove for a week now...bringing a smile to my face every time I look at it. It's ridiculous that a piece of cooking equipment could bring me so much joy...but, it does! I christened the pot with a lovely, Sunday roast chicken. Next up, I wanted to make some kind of stew, pot roast, or chili suitable for the cold, winter days we've been having. This chili is what I decided on.
Personally, I am more of a ground beef & bean chili kind of girl. My kids, however, won't touch anything containing beans with a ten foot pole. My DH likes any kind of chili...but, every time I've made it with beef chuck, versus ground beef, he's seemed particularly happy. So, here it is...a spicy {but, not too spicy}, beef chuck chili...with no beans {a.k.a. a Texas style chili}.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Love Day!

A lovely, handmade Valentine sent to my Bozos by their cousin, Nicholas...Thanks Sarah :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Ever since I experimented with making my own Dill Pickles, I have been thinking about trying to do the same with vegetables & make Giardiniera. The Giardiniera I am making here is the Italian version, pronounced {jar din nair ah} & is more of an antipasto...with larger pieces of vegetables...which work great as a salad ingredient. In Chicago, there's another type of Giardiniera, which is more of a relish. It has smaller diced vegetables & is served as more of a condiment. It's also typically made spicy with the addition of hot peppers.
Italian Giardiniera can also be made hot & spicy. I wanted to make a more family-friendly version here, as I know my kids will love this {they are huge pickles freaks!}. I did add in some red pepper flakes, just for a bit of heat. If you want more heat, you can certainly slice up some jalapenos, or serrano chiles & throw them in.
As far as what vegetables to use, it's really up to you. Use what you like. This recipe is really just a loose guide & you can certainly get as creative as you'd like. Some things I would have added, if I had them on hand, would be...some fennel, eggplant, pearl onions, or celery. I also happened to have some jicama in the fridge the day I made, I added it. Not at all traditional, but so what? I happen to love pickled jicama.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bozo Picture of the Week...

My little guy with his current BFF, Luna...a.k.a noonie-noon or lunabelle

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brown Butter Brownies

These brownies are the cover recipe in the current issue of Bon Appétit magazine. I've had this issue in the kitchen, on the top of my stack of cooking mags, just staring at me.
We had back to back snow days {again!} this week & I really wanted to make something fun with the kids. Keeping them busy when they can't go outside to play in the snow, due to sleet & rain...has been a challenge to say the least.
So, I decided it was high time we made a batch of these brownies.
The recipe is written by the amazing Alice Medrich...who knows a thing, or two, about baking & chocolate. A few of her recipes are already in my dessert repertoire.
In the magazine, the editors deem this recipe, "the best brownies they've ever tasted".
When you give anything a "best of" title, it automatically has a lot to live up to. I poured over the reviews...both at Bon Appétit's website & Epicurious...just to see if they lived up to the hype. While reading, I discovered that it was pretty much a split vote. Some agreed that they were indeed the best ever...while some thought they were just "pretty good". One common complaint in the reviews was that the brownies came out way too thin. So, about halfway through making them, I decided to double the recipe, hoping for some fatter results. It worked out perfectly! Unfortunately, I decided this after I had already shot half my, you will see below that some of the pictures do not match up with the quantities listed.
Everyone's tastes are different. What is fabulously delicious to one person, might just be OK to another. But, in my opinion, these brownies really are all that. The browned butter gives them a flavor unlike any brownies I've ever had. They are rich...with a nice nutty, caramel flavor...and, we love caramel! The outside...not just the edges, like in some chewy. The inside is soft & gooey. These will definitely be saved as my go-to brownie recipe!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some Things I Just Love...

Some Things I Just Love...{Valentine's Day Edition}
{a.} I don't consider myself someone who's on top of fashion...but, I do know that sequins are hot! Heart sequin pins & hair accessories from {b.} wrap up a gift for your special someone with this Valentines gifting kit from terrain {c.} a sweet & delicate token of love tiny silver puffy heart ring from ThirtySixTen {d.} delicious looking caramels in exotic honey saffron, ginger rose & salted vanilla milk Casanova Caramel collection from Theo {e.} love this image of doily covered christmas lights from pretty lights flickr photostream {f.} I love felt crafts & I think I need to make some of these DIY felt heart pins from the purl bee {g.} I've had this project bookmarked for 2 yrs. of these days the Bozos & I will make some Matchbox valentines from inchmark