Saturday, October 27, 2012

New Format, Good Eats.

We're in the grove now, I think. 


 (This is my "I'm so happy to be grading" face)

Having fun.

 At CocoKey Indoor Water Park with Grandma.  She took us to celebrate Jax's 5th birthday!
 Happy Birthday Jax!

 Aren't we cute?

Getting ready for Halloween.

 My favorite witch, ghost and cowboy.
And me as Carmen Miranda.   

(I think that, since I have nowhere near the time to post every day, I'll just do a round up of what we ate during the week from now on.  Of course, that makes the posts incredibly long, but we'll live with it.)

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Thyme and Roasted Potatoes

I used this epicurious recipe with these changes:
*I mixed about a tsp of honey with about 3 tbsp butter and some lemon zest and placed it under the skin before roasting.
*I skipped the lemons on the top.
*I quartered 6 medium red potatoes and a large onion and placed them around the chicken before cooking.  

I served with rice pilaf and frozen peas.

I forgot to get an "after picture" but, aside from the lemons, I swear it looked just like this:
Roast Chicken with Rosemary, Lemon, and Honey

Pumpkin Pancakes with Buttered Walnuts

I used this Martha Stewart Recipe and it was awesome.  No changes.  I did double it. The only thing that I added was this:
chop 1/4 c. walnuts
saute over medium heat in about 3 tbsp butter (preferably salted) until fragrant. 
Serve atop the pancakes with maple syrup.

Prosciutto and Brie Sandwiches with Fig and Eggplant Jam

Ok, so I made the fig and eggplant jam last summer and had it frozen, and I can't remember exactly how I made it.  So if you want to make this sandwich (and I highly recommend that), you can make

Prosciutto and Brie Sandwiches with Apricot Thyme Jam
(serves 2)

1/2 baguette, sliced in half and then halved again in the other direction
1/4 lb prosciutto
4 oz brie, sliced
4 tbsp apricot jam, mixed with 1/4 tsp thyme leaves and a pinch of salt

Spread each of the four quarters with the jam mixture, then top with 2 slices of prosciutto, and then a quarter of the brie.  Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly melty.

I served with roasted broccoli, a small salad, and the dijon version of these wicked good potato chips.

This was a very good "eat after the kids go to bed" quick and grown-up dinner.

Spaghetti Pizza
For when you want pizza, but want it fast.

1 box of spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 cups of tomato sauce
8 oz mozzarella cheese
pizza toppings of your choice (we used pepperoni)

Mix the egg and the Italian seasoning, and toss the egg mix with the pasta until it's evenly coated.
Spread the pasta in a large, greased pizza dish, or 2 8X11 glass pans.  Spread it until it's close to flat and press it down with a plate. 

Tossed with egg and ready to be cooked.

 Generously spray it with cooking spray and broil it until the top is browned, about 10 minutes.

Yummy and browned.

Remove from the oven and top with the tomato sauce, cheese, and pizza toppings.  Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes.  Slice as you would a pizza.

I said "shoot, I forgot to take a picture."  
Pete said, "Say it was so good it came out of the oven partially eaten."

Ok, this isn't really a recipe so much as a hint.
If you want seriously kick-ass chocolate cake or cupcakes, use the King Arthur Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix.  It's worth the extra couple of dollars.  It always gets raves.  Even though we're not gluten free around here, it's far and away the best cake mix out there.
And then you can top it with this decidedly un-gluten-free frosting.  I don't even like frosting, and I ate this by the spoonful.  It's worth the cooking and cooling time.  Seriously. 

Yes, covered up in bad lighting these look like deviled eggs.  
But they were mini chocolate cupcakes with white-yellow-and-orange frosting 
(to look like candy corn). 

All in all, life goes apace.  At this present moment, I refuse to worry about the upcoming hurricane/tropical storm/heavy rain thing that's bearing down upon us.  I'm going so far as to charge all of my devices, and I bought a new book for the Nook.  Anyone read The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window?  Sounds interesting.  I almost got Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore.  What about that one?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ger-pocolypse, 2012

I was all impressed with myself that I was going to get a good cooking post up today.  We're eating good stuff this week:

Fajitas (Monday):

1 large bell pepper (color of your choosing), sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 lb boneless skinless chicken, sliced in about 1/2 inch slices
flour tortillas
grated cheddar cheese
optional: sour cream, guacamole, salsa

Saute the pepper and onion in about 2 tbsp olive oil over high heat (I recommend a cast iron skillet, if you have one).  When the peppers and onions are blackened and soft, remove to a bowl. 
Over high heat again, saute the chicken until slightly blackened and cooked through, about 6 minutes.  Toss the peppers and onions back in the pan to reheat.
Serve in flour tortillas topped with cheese and whatever other toppings you desire.

 Ham and Cheese Biscuits and homefries (today):

 Your favorite biscuit recipe*
about 1/2 lb deli ham, sliced thin
4 oz. cheddar cheese
deli mustard

Preheat the oven to 425.
Mix up the biscuits, then divide the dough in half.  Press or roll half the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick across and roughly rectangular.  Cut the rectangle into six even pieces and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Top each biscuit with two slices of ham, folded, then some of the cheddar.
Press the other half of the dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle, and spread lightly with the mustard.  Cut into six slices and top each sandwich, mustard side down. 
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the tops have lightly browned.  
I served with homefries and pineapple.

*I love the Moosewood Cookbook biscuit recipe.  If not for the threat of dying of scurvy, I might try to live on them.  But you could do any recipe, including Bisquick or (and I really don't recommend this) biscuits out of a can. 

 Southwestern Hamburger skillet (tomorrow):

 Yeah, I'll get this one up tomorrow.  It's only half done anyway.

So there I was, cooking up tonight's dinner AND tomorrow's dinner, because that's how I roll, when for some reason I go into the sunroom and notice that the cover is not on the gerbil cage.  How long has the cover been off the gerbil cage?  I have no idea.  But I do know that there is only one gerbil in said gerbil cage, where previously there had been two.  

See?  One.  Two.

 And up close.  Two.

Did I mention that we have two dogs that would be more than happy to consume misplaced rodents?  Did I also mention that that fact dawned immediately on the 7 year old whose gerbil had gone missing?  Cue the waterworks.  And the burning dinner.

I was luckily able to salvage the homefries (we're still out of ketchup, as we have been for two weeks) and get the biscuits out of the oven.  They were super tasty, but I didn't get pictures of the completed meal.  

And, since I like a good narrative arc, we did a little poking around after dinner and found the escapee gerbil underneath an armoire.  We scooped that little bugger up and plunked him back in his home, where his brother gerbil is adamantly refusing to let him back into their shared little gerbil house.  It's a squeakfest in there.  But Lea was elated, and I think we all learned a valuable lesson in putting the top back on the friggin' cage.

Let's hope tomorrow's dinner comes with a few more pictures and a smidge less drama.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wedding toast

My sister got married Saturday night (this is probably not a shock to most of you).  We're very lucky to now have Fred in our lives, and the wedding was beautiful.  

 Lea was a beautiful flower girl.  
And Gail a beautiful bride.  
No doubt this site will be inundated with pictures 
when we get them from the photographer.

As the maid of honor* I had the pleasure of making a toast at the wedding.  It's a little nervewracking to get up in front of all those people, especially because Pete keep telling me that my toast was too long.  Well, that's what happens when you give someone used to lecturing the opportunity to speak with a microphone.  

*Just so you know, you do not make friends with your wife by insisting on calling her a matron of honor, instead of a maid.  FYI, fellas.

A Toast to Gail and Fred
 Gail and Fred, you’ve made a beautiful wedding.

There is much to love about a traditional wedding ceremony.  It is timeless.  It is meaningful.  Given the temperature out there tonight, I love that it’s short.  The thing that I love the most is the simplicity of the vows.  You have promised to be there for each other through whatever life throws at you.  And you two, having seen the marital challenges and joys of many you love, have gone into your marriage knowing that life can through some pretty intense curveballs. 

You married for love, but today you, perhaps unknowingly made the hard choice.  Because today, you stood in front of family and friends and willingly said “there will be times that my life will be harder for choosing you, and that is a burden that I embrace.”   

Having spent a lot of time with you two, it is clear how much you love each other.  Louis De Bernieres wrote in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part...Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”  You have decided that you will bloom and fade and bloom again together, and move forward in this life as one.

Regardless of how much you will bloom, marriage isn’t all roses.  If planning a wedding teaches you anything, it’s that there will be days that you don’t like each other.  Comedianne Rita Rudner once said, “I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. "  But on those days when you’re driving each other that special kind of crazy, you will remember that you have bound yourselves together here today.  You will remember that the devotion that you two have for each other, and the commitment that you made to one another transcends whatever temporary obstacles that you will face. 

Because in choosing marriage, you are choosing hope.  Choosing to be there for better, for richer, and in health too.  You will look at each other and believe, as poet Roy Croft said,  " I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself but for what you are making of me."  Your marriage will make each other better, and together, you will enrich the lives of those who surround you with love today.

So that love, that commitment, that hope, is truly why we’re here celebrating.  The wedding is lovely.  Let’s toast the marriage.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I've Been Thinking About

Sad little blog, I was worried that this would happen when school started.  Here are all the ideas for posts that I have been thinking about but haven't had time to write.
  • The Election.  Just kidding.  Thinking about it gives me a stomach ache.  We all know who I'm voting for, and I just have to take deep breaths.
  • Good music.  I was hoping that exposing my children to OK Go and the like would mean that in 5 years I won't have to listen to whatever new Justin Bieber nightmare is out there.  Instead my house has been turned into a series of Rube Goldberg machines.
  • Snack foods.  That's right.  I made these, motherf*ers.  They're goldwhales and they were delicious. 

  • Teaching.  The highlight of my day was that one of my students said before class started "Ms. Murphy, I really like this class."   Unprompted, no less. (That was me bragging a little.  Sorry.)
  • Family time.  The Boston Museum of Science rocks.  You should totally go with your family.  But before you bring your 5 year old into Mammoths and Mastodons, you might want to consider whether or not he'll ask about the gigantic penis on the mastodon model.

 Yep.  Giant wang.  He noticed.
  • Cooking.  That goes without saying.  I've been cooking, and good stuff too.  Like for instance, have you ever tried pizza with a creamy pea sauce instead of tomato sauce?  Don't knock it 'til you try it.  

 And there was prosciutto.  It was really good.
  • Weddings.  The countdown is on til my sister's wedding.  Weddings are about 50% "Yay!  Love!  New family!" and 50% "Oh shit.  I have to wear a corset with this dress."
  • Health Insurance.  It's possible that Lea broke her finger roughhousing with Jax.  It will cost us $250 for x-rays to definitively rule it out.  We're in a wait-and-see-pattern.  Something is very wrong with this reality.
  • The CFP.  For those of you not down with the lingo, that's Certified Financial Planner (exam).  I've tried to think of something clever to say about this.  If you can find something witty to say about Financial Planning and its accompanying exams, please message me.  
  • Birthdays.  Jax is going to turn 5 soon.  FIVE.  <Pouty face>  He'll be so big.  I'm not ready.
 But look at what he can do now!  All by himself.
  • Grading.  I think that I cannot procrastinate any longer.  I miss you, little blog.  I'll come back.