Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sick Puppy

The past few nights I've been staying up late with Maverick. He hasn't been able to keep food down and has been really lethargic. Since his symptoms aren't getting better, I'm going to take him to the vet today. Send some good, healthy puppy thoughts his way

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Listening to...

I love this song so much. My husband actually woke me up out of a dead sleep to play it for me the first time he heard it, and now I love it too... I hope you do too. Here it is, Eddie Vedder's new single: Longing to Belong

Monday, March 28, 2011

Asian Pork with Noodles

I realize this is like the millionth recipe I've posted, but I've just been trying so many new dishes. I noticed a couple weeks ago that I'd kind of gotten in this rut of cooking the same 2 weeks worth of entrees, so I decided to make a dent in my Cookbook Library, as well as start cooking some of the many recipes I've torn out of so many magazines. This is one such dish. I took this slow cooker recipe from Claudia Sidoti out of the November of '09 Food Network Magazine. It's Asian Pork with Noodles and I highly suggest trying it yourself. The flavors all work so well together, and the taste is phenomenal.


Ingredients:

  • 3lbs. Boneless Pork Shoulder
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Dry Sherry
  • 1/4 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar (I used light brown)
  • 2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Star Anise Pods (I skipped these)
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
  • 1 Two Inch Piece of Ginger, Peeled and Sliced
  • 6-8 Whole Dried Shitake Mushrooms
  • 1 lb. Soba or Ramen Noodles (I had Somen noodles on hand so I used those instead)
  • 1/4 Cup Water Chestnuts Sliced (I forgot these)
  • 2 Fresno Chile peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (skipped these as well)
  • 2 Scallions, Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro

Step 1: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium high heat with the vegetable oil. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 6- 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate

Combine the broth, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a 5 quart slow cooker.

Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the garlic and ginger.

Add the mushrooms. (I put the mushrooms in whole. Some people think the stems taste bitter and therefore don't use them. I think they taste fine after being cooked, but are just a little tough compared to the rest of the mushroom- just personal preference.)

Add the pork, cover and program to cook 4 hours on high, then 2 hours on low (what I did), or 6 hours total on low. What it looks like before...

And then after. Transfer the pork to a platter, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the mushrooms from the broth and halve them, then return to the broth. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salter water to boil.

Cook the noodles as the label directs.

Slice the pork. Divide the noodles among bowls and top with some of the broth and mushrooms and a few slices of pork. Garnish with water chestnuts, chiles, scallions, and cilantro.


Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Friday!

Wow, I seriously can't believe it's already the weekend. But yay! I have so much planned. Besides the normal projects and chores, I'll also be experimenting with some new recipes, enjoying a little R&R, as well as trying Tracy Anderson's Method Mat Workout (Gwyneth's favorite trainer). I actually received the DVD in the mail the other day but have been a bit intimidated to try it when the husband is home. You know... in case I die of exhaustion within the first 10 minutes. So... we will see.

I hope you all have a wonderfully awesome weekend and see you back here next week!

(personal photo)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Homemade Apple Chips

Another easy and simple recipe here: Homemade Apple Chips. I made them last weekend for the first time and they were really good. I saved the recipe from special on apple orchards from an old Rachel Ray magazine. Very tasty and only 3 ingredients!

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 large apples (makes about 3 dozen)

    Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Using a serrated knife or mandoline, thinly slice the apples crosswise. (If you had a mandoline you could definitely get more slices out, mine were a little uneven using the knife but it all worked out)

    Discard the seeds and both ends.Arrange in a single layer on parchment- paper- lined baking sheets.Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.Bake the apple slices, turning every half hour, until dry, 1.5 to 2 hours (1.5 for smaller pieces and 2 for larger.) While I was turning the pieces every half hour and smelling the wonderful aroma of hot baked cinnamon apples, it was also doing this outside... talk about cozy.Once finished, remove and transfer to racks to cool. The pieces that look burnt actually are not- it's just where I had placed more cinnamon.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Listening to...

Kate York's '08 album, 'For You', is so incredibly relaxing. One of those great cd's you can put on in the background and never have to change a song. I originally wanted to post her song 'Afterglow' on here, but a lot of her music isn't on You Tube. So here's another good one- 'Harley Sunday'. Enjoy

Monday, March 21, 2011

Double Chocolate Brownies

I've always shied away from baking homemade brownies. I don't know why, but they always seemed difficult to me. Plus, the fact that I could pick up a box of Betty Crocker and just add oil and eggs was just so easy. But, I decided to conquer my fears, and make us some homemade brownies last week... and they were soooooo good! Dark, Chewy, and Flaky on top- the perfect brownies...I took the recipe from one of Martha Stewart's Living Magazines- and it was surprisingly simple as well. So here it is, the recipe for: Double Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving a slight overhang on all sides.


Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (what I did). Stir until smooth.

Remove from heat, and stir in sugar.Whisk in eggs, 1 at a time, until combined. Whisk in cocoa and salt.Fold in flour until combined.Pour batter into pan. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 35- 40 minutes (35 for me). Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift brownies from pan using parchment. Remove parchment, and transfer to wire rack. Let cool completely. Cut into 9 squares and Enjoy!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Friday!

The weekend is here! Get outside. Relax inside. Catch up on that lost sleep from the time change. And enjoy yourselves. See you back here next week

Image via here

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers

As you may have noticed, I love me some good food that's super simple to make. Sure I love the day long recipes that require tender loving care and devotion- but those require time- lots of time, and as of lately, that's something I've been short on. So I decided to go through my recipe binder and look for some recipes that looked both tasty and quick. And this one from an old Real Simple Magazine fit the bill perfectly. It takes hardly any time to prepare (10 minutes!) and the end result is soooo good. Plus- my husband loves it- giving me all the more incentive to make it more often. So here it is- Cuban Braised Beef with Peppers. My notes are again in red.
Ingredients:


  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes, drained (I didn't drain- I like the extra juice in there)
  • 2 Red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick (I only had multi- colored small peppers on hand so I used them)

  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges (I cut mine into 8 wedges but then they fell apart into may pieces)

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, Kosher Salt, and black pepper

  • 1.5 lbs. flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds (I used 1 lb.)

  • 1 cup long- grain white rice (I used short grain Japanese)

  • 1 avocado, sliced (We were out so I used a lime instead for extra flavor)

  • fresh cilantro leaves
In a 5- 6 quart slow cooker, combine tomatoes and bell peppers

Add onions
Then add the oregano and cumin
Add salt and pepper
Cut the steak into thirds

And nestle among the vegetables (I added salt and pepper to the steaks since it was only ever included in the pot and not on the actual meat)
Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4- 5 hours (I did my 1 lb. steak oh high for 4) or on low for 7- 8 hours.
25 minutes before serving cook the rice according to package directions.

Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with rice and top with avocado (lime in my case) and cilantro. Yum.


Aren't slow cookers awesome?!

Friday, March 11, 2011

If...


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, not talk too wise:


If you can dream- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn- out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch- and- toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And- which is more- you'll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling



Images via here

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Is In The Air

This morning when I walked Maverick, I noticed Spring was starting to show it's face in Jackson. The snow and icicles off our roof are slowly starting to melt. The sun was shining. And I actually was too hot in my normal winter jacket. Mind you- it was snowing yesterday- but today- this little bit of Spring lifted my mood. And so when I saw all these floral Spring beauties on sale at ideeli today (and at a good price to boot)- I couldn't resist sharing.