Do you ever think back to the previous year to fully appreciate how much time can change things? Last September, I was on bedrest in AL trying not to meet my two little boys. Not moving, not sleeping, not cooking.
Feels like a lifetime ago. Which isn’t the worst thing considering how I felt.
Not that I’m cooking a whole lot nowadays. I can list 75 uninteresting reasons as to why, mostly relating to diapers & laundry. But when I have time, I do like to make things people really like.
For my husband, that means salsa. I’ve made (versions of) this roasted salsa at least a dozen times this summer. It doesn’t last long when he’s around.
It seems appropriate to share this now that my husband just departed for Lyon, France for the next few months. Oh, and today is his birthday! It’s an awesome opportunity (follow his blog & experiences here!) and I’m so happy for him. (Happy for me, too, because I’m going to visit, yay! Thanks, Mimi:)
Lots of things to experiment with making salsa. Looking forward to making much more for my husband in our future.
Happy birthday, honey.
6-8 medium tomatoes, chopped, seeds partially removed
1-2 jalapeños, sliced, seeds removed (or keep some!)
1 small onion (yellow or red), chopped
3-4 garlic cloves (peels on)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sugar
Optional: chili powder, squeeze of lime juice, cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce, 1 tbsp of diced raw onion. chopped cilantro or parsley
Preheat oven to 350.
Layer tomatoes, jalapeños, onion & garlic on cookie sheet (veggies should cover the full pan). Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper & cumin.
Bake on middle rack for 10-12 min. Move sheet to top rack and broil for 4-5 min (til you can see tomatoes & onions are browning nicely!).
Allow pan to cool slightly, peel garlic, & then pulse mixture in food processor or blender until desisted consistency is reached. Add sugar and additional seasonings as desired!
Summer, summer. You go by too fast.
What are you all eating this summer? Around here….
First, lunch outside on the cooler days. This will continue into the fall for sure.
Cannot get enough fresh fruit. Especially peaches.
This guy loves his berries. He loves eating in general (sort of obvious) & is very passionate about it.
Caprese salads for days. Tomatoes from my dad’s garden makes them extra delicious.
Roasting some tomatoes for salsa. Yep.
It wouldn’t be summer without a
little lot of ice cream.
Fall is my favorite season, but I’m not quite ready for it, ya know??
I’ve been meaning to say hello, share a recipe but life has been busy. BUSY, busy. Moving, (my brother’s) wedding, life in general with 3 kids 2 & under. Phew. I’m tired & happy just thinking of the past 2 months.
The Happe wedding.
You know how recipes remind you of a time or place? I love those. Food tied to memories are always a
good great thing in my book.
This pasta recipe will always remind me of Birmingham. I first made it there & continued to make it while living there. It seems appropriate to share since I just packed up our rental & said goodbye to that crazy year. Also sounds about right that it took me 6 wks to post from when I actually made it.
But here it is. It’s healthy and all the flavors blend so well together (whole grain pasta + Parmesan + walnuts). I would actually call it a quick meal, if you time the order right.
(This is what I do: bring a pot of water to boil first. Meanwhile, toast bread crumbs in pan. Set aside & then toast walnuts in the same pan. Shred Parmesan cheese during this time & preheat a large skillet. After these things are done, begin cooking pasta; cook peas with pasta by adding during the last few min of cooking. Simultaneously while pasta is cooking, season shrimp & cook. Add the cooked pasta/peas to the cooked shrimp; then toss with bread crumbs, cheese & walnuts. Stir in additional pasta cooking liquid as needed. Serve immediately. Err, that is wordy but it will make sense when you go to make this recipe. It may take a time or two to time it right; totally worth it.)
I didn’t share a whole lot of recipes this past year. I suppose that I shared any at all (e.g. stayed alive) is somewhat of a miracle. I was lucky to have a super involved husband & lots of trips from some pretty awesome family members, especially my mom.
Now, the kiddos & I are shacking up with my parents for a few months while my husband trains in France. I can honestly say, as a married woman with 3 kids, I never thought I’d ever again be living with my parents. Well.
Life it cute.
It’s actually going pretty good. It’s kind of like an iron chef cooking competition that involves new unique ingredient requirements (e.g. No hot spices for my mom, a certain number of side dishes for my dad) while those 3 kids steal any possible time to cook.
We’ll see what I can come up with over the next few months. For now, I’ll just be glad that this recipe came to be. Thanks, Birmingham.
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
8oz whole grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp butter
12oz raw & devained medium shrimp, thawed
Salt & pepper, to taste
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- Bring pot of water to a boil. (Be sure to salt it!)
- Toast bread crumbs: heat a small skillet to medium. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil & bread crumbs. Toss bread crumbs in skillet for 2 min or until browned. Set aside.
- Toast walnuts: heat a small skillet to medium. Add walnuts and stir occasionally until walnuts become fragrant, about 8 min. (Just don’t forget about them or they will burn; you can also toast in the oven.) Set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Add peas to the last 4 min of cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil & butter in a large skillet over med. Season shrimp with salt & pepper. Add garlic & shrimp to skillet & cook until shrimp are pink (this should only take a few min). Reduce to med-low heat.
- Drain pasta & peas (reserving some pasta water) and add to skillet with shrimp. Toss in bread crumbs & Parmesan. (I usually add about 1/4 cup of the pasta water to loosen the sauce. You can add more or less or even drizzle with additional olive oil.) Season as needed & serve immediately.
*You can easily add more or less cheese, walnuts or peas. Some ripe cherry tomatoes would be delicious on top, too!
Just like that, y’all, “that year in Alabama” is ending. I refer to it as “that year in AL” because that’s what it will forever be referred to as. A blip on the radar. Aka the year the twins were born. Read: the most exhausting-rewarding year of my life that I want to both immensely forget yet forever treasure. So many highs & lows, only of which a twin mom can relate.
While my husband still has a month more to go, I am leaving. Peace. See ya later. People were nice and the state wasn’t that bad (it really wasn’t), but it was a….hard year. (Can I say that with a mostly positive connotation?) Have twins and a toddler and the words home bound come to mind.
I’d like to say that I’ve been able to sharpen my cooking skills during this time (ha!) but the only sharpening I’ve done is in regards to mastering the diaper change whilst preventing my daughter from pinning my other son and yet not spilling my wine. Err…
So back to cooking…fast, yes, my dinners are getting faster and easier to prepare. If you’re above needing fast meals, you may want to move along; my multi-tasking skills may be too much for you & your well-rested state might be too much for me. Ahh, if my 22-year-old self could see me now…
Cheeseburger meets the Stromboli in this recipe. A little ground beef and diced onion rolled into pizza dough topped with the melty American cheese along with a bit of ketchup & mustard. Yum. I have added a little diced red pepper & tomato to the beef & you can surely add some pickles. Easy.
I believe if my 22-year-old self could see me now she would say…
…you’re going to be very lucky 10 years from now.
1lb lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced small
Salt, pepper & garlic powder, to taste
1 refrigerated pizza crust
6 slices of American cheese
Ketchup & yellow mustard, to taste & for serving
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook ground beef & onion in medium skillet until meat is no longer pink. Season to taste with salt, pepper & garlic powder. (Drain excess fat, as needed.)
- Unroll pizza crust in greased cookie sheet. Layer 4 slices of cheese along middle of bread. Pile cooked beef & onion on top of cheese/bread. Drizzle ketchup & yellow mustard. Add remaining slices of cheese. Roll bread and pinch together to seal.
- Bake 16-20 min or until lightly brown.
Tips – add egg wash to top of bread before baking. Add half a diced red pepper or 1 diced tomato to beef mixture. Add more or other types of cheese to enhance the cheesiness.
I’ve always wanted to be a morning person. Inferred in this desire was a view of the sunrise & warm cup of coffee. Maybe a nice walk.
Not this crazy-everyone’s-awake-&-loud thing we’ve got going on.
It’s mostly this one…
LOUD, opinionated, cute.
I’m starting to learn that life has a lot more to offer than what you’ve imagined. I just finished reading All Joy & No Fun by Jennifer Senior (fabulous, by the way), “And that’s what choosing parenthood does: gives strength & structural integrity to one’s life through meaningful tension.”
I challenge the meaningful part but there seems to be some truth to that.
While I’m still working on that morning thing, I will continue to be the dessert person I always imagined myself to be.
It’s (almost) summer, which means we can finally get some great fruit. At the farmer’s market, too!
This means one thing to my husband and I…time for the Blueberry Peach Crisp! I’ve made this a bazzillion times, technically shared it already, but it’s one of my favorites so I’m going to talk about it again. There’s worse things in life.
Like not being a morning person.
But, we’re not talking about that anymore. Dessert-talk only.
Serve this warm with vanilla ice cream.
While becoming a morning person is still debatable, making this dessert all summer is not.
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 pint blueberries (room temp)
4 – 5 medium peaches, pitted & sliced
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp cold butter
2/3 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 9″ baking pan with non-stick spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch & salt. Toss in fruit & spread evenly into baking pan.
- Make the topping in another bowl. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar & cinnamon. Mix in the butter using a pastry cutter (or your fingers). Toss in the pecans. Sprinkle topping over the fruit.
- Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until bubbly & brown. Serve warm.
Stromboli. Pronounced “delicious scrambled eggs covered in gooey cheese wrapped in toasty bread.”
For many, Saturdays are meant for sleeping in, enjoying a cup of coffee, maybe doing some yard work but probably not; just relaxing. Sounds delightful.
For me, it’s still a chug your coffee day but also thank-goodness-daddy-is-home day, which means I can make a real breakfast.
Strombolis are easy to make:
- Scramble eggs. Check.
- Roll eggs in bread & bake. Check.
- Eat. Check.
Strombolis never go to waste…although they do make great leftovers.
I love the flavor the pepperoni brings to the table. And, I’ve been tossing spinach in everything I can.
6 -7 eggs
3 egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning blend
6-8 thin slices of sandwich-style pepperoni, roughly chopped
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 refrigerated pizza dough
4 slices of American cheese
1/2 cup Italian shredded cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk & seasonings. Stir in pepperoni & spinach.
- Heat a medium-large skillet to medium & coat with nonstick cooking spray. Add egg mixture; cook & stir until eggs are mostly scrambled, about 8 min. Remove from heat.
- Roll pizza dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Flatten dough so it makes a nice rectangle. Place 4 cheese slices along the center of the dough; spread scrambled eggs on top of cheese. Sprinkle top of eggs with Italian cheese. Seal the ends of the dough to make a roll.
- Bake 20 min or until top is nicely browned. Serve with salsa or pizza sauce, if desired.
A couple tips: brush with an egg wash to get the nice brown toasty top! To reheat leftovers, microwave until warm and then place in toaster oven for a min or two!
Can we talk about baby food for a sec? I love when (my) babies reach 6 months because it means so many things:
1. They are starting to do things…you know, scooch around, sit up, laugh any time I talk or kiss them (gah, I just love the laughing!) and so much more. Real people things.
2. They BOTH sleep 11.5 – 12 hours. Can I get a hallelujah?! I feel human again and conscious enough to realize how stinking adorable these boys are. Try to tell me otherwise.
3. The schedule, a schedule. 4 bottles, 3 meals. Down to 2 naps. Sometimes 3, yes, but a semi-consistent (crazy) day. Finally.
4. We settled in. Crazy is the new normal & I guess I am figuring out how to embrace it.
5. I get to make real food for them! They are excited, too.
You can certainly find numerous baby food recipes and guidelines with a quick google search. I have William Sonoma’s Cooking for Baby cook book, which I just love. (And, it should go without saying, these are just my opinions, please follow the guidelines provided by YOUR child’s doctor.)
Today I will talk about my tools and process for baby food making, stage 1. A beginner’s guide; my experience thus far*.
The Baby Bullet is easy to use, store & clean (vs my big blender). I basically steam, boil or roast my fruits and veggies and purée them in the bullet with water. For stage 1, i.e. the first month or so, I mostly boil or steam.
I realized when in doubt, keep blending and adding more water. It will eventually get to that nice smooth consistency.
These are actually for bite-size brownies but they are perfect because they are perfect for mixing, which we will get to in a sec.
Stage 1 for me is basically veggies, fruits & cereal. I did start with veggies, resisting the urge to feed them a delicious ripe banana. I still feed them veggies before the fruits at each meal, unless I’m mixing the two. This is Evan’s, “where are the fruits, mom” look.
I followed a 4-meal vs 4-day schedule. Meaning, I fed them each food 4x before moving onto the next (again, disclaimer to follow YOUR doctor’s guidelines). Per mine, I wasn’t as concerned that they would have an allergy to the zucchini or avocado but perhaps their tummies need some time to digest the various foods.
I started rice and oatmeal at 5 mos….not interested. Aiden picked up on it at 5 1/2 months; Evan not til 6 months. Frustrating because they were hungry but it-is-what-it-is. Now, they are 7 months old and HUNGRY! I do not recall feeding my daughter this much; maybe because they are boys or maybe because there’s 2 of them so I’m making a ton of food.
This is the order of which I introduced:
…and so on…
I have read enough that babies (& kids) need to try new foods multiple times before ruling it out. The nice thing about babies is they have no idea, literally, and underdeveloped taste buds, so to speak. (enjoy it while it lasts, right?!) I love mixing different foods/flavors and hide in food they really don’t prefer alone. For instance, although edamame was not a favorite (refer to Aiden’s reaction above), I still mix it in with other foods. I refuse to believe that these boys don’t like avocado so I just mix it in with other foods, as another example.
And some things have just a strong flavor alone, like mango and cherries, so I just mix. I haven’t mentioned it yet but try the purées! The plums weren’t ripe enough so they were a little tart – too tart for serving alone so I mixed with apples or pears.
Pear purée is perhaps my favorite (it’s so good!). It is a perfect mixer for so many other flavors. In the mornings, I usually serve pears mixed with some other fruit and oatmeal.
Some of my (e.g. the boys) favorite combos:
Sweet potato plus oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon
Mango & carrot
Pear with plums or strawberries
Butternut squash & apples
Sippy cups have entered the scene with the food. I like these because they have the soft spout. Filled with water, I offer the boys some a couple times each meal, just to get used to it.
I love cooking so this is fun for me. It may not be for you so that’s ok. Make what you can/want and buy the rest. I’ve made a lot of peas because they are so easy (boil a few min and a quick purée) and the boys love them. I made apples once, but it’s not apple season, so I am buying applesauce instead. Peaches are not yet in season so I purchased the canned peaches in fruit juice, drained them well and blended them….a little sweet, so they are perfect for mixing with other foods.
We are 7 months today and just so cute & fun!
Growing so fast; I’m trying to appreciate this little stage because before we know it we are on to the next…
*disclaimer – this post contains my opinion; please follow guidelines provided by your pediatrician.