Monday, November 26, 2012

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad wait...make that week!

Moose snoozin1

Blah. That's how I feel.

Did you ever have one of those weeks when everything seems to fall apart?

That usually happens on a holiday week for us, always when the doctors offices are closed. Never fails.

This past Thanksgiving was no exception.

My grandmother (Nana) went into the hospital the day before Thanksgiving. She's in an assisted living home. She has Alzheimer's. She began to act a bit more out of it than usual, so off to the hospital she went. She should be going to a re-hab home tomorrow.

My oldest son got pneumonia the week before. He's doing ok but wakes up this morning and tells me his throat is on fire. Ok, off to the doctors with him (Thanks Mom!)

My youngest son starts complaining that his ears are bothering him. He has wax issues. We do the drops, but they are not helping. Of course they aren't!

Our dog Moose started acting funny yesterday afternoon, then the vomiting started. During the night, and all morning. Thankfully John got off work to take him. Our vet thinks he has pancreatitis. He'll be staying at the vets for 3 - 5 days. To say I am a nervous wreck is an understatement.

A woman I work with lost her home and all her possessions in a fire. Clothes on her back. That's what she's left with.

Another man I work with had an aneurysm and is in critical condition.

Do you have to dump all of this on me in one week? Really universe? Could you not space out the shittiness a bit?

So, that little thing called life has gotten in the way of blogging this week. 

I know you will all understand.

I've got some great recipes coming up if I could just find 10 spare minutes to write a post!

I'll be back soon when life settles down a bit.

Next I'm off to the dermatologist with the youngest. The fun never ends!

Monday, November 19, 2012

No Knead Oatmeal Bread

No Knead Oatmeal bread

It's bread baking time.

I'm happy to report that the weather is delightfully chilly here in Rhode Island and that we even had a few inches of snow last week!

I love snow. Love, love, love it!

I'm so used to the all the grumblings about it too. I don't even let it bother me anymore. I know lots of people who live here hate it and to them I say....MOVE! You live in Rhode Island. It's going to snow. That's not going to change, so either embrace it or move somewhere that it doesn't snow! Simple as that.

Phew....I'm done with that rant. I feel so much better.

So anyway, where was I?  So it snowed and it make me so happy, even thought it was only a few measly inches and it only last a day it made we want to make hot cocoa and pies and soup and bread.

What better to eat with a piping hot bowl of soup. Bread. No knead bread for that matter.

This is a great recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen. It makes 2 loaves! I love that it's loaded with oats. It's great for toasting. It's great with butter. It's great with jam. It's just great.

Make it....especially if it's snowing!

This is how mine looked rising. I just snapped a quick picture and got it back into the oven.

No Knead Oatmeal Bread

One other little note. I did not use as much flour as the recipe called for. My dough was too dry to try and get another cup in, so I used 2 1/2 cups of each instead of 3.

No Knead Oatmeal bread 1

No-Knead Oatmeal Bread
recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen
Yield = 2 loaves
Adapted from Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
3 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons of butter
1 pkg active dry yeast = 2.25 teaspoons
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour

1. Place brown sugar, salt and oats in a large mixing bowl. Add boiling water. Add butter. Let stand till lukewarm. Note: This is the only place where you could mess up the recipe. The mixture must cool to a lukewarm temperature so that it doesn’t kill the yeast.

2. In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over the 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Stir. Add this yeast mixture to the oat mixture and stir.

3. Add the flours a little bit at a time. My old recipe says to add it one cup at a time, but I’m never that patient. Add it as slowly as you can tolerate, stirring to combine after each addition.

4. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. This is what I always do for my “warm spot”: preheat the oven to its hottest setting for 1 minute. TURN OFF THE OVEN. Place covered bowl in the oven to rise until doubled.

5. Grease two standard sized loaf pans generously with butter. When dough has risen, punch it down. I use two forks to do this. I stab the dough in the center first, then pull the dough from the sides of the bowl towards the center up onto itself. Then I take my two forks and, working from the center out, I divide it into two equal portions. Place each portion into your prepared loaf pans. Let rise until dough creeps above the rim of the loaf pan.

6. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Bake loaves for 10 min. Reduce heat to 350ºF. Bake for another 40 to 45 more minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped — you have to (obviously) remove the loaf from the pan to test this. Turn loaves out into wire racks immediately to cool.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mushroom Vegetable Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Veggie soup

It's soup making time again! I can't begin to tell you all how many times a month I make soup.

I'm the master of the mish-mash soup. Mish-mash soup happens a lot. What's mish-mash soup? I'm sure you make it too but just call it something else. It's that soup that you make with everything that's left over in the fridge and freezer, or the little bits of meat or chicken that you have leftover.

I am the queen of the this kind of soup.

I love creating a big pot of goodness from bit and pieces of other meals, the last little bit of frozen veggies in the package, the ham bone left over from a dinner party. It gets my creative juices flowing.

This soup was inspired by the 2 packages of portabella's that I had in the fridge. Behind the portabellas were leeks and in the cupboard was a few packages of pearl barley that I had bought just for soup making. We love barley in soup. If you haven't tried barley in soup, you are missing out. It's deliciously nutty!

I don't usually write down my soup recipes because, well, normally there isn't one. I had a few friends ask for this before it was finished so I actually wrote it down as I went along.

This is a rare thing.....a written down mish-mash soup. Enjoy!

Mushroom, Veggie and Barely Soup
recipe from Lisa @ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
1 large leek thinly sliced, white & light green parts only
16 oz portabella mushroom, sliced (2 pkgs)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves chopped garlic
12 cups very hot water
3 containers of Knorrs Homestyle Beef Stock * see note
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (1/2 16oz bag)
1 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
seasoning of your choice

Add the olive oil and leeks to a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. While the leeks are sauteeing, slice the mushrooms and add them into the pot. I throw in a few sprigs of thyme at this point also. Cover and let cook until mushrooms are soft. There will be liquid at the bottom. Leave it in the pot, it's just more broth for your soup!

Once your mushrooms are softened, add in the water and 3 containers of the Knorrs beef stock. Stir to dissolve.

Add in any seasonings you like now too. I use some parsley, Italian seasoning blend and some salt and pepper. Stir in your barley and let it come to a boil, simmer for 1 hour or until the barley is cooked. I throw a half a bag of peas & carrots and the heavy cream in during the last 15 minutes of cooking. The cream is optional but my guys like creamy soup so I add it in.

* Note - I have fallen in love with Knorrs Homestyle Stocks. When you can't make your own, this is the next best thing. The flavor is so good! If you haven't tried them, I highly recommend them!

Mushroom Barley Veggie soup 1 rib

Friday, November 9, 2012

Baked Apple Pie Egg Rolls

Apple pie egg rolls

My 40 pounds of apples are gone now.

I spend the better part of last Saturday making Apple Butter. I didn't make quite as much of it as I would have liked too. We stored our apples in the outdoor shed, inside a large cooler so critters couldn't get to them.

When I started the long process of peeling and chopping them for the apple butter I noticed that I lost quite a few at the bottom. They got a a bit yucky. So I salvaged what I could and left the rest of them outside for the rabbits and groundhogs and squirrels that live in our backyard.

I'm sure they had a yummy week.

I did manage to make these delicious Apple Pie Egg Rolls with them though.

Apple pie egg rolls 1 rb

This is another recipe from what is now one of my most favorite blogs Alaska from Scratch.
Maya's blog is filled with wonderful and scrumptious food and the Alaskian scenery is nothing to sneeze at either.

This was a quick and easy treat to whip up. The outside of the egg roll wrappers get all crunchy and the inside is all warm and full of squishy apple goodness.

Baked Apple Pie Egg Rolls
Makes 20 egg rolls
Adapted from a recipe at Alaska from Scratch
4 cups of apples, peeled and diced
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
dash of salt
20 egg roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter, melted
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, stir together the apples, lemon, and sugar. Add the flour, cinnamon and salt.

Beginning with one egg roll wrapper, lay it out on a work surface (I used a cutting board) and brush egg wash around each edge. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of apple filling onto one edge. Fold in the sides and roll up the egg roll tightly. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the filling has been used.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush each egg roll with melted butter, then sprinkle each with cinnamon sugar. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

Notes: Egg roll wrappers are crispy when baked and the interior layer is chewy. If you prefer your egg rolls fried, these would also be delicious deep fried, then dusted with cinnamon sugar after frying.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole and the giveaway winner!

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole 1

We had a great week long vacation a few weeks back. We have another 5 day one coming up this week. We had a wonderful week full of long walks, and furniture re-arranging, and some new purchases, and some cleaning and re-organizing, a few dinners out, and lots of days where the clock didn't guide our day.

Sometimes you don't realize the stuff you miss when you are a working mom. For instance...I made soup during the week, something that never happens during a normal work week. Soup is almost always made on the weekend. Jesse came in from school and asked what was for dinner and when I said soup, he had this perplexed look on his face and said "Soup? On a Wednesday??" So yeah, it was that kinda week. Slow and relaxing.

I am getting ready to get my Christmas crafting started and prepping all the lists and planning that will come along with the upcoming other words...I'm in my element. My favorite time of the year. Gatherings and good food and lots of love and laughs, cause that's what it's really all about isn't it?

Another thing I love about the upcoming holidays......PIE.

It's my most favorite word this time of year.


I love pie. I am a total pie lover. Pie makes me happy. Pie crust makes me happy. Pie fillings make me happy. I'm such a pie girl. Cake is good but pie, oh my.

Give me sweet or savory, fruit filled or meat filled, there is just something wonderfully warm and comforting about food nestled between crusty layers of goodness.

I'm one of those people will usually choose pie over cake every single time. Thanksgiving....I like to call it Pie Day. The meal is ok, but the pies you after the big meal......that is the holiday to me.

So I bring you a savory pie. A casserole that is so damn easy to make it's ridiculous.

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Be sure not to mix the layers when you make this. You will be tempted to do so, but please refrain. Something magical happens when it bakes...the biscuit mix rises and creates a crust and the veggies and chicken lay beneath it in a creamy sauce. It's magical.

I've made this casserole twice already. The first time I made it I didn't add in any veggies. The second time I made it I added in a bag of frozen corn. The next time I make it I'm going to add in a bag of mixed veggies and some sauteed mushrooms. I have this picky child that doesn't like some veggies so I held off and just used corn the second time around. Be creative and add anything that you normally would to a chicken pie pot.

I cooked two large chicken breasts and two chicken legs when I made this version. You certainly can use the meat from a rotisserie chicken also.

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
Adapted from a recipe at The Shady Porch

Meat from one Rotisserie chicken (or 4 cups shredded chicken)
1-16oz bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (or any combination of veggies you like)
2 cups chicken broth
½ stick butter (4 tablespoons)
2 cups Bisquick (or self-rising flour)
2 cups milk
1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom or broccoli, whatever cream of soup you like)
1 tablespoon of your favorite seasoning mix. (I use Mrs. Dash)

Melt the butter and place it in the bottom of a large baking dish. Spread the shredded chicken on top of the butter. Spread the vegetables on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with seasoning mix.

In a bowl mix the milk and the Bisquick and slowly pour over the chicken and vegetables. In another bowl mix the chicken broth and the cream of chicken soup together and pour slowly on top of Bisquick layer.  DO NOT MIX THE LAYERS!

Bake at 350 for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Now the giveaway winner! The winner of the Jamie's Cookbook "Great Britain" is:

jennifer_f who said:

"Dinner last night was grilled steak and asparagus with mashed potatoes".

Congrats Jennifer! Please use the contact me button at the top of the blog to send me your mailing address!