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Shag-a-delic

I always start my week with ambitious intentions. One being writing at least 4-5 posts a week. Well, we can all see how THAT is going.

We have yet to pick a country for our culinary travels for this week. (slacker) I guess we will be doing that this weekend. If I am done shagging by then, that is.

Instead of being focused on myself goals this week, I have spent it spring cleaning. And we all know how fun that can be with a 4 year old toting behind.

I spent more time picking up his attempt at helping, than I did actually getting anything done.

As a reward for his “help” I let him pick out something from Michael’s last night, while I picked up a few things I needed for a cake due tomorrow! It was 8:50, the store closes at 9:00. It was a mad dash, and an hour past my assistants bedtime. He goes in 12 hour cycles, and when the twelfth hour is upon us, look out. The other half of We decided to take Isaac to find the perfect reward, while I grabbed what I needed.

And guess what they chose? A shag, latch hook rug. SHAG. Hook. Rug. (and I quote the box: “Longer, plusher look!”) Not only is it shag, it is a rainbow swirl pattern. Lovely. All I could do was give the Big Guy a look. He smiled, and said “What, I loved these as a kid. We can all do it. It will be fun”. Mmmhmm. Right. Let me translate this for you; I will be doing all the shag hooking. (wow, does that sound as wrong to you as it does to me?)

The box claims the project to be:

 LIARS.

I had to purchase a latch hook tool. And that little gem is a giant pain in the @$$.

This is what I have done so far: (look how long and plush they look!)

At the rate I am going, I should be done by next month.

Isaac asked if he could help. Absolutely! He gave up within 5 seconds because he could not get the yarn wrapped around the hook tool. Poor guy. So I suggested he hand me the colors as I needed them. He seems content with that job. (and I am content not saying anything about the giant pile of yarn pieces now all over the floor, really – it looks like a rainbow threw up).

We took a break from our psychedelic rug making, and made some cupcakes. Because what I really need right now is a 4 year old tripped out on sugar to help me finish all that needs to get done today. (also I can use them as a bribe to get the Big Guy to help with the rug when he gets home)  Always stay one step ahead!

Vanilla Cupcakes, filled with chocolate orange ganache, topped with ganache buttercream.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on pmpThu, 12 May 2011 12:44:10 +000044Thursday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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three kids and a spider…

This is how brave I am.

Today there was a gigantic nickle sized jumping spider in the car. Instead of dealing with it like the adult I am, I squealed like a little girl and ran from the car. Leaving my 4 year old and his two cousins to fend for themselves. After taking a few deep breaths, I headed back to the car. At this point, I am sweating like I just ran a marathon, because I know that I am the only one who can get the spider out of the car. ME. Miss Arachnophobia. (if there was a pageant for this, I would surely win first place in all categories).  I stared at the children, they stared back. “Who is not afraid of spiders” I hear myself ask. Really? Really? I am asking these innocent wide eyed children to, god-forbid, touch a spider.

(Way to go super mom)

My nephew answers with “I’m not. I’m brave”. He is six. “Ok. here is a napkin” I said. And hand him a used napkin I found under the seat. He takes the napkin, and pushes it down into the cup holder the spider is now taking refuge in. “There”. Says my nephew. And then my son screams (louder than I did) and points to the other cup holder. The spider has jumped. Jumped! and is now in the other holder. All three children scream. (I think I may have screamed a little too.)

I decided that drastic measures were needed.

I ran into the house and grabbed a bottle of window cleaner and a clean, new, sturdier napkin, and rushed back to the car. I was now armed. The spider was still hunkered down, and did not see what was coming next.

I proceeded to spray half the bottle a few squirts of window cleaner, until it covered the helpless intruder. Who curled up in ball, on his back.

I said in my most victorious voice, “Yes! I got him”. And this is the point that I started to feel like the biggest jerk ever. Isaac started crying. “You hurt him”.

Uh-oh.

I had to think quick.

I told them that I did not hurt the spider, that it was just scared. (I know, pretty lame) I then, very, very bravely scooped the spider up with the napkin, and dropped  it onto the grass.

Isaac stopped crying, and smiled. “Now he can go back to his mom”, he said. I smiled, and nodded.

Gulp.

Poor spider.

Moral:

The next time I see an eight legged critter, I will wait until my husband gets home. He is much braver than I am, and will gladly pick it up with his BARE HAND, and let it go, unharmed. Back to it’s mom.

spider photo found on :

http://unrealitymag.com/index.php/2009/08/04/the-final-countdown-terrifying-giant-disgusting-critters-summer-television-blog-and-thirst-poster/

 
6 Comments

Posted by on pmpFri, 06 May 2011 19:55:43 +000055Friday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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it started with a fish…

and is now a mini zoo.

We have 5 pets. FIVE. I know that may not seem like a lot to some people, especially compared to the folks who are featured on Pet Hoarders, but it is. It all started simply enough with a beta fish. Who died and was replaced with our zen like aquatic friend, aka Rainbow, currently taking up residence on an end table.

Last April we decided we needed a more interactive pet. Preferably one that we could take with us on car trips and walks. We went to a local shelter and fell in love with a black and white fur ball. Izy. I thought all was good and balanced as far as our pet quota went.

Evidently I was mistaken.

Because for Christmas Isaac received a frog habitat. And really, what kind of mom would I be if I just left it empty, collecting dust in the corner of his room. So off we went to the pet store in search of a frog. We were now the proud new owners of a Green Tree frog. How very exciting. And once a week, we become the owners of a dozen store bought crickets. Feeding time is the highlight of McBoingBoing’s life. Its the only time he moves from his plastic tree stump.

Next enters the sweet lovable Lucy. Yup. Another dog. What? How did that happen? Because folks, I am sucker. A co-worker came home to find a pregnant stray at her house,and decided to keep her. Two weeks later,

7 puppies.

5 puppies had found good homes, she was keeping one, so that left the sad, lonely, soft, adorable Lucy. I agreed to meet with her, to see if she would be a good fit for our family. Really? Who was I kidding. It was a puppy. What wouldn’t fit? We now had dog number 2. Surely NOW everything was balanced, even slightly off balance. We had enough pets.

And then the Easter Bunny brought a hamster.

I know what your all thinking, this could have been prevented, for obvious reasons. But there was a reason, a good reason for pet number 5. I think I had been asked at least 100 times this year if we could get a hamster. My response was always the same, NO!  (Well, sometimes, I said maybe and used the “rodent card” as leverage to get things I wanted) The reason I thought it would be brilliant for EB to leave a furry friend, is this. About a month ago, a sassy little 9 year old (who shall remain anonymous) decided to tell my 4 year old that the Easter Bunny and Santa were not real, and that his father and I are liars. This brought my son to tears and for days he brought it up, asking me if I was sure they were real. He was crushed. (I was angry at the 9 year old).  And then I had a crazy brilliant idea. If on Easter morning, there was a hamster in Isaac’s basket, his faith would be restored. (He is 4, I want him to believe for as long as possible in this world where kids grow up WAY to fast) It worked. It was magical. He said “He is real, he is real”. And Elie the hamster fits right in with our family.

The one down side to all these critters is cleaning their poop, cages, and fish bowl. This past weekend after the “other half of WE” said “You know, the animals need to have their cages and bowl cleaned, and Lucy could use a bath”, I spent a good part of my morning doing just that. Because if I had left it up to him, I would have done it anyway. (he means well). I seriously considered scrubbing the frog’s lair with my man’s toothbrush. But instead, left all the dog poop for him to pick up.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on pmpThu, 05 May 2011 12:04:14 +000004Thursday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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down under…

(a culinary trek around the globe with a 4 year old foodie).

I decided last week that we really needed to start learning more about our planet. And in my house, what better way than through food.

Each week Isaac will pick a country from the giant map he has hanging in his room. We will research facts and make at least one meal indigenous to that country.

This week he pointed to (as he called it) “the big island”, also known as Australia.

He claimed a spot on the couch and helped me look up recipes online. We talked about Kangaroos (a lot), I read an article about the woman who claimed a “Dingo ate her baby”, he thought calling me “mate” was a double bonus because he was pretending to be a pirate and after about 3 hours we both decided we were versed enough in Australian facts to  pass as Aussies  at least make a meal the natives would be proud of.

We settled on  Aussie Meat Pie and Pork & Fennel Rolls.

(we did not make these on the same day, that would be meat OVERLOAD)

Off to the store for ingredients.

Thankfully there was no Kangaroo in the meat pie recipe,(I found more than a few that did )  There are some things I don’t want to explain to a very curious 4 year old  with a vivid imagination and questions I am not prepared to answer. Plus, I don’t think our local spectacle grocery store carries it.

Fun fact about Australia: Apparently, the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind.

Now that, is interesting.

We made it back from the grocery store scar-less, unless you count the scars on my retinas from seeing one too many women dragging one of their 20 children around like a rag-doll, swearing loud enough for everyone 6 isles over to hear, and filling carts with enough soda and fried food to feed a small nation, oh wait, she IS feeding a small nation.

Ok.Focus. Back to the recipes.

Aussie Meat Pie

Ingredients

     900g (2 lbs) beef rump steak, trimmed, chopped (round steak)      (note: I used my food processor to “mince” the steak, and it worked great)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
3 rashers bacon, trimmed, chopped (a rasher is 1 slice of bacon)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups beef stock
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1 pie shell (I cheated and used a deep dish crust I bought at the store)
1 sheet frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, partially thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Process steak until mixture resembles mince. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until golden. Add mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned.
Add tomato paste and flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until combined. Add stock and thyme. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened and meat is tender. Season with pepper. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Fill pie shell with steak mixture. Top with puff pastry. Trim excess. Press edges together with a fork to seal. Using a small sharp knife, cut a small cross in pie top. Brush with egg. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.

Pork & Fennel Rolls

Ingredients

 1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard powder
1 onion, finely chopped
80g sliced pancetta, chopped
450g (1 lb)  pork mince –  (I used ground pork)
1 1/2 cups  fresh breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoon  parsley
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 eggs, lightly beaten
375g (1 package, 2 sheets)  frozen puff pastry, thawed

      Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a tray with baking paper. Toast first two spices in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder like I did) until finely ground. Stir in mustard, set aside. Return pan to medium heat. Cook onion and pancetta for 5 minutes or until onion softens, stirring. Add spices, then cool.
Add onion mixture to a large bowl with pork, crumbs, parsley, zest and half the egg. Season and mix well, then refrigerate until needed.
Lay both puff pasty flat on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Shape pork into two sausages, about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Place 1 sausage on each pastry rectangle, then roll up to enclose. Turn rolls seam side down, brush with egg. Cut on an angle into 2 inch pieces, then place on tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked. Serve with chutney. I made a tomato chutney.But I think any would be tasty with these rolls. Or even without, they were yummy!

Tune in next week to see where the foodie takes us.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on pmpWed, 04 May 2011 18:04:46 +000004Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Culinary trek around the globe, Recipes

 

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the rogue egg…

Does anyone else think it odd that we eat “deviled eggs” during religious holiday get-togethers?

Don’t get me wrong, I love them. But as I sat at the Easter lunch table yesterday, I had to refrain from asking why on such a profound holy day, are we making and eating (by the dozens), eggs that are named after the Prince of Darkness. (although I just discovered that in the Midwest and the South people sometimes refer to them as “dressed eggs”, or “salad eggs” ~ to avoid scrutiny I suppose)  This thought process lead to my wondering why they always seem to taste the same. Punishment perhaps for thinking it ok to celebrate with something so devilish? Maybe, or perhaps people are afraid to think outside the box when it comes to a party food that dates back to the 18th century. (you would think we might have come up with something more creative in the last 250 years or so).

This is my attempt at something a little different then the standard.

Sinful. I know.

Deviled Eggs with Dill and Mushrooms

6 Hard boiled eggs

5-6 white mushrooms – chopped very fine

2 Tablespoons mayo

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

2 teaspoons dried dill

Saute mushrooms in 1 tsp butter until golden, remove from heat and allow to cool while prepairing remaining ingredients. Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks with a fork. Add all the ingredients, except for mushrooms to yolk, mix well. Once mushrooms are cool, mix into yolk mixture. Stuff or pipe into egg whites. Refrigerate until serving.

Note: You might just find me,alone in the corner, devouring my sinful creation with reckless abandon, at the next  eating frenzy religious celebration.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on pmpMon, 25 Apr 2011 13:35:21 +000035Monday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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takes the cake…

This week was an extremely busy one. I had several cakes to make, as well as a million and two errands to run. The result: a messy house, and absolutely no creative blogging.

But I don’t feel that bad. It is staying successfully busy that makes me feel like I have accomplished something. So even though I did not get EVERYTHING done that I wanted and needed to, I can sit back on this gorgeous Sunday, and sip iced coffee and feel at peace with myself.

Cakes I made this week:

Baby Announcement Cake

 
3 Comments

Posted by on pmpSun, 17 Apr 2011 15:04:14 +000004Sunday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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my big fat greek fritter…

keftedes (kɛfˈtɛðɛs)

n

a Greek dish of meatballs cooked with herbs and onions

The newest issue of bon appetit arrived with my mail the other day. I need to take a moment to tell you how much I like love this tantalizing, culinary publication. When it is delivered to my house, I eagerly tear off the protective plastic wrapper, and sit down to oogle over the pages, no matter what may be going on in my household. (yes, I have been known to shush anyone who tries talk to me – how dare they interrupt this joyous monthly event! ) The only flaw I have with this beloved magazine is that the photos do not come with a scratch and sniff feature. (Ok…I think you get the point).

While devouring each page, I found a recipe that I knew I must try immediately, and would have that day but did not have all the ingredients…..sigh. But today I did. Well, all except one. Fresh mint was no where to be found. So I opted to omit that one ingredient.

zucchini keftedes with feta and dill

1 1/3 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed and grated on large holes of boxed grater

– grate onto a clean kitchen towel, spread evenly. Sprinkle zucchini with 1 tsp course salt; let stand at least 30 mins and up to 1 hour. When time is up, wrap zucchini in towel; squeeze out as much liquid as possible – (note this will stain your towel, so don’t use one of your fancy “when company comes over” towels). Place zucchini in medium bowl.

Mix in 1/2 cup of thinly sliced green onion and 3 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dry

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon finely grated or chopped lemon zest

and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

add and mix all of the above ingredients to the zucchini

it will look something like this

NEXT

gently stir in 1 cup of panko bread crumbs and 1 egg (Slightly beaten)

and last but not least stir in 1 cup of feta cheese:

Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.

Using 2 tablespoons of mixture for each, shape into 2 -inch-diameter patties, place on baking sheet.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour

Cooking:

Pour enough canola oil into large skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch, heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add patties to skillet. Cook until golden and cooked through, adjusting heat if they brown to quickly, 3 – 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels. Serve with dill greek yogurt sauce.    – 1 Cup of plain yogurt, 2 Teaspoons dill.

kali orexi ! (bon appetit)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on pmpWed, 06 Apr 2011 21:37:32 +000037Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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