Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fudge Pie

 I always forget how good this pie is…and dangerous. Dangerous because I ALMOST always have the ingredients to make it. It’s also incredibly simple.
Incredibly simple, incredibly good, and incredibly dangerous….
Bad combo.
Joseph really loved it. He has his mother’s sweet tooth!
Here’s what you need:
2 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
¼ c cocoa
¼ c flour
1 c sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 pie crust
Lightly beat the eggs.
Add the melted butter slowly to the eggs  as to not curdle them  (or you could just let your butter cool a bit, but I’m not that patient).
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
Pour into an unbaked pie crust.
Bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes or until firm. Mine was a little on the underdone side, but I like them better that way.
Enjoy a big slice with a glass of cold milk. Yum!

I don't really have any new news on the dog adoption front. We are still waiting on 2 applications to process before we can even meet the dogs. One of our top three has already been ruled out because we have cats. The shelter didn't think we were a good match for her. I so dislike waiting. 

Joseph was supposed to start music class this morning but they cancelled it since we were the only ones to sign up for this month. So he is starting gymnastics tomorrow morning. I'm excited. I think he will have a great time!! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Mario's Carrots

I know I said that I would get this posted yesterday....unless something crazy came up. Well, something crazy did come up. You see, I have been toying around with getting another dog...a friend for Shelby. Michael is, of course, all about it, but I haven't been simply because I know it will be more work for me and more money spent. Dogs are expensive if you didn't know. :) Yesterday I finally decided that yes, it was time to look for another dog. So on to petfinder I went. The one that I instantly fell in love with, a border collie basset hound mix (sounds horrible, but he was so pretty) that was good with dogs, cats, and children, turned out to be already adopted. So the search continued. We have 3 favorites: a golden retriever mix, a border collie terrier mix, and a blue tick hound that I have put adoption applications in for so that I can hopefully get to meet them this week. We also have 2 alternates: a beagle and a border collie mix. They are all in different towns too. I'll keep you posted.

Now back to the carrots!!

Michael and I are not big cooked carrot fans. We love them raw, but not cooked. However, I am always looking for new ways to cook things that we don't normally like. Neither of us had ever had carrots cooked this way. And they are piled with garlic, butter, and olive what is NOT to like. I just want to know one thing...who is Mario, Libby?

Mario's Carrots (pg 189)

1 lb carrots, julienned (or if you aren't a good "julienne-er" like me, cut into small sticks of various sizes)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/8 c chopped fresh parsley or chives

Saute carrots and garlic in butter and olive oil. Cover, lower heat and cook just until carrots are tender. Serve hot sprinkled with parsley or chives.

The verdict?

Even though I got a bit distracted and burned my carrots a bit, these were DELICIOUS! We will be eating these over and over again. Mario sure does know his carrots! :)

So try these, they are simple and fantastic.

Now I hear the munchkin rustling around in his crib so I better get this finished. I was trying to get this done before he got up. He always has way too much input. And we have to take our cat Pumpkin to the vet this morning. All her hair is falling out. UGH. And I want to get another animal.

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Breakfast Cookies

I was just thinking about these tonight…thinking that I need to bake a batch tomorrow. For a couple of weeks there I was baking a couple recipes a week, so you know they have to be good. I wasn’t necessarily the one eating them though….although I could eat them all. The munchkin LOVES them. And when he finds something he likes, I’m gonna keep making it….especially something as healthy as these.

I modified these from some cookies I found on Cookie Madness.

The batch that I pictured above had blueberries and almonds in them, but I’ve also made them with raisins and pecans. I listed both variations below.

Here’s what you need:

¼ c brown sugar

3 T honey

1 egg

¼ c oil

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

1 c all purpose flour

¼ c whole wheat flour (or you could use all white flour)

½ c rolled oats (quick cooking is fine)

¼ c raisins (or blueberries)

¼ c chopped pecans (or almonds)

One of the things I LOVE about this cookie is that it is a one bowl recipe. Mix together the sugar, honey, egg, oil, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and vanilla.

Add in flour(s) and oats. Mix.

Fold in raisins and pecans.

Bake at 375 for 9-12 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cool on a wire rack.

*I have not abandoned my Cooking with the Shaws project. I will be posting one of those tomorrow..if all goes well!*

Friday, August 26, 2011

St. Louis Trip

*I apologize for the lack of posts!! As you will read from this post, we were in St. Louis for a few days. I have been trying to post this blog entry since the night we got back but Blogger has been mean and hasn't been letting me upload pics. A blog entry without pics is just blah! So, the pics are all out of order, but they are there...finally!!*

We spent three days in St. Louis this week. I had bought Michael tickets for Wednesday's Cardinals game for our anniversary. It was a great trip, but I learned something....traveling with a toddler is HARD! Especially a toddler like Joseph. He really did very well, but he just won't sleep anywhere except his crib at home really. He did sleep pretty well at night in our bed but would only go to sleep when we did. He would not sleep in his stroller and wouldn't sleep more than an hour or so in his car seat. Needless to say, he got a lot less sleep than usual. I would see all these kids konked out in their strollers and all these kids sleeping at the baseball game. Not our son. He's here to party.

But we had a really good time regardless. We stayed in a hotel that was right by the arch and only 2 blocks from Busch stadium. The first day we went to the arch and went up in it and then went to eat at the Historic Brewhouse. Michael really wanted to go to the game that evening so we went over to Busch stadium to see if we could get some cheap tickets. We succeeded and went to the game. The Dodgers pummeled the Cards. It was brutal. We left after the 5th inning since Joseph was getting REALLY tired. I think the score ended up being 11-0.

Wednesday morning we walked around downtown after breakfast. I had forgotten Joseph's toothpaste and was on a mission to get some was unsuccessful but I did discover an awesome grocery store: Culinaria. We had lunch at Joe Buck's. I am always scared to try pulled pork since I'm pretty picky about it. Well, I decided to be brave and get it since it was their specialty. It was delicious. Joseph ended up eating a good bit of mine though. :) After lunch we were off to the game. We sat in the Redbird club and it was awesome!! Cards still lost though..but not as bad...9 to 4, I think.

Wednesday night was pretty rough. Joseph got a head cold and had trouble breathing which kept us up most of the night. Thursday morning we headed to the St. Louis Zoo. Joseph liked the Chimps and the Hippos the best it seemed. He mooed at the rhino. He LOVED the carousel and cried when he had to get off.

After the zoo, Joseph was asleep before we ever got out of the parking lot. So our plan of stopping for pizza was out. We headed on toward Kentucky.

I look forward to going back next year hopefully. I really liked St. Louis and there was a ton of stuff for kids to do...even kids as young as Joseph. But always....I need a vacation from my vacation!!

Here are some of my favorite pics from the trip:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Chicken Cacciatore

I've been a bit of a slacker on my recipe posts this week. I have no excuse. But rest assured I have not been a slacker with cooking! I have done 4 Shaw family dishes this week! The first one is Libby's Chicken Cacciatore (pg 139). It is a super easy recipe and really good spooned over rice. I also love any excuse to use my fabulous enameled dutch oven. I don't even care that it is hand wash's that wonderful. And if you know know how badly I HATE doing dishes. But this is not a post about my dutch oven. But here it is if you want to ogle it. I have it in green.

Chicken Cacciatore

1 chicken, cut up
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 c flour
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 - 14 oz can tomatoes, undrained (I used diced)
1 - 8 0z can tomato sauce
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 c dry white wine

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and dust with 3 Tbsp flour to coat. Heat oil in a 5 qt dutch oven. Brown chicken pieces in oil on all sides; 5 to 7 minutes; remove to plate.

In chicken drippings, cook onions and garlic, stirring constantly until softened and light golden (about 5 minutes). Add mushroom and cook, stirring, 3 minutes longer. Stir in remaining 1 Tbsp flour and cooking, stirring, 1 minute longer. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasoning. Heat to a boil. Return chicken to pan and spoon sauce over pieces. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Stir in wine and simmer 10 minutes longer.

Some notes:
I used 2 large bone in chicken breasts that I cut up into 3 pieces each.

I only used 1 onion. I don't know if it was because I was wearing glasses instead of contacts or if that was just a very potent onion, but I couldn't see for the tears!! I usually don't get phased by cutting onions. On this one I even tried chewing a toothpick and putting bread in my mouth. Nothing worked. That onion about took me down!! So once I finally got it chopped, I was done with onions. And yes, Mom, it was one of ya'lls onions! :)

I did not include mushrooms. Neither Michael nor I are a fan of fungus. I even tried again the other day when McDonalds got my snack wrap order wrong and gave me mushroom and swiss instead of bacon and cheese. I tried was one of the grossest things I've ever had in my mouth....and I used to be in animal you can only imagine!! :)

I did use white wine, but if you don't have it on hand, you could easily just omit it completely. You really wouldn't even need to add anything in its place. There is plenty of liquid. If you feel differently, add some chicken broth instead.

I loved this. I liked the simplicity and that it had components that I almost always have on hand. Michael was not terribly impressed. I can't remember what Joseph thought of it....I think he was having a bad eating day then. Who can trust his taste anyway?

If you have some chicken and some canned tomatoes (fabulous dutch oven optional), give this a try. Just be sure to make some rice or noodles to soak up some of that wonderful tomato sauce that goes with it!

Some ideas for leftovers (if you have any): Shred the chicken and use it on a pizza, tacos, or a sandwich. Put the leftover sauce in a jar for spaghetti or pizza sauce. That's what I did at least. I am always trying to stretch a meal!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What a Weekend!!

Such a handsome little man

Playing drums at the reception.
The drummer was great...he even gave Joseph a pair of his old drumsticks!

I'm tired. I stayed out way too late last night. My brother in law got married yesterday and Michael ended up taking Joseph home and I got to stay at the reception until they made us leave. :) It was fun to get to stay out. I never get to do that anymore.

As I had feared, the wedding part of the day was a nightmare....well, maybe it wasn't THAT bad. The lady that was in charge at the church was really rude about Joseph running around. I don't think she liked kids. I sat with Joseph in the back pew because I knew we would have to leave at some point but I wanted to see SOME of the wedding. Well, Joseph didn't want to stay in the pew so he started crying. He would have settled down once he realized that he had to stay but I didn't get a chance for that since rude lady kept coming back there and shushing him. I got pretty mad about it and just left. They had a little courtyard right by the church so we stayed out there and he ran around. Then it started storming, so we went back in the church (but not back in the sanctuary). I had worn my fantastic Gucci heels and let's just say I should have worn my running shoes. The wedding was finally over after about an hour and we headed to the reception. Joseph had a great time hanging with the band and dancing to their music. He even played the keyboard and the drums. I was glad that they were good sports. :)

Anyway, I will be glad for tomorrow to get here so that we can get back into a normal routine again and I can get some rest. Joseph is not digging going to bed at his normal time tonight. He's letting us know just how he feels about it right now.

I hope you all had a great weekend! I will probably be heading to bed once Joseph decides to quieten down.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy Saturday!!

We had a pretty good time at the rehearsal dinner last night. I spent a good bit of it outside because that's just where Joseph wanted to be. And no, that wasn't his original outfit.....he threw up not long after we got to the country club. He was considerate though...he threw up on Michael and not me. :)

This morning was Joseph's first swim lesson. It had its highs and lows. I think Joseph was a little scared of the instructor who was probably a high school kid. I think if it had been a girl and not a guy, he wouldn't have been so offish....he loves the ladies. He really wanted to go to the side of the pool where the older ladies were doing water aerobics. He kept waving at talking to them. He did do some kicking in the water, but he's no Michael Phelps....yet. Then we went to Sonic for french toast sticks and an iced latte (the latte was for me). He was exhausted when we got back so it was straight to nap time, but from the sounds of it, he's found a second wind. :)

Wedding tonight.....and it's supposed to be AN HOUR AND A HALF LONG!!!! WHAT?! I love weddings but I am SOOOOO not looking forward to it now. Jay and Barb, I don't know if you read my blog or not. I'm not saying I'm not happy to take part in your special day, but seriously. An hour and a half in any one place with Joseph just seems like torture to me.

Hope all the rest of you have an non-torturous Saturday!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Zucchini Provencal

I don’t know what it is with Aunt Lillian and the zucchini. She must be the zucchini lady or something. Anyway, I had been trying to figure out if I like zucchini or not. I have discovered that I like yellow squash somewhat….if it’s fixed right. I grilled some zucchini not long ago and it was ok…but I salted it pretty good and it just tasted like salt…and olive oil. So I don’t think that counts. Then I ran across this recipe in the family cookbook (pg 204). It had all kinds of things that I like and to top it off, it’s covered in cheese. Now, if I don’t like something when it’s covered in cheese, I just don’t like it.

Zucchini Provencal

1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

2 to 3 green onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 to 5 small zucchini, cut into 3 inch pieces

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley (1 tsp dried)

1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano (1 tsp dried)

1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil (1 tsp dried)

1 to 2 cups shredded mozzerrella

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Sauté onion and garlic in oil, but do not brown.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 3 inch pieces. Add zucchini to skillet and stir fry until crisp tender.

Add tomato and stir a minute or so. Turn off heat.

Stir in herbs (not in instructions, but I thought the herbs worked well here)

Sprinkle cheese over top and let melt.

Serve from the skillet.

The verdict?

I didn’t like it. I just don’t like zucchini when I can taste it, I guess. The other elements were nice. I love fresh herbs and cooked tomato. I used cherry tomatoes because that’s what I had and I think it turned out fine. I didn’t even use as much zucchini and I cut it way smaller since I was scared of it. Michael thought it was ok. Joseph said, “No.” (WAAAAY too many veggies for him) Shelby LOVED it….he ate Joseph’s and the rest of mine.

I knew it would happen sometime when I would make something I didn’t like. But if you like zucchini, try this. It’s very zucchini-y…Hence the title of the dish.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!! We have a busy one ahead with Michael's step brother (my step brother in law?) getting married tomorrow night. We have the rehearsal dinner tonight and the wedding tomorrow night. Also Joseph has a swim lesson tomorrow....I am NOT going to forget this time!!! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cooking with the Shaws - Favorite Pancakes

I love pancakes for breakfast…or lunch…or supper… I just love pancakes. A friend of mine and I would drive all the way to Tupelo when we were in college just to eat IHOP for lunch. Tupelo was an hour from Mississippi State (I’m sure it’s still an hour…) and it was the nearest down with an IHOP. We had a Waffle House, but waffles just aren’t the same. And gas was cheap back then. Now it would hardly be worth it. I haven’t eaten at an IHOP in years….probably since college. Just typing this is really making me want to go to IHOP and get some pancakes to eat with their 4 different syrups. YUM! Anyway, I attribute my love of pancakes to my mom who always made such wonderful pancakes when I was growing up. We had them often on Saturday or Sunday mornings. I have been making her recipe for years. Sure, you could go the whole “Bisquik” route to make pancakes, but they won’t hold a candle to these.

Favorite Pancakes (pg 111)

1 egg

1 ¼ c buttermilk

½ tsp baking soda

1 ¼ c sifted flour (confession…I never sift my flour for this….it’s usually too early in the morning to bother with sifting stuff)

1 tsp sugar

2 Tbsp soft margarine

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

Mix egg, buttermilk, and soda; beat well.

Mix in flour.

Add remaining ingredients and mix with electric mixer until smooth (another confession…I never use an electric mixer….I rock out with a whisk)

Cook on hot griddle.

I love this batter. It gets all fizzy (for lack of a better word) and bubbly while it sits. It’s like it has attitude. It’s also a nice thin batter that’s easy to control on the griddle. It cooks super fast though…so don’t walk away from the griddle…or you will have pancakes Louisiana style (that’s blackened).

I served these with a strawberry sauce that I made with some strawberries that were just about to be rotten (I hate wasting food). I often have strawberries in this situation and created this sauce to make them edible.

I cut the strawberries up and add a Tbsp or 2 of sugar and a dash of amaretto (mainly because I’m tired of looking at that bottle of amaretto on my fridge so I dump it in lots of things). I let this sit in the fridge overnight.