Hello? Tap tap…Is this thing on? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
11 months away. How is it even possible that I haven’t talked to you in 11 months?
Let’s see…pretty much my life is completely the same and totally different.
The most important thing that happened is that I had another little girl 2 months ago. One good ole try without birth control and BAM! I was pregnant. After struggling to get pregnant and stay pregnant with my first, it was such a surprise to get pregnant so easily this time around. This pregnancy was completely different than my first, but the outcome was, of course, the same. A healthy baby girl!
It’s not all giggles and rainbows around here with a two-year-old and a two month old. Yes, she is cute and sweet and all things baby…but so much sleep deprivation, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, dirty laundry piled on the floor, a load of laundry in the wash that has been washed twice now to get the mildew smell out, a load in the dryer that is wrinkled and not fully dried, a pile of clean unfolded laundry on the bed, and a pile of clean folded laundry on the chair. I think I spied a couple of dust bunnies making babies in the corner this morning. Is it mating season? Who knew! My closet? Still full of maternity clothes and summer sandals. Secretly though, I’m not rushing to get rid of my maternity jeans. I could use a little elastic in my life right now.
We are settling into our little yellow house with a front porch. We closed on it one year ago, and dirty laundry and dust bunnies aside, I love having a house to call our home.
I’m still cooking a lot when I can. Sometimes that means I turn the oven up to 425 and throw in a frozen pizza. Those days are some of my favorite, because..look at me! We had a day from Hell and I’m still feeding my family! Mother of the year? Hardly. Surviver? Absolutely!
Anyways, I miss it here (and I couldn’t let my last post be about a giant pancake). I do catch up on many of your blogs everyday (silent stalker you say?) And I may not post as often as I used to, but I would like to continue writing and posting…and talking to you…whoever you are.
A giant pancake topped with apples!
Without fail, I ALWAYS mess up the first batch of pancakes. The pan is too hot or not hot enough. But alas! One giant pancake made in the oven.
When my parents were in town last weekend to celebrate Christmas before Christmas, I wanted to make something special that allowed me time to visit. So, I gave it a try. It was so light and fluffy….”Better than the diner!” said my very honest and discerning dad. All hail the pancake queen! (That’s me…by the way).
This made 6-8 servings…6 for my family.
Light and Fluffy Baked Apple Pancake (Found in Food & Wine Magazine)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Golden Delicious apples— halved, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, plus warmed syrup for serving
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- In a 10 1/2-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, melt the butter.
- Add the apples, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the lemon juice and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden, about 6 minutes.
- Add the 1/4 cup of maple syrup and simmer over low heat until thickened, about 1 minute. Spread the apples in an even layer and remove the pan from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
- In a measuring cup, whisk the egg yolks with the milk and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Whisk the liquid into the dry ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, using a mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes.
- Fold the beaten whites into the batter and scrape it over the apples; spread the batter to the edge.
- Bake the pancake in the upper third of the oven for about 20 minutes, until it is golden, puffed and set. Let the pancake cool for 5 minutes.
- Run a knife around the edge to loosen the pancake, then invert it onto a serving plate. Replace any apples that may have stuck to the pan.
- Cut the pancake into wedges and serve at once with the warmed maple syrup.
Ohhhh yeah…I finally found a recipe for broccoli and cheddar soup that gives me those warm fuzzy feelings and hugs me back. And yes, it also hugs to my hips a little bit too. But keep the portion small and then you can have 2 bowls. Right? (Also to note- I doubled the recipe and the leftovers froze beautifully!)
Cheesy Broccoli Soup (recipe derived from here)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup yellow onions
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups chicken stock (I used low-sodium)
- 1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed and separated
- 2-3 crowns fresh broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 cup milk (recipe calls for heavy cream)
- 1 1/4 cups shredded medium Cheddar
- In a medium pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until tender, for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held blender (Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food processor and return to the pot. I used a blender and only blended 3/4 of the pot so I left some chunkiness and texture.)
- Add the cream/milk and bring to simmer to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted.
- Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle croutons over the top of the soup and serve immediately.
- 2-3 cups 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubed French bread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoning (I just used salt and pepper)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the bread in a medium bowl and toss with oil and seasoning. Spread evenly on a small baking sheet and bake, stirring twice, until light golden brown on top, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.
- Top soup with croutons and a little cheese.
My Darling Girl,
Last night, you hugged me so tightly that I barely needed to hold onto you while we headed up the stairs for bed. You had your new baby doll by her arm and you kept giving her kisses with each step. I wanted to hug you as tightly as I could. I wanted to put you safely back inside where you started. When I was pregnant with you, you were mine alone. And when you were born, my heart was suddenly and miraculously beating outside of my chest.
But what a joy you are for the world! I was being selfish in wishing I could keep you for my own…keeping you from discovering this wonderful life that we live. But in the same breath, I wanted to keep you safe. And we have tried our best to keep you safe. We watch you at all times. We put plugs in the outlets. We feed you healthy food and take you to your pediatrician for vaccinations and check-ups. We make sure that you get enough sleep. We wash our hands and tell you to sit down in your bath. We bought a mini-tree and put it high up on a table. We bought a house in a great school district so you will thrive in school. And with all that we do to try and keep you safe and help you grow, it pains me that all of this may not be enough. And it saddens me that one day your Daddy and I will have to teach your innocent mind and joy-filled heart about random acts of violence. Unfortunately, it won’t be a choice of ours to make.
But for now, my sweet girl…just keep holding onto me with each step and I promise to show you all the beauty in the world that we can find.
I love you.
Looking for a new Holiday cookie that will knock your neighbors’ socks off? Search no more. I found this perfect recipe in my treasured Food and Wine Magazine under an appropriate title of “Cravings.” Well, hot damn! The cookie dough alone could have won the prize, but the finished cookie tastes like a hybrid of Oreo/Peppermint Patty/Thin Mint all in one. Perfection!
(makes 24 sandwich cookies)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup black cocoa (I used Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teasoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (I used Ghirardelli)
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup marshmallow creme
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Sift flour into bowl with cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In another bowl, using a mixer to beat butter with sugar until creamy. Add melted chocolate, egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Beat in dry ingredients until incorporated.
- Pat dough into 4 disks, wrap in plastic and chill until firm (~20 mins)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Use flour and roll out disk of dough 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out as many cookie as possible using a 2-3 in cookie cutter (I used the rim of a juice glass). Transfer to cookie sheet. Chill cut cookies for 5 minutes (I didn’t do this…I was impatient).
- Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.
- Make filling: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, marshmallow creme, and powdered sugar until fluffy. beat in peppermint extract.
- Put filling in ziplock/sandwich bag and cut bottom corner at diagonal.
- Pipe filling onto underside of cookie and press another cookie on top. Let set.
- I then melted white chocolate in the microwave and used a fork to make a pretty drizzle.
Hello? Are you still out there?
Man oh man, November was a doozy. We spent the first week packing. Then the next week was spent unpacking. Then the next week after that was spent…unpacking. Oh and this week? Still have a closet full of boxes. There is nothing I loathe more than unpacking…boxes or suitcases for that matter.
But we are getting settled in the new house, and we couldn’t love it more. Pictures to come soon!
A Thanksgiving Pie made by the lovely lady at the Farmer’s Market. I know, right? The only thing missing was the sweet potato casserole.
- Roasted Chicken
- Covered with a fluffy perfected crust
We didn’t want to like it…but we did.