Monday, November 21, 2011

Cranberry Lovin' from the Oven

It's the time of year when I start hoarding cranberries.  Ocean Spray, Dole, whatever, I buy at least one bag every time I go into HEB or Costco.  I have to get enough to last me the whole year!  Now I'm not that into cranberry sauce or cranberry Jell-O or anything like that.  I just happen to have an unnatural love of cranberry bread!  Cranberry coffee cake rules too, but that's another post!  Anyway, we just baked a fresh loaf today and I thought I'd share.  The recipe I use is from the Ocean Spray site.  There are a couple of things I omit from this recipe, because nuts and orange peel do NOT float my boat, but you can choose for yourself!

Cranberry Bread

2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c. orange juice
1 tbsp. orange peel (I leave this out, not a fan of the zest!)
2 tbsp shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1-1/2 c. cranberries (fresh or frozen), chopped
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Oven on 350*F.  Have a greased loaf pan ready.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, & baking soda.  Add OJ, peel (if you're using it), shortening and egg.  Mix until you're sure the shortening has been well distributed.  Stir in the cranberries and nuts.  Pour into the greased loaf pan.

Bake for 55-60 minutes.  Check it at 55, do the toothpick tests.  Cool on a wire rack.

This is what ya get...
Now if that ain't some serious love in a loaf, I don't what is!!  ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What's on the Menu: Cauliflower Soup

Soup seems to be the menu item of choice these days!  What can I say, we got rain today and the cooler temps just made me crave soup!  And hey, lucky me, I had a head of cauliflower in the fridge!  Anyway, talk about a quick easy dinner, this soup can be made in about a 1/2 hour tops!  It's full of flavor, so much so even my kids like it!!

I found the recipe on the "Taste of Home" website.  I pretty much follow the recipe except I add turkey bacon!!!  It kind of defeats my dreams of going veggie 2 nights a week, but it's SO good with the bacon!

What you need:
1 med. head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 good-sized carrot, shredded
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2-1/2 c. water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. salt (I use a little less since the bouillon is so salty)
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheese

In a large pot, combine cauliflower, carrot, celery, water and bouillon cubes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 min. or until cauliflower is tender.
In another pan, fry the turkey bacon!  I chop mine up into small pieces.
Set aside the bacon until the end.

In the bacon pan, melt 3 tbsp. of butter.  Then stir in the flour, salt and pepper.  Whisk until smooth.  Add the milk a little bit at a time.  Boil over medium heat, cooking and stirring until it thickens slightly.  We're not shooting for gravy here!  ;)  Turn off heat, add the cheese and melt.  Stir in the bacon bits and SERVE!  I like mine with a nice dash of Tabasco!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Attack of the Dreaded Mom-Mom Birds

You ever see the movie "Finding Nemo"?  Do you remember the scenes with the seagulls?  "Mine.  Mine.  Mine.  Mine. MINE, MINE, MINE!!!!"  I have a similar pair of birds in my house.  I call them Mom-Mom Birds.

Mom, where's my Nerf gun?
Mom, I pooped!
Mom, can you fit Lego Darth Vader into your nostril?
MOM, where are you?
Mom, are you in the bathroom?
Mom, the dog's licking my shoes!
Mom, what's your favorite type of meatball?
Mom, the Mega Nerf 3000 with pump-action, air-pressure bullets is the one I want, but not the one with the blond kid on front.
Mom, do you remember 3 years ago when we went to that one place that had the pumpkins and you wouldn't buy me ice cream?
Mom, why do you have to go color your hair?
Mom, can I go to work with you?
Mom, I sneezed 19 times in a row!
Mom, can you sneeze 19 times in a row.
Mom, can I have some milk.
MOM, I spilled my milk!
Mom, would you ever kiss Daddy on the mouth like that?
Mom, can we go see the Taj Mahal?
Mom, can we go outside to play?
Mom, we don't want to play outside anymore!
Mom, did you know that the Lego Millenium Falcon is like 500 bucks?
Mom, where are my sweat pants?
Mom, do I really have to clean my room?
Mom, what do you call a fish with 10 eyes?
(Mind you this is all before 9 am!)
Mom do birds pee or poop or both at the same time?
Mom, why don't you have freckles?
Mom, the dog ate my horse.
Mom, come here!  You've gotta see this!
Mom, that anole had two tails!!!
Mom did you know that caterpillar poop is called frass?
Mom did you know that frass rhymes with ass?!  But you can't get mad at me because ass is another word for donkey?
Mom, what's for lunch?

Mom what's for dinner?
Mom do I have to eat it ALL?
Mom, can we have candy for dessert?
Mom do you like Lemonheads?
MOOOOOOMMM!  I don't want to brush my teeth!
Mom, why do we have to go to bed now?
Mom, can we please stay up a little longer?
Goodnight Mom!
Mom, I love you.
Mom, can I have a drink?
Mom, I forgot I need to go potty.
Mom, I'll see you in the morning.
Mom, do we really have to go to bed now?
Mom, what's for breakfast in the morning?
Mom, are you still there?
Mom, I can't find Bear Bear is he with you?
Mom, you're not gonna leave until I'm asleep, right?

Eventually, the crazy Mom-Mom Birds drift off to sleep and the Mommy bird listens to the bliss of silence.

At least until 5 am when the little Mom-Mom Bird wakes up.  Mom, can I get in bed with you?  Mommy bird lifts her wing and lets the little bird into the bed where she goes back to sleep and all is quiet and peaceful again until the Mommy bird hears the patter of feet and opens one eye to find Big Mom-Mom Bird peering over her, looking quizzical.  Whispering it says, "Mom, can I go downstairs and watch Suite Life?"  Then Little Mom-Mom bird rubs her eyes and it all begins again....

Mom, can I watch kid shows?
Mom, I want chocolate muffins for breakfast.
Mom, is Daddy already at work?
Mom, what is your favorite Harry Potter movie?
Mom, I got markers on my PJ's.

I think I may have to pass a new rule in the land of the Mom-Mom Birds.  For 30 days everyone must address me as Queen Hesperia Listerwalken Picklepantalones.  No abbreviations, no exceptions.  And if you can't call me by my full moniker, then you are not allowed to address me at all!  And I shall revel in the silence!

Oh shut up, I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What's on the Menu: Tomato Basil Soup

One of my favorite meals is grilled cheese sandwiches paired with tomato soup.  I was raised eating Campbell's Tomato Soup, and never really thought to change it up, but then I had REAL tomato soup at a restaurant not too long ago and was like, HOLY CRAP.  I have been eating canned swill for years, I NEED to find a decent tomato soup recipe in all haste.  So I started pawing through all of my recipe books and index cards and found exactly diddly squat on the tomato soup front.  Found a great recipe for Mulligatawny soup, but that's another entry.  Finally, I happened across an old "Mothering" magazine article from 2007 that had several different soup recipes and lo and behold... Tomato Basil Soup. 

What you need:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
2 c. chicken or veggie stock
1  14-1/2 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 sour cream (although I almost think it should have been more)
1/4 c. fresh chopped basil
ground pepper

Heat oil and butter in a pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and salt.  Saute until translucent.  Add stock, tomatoes, and honey.  Simmer for 15 min.  Let cool a bit.  Put half of the soup into a blender with sour cream and blend until smooth.  Transfer to another pot.  Blend the rest of the soup and add to the first half.  Warm the blended soup.  Serve with fresh basil and ground pepper.  This recipe makes about 4 servings.  Serve with hot bread or a nice grilled cheese sandwich!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kid Shit

Fact:  Kids accumulate shit.  LOTS AND LOTS of shit.  This shit, at one point or another, seeps out of the designated "kid shit" areas and receptacles and somehow completely and utterly takes over your entire house.  Those of you that have kids know all too well what I'm talking about.  For those that don't have kids or those that soon will, here is a little rhyme just for you!

Kid shit on the desk.
 Kid shit on the chair.
Kid shit on the sofa.
And kid shit on the stair!
Kid shit in the downstairs bath.
Kid shit in the hall.

  Kid shit in the master bath, the most sacred room of all.
Kid shit in MY CLOSET.
Kid shit on the lawn.
Kid shit in the dining room.
All day long!

There is no room for our stuff.
Ain't no way that it can fit.
I'll need a bigger house
To store all this freakin' shit!

-Little Mama

What's on the Menu? Broccoli Cheese Soup

It's the time of year that soup becomes a major staple in our home.  1)  It's economical.  2)  It's pretty quick and easy.  3)  Soup effin' RULES!  I pity the fool that doesn't dig on soup!  Today's offering is Broccoli Cheese Soup from my super, totally awesome "Treasury of Christmas" cookbook.  It is a thick, creamy, and luscious soup that is always a big hit in our house!

What you will need:
1 small onion, diced
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/4 c. flour
3 cups water
**This recipe calls for 2-10 oz. packages of frozen chopped broccoli, but about 6 cups of fresh can be substituted.

4 chicken bouillon cubes
Worcestershire sauce (pronounced Were-shur-shur-shire in our house)
About 3 c. of shredded cheddar
2 c. half and half

In a large pan, cook the onion in the butter until tender.  Add the flour and stir until it becomes smooth.  Add the water slowly, then dump in the broccoli, chicken bouillon and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook over medium heat until soup has thickened and broccoli is tender.  Usually about 10 min. or so.  Add cheese and half and half.  Do NOT boil.  Stir until cheese melts and serve.  See?  Easy-breezy!  Leftovers can be refrigerated, but I don't know about freezing.  Obviously, I eat mine with plenty of Tabasco Sauce!  Yummy!


Truthfully, I was never really gone, just extremely busy!  Turns out homeschooling two kids is a crap-ton harder than homeschooling one, especially when the 2nd child has a COMPLETELY different style of learning.  I am confident that we will at some point hit a bit of a groove, but at this moment, it just ain't there.  Add in all of the extra-curricular activities like sports, dance, science classes, bowling, park days, Ukulele Society meetings, etc...  Did I mention travel?  Yeah, we still do a bit of that, in fact October was crazy.  Oh and Halloween?!?!  Yeah, Halloween is the one holiday of the year that I embrace fully, so preparation for that was insane.  I also have that little photography business and a husband that recently gained a large new client (HOORAY) but has become MIA because of it (boo).  Throw all of this madness together into 24 hour daily increments and you can see how blogging has not been on the top of my list as of late!

I know... Excuses, excuses, excuses.  So I will try to be much more diligent in my posting.  I have had several requests for some food entries as it is now fall (well, for most of the US it is now fall, for Texas it is some sort of weird alternate universe) and I have been posting a lot of pics of soup and such on my Facebook page and inquiring minds want to know how they too can have yummy Green Chile Corn Chowder simmering on their stoves.  So I shall do my best to keep up a little better.  I can't promise daily posts and hell, it maybe two weeks between posts at times, but I promise to make the effort!  I do love blogging and sharing stories and pictures and I hope you all enjoy reading along!