Monday, July 21, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal


Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

This is a slightly different spin on my standard baked oatmeal recipe.  Jeremy, Eli and I all really enjoyed this, but I haven't met a baked oatmeal yet that I didn't like.  If this was just for me I'd probably add in a touch of cloves and nutmeg also, but Jeremy tends to not like dishes like this with much spice so I left them out for him.  You could also add nuts, raisins or craisins to suit your taste.  Baked oatmeal is such an easy, nutritious and inexpensive breakfast to serve, or we eat it as breakfast for dinner in our house often.  You can prepare this and bake it immediately, or I often prepare it the night before, refrigerate overnight, and then pop in the oven upon waking up.

-4 c rolled oats
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 Tbsp baking powder
-1.5 Tbsp cinnamon
-3 eggs
-1 c (no sugar added) apple sauce
-1 c sugar
-2 c milk
-1.5 Tbsp vanilla
-3 apples, peeled and diced
-2 Tbsp brown sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk together oats- cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs-vanilla.  Stir oat and egg mixture together.  Stir in apples.  Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar over top.  Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thai Sweet Chili Dressing


Thai Sweet Chili Dressing

I whipped up this simple dressing to enjoy on one of my Vietnamese Noodle bowls because I had leftover Sweet Chili Sauce lying around to use up.  I really liked this combination of sweet, spicy and tangy over the bowl, and would buy (or make) sweet chili sauce in the future just to make this dressing.

-1 c sweet chili sauce
-1/4 c rice vinegar
-4 Tbsp lime juice
-2 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
-(optional) 1/2-1 tsp sriracha sauce

Whisk together all ingredients and chill until serving.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

13 months

 
So I'm a little late (2 weeks) on posting this, but better late than never and Elisha is doing so many cute things right now that I really want to remember but will probably forget in a few months.

 
Eli is at such a fun age right now and has such a fun personality.  For the most part he's a very happy, laid back, easy going kid... unless it's close to nap time and you take away something he wants, then he violently throws himself onto the floor with no regard for his own safety.

 
He has been walking for 3 months now and is completely stable.  He walks with purpose back and forth across our house, often dragging a chair or toy along for the ride.  As he walks he usually keeps his left arm bent and keeps his right arm straight, swinging it dramatically as he walks. (I've wondered if this is his own thing, or mimicking me, cause I normally have my purse on one arm at the elbow and keep that arm bent while the other hangs down.)  He walks with his big chest out, and feet slightly turned in and plows through anything in his way.

 
He loves to play peekaboo and will do it over and over again with the greatest laugh I have ever heard.  He loves to eat and seems to always be wanting to do so.  He has just recently started showing an interest in books, and I often find him in a corner with a pile of books next to, or on top of him.  He still loves to play with balls, they are probably his favorite toy.  He throws them, catches (sometimes) and races around retrieving them.  He brings us his shoes all day long until we take him on a walk or adventure.  He frequently throws toys in the bath tub and comes to me trying to tug his shirt off signaling that he wants to take a bath. 

 
Just within the last week or two he has learned to climb onto and off of the couch all by himself and he is quite proud of this accomplishment.

 
He has the best curls along the back of his head.  And they only get better when it's humid or when he gets hot and sweaty.  They tightly curl up into little ringlets leaving this mama powerless against them.


He is starting to say some words other than mama and dada.  Mainly "do" every time he sees a dog, "nana" for banana and a few others.  He is also getting good at communicating his point, pointing at things and grunting until we understand what he is trying to get across.  We can also hold up food or toy items and ask him if he wants them and he will aggressively shake his head yes or no.

He loves to help me put laundry in the dryer, or empty the dishwasher.  He's my little helper.

Him and Noah absolutely adore each other and nothing in the world makes my heart more happy than to watch them play peekaboo, wrestle on the floor or race around the house squealing in delight as they go.

Here was my 13 month post from Noah.

 

Jill's Salsa


Jill's Salsa

I've tried a lot of homemade salsa recipes over the years including my friend Alex's, or Crystin's, or the Pioneer Woman one.  Some with fresh tomatoes, some with canned, some hand chopped, some easily and quickly done in a food processor.  This is my friend Jill's recipe, it is my current favorite.  I think I prefer a chunky/ hand chopped salsa, but if I was in a hurry I'd throw all of these ingredients in a food processor and come out with a thinner, restaurant style salsa texture.  And yes, there really is sweet chili sauce in this salsa... weird and counterintuitive, but delicious.  It has inspired me to think outside of the box though, and I think next I'd like to try sriracha in a salsa, because sriracha is always a great addition.

-5-6 roma tomatoes, diced
-1 green pepper, diced
-1 yellow pepper, diced
-juice and zest of 1 lime
-1/2 red onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
-1 can Original diced tomatoes and chiles (Rotel)
-1/2 Tbsp sugar
-2-3 tsp salt
-1-2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to combine.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Berry Trifle


I made this Berry Trifle for a festive 4th of July dessert.  The few changes that I made were to add 1 tsp vanilla to the cream when whipping it, to double the almond extract, and to use neufatchel cheese for the cream cheese.  I also followed the advice of several reviewers and beat the cream cheese and whipped cream separate, keeping the whipping cream cold, and then folded them together.  This trifle turned out well, but will not be something I make all too often because it is definitely on the pricey side for a dessert.  Also, my trifle dish must be small (I didn't know the size of it's capacity) because only about half the recipe fit, so next time I'd halve the recipe.  This amount still fed a decent sized group at a cookout.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Minestrone

 
 
I made this Minestrone from the book An Everlasting Meal.  I love this recipe (and this book) because it's not so much precise instructions for how to cook Minestrone, but is more of a method, encouraging to use up whatever you have lying around your house and whatever is in season when you are preparing the dish.  The few changes that I made were to reduce the olive oil to around 1/4 c, eliminated the meat (because I didn't have any on hand, used basil and parsley for the herbs, and carrots, onion, celery, spinach, tomatoes and zucchini for the veggies.  I also used whole wheat elbows for the pasta of my choosing, and chickpeas and red kidney beans for the beans of my choosing.  I really liked this soup, definitely my favorite Minestrone I've ever eaten, and liked it best topped simply with plain parsley.  I'm looking forward to trying out lots of other variations based on the veggies that I have around at the time.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Maple Balsamic Pork Tenderloin



This is yet another recipe from Shauna Niequist's book Bread & Wine.  On a side note, many of my current favorite recipes are from that book, they are all simple, yet sophisticated.  If you haven't read the book, you should!  This pork was delicious, in fact, Jeremy and I both thought it was one of our top few favorite dinners ever.  I served it with an easy baked "risotto" and they were a perfect pair.  The only thing that I changed from Shauna's recipe was that after searing my pork on all sides it wasn't cooked through enough so I finished it in the over until it reached 145.

Maple Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

-2 pork tenderloins
-1 cup maple syrup
-1 cup balsamic vinegar
-1 heaping  Tbsp Dijon mustard
-1/2 cup beer or white wine

Whisk together maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon. Add 1/2 cup of the maple balsamic mixture to the beer or white wine to create a marinade. Save the rest of the maple balsamic mixture to make the glaze. Several hours before serving, salt and pepper the tenderloins, then pour the marinade over them. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Just before serving, cook on the grill or on the stove. On medium-high heat, cook for 4 minutes on each of the four sides until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. We did ours on the grill and cooked them over medium-high heat until the internal temperature reached 145 degrees. While the pork is cooking and then resting, pour the remaining maple balsamic mixture in to a small saucepan and boil gently until reduced by half, about 15 minutes, creating a thick glaze. After the tenderloin has rested, slice it diagonal one-inch slices. Pour the glaze over the sliced meat, or put it in a little pitcher and let people pour it on their own slices.