Archive for the ‘chit chat’ Category

failed ravioli

My first attempt at Ravioli.  MISERABLE failure.

I definitely should have read the whole recipe.


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I don’t just bake.  For the nutritional upkeep of my husband and daughter (and I guess myself), I do have to cook dinner every once in a while.  Since Dan works his crazy schedule, I don’t often have all three of us to cook for.  Meals for just Lillian and I can lack creativity.  We are also trying to stick to a grocery budget and this is MUCH more attainable when I actually plan out my meals.  The hard part lately is that all the things I want to make don’t necessarily work for a working mom – too much prep time or cooking time doesn’t leave us any eating time before Lil heads to bed.

Here is this week’s lineup:

Tonight: Peanut noodles with chicken

Saturday: Butternut Squash and Mascarpone Ravioli

Sunday: Pulled Braised Pork with Apple-Cabbage Slaw

Monday: Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika

Tuesday: leftovers (do you love leftover night as much as me?

Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Pizza

Thursday: Marinated Flank Steak with Chinese Green Beans

Sounds like a yummy week.  What do you have on your menu for this week?

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my mommy cooks dinner

Lillian’s preschool did an exercise the other day with all the kids.  They asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up, how many kids they wanted to have, and what their parents did for a job.

Lillian’s answer: I want to be Ariel so I can dive into the water; five kids; and the best – my daddy works in Seattle and my mommy cooks dinner.

Although her perception might be that I cook dinner when she would like me to be playing dollhouse with her, I do love that she knows I am doing it and someday, we will do it together.

Some of the answers were really quite funny.  My favorite was: My mommy is a doctor and my daddy lays by the pool.  Somehow I am not sure that child’s parents were too thrilled with the BIG posterboard relaying this information.

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I don’t know how I missed it, but this weekend is a three day weekend and I.HAVE.NOTHING.PLANNED! Until today. Normally, my baking/cooking is relegated to the end of the day after work when natural lighting is not an option and my pictures turn out dingy and dull. I also don’t have the energy to do anything with too many steps or ingredients (hence the 3 ingredient shortbread I made last night.)

However, when I found out that I would have THREE whole days to cook and bake until my heart’s content, I decided to climb some never before attempted culinary mountains. And, I hope that by writing them down here, I will actually do it.

I felt like I needed to counteract the sweets with some savory items (so my husband doesn’t tell me to stop blogging due to his mass consumption of my baked goods), but they just aren’t as much fun to make or eat.  I did have one idea of how to bring the savory into it by attempting homemade pasta  in the form of Butternut Squash Ravioli with some kind of sauce.  I can’t decide between a whiskey cream sauce and an orange/balsamic sauce. Suggestions?

Also, I am tackling the french macaroon by making Pistachio Cocoa Nib Macaroons with Bourbon Buttercream.  Apparently, if you can master the french macaroon, anything is possible.

My final item will be either a Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake or a layered Crepe Cake. The first involves crackling hard burnt sugar shards and if anyone knows me and my history with hot liquid sugar, you are right to be concerned. The latter cake would teach me how to make crepes – it is a beautifully layered cake made of 20 crepes and delicious pastry cream.

Of those options, which would you choose to make if you had three days to cook and bake whatever you chose?

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this weekend

This weekend the snickerdoodle family was up north of Seattle for our last Christmas celebration.  We had delicious food and this –

Pomegranate Champagne – my new holiday favorite!

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my apron bleeds

I have had this red Williams Sonoma apron with my name on it for years – my sister gave it to me one year as a Christmas present.  You’d think that it would have been washed before now, right?  I mean really, I’ve had it for almost 10 years.  But wait!  After a LONG day of Christmas baking, I casually threw it in the wash with some other laundry and low and behold, the entire load is bright pink.  It really is a beautiful pepto bismol color, but I don’t think my law enforcement husband will appreciate the lovely rosy color under his uniform.

My good friend Heidi and I baked today – A LOT.

8 pounds of butter?  √   (after I forgot it and we had to take a mini road trip to get some more – by the way, when did butter get so expensive?)

10 pounds of flour?  √ (note to self – the unbleached variety kind of adds a “healthy” flavor to cookies)

5 pounds of sugar? √

Dutch and regular processed cocoa powder?  √ and √

There were many other random ingredients, but the end result was a lot of yummy goodies for some well deserving co-workers and friends.

Doesn’t the gift of home baked goods just make you smile?

What is your favorite baked item to gift – either for Christmas or just because?

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and so it begins…

IF I were counting, this would be the 2, 3, 4th blog I’ve started all with varying numbers of posts and about a wide variety of topics.   I was recently doing a little soul searching (ice cream eating) and realized that although I have had a lot of interests that have gone in and out of my life, the one thing that sticks around as a constant is my LOVE of baking.  My mom tells stories of me as a child – memories of me and those grocery aisle cook books with the 80 zillion ingredient cakes on the front of them.  I would consistently pick out the recipe with the highest number of ingredients (this was BEFORE Martha and her 3 ingredient, 100 step recipes) and ask my mom to buy all sorts of exotic and expensive ingredient to fuel my baking fire.  Now, I can’t say that they all were pretty, but I sure had fun!!

Baking has continued to be my lifeline to sanity.  Crazy day?  Whip up a batch of cookies.  Disagreement with my husband? Make a cake.  Toddler whining ALL night long?  Now THAT calls for something requiring a candy thermometer.  Seriously – there is something magical about how butter, sugar, and flour can come together in an inordinate number of variations with such success.  If you measure, mix, and bake, it can solve any number of woes.

So…all that said, baking is my thing – the thing that I LOVE and that makes me – ME!  This blog, in all it’s newness and blank slateness, represents the oldest thing about me that I can remember – a love of everything butter, sugar, and flour.  Join me as I teach myself new ways to combine those three ingredients and muddle through making space in my mind, heart, and life for enjoying my passion!  WELCOME!

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