Monday, December 31, 2012

So Kool or Not Kool? Roasted Cauliflower

So Kool or Not Kool?  Not Kool
Picky Eater's Opinion?  I can't believe you let me put that in my mouth.

I am always looking for ways to fix vegetables differently, so I was excited to add this as a side item to our Thanksgiving menu.  I thought the flavor of the cauliflower itself was good, but I thought the ratio of bread crumbs to cauliflower was overwhelming.  The bread crumbs totally took over the dish.  If I was going to make this again, I would cook the cauliflower longer and had only half of the bread crumbs to the recipe. 

So Kool or Not Kool? Pumpkin Cream Pie

So Kool or Not Kool?  Better than Regular Pumpkin Pie
Picky Eater's Opinion?  Very Kool

I do not typically like pumpkin pie.  As I have said in previous posts, I have a huge sweet tooth, so if it is the only thing available then I will eat it, but it is ALWAYS my last choice of pies.  And, I grew up a pie girl because every year for the holidays, my grandmother would always make everyone their favorite pie.  She made such good pies that she sold them to a local restaurant and they used her pies.  I NEVER picked pumpkin. 

This recipe was my pick because my husband eats pumpkin pie, but doesn't love it either, so I thought this might be a nice change.  I love a graham cracker crust, so this pie was off to a good start.  It was easy to make and very light and fluffy.  I would make this again for special holidays, but it is easy enough to make whenever you want it. 

So Kool or Not Kool? Peach Whiskey Chicken

So Kool or Not Kool?  Kooooooooooooool
Picky Eater's Opinion?  It was awesome

I was hesitant about this recipe, but it was unbelievably delicious.   We used homemade apricot jam instead because that is what we had, but this was to die for.  The chicken was so tender that it melted in your mouth.  A knife is not needed to cut the chicken at all, you can just use a fork.  We will definitely be making this recipe again and I cannot wait to eat it again. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

So Kool or Not Cool? Angel Sugar Cookies

So Kool or Not Kool?  Ehhhhhhh....
Picky Eater's Opinion?  He isn't picky about cookies :)

In the defense of this recipe, it probably didn't stand much of a chance in my opinion.  I have a sugar cookie recipe that I am in love with that I have used for years.  It always turns out perfect (except for the time when I was 9 years old and decided to surprise my mom and make them for her when she was at the neighbors and I read 1 tsp of salt as 1 TBS of salt... let's just say that is not a mistake that leads to a pleasant flavor change in cookies).  So, right out of the gun this recipe had a lot to live up to for me, because other than my perfect sugar cookie recipe, I think the sugar cookie is boring.

Having said that, these cookies were just as easy as any cookie to make and they tasted fine enough, but I would not make them again.  They are very light and fluffy, but to me, they didn't have that much flavor.  However, none of them went to waste in the house, because it doesn't take much to convince a 3 year old and a 4 year old to eat the cookies.  However, I probably only ate 2 or 3 of them.  

So Kool or Not Kool? Crash Hot Potatoes

So Kool or Not Kool?  So Kool
Picky Eater's Opinion?  It's a potato... that works for me

I. LOVE. POTATOES.  I wish they had more nutritional value than they actually do.  That would make me even happier.  When David and I started dating, he would laugh at me because I had a huge potato for dinner frequently.  A baked potato with the works is something that can always make me happy.  That being said, I am continually looking for new ways to make potatoes, so I was thrilled when this recipe came up and couldn't wait to try it (although obviously, I could wait to blog about it :) ) 

These are very easy to make and delightfully delicious.  I love the taste of the olive oil on top and bottom of the potatoes as well as the kosher salt.  This will definitely be yet another alternative recipe for potatoes in our house.  LOVE. IT.

So Kool or Not Kool? Pineapple Upside Cake

So Kool or Not Kool?  SO KOOL!!!!!!!!!
Picky Eater's Opinion?  I'll eat more of that
Future Chef's Menu?  DEFINITELY

I love sweets, but I generally gravitate towards those made with chocolate and not those made with fruit.  However, I do love pineapple and pineapple upside down cake.  I don't have a cast iron skillet at my house, so I had to wait to make this at the cabin.  It was ridiculously easy to make and unbelievably delicious.  I may have to get a cast iron skillet just to leave at my house so I can make this again.  The one thing that I think I did wrong was that I put too much brown sugar (if that is even possible) on the bottom/top of the cake.  This is something I would also love to try to make over a campfire when we were cooking with the boys.  We do have cast iron cookware in the camper, so we may have to give this recipe a try next spring/summer.  I'll let you know how that goes.

So Kool or Not Kool? Corn Casserole with Peppers

So Kool or Not Kool?  Either Way...
Picky Eater's Opinion?  Didn't have one

As we entered the second half of the year, I did not do near as great of a job entering my blog posts on the cooking club, even though I was making the recipes.  As I sit here tonight, with one day remaining in the year, I think of how much confidence I have gained as a cook and how much willingness I have to try new foods.  I am also super proud of my Picky Eater as he has found at least 15-20 new foods this year that he will eat.

We made this back in August, and it was good, but in my opinion, it was nothing great.  However, fresh corn on the cob is my favorite way to eat corn and it brings back so many memories of shucking fresh corn right out of the pasture with my grandmother back when I was a little girl.  She is no longer living, but the memories I feel when eating fresh corn on the cob still remain very strong.  Having said this, this particular recipe really did nothing for us.  We would eat it if it was one of the only things being served, but we would not make it again or really prefer to have it. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

So Kool or Not Kool? Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

So Kool or Not Kool? Kool
Picky eaters opinion: Ehhhhh, either way
Will it make the future chef's menu? Absolutely!

I love pasta! I have had pesto sauce before, but I have never made it on my own. Therefore, I was super excited to try this recipe. So excited that in fact, I forgot to take any pictures. I did have to make a few adjustments to the recipe based on the ingredients that I had at home. We do not eat pine nuts so I excluded that from the recipe and I did not have Parmesan cheese, so I used mozzarella cheese and goat cheese instead. I had already been to the store once, or I probably would have returned to get the Parmesan cheese. I do like to try her recipes as original as possible the first time around. Then, if necessary, I will make any adjustments to the recipe for our family. This recipe did go together with absolute and total ease. First, throw the basil in the food processor (which if you don't know by now, I absolutely adore my new food processor), add garlic, pine nuts (which we didn't use), olive oil, and cheese. Blend until creamy. My food processor did not get this as creamy as I would like, so I did have to transfer it to the blender and repeat as needed. In the meantime, cook the noodles on the stove top. I did that at the same time I was mixing the butter and heavy cream on the stove top also. Once that Mixture got hot, add the pesto sauce and lightly simmer until smooth. That is when I added my goat cheese. Then, drain the noodles and toss them together and throw in some tomatoes… Pretty good :-). We will definitely try this again, and may even try to use the recipe a little more the way she originally wrote it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

So Kool or Not Kool? Bananas Foster

So Kool or Not Kool?  So Kool... especially with ice cream
Picky Eater's Opinion?  Kool
Will it make the Future Chef's Menu?  Definitely!

This was one of my picks.  I love the months when I get to pick the recipe.  I love her recipes so much that I often pick them when I am at home by myself and not choosing for the cooking club.  I also love desserts, so this month I picked two recipes (in case someone didn't choose one, then we had an extra).  Both of mine were chosen:  the steakhouse pizza was a bust in our house, but the bananas foster was fabulous.
 Melting butter is pretty easy and then adding the wonderful flavor of brown sugar... YUM!!!
 Heavy cream is added...
 Now, add the bananas and cover them with the sweet syrup of cream and brown sugar. 
This was one of the main things I was looking forward to trying.  I have never done it before and seeing it in the picture may be difficult.  Add the dark rum to the mixture and then light it on fire to burn it off.  This went off much easier than I thought, and I had the time to get a picture.  Clearly, I need to work on my photography skills, but the cooking skill went just fine!
We put the bananas foster over the ice cream and it was QUITE delightful.  I will definitely make this again.  It was not near as difficult as I thought it might be when I chose the recipe.
Eat it fast, because the hot bananas cause the ice cream to melt very quickly. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

So Kool or Not Kool? Steakhouse Pizza

So Kool or Not Kool?  Not really Kool
Picky Eater's Opinion?  Not my favorite
Will it Make the Future Chef's Menu?    An emphatic NO.

This recipe was a two part recipe.  First, the pizza crust, which was amazing and I will definitely be making it again in bigger batches so I can freeze some and always  have a pizza crust when I need one.  The pizza sauce was good and had a little bit of tang to it, which was nice.
The steak and the onions were also very good and a nice change for us as we don't usually have steak pizza.
I would potentially make this again, but without the steak sauce.  We used A1, which is the steak sauce that we use (when we use any), but it just left a funky flavor on it as far as we were concerned.  As I said though, the good news was that we did get a fabulous, quick and easy recipe for pizza dough that seems to freeze well.  We will DEFINITELY use that recipe again. 
Bottom line, not my favorite. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So Kool or not Kool? Chocolate Mint Brownie Bites

So Kool or Not Kool:  Kool, but not my favorite dessert for sure
Picky Eater's Opinion:  Either way
Will it make the Future Chef's Menu?  Probably not, even though it was good, it wasn't my favorite

These Mint Chocolate Brownie Bites were
pretty easy to make and I love a chance to use my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  The down side of this recipe is that many of the ingredients are not things that I would typically use in another recipe, even with baking.  I typically have most baking ingredients on hand, because those people that know me well, know how much I love sweets.  In fact, I believe it should be served before the rest of the meal.   The chocolate was easy to work with because it is melted in the microwave instead of on a double boiler on the stove top.   That made me pretty happy two, because I don't have
a double boiler and have to juggle two pan
pans to get it to work and often I get very hot water splashed on me, so the microwave part made me happy!  All of the ingredients end up together in the mixer and it does not take long at all.  The longest part of the process was dipping the little guys into the chocolate and sprinkling the mints on top of them at the end of the process.  I took these to share at a work function and the general impression was good.  They do have a strong Andes mint flavor, but if you like mint, these are quite tasty.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

So Kool or Not Kool? Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas

So Kool or Not Kool?  SO Kool
Picky Eater's Opinion? Much better than I thought
Future Chef's Menu?  Heck yeah... (Exact words :) )

The recipe for Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas was insanely delicious. The mushrooms were cooked in butter, sherry, salt and pepper on the stove top.  These were the most delicious mushrooms I have ever eaten.  I am a frequent mushroom eater, but I was eating these plain and they were tasty.  
Look closely at these delicious mushrooms (in case I haven't mentioned how great they are yet).  The deeper they are in color, the more flavor they have. 
Once you are done cooking the mushrooms, you throw a little bit more sherry into the pan and then wilt the spinach.  This is my first time cooking with sherry, but it will NOT be my last.  Then, assemble the quesadilla with the mushroom, spinach, and goat cheese.  Grill them on the grill and prepare yourself for the deliciousness that is to follow.  I will be making these again... maybe tomorrow night :) 

Drowning in work ...

Well… Here it is, the beginning of October, and I haven't blogged any of my sweet as pie recipes since the end of July. That doesn't mean I haven't made them, I just haven't had the time to blog them. School started back :-( then, I went to Ohio for a week with my grandparents… I went to West Virginia with my in-laws… I had the consignment sale… And then, there is this big work project… All of those things together meant something had to give. For the time being, it was blogging. I hope to get things caught back up and you can look for several Sweet as Pie posts here within the next week or so. Also coming soon, pictures of my sister nice trip to the Big Apple, pictures of the boys trip to the Wayne county fair, and videos (hopefully?!?!) of Hunter learning to ride his bike with no training wheels.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Cops Wife

I love my husband and I am so proud of the work that he does.  That doesn't mean I always love his job.  I read the following article and many parts of it, really hit home.  I haven't had to deal with all of the things that are list, but I have missed countless holidays with my husband and answered the question "When will Daddy be Home?"  and then followed by, "Why isn't Daddy home yet?" more times than I care to count.  In addition, every time his shift changes we get about 3 seconds worth of notice in order to rearrange childcare and our life plans.  Every time this happens, I call one of my two friends, Jamie or Michelle, who are about the only two people on the face of the planet who understand exactly what I am talking about... because they too are married to police officers.  My heart swells with pride when I see how much my children admire him, and his uniform seems to have the same effect on other kids as well.  He loves his job and I am so honored to be married to someone with that much joy and pride in what they do.  Here's the article:

People have asked me, “So, what’s it like being married to a cop?!” “Do you get out of tickets?” “Do you know all of the cops and judges in the county?” “Do you get the inside scoop on the local trials?” “Do you get to run background checks on all of your friends and neighbors?” Well…. No, no, no, and NO! But I will tell you what it REALLY is like to be married to a cop…. It’s getting used to his swing shift schedule. It’s getting your kids used to his swing shift schedule. It’s spending weekends without him. It’s expecting him to be home at 2 am…. then waking up at 3am and realizing that he’s not home. And calling him to make sure he’s okay. And not being able to reach him. Panicking. Then finally hearing from him that he’s okay…. that he was dealing with a suicidal gunman who was holding 3 departments at bay. That everything is resolved, and he’ll be home…. when he can…. then trying to fall back asleep. It’s taking comfort in knowing that he works in a big department, where things often don’t get too exciting…. Until they do. It’s moving Christmas to the 23rd, so he can see the kids open their gifts on “Christmas morning.” It’s spending Thanksgiving …. and New Year’s Day…. and the Fourth of July….. and Memorial Day…. and Labor Day….. and all of those special days that typical families get to spend together, without him. It’s sometimes spending those special days at his station in between calls…. Because holidays are fun for most, but are often not for police. It’s going to family functions without him, even if it’s with his family. It’s trying to explain to those who don’t understand why he doesn’t come around. It’s hearing people question the strength of your marriage, when he’s “never around.” It’s sometime sleeping alone. And most times waking up alone. It’s often putting things on hold. It’s hoping you will beat the odds of a “police marriage,” when 75% of them fail. But understanding why they do. It’s helping him cope with a Chief who’s forgotten what it’s like to be a patrol officer. And a Board of Supervisors who make decisions for the department, but have never had to walk a day in their shoes. It’s picking him back up, after those people in charge refer to him as a “necessary evil.” It’s keeping the kids quiet during the day. And trying to explain to them why Daddy doesn’t sleep when they do. It’s being excited that you get to spend a day off with him…. And finding out that he has court….. or an opportunity for overtime…..or that his schedule has been changed….again. It’s watching friends get together without the kids, when you just can’t. It’s hearing about a fallen officer…. and being sad for his family….. while silently rejoicing that it wasn’t him. It’s longing for “normal.” It’s knowing that you are safe at home while it’s raining, or storming, or snowing, or icing…. While he has to be out in the elements. It’s getting an unexpected knock at the door while he’s at work, and thinking for that split second,“God, please no….” then feeling silly when it’s just the neighbor, or the mailman. It’s finding his socks laying on the floor and thinking, “Darn you!” and hoping that’s not the last thought you had of him, before…. It’s being resentful of this lifestyle, while pretending that it doesn’t bother you. It’s resisting the urge to barrage him with complaints about him, or the kids, or the house, or work…. Because he has enough on his plate the way it is. It’s FOP meetings…. And Association meetings…. And departmental meetings…. All of which seem to occur when he’s supposed to be off. It’s realizing that he’s never really “off.” It’s the politics. It’s trying to not make him feel guilty about all of these things, because you know he does…. Even though you can’t help but be angry about them. It’s realizing how precious the time you have together really is, because most of the time, he’s awake while you’re asleep or asleep while you’re awake, or somewhere in between. Rare are the days that you are actually on the same schedule. Yes, it’s all of these things. Despite this all, it is also wonderful. Knowing what he does for this world….for the community…. for our families…. for our children. It is worth it.

#46 Say yes when the boys ask for something

First of all, I'm not a shopper at all!!  In addition, whenever we happen to go to Target, a grocery store, or anywhere else, I don't just meander through the store.  I know exactly what I want, I walk right to that item, put it in the cart, and head towards the check out.  I am not one of those mothers who says yes to my kids every time they ask for something.  In fact, I hardly ever say yes when they ask for random things off of the store shelf.  However, I thought it would be nice to look at their faces once when they asked for something and surprisingly the answer was yes.  It took a while to mark this task off of my list, because HAS and LPS hardly ever asked for anything.  It got to the point that I said to David "Have you noticed that the two little boys don't ever ask for anything when we're at the store?"  I felt like they must have known that my answer was always no. Finally, they did ask for something. I said yes and surprisingly, they both wanted the same thing :-) This has been an interesting to me because before I said yes, they hardly ever asked for things.  In the several times that we have been to the store after this, they have asked for multiple things. The answer is almost always no, so they don't throw a fit or act surprised when I say no.  However, the number of times they have asked for something has greatly increased. Both of the two little boys got a matchbox cars set (Those of you who are mothers of girls thought there was a point where you can say, "We have enough Matchbox cars".  Those of you with boys know otherwise :) ).  JMS  got an Atlanta Braves hat. It was nice to see the smile on their face as they showed their appreciation. It is also nice to have children that do not throw a fit in the store every time I  say no. Sometimes, it is nice to have low expectations, so you can enjoy the little things.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Big Apple~ Here I come

Super excited...  Just my sister and I are going to the Big Apple in September for a couple of days.  No kids, No husbands, just the two of us.  We have traveled together before to see other people... in 2001 we flew to Baltimore to see a friend and her new baby... in 2003 we ran the NYC marathon together and stayed with a friend of Kerri's.  But... this time, it is just the two of us~ seeing a Broadway Show, a Concert in Central Park, and other fun things.  Pictures will come, but I am super excited about this opportunity to spend time with my little sister!!!

Memorial Day~ Better Late than Never

For Memorial Day, David had to work security at a parade in Dacula, GA, so a good friend of mine and I went and took the kids.  The boys got to sit on the back of Daddy's patrol truck and watch the parade, so they thought they were big stuff. 

Bald Head Island Vacation

I am a redhead with very fair skin and recently have had some melanoma removed from my neck.  Having said that, you can understand why I may not be a huge fan of the beach.  I typically hate the sun, the salt, the sand, the smell, the sand, the sunscreen, the packing all of your stuff up to go for a couple of hours, did I mention... the sand.  However, last year my sister approached me about a family vacation so we went about planning a trip with both of our families, my parents, and grandparents to a small island that most people have never heard of.  The island is Bald Head Island at the very southern part off the coast of NC.  There are no cars on the island, only people who run/walk, drive golf carts, or ride bikes.  It was a welcome change in pace and there were so many things to do there that it didn't feel like we were at the beach necessarily.  My parents and my family shared a condo and my grandparents shared a 
condo with my sister.   We got to Southport, NC and then waited on the ferry to arrive and take us on the 30 minute trip to Bald Head Island (BHI).  You are crazy if you do not think the 4 young boys (my 3 and my nephew) love everything about boats... or anything that moves for that matter.
Watching for the ferry
HAS with my parents on the ferry
Now, once we arrived at BHI, the trams carried us to our condo but not our bikes, so some people needed to drive their bikes to the condo.
On the tram
Dad, David, JMS and my nephew riding their bikes to the condo following the tram
Now, there were a lot of things to do on the island:  canoeing, kayaking, crabbing and fishing from the marsh right behind our condo.  Here are some pictures from our time on the marsh:
 We also spent some time at the beach, where we reapplied sunscreen every 2.8 minutes. My two youngest boys had not been to the beach before and they loved every minute of it.  They apparently do not have the same hatred of sand that I do.  They would go everyday if they could. 
Little bit tired
 LPS and my niece playing on the "water slide" they built as the tide came in.  They had sand EVERYWHERE!!!
My nephew sliding down, although he didn't quite make it to the water!!!

 David is trying to boogie board.  The first day we were there, the water was freezing.  After that, the water was a welcome, refreshing treat to the heat!!!
 Mom, Kerri and I give it a try.  I love the picture below of all three of us coming in on the boogie boards. 
The love of my life :)
Faces a mother can love
And of course, there was pool fun...
Our golf cart to drive to the pool
LPS fell asleep in the golf cart on the way to the pool
Better view of sleeping boy :)
My nephew on the slide
Mom and LPS
 HAS on the slide... it took him a few tries to get used to it, but he got then hang of it and loved it. 

Then, there was also miscellaneous fun... 
 We had a blast with the golf carts.  Between the two condos, we had 2 four person golf carts and one six-person golf cart. 
 My sister and brother in law brought their dog, who was a big fan of the golf carts.
 Our whole crew minus David and my brother in law at the lighthouse, "Old Baldy"
When the tide was out there were thousands of crabs and the boys loved to lay down on the boardwalk and watch them . 
 Love the picture below of mom and the boys!
 Some of the crabs
 David and I went to watch the sunset...  perfect night with my love :)
We did manage to get a few family pictures (although the ones of all of us were on my sister's camera).
 Love all of my boys :)

And unfortunately, we had to leave at some point :(
 Hello... wind meets crazy hair :)
 The boys on the ferry on the way home.