Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Loving those meatballs

Lately, I just can't cook up some ground turkey or chicken with a dish like spaghetti. Seems a waste to me. I can make the meat so much more flavorful by adding spices and veg to it and creating meatballs. I form the balls, bake them for a while and then braise them in some broth for a little bit to keep them flavorful and moist.

In my large pan I sauteed some onion, a small green bell pepper and some mushrooms until onions were translucent. I then added three chopped zucchini and tossed until still tender. I added a can of chopped roasted tomatoes, the meatballs with remaining broth that had reduced a little after simmering and some cooked spaghetti. I combined and cooked until liquid was reduced and incorporated and served with Parmesan cheese.

It's all about the kids

Merry Christmas everyone! Late again, but here I am. It's been and still is a whirlwind time for me but I do see some settling in the horizon. I hope to again be able to update daily and visit my friends.

We took our trip up to Tennessee this Christmas and we had a wonderful time with family. The children enjoyed playing with each other, Santa's gifts and some of the beautiful perks of being in the north. One of them was playing in the fallen leaves!
Bella almost completely buried.
Kris kept running and diving on in. He had a blast!

Bella's cousin Emily. I really didn't get to see Bella that much that week. She was too busy playing away with Emily. They get along well together and also happen to look like sisters. I hope that before they are all grown, we can be closer so they can grow up and experience life together.
Sweet little Cate. This was the day before a much needed ear tube replacement and adenoid removal procedure. She was having such a time keeping balanced with those ears. Bella had the same procedure done and it did wonders for her. Cate has had her procedure and is already showing great improvements.
I can't forget to mention Kris's best pal Emma. She's a golden retriever and the most gentle and obedient dog I've ever known. I wanted to just put her in the car with us and take her home. When we are able to get another dog...I want an Emma. Kris was always by her side and loved her company.

Friday, December 18, 2009

At little Christmas early

Fennel, onion, and chicken toss about with some chopped bacon for flavor and some macaroni pasta. I used the last of that old bottle of champagne to add some more flavor.
The kids got to open some gifts from family in New Jersey before our trip up to Tennessee. Bella enjoying Kristjan's new dinosaur baby. The toys for him work twice as well because she enjoys playing with them too.
The attack of the dinosaur rock hotel! Kris decided to put it on his head. It houses a bunch of stuffed dinosaurs. A very cool gift! He loves it. We officially are living in dinoland.

Once I get home today from work it will be panic packing, stacking and the last of the cleaning for our trip in the very early hours of the a.m.

In case I don't manage to make it to a computer during our travels...

Have a Merry Christmas!!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The butterflies are coming

With all the crap going on in my life right now, I still get little bursts where I remember it's Christmas and I'm supposed to be excited. I am, I really am. It's just hard when I'm knee deep in spreadsheets with a new boss that's uber excited and is always texting me, emailing me, and making me attend meetings. Don't get me wrong, I love his pleasant demeanor, I'm just so swamped at work and so behind at home...I can't seem to be able to yet soak up any of the holiday season. Oh, and I'm so behind on here as you well know.

I am getting those butterflies though! Tonight and tomorrow I will be cleaning and packing for our trip to Tennessee for Christmas. I am so excited! I haven't seen my beloved Tennessee since Thanksgiving of last year and I miss my sister Caroline and the family up there. Those mountains beckon. I can hear them calling! I have also instructed the townspeople up there to guarantee some snow for our visit. I wonder how they are getting along with that request.

I have some recipes to post and I promise to get them on tomorrow. Until then, happy baking, cooking, cleaning and celebrating!

10 Blogs with great attitute or gratitude

Winners are:

1.504 Main
That only too me weeks to do! Congrats! You bring me a smile at each posting.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bits and pieces

Since so much time has passed I'll just give you bits and pieces of some of the great food that passed our way.
Some spicy seared shrimp to top on a salad. I marinated them in some Cajun spices, paprika, garlic powder and a little soy sauce. Tossed them about with a little olive oil in a hot pan and served on a green salad.
My first attempt at cranberry dressing. I had heard a chef on the radio spill out this easy recipe and tried it myself. In a pot put in 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup of orange juice and some orange zest and simmer until thick. It was very delicious and easy as pie.
Every year for Thanksgiving I like to make Martha's Autumn Vegetable Succotash. It's quite simple and always delicious. There's also another reason we like to make it though...
The leftover succotash and turkey combine to make the best pot pie! Dad has that recipe mastered and we always look forward to it.
We are getting more recent here. This is just the other night. I took out gnocchi, brussel sprouts and cauliflower and placed them on the counter. Chris said "What are you going to do with that?" He usually likes gnocchi baked in a cream type sauce and was scared I had something bizarre going on in my head. Well, I always have something bizarre going on in my head, but that's irrelevant to this!

I decided to make him his beloved gnocchi with cream sauce. I preheated the oven to 450 degrees. I first sauteed a chopped onion, some sliced mushrooms and some sliced ham until the mushrooms has released their liquid. I then added the cauliflower florets and cooked until al dente. I removed them from the pan and put in a bowl. In the same pan I seared the brussel sprouts. I got them nice and browned before adding back the items in the bowl along with a little beef broth. I cooked until the broth was reduced a little then added some whipping cream.

In a large baking dish I added the items from the pan, two tablespoons butter, 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar and 1 cup Parmesan cheese. I baked it for about 25 minutes until thickened. Chris was smitten and made me promise to make it again.
What's better than plain mashed potatoes? Mashed rutabaga. It's so dreamy to me. Cut up a rutabaga in chunks and boil until tender. Mash and add butter, cream, salt and pepper. You have just created magic. If I don't have cream, I'll use soy milk or even broth. It's all good.

Also here are those cute little Spring onions. I just sauteed them with some balsamic dressing for a while and served.

May this be a sign that I can rejoin my beloved blogging community! I also have a task to complete - a gift from 504Main. I promise to get it done! :o)

What in blue blazes is going on here?

Let me try this again folks. I am about to jam in some missed experiences and food here, bear with me please. How are you all first off? I missed you dearly. I'll be visiting my blog friends as soon as I can. I need to get back into the world I love again.

Kristjan enjoying an animal book. He loves to look at books. I consider that a good sign.
Bella being nice enough to share "Pepper" with her brother over at mom's place.
Ahh....Kristjan's birthday. I should dedicate this moment to a post alone, but I'll keep it short and scary. Let's start with Thanksgiving. Bella had a soar throat and Kris developed the sniffles and a cough. The week after, Bella gets better, Kristjan's head and cough gets worse and I get strep throat. I take Kristjan to the doctor to get checked out on Thursday of last week and the doctor says his chest is clear but fills a prescription for it to clear.

Friday night he cries out all night saying "owee!". The next morning (his birthday) he's crying and miserable and won't turn his neck. He won't let you near his neck or head. I call the doctor and they refer us to an urgent / after hours pediatric office that is open on Saturdays. We take him to this doctor and receive a cold and heartless response. He says in a stern voice: "I am greatly concerned about your son here. You need to take him to the emergency room and have him given a spinal to check for meningitis." At that point my heart sank and started to panic. I thought I was going to maybe lose my little boy.

The drive from that quacks office to the hospital was absolutely heart wrenching. I hope to never experience that again. We arrive to the hospital to find that he in no way had meningitis and after blood work, physical exams and an x-ray we found he had a sinus infection. Which explained the crying and sensitivity in his head and neck.

I'll never return to that doctor's office again and the hospital made a copy of the referral. They seemed quite interested in why he put us through all that. Made for a long birthday and Chris and I grew a few more grays that day. We still celebrated his birthday that night and enjoyed mom's amazing cannelloni, family and cake.
I still get teary eyed when I see my little boy and think of that day. I love him and his sister so much.
Bella and Grandma made these adorable little marsh mellow snowmen. Bella brought a few in to daycare and school to share with her teachers. They all loved them so much I had to make photo copies of the recipe to share with them.
Finally that lose front tooth came out!

As the days pass I hope to be able to get myself back together again. I don't want to miss out on the complete feeling of the holiday season. It's already going by so fast and with work and illnesses, I forget what time of year it is. Those of you out there making things, organizing things and planning for Christmas, I envy you! Anyway, shall we all enjoy this time...hectic or not.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh I miss thee.

I'm an empty and dark soul these past couple of weeks. I have not been able to document any cooking or type away on my blog here. My sanctuary.

Work has been so busy and chaotic lately and home life to match. Just give me just a tad more time and I'll be back to rolling again. Look! I've already updated my weekly recipes. Now just to get caught up with the rest. Hugs and kisses.....Nessa