Saturday, February 28, 2009

Morning Shine

Something I love about what I do is the ability to witness the amazing growth of children. To see morning sun shine through their baby soft hair. To see them walk, unstable and curious...when they weren't doing so just a few months a go. To see their features become their own. Personalities grow. I get to to this. I get to capture it forever.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Getting it. ...

Are you? You know... that "if things don't start turning green pretty soon and the weather isn't consistent enough to go outside in the afternoon for a longer period than 20 minutes and there is zero percent chance of snow for the next 25 days, then I might go crazy" feeling. I have it. Severely. Though I can't complain too badly. It's been warm here. Unseasonably so. Today we spent a while at the botanical gardens. It's one of my favorite places to go in the winter...just to scratch that winter fever itch for just a second. It smells like jasmine there right now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday

Today is a day of celebration! First of all it's National Pancake Day! I'm one of those crazy types of people, that if there anything special to celebrate on a particular day.....I'm celebrating! Today I got free pancakes from IHOP. I had no idea they were giving them away when we walked in the door, and then elated when not only did we get free pancakes but animal balloons as well. Seriously, does it get much better? You can get free pancakes as well, just go visit the nearest pancake house. (You can also help out a great cause by visiting there today!)

National pancake day can also be related to Shrove Tuesday which is the way the Irish/English celebrate Marti Gras. (the day before lent begins) I personally like to celebrate it like the southern french did... with jambalaya and kings cake (which I will be eating plenty of later thanks to my carrot stealing brother-in-law.)

Happy Fat Tuesday all!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Ray of Sunshine and Her Brother

I got to spend a little time with my Little Miss Sunshine this weekend and see her ever growing brother as well.

Friday, February 20, 2009

May the Force be With You

Good luck to anyone who has to tell this face "no".

On a Sweet Note

It's the perfect way to end...with something sweet. My plan was to make something spectacular and difficult, but it's Friday, it's been a loooong week and something easy just appealed to me more.

These are just cream cheese stuffed strawberries. They are a perfect tiny bite if you are looking for just a little something extra. Plus... aren't they just fun to look at?

I cut strawberries twice down the middle, but not quite to the bottom. For the filling I mixed: 1/2 block cream cheese, a couple table spoons of butter, about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon. this made about 10. Of course you can always make more or less, however many you are planning to feed.

Thanks Sherrie for hosting this week and thanks everyone for all the super great recipes, I can't wait to try them!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Didn't Follow the Rules

I'm sorry Sherrie, I didn't quite follow the rules. I added meat to mine, but I did post an all veggie side yesterday, does that count?

I was amazed at how much I liked this recipe. I thought the flavors might be a little strange, because they are kind of the same things you might use for a glaze for a ham (or at least I have!), but this surprised me, pleasantly so!

Warm Green Bean Salad with Mustard Dressing



1 pound fresh green beans
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes
2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup sliced Prosciutto (I used a bit more)
1 cup quartered artichokes


3/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 table spoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 clove garlic minced
1/3 cup green onions (recipes called for shallot, but I didn't use that)
1 cooked bacon slice crumbled (I used 3)
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

quarter the potatoes and slice red pepper, throw into preheated oven at 375 degrees and roast for about 45 minutes

Blanch green beans in water on high heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and then put immediately into cold water to keep from cooking any longer.

To make dressing combine the white wine vinegar, honey, both mustards, tarragon, garlic, onions and bacon. Slowly add olive oil, salt and pepper.
When the potatoes and red peppers are roasted, add artichokes and prosciutto . Mix together. Pour dressing mixture over the top and mix together well. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.

You can see what everyone else is cooking for food week here! It's been a pretty tasty week!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Favorite Meal of the Day

Dinner is my meal. It's the one meal that I rarely miss. And often times, there are extra people around my table, something that I've come to love. I love having extra faces around the table. I love the conversation. I love to share a good bottle of wine.

So the recipe today is pork. Up until about a year ago, the only pork I had ever eaten was ribs. So.... one day I got a wild hair and gave it a try. I liked it. Though, it is a little dyer than chicken, it's still something different.

Indonesian Lime Pork Tenderloin (I have no idea why this is called what it is, but you can give it whatever name you want... like Limey Pork, or Pork Marinated with a Bunch of Weird Stuff)

2 pork tenderloins
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less if you want)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Fresh Ginger to garnish
1 clove chopped garlic
table spoon olive oil

Mix first 4 ingredients and let pork marinate in them for a couple hours. (I only had mine for 1/2 hour and it turned out just fine) Heat olive oil and cook garlic for a minute in skillet and then add the pork. Cook for about seven minutes on each side adding the rest of the marinade to the pan as it boils down. If you need to add water to keep pork moist, do so. Garnish with fresh ginger if you want (remember a little goes a long way with ginger!)

Now, I normally don't just cook one thing, there's normally a couple and almost always a dessert (but that's not until Friday, so you'll have to wait)

When I was sick in bed for the entire month of January I watched the food network when I did watch TV, which wasn't all that much, but one day, Giada made three side dishes in a row in a matter one half hour that I absolutely had to make. This is one of them. I thought after the artichoke dip I made ten times in three weeks during the Christmas season, I would be all artichoked out. But this... this is FABULOUS. I loved it. (In fact I'm eating it right now in between typing)

Artichoke Gratinata

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (I ran out of parsley, so I just used dried)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Marsala wine
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs (I used Italian)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the artichoke hearts, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook until the artichoke hearts are starting to brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer the artichoke mixture to a 2-quart baking dish.
Melt the butter in the same skillet used to cook the artichokes. In a small bowl mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan and top the artichokes with the bread crumbs. Bake until the top is golden, about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kinda Meaty

During the week I ordinarily don't cook too much for lunch. I'm pretty happy with fruit and yogurt and cottage cheese, some good veggies or something simple like that. In all honesty, I'm pretty sure I could live off of asparagus or broccoli.....and Oreos.

I make things like this during the weekends. I'm a BIG sandwich lunch person. You can't go wrong with sandwiches really.

Canadian Bacon, Bacon and Ham BBQ Sandwich

Canadian Bacon
Cooked Bacon Slices
Ham Slices
Provolone Slices
Pickle slices
Sliced Onions cooked in a little butter for about 5 minutes until caramelized
BBQ Sauce
Texas toast or whatever thick bread you want to toast up. I just happened to have left over Texas toast from yesterday.

Butter one side of two pieces of bread and grill them in small pan until golden brown. Layer with BBQ sauce, Canadian Bacon, Bacon, Ham, Provolone Cheese, Pickle and onions. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Cut it half. (or leave it whole whatever your little heart desires!) and serve with fresh fruit. (Or whatever your little heart desires!) I now it's really simple, but that's what is all about right.... simply good food!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Food Week

I decided to join food week over at one of my favorite Canadian places, Frenchy's Finds. The rules of the game are just this: a different meal every day. I think it's just a fantastic way to add to your recipe box and I'm all about sharing recipes!!! Here's the schedule:

Monday - Breakfast
Tuesday - Lunch
Wednesday (you guessed it!) - Supper
Thursday - Vegetable (a vegetarian vegetable dish)
Friday - Dessert

So....onto breakfast.

I'm not a breakfast person. It took me a lot of years to admit that to my husband, since it's his absolute favorite thing in the whole world. Not me. I know I will be scolded for saying so, but I hate eating in the morning. It makes me sluggish and lethargic. Bleh. Give me a good cup of coffee or some Carnation Instant Breakfast, or a glass of milk and I'm good to go. But I LOVE breakfast for dinner.

I discovered this little gem of a recipe while I was in Denver a few years ago when my dad was in the hospital. I can't even tell you what the name of the restaurant was, or where it was for that matter. It was one of those little specialty places that people wait hours to get into. I ordered this and was absolutely in love. Before I left I asked the waiter what was in it, expecting to get the "it's our little secret" answer, but instead, because I must have looked either cute or pathetic, he described exactly how to make it....and it was the easiest thing ever!!!!!

Stuffed French Toast
Ingredients: For approximately 6 pieces

Half of a block of cream cheese
Two to three tablespoons of your favorite jam (I love mine with rhubarb cherry, but I was all out and used raspberry instead today)
3 eggs
12 pieces of Texas toast
teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon of vanilla
a dash of milk

In small bowl, soften and mix together jam and bream cheese, set aside.

Mix eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla together and bowl. Dip one side of Texas toast into egg mixture. Put egg side down on hot skillet heated to 350 degrees. layer with cream cheese mixture and then add another layer of bread, egg side up. Flip over and cook when golden brown.

Top with extra jam, berries, whipped cream or powdered sugar.

Happy Presidents Day!!! I'm off to shop!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

She really was this sweet and shy and gorgeous. Her sister made me work a little harder, but it was completely worth it, and her brother...well don't those eyes just tell you everything!!!!

While this is probably the most technically incorrect photo, I fell in love with it, because even in the short amount of time I was with her, she very much had her own little way of doing things, and here she's deep in thought about it all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Funny Little Valentine

I spent the morning in bed. For once. I actually jumped on the bed. For once. Park did too. Just once. Then he landed in a pile of hearts we cut out. But we didn't stay in bed too long....there were red balloons waiting for him.

And out we went. Into the quiet snow. (Well I had to stop and get coffee first. Cinnamon Dolce' today... quite appropriate for the occasion!)

And he played for a minute. It was the best minute.

Then he was done. (this is the "I'm about to have a giant caniption if you don't put me back in the car, because my feet and hands are cold. my nose is cold, my hair is cold, my eyes are cold, my ears are cold, my chin is cold, my hiney is cold and I'm about to loose my brain because it's cold too" look. )

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Good Clean Fun

I had the privilege to take the photos for this Missouri soap maker's website and while I was at it I also got to enjoy the aroma of all these fantastic soaps. (The Earl Grey Green Tea one was so calming) You can buy them on the website or for you Wyoming shoppers, they are available at "The Brighter Side of Life" in Torrington.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Heart Full of Color

I bet when you first look at the picture below, you think of some sweet little morsel you would like to devour in one little bite. Well, it's probably not the most grand idea as it would be a little waxy!

My kiddo has a Valentine's Day party on Friday and parents were asked not to put candy into the valentines the kids give away. They try really hard to keep the sugar overload to a minimum, so this is what we came up with. Heart Crayons! You're suppose to use a heart shaped mini muffin pan....but those are non exsistant here on the prairrie. I melted the crayons in the oven at 350 degrees in a glass measuring cup. Then I poured them into mint molds (heart shaped ones) and stuck them in the refrigerator for just a few minutes. Park LOVED to peel the wrappers off the crayons. Since these came out looking so edible, I decided I don't want the kiddos to try to eat them, so instead of going into the valentines, we'll take them to school and have the teacher hand them out to decorate their valentine boxes (you remember those?! I was always so embarrassed to put my little Care Bear valentines into boxes of the boys!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shrimp With Roasted Red Peppers and Feta

15 years ago I probably would have turned my nose up at the site of this recipe. Nothing in it, with exception of maybe the shrimp, and in most cases, not even that, would have seemed appetizing to me. Now... well, I've grown. A little. A smidgen. Don't get me wrong there are still things I can't even fathom eating, but this, this beautiful combination of gorgeous colors and flavors...made my tastebuds do a little jig.

This is a very simple. Very elegant recipe. Takes little to no time. I served it with asparagus and bread.

Shrimp With Roasted Red Peppers and Feta
(It's all in the title, only a couple extra ingredients!)

1 12 ounce jar of roasted red peppers
1 bunch of scallions
1 head of garlic (I used three)
1 1/2 pounds of shrimp (I actually used pre-cooked frozen shrimp and it turned out perfectly.
6 ounces of feta (I used the basil, tomato it a little more zaa zaa zoom)
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Drain the red peppers and cut into smaller 1 inch chunks or slices. Chop scallions and garlic. Add red peppers, scallions, garlic, shrimp and all of feta cheese to casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Feta will probably not melt but will brown instead. See, seriouly easy. Seriously wonderful!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Messy Fun

Who could have possibly torn this cake to shreds? What kind of person has the table manners of a crazed maniac?
This is the culprit, and he thoroughly enjoyed every second of it!! (So did I!) Does it seriously get any more fun than this for a one year old? He celebrated his first birthday a couple days ago, and his mom was just as excited to let him dig into the cake one more time!

He's showing me just how it should be done!

Oh.. and he was clean before we started, pretty handsome if you ask me. He has the most friendly little smile!


He's one of my seriously serious babies. There's no messing around... for the most part. Maybe a little messing around.

Thinking about it.

Got one!!!!!!!