Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Phonecall


This is totally my mother circa 1990

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hooray for cloth!



My 3-year-old and I sewed a few cloth diapers this weekend for a certain feed-me-and-I-potty doll of hers. I won't be winning any sewing awards for this project (sloppy stitches ahoy!) but I still think they are pretty adorable! We'd run out of the cheapie disposables that came with the doll and I was SO not buying more of those things. And besides, who doesn't love a good Earth-friendly project these days anyhow?

I wish I had a tutorial or pattern to share here but frankly I just sort of winged it and hoped it would work out. I cut out rectangles of scrap fabric, roughly 10" by 15", stitched them together, and then sewed elastic into the leg areas. My daughter is pleased as punch and I'm happy I won't be forking over any cash to diaper an inanimate object.

As for the real deal... I am expecting to receive my shipment of cloth diapers for baby #3 any day now. This is our first time using cloth, so I'm pretty excited. Cloth has come a long way! There are a zillion options now, from fitteds to all-in-ones and more. I decided to keep things simple (and cheap!) and went with prefolds and covers... I'll post a photo and some details when they arrive.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chicken Chili!

chicken chili

I had a few leftovers in my fridge that needed to be used up... some cooked chicken breasts, about 1 cup of crushed tomatoes, and a bowl of cooked rice. I put them all together and voila! Chicken chili!

Ingredients:
2 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled or baked til done
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1 16 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 16oz can beef broth
1. In a large pot, bring the beef broth to a simmer. Add the onion, garlic, and all the seasonings. Stir well.
2. Add crushed tomatoes. Stir well.
3. Chop the cooked chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Add to pot and- yep, you guessed it- stir well.
4. Stir in the kidney beans.
5. Cover pot and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. You can also throw this into the Crock Pot on low for a few hours if you need to run out somewhere.
6. Spoon over long-grain white rice and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with a nice crusty hunk of bread and enjoy.
The chili was really good and a big hit with the resident food critics.

Dessert was lemon pound cake from a box... okay so I cheated, but darn if it wasn't still really good.  ;)

lemon pound cake

Caramel Apple Empanadas

Here is a modified, frankensteined version of a couple different basic recipes I found. I had to use two separate recipes- one for the caramel and one for the dough and apple mixture, and I had to make some substitutions and additions(for example I used condensed milk because we don't usually have any heavy cream in the house unless I'm making ice cream.) Anyways, these were quite tasty and I really enjoyed making them. Hope you like them too!


Ingredients:

Dough:
1 stick of butter, softened
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour

Apple Mixture:
1 apple, finely chopped
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Caramel:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons water

Instructions:
Blend the butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl(I did it by hand and it was pretty easy.) Stir in the vanilla and mix well. Slowly stir in the flour. The mixture should become doughy after it is well blended. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about an hour.

In a small pot, add the chopped apple and water. Stir well. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar all around, then stir well to evenly coat the fruit. Cook the mixture on medium for around twenty minutes or so, stirring occasionally. When the fruit is soft enough to be pierced with a fork, it's done.

For the caramel, make sure you have everything you need right next to the pot, measured and ready to go. Sugar burns REALLY easily and it'll make your caramel taste like crap. Pour the sugar and water into a medium sized pot(this is important because the caramel foams up later and it will overflow and burn you if you use too small a pot) and begin cooking over almost high heat(in other words, your stove should be set to right below the high setting.) STIR FREQUENTLY!!! I use a rubber spatula(the little white stick kind with the rubber thinger on the end) and this works well. You have to keep the caramel moving. Also, you may want to wear oven mitts because the steam and rising heat are extremely uncomfortable at times.

When your sugar has completely dissolved and is liquid, keep stirring and remove it from the heat. Slowly and very carefully pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Stir well, then use a whisk to make sure the caramel is completely blended. If you feel like your caramel mixture is too thick, you can add additional milk, one tablespoon at a time(so that you don't overdo it.) Once the caramel is finished, set it aside to cool a bit.

At this point, your dough should be just about ready. Take it out of the fridge and place it on a well floured flat surface. Coat your hands and a rolling pin in flour so that they won't stick, and roll the dough out until it's about 1/8" thick.

Cut circles out of the dough that are about 4-5" in diameter. I use an upside down small metal cooking bowl for this- just flour the rim of the bowl, place it on the dough, press it down and twist it. Ta dum! Perfect little circles.

Once you've gotten all the circles you can get out of your dough, you may add a bit of apple mixture to the center of each disc. Don't overdo it because they will ooze all over the place when you fold them. After you've added the apples, drizzle around a tablespoon or so of caramel on top of the apple mixture on each disc.

Using a pastry brush, moisten the edge of each circle with water. Fold the circle over so that you have a half moon shape, with the apple/caramel mixture inside. To press the seams, just slowly make imprints with your finger around the round edge of the half-moon shape. Think of the way the edges of a pie crust look. This is what you are going for.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and about a tablespoon or so of water. Brush the mixture over your empanadas. Place the empanadas on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Remove your empanadas and let them cool. When you are ready to serve eat, place your empanada on your dessert plate. Take the leftover caramel and spoon some into a plastic baggie. Twist the top of the bag so that all the caramel slides down into the corner. Snip a very tiny tip from the corner of the bag, and pipe a zig zag of caramel over the empanada on the plate. You can also obviously use a pastry bag for this if you have one on hand.







Now go eat... I say it's totally okay to pretend they don't have any calories. ;)