Thursday, December 30, 2010

CEIMB: White (Turkey) Chili

Today's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe is White Turkey Chili, hosted by Leslie of Lethally Delicious.

As we're vegetarian, I replaced the turkey with TVP. I couldn't find poblano peppers, so since I wasn't sure what a good replacement would be, I just skipped the peppers altogether. And then when I was dishing it up tonight I forgot the sour cream. I liked this chili, and Josh liked it a lot. I think I'll like it more when I have it for lunch tomorrow and remember the sour cream.

For me, "real" chili is and always will be red with tomatos, since that's what I grew up on. But this really is a nice change from the norm, and came together quickly and easily (I chopped the onion and celery this morning so I could just throw it all together tonight). It would make a good winter weekend lunch, served up with some crusty bread. And hominy, hello? This was my first foray into the world of hominy and I would rate it a success.

Check out Leslie's blog for the recipe. In the timeless words of Yo Gabba Gabba, "Try it, you'll like it!" Thanks, for a great pick, Leslie!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Popover Morning

Oh, these Hattonettes. They wake up ready to GO and it is exhausting. They do not appreciate my need to ease into my morning.

Exhibit A. Picture taken around 6:45 this morning, after getting up at 6:30 and making a bee-line for the Halloween face paints. Do the math.

So, there's that. And 2 minutes later she demanded I take it off, and I had to rub her face raw with baby wipes to get (most of) it off.

Then I decided it was a popover morning, and thankfully I had printed out the recipe from the Parents Magazine web site ages ago, because now the link to it is dead. I do not get a dozen, as the recipe says, but they sure are tasty. They are very eggy, much more-so than I recall from making them before, and the girls did not dig them. But at least they tried them, which made me happy. And of course the best part was using the sifter to make the sugar snow on them.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I decided to try my hand at sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), and picked Martha Stewart's Glittered Sufganiyot. They're little, the size of D&D Munchkins. I didn't end up using all of the dough, because I knew we would not eat a kajillion of them. And mine do NOT look like Martha's, but, I'm not going to lie, they are delicious.

I filled half of them with strawberry jam, and left the other half empty. I'm glad I finally had the guts to try this, it will be a great Hanukkah tradition now that I know how easy they are.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Handmade Hanukkah

As usual, I went overboard on gifts for the girls. It's a good thing they're spread out over 8 nights. We mostly bought stuff, but I wanted to make sure to get some handmade gifts in, too.

Monogram pillows for the girls. I think they came out cute, the only think I don't like is that the spray adhesive I used to put the paper template onto the fabric when making the applique sort of stained the fabric and makes it look like there are wet spots. Oh well, we can live with that.

I made the pillow cases with an envelope closure, so I can easily take them off for washing and can swap them out when I eventually get off my butt and make them different covers for holidays. I used chenille for the back, and instead of just hemming it on the side that overlaps, I used pieces of the front fabric to bind it.

And I made them the set of Patty Young Potty Girls, and dresses for them.

I don't know if it's because I have a low-end machine or what, but I could NOT hem these dresses. The knit fabric with the tiny hem would literally just get sucked down into the machine by my feed dogs every time, no matter what I did. I could have tried the serger, but didn't bother. I just sewed them at the shoulders and up the sides and left all the hems unfinished. I'm sure after a while they'll get ratty looking though, so I'll have to figure something out.

The girls are really into their baby dolls these days, so I wasn't sure whether they'd be very impressed with these dolls. Well, they were, and the whole sharing situation got a bit hairy. But this year they're getting quite a few gifts that are for both of them together, so they'll just have to learn to deal with it.

I got each of the girls a gift to give to each other, baby doll-related paraphenalia, and they were very sweet about thanking each other and telling each other how much they liked their gifts. So precious. They are such good little sisters. Last week Delma did something to upset Mimi, and Mimi said, "Delma is not my friend!" Delly just shrugged it off and said, "Well, I'm always going to be your sister." Heart.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hanukkah Sameach!

First night of Hanukkah! It's been hard to get into the spirit of the wintery festivities when we just had Thanksgiving and some days it's still warm enough to be outside without a jacket. That freaking lunar calender is whack. Anyhoo! Hanukkah is here, ready or not.

We had a lovely first night, complete with light and music and gifts and good food and tantrums and unwillingness to share aforementioned gifts. Sigh.

Also since we interrupted a coloring session with dinner, there was lots of "Put down the crayons and eat your dinner." Again, sigh.

That there husband of mine is all about the latkes, we try different recipes every year. Tonight were some potato and onion ones with mustard seeds, and a batch of some apple and potato latkes. Both vegan (we're not vegan, it just worked out that way), and both DELISH. Of couse, I'm sure just about anything would be delicious if you fried it up and drowned it in sour cream and apple sauce.

Nom nom nom.

Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 16

How the hell is it 9:30? Crap, I need some sleep. I wanted to start sewing together the sweet patchwork baby blanket I'm making, but the night got away from me. After the girls went to bed tonight I had some un-fun chores to do, and my time just got sucked into some black hole.

I also have spent far too much time searching online for Snoopy stuffed animals, books, various accessories. Did you know it's like impossible to just find a cute, reasonably priced stuffed Snoopy? What gives? The girls have just discovered SNoopy this year and both love him. We pretend to cry like Snoopy, and it cracks them up. But, we are certainly well past his hay-day. I had a stuffed Snoopy when I was little, and they used to make outfits for him and stuff... But no more. Hmpf. The search continues.

Monday, November 15, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 15

Josh is out of town for a few days, so between the morning hustle, craziness at work, and the evening hustle, I am pooped. Tonight I decided to pull out the past few years' worth of MS Living and special supplemental issues. I don't have tons of people to do gifts for, but I really do need to buckle down and make a plan. Plus, Hanukkah is quite literally right around the corner, which is totally messing with my head. So many great recipes and projects, I need to narrow down the list.

Oy, my commitment to this NaBloPoMo is so lame. Oh well. Though I may not be reporting much here, and may not have an awful lot to show for myself, this idea of doing or focusing on something that makes me happy every day has been really good for me. It's forcing me out of my usual slump of just parking myself on the couch until bedtime every night. I'm still doing quite a bit of that, frankly, but I'm also a bit more alert and engaged at night, spending some time on projects etc. So maybe this month isn't shaping up to be a particularly successful month of blogging per se, but it is helping me personally. So, hurray! But, I still have another half a month to go. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 14

Delly and I have been talking about making a gingerbread house, and I intended to make one from scratch, but then I saw pre-made Wilton houses for $9 and figured we could just do that. Delma is only interested in decorating it anyway, so who cares. And it was just staring at her this morning, taunting her with it's potential fun and mess, and she HAD to make it. So I was frosting a gingerbread house before 8 am. Oy. It did come out pretty cute, though.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 13

So, weird day today. I had to have my cat Blau put to sleep. She was 15 years old, a total whackadoo, and was a scrappy, feisty little bugger up to the end. RIP, Blau.

Josh is out playing a gig tonight, and I thankfully had made plans for myself. A good friend came over after dinner to hang out, have a beer and snackies and do some crafting. I got basically nothing done except figuring out the layout of a patchwork baby blanket I'm making. So, I guess that's better than nothing? And it was lovely having some nice chillaxing lady time, especially after the surreal day I had.

Friday, November 12, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 12

Crazy work day, followed by frantic scrambling to pick up kids, clean house, get showered and dressed and prepare for dinner guests.

So, in place of my usual drivel, please amuse yourself by going to youtube and looking at videos of funny cats and dogs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Days of Happy: CEIMB / Day 11

Today's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe was Whole-wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese, hosted by Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table.

I don't super-love whole wheat pasta, but I buy it in bulk at Costco and the kids thankfully never complain about it, so it's what we use most of the time these days. I made this when we had some friends over for lunch last weekend, and it was simple to throw together and tasted great. I will definitely make this one again, and I bet it would be even better if it were made in advance so the flavors had time to meld. Great pick, Kayte!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 10

Tonight I started work on a gift for a new little girly bundle of joy. It involves fabric stamping, patchwork, and most likely -- lordy, I can't believe I'm about to say this -- minky. That minky crap drives me batty, it is an absolute nightmare to sew and sends pounds of fluff into your eyes and nose in a most horrific fashion. But it makes for great baby gifty stuff, it really does. Send prayers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 9

Tonight I took the girls out for their first Olive Garden experience. I had mentioned the breadsticks to Delma once, and she's been wanting to go there and see them for herself, these magical breadsticks. And she *loves* eating in restaurants, it's become this weird obsession with her, she begs and pleads and cries to go out to eat. Which, now that I'm thinking about it, I guess should maybe be insulting? Though she does praise me for my pasta-boiling skills, so maybe I shouldn't read too much into it.

Anyway, the breadsticks were a hit. Mimi kept calling them "hot dogs" and they both left with half a breadstick clenched in their paws, carrying them like treasures.

Then we hit Michaels to score some Halloween stuff on sale. I got tons of cookie cutters for next to nothing. I also got some nice glittery paper to make a Hanukkah decoration.

And now I get to relax with this little treasure of my own, who arrived in the mail today.

Isn't she lovely? Little Girls, Big Style by the fab Craft Addict herself, Mary Abreu. I just thumbed through it and LOVE it. She has it brilliantly divided into 4 basic pieces: bodice top, peasant top, pants, and skirt. And then there are scads of variations on each piece for endless combos. And full-size patterns, to boot. Come on, what's not to love?

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 8

I have been trying to get in the habit of picking up crafty stuff on sale after holidays, like all those different foam shape kits they always have at craft stores for making all sorts of random decorations and crap. They rarely result in things that we actually keep, but they're great time-killers in a pinch. I had a kit for making kajillions of foam Halloween finger puppets, which I forgot about until the other day. So yesterday afternoon Delma and I busted it out and made a bunch of them, then when Mimi woke up we made the witches scare the ghosts, and the ghosts scare the witches, and made them play hide and seek... I had 2 kids so that they could play together and I could sit on the couch reading books or checking email, but somehow I get roped into playing these games. Not fair! I paid my dues in many months of heartburn, and a lifetime of stretch marks, damn it. But I digress.

I tried to get Delma to let me make a third ghost, so that we could act out the Three Little Ghostesses poem, but she would not consent. And she was clearly in charge, so that was that.

Three little ghostesses
Sitting on postesses,
Eating buttered toastesses

Greasing their fistesses
Up to their wristesses.

Oh, what beastesses
To make such feastesses!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 7

This morning we had our Torah Tots program at our Temple. It was very cute, it was my turn to host the craft and the kids all made very cute (and VERY messy) projects.

Delma has been wanting to have a birthday party for her Bitty Baby (whose name is Bibby Baby), and wanted to invite her best friend Ryan. He was coming to Torah Tots today, so I invited his family to come over for lunch afterward. Mimi's best friend happens to be Ryan's little sister, so the kids all adore each other and get along great, and their parents have become good friends of ours. The kids had a blast playing, we all had fun, and Delma got to have her party.

She and Ryan blew out Bibby's candles together.

And here's Delly yelling goodbye out the window to our friends, while Mimi obsessively blows one of those damn birthday horns. You can also see part of our Torah Tots project in the window.

A good day. A good weekend. But I am so shot tonight that I totally bailed on the first day of Pillow Week. That's not a good start by any standard. We'll see if I can get it together tomorrow.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 6

Today was a doozy of a day, in a good way. No time to write much.

This morning I FINALLY used the spa gift that Josh gave me months ago for my 30th (ha!) birthday. I learned that:
1. Body scrubs are very, um, scrubby. Like, really scrubby.
2. The pumpkin facial is worth every penny.

So, after several hours of getting pampered and falling in and out of consciousness in a cozy, dimly-lit room, I had to go home to hustle and get some stuff done for tomorrow. I am hosting our Temple's Torah Tots program in the morning, and then we're having some friends over to have lunch and to have a birthday party for Delma's Bitty Baby. Much prep was required:
1. Drew Stars of David on over 20 pieces of construction paper
2. Started to cut some of them out, will leave that for the morning. Oy.
3. Cut up about 8 different colored sheets of tissue paper into tiny little bits
4. Baked chocolate chip cookies
5. Baked chocolate cookies with white chips
5. (That is a lot of cookies!)
6. Forgot to eat dinner
7. Washed and blew-dry hair and got made-up and dressed
8. Went to a Homebrew Beer Party

We have some friends who brew beer every year, and then have a party to share it all. This year there were 6 different beers, I tried 2 and they were both great. We had tons of fun, stayed way later than we planned to, and now I don't know what time it actually is with all this clock-setting nonsense. 'Night, y'all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 5

I made challah today for tonight's Shabbat dinner. I don't make it every week, but I've been trying to as often as I can. We used to buy challah every week from a bakery in town that makes THE BEST challah (they actually are Italians who got the recipe from our former rabbi), and then the price started going up and up and when I started doing the math my inner cheapskate got into a bit of a twitch.

I love making our weekly challah for my family. I love being a mom who bakes, who makes. I work fulltime, I am no fabulous homemaker, I haven't made my kids' Halloween costumes. But my children don't think that cookies, cakes and brownies come from the supermarket or from a box, and when we sit down to Shabbat dinner and say our blessings, usually I have made our bread.

I want that to just be normal for them, I want them to grow up to be women who will feel compelled to make the same effort for their families, and it's my job to set that example. What things do you do for your families that you hope your children will do one day for theirs?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

30 Days of Happy: CEIMB / Day 4

Today is my dad's 73rd birthday. Man, that is freaking old. He comes over most Thursdays for pizza, so tonight was birthday pizza night. Today's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe was Mushroom, Onion and Basil Pizza. Perfect. So we ordered one pizza and I made a sad attempt at making this pizza.

The plan was to stop by the store after work to get needed ingredients, but it was cold and rainy and I'm a massive baby, so I just went home and figured I'd wing it. I made some sub-standard dough. I carmelized a sliced onion. I opened a can (yes, "can") of tomato sauce, I sauteed some kale from our CSA and I grabbed some shredded cheese from the freezer and made a pizza which was totally NOT the Ellie recipe. But it was not bad. Thanks for hosting, Joanne. The recipe looked great, it just wasn't in the cards for me today!

What else... I made a flourless chocolate cake which would have been awesome, but the pan I used was too small so it baked all jacked up. This was Mimi's face when she tasted it. Don't let that jerk fool you, she ended up polishing off the whole thing in about 2 minutes.

And here is what my dad's piece of cake looked like with the 7 little candles and the "3." The candles all barely fit on there.

Delly had fun after dinner playing with the little thingamajigs from our birthday ring (which I will talk more about soon, because I am so in love with that thing). The rooster was the "bad guy" but that's about as much as I could follow in the storyline there.

And this pic was just so cute. It pretty much sums up our world: A big ol' bottle of whisky, and Mimi stuffing a candle up Josh's nose. Good night!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 3

Oh, amd I supposed to be writing about something fun and happy-making that I did for myself today? Well, let's see...

I went to the library to get a book on Weaving, because I saw some really cool handwoven dishtowels on Etsy that made me think, Hey! I need another crafty hobby! So I tracked down a loom to borrow, and now it's in my house, and I have NO CLUE WHAT THE HELL TO DO WITH IT. So I found a book, which just made me realize that there is no way this is going to happen.

Then I decided to bake a flourless chocolate cake for my dad's birthday tomorrow. I tried out a Martha recipe, which OF COURSE required me to separate 6 eggs, which always makes me want to hurl. But I soldiered though, and then used a pan that's too small and I don't think it really baked right, and I just hope it's not a plate of poo when we slice into it tomorrow.

And then the final little Happy Heide thing I was going to do didn't happen because I don't have the right size Aida fabric to use for a cool x-stitch pattern I was going to bust out. Hmpf.

But I made the time and had the plans to do me-stuff, and I guess that's what counts? Or something.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 2

Today I made a huge committment. To Pillow Challenge Week. I will not be making a pillow a day (seriously??), but I can commit to spending some time each day on pillows. A long time ago a friend (Hi, Josefa!) told me that she was making a special pillow for her daughter for every holiday. Such a fabulous idea, no? I have been meaning to copy the idea for a long, long time.

So, this challenge will be the kick in the pants that I need. May as well start with Hanukkah pillows, considering it is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY. Oy vay. Time to dig out my Hanukkah fabrics and maybe get some new stuff too.

Also! How cute is this little crafty idea for making a glittery menorah (actually Hanukkiah, I'll explain that to you Goys another day)? Gonna have to order some of these to get cracking on the holiday crafting. Glue and glitter, huzzah!

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of Happy

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I signed up for NaBloPoMo. G-d help me. A whole month of posting to my blog EVERY DAY, after having been such a monumental blogging slacker for the past, well, forever.

This is actually good timing for me, because I'm feeling like I have more physical and mental space lately to bust out and do more me-stuff. I've recently been going a bit hog-wild with craigslist and Freecycle and the clothing/shoes donation bins to clear up space in our house (not that anyone would notice, it's mostly been stored stuff that I'm getting rid of). And I've been organizing a bit to make my crafty corner in the family room more useable and less of an eye-sore, and to make more room for the girls to play. It's making me feel much lighter, and is motivating me to make more time to do things that make me feel good.

I hate to always sound like I'm complaining about Mimi, because I could seriously just explode from my uncontainable love for her, but she truly did bust our world right the hell up. She recently turned 2 and we (I) finally feel like we (especially I) can breathe. For so many months, most of my days have been consumed by the day-to-day crap, and by the end of the day, I am useless and can manage barely more than to drag my butt to the couch to watch TV and play Webkinz on my laptop. And while I really love having lazy-ass nights like that, I've been doing it way too much.

So. NaBloPoMo. I am committing to 30 Days of Happy. I will post about things I am doing, or thinking about, or reading about, that make me happy, so I can go to sleep at night knowing that I did more than just get through another day. I don't mean to make it all sound so dire, like I've been nothing but a sad lump for 2 years, that is just not the case. But I think I just need to make myself pay more attention to the little happy-making things in my days, feel more engaged, more consistently. Surely you know what I mean.

And now I am going to get into bed earlier than usual to read Kathy Griffin's _Book Club Selection_. I sure do loves me some Kathy, and I am loving this book so far. That seems like a good way to close Day 1 of Happy.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

CEIMB: Blueberry Almond French Toast Bake

Good grief, what a crazy week. I almost forgot to submit this post! Oh well, better late than really late!

My turn! So, my recipe choice for hosting Craving Ellie in my Belly this week was the Blueberry Almond French Toast Bake. Last time I hosted, I chose the Broccoli Cheddar Breakfast Bake. Both recipes are basically a strata-type recipe, tons of eggs over a hacked-up baguette, assemble the night before, soak overnight, bake in the morning. Are you noticing a trend? Hello, lazy breakfast lady.

I liked this recipe a lot. I don't know that I would make it just for our household, just for the hell of it, but it's a great brunch recipe for either hosting or for taking along as a guest. I made this a couple weeks ago for the Hattonette Birthday Brunch we had here with some of our family. I made the Broccoli Cheddar one again for the brunch too. It was great having them both, one sweet, one savory, both delicious. And please imagine, if you will, all the egg madness the night before, as I separated 8 eggs for EACH DISH. That is a LOT of disgusting gooey egg white nonsense (and a lot of wasted yolks, as I had no energy whatsoever to do anything with them). Blech. But as the (cough) transcendent homemaker that I am, I did it without complaint. Sort of. The point is, I did it.

So, did you Ellie groupies enjoy it?

Blueberry Almond French Toast Bake, from So Easy by Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
1 whole-wheat baguette (about 18 inches long, 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
8 large egg whites
2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the bread in a single layer in the baking pan. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan, spreading it around so the liquid saturates the bread. Scatter the blueberries evenly on top and sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the baking pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hello Cherry Garcia, my old friend

I started to write a song tonight. It went nowhere fast. I'm thinking I'll hang onto my day job.

Hello Cherry Garcia, my old friend
I've come to chew on you again
Because the jerk-off cats are creeping
And the Hattonettes are sleeping
I just took out the garbage and did the dishes
(you'll pay, Josh Hatton)
Within the sound of Blau puking

Friday, August 27, 2010

Delma Turns Four

Oh, Delly. My girl, you are 4 years old today. That may not blow your mind, but it certainly blows mine. You have turned my world upside-down and inside-out and sideways and back again. You made me a mother, you made me a mommy. You are named Delma because only another Delma could fill the hole in my heart, mend the part of me that broke when I lost my mom, your namesake. You fixed me, and then some. You have filled me to bursting with more love than I thought was possible.

Happy 4th Birthday, Rabbit!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

CEiMB: Sloppy Joes

Hi! Remember me? No? Well, yeah, so there's that. Anyhoo... I cooked! Actually I have been cooking and baking a bit lately. Not a ton, but a bit, and trying new recipes, but totally not having the energy to blog about it. Meh.

But! Hey, Sloppy Joes! This week's yummy Sloppy Joes pick for Craving Ellie in My Belly is from Chaya of Chaya's Comfy Food Blog.

Wait a second. I'm just watching last night's So You Think You Can Dance and that Lauren/Robbert dance routine with the pillow KILLED me. Holy crap. SO good!

OK, back to the Sloppy Joes... Loved this recipe! Delish. I halved the recipe, because I knew the Hattonettes wouldn't try it. They like their food unadulterated. No sauces. No stuff on their stuff or stuff touching their stuff. Sigh. Hopefully someday. But for now, for the most part the new recipes are for Josh and me. This recipe was very easy to cut, and I will make it again for sure. (Or maybe I should try a full batch and freezing leftovers?)

I used Morningstar Farms crumbles in place of the meat, which worked great. I don't know if that stuff would hold well in something like a meatloaf, but in this recipe it worked great. I used black-eyed peas for the beans. I didn't have any jalapeno or dry mustard, not sure how much of a difference it would make if I had used them. I'll try to remember to pick them up next time.

Thanks, Chaya, you picked a winner!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Angel Food Cake

We went strawberry-picking yesterday morning. Our local pick-your-own just started up this past week, the berries were insanely bountiful, the sun was shining... It was just lovely. The girls ate them while we picked, and continued to eat piles of them in the car, starting before we even got out of the parking lot. They probably ate a few little spiders along with the berries, but whatever. (Also, very cute aside: Mimi's method of "picking" was to take berries out of my flat and go put them in Josh's.)

Strawberries don't keep very long so I wanted to make a shortcake or angel food cake to go with them. I decided on angel food cake, and figured I'd try baking one myself since they have like 2 ingredients in them (OK, 6) and I happened to have a lot of eggs in the fridge. I chose this recipe at random, I suspect they're all pretty much the same.

The one thing holding me back: separating the eggs. It grosses me out in such a big way. But I decided to pull up my big-girl pants and deal with the nauseating goo and glop, and I did it! I baked an angel food cake! From scratch!

The second-best part of making angel food cake is balancing it on a bottle while it's cooling.

The best part is eating it.

The cake came out great. I was surprised by how well it came out, by how "normal" it tasted -- meaning, how much it tasted like it came from boxed mix. :) If you ever feel the need for angel food, please bake it from scratch. Aside from separating TWELVE eggs (please don't make me talk about it anymore!), it seriously takes barely any more effort than making it from a box. It is so stupid-easy. And as I was wisely reminded by a pal on FB when I lamented the fact that I'd be SEPARATING A FREAKING DOZEN EGGS (OMG why will you guys not let me stop talking about this??), you can just always buy a carton of organic egg whites.

And also, am I the only person who thinks angel food cake sort of smells like wet dog? Anyhoo... Still delicious, wet dog and gross-out goo and all.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happy(?) Birthday to Me

So, I had a birthday last week. Unfortunately, it came right after a long weekend, which meant the girlies were all burnt-out and miserable, which in turn made Josh and me a bit burnt-out and miserable. Long weekends just don't work well around here, the first 2 days were fabulous and fun-filled, and on Day 3 they were ready to go back to school and get back into their routine. It always seems to go that way.

So when we went out for dinner on Memorial Day to celebrate with them (Mexican! And ice cream!), all hell broke loose. By the time my piece of chocolate cake showed up with a candle, Josh had already forcably removed Delma from the premisis and I was left at the table alone with Mimi who was being very bossy and demanding that I draw circles on her placemat. Saddest little birthday cake candle-blowing ever. And all the naughtiness meant we had to nix the trip to Ashley's for ice cream. Sigh.

Then the next day was my actual birthday... Josh asked Delma's teacher to have the girls make me a card, but she forgot. We got a sitter and went out for a fabulous dinner, which was so great, but the waiters were supposed to do some special birthday thing and they forgot. More sigh. And also the gift Josh got me showed up in the mail for me several days before my birthday in an unmarked package so I unwittingly opened it with the rest of that day's mail by myself, so, you know, very nice but anticlimactic.

Like I say every year: There's always next year!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

CEIMB: SW Hash and Eggs

This week's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe is Southwestern Hash and Eggs, hosted by It's Melissa's Kitchen. We made this recipe a few weeks ago, Josh and I actually had it for dinner one night. I have spared you the photographic evidence, because it was just some sad hash on a paper plate. It would have just made you feel bad.

So, this was good, but not great. It was very tomato-y. What's wrong with good ol' potatos and onions? Sure, throw in some beans if you want to get wacky and make it seem more like a main dish, maybe even pepper, but tomatos? It's just not my bag, baby. We liked it fine, I just wouldn't make it again. Hey, it was worth a shot!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

CEimB: Grilled Zucchini yadda yadda yadda

Hiya! So nice to be back into the Ellie groove. The past few weeks have been either too busy or the recipes were not easily vegetarianized, so I'm happy that the next few are more veg-friendly.

This week's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe is the Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbs and Cheese (I feel like I need a nap after saying that). This one was chosen by Liz of My Table Their Table. She has a very lovely blog, go visit her and say Hi.

These were super-simple and very tasty. I don't have a grill, so I put them under the broiler. And then I forgot that they were in the oven, so they got very broiled. I slopped them together while Mimi was screaming for Veggie Booty! and Delma was screaming for Yoghurt! and Ice Pops! and Fraggle Rock! So aesthetics were not a priority and these babies were not very pretty. But they sure were good. These would be great for a summer party. Thanks for a great pick, Liz!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog Party

I'm joining the party! The 2010 Ultimate Blog Party. Horribly late, but still, I made it. Is anyone still here? Is any of the good booze still left, or is it all warm cans of Coors?

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Hi! I'm Heide, a very unfocused and inconsistent blogger. I like to think that's the key to my charm. Maybe I'll blog every other day for a few weeks. Maybe I'll just post an Ellie Krieger recipe once a month. You just never know! I'm pretty awesomely mysterious like that.

I have 2 super-cute little girlies, 2 cats that I have trouble giving a shit about these days, and a husband who is a rock star and an infamous whiskey blogger. I work fulltime as a business analyst and I often spend entire weekends doing laundry.

I had beer for dinner and I popped a few Benadryl. So, there's that. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This past weekend, Sunday was my morning to get up with the Hattonettes while Josh slept in. It was a rough morning. The girlies were up early, they were tired and bored, fighting over gardening gloves, tripping over their own feet and bumping into things, they were both just sort of falling to pieces and making me nuts. So in the middle of it all I noticed our very ripe bananas and decided to make muffins, in some small, sad attempt to cling to sanity. My favorite muffins. I've made them several times, and each time I polish off the dozen in a few days, they are so flippin good.

These are the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins from Get it Ripe by Jae Steele. She's a vegan superstar. Even if you're not vegan, do yourself a favor and check out her blog for great recipes and information about general health, fasts and cleanses. She's pretty much a dynamo.

This recipe calls for spelt flour, which I never remember to buy, so I always use a combo of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. I also never remember to buy coconut oil (though I'm curious about it, so I really should put it on my shopping list) so I use whatever oil I have in the house that's good for baking. Usually I use fruit-sweetened dairy-free chocolate chips (I like to keep them in the house for a relatively not un-healthy addition to baked goods) like the recipe calls for, but I also have just used Nestle when that's all I have. You cannot skimp on the syrup, though, you need to use the real stuff -- but that should go without saying, why would you ever use the nasty fake stuff? And I always add tons of finely chopped pecans -- I add them to pretty much everything I bake.

Go make these STAT.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 3/4 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup softened non-hydrogenated coconut oil, or sunflower or olive oil (plus extra if using to coat pan)
2/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375degF. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners or a light coating of oil.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add the banana, syrup and oil. Stir just until all flour is absorbed. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Portion the batter into muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are domed and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Stores in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or in fridge for up to a week.

Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

quilting for the love of strangers

Sadly, sometimes it's easier to be selfless and kind to strangers than to the people we know and love. It's this simple, pure, isolated little act, with little or no context, with no baggage or history. It just is what it is. Sometimes it's a random act of kindness, and sometimes it's not so random.

This is a very deliberate act. This is a very small thing I can do for a family experiencing something enormous. No one should have to watch their child die, certainly not a 2 year old child. I don't know them, I can't be a shoulder to cry on, I can't bring them a casserole to spare them the need to even think about what to make for dinner. But I can make one little quilt block that, combined with many more blocks, will give them something to wrap themselves in to remember her for the rest of their lives.

This is for Layla Grace, and for her family, and I wish it could be more. But it's something.

Read more about the project here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

soft around the edges

I've never been a consistent blogger, and I've certainly never been a particularly good writer, but I do miss this space. Even more than wanting it for myself, I feel this obligation to capture moments for posterity, for my children. We didn't do baby books. We started one for Delma but it fizzled out very quickly. With Mimi we didn't even kid ourselves. I still haven't even put together my wedding album. Ugh. Growing up, my family didn't tend to sit around the dinner table reminiscing. My children will have that, but I also want them to have some sort of record, no matter how fragmented, to look back on and fill in some blanks.

But I owe my kids more than a collection of Facebook status updates and tweets about how they drive me crazy, and whose puke/pee/leaky poop greeted me when I awoke this morning. They do more than make me do laundry every damn day (and oh, how I do long for one glorious day without laundry) and send me screaming to the welcomed, controlled chaos of my job. They're also little slices of heaven, and if I could, I'd put caramel sauce on them and eat them up with a spoon. I feel to my core the truth of the famous exclamation "We'll eat you up, we love you so!"

It's not very edgy or amusing to gush about how beautiful and amazing your children are. But I'm going to try to do that more.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CEIMB: Broccoli-Cheddar Breakfast Bake

I can't believe it's finally my turn to pick a recipe for Craving Ellie in my Belly! Whee! OK, so, I picked the Broccoli-Cheddar Breakfast Bake from Ellie's new book So Easy. The recipe is not available online, so I posted it here last week.

I was so pleased with this recipe. I love the idea of preparing the night before and just throwing it in the oven in the morning. I halved the recipe because I knew my girls wouldn't be into it (they're both very particular about textures), and baked it in a 9x9 dish and it came out great (though it could have used a bit more salt for my taste). The portion size is really generous too, Josh and I both felt like we got to eat a lot but didn't feel all overly stuffed.

However. I've realized that I do not like separating eggs. It seriously grosses me out. So, there's that. But aside from the mucousy gross-out factor of dealing with the eggs in here, it was a fantastic recipe and one I would certainly use if I ever return to that life of inviting people over for brunch. For now, I just can't keep the floors clean enough for that, so I'll just make it for Josh and me. I mean, look at that picture. I served it on a paper plate, for godness' sake. That's how we're rolling these days. I hope you all enjoyed the recipe too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Broccoli-Cheddar Breakfast Bake Recipe

Hey CEIMB-ers! I'm hosting on February 25, and my recipe is from So Easy and is not posted on the Food Network site, so for those of you in need, here it is:

Broccoli-Cheddar Breakfast Bake

2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced (abt 2 cups)
Cooking spray
1 whole-wheat baguette (abt 18 inches long, 8 oz.), cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
8 large egg whites
2 cups low-fat milk
1 10-oz package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar (6 oz)
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until translucent and beginning to brown, abt 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the bread cubes in the dish. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg whites and milk until incorporated. Add the onions, broccoli, cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir to incorporate. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, spreading it around so the liquid saturates the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the top forms a light brown crust, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 8 servings

Thursday, February 4, 2010

CEIMB: Curried Chicken Salad

This week's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe was the Curried Chicken Salad, hosted by Sarah from Sarah's Kitchen Adventures.

Um, wow. I LOVED this salad. I'm too sleepy to construct full sentences, so here are some thoughts:

- Loved the curry and cilantro together.
- Would add more grapes next time.
- Liked it way way way better than that other Chicken Waldorf Salad we did a few months ago. I don't always love the creamy salads, but with all of the curry and cilantro in this one, the mayo-y taste was played way down.
- There's so little mayo in it that I wonder if really needs it at all? Will try with just non-fat Greek yogurt next time.
- More of a summer dish to me, would bring a bowl of this and some chips to the beach for am after-work beach picnic dinner.
- I just about doubled the almonds, and am glad I did. They would have practically disappeared otherwise.
- Definitely need the pita chips with them, for the added crunch and saltiness
- Predictably, my husband's palate is fundamentally flawed, and while he loved the salad, he did not love it with the chips. Weirdo.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

CEIMB Wrap-up!

This week's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe was the Emerald Stir-Fry with Beef, hosted by Alyssa's Two Bites. Check her super-cute blog for her version of the recipe.

I liked this recipe a lot, the sauce was easy and tasy. We used a meat alternative replacement for the beef, which was good, and I bet it would be good with tofu too. I did not take a picture because I totally overcooked the veggies, and it all took on the grayish green color instead of looking vibrant and bright green. It tasted good, but wasn't pretty. So, no photo. But thanks Alyssa, for picking a great recipe!

A few weeks ago we were having friends over for dinner on a Sunday, so I used it as an opportunity to whip out a bunch of upcoming CEIMB recipes, but then we went on vacation and I never got a chance to blog about them.

I made the Five Layer Mexican Dip and LOVED it! So delicious. This ended up being leftovers lunch for me for a couple days. I'd just scoop a bunch, slop it into a bowl and take it to work to eat with chips for lunch. Yum.

The Arugula, Carmelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza was fantastic too. I sliced it up and set it out as appetizers along with the layered dip, and oh my goodness, it was so good. I wish I'd used more goat cheese, I was just eyeballing it and I think I used less than the recipe called for, and it could have used a bit more. I also used whole wheat pits insteaf of tortillas, so the crust was a bit more substantial. Will have to try this one again, as it was so absurdly simple to throw together, and it was so delicious.

And for months I'd been wanting to make Macaroni and Four Cheeses. I love that it replaces a ton of the cheese with pureed squash and had high hopes for it. But honestly, I just did not love it. I think I would try it again using more cheese and less squash, because I do like the idea of sneaking some veggies in there, but I want my mac and cheese to be really cheesy. Or maybe I'll just use a more traditional recipe and add some squash to it. Suggestions??

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Disney stole my heart

I had the best vacation last week. The girls and I tagged along on Josh's annual trip to Orlando for work and got to take a little Disney vaca. I freaking love that place! They make it so easy to manage it all with wee ones in tow... Granted, it is NOT cheap -- we managed it because Josh was working, so his airfare and the hotel and some meals were all expensed, and he had even been comped some park tickets somehow, so that was a major score. So Disney rocked, and I'm dying to go back, but that wasn't what made my week the best in years.

Vacations since Delma was born 3.5 years ago have not been fun. They've pretty much all been major busts in one way or another, and though our family vacation last summer really was great, it was our first time away with Mimi added to the mix and it was tough for us. Mostly the problem has been our unrealistic expectations -- the fact of the matter is, vacationing with young children is not relaxing, and gone (for now) are the days of sipping fuity umbrella drinks and reading books by the pool. But it can still be great, it's just taken Josh and me a long time to adjust to our new reality and find a way to stop just seeing all the things we can't do right now, and embrace the things we can.

This trip was like a honeymoon with my girls. They're little, and they had their moments, but overall both of them did great with the flying, and all the schlepping, and the long days, and the sleeping in new strange places. They traveled like champs. And for me, this was my first time with the two of them when I had NOTHING else to think about. It was the three of us alone just about every day while Josh was working and I had absolutely nothing on my mind but being with them. No lingering thoughts of work, no nagging thoughts of laundry or dishes, nothing at all. It was fantastic, and we all really needed it. It gave me the opportunity to just be their mom and nothing else, and they loved it as much as I did.

Mimi is a challenging kid, and this was the first extended period of time when I didn't feel like I was just managing or handling her, but truly enjoying her. And I swear she started talking more just in the past week of us being together. She is a mommy's girl and she finally got the undivided time with me that she's been craving.

And even better yet, all that joy has stayed with us since we've come home. Our harried mornings and evenings are a little lighter, at least for me, and I feel like I've found a way to be more present when I'm with them. Life with kids has not been easy for me, it's been a long and rough transition. But I'm getting there. Disney really is magic. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

CEIMB: Sweet & Spicy Peanut Soup

I'm embarrassed by how long it's been since I've done a Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe cook-along post. I've made some of the recipes in my absence, but have neglected to muster up the energy to blog about them. But this week is hosted by my girl Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet, so I had to join in the fun.

Mary picked Sweet & Spicy Peanut Soup, which you can read more about on her blog. It was very easy to make. Only hitch is that there's lots of chopping, as this soup calls for lots of veggies (carrot, onion, sweet potato, red bell) that you cook up with stock and spices and and canned diced tomatos, all of which you then puree, then stir in some peanut butter and honey, and Voila! The actual cook time is quick, so I fell into my usual trap of thinking I'd whip this up for a quick dinner, and then realized I had gobs of chopping to do which slowed me down. I really need to learn to prep in advance for weeknight dinners. But the soup was tasty, and a nice change from the usual creamy pureed veggie soups.

This recipe called for scallion as garnish. I am not much of a garnish kind of gal, I generally can't be bothered and just pass on it. But this time, the first night we had it for dinner, I tossed in the scallion and was so glad I did. It really added some nice bite. We did skip it for the subsequent leftovers lunches and dinners, though. I probably should have chopped up some extra to toss into the leftovers too. Oh well, next time.

Also, there's cayenne pepper in it which made our noses run a lot. So, there's that.

It's nice to be back in the CEIMB groove. I missed you guys.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back in the saddle? Maybe?

Goodness, it's been a long time. I haven't been blogging, I haven't even been reading blogs. It's been three months since my last legit post. ?! I haven't done any sewing either. Oy vay.

I guess I just needed to go underground for a while to regroup, but truthfully I don't feel even remotely regrouped. Just underground. Most days I feel very cloudy and flustered. And it is finally really truly winter here in CT, which makes schlepping the girls around a total pain, forcing us to spend lots of time in the house driving each other crazy. But I need to start forcing myself into little bits of happy-time every day, no matter how brief. Writing, sewing projects, bread baking (just got this cool cookbook!), whatever, anything.

Stay tuned...