Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Still Kickin'...

Dear Friends,

How I have missed you. Don't think I've forgotten you, nay, I have been thinking of you everyday. The problem is this...

Unpacking a plethora of boxes with rampant children, who need my undying attention and a HORRIBLE Internet connection, makes for a very bad blogging environment.

I'm am feverishly typing right now and praying this will get published as I am in fear that my connection will go out. Please know, I have a running list of "to do" posts on my fridge door and a mind that won't stop running regardless of my current situation.

I've been on a soup kick because the temperature is like, one, here. Major switch from Houston. But I love it because it is home.

Christmas was good. I hope you all enjoyed yours. Here are a few pictures to catch you up.

SNOW on Christmas Eve!

One of Boo's special ornaments.

How to make the perfect snowball.

That's my Tiny eating one of my special Molasses Sugar Cookies.

A hat, though on backwards and completely useless against the cold, is still supremely cute on my little Bubba.

Papa and Grandmas reading a special story to the kids on Christmas Eve.


Love Ya, Foodies!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You Got Some 'Splain-en To Do

So first off, I hope you won't be let down by my less than exciting explanation of where I've been, because you all had MUCH more creative ideas than what was actually happening. I mean, a chess game or cracker factory? Brilliant.

Drum roll please...There were a few of you who hit the nail on the head, as it were. MOVING. In no particular order, here are the fabulous peeps who guessed what I was doing...

Lorraine at A Multi-Dimensional Life
Mariko at The Little Foodie
Jamie at Mangiabella

If you haven't visited them, they are all really fabulous ladies with amazing blogs.

Add to the boxes, rolls and rolls of tape, overflowing boxes of bubble wrap, and loads of packing paper. Mixed with children in transition, cardboard cuts (the long, distant, evil cousin of paper cuts), and one stressed mommy equals family fun!

Where are we moving you ask? Down the street? Over the river? No. The Hubs accepted an offer for a new job in my home town and our new house is just a hop, skip and jump away from my overly excited parents. I haven't lived at home, Kansas City, for 10 years now. I am so happy to be home, regardless of the wonky-out-of-whack-feelings I have. We are currently bunking with my parents until our stuff gets here, tomorrow. I can't wait to move into our new place.

To share a bit of our insane journey from Houston to K.C., I have created a little montage for you. What we saw, what to avoid and what landed like a bomb in my stomach.

that pretty much sums up the trip...

poor kid

this was pretty much the extent of our diet - a total belly bomb.


what every foodie needs on a road trip...Food and Wine and some fiber bars, just to keep everything, you know, regular.

boredom at its peak.

what to avoid.

what we were listening to

what the kids were watching...if Barney made you sick before, just try 2 days straight in an enclosed vehicle. Barf.

Here's some nice cows, right? Look a little closer...

this is a zoom in of the picture above. A Fed-Ex anarchy van in a cow field? I have nothing to say about that.

Love Ya, Foodies!

Thanks for hanging around for me. Now, let me get situated in the house and I'll whip up something delish.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Going Dark

Maybe I've watched to many action movies or been intrigued by night vision goggles for far too long, but now is the perfect time to "go dark" with my blog, as in, I will be "off the grid" for a while. Not goth or creepy. What could be detouring my attention? What could make me so busy that I couldn't spend time on the blog? What could have this mommy so stressed out?
Let's make a game out of it, shall we?

I want you to put your guesses in the comment boxes below, of what you think is keeping me from traditional blogging the next two weeks. Sorry, no prizes, for I do not have time for them. But who ever guesses right, will get their name and blog in giant letters in a post. The following posts have yet to be determined, but think outside the box.

I will give you a hint:

I'm surrounded by squares.

Now go!!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Julia Would Approve (Biscuits and Chowda)

Before we start, we must talk about this bowl. I found myself wondering if it was an ash tray or an artistic expression of a coconut husk. It was one of my mom's flea market finds. Thanks, Mom!

We talk about Julia a lot, do we not? Many of us grew up watching and listening to her warble her way through French technique but not without a relaxed “what the hell” attitude. I truly adored how messy she was.

I pick up her biography, Appetite for Life written by Noel Riley Fitch, every so often and randomly open it up to a new place. I’ve never done that with a book before, but I guess it’s because any where you read in this book, you will find something fascinating. It’s a joy to read.

Early on in the book they talk about her childhood (duh) and peppered in among people’s descriptions of her growing up -and her delightful shenanigans- are recipes. One of them is her mother’s Buttermilk Herb Baking Powder Biscuits.

This recipe stood out to me for it’s simplicity and that it was dear to her heart. Her mother was supposedly not a very good cook and when asked about her mother’s cooking this was the recipe she gave a newspaper to print.

Well, if Julia liked them, I knew I would like them too. But there was a problem.

I didn’t have half the ingredients. Oh, and I was lazy, which caused me to not want to walk outside and snip a few sprigs of whatever herbs were left in my dying garden.

So we ended up with plain biscuits.

And then I didn’t have vegetable shortening, I only had butter. Darn.

And I didn’t have buttermilk, so I winged it and added some vinegar to regular milk.

My son can’t eat eggs, so I left those out.

You’re probably thinking, “This sounds like a flop”. Oh contraire, Dear Ones, they were simply heavenly. Best biscuits I’ve ever made, which isn’t saying a lot because my biscuits are generally like bricks or out of a can, soooo….

They truly were delish. I wanted to pad my bra with their fluffy goodness, powder my face with one of its million flaky layers, or simply crack one open and rub its buttery goodness on my elbows. Bizarre? Who cares.

What did I serve these with, you say? How ‘bout some chowda’? (I watch The Perfect Storm last night and I can still hear Clooney, with his dreamy, husky voice, going on about longitudes and latitudes in a Boston accent.)

How about some, the-clams-are-too-damn-expensive-so-I-had-to-buy-fish-chowder? Divine.

I think I actually liked the fish, (I used rockfish, a deep sea type of red snapper), better than clams. It was so tender and flakey…kinda like the biscuits- sorry, but I can’t get over the triumph that was the biscuits. I don't think Julia would mind that I totally changed the recipe. I mean, I'm sure she improvised many times. I felt her approval as the dough stuck to my cookie cutter and I flung flour across the counter and onto the floor.

So here’s the deal. I’m going to give you Julia’s mother’s recipe but in bold I will put my changes AND I will give you my original recipe for my fish chowda. And if you call right now, you will get a forever lazy snuggy free!…just kidding, sorry. I mean, seriously, who wears that? With the zipper in the back? Really?

Buttermilk Herb Baking Powder Biscuits

Julia Child’s mother’s recipe from Appetite for Life.

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

4 tsp. double-acting baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

8 tbsp. chilled vegetable shortening (I used butter)

4 tbsp. fresh minced chives (did not use)

4 tbsp. fresh minced parsley (did not use)

2 eggs (did not use)

1 ½ cups buttermilk (I used milk with 2 tbsp. vinegar added)

Cut shortening (or butter) into dry ingredients, until it is in small pieces, stir in herbs. Mix together all wet ingredients (it says in the book that many Yankee homes did not use the eggs) and briefly mix into dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix. Turn onto surface and knead (I barely kneaded it, for fear of my classic brick-style biscuits) and pat to ½ inch thick. Cut into rounds (make sure you flour your cutter) and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Amazing.

Foodie House Fish Chowda

original recipe

(I don’t really measure much, so this is my eyeballed version. I’d say by eyeballs are 95% accurate)

½ sweet onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3-4 sliced uncured bacon, diced

3 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. “Better Than Boullion” organic chicken base

4 cups chicken stock (or fish stock)

1 cup cream

2 med. organic russet potatoes, diced

1 cup frozen organic sweet corn

1-1 ¼ lbs. rockfish or snapper, cut into bite-size pieces (use what you like, really)

salt and pepper to taste

Render your bacon in a heavy bottom pot. Leave the drippings. Put in onion, carrot and celery. Cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add butter and let it melt. Sprinkle flour over veg and bacon and stir in. This is the roux. Cook this mixture together for about another 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock, bullion and cream. Let this cook for a good 10 minutes. You want to see the stock thicken. Stir quite often.

Add your potatoes and corn and let cook until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Taste the soup for seasoning, as the potatoes tend to absorb the salt. Ten to fifteen minutes before you serve the soup, gently simmer the fish pieces in the soup. It’s very important you do not over cook the fish.

Serve with the luscious biscuits…if you’re feeling healthy (which you won’t if you make this meal) eat a salad.

Love ya, Foodies!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

She Saga: Pants and Cheap Wine

She stumbled into the kitchen and flipped on the light switch. Her sensitive blue eyes squinted hard as the light overwhelmed them. With one eye open, she scooted across the cold tile floor to her "finish line"- the coffee maker. She robotically measured out enough coffee for an extra large cup of the caffeine-infused stuff. She pressed the "on" button and walked back to her room hugging herself to keep warm. With her feet officially freezing, she jumped back into bed to toast while the coffee made it's gurgling and sputtering sounds- sounds that equalled her other eye opening up for the rest of the day.

Not wanting to leave the warmth of her bed, she delayed her coffee-retrieval until she was desperate- about a half an hour later. She dug out her favorite cup from the dishwasher of clean dishes. She poured the piping hot brew, then added sugar and creamer. She took a sip to taste it.

She returned to her cozy bed to imbibe her coffee and work on emails. Before she knew it, it was time to get the kids up.

She tossed her laptop off her lap, slid out of her bed and put on her hot pink, velour sweatpants. She took a final sip of her now lukewarm coffee- a last ditch effort to perk up her sluggish disposition.
She clunked up the two flights of stairs like a grizzly bear who had just awoken from a long winter's nap. Why am I so tired today? she wondered, but because of her lethargic mind, her thought disapated.

She cracked open the door to her daughter's room and was greeted by her chirpy, little voice. "Happy Tuesday, Mommy!" Her little Boo said the same thing everyday. She had a 1 in 7 chance of getting it right. Today just happened to be Tuesday. She yawned back, "Happy Tuesday, baby." She kissed her little, independent lady on her warm, sheet-wrinkled face.

She walked over to door number two, all the while trying to adjust her hot pink, I've-completely-given-up pants, because they felt strange and tight in the crotchal region. She never bothered to look at them, because it required too much thought and energy to gaze downward.

She was greeted at door number two, by her bouncing, oldest son, who had just peeled off his p.j.'s and was running around in his diaper with his feet still in the footie part of the footie pajamas. He ran towards her with his arms open-wide. He hugged her legs, without answering why he was half-naked. She hugged him back, while kissing the black curls on top of his head.

At door number three, she was greeted by her happily squealing, one year old. Her youngest always hugged her, while pressing his protruding teeth into her shoulder. She loved the way it felt. It was his special little hug. His diaper was soaked and he smelled like urine. Off to the tub with his siblings.

With the children bathed and fresh, they caravaned down the stairs for breakfast. The two oldest let the elderly, family dog outside while tossing treats out of his line of sight. Then they throned themselves on their booster seats to wait for one of two choices: cereal or oatmeal.

She asked them to wait patiently while she ran to the bathroom. Her coffee was now in her bladder. She sat down on the toilet. While she waited, her eyes met with her pants. Staring up at her was the back pocket of her hot pink lounge wear. That's why the crotch on my pants felt so weird! She felt a giggle bubbling up inside of her. It rushed to and out her mouth as she thought about how funny it was. She mused at the fact that she was no different from her children, who occasionally got shoes on the wrong feet, underwear on backwards or t-shirt inside out. She sat on the toilet for 30 seconds simply to laugh. It became so funny to her and why? She had no idea. It certainly wasn't THAT funny, but she continued to laugh anyways feeling as though she must need it- some sort of strange cleansing.

As her laughter died down and the impatient squawkings of her hungry children arose, it dawned on her that she drank two glasses of wine the night before, which was very uncustomary for her. Mainly for the reason that it always made her groggy the next day, hence her backwards pants. Mothering in a cloud was not her idea of fun. With the coffee finally kicking in and bladder empty, she exited the bathroom with a big smile on her face and her pants facing the right direction.

Okay, so the above was based on actual events and this wine.

I'm not going to call this a wine review ('cause it's not), but more like a wine deal alert. This Three Wishes Chardonnay is very inexpensive and pretty darn tasty. At our Whole Foods Market, it's selling for $2.99 a bottle and $33 for a case! If you're doing some big holiday entertaining, this is the way to go. I think your guests would enjoy it and it would pair nicely with just about anything. I mean at that price, who really cares? It also works well for parents who are on a budget but still like to get tipsy on a decent wine, ehmm.

Love ya, Foodies.

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