Happy Father’s Day

I am the luckiest girl in the world. I have two great men in my life, my husband Alex and my father Dean.

My husband and father to my children…

Alex gets up before the sun is even shining to get ready for work and comes home in the evening. He works so hard for our family, that I am able to stay home with our daughters; for this I am eternally greatful. He is truly my best friend and I enjoy spending every minute with him. He has such a great sense of humor, and keeps me laughing. Our daughters adore him. As soon as we hear the garage door open Sasha is running around saying “Daddy home!” When he walks through that door both girls have giant smiles on their faces, they are so excited to see him. Alex is such an awesome father, and I am glad we are on this parenting adventure together. Not only is Alex such a great father, but he is such a kind, caring, unselfish, loving husband. He treats me like a queen and makes me feel so beautiful and loved everyday. I love you so much Alex, and wish you the Happiest Father’s Day!

Here is when Alex became a father for the first time, with Sasha.

A proud father smiling with his second daughter, Penelope.

Alex is usually the guy behind the lens, so this photo is a little old. Look how Sasha is so happy to be in his arms!

My dad…

My dad seems to be the guy everyone likes. He is so easy to talk to. My dad also got up early and worked hard so my mom could stay home with us kids. My dad is funny, I think he laughs the hardest at his jokes. There are so many times I can remember when I was a kid that we (my mom, dad, brother and sister) got to laughing so hard we were wiping tears from our eyes. My dad is such a loving man, who has instilled great morals and values in me. I am a better person (wife and mother) because of him. Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love you!

My Dad and Me in 2005 before walking down the aisle

My dad is truly a DIY warrior! Here is is tackling his latest remodeling project. (If I were a 2×4 I would be scared!)

Cooking Camaraderie

My friend Jessie of Little Calorie send me a link to a Wall Street Journal article about “cook-through” blogs. This article talks about the new trend in food blogs; these are the blogs that cook and blog about every recipe in a particular cookbook. I haven’t cooked through an entire cookbook myself; but the idea does strike me as very interesting.

I have joined the group The Daring Bakers. Now The Daring Bakers aren’t a “cook-through” blog; but we are a community of bakers that prepare the same recipe each month. I have been a member of this cooking club for three months now and have enjoyed sharing the same recipe each month with hundreds of other bakers world wide. We have a private forum where we can discuss any problems we are having with the recipe. Having so many people working on the same recipe provides a wealth of information, regarding how to fix problems you may have encountered during your preparation. You post a question on the forum and several people will give you an answer what worked best for them.

If I were choosing recipes by myself, I may not be so daring. I joined Daring Bakers to learn new technique I may not have learned on my own. Many of my favorite bloggers are part of Tuesdays with Dorie. These brave people are baking their way through one of Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks, posting their recipes every Tuesday.

Are you part of a cooking club, or cooking your way through a cookbook? Why have you joined a particular group? Please tell me about it.

Happy Eating!

Idiot Margaritas

I don’t know if they are called Idiot Margaritas because they are so easy to make, or because if you drink enough of them that is what you will become. These are good! Amy from the Motherload posted about these margaritas in her weekly notebook. Amy found the recipe on Jane’s Apron, and she tried them herself.

The other night Alex and I enjoyed a couple of these refreshing cocktails relaxing on our deck. A great way to cool down on a warm evening.

IDIOT MARGARITAS
1 can limeade concentrate
tequila
beer

Empty 1 can limeade into blender, fill can with tequila and add to blender, fill can with beer and add to blender. Mix briefly to get the beer fizzy. Pour into salt rimmed glasses and ENJOY!

If you don’t want to use that much tequila, fill your can with desired amount of tequila, then top off with club soda.

Remember: 1 tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila, FLOOR. Drink Responsibly.

Nostalgic for Mexican Food

Authentic Mexican food, maybe. Well as authentic as a white girl from Iowa can make. There is a small town near where I grew up that was home to a dark, dingy, smoke-filled bar/restaurant. This bar/restaurant at the time was called Lou’s and it served delicious nachos, tacos and burritos. They were only open the last half of the week, and the line to get in was always long. You would stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone else waiting to eat, it was like a crowded nightclub.

I have so many memories eating at Lou’s, mainly because we would always go with my family and my grandparents. The adults would order their beers and my sister, brother and I would have to agree on a choice of soda, because we would get to order AN ENTIRE PITCHER OF IT. Occasionally we would get to order a Shirley Temple; my brother drank so many of these (non-alcoholic) cocktails that he threw-up in the parking lot. Since he is not yet 21 we always ask if he wants a Shirley Temple when we are ordering our beers; I don’t think he finds it as funny as I do.

Usually every time Alex and I go back home, we request to eat there with one of our families. The nachos are covered in gooey cheese, the portions are large, the salsa is hot and the beer is cold. Lou’s is now called something different, and it is more of a restaurant than a bar, it is well lit and the smoke is all gone. Going there isn’t the same, something about a cramming a bunch of people into a dark, cigarette smoke-filled room made the food taste so much better; don’t get me wrong the food is still delicious the environment is what changed.

I’ve been ordering the same thing for as long as I can remember; a combination burrito with gravy, adding lettuce, tomatoes, onions and smothering it in sour cream and their hot salsa. YUM! This is a meal that I have always wanted to cook at home. The ground beef in the burrito is so fine, and I was told that is because they boil their meat. Usually when I make tacos I brown my beef, which results in large chunks of browned meat. I searched high and low for authentic Mexican recipes and I came across a great website. The beef recipe is so good and to me it seems authentic. At least it is very similar to the meat they serve at Lou’s.

MEXICAN GROUND BEEF
(from mex-recipes.com)

2 lbs ground beef
1 tsp salt
2 T chili powder
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 T paprika
water to cover meat

1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped

But all ingredients (besides onion and pepper) into a 2 qt sauce pan. Use enough water to cover meat. Bring to a boil. Simmer over medium low heat about an hour. In about 15 minutes take a potato masher break up the meat; don’t want it to cook up in lumps. Repeat this process 2 or 3 more times. Also make sure we don’t run dry of water. Add water if needed.

Add chopped onion and chopped bell pepper, continue cooking 20 or 30 more minutes.

To finish:

Remove from stove pour into strainer. Let set for 10 or 15 minutes to make sure all grease was removed. At this point we do want to keep the liquid.  Place liquid in freezer for a few minutes. When grease separates and starts to hardened take spoon and remove. Should have very little liquid left.

1/2 cup would be fine. Place in small pan bring to a boil. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of corn starch in 1/4 cup of cold water add to liquid simmer 4 or 5 minutes. Fold into meat. Now we have a tasty moist taco, grease free.

Homemade Noodles

A couple weeks ago my husband had his tonsils removed. The surgery was quick, and when I went to bring him home he seemed to be feeling alright and was in good spirits. That quickly changed, we even had to spend an entire day in the emergency room. You can read more about his experience yourself.

He didn’t have to tell me he was in pain, I could see it in his face, and read it in his body language. I wanted to do everything in my power to assure he was comfortable. I administered his pain medicine every four hours like clockwork, through all this he wasn’t eating much, and I was worried the pain meds were going to hurt his stomach. In my mind he HAD to get something in his stomach; so I made him my great grandma’s recipe for homemade noodles. He actually ate quite a bit (I knew he was hungry). He now is fully recovered and back to eating whatever he wants.

This is a nonrecipe-recipe; you know the kind. My great grandma has probably made this hundreds of times (at least), and she knows exactly how much of everything to use. To feel rustic, I put on my apron and made my noodles on the counter. I called my grandma for this recipe, this is how she gave it to me (recorded from my great grandma). I hope my grandma doesn’t get mad at me for posting this recipe… I believe that good food should be shared and enjoyed by all, not kept in as a “secret”.

HOMEMADE NOODLES

Beat 3 or 4 eggs. Add a little salt and 1/4c. cream or evaporated milk.
Then start adding flour and beating slow. Keep adding a little flour and
beating until you get a firm dough. Roll dough out with rolling pin till fairly
thin. Dust with flour. Keep plenty of flour on it while you roll it up -like for
cinnamon rolls. You have to keep plenty of flour on it at all times so it
does not stick together. Slice about 1/8″ thick and fluff up (unroll) in flour
so they do not stick together. Have broth boiling and add noodles slowly,
stirring to keep them from sticking together. Cover pot and cook about 5
minutes or longer. Depends on how thick you make them, but they should
be cut in thin slices. Salt & pepper to taste.
Jamie-I find that it takes a little longer to cook. Stir often so they don’t stick
to the bottom of the pan. Taste then to see if they are done. Mom also told
me that if she boils a whole chicken when making these, she will add a little
fat from the broth (that settles on top) to the noodles for a little extra flavor.
and calories!
Here is how I put together my noodles:

I started with 2 c flour and salt and made a well for my eggs. I did not have any cream or evaporated milk in my cupboards, so I added plain Greek yogurt (noodles turned out fine) to my well. Slowly I combined all the flour and rolled out into a thin sheet.

Using my pizza cutter, I sliced my skinny noodles.

I sprinkled my cut noodles with a little more flour before I broke them apart.

I would recommend spreading the noodles out and letting them dry for several hours before dropping them into your boiling liquid.

I dropped my noodles into 6 cups of boiling chicken stock.

The noodles boiled for almost 20 minutes before I added poached/shredded chicken and 1 packet of chicken gravy powder. It was delicious!