Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cabin Fever

It's one of those few Saturdays where after basketball and ballet the whole day stretches without a pressing commitment.  The temperature is in the midteens outside and the cabin fever could run high without a little of Mom's "Entertainment Committee".  And while the piles of toys and my urgings to get them to peel themselves from yet another episode of "Sponge Bob" are more often my pleas, today I actually had a plan up my sleeve. 


The kids love to help stir (and fling flour to every corner of the kitchen), crack eggs (rather smash them as I pick the shells out), lick the batter, scrape out the bowl, and lick some more.  From time to time, I have to take a deep breath and remember that the messiness of kid cooking is balanced by the sweetness of their willingness to cook and watching those little hands stir does warm my heart.  Soon enough they will want to anything but hang with mom, so I try to remember that. Not sure why my silly son has his shirt off!!

So we made banana chocolate chip bread from this awesome cookbook called Babycakes  The recipes are gluten, dairy and mostly sugar free.  My son is intolerant of dairy products, so our household is free of milk, butter, cheese, etc.  As a foodie, this is like asking a mechanic to work without wrenches, but I digress.  There is a surprisingly large number of dairy free products out there now, so while a traditional recipe may not end up tasting exactly the same, it gets pretty darn close.  Erin McKenna's recipes are totally geared dairy free, so they come out tasty.  The ingredients can get funky, so you have to invest first in the agave nectar, coconut oil, etc., but once the pantry is set, life is easy.  We mixed all of the strange exotic ingredients and the banana bread was deelish! 

Next were the truffle brownies.  This time we went old school box mix.  Trader Joe's has a fabulous brownie mix that has no dairy.  We switch out the melted butter for margarine and all was well and bowl lickin' good!  As I write this, it is now Sunday.  Tonight will be braised short ribs, mashed potatoes, some green veggie and rolls.  The fun part will be what to make for dessert.......

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dreaming in Rick Rack...

As I shiver through January, knowing darn well the snow and bitter cold will last until mid April, I am fine with that.
There is plenty of wood for the fireplace, my pantry is well stocked and I have so many creative projects in mind.

Gone are the holiday obligations, lists, deadlines, shipping dates and endless sale emails from desperate retailers. Now I can really sit down to the sewing machine after the kids are put to bed and make spring skirts. I will now have the time to make some little dresses and make patterns for yet more.

I have more time to cook, too. Oh man, yesterday I made these awesome meatballs and sauce.

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You make the sauce from scratch and I really needed a food mill or tomato processor thing. Instead I mashed them through a colander. Lots of work, but so dang tasty. We had spaghetti and meatballs again for dinner tonight...mmmmm!!

I did a little shopping for accessories to spice up the old nest, too. Sometimes you just need to shake things up a bit and it felt good to have something new among all the old, beaten up hand-me-downs I call my home.

With Valentine's Day a month away I decided to resurrect my annual Valentine's Day Card making party. A few friends come over for dinner, drinks, creation of cards, more drinks, well you get the picture. So much fun to see what happens. More on that next month...

So, the creative juices are flowing and the quiet peace of the snow and cold have slowed things down.

I'm liking it....