Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Happy New Year. Welcome 2013!

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

I haven’t checked in to the blog for too long.  142 comments were waiting to be moderated.  Most were peddling shoes, handbags and coats.  Some came from Asia and even the Ukraine.  A few mentioned S@X.   I sent them all to Spam, save three which might be legitimate.  Thanks to those of you who do comment or at least check in on the progress at the Shack.  As for the other 142, well I have to figure out how to really send them to Spam for good.

The holidays passed by in a blur.  We celebrated Christmas Eve as usual with Kirk’s family.  Then we hosted Christmas for the first time at our house.  It became the Best, Weirdest Christmas Ever when my parents came down with the flu and stayed home.  We had brunch with far too much food.  I highly suggest The Contessa’s baked french toast.

New Year 1Then over the next few days the in-laws passed through to extend the celebrations.  When New Year’s Eve rolled around we continued to make merry with a family sleep-over and dinner.

new year 2We spent a lot of time on the road for basketball games.  Next we celebrated Marlin’s birthday for a few days running.  I was even lucky enough to be called in to work at Monica Ros after Spencer returned to school.  Finally the decorations came down and are awaiting their return to the barn.  I always feel like the house is open and airy after the holiday trappings are gone, as much as I love them while they are up.

Which brings me to the new year and the expected resolutions…I have never been very good at them.  Well, maybe I could tackle the shop in the coming months.

new year 3This is about a third of the shop.  We did attempt to organize it after it was freshly painted.  Lots of shelving was added from Home Depot.  Alas, there still remained too much to put away and when I walked in there it was so overwhelming that it never was finished.   After a year, I suppose it is time to tackle the mess.  We haven’t had many parties at the Shack, but the makings of one lie within those walls.

new year 4

I would like to add some kitchen cabinets to the windowed corner at the front and maybe even start painting again.  The old kitchen table needs to be donated and much needs going through to be thrown out.  Windows need to be washed.  A shade needs to be hung to cover the storage facing the yard.  Drawer pulls need to be installed on the cabinets in the tool area. One last big push could make this a useable area instead of a dumping ground.

Wish me luck, I may not come out for days once I get going.  Maybe this public humiliation was the push I needed.  What are your resolutions this year?  Do you still make them?  I could make many more, but I know my limits.

Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Educators

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The few followers of this little blog know that I taught kindergarten and first grade for the past twelve years.

I find news of Newtown unbearably sad and even more so at this time of year with too many holiday celebrations as we carry on, miles away from the horrific tragedy.

So I baked…

teachers 1

and baked…

 teacher 2

and washed lots of dishes.

teacher 3Until I had a coffee cake, cranberry muffins, brownies, macaroons and granola to deliver to Spencer’s school for the staff that has eased his transition to high school in a new town.

teacher 4Because when I was teaching, a little snack at recess was always welcome.

And because life can be so unpredictable.

 And we are so very grateful for the education our son is receiving and his success thus far.

Was that just an earthquake?  That just might prove my point!

You never know…

 Donna

 

 

 

foolproof

Friday, November 16th, 2012

I love Ina Garten!  I packed away all of my cookbooks when we were moving, except for the Barefoot Contessa books.  I NEEDED them to stay with me through my moves.  I haven’t really missed the others much at all.

Now she has a new book out, Foolproof.  I picked it up at Costco the other day.  As soon as I got home I sat down to read through her introductions to each chapter and scan the recipes.  I love her kitchen, her house, her barn, how she loves food, and of course how she loves her husband Jeffrey.  She dedicated the book to him saying, “he’s foolproof.”

I want to try the Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons.  I have made her Roasted Tomato Basil Soup from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook many times to rave reviews.  This one looks to be a simpler version, skipping the tomato roasting in favor of canned tomatoes and adds saffron, orzo and heavy cream.  Sounds delicious.

The Salted Carmel Brownies sound divine.  This recipe is the Outrageous Brownies also from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook with the addition of caramel sauce and flaked sea salt.  Everyone loves the original brownie, carmel could only make them that much better.

Amelia’s Jambalaya is a new recipe that I am going to try.  It is described as a perfect one-dish dinner for a crowd.  Sounds right up my alley.

There is plenty of advise on how to throw a dinner party that is successful for the guests and hostess alike.  My favorite is that each meal should have one dish prepared in advance, another baked or roasted in the oven, and a third cooked on top of the stove.  Seems like a simple enough formula to take the stress out of timing a meal.

I would love to enjoy a meal on the terrace outside of her barn!  She remodeled the kitchen that most of her shows were filmed in and added a screen porch also.  Hope that is featured on the new season of shows.   It seems to me that her kitchens could be installed in the Smithsonian one day, along side Julia Child’s, who Ina refers to as her hero.   In the mean time, I better get to the grocery store so that I can try some of these recipes.

Donna