A Wee Organizational Project


Ok, so this is something I've been wanting to do for about a hundred years.  I was given a magnetized pen holder waaaayyyy back, and despite the fact that I never really liked the way it looked, I have moved it all over tarnation because there was just no denying it was practical for holding grocery list pens.  After scouring pinterest for ideas, I finally rummaged through one of those junk drawers that we all seem to wind up with despite good intentions and New Years resolutions, and came up with my own solution.  And my solution happens to hold a bottle opener. Handy!

Refrigerator Pen Holder

1 glass spice jar (available at just about any import shop for pocket change if you don't have one filled with a spice you could sacrifice without tears)
1 domino sized magnet (available at home improvement stores)
super glue (read back to make sure it works on glass)


Can you guess the directions from here?  Okay, I'll try to make this simple:

Good and glue that magnet onto the jar.  Wait until glue is rock solid, in my case, about a day.  Presto! Done. 

And if you bought a nice strong magnet, you can stick the bottle opener (my mom calls it a church key.  Does anyone else see the irony in this?) right on the side of the magnet.


Truffled Mac and Cheese

I've been plotting to invest in a really nice (read: hidden deep in the back of the cupboards where no one will accidentally grab it to fry eggs) bottle of olive oil for drizzling. I spotted this gorgeous white truffle oil on one of those rare days when I had both the time and money to invest in making up my mind to take it home, and tonight I finally got up the nerve to use it.  Oh, sweet truffles... Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was Mac and Cheese. I'm classy that way.  So, whether you have lost your mind and bought a ridiculously expensive bottle of truffled olive oil  or are just looking for a quick dinner your kids will actually eat, I bring you a 15 minute stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe that just happens to be heaven on earth, especially with a little drizzle...

1/2 package of pasta of your choosing
2/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 Tbls butter
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp fine dijon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (more if you like)
White Truffle Olive Oil for drizzling

1.  While the pasta cooks, whisk milk, butter, garlic, dijon and Worcestershire in medium pot over medium heat.  Once the sauce has reached a smooth consistency, reduce heat to low and continue to stir until pasta is done cooking. Add strained pasta and cheese to the sauce and stir until cheese is thoroughly melted. Serve hot.  Drizzle truffled oil over top of each dish.  (Okay, maybe not for the kids.  They won't appreciate it, anyways.) Now try and tell yourself the oil wasn't worth the investment!



My, but what is this?  We had a little surprise when we opened our carton of eggs from the farmers market this week.  We have already (adamantly) established who will be eating this little beauty.  Now we must decide how it will be prepared.  Any suggestions?


Family Favorite

If you enjoy food like I do, then you too occassionaly become hung up on something you've tried in a restaurant.  Obsession leads to hungry daydreams. Then, naturally, a crazy woman takes over your kitchen, making a catastrophic mess of the place, ignoring neccessary responsibilities, and working maniacally to recreate it. Fortunately for my family and friends, I was eventually able to figure this one out.  Who's to say what might have become of us otherwise?

So, in hopes of sparing you the hours of kitchen scrubbing this one led to for me, let me introduce you to the very simple, very addictive

Butternut Squash Enchilada

1 whole butternut squash
6 large whole wheat tortillas (the softer, the better)
1 can enchilada sauce (important note here, this will all taste much better with a sweet sauce like La Preferida. http://www.amazon.com/La-Preferida-Enchilada-Sauce-10-Ounce/dp/B000S3T23K/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1341255902&sr=1-1&keywords=la+preferida+enchilada+sauce+mild The smoky sauces like Trader Joe's just don't play nicely with this one.)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup organic spinach, thawed and drained if frozen or washed and chopped if fresh
1 log goat cheese
Cotija cheese, shedded for sprinkling on top

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the stem off the butternut squash (so your knife doesn't get stuck and threaten to remove fingers on the next step.) Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Rinse. Cover generously with salt and pepper and put cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook about 40 minutes, until the skin is golden and the squash gives nicely when you press against the skin.  Don't worry too much about overcooking it.  You want it to be very soft, and it tends to carmelize nicely if you leave it in a bit longer.  Tasty.  Remove from oven and allow to cool before scooping squash from the skin.  (This can be done the day before, making for a real quick dinner prep the next day. Just throw the cooled squash in a covered dish in the fridge and pull it out when you're ready for it.)

2) Heat olive oil and garlic in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add spinach and stir for about a minute, until wilted.  Add squash and stir until heated through. Remove from heat.

3) Spoon about a third of the sauce into a 9 x 12 baking dish and spread it around.  Flip two tortillas in the sauce.  Spoon a bit of sauce in a 9 x 9 baking dish and do the same with a third tortilla. (This enchilada is for lunch tomorrow!)  Spoon 1/3 of the squash mixture onto each tortilla. Spread the mixture around the tortillas.

4) Tear open the goat cheese and sprinkle generously about.  When the whole log is dispersed, lick your fingers clean.  You deserve it.  Now wash your hands! I sure hope the kids didn't see you. 

5) Top each pile with a tortilla.  Spoon the remaining sauce over the tops.  Sprinkle with cotija cheese.  If you don't have cotija, feel free to use a mexican blend, or a pizza blend, if it comes to that.  Truth be told, I only put cheese on the top to send myself a signal about which enchilada has the extra goat cheese hidden inside.  If you notice a difference in the above photo, it's no accident.

6) Cook 15 minutes or until heated through.  Enjoy!


Booze-Free Peach Collins

We're dusting off the old grill around here, and that means it's time for entertaining.  I'm trying to expand my booze-free repertoire to accommodate all of our guests, and this is my take on a virgin Peach Collins.  Mighty refreshing!

Booze-Free Peach Collins

(per glass)
1/2 really ripe peach
1 Tbls simple syrup (recipe below)
ice cubes
Tonic Water

1) Cut peach halves into 4 pieces, removing skin.  Put in bottom of glass and crush with the back of a spoon until you've good and juiced the little buggers.  Add simple syrup and ice.  Fill with tonic water.  Stir and serve.

Simple Syrup

Boil equal parts sugar and water until dissolved.  Store in a bottle in the fridge for up to two weeks.


German pancakes

I love the morning.  Crisp air, birds singing, dew drops reflecting slanted light.  These things are the stuff of magic, I'm sure intended to fill a new day with promise.  Sigh.  Sadly, these things go mostly unnoticed around here.  We are too busy changing diapers, finding clean sippies and stumbling gratefully towards the coffeepot.  To top that off, the little people are usually on the verge of riot for breakfast.  This is my current go to breakfast.  It's so simple and cooks up beautifully enough to serve for a holiday or any old Tuesday morning.  Even better- leftovers make a great little snack that stores just fine in a baggie in the fridge.  Enjoy!

German pancakes

4 Large Eggs
1 Tbls Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c flour
2/3 c milk
2 Tbls butter, softened
Additional butter for serving
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Berries or other fresh fruit

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter two 9 inch cake pans well.
2. Mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow. Add remaining ingredients and blend into uniform batter.
4. Pour half the batter into each pan.  Bake 12-15 minutes, until big, golden bubbles form.  Reduce oven to 350 and bake for 5 minutes, until cooked through. 
5. Serve topped with butter, powdered sugar and fresh fruit.  And coffee!


Housewarming Treat


It's official!  We've moved and are finally settled into our new home.  (Boy was that a long process!)  This outrageously good snack was introduced to me as a housewarming gift by my dear friend, Natasha (visit her gorgeous home blog at http://www.moderncottageblog.blogspot.com/ )  We've kept a batch on hand ever since.

(Recipe adapted from Ina Garten- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/rosemary-roasted-cashews-recipe/index.html )

Rosemary Roasted Almonds

1 lb Marcona Almonds
1 Tbls butter, melted
2 Tbls fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp dark brown sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350. Spread almonds over parchment covered baking sheet.  Heat for about 8 mins, until they begin to turn golden.

2) While the nuts are heating, mix together remaining ingredients. Stir in the warm nuts until coated. 

Store in an airtight container.


Insane Fish Tacos

A lot of things I do might be considered insane. Like forgetting how much I hate planning and attempting to stencil my bathroom. That was insane. Or taking two children under the age of four on a pair of overseas flights. Insane. And then there is the bottle of purple grey nailpolish sitting on my dresser right now. Pretty awful. But what we had for dinner last night? That was in a class all it's own. So good, friends. I couldn't stop eating.

If you like fish tacos (and come on, who doesn't like fish tacos?) give these a try. And while I'm usually all about substituting ingredients with whatever you have in the kitchen, you have GOT to get to the market before you try this one. Do not cheat on the arugala! Even if it means planning, and those are words you may never read from me again.

Insane Fish Tacos

First up, the sauce:
3/4 cup low fat or fat free greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonaise
Juice from 1/2 large lime
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp small capers
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbls fresh cilantro, chopped

1) Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and let sit at room temperature for about an hour or cover and refrigerate overnight.

4 Panko Crusted Tilapia Fillets
1 bunch baby arugula, cleaned
1 ear corn, cooked and cut off the cob (white corn is, bar none, the best. Take it from me, I did my stint in the American Midwest!), or corn from can, drained
1 package small, soft whole wheat tortillas

2) Cook up those fillets. (Here's a handy link, if you need it: http://www.ehow.com/how_2094845_cook-tilapia-fillets.html  or prepare them according to directions if frozen.) Take a little handful of arugula and lay it in the center of the tortilla. Sprinkle with corn. Break up the fillets and spread them around and drizzle a good dose of sauce on top.

3) Fold up on the sides and eat. And eat. And eat... The good news is you are bound to run out sooner or later.



Something Squirrely

Before I get around to showing you any photos, I must warn you that this post includes a recipe that I am not entirely proud of. It has zero nutritional value but cleverly disguises itself as one of natures treasures. That's getting it all backwards, if you ask me. But it's all done in the name of celebration, and, well, because my preschooler insisted that her birthday theme be squirrels. Sweet. So here goes, a preview of my weekend to come. First up, preschool treats:

Donut Hole Acorns

1 package of donut holes
1 jar Nutella
Chocolate Flavored Sprinkles (I'm telling you, people, not proud.)
Thin pretzel sticks

1. Spread nutella on top third of donut hole. (Being round, its up to you to decide which end is up.)
2. Roll in sprinkles.
3. Break pretzel stick in half and stick that puppy down the center of the nutella.

Serve with loads of milk and a napkin. Enjoy


Curried Chicken Salad

It's fast becoming birthday season around here, and as I begin running around like a deranged little birthday elf, I find myself in the very fortuntate position of trying a number of new recipes that will make party day simple. My latest favorite is a curried chicken salad recipe from Ellie Krieger over at the Food Network. It's simple, healthy and mighty tasty. Just about right. So, if you're headed to our house, say, next weekend, don't try this at home.

So, here's the link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/curried-chicken-salad-recipe/index.html

And a hint or two- I tried it without the mayo and it was perfectly wonderful. I also found some luscious grilled chicken breast, which I chopped coarsely and saved myself most of the work. (Check Trader Joe's, friends.)