Monday, December 6, 2010

This Week in Food

(We like food. A lot. I don't think this will come as a surprise to any of our readers.)

Until Friday morning (so early! Our furnace guy is either very in demand or very lazy, because he has a habit of waiting until a few hours after the initial appointment to call and reschedule, but aaaanyway --) we didn't have any real cooking capabilities. We had a crockpot -- and I'm actually a big crockpot fan! -- but no range or oven. Rather, we had them, but we had no natural gas line going into the kitchen. . . (Why does everything seem ten times more complicated than it needs to be when you're a homeowner?)

Anyway, early Friday morning our furnace/gas/etc. guy got here to hook up the gas line to the kitchen/clean the furnace/other fun things. My favorite exchange? When he said, "Hey, put your hands here. You feel that? That's a carbon monoxide leak!" To which I responded, "Oh." Sometimes I feel like people must think I'm -- I don't know, "special needs?" -- but really, what else do you say to that?

At any rate, he fixed it. He cleaned the furnace (which is older than I am!) and the water heater. He hooked a gas line up to the kitchen. He gave me a working range. When I went to write out the check, he said he'd send me a bill instead, and I'm not sure whether he was being semi-merciful (as in, "I know you don't have this in your checking account now, so I'll let you sweat it out/save/wait a bit,") or cruel ("muahahaha they'll never know what's about to hit them!"), but --

Our first week in the house was full o' crock pot goodness. Or at least crock pot edibleness. We made slow-cooker beef stew with mushrooms which was gooood, we made some kind of chicken and noodle and white wine stew that turned out a little too "eh" to bother linking to, and we made Stephanie O'Dea's nice pot roast recipe. (I love her book Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. She's my crock pot hero!) The beef stew disappeared in a day. The chicken "stuff" is probably on its way out into the trash  (sorry, starving African orphans or whoever), and the pot roast is on its way to becoming taco/enchilada/southwestern something for tomorrow night's leftover dinner extravaganza.

On Friday, after we were gifted with the magic of natural gas in the kitchen, we made plain old white bread to christen the oven. I know that's a totally lame/unadventurous recipe to use for bread, but it's served me well in the past. This time? Either my shiny new oven runs hot or the yeast really does die when the package says it expires, because it was a little flat/sad, but still pretty good. A friend suggested trying this recipe for No-Fuss Focaccia but I went with the tried & true recipe this time (because I'm boring?) but that one is going on the to-try list! My assistant helped me knead. With her nose. With a cold. Oy.

A few vitamin C pills and a good night's sleep later, we turned that bread into Overnight Blueberry Stuffed French Toast! Oh, goodness. I'm watching calories these days, but -- this is worth it. We made a few mods (mostly scaling back the recipe for a family of 2.5, and using slightly lighter ingredients when possible), but -- yep, definitely worth it. Especially on a snowy Sunday morning. I don't mean to be all gushy about my newly found domestic bliss, but -- Sunday morning family breakfasts are awesome. We had coffee. We had snuggling. (Later we also had more football than---- anyway.) We had glorious high-fat breakfasts with whipped cream. I don't care how many lunges I'll have to do or how many grilled skinless chicken breasts the next few days will bring. This morning was lovely :-)

Let's see, what else? Before the oven got hooked up, Bob had a rotten day at work and I wanted to surprise him in an "I'm a pseudo-SAHM-with-a-toddler-and, uh,-a-job-and-no-working-oven" way and K and I made a batch of no-bake bourbon cookies, as follows:

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (because I like making cookies from other cookies)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
...2+ish tablespoons honey (I don't know how much I ended up using -- it didn't seem sticky enough with what the original recipe called for)
1/4 cup bourbon
(Some recipes call for chopped pecans too, but we've got a toddler with nut allergies so we skipped that. Uh, not that we should be feeding the toddler bourbon to begin with...)

Mix cookie crumbs, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder together. Pour in the bourbon & honey, and dig those hands in! (I started trying to mix with a spoon but it was just -- hands were easier.) It should be kind of a clay-like consistency. Roll into balls, then roll in more powdered sugar. Refrigerate (they're supposed to be better cold & aged a couple of days, but they were pretty good fresh, too!) and enjoy!

At any rate: hello, new week. Why are you waving all those carrot sticks at me?


  1. And it was the bestest food ever! My compliments to the chef!

  2. My wife & I are also big crock pot fans. One of our favorite crock pot recipes this time of year is a Tuscan White Bean Soup. We also like to do Chili in the crockpot (especially on Sundays). Then there's a Chili/Stew hybird that I used to do in a Dutch oven in a campfire when I was a Boy Scout. I adapted the recipe for Crock Pot cooking. If you're interested in any recipes let me know I'm happy to share!

  3. Crock Pots ROCK! Yea, I'm 39 years old and have been a mother for almost 9 years now, I am *just* now learning how to use one of those damn things, especially since I'm now a WAHM like you, with no time left to pee in peace, much less cook without a 2 foot leg-attachment begging for attention.

    I'll have to try that cookie recipe, sounds yummy :)


Please consider leaving a comment and saying hello!