Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I always have to have a quiet smile of satisfaction whenever my house smells like one of my grandmas' house. While you may not think that's such a good thing, let me explain:

First, both are still living (well and lively, and with both grandpas, I might add) in their own homes.

My house often smells of one house early in the morning: cold, old hardwood floors and brewed coffee (freshly ground of course!)

The other takes a bit more effort, and I wouldn't have been able to name it until tonight, but my other grandma's house smells like cookies!

My rational side says that Grandma and Poppy's doesn't always smell like cookies, but to my memory, it does...isn't memory a funny thing?

Do you ever unintentionally recreate or encounter something from childhood that triggers a memory? Mine ares often smells, usually food related...

I have learned and continue to learn so much from my grandparents (and parents too), but I am especially grateful for this:
Learning how to make a house into a home.

I hope your homes are all cozy and comfortable this night and always :)
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Thursday, January 13, 2011


I've been making some awesome food lately.  I thought I'd share my "recipes" with you so maybe you'll be inspired too!
Saturday, I made a big pot of Chicken noodle soup.  This may not sound inspired, but..
Sautee a diced onion , a diced carrot, and 2 diced potatoes until they're translucent.  Add 1 clove of minced garlic just at the end.  Add some chicken stock (I used 1 quart chicken stock, 1 quart turkey stock)  Oh, while this is all happening, be roasting some chicken in the oven.  Simmer the veggies in stock until tender.  Then, puree using your new immersion blender (Or you could use a regular blender.  Or skip this step altogether.)  Once it's pureed, it'll be nice and thick-ish.  Add more veggies (I used frozen corn and peas).  When they're cooked, puree them too, cause your husband doesn't like cooked veggies. If you like, drizzle in a little heat, I used Garlic Chipotle Sauce from Dinosaur BBQ.  In a separate pot, cook your pasta.  I used Primavera Orzo blend from http://www.flourcitypasta.com/.  It's Lemon Garlic, Parsley, Chive & Plain Flavored Orzos.  I get it from Jon himself at our regional market, but he does sell it online.  Soo good!  Anyway, back to the soup.  Cook your pasta separately so it doesn't gum up your soup after multiple reheatings.  Also, then you can pressure can any leftover soup without pasta bricks in the bottom!  When your chicken is done, let it cool enough so you can shred it and add to your soup.  For best results, I use a mix of light and dark meat.  Put some pasta in the bottom of a bowl, ladle soup over it and voila! 

Monday night, Winter squash risotto with blue cheese.
I used a carnival squash, but butternut, acorn, or delicata would all be good here.
Peel the squash, carefully! Cut in to 1/2 inch to 1 inch dice.  Toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350 degrees.  While that's going on, make your risotto.  For directions, click here.  I use white wine first and broth after, I used a combination of vegetable and beef because it's what I had on hand.  When the recipe calls to add parmesan cheese (and for the love of everything, do not EVER purchase it from a green can!!!!!!!!!), also dice up a small wedge of blue cheese, I use saga blue which is a soft-ripened blue/brie cross.  Meanwhile, your squash should be done, pull it out and mix it in.  For an added treat, toast up some walnut pieces and sprinkle them in too.  A-Maz-Ing.

Wednesday night:
Bacon melts:
Before work, pull out your "emergency" baguette from the freezer (I sometimes buy an extra and cut it into thirds, wrap in saran, throw in a ziplock and freeze.) to thaw.
After work, lay out bacon strips on a baking sheet and cook at 350 until crispy.  (I don't cook bacon on the stove...too messy! But you can if you want!)
When the bacon is done, slice your baguette pieces in half horizontally, smear some tomato chutney on the cut insides (or other tomato product), layer on some cheese (I used pepper jack) and some bacon.  Put on the lid, roll sandwich tightly in aluminum foil and toss in the oven for 10-15 minutes to melt the cheese (It's still warm from the bacon, right?)  That's all she wrote.

Thursday night:
Homemade Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Start a big pot of water to boil.  Start a smaller (medium) saucepan with 2-3 TBS butter melting slowly.  Round up all your leftover cheese from the fridge (Tonight, I used a combo of cave-aged gruyere, extra sharp cheddar, pepper jack, and 2 individual servings of cheese product given to me as a gift)  Add 2-3 TBS flour to butter, whisk for a minute.  Add 2ish cups of milk, whisking.  Cook gently until milk thickens.  Cook the pasta in salted water.  Drain but DON'T RINSE!!!  while the pasta is draining, cut up the leftover bacon from last night and toss in the warm pasta pot.  Add your cheese to the milk, turn off the heat and stir until cheese is melted.  Pour into bacon.  Add pasta.  Toss.  Enjoy.  

Sorry for all the words and lack of photos, but I didn't take any of the delicious food this week.  Whoops!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Well! I didn't intend on taking a month-long hiatus from blogging, but with all the craziness this holiday season, something had to give, and blogging and cleaning my house were it.  I guess this holiday season wasn't any crazier than years past, but I often to much of my shopping/crafting beginning in the late summer/early autumn, and this year, just didn't get to it (that minor task of planning our wedding got in the  way!)
So, here I am, back on the proverbial horse, with a list of resolutions (which I won't bore you with sharing).  Instead, I would like to share with you some of the highlights of our holiday season:

We got our wedding photos (digitally, at least!)

 Got new phones (that's the hubby, phone in one hand, remote in the other)

 Thanksgiving leftover pizza: Cranberry Sauce, turkey, 
Mozzarella, and balsamic onionsDefinitely my favorite 
leftover creation to date!

Picked out and decorated our tree

 Spent time in Canada with the in-laws!

 Hubby got me a label-maker.  He'll be sorry! 
The first thing I labeled was him: Husband

No trip to Canada is complete without a trip to Harvey's!

 Some things I didn't take photos of: The amazing Feast of the Seven Fishes, hosted by my amazing Grandparents, our midnight drive to Canada, hanging lights on our new house, Snowmageddon (we do live in the Northeast!), and our decked-out house.

I hope your holiday season was as blessed as ours was.  Each year, we are more and more thankful for the wonderful families we have both been gifted with. 

Farewell to 2010, you were an awesome year! New house, marriage, continued health for us and our loved ones.  Hello 2011, hope you live up to your potential to be the best yet!