Thursday, February 9, 2012
Having a two year old is amazing, wondrous, humbling, frustrating, teeth gritting, heart melting and breath taking (in both the negative and positive meaning) all wrapped into one non-stop Energizer bunny package. She is a creature on a quest for independent adventure and most times this is a great thing. Sometimes not. Sometimes keeping her busy can be challenging. Sometimes its hard to think of what to do to keep her entertained so as not to fall back on the option of "how about an episode of Sesame Street we have DVR'd for these very moments?". Even as I type she has climbed into my lap and has taken this blogging session hostage, saying, "Helping Clara (pronounced Cahrah)!", which means she wants to help me do whatever it is I am doing. All 35 pounds of her (that is not a typo) are sitting here, facing me wide-eyed, hoping I will offer her a new adventure. We're home sick today with strep throat and even though the throat culture says she is sick, she doesn't feel sick. She wants to climb and jump and squeal and laugh... and help. God love her. She's not boring. As a working mom, these are reasons I love school. Since I cannot be available to her every day like this, it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy to know she is at a place that can. Clara attends a Montessori school and they never run short of "works" for her to do. Tedious fine motor skill tasks, color sorting, phonics learning, mind inspiring, creativity inducing, energy burning tasks that not only teach my inquisitive little pip squeak new things, but keep her busy.
So the start of this post has nothing to do with the title. I started off with the intention of talking about her sweet little school and her adorable little 2 year old friends but I got distracted. What is it about the mommy brain? It's like a dog seeing something shiny.
Back to our regularly scheduled program. You see, one of the things I love about our little girl attending school is making crafts for holidays. She's too little to be of real help right now(I mean, don't get me wrong, I let her think she is helping all the time) especially when exact-o blades, melted crayons and scissors are involved, but I look forward to the days when she is old enough to not only make these crafts with me but help decide what we are going to make.
Since most of her classmates are 2 years old I wanted to make something that they could play with and not just fill their bellies with sugar (although I will be posting about an edible craft too). I saw this on Pinterest (is anyone else out there addicted?) and knew it was the perfect way for her to show her friends how much she "yuvs" them.
I needed to make about 3-dozen of these adorable heart shaped crayons and each one calls for about 3 crayons worth of wax each. So 3 x's 36=108 crayons. I used a package of old crayons and purchased some new (using an awesome coupon I had for Michaels $10 off $30- I love that store!). With an exact-o blade, I slit the crayon paper open close to the seam. Derrick and I cut all the paper on the crayons first, then unwrapped them. We sorted them into color families (Yes, Derrick helped. He is a real rockstar, that husband of mine, and he is all about assembly line crafts then render really fun results). After reading several blogs this seemed to create the most aesthetically pleasing crayons.
I preheated my oven to 250. Then I prepped a cookie sheet by lining it with Wilton silicon heart molds. In hindsight, I would have placed a piece of parchment paper onto the cookie sheet first. Chalk it up to a lesson learned, one that you can take advantage of...crayon wax doesn't come off easily. Then I sprinkled about 1/4 teaspoon of craft glitter into the molds. Then I broke the crayons into as small of pieces as my fingers would let me and filled the liners with about three crayons worth of crayons each. After each mold was appropriately filled, I topped the crayon pieces with another 1/4 teaspoon of glitter. I popped the tray into the oven and let them melt for about 15 minutes. I removed the cookie tray carefully as to disturb the wax as little as possible and let the wax cool for 20-30 minutes. The results were awesome.
I added black, white, silver and gold crayons to certain color families for a little pop. They are incredibly cute and super easy. An older child (say in the 5-10 range) could easily help with this craft, save the exact-o blade part.
I created a little background for the card on the computer, cut them out and added Clara's signature and a ribbon accent (which I tied through a ribbon punch). Presto! One adorable little Valentine from our little Muffin Puff! I can't wait to share these with her friends. These heart crayons are the perfect size for chubby little fingers.
Stay tuned for another craft to share with those you love on Valentine's Day.
Monday, February 6, 2012
So...it's been a year. Not exactly 12 months, but...for all intents and purposes we might as well just call it a year. I don't really know where that year went, but I will say that I have thought about this blog often and have missed it often. The trouble is I don't want to just talk about food. There are so many things I want to cover and share. I have been contemplating changing the direction of this blog to be more all the things I love.
What kinds of things, you ask? Well, I am not just a foodie and culinary amateur. I am also a wife, a mother, a friend. I am a registered interior designer who enjoys designing, creating, crafting and compulsive organization. Throw in the fun and challenges (and sometimes highly frustrating moments) that come with being a project manager for a major university here in the great state of Texas and this blog transforms from food only into something more.
I haven't quite decided what that something more and something different is, but I am working on it. Stay tuned. It's coming soon.
In the meantime, here are a few new pictures of our girl, Muffin. She's two now. She talks in full sentences and has imaginary conversations with her favorite cast of characters (a bunny, a monkey and a frog). She is growing and changing and so am I. I can't wait to tell you about it all.
Hope this blog finds you well!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
A few weeks ago the weather was bitter cold with a crazy north Texas wind whipping through the air and all I made for days was hearty, home cooked meals. This one takes the cake. I've posted it before, but this time our little chicken pot pies meant more with a mini pie just for our Muffin. Our family of 3 celebrated with creamy chickeny goodness...and pie crust.
I always forget how awesome these little pies are, until I make them again the next winter. SO SO SO good. I used store bought pie crust this time...don't judge. To find the recipe, click here: Chickie Pot Pies. Clara's vote- scrumdiddliumptios! She loved it! She told me to tell you to make these quick before it is technically no longer winter. I dare you to tell this face no.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
There is still baking going on at Honeyed Hashette. Not just cooking. My husband and I have a little brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters (we're a Big Family). Our little came over Sunday to watch football and bake cupcakes. He just turned 8 and also just saw "The Green Hornet". Being the girl that I am, I had Valentine's Day treats in mind for us to make for his family. When I asked him if he wanted to make pink icing, he looked at me like I had a third eyeball in the middle of my forehead. "How about green?", I asked. He smiled and nodded. Green icing it was. I did convince him to use cute heart sprinkles since some of these cupcakes would be gifted to his mom and little sister. He's a sweet kid.
The cupcakes themselves were fluffy chocolate. My go recipe which can be found here and here.
The icing was a traditional Wilton vanilla buttercream with a twist...a dash of rum extract (don't worry- it is alcohol free). SO yummy. Our little declared it the best icing ever as he licked the first spatula clean and decided a second spatula needed to be covered in icing too.
Here there are all decorated and ready to be eaten. We did too, even Baby Clara. Sunday cupcakes are a nice treat. I can't wait until Clara can be my baking partner.
Our little had fun putting extra heart sprinkles on the cupcake for his mom, which I thought was especially sweet.
I love Valentine's baking goodies!
A few weeks ago my coworkers and I paid a visit to our local Olive Garden for the soup, salad and breadstick lunch. It was a furiously cold day. I use the word furiously because it was one of those days where the wet winter wind (nice alliteration, huh?) causes the chill to snip at you through even the warmest of winter coats...leaving you...well, furious. I'm a Texan and Texans just don't do cold. We do hot, hotter and hottest. We do humid. We can handle hail. We don't blink at a tornado warning or even a flood. But cold, sleet and snow...that's just not our comfort zone. Anyway...I'm rambling.
This cold day warranted some hot soup. I ordered the pasta fagioli and my teammates ordered the toscana soup. They raved about how tasty it was to the point that I announced I needed to try it. One coworker informed me that she possessed the recipe and offered to share. Thus, the Honeyed Hashette version was born. This soup is creamy and full of bacony sausagey flavor (no, sausagey is not a word...yet). The red pepper flakes add a touch of heat which you could easily increase or decrease. It makes a TON of soup, so this would be perfect for a crowd or to serve in a cabin on a ski trip...you get the idea. Oh, and don't forget the cheese. It compliments the soup so well. Normally, Parmesan to me is a take or leave kind of thing but it really ties this soup together (that's the interior designer in me talking).
Zuppa Toscana (similar to Olive Garden's Toscana soup and adapted from recipe found on tuscanrecipes.com)
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
1 tsp crushed red peppers
1/2 large diced onion
3 slices bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
10 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole milk (or cream if you live dangerously)
3 large Russet potatoes, diced with skins on
1-2 cups roughly chopped kale or spinach
grated parmesan for garnish
Brown Italian sausage, ground beef and crushed red pepper in a large pot.
Drain excess fat, place meats in a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, sauté bacon, onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions are tender.
Add chicken stock to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
Add the sliced potatoes and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
Add the milk and just cook until thoroughly heated.
Stir in the sausage and the spinach or kale.
Let simmer an additional 15 minutes.
Garnish with parmesan and serve.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Two posts in one week! How to you like them apples? Maybe I should make New Year's Resolutions more often?? Don't answer that!
This is one of my favorite comfort meals. I could drink the sauce, it is so good! It is also one of those meals where you actually want leftovers because it tastes even better the next day (if that's even possible). Other bonus points for this recipe- it is easy, calls for simple and few ingredients and can be put together in a snap. Love that!
I found this in 2009 on Food Network. It is one of Paula Dean's recipes...this version is tweaked Honeyed Hashette style. She used cubed round steak and I use lean sirloin very thinly sliced. I find the very thin lean meat is much better compliment to the texture of the mushrooms than chunks of steak, but that's just me. The recipe makes about 6 servings and I really can't tell you how good it is. I have no words. Just do me a solid and promise me you'll try it.
All three of us love this, even baby Clara. Baby girl loves her beef...and her mushrooms...and pretty much anything for that matter...except broccoli...and drinking milk from a sippy cup...but I digress.
Beef Stroganoff (recipe slightly adapted from Paula Dean's recipe found on Food Network)
3 medium sized lean sirloin steaks, sliced very thinly
Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper and garlic powder for seasoning
All purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (I only use 1/2)
16 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced
1 10 oz. can beef broth (or beef consomme)
1 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1/1-1 cup sour cream
Oodles of extra wide egg noodles, cooked per directions
Thinly slice your sirloin steak to about 1/8-1/4" thick slices.
Cut against the grain of the steak on a slight angle to help provide tender bites of meat.
Season both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Sprinkle both sides with a light dusting of flour.
In 5 quart (or so) sauce pan, melt the butter in olive oil.
Quickly brown your steak on both sides, remove from pan and set aside.
Your steak should not be fully cooked at this point.
Add the onion and mushrooms to the pan and saute in the yummy drippings until the onion is tender.
Lightly dust the veggies with flour.
Add the browned steak back to the pan and toss the mixture together.
Add the beef broth and cream of mushroom soup and mix until well combined.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Stir in the sour cream and serve over cooked egg noodles.
Be warned- you may not talk during dinner...it's THAT good!
Monday, January 17, 2011
Yeah, so...um...well...ahem...I've become the worst blogger...ever. I told myself I wouldn't, I assured myself I would never...but this little person of ours is so compelling with her big blue eyes and her perfect little pout. When she comes tottling over with a book in her chubby hands saying, "dis, dis" wanting to snuggle up in my lap to read "Can You Hop" or "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" for the millionth time...I just can't say no.
She is thirteen months old now. It happened so fast. She went from a tiny, sleepy bean to a walking, talking toddler in the blink of an eye. She is literally growing up before my eyes and I can barely stand it. BUT, she is also getting better at independent play which means mommy can cook dinner...it's the little things.
I am need of a grocery store visit, so I made dinner with on hand ingredients. That means most of you (if there are any "yous" out there anymore) can make this most days too which basic ingredients you always have on hand. How awesome is that?
(please note there is a purple potato in there too, because my russets were small and the purple fella needed to be used)
I found this recipe by The Neely's on foodnetwork.com and tweaked it like I almost always do. It was delicious. Creamy which a rich flavor from the beer and sharp cheddar and toppped with crunchy delicious bacon and speckled with bites of sour cream. MMMmmmmmm. The only change I would make would be to keep chunks of potato bites in the soup instead of all pureed potato goodness. You could really play with this too- top it with pico de gallo, shredded barbequed beef, add smoked chicken and more. So versatile and with the weather being so cold and gloomy, it's the perfect "in front of the fireplace" meal.
I hope all of you are doing well!
Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup (recipe slightly adapted from The Neely's on Food Network):
4 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk (you could be daring and use cream or half and half too)
1 (12 ounce) bottle light bodied beer (I used lager)
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, more for topping
2 heaping Tbsp. sour cream, and more for garnish
Dash favorite hot sauce
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Crispy bacon, for topping (love me some applewood smoked bacon)
Optional: Fresh chopped chives, for topping
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Add all the veggies and saute until begin to soften.
Sprinkle flour over top and stir.
Cook for about 2-3 minutes to allow flour to toast.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add chicken broth, milk and beer.
Bring to a boil, stir and reduce heat to allow soup to simmer.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Spoon out veggie chunks and puree with blender and add back to liquid.
Heat soup and add cheese and sour cream, stir until melted and well combined.
Season with hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve immediately and top with bacon, cheese and chives.