Monday, February 28, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza's

One of my easy go to meals for the kids is mini pepperoni pizza's on english muffins.  The kids get whatever they want on them, and they love the small size.

It's actually one of my all time lazy meals, since the sauce is store bought, the cheese is pre-shredded and of course, the pepperoni comes in a bag.  Whatever, it's decent food for the tired times.  This was lunch yesterday.  It was a pizza day.  We had left over pizza pasta from two days before as well.  That was a fun dish, I got some neato noodles, cooked them, chopped up some pepperoni, used my favorite pizza sauce as a base, stirred in a cup of cottage cheese, a couple handfuls of mozzarella and stirred it all together and popped it in the oven.  The kids ate seconds even.  It will be a new go to recipe here.

We had company over, Aiden had a play date and slumber party, so breakfast was cinnamon rolls.  Which came out of my freezer.  I prefer them from scratch, no offense to the people who make the frozen rolls. 

Slow Day

Today I had an iron transfusion, so I wasn't really into cooking.  I looked at lots of recipes, trying to find something that looked good to make, instead, I went to sleep.  Now it is 8pm and I am making a chicken stir fry, because it is easy and tasty.  My kids ate ramon.  Yes, I am that mom sometimes.

Yesterday, however, on the day I said I would not cook anymore, I made a very good vanilla bean pudding.  I ate mine warm, while everyone else ate it chilled.  It was a huge hit.  I'm thinking about making creme anglaise layered with blackberries for Velvet's bridal shower, as a dessert, especially since she loves blackberries.

What do yo cook on those days when you just don't have anything in you left to make the effort?  What are your easy go to meals?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sweet Rolls

These are my go to roll when it comes to holiday meals.  I love it, its easy, but at the same time complicated, and tastes awesome with some good old honey butter. 

Sweet Rolls

3 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons yeast
2 eggs well beaten
6-8 cups of flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 very large bowls

Scald the milk. Melt the butter in it. Pour into a very large bowl(you will be rising the bread in this, at least for the first rise), add sugar, stir to dissolve. Let sit until you can put a finger in it and it doesn't burn you. You don't want it cold, but you don't want it hot. If you have ever made a baby's bottle, this is the temperature you are going for. Once it hits that temperature, stir in the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the yeast can wake up and eat a bit.

Whisk in the eggs. Now with a heavy wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups of flour. Then stir in the baking powder and a third cup of flour. Oil the top of the mixture and wait for it to double in size. Once it has risen, gently punch down with your fingers until the dough is all at the bottom of the bowl. Add a cup or two of the flour to the bowl and knead the dough in the bowl until it can come out and onto the tablet to be kneaded. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 2-3 minutes, adding flour only as needed to avoid sticking. You don't want to overwork it, but you want to make it all come together. Let rise until doubles in size. All rising really depend on your yeast, your kitchen, etc. It should take an hour or so.

Once risen, shape the dough into rolls. I haven't made it into loaves or anything else, so I don't know how it works as anything but a roll.

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd used to scare me.  Actually anything that required heating up eggs to make a satiny end product scared me.  Then I wanted to make cupcakes for the wedding that required lemon curd.  And I didn't want to buy it.  So, I manned up and made it.  It was easy.

Essentially all I did was take the juice of two lemons, plus the zest off of them, 1 cup superfine sugar, though normal sugar works too, and 8 egg yolks.  I whisked it all together, and then stirred it constantly on medium heat until it got thick and coated a spoon.  Once it hit that point, I took it off the heat and whisked in 10 tablespoons of cold butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Then I strained it through a fine mesh strainer and put it in the fridge, covered by a layer of plastic wrap so that it wouldn't get a skin.  Once I have lemon cupcakes made, I will fill them.

Speaking of filled cupcakes, today I also made chocolate cupcakes, and I filled them with a salted caramel and then frosted them with a chocolate frosting.  They are good, but you really can only eat one, or you will die by cupcake.  Any pictures with a copywrite were done by Verity Images Photography

I got a wild bug up my butt earlier this month, and bought a turkey.  Then I invited friends to come over today, and boom, we are having Thanksgiving dinner in February.  Lately I have been doing anything I can to get friends over and to have a good evening with company.  Next month I get to have a party using Philly's new cream cheese products meant to make making dinner easier.  I won the chance to do it on  I will blog the entire event.

I'm willing to take any ideas for cupcakes, if anyone can think of any.  I am having so much fun making them.  I do the cupcake tasting for Velvet's wedding end of March, beginning of April, and I swear I will need 50 pounds of powdered sugar, 50 pounds of sugar, 50 pounds of flour, 50 pounds of butter and 50 pounds of cream cheese, just to make the tasting.  Doing it for the wedding will be interesting, but worth it.

I will have pictures from the lemon curd/cupcakes later, but for now, I do have pictures from the chocolate ones.

Something New

Today I made a cupcake that isn't going into the lineup of cupcakes that I am letting Velvet taste for her wedding.  Instead, it was something to play with, a way to fail without worries.  I made a cupcake that was made with coconut and lemon grass infused milk, plus actual lemongrass in the batter, and a lemongrass-ginger cream cheese frosting.

I didn't fail.  These were awesome, in their own strange way.  This is a cupcake that if I had my own shop, I would make as a special of the day, limited quantity cupcake, or on special order.*

Speaking of failing, I missed turning in one assignment in one of my online courses.  The teach emailed me with my grade.  I went from having a 97% in the class to having a 59%.  I need to get only A's for the next two-three weeks so that I keep a decent GPA.  I can't wait until my classes are based on cooking, and not on general ed.  I take a nutrition class next term, and it scares me now, because the teacher sent out the syllabus this early, so that we could drop the class now if we think it will be too hard.  Next year I won't have any GE classes to take, just culinary and I am very excited to actually be starting the new part of my life.

Tomorrow I am doing a Thanksgiving in February, simply because I want turkey, and company.  I have invited my friends over, and we will have a feast.  I am also going to be working on chocolate cupcakes, since I failed on them last time I made them(and how can it be that I can make all kinds of different cupcakes, even some that require fresh lemon curd, but I can't make a decent chocolate?) and I will make my triple lemon, because it was AWESOME!  I can't wait to get graham crackers and butane so I can make smores cupcakes.  The butane is for my BRAND NEW kitchen torch.  I can't wait to use it.

Starting Monday, I have three weeks of iron transfusions coming up.  Please keep your fingers crossed that I don't have a bad reaction.  I guess a small amount of people who have these go through anaphylactic shock.  I am really really good at falling into the minority, so I'm a bit scared.  They changed my bipolar medicine last week, and I was one of the 20% of people who stop sleeping when they take it.  Then I went back onto my old medicine, didn't think to put myself slowly on it, and dropped my blood pressure so low that anytime I moved I almost passed out.  I think I've got it under control now.

Well, that's about it today chickies.

*Photos taken by Verity Images Photography.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The beginning

When I first found blogging, I was looking for people who had the same troubles as me.  By that I mean people who couldn't seem to keep a baby alive inside them long enough to make it.  I found a great community, and a voice, and wrote through the birth of my son, my divorce, and the birth of my daughter.  I wrote the good, the bad and the ugly, and it felt good.  Then one day, I lost my voice.  I wasn't the person I was, who needed people to talk to to deal with the miscarriages.

Today it is different.  I have my kids, I am back together with my ex-husband, I've been going to school for elementary education for 2 years now.  So, what changed, what made me want to find a voice again?

I am about to embark on a very scary journey.  I changed my major to culinary arts.  I am going to try to get into the program here at our culinary college.  What started me on this new path was my friend asking me to cater her wedding.  It started with just the cupcakes, and ended up the whole shebang. 

Since then, I have been testing out recipes for all the dishes we will serve at her buffet, and have been playing with cupcakes.  I have made so many cupcakes that I think my entire neighborhood is sick of them.  It has been a blast though, and I can see myself one day opening a little shop.

So, what made me want to write again?  I wanted a clean space, one not cluttered by divorce, or infertility, or really, any negativity.  I'm keeping my old blog, and that is where you will hear me rage and vent when it comes to personal things.  Here, I want to keep it light, fun, about food.  About going through the process to be the me everyone expected me to be, and were surprised I didn't go after before.

So hello, and I hope this is the start to a wonderful new chapter.