When Life Gives You Crap … Make Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I’ve been having a tough time lately. I will spare you the sad, poor-me, pity party, and just say that sometimes life kinda sucks. But, I try to always find the silver lining, and if I can’t find that well, then I start looking for chocolate!  Or if it super sucks, I start looking for chocolate chip cookie dough.

And I don’t know about you but I don’t want to make an entire batch of cookies and be a slave to the kitchen for hours on end.  I want to be in and out.  I also don’t want 3-4 dozen cookies just hanging around my house for the next week or so tempting me to eat them.

The Boy LOVES – I mean, like obsessively LOVES chocolate chip cookies,and has since he was old enough to eat them.  I just hate store bought baked goods.  They taste gross & heaven knows what’s in them.  So I try to make most of the goodies myself … or with The Boy!  He did about 75% of the work on these.

MamaLovesHalfBatchCCWCookiesI scoured the internet looking for ideas, looked at my own full batch recipe and tried to do the math, but ultimately just gave up and kind of improvised.  I love my cookies buttery, soft, fluffy, with lots of chocolate chips and lots of walnuts.  So if you do too, here you go!

PS – I am an advocate of eating raw cookie dough no matter what the warnings say.  Obviously those people just don’t want to have fun in life.  I chowed down at least 2 cookies worth of cookie dough while making these & I’m alive to tell you about it!

Mama Loves Half-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields about a dozen or so (depending on how much cookie dough you eat while making them!)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened
1 egg
6 tablespoons brown sugar
6 table spoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Method:
TIP: Use your hand mixer for better results – I tried doing it the old fashioned way by hand & quickly plugged my hand mixer in to make quicker work of things.  

Preheat Oven to 375*

Cream the butter and sugars at a low-medium speed.  Add the egg, mix some more.  Add the flour gradually, mixing together.  Add the salt & the baking powder.  Mix it at a low-medium speed until the dry ingredients are totally mixed in with the wet ingredients.  Turn the mixer off & hand stir in the chocolate chips & walnuts.

Use a small kitchen spoon (or a super cute cookie dough scooper) to drop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (makes for easy clean up!)

cookie dough 1

Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven right as the edges of the cookies are turning golden brown.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool for another few minutes.

YUM Inside of the cookieEAT ME, YOU’LL FEEL BETTER 🙂

The California Salad

California Salad

Light & Healthy

So light, so healthy & sooooooo delicious!  I concocted this simple, yet elegant side salad after messing around with a few different ideas.  It’s even VEGAN, and it goes with just about anything you can think of …

What’s In It?  All my favorite things!

Arugula and/or Baby Spinach – My go-to choice is Arugula, but if I’m feeling frisky, I’ll pick up some Baby Spinach instead.  OR, if you’re feeling totally rebellious, mix them together as you throw your head back and laugh manically!

Sunburst Tomatoes – For most of my life I turned my nose up at cherry tomatoes or anything that slightly resembled them.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?  Holy mother of Solanum Lycopersicum, these little golden treats pack a sweet & delectable punch!  They add a unique compliment to the tangy, slightly bitter flavors of this salad.

Avocado – I mean, really, how can you go wrong with avocado?  It’s the best and most, er, one of the most versatile fruits.  (I sat here for a good 6 minutes and argued with myself about whether an avocado or a lemon is the most versatile fruit – I’m torn!)  I could eat avocado on ANYTHING & it lends some creaminess to this salad.  Growing up in Northern & Southern California, we had avocado trees & come to think of it – why don’t I have one now?  Ok, I just decided I’m going to propagate the next pit of an avocado.

Lemon – I love lemons, too.  And I do squeeze them on just about everything, so one day when I was sick of making dressing & just wanted something light & simple, I squeezed lemon all over the salad.  Hello!?  Why had I never thought of this before?  Lightbulb!

Garlic – Yep, another one of my faves … pressed & as much (or as little) as you like!  Me?  Two big, fat cloves!  (p.s. the garlic press is nice because it gets a little garlic juice in there, but if you don’t have one, just mince the garlic.)

Olive Oil – Just a little so that it all melds together nicely.

So like I was saying … You can eat this alone, or with your best buddy if you are nice enough to share.  Kidding, I mean, you can eat this as a stand alone salad, or it accompanies pretty much anything from chicken, to turkey chili, to white bean vegan soup, to grilled salmon or even barbecue!

You’re welcome … 🙂

Easter Egg-citement … and a Life Lesson on the side

Oh that title is sooooo cheesy, but it’s late & you get what you get at this point. And by the by – this post has not been “proofed.” I still have to make a basket, hide eggs tonight, and gnaw out chunks of a carrot that The Boy left for the bunny.

On Thursday, The Boy & I made Chickadee Cupcakes!

chickadee_cupcakes_platter

 

I was inspired by this post.  Mine are nowhere near as perfect & pretty as hers, but then again, I’m just a “fairly good mother,” so what do you expect?

Let me see if I can impress you with this little tidbit of info:  I did all of this WHILE working from home, juggling calls, making deals & doing laundry, AFTER running errands in the morning.  Impressed?  *huffs on knuckles & brushes off the shoulder dust*  Yeah, I’m a badass mama sometimes.

We took the easy route – got a box yellow cake instead of making from scratch, BUT I did make whipped cream frosting (my own concoction using heavy cream & powdered sugar & vanilla – don’t measure, just add to taste,) and then added yellow gel.  I bought pre-made eyes & used some orange icing that was leftover from Halloween.  It was Wilton’s – the kind in the air canister & it had a mind of it’s own, very difficult to deal with! I piped on some frosting to the sides for their wings.  Note: You need to refrigerate these because of the cream frosting.  Just let them stand at room temp for 15 minutes or so before you scarf one down.

The Boy had fun making some of the chickadees into “silly chickadees” with one eye or three, and since I didn’t want 2 dozen chickadees, so we used the rest of the batter to make a mama chick.  We used chocolate chips for her eyes & The Boy, my little choc-o-holic, ate enough chips to make 5 more chicks!

mama_chickadee_cakeWe took some of the cupcakes to the neighbor kids & then went to karate.

On Friday, we tackled the eggs!  And let’s be honest here, it was a less than perfect undertaking.

Take one rambunctious 4 year old, add 6 flimsy PAAS cups filled with colored water & of course your chances for a disaster are like 97% … Add to that the fact that I had dressed him in a new outfit that was partially white & the chances increased to 99.9999%.

No worries, I’m a chilled out mama regardless of my self-diagnosed mild OCD.  I had prepared for this event: laid out paper towels & put an apron on him.  But two seconds after this picture was taken …. the green egg disaster commenced.

Green will be all over the kitchen in 5-4-3-2 ...

Green will be all over the kitchen in 5-4-3-2 ..

The Boy accidentally tipped over the flimsy PAAS cup (we were using the whisk to hold the egg since that’s an easier way for kids to maneuver the eggs.)

The Boy immediately freaked out & hopped off his stool to retreat in the far end of the kitchen.  Before I even went to clean it, I consoled him.  My little sensitive guy was obviously pretty upset that he had spilled the green all over the counter, cabinets & himself.

“Guess what?”  I told him … “Accidents happen & I’m not mad.  I know I told you to be careful, but it’s no big deal – do I look mad?  No.  I’m not mad at all & it’s ok!  Let’s take off your apron & get you a new one.”  But he was still pretty shaken by the whole thing & ran off to his playroom.  This was a great teaching moment (yes, those are actual real things for the fairly good mothers of the world.) I went to get him & we had a nice little talk about how important it is to forgive ourselves when we’re not perfect.

He came back to do a couple more eggs, but I could see that he was a little timid & still pretty mad at himself, and it broke my heart into about a thousand pieces when I asked him why he was still upset & he said “I’m mad at myself for making an accident & I don’t want to color eggs anymore because I’m afraid I’ll do it again.”

I choked back my tears.  Give me a break, friends, I’m PMDD’d & I love this kid.   I got right down next to him & told him “hey it’s totally ok if you do it again … I might even do it this time!  I’m not perfect, no one is.  If we make a mess, we’ll clean it up!  No big deal.  Right?   And listen to me … You know when a friend does something that makes you sad & they apologize to you & you say ‘I forgive you?’ well, it’s important to forgive yourself when you do something that makes you sad or frustrated.”  He got that.  And we finished the eggs.

Tie_DyeEasterEggs

We used the PAAS Tie-Dye Easter Egg Kit, which I have used in past years, and had so-so results, but apparently my fairly good brain forgot that we tried this before & I bought the kit again.  This time they had included this gloss to polish the eggs, which seemingly made some difference.  And I guess I perfected my technique … or maybe it was just luck 🙂

 

I think I like this one the best: Pink_TieDyeEgg

Or maybe it was the super bright pink egg that I did just for The Boy since it’s his favorite color & I knew it would make him happy.

And we read this book before bed – one of MY childhood faves: The Country Bunny & the Little Gold Shoes.

the country bunnyIt’s about a Country Bunny who becomes one of the 5 Easter Bunnies.  Was written in 1939 & still holds up seventy-five years later!

I hope you have a great Easter, and I hope you can remember the wonderment you felt as you woke up on Easter morning to discover a basket filled with goodies & eggs hidden around the house.

Childhood is a magical time where reality is kind of suspended … at least if you have fairly good parents who will do that for you.

I hope The Boy looks back on his childhood and forgets the accidents & the struggles, and only remembers the magic, the wonderment, the joy of his life.

P.S. Tell me that the addition of the text to my pictures was worth it! Thanks Picmonkey.

xo 🙂

 

 

Zucchini Bread

I’m looking around to make sure we’re alone & my mom isn’t anywhere within earshot … Somehow or another that woman always knows what I’m up to.  She used to claim she had eyes in the back of her head.  Ok, I think we’re alone … You’re not wearing a wire, are you? Cuz I’m going to do something that she has forbid me to do:  I’m going to share one of her recipes & DO NOT TELL HER I TOLD YOU.

I promise, I will deny it, I will say I don’t know you & that I heard you used to reside in Danvers State Insane Asylum after you were caught walking naked down the highway claiming you were Emeril Lagasse’s lover …  and I’m a pretty decent liar.

My mom is very protective of her recipes & I get that, but I’m also a pretty good judge of things, and I know which ones I absolutely CANNOT share, (like her famous potato casserole & the addictive cheese ball – both of which always ensure I am invited to lots of parties & pot-lucks,) but this one – well, this one is kinda standard, and I suppose you could find a similar one on the web somewhere, (though I’ve never bothered to look.)  Plus, I’m still feeling in the holiday spirit of giving.

A Family Favorite (see my photo note at the bottom of this post!)

Zucchini Bread: A Family Favorite (see my photo disclaimer at the bottom of this post!)

Zucchini Bread.  The beloved bread of Christmastime – the one little loaf that will make you want to be my friend forevermore.  Now, I suppose it makes sense that if YOU could make the zucchini bread yourself, you wouldn’t have much use for me, but did you know that I’m a ton of fun & I pour really healthy glasses of wine when you come over to my house, and I’m the world’s best secret keeper?  Well, besides this bread secret, I am.

Why now, you ask?  After all of these years of me coveting this precious recipe all to myself, why am I finally unlocking the recipe box and laying it out there for the entire world wide web to find?  Well, more than one friend of mine has made the comment that mine is the best.  And, I hate to brag, but yeah, it is.  I’ve tasted other breads and they’re dry and flavorless.  That makes people grumpy.  And I can’t have people going around all grumpy during the holidays because their zucchini bread doesn’t taste as good as mine, so here you go.  And you’re welcome 🙂

Zucchini Bread
(makes 6 small loaves)

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups grated zucchini (do not peel)
3 cups of flour (unbleached)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts (chopped)

Method:
In a big mixing bowl (I use my badass standing mixer for this) combine eggs, oil, sugar & zucchini.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder & baking soda & gradually add it to the zucchini mixture.  Mix thoroughly & then add the vanilla & the nuts.  Bake in greased 3×6 loaf pans at 350 degrees for about 35-45 minutes (I check after 35 & then always end up baking them 5-10 mins longer.)  If you use the larger loaf pans, bake for an hour (but check after 45 minutes if you’re neurotic like me.)  And I have also made zucchini muffins in the large muffin pan (makes a dozen) and those take about 25-30 minutes.

These make great gifts for neighbors & friends! But The Husband & The Boy like to eat slices fresh from the oven with a little butter or cream cheese … YUM!  And I mean, they are healthy – they have zucchini in them, so how can they be anything BUT healthy?

Now, for my photography disclaimer: I take all most of the pictures myself, and as you can clearly tell, I’m no pro.  I’m a multi-tasking mom with a mixer & a hungry family.  Most of my food photos are taken with my iPhone, right before I sit down to devour my meal.  This one happened to be taken with my Cannon Rebel because it was sitting out waiting for Christmas to arrive.  My food photos are inferior,  just look at my bestie’s gorgeous website, The Kitchen Snob & you will see why I feel like the ugly step-sister.  She spends countless hours with in her semi-professional studio, gently massaging crumbs off of cookies & perfectly placing them so that your mouth will water when you browse her site.  Ok, enough whining — I”m going to go heat up a slice of zucchini bread & have my coffee now.

This Week’s Box: Red Potatoes, Zucchini & Green Bean Challenge

This week’s box is EASY PEASY! These are very well known veggies in our house & when I saw the red potatoes and green beans, I knew EXACTLY what I was making for dinner last night.

Get ready for TMI ….. I’m bleeding. Again. Isn’t it funny how that happens every 28 days???  Well, the point of me telling you this is that I have low iron, and at the beginning of my cycle it dips super low which makes me tired & crave stuff with iron. Which translates into me craving filet mignon.

So last night I made filet mignon with garlic herb butter, smashed rosemary roasted potatoes & steamed green beans. (Tonight’s dinner will include the zucchini.) I would’ve done my filets on the cast iron skillet & then finished them in the oven, but the weather is warm here & I didn’t feel like sweating for some steak, so I grilled.  And, ok, I’ll be honest, the housekeepers came Thursday & I didn’t really want to mess up my super clean range – haha.  Oh, the OCD in me is always in high gear the day after cleaning day.

Grilled Filet Mignon | The Fairly Good Mother

The Husband thinks it’s cute that I love grilling so much.  People say grilling is really a man’s job (eye roll) I love grilling. About 12 years ago I read this book: Grilling For Dummies.  I was hooked. Very helpful tips with some great grilling recipes.

Anyway … this dinner is easy.  The only thing you need to do in advance is take 1/2 a stick of unsalted butter and get it softened at room temp.  To that, add 1 clove of pressed garlic & 1/8 teaspoon of finely chopped basil & 1/8 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary or thyme.  Mix together form that into a little log and place on a small piece of wax paper and place in the fridge to harden up.

We want to focus on the grill, so prep your green beans & get your potatoes started first.  While you’re doing this, let your filets stand at room temp (20 mins & then put a little bit of olive oil on both sides with some freshly ground pepper – don’t over-do the seasonings with filets.) Wash and trim the green beans, pop them in the steamer with some sliced garlic, a little pepper & some Kosher salt in there & turn on the timer for 15 minutes when you’re ready.

The potatoes: scrub & cut out the eyes, cover with water in a covered pot & bring to boil, cook for about 10 mins or until fork tender.  Place on a baking sheet (covered with no-stick tin foil for easy clean up,) smash gently with a fork, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper & fresh rosemary (about 1-2 tsp.)  They will take about 20-30 minutes in an oven at 350*.

So what I do is get the grill started, put the potatoes in the oven, turn on the steamer for the beans, and then head outside to oil the grill, (pour a generous amount of olive oil on a couple of folded up paper towels & use your oven mit to wipe that on the grill.)  Over medium high heat, place your filets & a slice of the herb butter on top of each filet.  For medium rare (which is honestly how you’re supposed to be eating a filet mignon,) cook for 5-7 minutes, turn and place the rest of the butter on top of the filets.  Cook for 5-7 minutes & voila!  You can see from my picture that I also grilled up some little summer onions (just put a little olive oil, kosher salt & pepper on those, too!)

An easy summer dinner made mostly on your grill.  You can do the potatoes on the grill – I’ve done it before, but they didn’t get as crispy as they do in the oven.  Pair with a nice red.  We drank a Zaca Mesa Syrah.

This Week’s Box: Snap Pea & Mint Challenge

My bi-weekly box of organic produce arrived & inside I found snap peas & mint, (among other things …. need to remember to ask them to stop bringing me mitiake mushrooms, I’m not a fan.)  I scoured the interwebs looking for recipes that incorporated both & settled on Pasta with Prosciutto, Snap Peas, Mint & Cream by Food 52.

Photo Credit: Food52.com

Photo Credit: Food52.com

It was really good, HOWEVER, 2 things of note for this dish: The recipe calls for 1 pint of cream and that sounded like a lot, (and truth be told, I only had 1 cup of cream on hand,) so I used just 8 oz of cream and it was the perfect amount.  Also, I wasn’t crazy about the mint part of the recipe & felt like it was unnecessary, so when I make this next time, I’ll either use just a dusting or none at all.

Artichokes!

Artichokes | The Fairly Good Mother I love love LOVE artichokes.  I have loved them since I first began scraping them with the nubs of my baby teeth.  Artichokes are full of potassium, vitamin c,  & fiber.  And they are delicious.  I have made them about 4,355 times in my adult life & this is how you do … or, rather, how I do:

1.  Take your artichoke, trim off the thorny tips with your kitchen shears so no one gets poked.

2.  Cut the stem bluntly at the base of the choke so that it can sit upright.

3.  Rinse your artichokes out & if you have the time, let them sit in a luke warm water bath for an hour – if not, no worries, just rinse them well & tip them upside down to drain.

4.  Fill a large stock pot 1/4 of the way with water & sit the artichokes upright in the pot, they should be immersed about 1/4 – 1/3 of the way.

5.  Put the lid on top of the pot & turn your heat up high, bringing it to a boil.

6.  Once the water comes to a boil, lower the heat to a low roll ( med – low .)  And simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.

7.  You know your ‘choke is done when you can take a fork and stick it in and out of the base (stem) easily, (FYI, use a long ass tong fork to do this ‘cuz these chokes are HOT!)

8.  Flip it over on a slotted spoon to drain & then transfer to a bowl.

During the last 5 minutes your chokes are steaming, go ahead and make your dipping butter.  One stick of butter serves 2-4 people.  Melt a stick of butter on your stove top, squeeze in a half of a lemon, add a pinch or so of garlic powder & a dash or so of salt.  You can get fancy with the butter – press some fresh garlic in there if you’d like. Serve your chokes with a wedge of lemon for peeps to add to their butter.

my artichoke | The Fairly Good Mother

NOW, after you’ve scraped off leaf after leaf of delicious artichoke meat with your choppers, you will get down to the thin leaves & instead of eating one at a time, you will scrape them in a bunch.  YUM.  Then, you will get to smaller and smaller leaves & eventually to the heart.  You will need to scrape off the “chokers” (my mom calls them that, I don’t know what the scientific technical term is, but  rumor has it, if you eat the chokers, you will die via choking. I kid.  Sort of.  😉  I honestly don’t know because I’ve never eaten them, but the few that I’ve accidentally eaten didn’t feel good going down my throat.)

Here’s how you scrape the heart …

Scrape the chokers off! | The Fairly Good Mother Take a spoon and scrape off the chokers, cut off the rest of the stem & dice the heart, then immerse in your butter concoction.  More salt (that’s what I do, anyway,) and voila!  YUM, YUM, and MORE YUM!!!

My brother & I would literally make deals with one another for extra bites of each other’s hearts … “I will do your math homework if you let me have 3 bites of your heart.”  And The Husband asks me to scrape his heart & I tell him that there’s a scrapers-fee of two large heart bites.   YES, people, it’s that good & there isn’t a lot of heart, so savor each bite!!!!

This might not be the best picture, but i want to lick the screen right now!

This might not be the best picture, but i want to lick the screen right now!

Now, a couple of things to mention … You can get a steamer basket for your pot, I suppose, and that sounds great, but you don’t have to be that fancy.  I am going to write down steamer basket on my Christmas wish list.

Also, there’s an odd short cut method my brother came up with, (in case you need to get the artichokes on the table faster than an hour.)  Prepare them like I told you to above, and wrap them loosely in a plastic grocery bag.  Pop them in the microwave for about 5 minutes to “loosen them up.”  And then transfer them to the boiling pot of water.  Should cut your cooking time in half.  It doesn’t sound safe to me to be cooking plastic bags, but I’ve done it a couple of times & I live to tell you about this, so apparently it’s not going to immediately kill you 🙂

Happy Dipping & Scraping!!

Spring Pasta Dish: Linguine with Arugula, Tear Drop Tomatoes and Bacon … mmm, Bacon!

In Southern California, we have two seasons: Spring & Summer. They are almost indecipherable & you will hear me start to really complain about the heat come September.

Well, it’s only April and already 80 degrees! When it gets hot, I don’t want to be slaving over the stove or messing around in the oven. I want something light, easy and (of course) delish to eat for dinner.  And we’ve established (via the brussels sprouts post) that bacon makes everything awesome!

And since The Husband’s work days are getting later and later, it has to be something that I can whip together & not too heavy because we’re eating at 8pm or so.

Lots of variations on this simple dish

Lots of variations on this simple dish

This dish is in my rotation during the spring & summer months (aka March – November.)  I short cut it by purchasing the refrigerated pasta, (you can use linguine, fettucini or paparedelle -which is tough to find around here, but it’s my favorite pasta for this dish.)  And, depending on what tomatoes they have in the store, I use yellow tear drops, grape tomatoes or both!

Spring Pasta with Arugula, Tear Drop Tomatoes & Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz pasta (refrigerated or uncooked) Pappardelle, Linguini, Fettucini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup halved yellow tear-drop tomatoes (and/or)
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups loosely packed chopped arugula
  • 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (OPTIONAL, if you don’t eat meat)
  • Parmesan cheese (grated, shaved or shredded & OPTIONAL if you don’t eat cheese)

Method:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and garlic to skillet; cook 1 minute or until garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring gently. Remove the skillet from heat; stir in lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt & a few twists of fresh ground pepper. Combine the hot pasta, arugula, and warm tomato mixture in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Top with cheese and bacon

This Week’s Box: The Brussels Sprout & Mitiake Mushroom Challenge …

As you may recall, I receive a box of organic produce delivered to my doorstep twice a month.  And it’s almost like being on a cooking challenge show because you never know what you’re going to get!  (I suppose I forgot to check off brussels sprouts and Mitiake mushrooms from my list of things I don’t want. Womp womp.)  Honestly, I’ve never heard of Mitiake mushrooms before meeting them on Wednesday morn when they appeared on my front porch.

And truth be told, I haven’t eaten a brussels sprout since I was a 3rd grader & spent the night at a friend’s house where, much to my dismay, I was served brussels sprouts.  My eyes widened and I cringed, they smelled terrible & the polite little girl in me gracefully pushed them around on my plate after trying one bite and nearly gagging.  My friend’s parents were not very understanding and made me eat 5 more bites!  I thought I was going to throw up, and then considered calling my mom to come and rescue me from this veritable house of horrors.

So when the brussels sprouts showed up on my door this week, I was thinking oh man, I really have to go online and scrutinize my “preferences” list!  Then I scoured my mind for friends who might want 9 oz of brussels sprouts.  And then I remembered my declaration (here on this blog) that I wanted to conquer new culinary frontiers & THIS was a challenge!

So I searched for brussels sprouts recipes & voila: Bacon + Brussels Sprouts = right up my alley! I mean, how can you go wrong with bacon?  Answer: you can’t.  Hell, I could eat cardboard with bacon on top of it. So, kudos to Katerina & her kick-ass recipe.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon ~ Diethood.com

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon ~ Photo by Diethood.com

So then on to the Mitiake mushrooms … I knew that a skirt steak would be a good start & it would be easy to make a nice mushroom sauce, so again, off to the web to find a recipe.  Even though I love to riff off a recipe, I pretty much followed it to the tee, only because I was too tired to mess around with it.   Next time I would add in garlic and instead of using chicken broth, use beef broth, and instead of butter, use cream.

I served it up with some wild rice & The Husband loved it all!  And even though he told me “I’m not that hungry tonight,” homie cleaned his plate!  The entire meal from prep to table only took me a little over an hour.  Score!

Baby Blueberry Muffins

The Boy changes his mind about what he likes to eat from week to week.  And I understand that, I remember being a kid and one day liking hot dogs and the next day not liking them.  I won’t tell you the story of why I stopped eating hot dogs during the summer of ’82 because it’s not pretty, but suffice it to say that I get the ever changing palate of a child.

The Boy asked me for blueberries when we were shopping the other day, and since there weren’t any raspberries, I said ok. But when I served them in his fruit salad, he turned his nose up at them!  Well, I wasn’t going to waste a $4 pack of organic blueberries, and I don’t like raw blueberries very much, so I asked him what we should do with them.  He suggested making “baby” blueberry muffins.  I said, “you mean mini muffins?”  “No! BABY muffins, mama.”  Okay then.

Baby Blueberry Muffins | The Fairly Good Mother

Baby Blueberry Muffins

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Wet Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping:
1/4 c. brown sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 375*
Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl & set aside.
Whisk wet ingredients in another bowl.
Add milk mixture to flour mixture and use a spatula to very gently fold mixtures together. There will be lumps; do not over-mix.
Spoon batter into greased mini muffin tin and sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on top of each muffin.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

I also wanted to share this great recipe for eggless / vegan Blueberry Muffins, but I only used 1/2 of a lemon’s zest, I didn’t use lemon extract, I used vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, 2% organic milk & fresh blueberries.  My vegan friend thought they were fantastic! http://www.egglesscooking.com/2009/03/02/vegan-blueberry-muffins/