Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My Apron Obsession

I'm not really sure how this happened, though I imagine Pinterest is at least partly to blame, but somewhere along the way I have become obsessed with aprons. I don't normally wear an apron when I'm in the kitchen. I got one as a wedding gift, and it was the only one I had. I wore it when I remembered, which wasn't nearly often enough. More often than not, I'd jump right into the kitchen after work without changing my clothes or halfway through a weekend day, and I'd end up with flour, water and who knows what all over my shirt. I had seen some cutesy aprons and made a mental note that that might be cool to have. Then, I started picking up sewing again. Basic sewing -- I don't really know what I'm doing and I'm still terribly impatient and not good with patterns -- but sewing nonetheless. It also just so happens that a friend introduced me to this awesome book on how to make homemade bread -- and it's AMAZING -- so I've been baking quite frequently. All these things combined, and I suddenly decided that I NEEDED to make myself a cute, fun, flirty apron. Of course, immediately following that, it dawned on me that my mom's birthday was coming up and she's big into baking cookies (which are the best cookies in the world, in case you were wondering) -- so, she definitely NEEDED a cute, fun apron as a birthday present!

French Bread, Fried Egg and Feta Brunch

Twas the day before Easter and I just had a hunch, that combining these ingredients would make a great brunch! Some freshly made feta, and freshly baked bread, a fried egg and fresh salad did rouse us from bed!  (Okay, enough of the rhyming.) Seriously, though. I've been on a homemade bread kick since a friend introduced me to this book (go buy it now!). And I FINALLY used my cheese making kit a friend got me for my birthday to make some feta! I needed to try out the cheese and brunch sounded like a good idea. I had seen some recipes for egg "boats" using french bread -- but I only took a half loaf out of the freezer and it didn't seem big enough for that. So, I made up something new. I don't know what to call it, so for now it's the FFF brunch (French bread, Fried egg and Feta). Whatever you want to call it, it's delicious. Also - brunch side salad = good idea!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Welcoming Spring into the Home and Garden!

My dad just told me today that my grandmother used to
look for the crocuses each spring and announce their
arrival -- I wasn't sure I had any anymore, but I found this
little guy in the front yard today!
Spring is my favorite season. Summer is my favorite, too. In fact, so is fall. But, I think the reason I love spring so much is precisely because it directly follows the one season (which shall remain nameless) which is not my favorite. After months of snow and cold and gloom, there is something almost magical about the sunshine and the revival of life come spring. That first crocus peeking through the snow. The birds beginning to chirp again. Bunnies and chipmunks playing in the backyard (they are cute until they start ravaging my garden later in the season...). Daylight that extends late into the evening. And, of course, Easter -- the ultimate celebration of new life. What can I say? Spring makes me happy!

Last weekend we had our first peek of spring, and I could barely contain myself. I spent all day Sunday working inside and out to help usher in the season. Today was not nearly so warm, but it was sunny. Although I had planned today as an indoor cleaning and project day, I could not resist the chance to get into my garden and start tilling -- since the ground had already thawed! Here's a look at how spring is making its way into my home and garden.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fried Goat Cheese Spring Salad

Tonight's dinner truly sprang from a desire to use up the rest of a goat cheese log that I had. After some perusing on Pinterest, I found this recipe for Crispy Fried Goat Cheese and thought it sounded delicious! Then, I realized that I had recently had this sort of fried goat cheese, and it was on a salad at Leo's restaurant in Grand Rapids. It was delicious there and I thought I could probably replicate something similar at home. The recipe I came up with includes fried goat cheese, alongside grilled chicken, candied walnuts, apples, blueberries and onions over a bed of fresh arugula. Below are the details!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Two Twisted Taco Recipes

I love tacos. That's no secret. But I've been branching out recently and have tried some new variations on this household favorite...including one for breakfast and one with an Asian flair! I was dreaming of a delicious Saturday morning breakfast and taking into account the ingredients I had on hand (including a green pepper that really needed to be used up) and I thought I'd do a take on heuvos rancheros.  I've done something similar before, but never recorded what I put in it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crock Pot French Onion Soup

Easy Slow Cooker French Onion Soup in a Crock Pot

So, I have to be honest. I am not sure that I have ever tried French Onion Soup before tonight. It always sounded intriguing, but looked kind of weird, so I shied away. I've been searching for interesting recipes for my new handy dandy Crock Pot I got for Christmas, and I came across this recipe for French Onion Soup.  It sounded delicious, but the slow cooker is mostly for work days, and I definitely didn't have time to caramelize onions in the morning.  So, I searched for a different recipe, and found this one. As usual, there were parts of each recipe that sounded better to me (or that fit the available ingredients on hand -- let's be honest: I was looking up these recipes last night at 11pm when I suddenly realized recipe 1 wouldn't work for the morning!).  So, I kind of combined the two and came out with this:

This is Tom's latest home brew that I used in the recipe!

  • 3 1/2 large sweet onions, sliced thinly
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup beer (I used Tom's latest home brew!)
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • A few small sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme (from the little that I have growing in my sun room...er...living in my sun room. Any growth right now is debatable.)
  • Crusty bread (I think I had a ciabatta loaf)
  • Gouda cheese

So easy! Hardest part is slicing onions...
Place sliced onions in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add beef broth and beer. Top with balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, butter and herbs. Cook on low for 8 hours. Just before serving, top a couple of pieces of crusty bread with the Gouda. Bake at 400 degrees until melted, then broil for a few minutes until bubbly. Ladle the soup into a small bowl and top with cheesy toasts!

I thought this turned out great! Of course, my caveat being I'm not sure if I ever have had French Onion Soup before and hence not sure if this is the expected taste. Anywho, I'll eat it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sriracha Ramen Noodle Bowl

I'm not sure if it's the old age kicking in or what, but I had a bit of a brain fart at the grocery store yesterday.  I knew I had seen a recipe on Pinterest that I wanted to try that was some sort of Asian / Ramen noodle bowl.  It sounded like a fairly simple weeknight dinner, and had to stop by the grocery store on my way home anyways, so I could pick up whatever other ingredients I needed.  Of course, being in a hurry, I only glanced at the recipe and quick got what I thought I needed.  Upon arriving home and attempting to cook said meal, I suddenly realized that I had saved and confused two separate, though similar recipes (one was actually ramen soup, the other was a linguine noodle bowl) -- and the ingredients I had on hand were a blend of the two.  So, what's a girl to do?  Yep, use what you've got and with the power of two recipes combined...we have: Sriracha Ramen Noodle Bowl!  I think I actually picked out the best parts of each recipe, and I was pleased with the results!  Tom liked it, too -- but beware: it's fairly spicy. Adjust to your own tastes.

sriracha ramen noodle bowl recipe - quick, easy Asian dinner