Monday, September 24, 2012

sunday "i didn't make soup this week" series.

well, it was good while it lasted, and i'm sure it will be back, but as this title suggests, i did not make soup this weekend.  i did, however, accomplish a lot, drink a lot (of apple cider!) and enjoy a lot of sweet moments with my little boy, who seems to be growing up right before my very eyes.  the only casualty was a small plastic puppy who was forgotten in the cart at target, so i consider it a successful few days.

anyway, back to how i didn't make any soup this weekend.  instead i did lots of other baking, including some old tried and true recipes from my favorite cookbook of all time.  you read that right.  while there are many cookbooks that fill my kitchen cabinets, only one holds the title of favorite and sharing the table at garland's lodge is it.  i was thinking about it and i swear i've purchased at least one of these cookbooks to give as a gift each christmas for the past 5ish years.  i have several recipes memorized, and many of them summon the seasons and bring back special memories of great times with family/friends.  anyway, here's the link to the cookbook.   buy yourself a copy and then buy one for someone for christmas.  i promise - you'll love it.

 my little chef, "helping"

i had to use up some zucchinis from my parents' garden, and i made an old favorite: chocolate zuccini cake.  here's the recipe in case you're so inclined:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (makes 2 loaves)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups canola oil (you can sub half plain yogurt or applesauce)
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups grated zucchini
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup ground pecans or almonds (i use walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the chocolate and oil together in a glass measuring cup in the microwave.  Set aside.  In a med. mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar very well, until lightened and pale.  Stir in the melted chocolate.  Stir in the zucchini, mixing well.

Whisk the flour, soda and salt together in a small bowl.  Then stir in the chocolate mixture.  Fold in the nuts.

Divide between two 9 x 5 loaf pans.  Bake for 45-55 mins, until the loaf springs back when pressed gently.  Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool for 30 mins more.  (IF you can wait... it's pretty delish warm out of the oven with milk!)


in other news, i finally pulled the trigger on a rug for the living room.  i know, it doesn't sound that exciting.  and it's not really. except for the fact that it changed my whole perspective.  it made me feel all cozy and ready for fall and excited to have a new baby who would start crawling around and giggling while we all sat around cooing at him/her (no, you did not miss anything.  said baby is not arriving for several more months, late february to be exact.).  it's sort of sad that an 8 x 10 piece of carpet can change your whole outlook on life, no?  so anyway, the new rug prompted all of us to relax and spend some time in the living room on sunday.

i made some of this dip (recipe found on the facebook page of a blog i read) and then took a glorious nap.  is there anything better than napping during the day?!  i don't do it nearly enough.  mostly because i don't want to get fired from my job, but i digress.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Spread a layer of cream cheese on the bottom of a glass pan.  Cook and shred a chicken breast and layer over cream cheese.  Next, pour a layer of wing sauce (we used mild sauce from BWW) over the chicken, followed by a layer of ranch or blue cheese dressing (used blue cheese).  Melt a layer of cheddar cheese over the dip and serve with chips.

and preparations for fuegerfest continue.  you know, that time of year when i shove dirty laundry, mail and other paraphernalia that would normally be sitting around my house into our closets, don my apron and encourage all my friends to eat and drink copious amounts of german fare.  it's my favorite time of the year, FOR REAL, and i can't wait to see everyone.  jack's party outfit is ready, and i actually dusted this weekend.  T-minus 2 weeks!  woohoo!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

sunday soup series.

we'll see how long this lasts... 

for this week's sunday soup series, i made this recipe.  i varied the recipe only slightly, doubled the crushed tomatoes and used more zuccini and carrots.  it was reallllly good.  served it with homemade sour cream bread.  and yes, when i say homemade, i mean i slaved over my bread machine, carefully measuring the ingredients and pressing all three buttons meticulously.  just call me martha stewart!

hope you all have a wonderful week! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


i realize that it's been quite a while since i've updated this blog on any happenings of any real substance around here.  it's been hot and busy and there's been a horrible taste in my mouth that won't go away, thanks for asking.

anyway, for documentary purposes, in case someone ever decides to pen what i'm sure will be an award-winning biography of my life, i will recount a few noteworthy events of the past month-ish.  i don't want there to be a big blank question mark where "august and early september 2012" would otherwise be.

first of all - august is birthday month around here.  not just mine, but my other half's as well.  i must say that birthdays are like a million times better when your child can sing you "happy birthday."  

the practical consequences of so much celebrating means that jack really believes that anytime a candle is lit, it's time to sing happy birthday.  on sunday, i was burning my green apple kitchen candle while cleaning and jack hopped up to the island and started singing "happy birthday."  he followed this up with a "get camera now" directive because he is quite skilled in the steps to birthday celebrating.  (1) sing happy birthday; (2) take pictures of the candles; (3) spit on the cake; and (4) demolish several pieces of said cake.  i admire his enthusiasm and normally i'd be right with him on #4 (i'd be repeating that step ad nauseum), but alas, this baby does not like sugary treats.  or really much of anything.  

which brings me to the next area of update.  pregnancy.  i tentatively feel slightly better this week, though i hesitate in even typing that because i don't want to jinx it.  there are very few things that i like eating, but a pretty exhaustive list would be: bacci's pizza (too bad i live nowhere near a bacci's), broccoli, tomatoes, refried beans and dinner rolls.  i look more pregnant after eating dinner, but mostly i would say i just look a little fatter in general.  while i would like to pretend it's obvious that i'm pregnant and not just over-indulging on food, i don't think it's as noticeable to other people.

this is me and the bump a few weeks ago.  not much has changed since then.  i am looking forward to feeling better and i am pretending that fall is the magical answer to all my prayers in that regard.  a few weeks ago, i just decided it was fall.  i started making homemade soup every sunday and pretending it was autumn.  i really convinced myself so much so that i'd put on jeans and a t-shirt and then be surprised when i stepped outside to find that the temperature was still 90.  

speaking of which, i might start up a sunday soup series.  i've been all about soup and sandwiches for dinner on sunday.  a lazy day where everyone's lounging around and john's watching football goes perfect with soup simmering on the stove, no?  i tried a new homemade broccoli cheese soup recipe last sunday.  it was really good and will be added to my fall soup repertoire.  

in other news, i painted my front door.  the paint color is "tomato red," and i have never seen a pink tomato.  just thought i would clarify.  john and i were having a discussion about whether the door was red or some other color and jack, a color authority, appeared at the foot of the stairs after his nap to proclaim it "PINK."  i am not entirely sure how john was able to manage that, but regardless, i like the new door color and think it a vast improvement over the brown eyesore that came before. 
the before's:

 and the after's:

i think the time of day and the lighting affects how red it looks.  regardless, i'm tickled pink  with the change, thankyouverymuch.

we made a trip to chicago to visit our friends for their annual labor day theme party.  this year the theme was toddlers and tiaras, and john and i tried our hands at playing obnoxious stage parents.

i think we can safely assume that jack does not have a future in pageants or competitions.  while some of the contestants were practicing their talents, jack was honing his skills - which include breaking things and destroying stuff...

no one can say the kid doesn't have S-P-I-R-I-T!

the next day we took a little trip to the zoo and caught the dolphin show.  jack has been randomly remembering parts of the show.  the other day during this bath, he said "dolphin hit ball with nose!" and then he cheered.  even though it was UNGODLY HOT, at least it made a lasting impression on him.

it has been an eventful past few weeks, and i'm looking forward to the OFFICIAL start of fall and, hopefully, some cooler weather.

to kick off this fresh new time, go buy the avett brothers' new album the carpenter.  it was released today.  i am already obsessed.  it. is. so. good.