Perfect Pesto

Peter and I got hungry for pesto pasta this weekend. I dug out this favorite recipe from Food Renegade (http://www.foodrenegade.com/almond-spinach-basil-pesto/). Its a delicious combination of basil, spinach and roasted almonds making a slightly healthier pesto.

I use Blue Diamond roasted almonds and skip the roasting part of the recipe. I also recruit little fingers to help pull the leaves off the stems of Basil. I double the recipe and throw a container in the refrigerator for later. Or you can get fancy like my mom and fill ice cube trays in the freezer so you can easily pop out a portion at a time for cooking.

But for me? I will eat this entire container of goodness well before it goes bad…

Finally getting to cute this beautiful stuff!

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Little fingers do the best job harvesting the leaves. Sometimes they are shirtless though…IMG_0999

I make ours a little thicker to cut some of the oil calories. I also like the way it keeps it’s flavor in pasta. And eggs. And on toast. And with chicken. And on a spoon.IMG_2830

Voila! Tossed with angel hair pasta and rotisserie chicken!

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Sophia’s Amulet Popciles

Oh man. If you have kids who watch Sophia the First and or anything on Disney Junior, I’m sure you’ve seen, heard and been asked about Sophia’s Amulet Popsicle. I gave into the pressure and so we set out to get all our ingredients and supplies – which was an adventure in itself.

Our overall experience was a good one. However, those jerks over at Disney make the supply list sound like a walk in the park; “fill an oval shaped ice cube tray”. Who the hell has an oval shaped ice cube tray handy?? More over, where do you find such a thing? Same goes for the popsicle molds – they have horizontal, flat molds. Which are impossible to find unless you want to spend $20 on Amazon. Arg. 

So, we improvised. We used on sale, grocery store molds for both the pops and the amulets. We filled the ice cube trays less than half way to make small amulets. Then after the popsicle were set, I pulled them out, laid them flat on some foil, put the amulets on and then back into the freezer. Turns out after the first round, Auggie did not like the amulets and Baylor was content to eat them separately so I call it a win!

If you want to try them out on your own, here’s the link: 

http://cdn.dolimg.com/magic-of-healthy-living/pdf/recipes/disneydishes_sofiapopsicles.jpg

Happy chefs

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Not too shabby, huh?

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Orngen Juice

That’d be “orange juice” in Baylor speak.

Between the sudden freezing temperatures and theiving neighbors (I asked a woman to stop picking our oranges one day and her response was “Oh, I didn’t think you were using them” and then walked off with an arm full. Who does that?!) we picked all of our oranges off our two trees. I hate doing it because it’s so much more fun to pick what you want and let the rest ripen on the tree. Arg.

Anyway, I got a new juicer that was easier for Baylor to use and we set out to juice about 75 oranges this morning. She gave up after about 20 but Auggie and I made it through the rest of the bags. Three pretty bottles of juice were our prize!

Tangelos

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Chef Wand and her Sous Chef Augustus

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Loving the new juicer

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If being cute makes you a good cook, Auggie won the James Beard Award

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The final (delicious) product

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Outdoor Kitchen

One of my least favorite parts about summer is that the doors and windows are pretty much nailed shut. In order to keep our 81 degrees of air conditioning contained and keep the 112 degrees from outside getting in, it has to be that way. I break the rules a little at 6am when it’s only 85 degrees outside and get a little fresh air, but really, it’s barely enough for me.

So on top of no fresh air, I really hate when dinner stinks up the house. It seems to linger for days…don’t get me wrong, I hate this problem year round, it’s just especially bad when there’s no open door time. Not to mention that my already hightened sense of smell is at a super hero level while pregnant which makes the problem that much worse.

Last weekend I had a hankering for pulled pork made in the slow cooker. It’s heaven on sandwiches with pickle relish and in quesadillas – basically it’s dinner and lunch for like 4 days. But the smell…it normally annoys me, but this time of year and at this stage of pregnancy, it’s a no go. So I floated the idea of putting the slow cooker outside to PW. His response surprised me when he said he thought it was a good idea…and it was a good idea. No overwhelming even-my-pillows-smell-like-pork problem AND delicious dinner – genius!

Mmmmhhh…pulled pork

Cookies Gone Wrong

Yesterday afternoon, Bay and I put on some Christmas music, lit a cinnamon candle and fired up the oven to make some Christmas cookies.  B was thrilled to play in the left over dough, flour and sprinkles while the cookies cooked. It was a lovely afternoon.

That is until two cookies escaped the baking sheet and dropped into the oven where they broke into a million pieces. Crap. I decided to just close the door and let it cool before I attempted to clean them up. Until the kitchen began to fill with smoke.

“Why not let it self clean??” I thought. So I put on the self clean setting and returned to icing the trees. Until I noticed that it appeared we had a yule log in our kitchen…yup the cookies had ignited in the oven. I quickly turned off the oven and stepped back trying to decide what to do next – get the extinguisher? Call 911? As I contemplated, the fire quickly went out. Bay casually looked over from her sprinkling duties and said “Mommy, there’s a fire in the oven”. Yes, yes there is kiddo.

Despite our house smelling like a camp fire, all is well. The oven cooled and is no worse for the wear (I think). I cleaned out the chunks of cookie and it is now happily self-cleaning (I think). The windows are open, the fans are going and there are holiday scented candles burning so hopefully by this afternoon there will be no evidence of our almost fiasco.

When my cousin Will arrived last night to watch UofA and eat us out of house and home (I was prepared with 3 lbs of tacos) I told him what had happened. He responded “what’s with you guys and fire??” – referring to the grill fire of 2009. It’s nice to have family who cares about you.

On the bright side, the cookies were delicious! Chef Mini Wand does it again!

The Chef hard at work.

Check out that post nap hair.

Much like shoes, you just can’t have too many sprinkles.

Whopper of a Brownie

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts last week! I would like to think that all 6 of you who read my blog were heartbroken at the lack of content. The days flew by last week and it seemed there was no time to write.

While rocking Baylie to sleep for a nap last week, I saw a segment on the Today Show about what to do with all the leftover Halloween candy. However, all the types of candy they were using, I didn’t have. So really, it made me want to go out and buy more candy I don’t need to make desserts that I really don’t need. I am going to make the white chocolate pretzel and candy corn “bark” for Thanksgiving though!

One of the recipes they had was Peppermint Pattie brownies. Brownie mix is layered with peppermint patties and it looked delicious. Because I’m not a total weirdo, we didn’t have any peppermint patties left over because we didn’t buy any. I did think Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups would be a delicious substitution, but I ate most of those and since the purpose was to get rid of the candy, I didn’t want to buy more.

We did, however, have an abundance of Whoppers. I very much like Whoppers, but not in a “can’t-stop-eating-them-please-take-them-to-the-office-because-I-can’t-stop” kind of way so I decided to try it out in some brownies. My reasoning was that when we were kids, my mom would buy a jar of malt – it’s kind of a powdery substance – and we would make milkshakes with it. And it was DELICIOUS. So I thought the malted milk balls would melt into the brownies thus creating malted brownies. The result? Not so good.

Instead of melting, the malt seemed to harden into tiny rocks. I now have an entire pan of brownies with rocks.

So apparently America’s Test Kitchen won’t be calling me to offer me a job any time soon….