Archive for the ‘food’ Category

White bean and bacon soup
Image by Shana Lee via Flickr

What to do?

I may be shifting the focus of this blog away from myself and more on to my interests for the next little while.  I am still up in the air on that, but……it’s a long story and basically I am not going to get into the who’s and what’s on here.   There are way too many people that I know IRL that are not privy to any aspect of my life anymore and I would like to keep it that way.

So, I leave you in the grace of the Almighty with a wonderful soup recipe…..that I am making right now……and I can only begin to tell you how good my kitchen smells…..

It is from the City Tavern in Philadelphia. If you are ever in Old City Philadelphia, you must visit.   I did make a couple noteable changes to the recipe….I doubled the amount of slab bacon and added some liquid smoke.

White Bean and Bacon Soup

Serves 8-10

~Ingredients~

1 pound dried navy beans

2 ½ quarts of chicken stock

4 tbs unsalted butter

2 medium yellow yellow onions

3 garlic cloves, chopped

8 large plum tomatoes (1 pound) seeded and chopped

½ pound slab bacon, cut into ¼ inch cubes

1 tsp dried marjoram

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches fresh parsley, finely chopped, (about 12 tbs)

~~~~OVERNIGHT PREPARATION RECOMMENDED~~~~~~

To pre-soak the beans, place them in a colander and rinse thoroughly with water to clean. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Let stand at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans. Place them in a large stock pot, add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 1 hour, or until beans are soft.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and sautee for 5 minutes, until light brown. Add the tomatoes, bacon, and marjoram, and saute for 3 to 5 minutes more until the tomatoes begin to dissolve.

Add the tomato mixture to the beans in the stock pot. Simmer the soup for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, stir in the parsley.

(From The City Tavern Cookbook; Recipes from the Birthplace of American Cuisine by Walter Staib)

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swsalad

Strawberry Salad
Image by Kitchen Wench via Flickr

strawberry-walnut-salad kind of something like I had at Longhorn on our date night….

you gotta try it out!!!

 

Strawberry Walnut Salad

3 cups Salad Greens

16 sliced strawberries
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup grapes, sliced

6 oz walnuts
8 oz Feta cheese (crumbled)
8 oz Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing

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Love Date
Image by Henry8.0via Flickr

Sometimes, just every once in a while, I like a surprise.

Last night…I got the idea in my head that it would be nice to go out to dinner with my husband….alone….(i.e. no screaming toddlers in tow)  So, at 4:30pm,I called the “Grandparent Babysitting Service”.  They were more than happy to oblige.  We got the kids in their pajamas, made a couple of bottles, threw some food in the diaper bag, did my hair, put on earrings and we were out the door.  We dropped the kids off and my dad even complimented me on how I looked.  I guess he is used to seeing me in a baseball hat, t shirt and sweats….

We were free!  We were unattached! Wahoo!  Our last date night was back in February, so we were way overdue.  Normally, we would go for Mexican, and there was a Mexican grille close by, but we both had a hankering for a big, fat, juicy steak.  So we opted for Longhorn.  I had a great salad…strawberry and walnut with a raspberry vinagrette  and feta cheese and the hubby had a house salad with chipoltle  ranch dressing.  He ordered the T-bone steak with jalapeno coleslaw and I ordered the filet mignon with the mashed potatoes.  He had his normal beer and I had a beer, but then I spotted the raspberry margarita on the menu and just couldn’t resist.  And if that weren’t decadent enough, I ordered dessert……yup…..me.  I ordered :

Golden Nugget Fried Cheesecake

Creamy cheesecake lightly breaded and golden-fried to crisp perfection. Served over ice cream with strawberry sauce and drizzled with a raspberry-caramel swirl.

OH MY GOD!  YOU HAVEN’T TASTED HEAVEN UNTIL YOU TRY THIS DESSERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Diet, what diet?

 I felt very happy.  Very full…but very content.  I had a great date with my hubby. For a moment, we felt like “us” again.  We picked up the kids, drove home, and put the kids to bed.  They each were up once in the night, but I will take it.  They were nice enough to sleep in until 8 this morning.  Sigh…..

But today, it is rainy and yucky out…..and we are stuck inside while the hubby is at work.

But still…last night was great.

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I am so glad to finally not have any “drama” to talk about.  Things here are okay.  The hubby is okay, the kids are okay, I am okay……

Daniel woke up once in the night, which was a relief since the poor little guy just can’t seem to get that last molar above the gum.

I had a great workout at the gym yesterday when the hubby got home from work.  I am really starting to notice some changes in my body.  I have a waist again!  Yipee!!!!  And I am making pretty quick work of reducing the “jiggle factor” in certain parts.  Man, I wish I would have done this before I got married so I didn’t look like a big white cow!   Now, if I could get over my addiction to Mexican Food….I might actually lose some more weight. 

Speaking of Mexican food…if you love it, and are feeling inspired to try to make it yourself, please stop by and check out on of my new favorites blogs……there are a bunch of recipies (authentic) that I am going to try……especially the tomatillo salsa….

So, at the moment, my father is back on the west coast to pick up my Grandmother and fly her back.  She has been visiting with my uncle (who I haven’t seen in 20+ years) and his family.  She will be back with my parents and make the big move down here in a few weeks.  I travelled extensively for work and can’t help but worry about my dad and his 94 year old mother getting stranded in an airport somewhere.

And….

I know I promised…..

But I can’t resist…..

OCTOMOM…..

is staying in a hotel and hasn’t seen her “other” children in more than a week.

and did you check out the interview…..what a B*TCH!!!!!!!!!!  I just so want to smack her……..

Well, I wouldn’t exactly call this weekend the pinnacle of excitement but these days, I will take dull over drama.

There is a very cool second-hand store in town and I managed to find a bathtub ring for the kids for a whopping $1.90.  We were hoping to get at least one for the kids birthday, but then were concerned that Daniel (Chunk-A-Monk) was too big for it.  Well, I cleaned it up and we tried Melissa in it first…..

tub ring

He seemed to enjoy himself well enough and that means that Mommy or Daddy don’t “have” to get in the tub anymore.  Keep in mind, sometimes, the best part of my day is the bath with the kids.  That means the hubby dries them up, gets them diapered, slathers them up with their eczema meds and puts them in their cribs.  I soak in the tub……It’s not really a fair trade off, but I do take the risk of being in a tub with a little boy who seems to think that peeing is an Olympic event.

 

She seemed to love it.  So then, we tried Daniel….

bathtub boy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I also have a couple of finicky eaters all of a sudden.  I am guess that since they have colds, they can’t really taste the food.  I mean, think about it, when you are all stuffed up, you can’t taste anything…..Well, that and the teething…..

So Melissa has entered the stage where she wants to feed herself.  By that I mean, she wants to grab the spoon or just knock it away just to make a mess…

Exhibit A:

messy eater

Exhibit B:

Oh…and she discovered that her finger fits nicely in her nose…

messy eater 2

Yeah, gross!  I know! But not my boy…….Ok…he does have a snotty nose but nothing like the mess his sister is…..

not so messy

And in some very sad news, we had to take Daniel’s jumpy-jump down.  All of his crazy antics actually started cracking the plaster in the doorway.  So, no more jumpy jump.  He was funny last night.  I was like he was going through withdrawal.  He was just bouncing and bouncing on his Daddy’s lap.

But in some great news….My girlfriend Angie and My neighbor, Steve got engaged on Saturday night.  I am over the moon happy for them.  Angie is Colin’s mommy and Colin is Melissa’s “boyfriend”.  They are both such great people and deserve all the happiness in the world.  I know Angie reads this blog from time to time…(Don’t be mad at me for posting your news…there were actually a few people on the planet that didn’t know he was going to pop the question!!!)

The hubby finally put up the Christmas lights outside.  That is going to be the extent of the decorating around here.  We aren’t going to be home for Christmas, we will be at my parent’s house.  They will have a tree.  I just can’t see putting up a bunch of stuff that the twins will just tear down…..  I hope that doesn’t make me a bad parent…….

Ok, just so I don’t ramble on toods much, here is the wrap up of our “surprise” trip to Western PA.

Wednesday:

I spent the day packing and loading the car with 2 pack.n.plays, a walker and our suitcase.  We decided that instead of cooking and making a mess in the kitchen, we would go to Son.ic.  I found one not too far from our house (about 14 miles or so) and off we went.  The hubby had never been to one and I think he really liked it.  There are very few things that cost less than $3 that make me happy, but the Butterfinger son.ic blast is pretty much at the top of the list.  We came home and put the kids to bed and tried to get some sleep.  I had this idea that if we travelled overnight, there was a good chance that the kids would sleep.  So, we woke up at midnight, loaded the kids, and off we went.  I drove the first leg of the trip….about 12:15 am to 4:30 am.  Most of that time, the kids did NOT sleep.  They fussed.  And fussed.  And fussed.  The hubby saw most of the state of PA looking out the rear view window.  When my eyes finally gave out and I started to see double, I asked the hubby to drive.  He hadn’t had much of a chance to sleep as the kids didn’t putter out until nearly 3:30 am.

Thursday…(the wee small hours)

The hubby drove and I woke up about 5:45am after a much needed nap.  I have always had the ability to fall asleep anywhere…(I used to train software and travelled nationwide….I slept on airplanes…sleeping through take offs and landings)  We arrived at 6:15 am.  I called my mother and asked her if she saw any turkeys in her front yard.  She was perplexed.  Then I told her, “you have two big turkeys and two little turkeys in your front yard”.  Again, she had no idea what I was talking about…. (please keep in mind, my mother had surgery on her foot in October and has been in a chair since the surgery and is forbidden to bear any weight on her foot until January.)  Then I asked her if she saw any headlights in her drive way.  And then she got it!!!!!!!!!  She squealed with delight!!!  My Aunt was visiting and helping Mom out and knew we were coming…Mom was really surprised!!!  We got the kids unloaded and despite them wearing overnight diapers, they were SOAKED!  So, we changed them into pajamas.  We set up the pack.n.plays (one in each of the gues rooms) and prayed the kids would go back to sleep.  Yeah right………..no such luck.

Thursday….

The hubby got a nap.  I dealt with the kids.  Daniel was extra fussy….he managed to pick up a cold….go figure….he was just at the pediatricians office, of course he would come home with a cold….(I swear they do not wipe down the toys in the waiting room…..and why should they….they are in business too….)  And Daniel was also cutting two more teeth…. Yeah! So a cold, two teeth, chicken pox and eczema.  He was a real delight.  Melissa was just crabby because she was tired.

Thursday Afternoon…

Dinner was a treat. (please note sarcasm…..) For whatever reason, my aunt decided to throw the traditional menu out the window and do her own thing…..so, we had turkey, potatoes and then she made stuffing from a box, Sweet potatoes from a box, and brussel sprouts.  OMG………….yucko!  We have ALWAYS made homemade stuffing.  It is a tradition.  And no one eats sweet potatoes.  And brusselsprouts…..is their a yuckier food out there?  If there is, I have never tasted it.  We also had an apple pie and my aunt’s version of a chocolate pie.  It was no where near as good as my mother’s cooking and not to brag….but I could have made a tastier meal with one arm tied behind my back.  ( We are going back from Christmas and I have made a deal with my Dad that I will do the cooking, make the coffee, etc…..)  There is always a coffee war at my parent’s house.  Dad makes it too strong, my aunt makes it too weak…..I normally try to just leave the house and go to the coffee shop around the block so no one’s feelings get hurt.

 

The kids had some turkey and some potatoes and seemed to enjoy making a mess.  I was just exhausted by this point and wanted to do nothing but sleep.  The rest of the day was kind of a blur….

Friday:

It should have been a nice relaxing day, but Melissa managed to pick up Daniel’s cold so we had two sick babies.  It was a rough night for Daniel (who slept in bed with his Daddy in one of the guest rooms while I slept on the world’s most uncomfortable single bed while Melissa slept in her pack.n.play)  The hubby went out and picked up a nasal aspirator for the kids (the one item I did NOT pack).  The day flew by and we decided that we would have Chinese food for lunch….(again, not a tradition….what the heck ever happened to turkey sandwiches?)  The Chinese food was kinda yucky…the fried rice was YELLOW!!!!  I ate my sesame chicken and some of the yellow rice and tossed the rest in the trash.  Well, Miss Melissa, who was tooling around in the walker, found the trash can, and the Chinese food container…and well, she liked the yellow rice…

Saturday:

We got up and got the kids dressed and loaded and hit the road.  I am glad that we left on Saturday instead of waiting until yesterday like everyone else.  We had a nice drive home, in bright sunshine, but it was cold.  We stopped once to change the kids and were like a nascar pit crew.  We each grabbed a kid, a diaper and a wipe, put the kid on the front seat, changed, redressed and put them back in their carseats.  Wham, bam, thank you ma’am!  We got home and the kids were so happy to see their doggies and more so, all of their toys.  Melissa crawled into the toy box………Thank goodness we're home!!!

And the best part……….

Saturday night the kids S L E P T   A L L  N I G H T  L O N G!    FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday, we just relaxed.  The weather was crappy.  We were going to do some Christmas decorating but I think we were all just too wiped out.

 

So there you have it…..

Yeah, so I neglected to mention that I bought shoes for the monsters yesterday.  Size 5 shoes.  Giant shoes.

Daniel has these square, wide, brick shaped, Fred Flint-stone feet.  So, he ended up with these navy blue (bo-bo’s…sorry, not spending a ton of money on shoes for the kids…no freakin’ way…$10 is the limit!!!) sneakers with 2 Velcro straps.  Daniel always stands on his toes and I really need him to stop doing that…It just looks like it hurts.  So I put them on him while he was in the jumper and he managed to get one of them off.  He then proceeded to jump on the unshod foot.  And screamed.  He now knows that it hurts.  Some lessons, Mommy has to let the little man learn on his own.

Melissa ended up with little white high top boots.  She loves them.  She is “practicing” walking with help.  I am a little concerned about her feet as well as it seems she is turning her feet inwards.  I was a pigeon toed kid and they ended up putting this device on me with a bar across it to “straighten” my feet out.  To this day, I blame that thing on my multiple knee and ankle issues (and I am sure that all the sports I played had something to do with it).

My parents and 94 year old grandmother are currently on their way here.  They are house hunting over the next few days for their retirement home.  This should be an adventure…

The kids had me up a bunch of times in the night.  But I wasn’t really sleeping.  I made the mistake of watching “Ins.ide the T.win Tow.ers” on D.iscovery channel.  That is not something to go to sleep to.  So, I eventually shut it off and put the old ipod on.  That didn’t work either.  By 3 am, when I was up with Melissa, I just decided to go down on the couch and watch TV.  I couldn’t very well vacuum or anything.  I suppose I could have done laundry, but that is hard in the dark too.  So, I watched TV.  Hubby got up and ready and was out the door to work.  He called a few minutes ago and is not sure hwat time he will be getting home tonight.  Funny how “crazy things are” at work whenever my family is around.  They should be arriving at supper time so I have taken a nice roast out and will “attempt” to make dinner for everyone.  That is going to be up to the kids…..