Archive for Domestic Duties

Sick Day Chowdah

I’m home from work with a sick baby today and feeling under the weather myself. There’s a few inches of snow on the ground here in the ‘burbs of Boston and still more sleet coming down. Perfect day to dig out the slow cooker and make some Sick Day “Chowdah” for tonight. I modified a few recipes that I found on Pinterest (of course), and here’s how mine came out.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ pound maple bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 lb. fresh haddock, skinned and cut into      small pieces
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used Russet)
  • 2 lb. frozen corn kernels
  • 1yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Season All or other seasoned salt
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 16 ounces half & half
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the half & half in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook in the slow cooker on high for 6 hours.
  3. Add half & half and continue cooking, uncovered, for another 15 minutes, until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Asian Cold Soba Noodle Salad

With the summer months quickly approaching, I decided that I needed to learn how to make a really good Asian-inspired cold noodle salad to bring to BBQs. I remember back when I was a kid, a family friend used to make the most amazing one that I looked forward to having every July 4th. I scoured the internet for a similar recipe, but haven’t quite found it yet. Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried out about 4 ACNS recipes and this one, a modified version of something I found on Allrecipes, has been the best, but it’s still not anywhere near as delicious as “Auntie” Amy’s. Maybe some things just aren’t as good as you remember they were when you were a child.     

Anyway, here’s how mine turned out:

And here’s the recipe for anyone who might be interested in giving it a go:

Asian Cold Soba Noodle Salad

Ingredients:

10.5 oz Japanese Soba Noodles

1.5 teaspoons of sesame oil

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup light soy sauce

Juice from one lime

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 carrots, grated

1.5 teaspoons of red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spicy)

1/3 cup salted cocktail peanuts, chopped

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Sesame seeds

 Directions:

1) Break dry soba noodles into short pieces and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and immediately rinse in cold water. 

2) In a large mixing bowl, combine sesame oil, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and whisk together. Add in carrots, peanuts, cilantro, and cold noodles and toss. Top with sesame seeds.

3) Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Toss again before serving. Serve cold.

I had to make this with Japanese Buckwheat Yamaimo Soba Noodles because that’s the only kind my local supermarket had, but next time I’ll definitely try to find non-buckwheat soba noodles.

Anyone have a good Asian cold noodle salad recipe to share?

 

Channeling Cake Boss

Another weekend has come and gone. I spent most of the weekend playing with the baby and doing mounds of laundry and other household chores, but Saturday, I took a little time to myself to explore my creative side. I baked a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for my sister’s birthday. She has a thing for owls so I decided to play around with rolled fondant to make a 3D sculpted owl to put on top. I had never made anything with fondant before so I had no idea what I was doing, but I think it turned out really cute, if I may say so myself! And the little arts & crafts break was surprisingly therapeutic and so much fun.

Owl Birthday Cake - Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Rolled Fondant

Owl Birthday Cake - Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Rolled Fondant

 

It’s that time of the year again!

It’s holiday cookie swap time! I had been on a brief new mama baking hiatus, but couldn’t resist reuniting with my mixer to try a new recipe for the upcoming holiday season.

And I’m so glad I did because I think I’ve found my new go-to holiday party contribution: The Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Wreath! 

Reeeeally easy, a little bit different, and festive with a burst of minty freshness. AND it only took me about 8 minutes to prepare (a huge bonus for a busy mom, or a busy anyone for that matter).

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Wreath

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Wreath

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Wreath

Ingredients:

1 package (1 lb., 1.5 oz.) sugar cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
7 drops green food coloring
1 egg
1 cup Andes creme de menthe chocolates
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Directions:

1) Chop Andes creme de menthe chocolates up into small pieces

2) Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar cookie mix, butter, peppermint extract, food coloring, and egg and mix with a mixer until soft dough forms. Stir in creme de menthe chocolate pieces and semisweet chocolate morsels until well integrated.

3) Using a teaspoon, drop dough on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2-3 inches apart.

4) Bake about 10 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

5) Arrange cookies on a platter in a circle in two layers. Add a festive red bow and prepare yourself for compliments! :)

Bring on the beans!

Once a month, three of my girlfriends from high school and I get together for “Dinner Club.” The “rules” of our DC are pretty standard: Each person takes a turn hosting at her house and we rotate. The hostess provides the main entrée and the other three bring the appetizer, salad, side, and dessert. The unique thing about our DC is that the hostess picks a different theme each month to keep things interesting and to challenge us to try new recipes that we might not otherwise try. It’s become a really fun tradition, revolving around girl talk and good food and a lot of wine, of course.

This month’s theme was Mexican Fiesta. Being a new mom with little time, I decided to choose a recipe I couldn’t mess up even if I had to walk away from it mid-recipe to tend to a crying baby (which I did). So, I made this Mexican Bean Salad that I found on allrecipes.com. I felt good about the fact that it was healthy, and even better about the fact that it was super yummo and bursting with flavor, mostly thanks to the cilantro, cumin and hot pepper sauce!

Mexican Bean Salad

Mexican Bean Salad

The final menu was delicious and consisted of the following:

  • Guacamole with Tortilla Chips
  • Spicy Tortilla Soup
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Mexican Bean Salad
  • Fruit Tart

Have a look at how the complete meal turned out:

 Mexican-themed dinner: Spicy tortilla soup, chicken enchiladas, Mexican bean salad, fruit tart

Mexican-themed dinner: Spicy tortilla soup, chicken enchiladas, Mexican bean salad, fruit tart

Here’s the recipe for the Mexican bean salad:

Ingredients:

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained

1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn kernels

1 red onion, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 clove crushed garlic

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 dash hot pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine beans, bell peppers, frozen corn, and red onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and black pepper. Season to taste with hot sauce and chili powder.

Pour olive oil dressing over vegetables; mix well. Chill thoroughly, and serve cold.

Super easy (basically just throw everything together and mix), healthy and delicious! I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe on file as a fun side to bring for summer BBQs.