Thursday, May 01, 2008

A (long) Stirrin Story

OK so I totally stole that title from this blog which belongs to the sister of this blogger.
But I couldn't help myself because I think that this is my first official food post and because Anna and Alison (and Whitney I should mention) are a fab bunch of foodies. And I love them for it. Well I love Alison and Whitney because I actually know them and can claim them as friends (and them me,) but I love Anna by proxy because she is a Loibner too and she is a supreme foodie and actually makes a living making incredible homemade baked goods and other yummy treats for a bistro where she lives in Chicago, and I always hear great stories about her cooking and especially when they all cook together for the holidays. Anyway they have blogged about food (especially Alison) and so when I started this post, I couldn't help but think of them.

Alison and Anna and Whitney actually cook. They cook good food, they cook a variety of food. They make things from scratch. Like pie crust and cupcakes. They cook healthy food and they make it taste good ( Alison is the one who introduced me to this amazing salad that I can't stop eating once I start...) That part amazes me.

My sweet man, well he is a gourmet and talks about Julia Child as if she is a member of our family, and makes the best french bread I have ever eaten. Hands down. He can fry chicken, he can cook a goose, he can braise things. To say that he has always been the family cook is an understatement. I still have to look up instructions for making basic rice each time I cook it. But lately I have been begun to look at the recipes in the back of magazines and think "hmmm maybe I could make that..." I am a really good "use whatever is left over in the fridge cook." I am no gourmet but I can improv fairly well. But I have never really set out to cook with purpose. With the purpose of cooking healthier things, with the purpose of cooking fresher things or delicious things. Mostly my cooking has been strictly utilitarian. It'll do in a pinch. But things around here have begun to change. With the advent of the first Baseball Season in our lives, and with Nathan taking a larger role in working on furniture for the shoppe and during the spring/summer seasons our lawn needs more and more attention, and with our budget tightening a bit (thank you rising gas prices) cooking at home during the week has fallen more to me than ever before.
And I have found that I am actually interested and excited about meeting the challenge head on.

So with no more rambling, let me present 2 of my first experiments:

Homemade Strawberry Muffins.
These were supposed to be this recipe until I realized that I only had one egg, then they morphed into a mixture of the original recipe and another recipe I found (but can't find again,) but with frozen strawberries because that was all I had. Like I said, I am all about improv.
They were OK. I let them overcook ( I took a shower) and I should have sugared the strawberries, but mostly they were good, if a little bland, and Miles ate 3 in one day so I guess they past the test. I plan on making the original recipe next time... yummy... Also it wasn't much harder than using a mix and whole lot better for us...

My Second attempt this week was again (a pattern you see) the result of combining 2 recipes (one I found in a magazine, one I actually know by heart) according to what I had on hand.

I call this dish Big Shell Shock. Lol.
No really, I call this - Shell Pasty Thingy I Sorda Made Up.
We have discovered that if we make our family meals mostly "pile on" experiances then the kids will eat more, eat better and enjoy it more. For instance we have Bake Potato Night where we have - you guessed it- Baked Potatoes and then a whole bunch of toppings and everyone gets to build their own potatoe extravaganza. This tatic works so well with so many other dishes too- pasta dishes, rice dishes, Mexican dishes, Indian Dishes, etc. etc.
So in the above pictures you can see the basics of my Shell Pasta Thingy that I had laid out for them - the main dish - Really Big Shell Pasta with Turkey Kielbasa sausage and sauteed portobello mushrooms tossed with some olive oil. In the blue bowl: toasted bread crumbs, in the clear bowl: crumbled feta and in the white bowl: finely chopped parsley and olive oil mixed together (this was also supposed to have lemon juice in it, but the lemon I thought we had, we didn't, so no lemon juice.) The pink stuff? Rose petals (but just for the picture cause I thought they looked pretty...)

This is my bowl after I mixed all the ingredients up. The boys ate pretty well considering Wylie "over parsley-ed" his serving and Miles was generally grumpy that night. Next time I would like to use a higher quality sausage or use chicken instead, but I think this a yummy dish that was light and healthy and will fit nicely into our summer rotation for sure....

So that is my first Stirrin' Story and I am stickin too it. I promise not to bore you with my cooking experiments too often, but I am sure I will have to interject a few here and there...

Hope you eat some yummy food this weekend!


  1. I think your hubby and mine would get along... Matt is for sure the cook at our house.

    These two things look awsome! My coffee and yogurt look really disapointing right now. :)

  2. What a good idea your pasta thing-y is! I'll have to try that sometime. Always need creative ideas in the kitchen to mix things up! Have a good day.


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