Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2 more teeth & 6 pound pies

Not to state the obvious, but I've been doing quite a bit of cooking lately. I think my food-loving munchkin may be getting a bit jealous of all the good eats Mommy & Daddy are privy to because lately, his tooth production has gone into overdrive. He's been working on his two front (upper) teeth for what seems like forever now and one of them finally cut through! The other one isn't far behind, so it won't be long before my baby has four little chompers.

Brayden is doing just fabulous - getting quirkier and sillier with every passing day. He still lunges at me with his tongue out when I ask for a kiss (to which my loving hubby always answers with a loud "GROSS!" exclamation, but I not-so-secretly adore). He loves trying new foods and especially loves feeding himself (he's getting pretty darn good at bringing a loaded spoon to his mouth). He eats like a high school athlete and is nearly as active as one. His sleep habits are (finally) healthy and almost-regular. He's on a loose schedule (with naps around 8:30 or 9 and again around 1 or 2) but still is pretty sensitive to disruptive days. We went on a day-trip to his Aunt & Uncle's house on Saturday and ever since then, he's been waking up earlier than usual in the morning and only taking 40-45 minute naps, which is just killing both of us (any tips on how to break the cycle are appreciated). Other than the overtired start to the week, everyone here is doing just dandy.

Happy Eater.
March Madness has certainly lived up to its name thus far. The cooking has been time-consuming and messy (thank goodness for the "I cook, you clean" motto I've employed with my dear hubby). Despite the unfortunate consequences, we've been really enjoying the meals. The second batch of recipes was no less amazing than the first. The highlight was definitely the deep dish apple pie I made. Using five pounds of apples, this thing was a MONSTER. And absolutely delicious. This was one of the few recipes from the Smitten Kitchen that I altered (I prefer certain spices more than others and adjusted the sugar level for the filling). It came out fabulously - homemade crust and all. The only lowlights this week were the recipes that were "nothing special." Nothing was bad - a few things just weren't great. We have quite a bit on the menu for the last part of the month, and have high hopes for more winning dishes.

Poor hubby.
The other facets of my March Madness challenge have been a bit dwarfed by all the time spent cooking. I've been able to stick to a regular running schedule for the most part but have been plagued with some moderate knee pain lately. I'm still hoping it will get better, but will have to just wait and see. As for the writing, I ran into a bit of a roadblock right out of the gate. Although I'm antsy to start back up on my book, I realized that I wasn't going to get too far with the mess I'd created. I had six different notebooks haphazardly scribbled with thoughts for this book (as well as future book ideas). So even though I'd love to be working on the narrative of my book, I decided I should probably organize my notes and thoughts into a system that wasn't a black hole for ideas. If I really use my time wisely, I might be able to finish the organization this week and be back to the book over the weekend. Fingers crossed on that one.

In short, it's been an insane month so far. But you know what? I kind of like it. :)

1. Cinnamon french toast: Run of the mill french toast. I was excited that you baked it in an oven instead of cooking each slice individually, but with the way the slices were supposed to be laid out, part of the toast was crispy and part was soft.
2. Grapefruit olive oil pound cake: This was incredible. So moist and flavorful without having an obnoxiously citrus flavor to it. I think it only survived two days in our house.
3. Flat roasted chicken with tiny potatoes: The lowlight of the bunch. Just a basic roasted chicken with lemon flavor. My go-to roasted chicken recipe has a lot more complex (and tasty) flavors than this one.
4. Chocolate chip brioche pretzels: The hubby doesn't like chocolate in his breads so he wasn't a huge fan of this (I thought it was okay). Other than the chocolate, the texture and the dough were really good. It would be worth another try without the chocolate.
5. Margarita pizza with homemade dough: I was skeptical of 45-minute pizza dough (since it has yeast in it, I figured it would take the traditional few hours to rise). She had a trick that made it work and it turned out great. Very tasty. Definitely a recipe I'll keep on hand since it was quick and easy enough to make while holding a baby.
6. Brownie roll-out cookies: I made these at the same time as the popcorn cookies and I think they were overshadowed by their colleagues. But they were REALLY good. The flavor was very smooth (not an overpowering chocolate, but still very really flavorful) and had a great brownie-like texture.
7. Buttered popcorn cookies: Outstanding. The salty and sweet was phenomenal.
8. Sweet & sour brisket with roasted fingerling and carrot coins: I'm not really a red-meat eater, but I did taste it and it had great flavor and tenderness. Everyone else who ate it thought the same.
9. Rosemary Gruyere sea salt crisps: Me and Lauren went crazy over these. They were amazing. We especially loved the texture - they were like moist and chewy (but still crunchy) crackers.
10. Pancetta, white bean and Swiss chard pot pies: One of my favorites to date. The filling was so flavorful but balanced and all the vegetables really came out in it. I used my own vegetable stock in the recipe (which I swear makes a huge difference) and the lid was just as tasty.
11. Deepest dish apple pie: Instant hit. With my amendments to the recipe, it's definitely my go-to apple pie recipe.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Impressive....I LOVE to cook....especially Barefoot Contessa recipes. Have a wonderful day!

    Jayma :)