Friday, August 31, 2012

Hurricane Eats: Couple of Cozy Food Recipes

i've been promising a few recipes for about 6 months and since i haven't posted any, that makes me a big, fat liar, but now that the kiddies, well, at least 2/3 of them are spending many daylight hours in the care of their teachers, i can happily share what we ate during Nonicane Issac. 

what is it about dark skies and wind that makes ya want to hunker down and feed your family?

i am sharing two recipes in this post, because ivy is rocking in her swing taking a snooze, but if i were a betting woman, girlfriend will be up within the next thirty minutes. i'll be lucky to get these written in that time. however, if you have a question about anything here, you can email me or leave a comment and i will try to answer it there. 

this made me laugh... 


so, one of my favorite things to do is to look in my fridge and pantry and piece together a meal. actually, it is one of my favorite ways to 'plan' my meals. 

mind you, i have staples on hand and i will share those in depth in another food related post.

I call this Cape Cod Pasta, i'm not sure why other than 
Somebody that i uuuussssed to knooooww made a pasta similar to this one and called it Cape Cod Pasta. no worries, no fish was used in the making of this pasta dish.

it's DIVINE. it's easy. just do it. you can't screw it up unless you make mushy noodles. 
mushy noodles are gross. don't do it. 

Cape Cod Pasta

you can substitute ingredients as you like, but i used

1/2 package center cut bacon, chopped
14 ounces of veggie pasta
half yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
8 ounces heavy cream
bay leaf (if you have it)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
a bunch of chopped basil, at least two tablespoons for cooking and some for garnish

*you could add peas, corn, brocc...anything you like.
*you can sub pancetta for the bacon

Put some salted water on the stove.

While you are waiting for the water to boil...
throw your bacon in a non-stick pan over med-high heat and crisp it up. don't overcook.

take a paper towel and some tongs and sop up some of the bacon grease and throw away. you will need about two tablespoons of fat/grease in the bottom of the pan. throw in your onions, salt and pepper and cook until they are getting a soft, about 10 minutes. Then, add your garlic and let cook for about two minutes.

add noodles to your boiling water.  

add the cream and two tablespoons basil. let the cream reduce by half. taste it. do you like what you taste? if not, add something else that may flavor your sauce. no rules here. add broth to lighten it up again. let simmer until it thicken a bit. 

at this point your, sauce is done. 

you can easily drain your noodles and pour the sauce over them, add some grated parm and some basil and you have yourself a fine meal. 

but, i happened to find a half eaten chicken in my fridge. i didn't want to waste it and i didn't want to make chicken soup...boring! so, i threw it in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes (a trick i use making it easier to get the meat off of it)

i added the chicken to my sauce and let simmer for another minute and i was done. 

i am going to apologize now for the quality of these photos. i was cooking in the dark.




enjoy this. it's easy and fast and inexpensive. remember not to stress out over making any recipe. enjoy the process. if a glass of wine helps, so be it;)

Issac's White Bean Soup 

when i want my family to feel warm and safe (from hurricanes;), i make soup. i'm not a soup master, like my mom, but i have to say this was some good soup with a hit of heat. 

I used:

2 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed (any kind will work- i used cannelini)
1 quart/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped yellow onion
tablespoon butter
two sage leaves
head of garlic for roasting
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
parmesan cheese RIND
a cup or two, raw kale leaves 
1/2 package of bacon, crisped up. yes, i'm on a bacon kick this week.

okay, add the butter and two tablespoons of evoo. heat up in your fave pot or my fave kitchen item evah.

add onion and celery, salt and pepper and let soften up a bit.
in the meantime, put your oven on to 375 degrees. take a whole head of garlic and slice the top off, about an 1/8th of an inch. i'm guessing. i should have taken a photo. we are going to roast the garlic and we want to be able to squeeze the garlic out when the roasting renders in soft enough to do so. 

add some evoo, about a tablespoon and wrap in foil. not to tight that it won't allow for the hot air to circulate. i'm making up my own rules, but it works for me. 

roast for 45 minutes. when done, let cool and then squeeze garlic cloves out and mash with a fork. don't be tempted to smear this golden, sweetened goodness onto a loaf of crusty french bread unless you thought ahead and roasted two heads of garlic. set aside.


add chicken broth to pot, two cans of beans, bay leaf, crushed red pepper. bring to boil. then, low heat to medium and add roasted garlic and cheese rind (i just cut mine off a block of cheese i had). if you don't have one, add a 1/4 cup freshly grated cheese. 

cover lightly and let simmer for an hour at low heat. 

taste your soup.  what does it need, if anything? i always taste my food. it's a good practice to get into. 

ladle two cups of soup, mostly beans into a blender (be safe when working with hot liquids) and blend until smooth. this will thicken your soup. 
add back to pot.

throw in your kale and cover again for about 15 minutes or longer. no rules here either. 
you just want to let your flavors meld together. 

you can sub the kale for any number of fresh ingreds: spinach, escarole.
you can add other herbs: rosemary is a fave. 

now is the time to break out that crusty bread and enjoy! i added bits of crispy bacon to the top because my kids are more likely to eat anything if bacon is involved!



remember to enjoy the cooking process. i go into the kitchen with the mindset that if i make something and it doesn't work out, it's okay. it's only food. cooking is like anything else, the more you cook, the more comfortable and better you will become. 

no rules. or make up your own rules. 

if you don't try it, you will never know what you can create in that kitchen of yours. you don't need any fancy cookware or utensils. yes, there are some items out there that make like a bit easier. a dutch oven (you can find them at costco and marshalls), a good set of knives, and a couple of cutting boards. 

*congrats to: Lisa. a commenter from the last post. you've won a nest egg necklace!!!

***if i named you a winner for one of the three necklaces, i will contact you this week so you can get your necklace ordered!

oh, Tagalong wanted to say hi! 

happy long weekend! oh, if you make one of these, let me know how it turns out or leave a link of a pic!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, and a sweet baby girl! {giveaway}

"i was the perfect parent before i was a parent." 

i was.

i read this somewhere recently and it totally resonated with me.  

before i was an actual parent with an actual child of my own, i could solve any tantrum or crisis perfect-ly. i could rest easily at any gathering involving babies, kids, teens and think that i had it all figured out. 

i would KNOW what to do in given situations. if i saw a parent scolding or parenting in a way that i felt could have been done in a more efficient or loving manner...i would totally (to myself) play out how i would have done it. 

and it would of been better. not from experience, of course. i was just ignorant. or innocent if you will, in the ways of the parenting world.

i feel differently now, of course. i bow to any good parent just trying his or her best. we are in this together. half the time, i haven't a clue so i just go back to love. just love them and they will be just fine. 


so, my baby boy started kindergarten this week. tears. sigh. where has the time gone?

it feels like i just sent my baby girl to kindergarten. please see meltdown here.

like the beginning of any school year, it all started with the perfect backpack and carefully chosen outfit, and an extra special packed lunch. it's like trying to pack that peanut butter and jelly next to a ziploc bag full of confidence, bravery, and love from home. enough love to make them feel secure and happy. 


the night before the first day is a bit weird. it's exciting, scary, and sad all at the same time. 


yes, i know i look exhausted in these. it's because i am. 





and i can never say enough...
"i'll be there to pick you up right after school. i can't wait!" 

it's the only thing i can control after i drop my babies off at the school doors. i'll be here for you. don't worry. 

there was some anxiety. a little heartbreak. i miss him terribly but he loves it! he loves his teacher, his friends, and his new life a real 'big boy!'

when i said goodbye to him that first morning. he kissed me and walked away and just when i thought he was too excited to give me more face time, he turned around and turned into my little baby again. he jumped into my arms and said in a small and sweet voice, "i love you, mama. i'll miss you." he cupped my face and smiled longer than usual and he turned back and blew me a kiss. "mama, did you get it?"

"i got it, buddy. it's right here in my pocket. did you get mine?" 

"in my pocket!" he patted his backside and i struggled with the tears and a few fell as he walked away.

then, i cried all morning. i called my mom and she laughed at me and told me to get a grip and then just like normal changed. two kids in school. 

and our girl. well, she's a second grader. we are so proud of her. i just wish for her an amazing year with new friends and a fun teacher. i know this will be a big growing year for her and we know she will be great. we adore your sweet heart, peyton. 

i wasn't able to get the three hundred photos i wanted. having three kids is quite a bit more challenging, but we are getting in our groove, i think!





we are lucky to be in a school with so many friends that love our kids.


*my computer keeps freezing up, so i have to stop here and take it in but not before i post the winnerS of the nest necklaces that you can find here.

melody's nest egg necklaces are beautiful and such a convo piece. when she sent me mine, i wore it for months while i was pregnant. even in the delivery room. it was a way to have peyton and becks with me even when they couldn't be.

yes, i'm huge and i would do anything to be that huge again;)

because i took so long to choose a winner, i am giving away TWO necklaces today instead of one as well as another Nest Egg Giveaway which i will choose on next post. Please leave a comment to enter. 

for now, the winners were (generated by

Eva Marie



Congrats!!  ladies, please send me your email addresses!

happy weekend and happy school year. 

look who's 24 weeks!