Friday, September 23, 2011

Dreaming of...

Now that Fall is fast upon us, I am dreaming of a kitchen with a fireplace. It just makes the heart of the house so cozy. Perfection!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Much Needed Inspiration

Image via hiphipgingin

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Economy is Kicking My Ass!

When I was growing up things were good, really good, as a matter of fact I am the youngest of four girls and by the time I came along my Father had built a very successful business and my Mother had gone back to work. All of this resulted in me being able to go to the private schools I so loved, getting the newest gadgets (which was a CD player at the time), the coolest clothes, lots of traveling and a brand new Mustang for my 16th birthday. I will admit that I was spoiled, not a brat, but definitely spoiled. I LOVE the finer things in life excellent food, traveling, the best handbags and designer shoes but things have changed, not just for me, for a lot of people and it’s a hard adjustment.

I always thought my children would have a financially good childhood like I had, if not better, but they do not. Their lives do not consist of fine restaurants, traveling, private school or brand name clothes. My children have a single Mother whose biggest concern is trying to feed them and keep our home. It’s not a life I would have picked for them, but it is a good life. It has been an extremely hard three years but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not only do I have a job that I love and actually enjoy going to, I have managed to keep my home thus far and for that I am extremely grateful. My children are growing up with a greater since of appreciation for the things they do have and for the people in their lives. We are so thankful for the family and friends that support us and help us get through each day. So despite how different things are now, neither my children nor I will ever forget how blessed we are.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Weekend

It makes me so happy when I take my children to the farmer's market and I see them appreciating all the fresh fruits and vegetables. I love that they are willing to try all types of berries and greens, things even I am apprehensive about trying. My goal really is to make them aware of where their food comes from and how to prepare it. I'm grateful my children have better eating habits then me!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cookie Love

Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate Chunk Cookies

recipe from For Me, For You

We love, I repeat, LOVE chocolate chip cookies in this house. I usually make Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate Chunk Cookies and get rave reviews, (I actually sold quite a few of these when I owned a specialty food store). We all know Ina can do no wrong, but I decided to break what is probably a 9 year tradition and try a new chocolate chip cookie.

I followed the recipe exactly, I even let the dough rest about 40 hours. The outcome, these cookies where really good and totally different then Ina's. Both cookies have a sweet and salty taste which I love, but they both have completely different textures. These cookies are thicker, more doughier then The Barefoot Contessa Cookies. I actually think this recipe would be great for a large cookie cake or cookie bars.

So after polling a few of my favorite people, Barefoot Contessa's cookies were the favorite among family and this recipe was preferred among my friends, hmmm..... Maybe there is a cooking tasting party in my future???

Nice Surprise

I came home from work Thursday to find a pleasant surprise awaiting me. See, in my family we are all Food Network fans and after just watching Jeff Mauro win this season of "The Next Food Network Star" my Mother and my children decided to surprise me with the food he made on his first show, Dry-aged Italian Beef Sandwich with Homemade Giardiniera and Sweet Peppers.

Homemade giardiniera, which I actually really liked on the beef sandwich. It added this surprisingly nice crunch to the steak sandwich but it was a bit spicy. I am kind of a wimp when it comes to spicy things. Also, I am happy to report 2 out of 3 children tried the giardiniera.

The best Mother ever!!

The beef came out so tender and flavorful. This would be a great meal for a party, everyone can assemble their own or you could even make sliders.


Homemade Giardiniera:
1 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery
4 serrano chiles, sliced into rounds
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup julienned red bell peppers
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 cups canola oil
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small pot, add the carrots, celery, chiles, cauliflower, garlic, bell peppers and vinegar and cover with water. Season with the salt and bring to a light simmer. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes; the vegetables should still be crisp and bright. Drain and cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Add the oils to the vegetables and store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

1 top round rump roast, tied with butcher twine in 2-inch increments
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups beef stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the beef: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Sprinkle the roast liberally with salt and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed roasting pan over high heat, heat the grapeseed oil until shimmering. Add the roast and sear all sides until a golden crust forms, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside on a sheet tray. Add the garlic, onions, dried Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Saute until caramelized. Add the wine and deglaze, scraping the bottom. Add the stock, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste, and bring to a simmer. Return the roast to the pan and any accumulated juices from the sheet tray. Roast in the oven, turning every 20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meat registers 125 degrees F, 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. While the roast is cooking, start on the garnishes.

When the roast is done cooking, remove from the oven and let rest under tented foil. Strain the juice from the roasting pan into a saucepot. Bring to a simmer, skim the fat from the top and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Hold warm over low heat.
To build the sandwiches: Very thinly slice the roast by hand or on a deli slicer. Dredge a roll through the cooking juices and top with 4 to 6 ounces sliced meat. Garnish with the Homemade Giardiniera and the sweet peppers.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011