May 10, 2013

Drooling on my keyboard

Wow.  I'm not sure if I'm more in love with the original recipe or the leftover creation.  I have photos of neither. I've been on an anti-food photo kick for ages and until I find (ha!) the time to create an awesome food photo station in my kitchen chances are you will have to take my word for the fact that something looks as good as it sounds (or maybe better).

I was in a rush yesterday morning and knew I was leaving at 1130 and wouldn't be home until 6pm. Mike's "new" job is kind of nuts and he doesn't get home before 6pm so there was no chance he was going to be able to swoop in to serve dinner unless we ordered take out which we have done once this week already.  A long winded way to say that I decided the slow cooker had to come to the rescue. The tricky part was that I only had 15 minutes to find a recipe and pull it together. Enter Google.

I searched for slow cooker chicken breasts with tomatoes knowing I had thawed chicken and an accidentally opened can of whole tomatoes sitting in my fridge.  In swoops Dishing With Leslie's slow cooker Balsamic Chicken recipe.

I skimmed the recipe and a couple comments following and decided to try it out.  Of course as I was dumping the ingredients in I realized I did not have balsamic vinegar on hand  DUH so I improvised (yep Google to the rescue once again) and used a mix of red wine vinegar and sugar (1 tbsp red wine vinegar:1/2 tsp sugar). I was also out of garlic which I can confidently say would up the fabulousness of this recipe.  Who runs out of garlic?  I used a can of whole tomatoes which I hacked at with a knife before dumping them in, turned the cooker on low, woke up my sleeping baby and flew out of the house just in the nick of time while crossing my fingers and toes.

Fast forward to 550pm when I rushed back into the house with my hungry almost three year old and a tired baby.  The house smelled FANTASTIC.  For once the Rock Star didn't ask "Ew. What smell is this?!".  Instead he asked, "Dinner ready, Mommy?"  Thank you whoever invented the slow cooker.

I tossed some egg noodles into boiling water, Mike arrived home and less than 10 minutes later we sat down for dinner. I figured my boys wouldn't appreciate the sauce and chicken on noodles but they love butter on egg noodles and they both need some fat on their bones so butter it was for them with the chicken on the side.  I on the other hand dumped ladles of tomato goodness over the chicken which sat on my noodles.  Delish.  Surprisingly super yummy.  It smelled great and tasted even better. I love a meal that makes everyone happy without being boring for the one person in the house who doesn't mind their food "mixed up".

After gorging myself on a super easy and yummy dinner I was packing up the leftover chicken when something told me to dip into the pot and gulp down some sauce.  Oh. My. God.   I dumped the liquidy goodness into a jar deciding soup would be on the menu for Mama tomorrow.  That's when I popped back over to Leslie's blog and checked out the Balsamic Chicken files where I found a recipe for soup using the leftovers.  Great minds think alike so Leslie must be pretty freaking awesome.

Today I made the soup.  How was it?  Well.... I ended up having soup as my second lunch (yay for breastfeeding) and dinner. Mmmmmmm.

Thanks, Leslie for posting this outstanding recipe. It is definitely a keeper and I have no doubt I will be making it over and over again!

Rather than posting the how to over here I feel like I should link to Leslie's original post.  Show her some love by visiting her blog and trying out here delicious dishes. I know I will be back.

April 29, 2013

Better than Starbucks Banana Bread

My kid is a sucker for Starbucks insanely priced banana bread.  I think it is decent but a little too dense for my liking and with recent dietary changes (more on that later) we have had to avoid it due to the buttermilk.

I have attempted to bake banana bread 5 or 6 times and each loaf has disappointed me in one way or another.  A Google search led me to the recipe I am going to share with you today and after making it at least ten times it has yet to disappoint. It has the yum of Starbucks but is less dense and more moist.  Today I altered the recipe by using organic coconut oil in order to up the healthy fat count in the skinny Rock Star's diet and it added even more to the WOW factor.  

Thanks to The Cordial Churchman for sharing the recipe he found on a card at Starbucks.  Here is the run down with the substitutions I've made.  Enjoy!

What You Need
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/8 cups sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (originally vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons almond milk (originally buttermilk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe medium-large bananas, mashed
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts & 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (in addition to 1/2 cup)

What You Do
1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan and dust with flour.
2. Blend the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Mix the egg, sugar, and coconut oil until combined. I warm the coconut oil to liquefy it first.
4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and when blended, add the almond milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas; mix well.
5. Fold optional 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. 
6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
7. Top the batter with remaining 1/3 cup of walnuts if using.
8. Bake for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Slather with butter substitute or not! We usually eat this bread plain because it is THAT good. Let me know what you think if you try it!

April 14, 2013

4 Months Already?!

Four months? What the?!  I thought time flew when the Rock Star was a baby but it is moving even faster now.  I'm trying to enjoy every moment and not wish babyhood away but I catch myself hoping for the days of sleeping at night and longer naps which is in turn wishing time away.  I'm now consciously slowing down and enjoying more snuggles and 'typical' moments so that hopefully I don't look back with regret,

A note to my littlest love: we are head over heels for you! Your smiles come with less effort now which makes us so happy. We worry less about how you are feeling now that we see so many smiles. Your mood seems to brighten more and more each day, it is as if you are becoming more comfortable with the world.  You have discovered the joy of eating your fingers and any others that venture near your mouth, you love the Jumparoo and are already figuring out how to bounce in it. You still hate tummy time but you do have a rather large melon so that might have something to do with it.

People comment all the time on how strong you are. You have been standing with support since a month old but now we can give you just a little help with one hand and you stand up on your own for fairly long periods of time.  You love being sung to!  You have just started to "play" with toys that you can grab and chew on.  Books are becoming more interesting to you, your favourites are those with pictures of babies or animals.

You adore your daddy. He almost always earns ear to ear grins by just looking in your direction. Your big brother is your favourite thing to watch but his big growls and loud yells sometimes scare you.  He sometimes feels bad when he startles you but I think that at other times he's pretty proud of himself for being such a convincing lion.  When you cry or fuss the first person at your side is usually your Bro.

Finally the weather is starting to warm up and thank goodness it is because you love being outside! You sat in the swing out back for the first time last week and you were all smiles.  Finally you can be outside and not have to be under a plastic cover to shield you from the wind.

You adore your grandparents and win them over by giving them all loads of smiles and coos.  When we are out and about you tend to be rather serious around strangers, you make them work for your adorable crooked dimpled smiles.

I knew in my heart that I would love you to pieces but my brain worried that it would be difficult to love someone as much as I love your Big Bro yet here I am equally in love with the two of you.  I had no idea a heart could hold so much love.

Thank you for choosing us to be your family, Baby Boy! Our world is a better place thanks to your existence.  We adore you and cannot wait to see what you get into this month!