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  1. Sunday, January 18, 2009

    Week 104 Menu

    Warning: The following paragraph may make anyone living on the east coast very jealous and possibly a bit angry at me. Please don’t hate me!  I don’t control the weather! 🙂

    The weather has been amazing this past week.  Yesterday we went for a nice long walk, which included a stop at a French pastry shop. Between the weather, the food and the good company, it was an ideal way to pass a few hours.

    I have a few carry-over items on my menu from last week…one night we ended up going out to dinner unexpectedly.  Another night we were invited to dinner at our friends’ home…by the way, dessert pizza cooked in a brick, wood-burning pizza oven is HEAVEN.

    Green Noodles
    – Salad
    – Crusty bread

    – Fresh fruit

    – Beef Stroganoff with yogurt and dill (recipe in the February Real Simple magazine I want to try…it’s not online yet…if it’s good, I’ll type it up!)

    – Leftovers

    Baked French Toast

    – Eat out

    Easy Apricot Chicken (Jen, thanks for reminding me about this old stand-by of mine…and I’m so glad it was hit for you!)
    – Rice
    – Veggie

    Hopefully Shelly checks in this week…she was going to be cooking SHARK last week. How adventurous! How did it turn out and taste?

    To everyone else…as always, so many great menus last week. I’m so HAPPY I have them to browse through each week. Don’t know what I’d do without all of you…so keep it coming!

  2. Friday, January 16, 2009


    The cherries were begging to be photographed yesterday.  I gladly obliged.

  3. Thursday, January 15, 2009

    Kitchen Tip: Opening Jars

    Don’t you hate it when you can’t get a new jar open and have to beg someone “stronger” to do it for you?

    Beg no more!  All you need is a bottle opener.  Put it under the edge of the lid and lift just until the seal “pops.”  Now your lid will twist right off without a hitch.  And, yes, the lid will still screw back on no problem afterward.

    And when your Go-To Lid Opener wonders why you haven’t asked for help in a while, just tell them you’ve been working out. 😉

    (PS: Doesn’t my little Cate make a great hand model?  Look out, J.P. Prewitt!)

  4. Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    A lotta Frittata!

    I made my first frittata, and it came out, and it was tasty, and I’m gonna do it again. In fact, I put omelets on the menu this week…but I forgot about my newfound mad frittata skills, so I’ll be switching that up.  The great thing about frittata is all the servings are done at once, as opposed to cooking individual omelets.  Great if you’re serving a group of people!

    I used a recipe from the Williams-Sonoma catalog, actually.  It was great.  I did not use their $135 frittata pan, however.  I have two 12-inch, non-stick skillets, so I just stacked those.  Yes, I had to be careful when flipping, but it totally worked.

    Here’s the recipe!

    A lotta Frittata!
    From Williams-Sonoma
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Breakfast
    • 10 eggs
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • ¼ cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 3 ounces Asiago cheese, cut into ½”³ dice
    • 3 ounces Provolone cheese, cut into ½”³ dice
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
    • 2 Creminelli sausages
    • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green portion (I did not do 1 full cup)
    • ¼ cup finely diced roasted red bell pepper
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or sprinkle some dried thyme)
    1. Lightly whisk eggs; whisk in pepper and cheeses. Set aside. In deep half of frittata pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tsp oil. Add sausages – cook until browned, ~ 5 mins. Transfer to small bowl; discard all but 1 tsp fat in pan.
    2. Reduce heat to medium. Add green onions and bell pepper. Cook 2 minutes. Stire in garlic and thyme – cook 30 sec. Add sausages and egg mixture – cook, using rubber spatula to lift cooked edges and allow uncooked eggs to flow underneath, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook until eggs begin to set, about 4 minutes more.
    3. Set shallow half of frittata pan over medium-low eat; brush lightly with oil. Place shallow pan upside down on top of deep pan. Flip frittata into shallow pan. cook, covered, until eggs are set, about 6 minutes. Shake pan to loosen frittata and slide onto serving plate (we ate it straight out of the pan). Serves 8-10.
    JANE NOTE: I just used some shredded colby jack cheese I had in the fridge. So, I guess my frittata was not TRE formaggi, but it tasted good just the same

    JANE NOTE: Yeah, Creminelli sausages are some expensive sausage you can order through WS. I just used regular old breakfast sausage and it was great.

    Follow-up note, 1/23/09: I have since tried halving this recipe and it worked great. Just use two 9-10”³ skillets instead of 12”³. Works like a charm!


  5. Sunday, January 11, 2009

    Week 103 Menu

    I made Creamy Cauliflower Soup this week (from the January issue of Sunset magazine).  It was great!  Baby Anna couldn’t get enough.  I followed the recipe, except I only used 1 onion (a little less than that, in fact) and black pepper (instead of white).  Sorry, no good picture of the final product.  But it was tasty, yum, delicious. A very nice winter dinner.

    Here’s this week’s menu…

    – Chicken tenders from the freezer…tomorrow’s gonna be crazy, with no time for grocery shopping

    Orange Chicken
    – Rice
    – Veggie or salad

    – Omelets

    Spinach & Prosciutto Lasagna (click through for a great recipe!)

    – Eat out

    – Leftovers

    Green Noodles
    – Salad
    – Crusty bread

    Your turn – show me whatcha got! By the way, THANK YOU ALL for the menus and comments last week.  Loved having everyone back from vacation with so many ideas.  Keep it coming!

  6. tweet tweet!

    For those of you who just can’t get enough of me…oh? No one out there fitting that description? Well, you can follow me on Twitter anyway!

    Don’t know what Twitter is? I’m not sure I really know myself. But I do know it’s fun! Check it out. And you can click here to see my Twitter feed, or tweets, or whatever it’s called!

  7. Thursday, January 8, 2009

    Time for a little “lite” reading

    For those of you who have made New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier…my apologies!  I can’t believe how many of my recent posts are centered around dessert.  It’s getting a bit ridiculous. So, today some “lite” reading for those of you on a diet! 🙂

    First off, Mark Bittman has a great article in the New York Time this week, “Fresh Start for a New Year? Let’s Begin in the Kitchen.” It’s great. Go read it.

    Santa brought this sweet little book to Cate this year.

    The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell is my current favorite children’s book…and it’s perfect for adults as well.  It’s simple, funny, with such a sweet message.  Everyone go buy it now. One for yourself and one for your best friend!

    I have another book that I can’t WAIT to share with you…but wait I must as I’ve lent it to a friend and can’t take a picture.  Stay tuned!

  8. Wednesday, January 7, 2009

    Frozen Yogurt Redefined…and in my own kitchen!

    Have you had the latest in frozen yogurt?  I must admit, I’m a bit obsessed.  It’s healthier, with live cultures still intact.  The taste is tart, not as sweet, and just plain delicious.  I first had the opportunity to indulge at Fraiche, a yogurt cafe in Palo Alto, CA.  Red Mango, a Korean-based chain currently in 10 states, is right down the road and just as delish.  (There is an ongoing, very heated & emotional debate among my friends over which is better…it may come to blows.)

    As I mentioned, I’m obsessed.  For Christmas I got an ice cream maker, which I am LOVING by the way.  Anyway, I think I have it down!  I’ll probably make frozen yogurt so much now that I’ll get sick of it…but I honestly can’t imagine that happening.

    Here are my recipes!  I have one more experiment to run, but I feel comfortable sharing this as is.  It’s awesome. (Quick note: I used lowfat yogurt and whole milk in these recipes, unless otherwise indicated.)

    If you like FRAICHE:
    – 2 C plain yogurt
    – 1/4 C sugar
    – 1/2 C milk
    – Mix ingredients together, follow directions for your ice cream maker (Cuisinart – 25 minutes)

    If you like RED MANGO: (um, I must admit, this is my preference)
    – 2 C plain yogurt (greek style yielded the best results)
    – 1/2 C sugar (a little less than 1/2 cup, actually)
    – 1/2 C milk
    – between 1/8 – 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
    – Mix ingredients together, follow directions for your ice cream maker (Cuisinart – 25 minutes)

    For both recipes, eat as is or top with your favorite fruit…or mini chocolate chips if you feel so inclined!

    (PS – In my quest to recreate Red Mango, I discovered xanthan gum, which works as an emulsifier. It keeps ice crystals from forming, so you get a creamier texture. Xanthan gum is what made the difference between similarities to Fraiche versus Red Mango. You can find it at Whole Foods and other such stores.  It is also used frequently in gluten-free cooking, if you were wondering.)

  9. Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    Birthday Cakes Continued!

    I’m sure you’re all dying to know how Cate’s strawberry birthday cake came out after my lamentations on Anna’s birthday.  Success!  Granted, I cheated and just did a layer cake.  But I’ve screwed those up before too, so I was quite pleased when this one actually came out.  Yippee!

    So, what did I do?  It’s been a few weeks so let’s see if I can remember.

    • Used cake strips when baking.
    • Froze the cake before icing.
    • Iced the sides first…focusing on the gap between the cakes first, then working up and down from there.

    • For both the sides and the top I did a thin layer first and didn’t worry about crumbs, then did another layer on top that actually looked nice.
    • I don’t have a cool frosting-spreader-spatula-thingy, so I used a regular old butter knife and used the edge of a cereal bowl to scrape off excess and/or gunky frosting as I went along.

    I’m a painter, not a sculptor…so doing a layer cake and then writing/drawing on top is more comfortable for me.  However…I will try doing a shaped cake again another year.  Especially after the helpful comments on my last cake post. And, if you want some really great decorating tips, make sure to read Becky’s comment (it’s #13 on my other cake post). She is a Wilton cake decorating instructor and makes cakes for a living…so she had some really fantastic tips.

    One more thing…the moms at the party were asking for my recipe. It’s an old family secret that I just can’t share. Yeah right.

    • Cake: Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix
    • Filling: Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding mix (follow directions on package) with sliced strawberries laid on top of the pudding layer.
    • Frosting: 1 C butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 4 1/2 C powdered sugar, 3-4 Tbsp Milk.  Beat butter (at room temp) and vanilla on medium speed for 30 sec. Slowly add half of sugar. Add 2 T of the milk. Beat in remaining sugar and enough milk to desired consistency.

  10. Sunday, January 4, 2009

    Week 102 Menu

    I’m not a huge sports girl…but I have to say, GO UTES! Seriously, how AWESOME that they beat Alabama on Friday!  I know most of the people reading this are women who don’t care…but I was raised a Ute fan and I gotta shout for joy.  (Photo from

    And while we’re at it…Go Chargers!  Way to beat the Colts!  Woo-hoo!  Sorry, Peyton.  I know it’s really sad you don’t get to win another Super Bowl…but now you can focus on what you’re really good at.  You know, funny commercials and hosting SNL.

    Menu time! Yes, I pretty much ripped off my menu from last week. Anna’s double ear infections really threw me for a loop.  Yeah, I pretty much didn’t cook one thing on the menu.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to get cooking and eating homemade food!!!

    Oriental Chicken Salad

    – Chicken paninis (toppings TBD)

    – Pork chops
    – Veggie
    – Wild & Long Grain rice

    – Leftovers

    – Soup recipe from Sunset magazine…exact recipe yet to be determined – they all look GREAT!

    – Eat out

    Kitchen Sink Quesadillas
    Guacamole & chips

    Okay, I really need your menus this week! It’s one of those “I’m not feeling very inspiring, thank goodness other people post menus” weeks! 🙂

    Oh – one more thing!  Click here and share your New Year’s resolution-making tips! I need help!!!