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  1. Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Quick and Easy Pudding Frosting

    YEARS ago we met up with some friends for their cute daughter’s birthday. Emily (the mom and my dear friend) cooked a cake in a 9×13 pan and then made a really fast, really easy, REALLY yummy “frosting” for the cake. For whatever reason that cake popped into my head a few weeks ago and I got a hankering. I emailed Emily for the recipe and made a cake the very next day!

    When Emily made this frosting, it was soft and spreadable. When I made it, it was thick as could be and hard to spread around. I think the difference must be that I used my hand mixer. The stuff thickened up so fast I had zero control over the final product. I’m thinking whisking by hand is the way to go!

    Also, if you do whip it up thick, this recipe would be a great filler for a layer cake. In fact, I am definitely going to try that sometime!

    Anna looking lovingly on…wishing her mom would let her eat the cake already! (Yes, she licked the bowl clean.)

    Quick and Easy Pudding Frosting
    From Emily Stratford
    • 1 small box of pudding (chocolate or white chocolate are good flavors to use)
    • ½ pint cream (8 ounces)
    1. Whisk together by hand until the desired consistency. If you use a hand mixer, it will get very thick, very quickly and could be used as a nice filler for a layer cake.
    2. Also, I used a lot more cream and a lot less pudding”¦probably ¾ of a box of pudding and 1 pint of cream. The main reason for this change is I had used the hand mixer and it got so thick so fast, I had to add more cream. Just play around with it to your taste!

  2. Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Week 253 Menu

    I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I cooked literally all day on Thursday, which was lots of fun after months of not cooking at all. We spent the weekend feeling very thankful for all that we have…well, except maybe the disaster that is our girls’ room right now. 😉 I just finished stringing the lights on our Christmas tree and am looking forward to sitting down with a mug of hot chocolate. May this be the first of many more mugs this winter!

    We are still working on leftovers today and I’ve made two batches of rolls this weekend…and we might have to make another batch today! This week I’m tackling all of the meals we have stashed in the freezer, so it should be pretty easy, as long as I remember to defrost things in time…

    Beef stew

    Butternut squash soup

    – Roasted chicken breasts
    – Mashed potatoes and green beans

    – Leftovers

    – Take out

    Orange chicken
    – Rice and veggie

    – One of our Dream Dinners

    THANK YOU for sharing your wonderful Thanksgiving menus! It was so fun and inspiring to read through them all!

    Be sure to enter the fabulous cookbook giveaway that is running right now…you have until Tuesday night to comment.

    AND…as always…please share your lovely menus for the week! 

    Post-Publish Addendum: I forgot I’m going to have to use up a little turkey this week…so I’ll probably do a soup or Turkey a la King. Which brings me to my next point…share your best Thanksgiving leftover ideas along with your menus! 🙂

  3. Friday, November 25, 2011

    I am thankful

    “She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short.” Brian Andreas, Storypeople

    This Thanksgiving Nate and I have been feeling especially grateful. I feel like I need to get it down on paper, to take a moment and reflect on what exactly it is we are thankful for.

    I am thankful.

    For Owen. I haven’t talked much about Owen’s birth here on the blog, and I still won’t go into all the gory details, but it was scary. We ended up with a prolapsed cord and from the time they discovered the problem to when Owen was out was only six minutes, six sad and harrowing minutes. Over the days following the c-section, various doctors and nurses would say things in reference to the surgery, comments that slowly made us realize just how grave the situation had been. I have shed many tears reflecting on the experience, but the one thing that keeps me together is the gratitude. The overwhelming gratitude I feel when I look at my healthy, happy baby boy. Every second we have with him is truly a blessing.

    My friend Kami recently experienced a c-section eerily similar to mine. Only there was one glaring difference…while I was 41 weeks pregnant and ended up with a healthy baby, sweet Kami was only 26 weeks along. Her baby girl Afton only weighed 15 ounces. And Afton only experienced one week on this earth. There were far too many “onlys” for Afton and her family. Their experience is simply heartbreaking. And while my heart has broken a thousand times over for Kami, I also feel grateful for her wonderful example of faith and hope. It is truly amazing.

    I am thankful.

    For every moment I have with my three children and my husband. A friend of mine just found out her 20-month old has leukemia. The prognosis is good. But it’s still hard and scary. Last night when I was talking with Angela, we were reflecting on how you never expect life to change so drastically, for these kinds of things to happen to you. When she took her daughter to the doctor for a fever, she never would have thought they’d be heading to the hospital for weeks of chemo. Life takes turns – sometimes good, sometimes not-so-good. Which is why I’m feeling so grateful this week. Grateful for each moment we have together because, as Brian Andreas put it so beautifully, the world is so beautiful and life is so short.

    I am thankful.

    For family who sacrificed time, money and sleep to come help us after Owen’s birth. For friends, who brought us countless dinners and helped out with the girls in countless ways. I have been continuously awed over the last two months at how people step up in times of need. It’s amazing. I learned to accept service, to admit that I couldn’t do it all, to ask for help over and over again. And the love we’ve felt as a result of needing that help has been overwhelming. I am thankful that we will be able to provide that same love and support for others in need when the time comes.

    I am thankful.

  4. Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals {Book Giveaway, 3 Winners!}

    This giveaway is now closed…but keep reading because you need to check this book out!

    With Thanksgiving right around the corner, one of the things I’ve been thinking about is how grateful I am for the friends that I’ve made through blogging. I have met some truly choice people in the blogging community and now have a group of dear, close friends scattered about the country. I could never have predicted that this supportive and loving network of friends would be one of the benefits (and the best one by far) of writing my blog. The lovely ladies of Three Many Cooks are most definitely a part of that amazing network. Pam Anderson, famed cookbook author, and her daughters Sharon and Maggy are talented, kind, gracious, supportive…I’m blessed to be able to call them friends!

    Pam has published yet another wonderful book and I am so excited to share it with you. Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals is a return to Pam’s theme of cooking without a book but applied to, you guessed it, meatless meals. As you know, one of the things that I am passionate about is reducing meat consumption to help the environment. Needless to say, I was super excited about Pam’s new book!

    This book is great, of course! Pam provides a “master formula” for each type of food in the book, then offers options for changing up that formula. It is very inspiring and the techniques she shares not only help you make great food but give you the tools to make great food on your own without a strict recipe. It’s a fabulous guide, for seasoned and novice cooks alike! Pam has succeeded in once again writing a super approachable yet delicious cookbook. Wait, the cookbook itself isn’t delicious. But you get my drift. 😉

    And, of course, we are giving some copies away! THREE of you randomly-selected lucky people will win a copy of Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals! As always, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post to enter for your chance to win. Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, November 29 at Midnight PT.

    Pam and Maggy were in town on Sunday night to celebrate the launch of Pam’s book at a dinner with a bunch of fab food bloggers. I dragged Owen, my little trooper, up to San Francisco with me since he still wants to eat practically every two minutes. I couldn’t miss out on great food and even better company! Here I am with Pam and Maggy. I think adorable-ness runs in the Anderson family, no?

    Pam may need to consider a new career…baby whisperer. She got Owen to fall asleep in her arms despite the hustle and bustle of the restauarant. And, even though this picture may say otherwise, Owen loved Maggy too. Owen was simply ready to go home by the time we took this photo!

    Now get commenting and good luck on the giveaway!

  5. Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Week 252 Menu

    Hello everyone! Well, it’s Thanksgiving week…definitely my favorite time for food all year! If you haven’t already, please click here to post your Thanksgiving feast menu! (That’s right, I’m expecting two meal plans out of you this week…no rest for the weary, folks!)

    This past week we ended up having a bunch of surprise meals brought to us by friends. I can’t even tell you how amazing our friends and family have been helping us out over the last 8 weeks as I’ve recovered from my c-section. We are truly blessed and have much to be thankful for!

    – Leftovers (chicken chipotle soup and chili from friends)

    – Lasagna (out of the freezer)

    – Eat out (I’ll be busy prepping food for Thursday!)

    Click here for our meal plan and to share yours!

    – Leftovers

    – Leftovers

    – Leftovers…hopefully there are some left!

    Wow, this must be the easiest week of the year to do a meal plan for! 🙂 If you have a meal plan for the week, please share! 

  6. Friday, November 18, 2011

    Pat’s Butternut Squash

    It’s a good thing my mother-in-law came to visit last week because it actually gave me some food to write about! It’s been great being able to post about the delicious food she made for us…and so much of it is perfect for Thanksgiving, so it’s great timing!

    Today I have a nice, simple side dish for you that would be perfect right along with some turkey and stuffing, although we had it with filet mignon and that was pretty perfect, too. Pat ate some butternut squash at Whole Foods once that she loved, so she went home and recreated it. It is simple, easy and delicious. Just the kind of recipe you need for that busy Thanksgiving day.

    Pat's Butternut Squash
    From my mother-in-law Pat Maynard
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into ~1”³ squares
    • One small onion, cut into thin slices
    • 1-2 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 3 heaping Tablespoons dried cranberries
    1. In a large pot, cook onions in butter and olive oil until soft over mediumish heat. Add sugar towards the end to sweeten/caramelize the onions. Add dried cranberries. Stir with onions about 1 minute or till softened a bit. Put the butternut squash into the pot with the onion mixture. Cover and steam/cook slowly over low-medium heat until squash is nice and tender (but not moist because Pat can’t stand that word and this is her recipe). Stir gently and add a pat of butter if needed before serving.


  7. Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Swedish Apple Pie (a.k.a. Makes-Its-Own-Crust Apple Pie)

    I’m about to share a gem of a recipe with you. Seriously. It’s my new favorite apple pie recipe. So yummy and so easy.

    When my mother-in-law Pat was in town, she kept telling us how she was going to make us Swedish Apple Pie (which she did). She said it was a recipe from someone she knew named Grammy Dutton. I asked if Grammy Dutton was Swedish. Pat’s reply, with a laugh, was, “Not at all!” Apparently the real name for this recipe is “Grammy Dutton’s Makes-Its-Own-Crust Apple Pie.” But whenever Pat’s friends are looking for the recipe, they’ll ask for the Swedish Apple Pie recipe, and Pat will say, “The Makes-Its-Own-Crust Apple Pie recipe?” and then they’ll say, “Yeah, yeah, Swedish Apple Pie.” I guess this pie really wants to be Swedish. Because being Swedish is awesome. (That last sentence has nothing to do with the fact that I’m 3/4 Swedish, by the way.)

    Nomenclature aside, Nate and I both really loved this “pie.” I personally do think it’s better than traditional apple pie, but I’m sure there are people who would debate that point with me. But even those people would agree that this is a delicious dessert. The crust bakes on top of the pie and sort of seeps down into the apples in a super tasty, cobbler-like way, but it stays nice and crusty on top. Wow, that’s a terrible description for a really wonderful thing. You’ll just have to trust me. Plus, it’s way stinkin’ easier than making real pie crust. I’m all over easier!

    Swedish Apple Pie (a.k.a. Makes-Its-Own-Crust Apple Pie)
    From Pat Maynard who got the recipe from Grammy Dutton herself
    Recipe type: Dessert, Thanksgiving
    • Sliced apples, sliced but not too thin, peeled but you don’t have to be super meticulous about it (usually takes 4-7 apples, depending on the size of the apples - I start by slicing 4 apples, then slice more as needed)
    • About 1-2 Tablespoons of cinnamon sugar
    • 6 ounces (1½ sticks) melted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 beaten egg
    1. Fill a pie plate or any 8×8 casserole dish/pan with sliced apples. Only the center can be slightly above level with the top of dish or the topping will spill over the sides, so don’t get carried away. Sprinkle the apples with ~ 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar.
    2. Mix together the butter, sugar, flour and egg. Pour evenly over apples, sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar if desired.
    3. Bake at 350 degrees F until deep golden brown - around 40-45 minutes or so.


  8. Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Thanksgiving Prep: The Menu!

    Thanksgiving is just over a week away, so I think it’s time we all share our menu plans for the big day! Of course, if you don’t have it pulled together yet, just come back later when you do!

    I seriously have been in such a baby fog I didn’t even realize Thanksgiving was so close, so we haven’t thought much about what we’re going to do that day. But I do know we’re going to eat! I’m going for a simple menu this year with our all-time favorites.

    Please share your menu plan for Thanksgiving! And if you have links to recipes and/or can type recipes into your comment, please do! I’m certain we can all be great inspiration for one another for the best eating day of the year!

  9. Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Week 251 Menu

    Okay, non-sports fans. Bear with me. This little story ends in food and family, I promise! Stanford played Oregon last night. If you follow sports, you know what that means. If you don’t, just know that the Stanford football team has been doing phenomenally this year and this was a very important game. Sadly, I couldn’t  swing actually going to the game with Nate…Owen is just too little to go and his feeding schedule is still too demanding. So, alas, I was “stuck” at home with the kids. Well…Stanford lost. It was beyond disappointing. We also had extra tickets that we sold online…StubHub ended up charging us a 30%+ error fee on top of their 15% commission for an error that their system made (customer service finally solved the issue today, thank GOODNESS). Anyway, seems like I would have been pretty bummed as I went to bed last night, no?

    On the contrary! The girls and I ordered pizza and ate dinner watching the game. Of course, they only watched about 20 minutes or so, but we had so much fun sitting on the floor together, talking about Stanford football, eating greasy pizza. At one point the girls told me that yes, they are rooting for Stanford but the Oregon duck is still pretty funny. They were just so cute and we had such a lovely time together. Plus, on top of all that cuteness, I got to cuddle with Owen on the couch all night. Then this morning when Cate got out of bed she asked, “Who won the game?” When I said that, sadly, Oregon had, she cheerily replied, “Well, Stanford can just play some more and get even better and be the best again one day.” All in all it ended up being a very happy weekend if you ask me. 🙂

    This week my menu is all about eating food we have stashed in the freezer…

    – Orange chicken (from Costco freezer section) with rice
    – Postickers

    Beef stew (from freezer)
    – Yummy bread

    – One of the Dream Dinners that I have in the freezer

    – Leftovers

    – Eat out

    – Lasagna (from freezer)

    – Smoothies

    Okey dokey pokies! Bring on the menus! And, despite yesterday’s defeat, GO STANFORD! 🙂

  10. Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Squash Rolls

    Two nights ago I started thinking about the date because, well, I haven’t thought much about the date lately. And then it hit me that Thanksgiving was just over two weeks away. It’s like I’ve been living under a rock or something. Oh wait, I have! Anyway, I haven’t the foggiest idea what we’re going to do for Thanksgiving this year and I probably won’t know until a few days before. But even with that lack of planning, I do have a few recipes I can share leading up to the big day that will be mighty scrumptious for your probably-much-more-organized Thanksgiving!

    I’ve had this recipe for squash rolls on the the site forever, but I never actually wrote a post about them. Because whenever I made them I didn’t have a chance to photograph them. Because we ate them too fast. And it’s a crying shame because if any recipe deserves a post, it’s this one.

    This recipe comes from Nate’s mom. Of course I asked her to make them while she was here. And of course she obliged because she is {seriously} the best mother-in-law around. These rolls are moist, sweet, delicious, homemade goodness. I guarantee you cannot eat just one…especially hot out of the oven and smothered in butter.

    If you do happen to end up with leftovers, be sure to zap your roll in the microwave for 20 seconds or so to get it piping hot again. And don’t forget that butter!

    Squash Rolls
    A holiday favorite from my mother-in-law, Pat Maynard
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Breads
    • 1 cup cooked squash
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup scalded milk
    • 1 yeast cake (1 envelope active dry) dissolved in ½ cup water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 4-5 cups flour
    1. Mix squash, butter, salt and sugar. Add milk and mix. When cool, add yeast mixture. Add flour till bread dough consistency, just til it holds together. Turn dough over in a greased bowl to coat both sides. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm place till doubled. Punch it down and let rest for 5-10 mins. Shape into rolls in a greasy pan and let rise again till doubled. Bake at 400 for about 12-15 mins.
    2. A good way to find a warm place to rise is to turn the oven on (any temp) for 2 minutes and then shut it off and that way it’s away from drafts, etc.
    3. My mom and I have both had times where we make the rolls and the middle seems a bit underdone”¦Pat doesn’t ever seem to have this problem. I think next time I make them, I’m going to try making the rolls in two 8×8 pans instead of one 9×13. Just thought I would mention that!