Quick Veggie Stir Fry

One of the sad things about the past few months is that we tried a bunch of new recipes, and I honestly don’t remember most of them.  At all.  The good thing about that is that a few recipes were so nice they made it through the fog of sleepless nights into my long-term memory.  Those recipes will make their way to you.

First of all, we have a veggie stir fry from The Pioneer Woman.  It’s quick, it’s delicious, and it makes me feel better about all of the pizza we ate last night.  That’s a pretty strong combination.  Oooh, and it’s hearty enough that Scott will eat it without complaint even though it’s vegetarian.  That’s a really big deal.

Here’s what The Pioneer Woman’s looked like:

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photo by Ree Drummond

 

If I couldn’t remember which recipes we tried, you can guarantee I was too out of it to take any pictures of our favorites.  I barely got pictures of baby and dog and husband, much less food.

Okay, maybe I got a lot of pictures of baby.  He’s cute.

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See, even the back of his head is cute.  Even in the grocery store.  And those neck rolls are cute, too.  That might be the mom in me thinking that neck fat is cute, however.  I get it if that does nothing for you.

So neck rolls aren’t awesome?  Don’t let that stop you from trying the stir fry.  It’s pretty wonderful.  I didn’t make any real changes to the recipe.  I used dried ginger instead of fresh because we already had it in the pantry, and I used green bell peppers instead of multi-colored ones because, once again, I was trying to save a few dollars.  It was 10% less pretty with all green peppers, but still really delicious.

In the near future, you can look forward to a recipe for protein balls (which taste like chocolate chip peanut butter deliciousness and are also kind of healthy) and some salmon with a mustard cream sauce and tasty veggies a la Giada.  And if I really get on top of life, I’ll take pictures of how Tuck’s nursery turned out and pretend that we’re all fancy and decorative when we’re really just changing diapers all day.

Happy diaper day!

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Rosemary Skewers (Simple Enough for New Mom Brain)

Since it has been a while between posts, I’ll announce that A) Scott had a work Christmas party today, and B) I have New Mom Brain.  Two facts, one more fun than the other (I think the new baby is more fun, but I suppose there’s a case for free party food trumping late-night crying baby).  And now let me introduce you to a recipe that connects both of those facts: The Pioneer Woman’s Rosemary Skewers.

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photo by Ree Drummond

Okay, so the recipe is ALMOST New Mom Brain safe.  I made them last night for the work party today, and I may or may not have forgotten to use the artichoke hearts in the pantry.  Sigh.  That said, they did look delicious without the artichoke hearts, too.  Salami and mozzarella and olives, oh my!  I swapped regular black olives out in favor of Kalamata olives, because Kalamata olives have about ten times the flavor.  That’s the only change I made to the recipe on purpose.

I love using the rosemary from our yard, which brings me back to a favorite point of mine.  You should absolutely plant rosemary in your yard or have a pot of it in a window somewhere.  It’s so cheap to plant, and it’s almost impossible to kill.  That is an absolutely wonderful combo, and it gets you fancy food like rosemary skewers without having to buy dozens of rosemary stems with fancy food prices.

Also, may I introduce you to the source of my New Mom Brain.  I think he’s pretty cute.  He might keep me from making complicated recipes for a while, but that’s okay.

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Weekend Food Edition: Taco Salad, Corn Puddin’, and Strawberry Granola Pancakes

You know what all of these summer fruits and veggies could really use?  Some dairy and grain.  Yum.

No really.

We had some family visiting this weekend, so I got to whip out my recipes again.  There were some definite keepers in there, and I would hate to forget them in my sporadic blogging.  I’ve forgotten a lot of good recipes in the past few months.  Sigh.

So in the order in which they were consumed, I give you the winners from Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday morning.

The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Taco Salad

photo by Ree Drummond

photo by Ree Drummond

I needed to feed the fam quickly and wanted to include some fresh veggies in the mix, so this was the answer.  I’ll admit, I was skeptical about the ranch dressing/salsa/cilantro combo, but it works.  It really really works.  I should have known better than to doubt The Pioneer Woman.  She almost never lets me down.  You can find the salad recipe right here.  Oh, and it helps if you have a whole team of helpful family members chopping ingredients for you.  Turns out you can cut down on prep time if you have three people cooking.  Who knew?

Ina Garten’s Sagaponack Corn Pudding

not sure where this photo is from, but it's on the interwebs, and it looks roughly like my corn pudding looked

not sure where this photo is from, but it’s on the interwebs, and it looks roughly like my corn pudding looked

It’s delicious, it’s cheesy and creamy and not at all soggy.  The basil is also a really wonderful addition to the more traditional corn pudding flavors.  It might not quite fit Scott’s ideal of “Southern” corn pudding, but it has my vote for tasty corn pudding.  It also used lots of fresh corn, which is a big bonus when you have an overflowing corn supply in your garden.  You can find the recipe here.

Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Granola Pancakes

photo by Ree Drummond

photo by Ree Drummond

These pancakes were supposed to bring glee to the hearts of our niece and nephew, but time got away from me on Sunday morning.  I barely had time to throw some cereal into a bowl before I left for church, much less make a nice breakfast of homemade pancakes.

Fast forward to this morning (my day off!), and you’ll find the pancakes bringing glee to my heart instead.  I did share with Scott, but I was selfishly happy that I was only doing the sharing with one person.  Next time, I think I would slice up a few extra strawberries for the batter.  Other than that, this was just about perfect.  There was crunch, there were wonderful pockets of fresh berries, there was good, old-fashioned pancake batter mixed in.  I humbly recommend these any time you have an extra half hour for breakfast.  You’ll be glad you did (oh, and the recipe lives here).

P.S.  My grandmother passed away this weekend, and that deserves much more than a footnote on a random blog post about food.  She was a remarkable woman.  She was one of the best-read people I know, and she loved to travel and spend time with friends.  She wrote a really good thank you note (and loved getting them, too).  She was flawed, but she was still my grandmother.  She was also one of this blog’s most faithful commenters, even if I’m not quite sure she ever understood that those comments were public.  I love you, Grandma.

Highs and Lows: Chocolate Nutella Strawberry Cake, Dishes, and Dogs

You know that chocolate nutella strawberry cake I was mooning over?  Yeah, this one from The Pioneer Woman’s blog:

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photo by Ree Drummond

It was in fact made for my birthday week, and it lived up to expectations.  Because it was going to travel, we made one layer at a time and consumed it at two different times.  It worked well that way, but man, one slice wasn’t enough.  I would have eaten that entire cake by myself if no one had been around to watch my shame.

Fortunately, I have friends who save me from myself.

The cake was actually so good that we made it again for family weekend a few days ago.  This time, we went all out and put both layers together at the same time.  It was more satisfying per slice, but definitely more prone to collapse.  Which The Pioneer Woman herself has experienced, but only when she made it into a four-layer cake.

photo by Ree Drummond

photo by Ree Drummond

Two was enough to topple ours.

photo-14Still, it was absolutely delicious and practically perfect in every way.  I would eat it again.  And again.  (Please ignore my poor photography.  Ours might have looked like the sad version of PW’s cake, but it did not taste like the sad version at all.)

In other news, I have washed dishes before going to bed several nights in a row.  It’s a major household upkeep accomplishment for me.

And Peanut was well, then he was really really sick, and now he is on the mend.  Whew.  I did not enjoy thinking about our household sans Peanut.  I know he’s a dog and his life expectancy is limited, but I’ll channel my inner Scarlett O’Hara for now and say, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”  I’ll worry about Peanut’s short life expectancy tomorrow.  Today, I will enjoy leftover chocolate cake and will simultaneously give my dog a pat on the head.

Beef with Veggies–Plenty o’ Options

This week has been a week of trying new versions of things we already love.  First there was ravioli.  Then last night, there was The Pioneer Woman’s Beef with Broccoli.  Yum!

photo-13The “original” that I fell in love with was beef with snow peas.  It’s a good thing.  It takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and it’s delicious.  You can find the recipe here.

Why did I want to branch out?  Well, in a word, veggies.  The snow peas are delightful, but they can be expensive, and 8 ounces of veggie just isn’t enough for me in that entire recipe.  If I doubled the snow peas, it would be twice as problematic on the expense side.  So I thought I’d go with the broccoli option this time.

The only other real difference is the addition of oyster sauce and beef broth in the new-to-me recipe.  It creates a pretty powerfully tasty sauce, so no complaints on that change.

So… if your dinner goals include plenty of flavor, meat, and veggies in no time flat, these two recipes are both winners.  If you want all of that at a lower price, the broccoli option is your new best friend.

Also, we cheated and used venison this time around.  It was surprisingly wonderful and tender and perfect.  Beef and broccoli?  Venison and broccoli?  Keepers both.

Also also, serving this with chow mein noodles is recommended.  Serving it with leftover sushi rice from last week is just fine.

Spatula Day Fun

Okay, so the Pots de Creme idea was just that–an idea that Ree Drummond’s chocolate dessert would in fact be awesome if it ever made its way from recipe to actual food (and in close proximity to me).  Until I went to the grocery store on Friday night and got chocolate chips and heavy cream to make the theory into reality.  Very delicious reality.

pots de cremeI need to remember that in the future.  If I want to make an awesome dessert, I should post the recipe first, “just as an idea.”   Then I can think about the recipe for the rest of the day and get ingredients on the way home.  It’s much more fun than only making desserts for birthdays and parties.

So there was the original cute container goodness.

spoon de cremeComplete with eating apparatus (also known as a spoon).  But eventually the spoon wasn’t cutting it.

spatula de cremeAnd then came the spatula.

Which leads me to say, Happy Spatula Day!!!

In high school, a friend and I decided to celebrate Spatula Day instead of Valentine’s Day.  It was like an early alternative to Galentine’s Day.  And I think it was very successful.  Spatulas in East Texas (where we lived at the time) reported feeling quite celebrated.  Or something like that.  At the very least, we didn’t have to think about Valentine’s Day quite as much with our spatulas to celebrate.  And long story short, it’s nice to see an actual spatula on the spatula’s big day.  It warmed my heart.

Although I think the chocolate and coffee and heavy cream was really the heartwarmingest factor.

so much redOne co-worker decided to honor the humble spatula by giving all of the ladies at work a red rose.  That was pretty nice of him.  Not sure how it relates to spatulas, but I decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth.