Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ploughman's Panzanella

I'm a grazer.  I like to snack.  Often and alot.  One might consider some of my "snacks" actual meals.  And sometimes I just take my snacks to a meal-like level.  

When the weather gets warmer, my favorite lunch consists of fruit, cheese, and bread or pretzels or crackers.  Sometimes the "or" between those carbs turns into "and".  Lunchtime can get wild like that.  Holding my child in a standing position like this forever can sometimes warrant both pretzels and crackers.  No joke.
Ruffle Butt!

She frequently loses her balance.  She must have gotten that from the King because her mother is nothing but the picture of grace and beauty.  And then she topples over.  It gives me a heart attack every time.  Every. Single. Time.  On top of the falling over, I also have to control my hysteria so that the Princess will stay cool too?  I'm pretty sure staying calm requires carbs.  Lots of them.  

When I opened the fridge today for lunch, ravenous as usual, I saw a bunch of grape sized tomatoes hanging out in there.  Since, the best way to serve them is roasted, I turned to my favorite food blog for this recipe:  Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad and was struck with inspiration.

Since the only bread I had leftover was beer bread, I decided to make it into a "Ploughman's Lunch" of sorts...something I had witnessed Ina Garten prepare once.  A typical Ploughman's Lunch usually has beer, bread, and cheese.  Sometimes they can have ham...in my case bacon and roasted tomatoes.  I got a little wild and also added spinach.  Thereby, HEALTHY!
 Need I say more with beer bread croutons?  

Ploughman's Panzanella

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • Day old beer bread (if there is such a thing), recipe here
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked to your liking
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (cubed would be delish too)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
  2. Put grape tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  
  3. Roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes.  Give the pan a shake about halfway through.
  4. Preheat a skillet over medium heat.  Add the butter and allow it to melt.
  5. Cut the beer bread into cubes and toss it around in your hot butter.  Allow the beer bread to cook 5-10 minutes, until brown and crisp, tossing every couple minutes.  Remove from heat.  
  6. Place a couple handfuls of spinach in with your hot beer bread croutons and allow to wilt slightly.  
  7. Put the beer bread croutons and spinach in a serving dish and top with roasted tomatoes, cheedar, and crumbled bacon.
  8. Allow the tomatoes to cool a little and then go to town.  
Try a bite.  Seriously.  Yum.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

7 months

*Please note that due to my camera angle, the Princess looks a little giant in her 6 month pic.  She seems to be doing something in the teething department-not sure what yet, but I took advantage of a smiley period yesterday afternoon.

7 things to know about the Princess at 7 months:
1.  Favorite food:  Apples.  Apples mixed with anything.  Frozen in her mesh feeder.  Or straight up.
2.  Favorite Stories:  Easter Surprise by Catherine Stock or anything by Sandra Boynton.
3.  Favorite Songs:  "Five Little Monkeys", "Five Little Ducks" and "On Top of Spaghetti".  Oh, and Mexican accoridan music, also known as Norteno.  She bounces and squeals for these tunes.
4.   Rolls all over and occasionally uses her hands to push herself backwards.  She seems very confused by this movement because she seems to be reaching for something in front of her and then instead of moving towards the object as she intends, she winds up further away.
5.  She loves to be in a standing position...at her jungle gym/in her playpen/at the coffee table and is beginning to hold on by herself.
6.  Champion sleeper.  She just started sleeping without a dreamfeed from 7:30-7ish with only a few pacifier wake up calls.  Although, the morning wake-up squeal is starting to come earlier and earlier...
7.  Socks make the best toys.  Throwing things off the top of her jungle gym is also way fun. 

I love her chubby baby cheeks and her little dimpled elbows.  I die.  And apparently, I skipped a 6 month post...so this sappy mommy post more than makes up for it!  Thanks for suffering through.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More green, please.

So the other day I presented you with green cake.  

To balance things out, I'll share my first experience with a green smoothie.  I was casually talking fruit smoothies with my cashier at Wegmans a few weeks back when she mentioned her daughter-in-law had gotten her hooked on green smoothies.  I thought she was N.U.T.S.  Not only that, but she said her daughter-in-law fed green smoothies to her 3-year-old!  WHA?!  I don't know about you, but when I was three, green was out.  It still sort of is.

Then I started thinking...if a 3-year-old can handle it, and if they are all the rage on pinterest, maybe I should give it a go.  I mean, I could strive for five...and achieve it in one sitting.  This clearly would give me a pass to indulge a little...or a lot for the rest of the day.  So I started doing some research and this is what I came up with:
You can't even taste the spinach.  It just makes it green.  Almost like food coloring.  It was actually good.  

A real-life Green Eggs and Ham story.  I would drink green smoothies in a house...hopefully not with a mouse.
Shocking I know.

Strive-For-Five Green Smoothie
*Inspired by Yummy Mummy

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 healthy handful of spinach
  • 1/2 cup water or almond milk (sweetened made it a little too sweet)
*Guess I'm still striving because that is only 3, but banana would be delicious and perhaps some OJ as the liquid?


1.  Place ingredients in your choice of blending method.  I prefer my immersion blender.
2.  Mix and enjoy with a bendy straw.  Always with a bendy straw.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Back in the day...which was only about 4 months ago...the King needed about 3 daily diet pops (yes, it's pop) in order to survive his work week and and come home to a baby that wouldn't sleep.  Remember these days? Ugh.  Just thinking about those days makes me want to take a nap.  It was rough.  

The caffeine addiction would take hold of him during the week and then he couldn't sleep, so on the weekends he would give up the caffeine in order to bank enough sleep to get through the next week.  It was a very vicious cycle.  His interests at the time included the Princess and cookies.  Things got ugly.

One bright and wonderful weekend day, the King decided he was going to turn things around and start drinking black coffee to fulfill his caffeine fix and he is a changed man because of it.  He gave up all sugar and dessert like items.  He is now happy, cheerful, and 20 pounds lighter.

This study proves his logic.  Diet soda is linked to an increase in depression.  Coffee drinkers are ten percent less likely to experience depression.  So drink up coffee lovers!  

However, the shunning of sugar brings me to a dilemma.  The King's birthday is in a couple weeks and I have nothing to stick candles in.  As it looks right now, he may be getting a beer bread cake?  Help!  I need ideas.

To help provide me with my own personal cake baking fix, I took advantage of a friend's birthday.  This is what I came up with:
Hard to tell, but that is some pretty kick-ass mint chocolate chip frosting.  The King doesn't even know what he's missing...

•   1 pkg cake mix
•   1 4-serving package Jell-o instant pudding & pie filling
•   2 eggs
•   1 3/4 cup milk

1.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  
2.  Mix by hand until well blended (~2 min).  
3.  Pour into 2 greased & floured 9" round pans.  
4.  Bake @ 350 for 40-50 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed with fingers.  
5.  Cool 15 min in pan; remove from pan & continue cooling on rack.

Mint Chocolate Chip Buttercream Frosting
•   1 cup butter (at room temperature)
•   2 lb confectioners' sugar
•   1/4-1/2 cup milk
•   1/2 tsp peppermint extract
•   1/8 tsp green food coloring (or more to achieve desired green-ness)
•   11 oz. mini chocolate chips

1.  Beat the butter until soft & smooth (I find using a hand mixer works best for frostings).
2.  Add 1/2 confectioners' sugar and mix at low speed until fairly well blended.  
3.  Add the rest of the sugar, continue blending at low speed.  
4.  Add milk and beat 3-5 minutes until creamy and slightly thinner than what you need (frosting will firm up). 
**Makes enough for two 9" layers plus filling.