Sunday, October 31, 2010

School Projects

At the kid's school every year the librarian runs a little activity called "PumpKans." Basically you, umm I mean the kids, make a character from a book they read out of a can.

Maya wanted the Three Little Pigs. We made them out of small water bottles, felt, styrofoam circles, markers, paint and googly eyes. Oh yeah and a very hot glue gun (I still feel the pain on my nail - OUCH!).

We had fun making it together. It was fun. I just had to take a picture of the pigs with our haunted house.

Sam on the other hand wanted to do Dan from Bakugan. We had fun making his hair with pipe cleaners. This is also who he is for Halloween.

At the end of it all Sam said, "Mom, you always help us with our projects. Thanks."

That's what it's all about and I am happy.


Cake Pops part 2

So I let my cake pops chill overnight as the recipe stated.

I melted the orange chocolate since Maya wanted to have "pumpkin" cake pops. I dipped the sticks in the chocolate and then put into the cake ball.

After that I started to dip them in the orange chocolate. It was not coming out well. The chocolate started to harden so I melted it some more BUT one of the balls broke in the chocolate and needless to say, there was a mess. Dump orange chocolate. No more orange.

Day 3: White chocolate. Modified the recipe a little. Good coverage. All covered. Then I drizzled chocolate to make them look like Mummies. Drew some eyes on them, very good.

I let them dry in a floral foam block. They came out pretty cool for a first time, I think.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cake Pops Part 1

Okay, my baby had decided that she wanted a Halloween party for her birthday, so me being the mom I am obliged.

So, now I am doing everything I can to put togethe
r something that will be really awesome.

I am making her Cake pops. I started this evening.

Step one was to bake a cake as per directions. Cool cake and then crumble. Recipes have suggested to put it into a Cuisinart. I only have a small one, the blender was not really an option so I used my Cuisinart Blender stick (LOVE). It worked out great.

Step two was to mix with frosting and then roll into balls.

Step three was to let it sit on the tray overnight in the refrigerator (tomorrow I will be dipping them in chocolate and decorating them).

I am so excited to see what happens. I chose for these pops to make a confetti cake mixture and cream cheese frosting.

If I am able I am going to attempt to make a bunting with some fabric I have had for a few years.

Some eyeball cupcakes, bones chocolates and maybe, just maybe homemade candy corn. Hmm maybe I need a day off. Oh and Maya just asked for petit fours like the ones I made for her party last year! Thank goodness I have those ingredients in the pantry. I also was thinking of doing caramel apples with the kids.

That reminds me, I need to call one of my sitters to come and "assist" the party. Toodles for now.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Dinners

As a teenager I recall having Sunday dinners made by my dad. My dad would be making shrimp on skewers with my bestie Jen and I putting it together and enjoying a great meal with my family. Everyone loved coming to my house on Sundays for dinner. I really enjoy having Sunday dinner for my family. It gives me a chance to cook and make fabulous meals (or not so fabulous meals) and at the same time have my children eat outside of their little boxes.

So, on some Sundays I am able to make fantastic meals that the children will try and we both enjoy. Tonight was one of those nights.

Tonight I made a Roast, with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Green beans with dill.

We actually had an added guest this evening (son's best friend) and we had a great time (I even made them chicken nuggets in case they wouldn't eat the roast).

Roast Beef with Dijon Caper Sauce

Roast Beef:
  • 1 3-pound eye of round beef roast, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-salt beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers

For roast beef:
Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix thyme, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Heat oil in large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with herb mixture. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 130°F, about 40 minutes. Transfer to cutting board; let rest.

For sauce:
Place skillet with juices over medium-high heat. Add butter; stir until melted. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in broth; bring to boil. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, whisking often, about 6 minutes. Whisk in mustard and capers. Season sauce with pepper.

Cut beef crosswise into very thin slices. Transfer beef to platter. Serve with sauce.

Roasted Garlic Mashed potatoes
2 lbs of potatoes
1 head of Garlic
Olive oil
Truffle oil

Cut off the top of the head of garlic, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Place in foil and wrap with top exposed. Put into an oven at 350. Peel and cut potatoes in quarters. Put into boiling water. When tender, remove from water, melt butter and cream.

Add warm butter/cream mixture to potatoes as you mash them, add the roasted garlic (just squeeze the garlic out of the skins and add truffle oil (Fairway has a nice olive oil with truffles that is fabulous). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Green Beans with Dill

Melt 1 TBS of butter in pan. Add Green beans. Little salt and Dill, toss. Serve. Very tasty.

It was a fabulous meal by all. I look forward to making some more in the future.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Recipe!

I think I have made meatballs a few times, just winging the recipe and other times adapting others. Well, tonight I tried a recipe of someone whose cooking I absolutely love, Lidia Bastianich. I really love her food. I have been to several of her restaurants (one's she has with her son and Mario Batali - they really are a great team). In any case, I decided to try her meatball recipe this evening and I am in LOVE.

These meatballs were so moist on the inside and just absolutely delish. The kids liked them too and you know my picky kids (I have one who does not like sauce so I have to rinse the sauce off with hot water - please). My son's only request is that the meatballs have cheese in them and he can actually tell when I have not had it in them.

Here's her recipe:

Spaghetti con Polpette di Carne


1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Meanwhile, crumble the pork and beef into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, 1/3 cup grated cheese, the parsley, and garlic over the meat. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the meat mixture. Mix the ingredients with clean hands just until evenly blended. Don't overmix. Shape the meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls.

Dredge the meatballs in the flour until lightly but evenly coated. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil and the vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Slip as many meatballs into the skillet as will fit without crowding. Fry, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Adjust the heat as the meatballs cook to prevent them from overbrowning. Remove the meatballs, and repeat if necessary with the remaining meatballs.

Add the browned meatballs to tomato sauce and cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, until no trace of pink remains at the center of the meatballs, about 30 minutes. Serve over pasta. Enjoy!

Then I was being a bit ambitious this evening and even baked my family my chocolate chip cookies. They were very happy. I am sure they will be gone by Saturday. I will make more or try something new this weekend. I am thinking about trying Bakerella's cake pops for Maya's Halloween party next week.

Happy Friday!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Amazing Art Show

I think I have told you in the past about my wonderful artist friend Emily.

She can be found here.

Last night I went to her art show in NYC.

I met up with a few of the camp ladies and we went out for the night.

The show was called ParTY.

My FAVORITE, I so love this picture

These are pretty cool too.

I love this piece

Truth is I love all her art. She even had some from what we did this summer which was pretty cool; not only seeing it but seeing people wanting to buy it. She really is talented and she gives me lots of inspiration. There was so much more art there and it was/is all fabulous. It was held at the Prince George Ballroom. One side it has this gorgeous art gallery and the other side it has this beautiful ballroom. The nice Emily told me was that the rental fees for the Gallery portion of the space go to support the Homeless.

It was a fabulous night and after the artist's reception we went for some BBQ at a pretty good place where you go up with tickets, get your food and then come back to your seat. The end of the night the waiter collects your tickets that shows a price for what you ate and done. They had a band, which my friend kept remarking about the "short" Cowboy - ironic since my friend is a petite gal herself.

It was a great night, Bravo Emily!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Birds Nest Breakfast

We were invited to have breakfast this morning at a friend's house. Gorgeous day for a lovely breakfast outside on the patio.

I decided to make a breakfast that I have not tried before. I could have gone with my standard Creme Brulee French Toast (but I forgot to buy the necessary bread for the recipe last night).

I made Birds Nests but I think I prefer the name Eggs in a Basket. You decide.

Eggs in a Basket

1 dozen eggs
4 Tablespoons of butter
Cheese (I chose a dill harvarti)
Fresh Dill (again I chose this to pair with my cheese)
Loaf of Whole Grain Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, grease muffin pan. Take slices of bread and put into the muffin pan as you would a cupcake liner. They will stick out a little. Butter the bread with a silicone brush (easier to clean), crack an egg into each bread basket (it may overflow a little but the bread does absorb a little of the egg). Grate your cheese if you buy a block (I used about 3/4 of the block) and then sprinkle on each egg basket. Bake for about 10 minutes. You can do less, depends on how runny you would like your eggs. Mine were soft not runny.
Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm out of the oven.

Everyone loved them. I may need to serve that at my Moms and Mimosas brunch next month Thanks Kasey ;) for the idea. Oh, and I forgot to take the after picture all pretty on the platter since I was rushing out to get it to my friend's house while they were warm.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Dance

Well, this week I did myself one better, actually two better.

I lost 3 pounds this week!

I have been trying so very hard to do well. I was actually lower before the summer but evidently, I had a good time. :) Consistently I have bee losing 1 pound and this week I did so much better.

So I have been religiously eating my salads every day for lunch and having my 100 calorie snacks, even cut back on my wine during the week (even though some days I really do need it).

I even went to the dr today, regular check up and he even said I was doing well and his scale said the same as my home scale (morning weight) in the evening. Very happy, so I can do my happy dance today. Thanks for the inspiring words from my friends.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Another Good Week

I am so proud again this week.

Even though I am overwhelmed with a new position and in a place where you would think I would splurge I have been able to stick to it and lose the week.

I am down 1.1 lbs this week.

I know it seems slow but as the saying goes, "slow and steady wins the race."

Here's to next week.