Friday, November 30, 2012

Snack With Dip!

For those of you parents out there who have the similar problem I do right now. I recommend trying hummus on your children. Mine was willing to eat it before and thankfully she still is now. In fact you can just give her a bowl of the stuff with nothing else and she's good to go.
Another good thing to try is any sort of cherry or grape tomato. I have no idea what it is about them but my little lamb usually loves them.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pregnant Lunch

While I was home I had the pleasure of meeting with two friends of mine who are also pregnant. One of which is also a big fan of Pintrest. She brought craft supplies to lunch.
 Following her lead each of us made signs to hold up in front of our bellys for a picture later that afternoon.

While the girls were away from the table I took pictures of their signs in front of their stuff.

That day I learned about ribbon tape. . . . I had no idea such a thing existed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kitchen Testing And Getting My Kid To Eat More Vegetables - Ethiopian Cabbage

The very first time I visited Columbus, Ohio I took notice of the places in the campus area to eat. After all, I would soon be moving to that very area - knowing what there is to eat is always key to me.

One of the top two that jumped out at me and had me excited to try it was a restaurant called Blue Nile. Ethiopian food in central Ohio wasn't exactly what this Virginia girl was exactly expecting. My husband is the very definition of a picky eater so there was no chance that he would ever eat there so I would just have to wait for my opportunity.

While I waited for my moment to pounce I did actually hear someone's opinion of the restaurant. A neighbor of ours that can only be described as a pompous, pushy, annoyingly, know-it-all told me it was disgusting. I don't remember him even being able to tell me what he ate while he was there. Knowing this fella', there was a very real chance that he was just blowing more of the hot air we'd come to associate with him.

My chance finally arose. Two women I knew from a local yarn shop (or LYS to those of you in the fiber community and knitting-know) wanted to meet for lunch. I don't remember whose idea it was to meet at the Blue Nile and I really don't care. I was just ecstatic to finally be going.

One of the other women had also never tried the food there but the other had been going for years and was able to offer us some gentle guidance about what certain words on the menu meant.

Four or five years later and I still jump at an opportunity to eat at Blue Nile. I've moved further away though so the food isn't as quickly accessible as it once was.

For today's kitchen test I will be attempting to make a dish similar to one of my favorites at Blue Nile. Brought on by a desire to go as well as a little girl decidedly becoming fussy about eating vegetables (she's never been picky before) - now seemed like a good time to find an Ethiopian recipe to test out at home.

I only had one large carrot left from making yet another bath of Vietnamese pickled vegetables to try to add to the amount of veggies my little lamb is eating.

Shred a head of cabbage and wash thoroughly.

Dice five potatoes. I like to let mine soak after I rinse them a couple of times to rid them of as much excess starch as possible.

I probably didn't slice it as thinly as the recipe really wanted but I was happy with the thickness.

Cook your carrots for about five minutes on medium heat until they are nice and hot. I didn't have any onions :(

Add cabbage and spices. Allow this to cook for around fifteen to twenty minutes.

By the time you are ready to add the potatoes you should have the wonderful smell of your spices wafting in the air.

Cover and continue to cook until the potatoes are soft.

Serve and eat.

Was it exactly like Blue Nile? Well, no - it wasn't going to be because they don't include carrot and potato. The dish was however, very good. It's just really, really too bad I didn't have onions because that would have made it just about perfect.

Did the decidedly picky eater decide to join in on the Ethiopian noms for the evening? She had seconds!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pintesting In The Kitchen - Crockpot Beef And Broccoli

When I was a little girl the only thing I ordered at a Chinese restaurant for quite a while was beef and broccoli so when I saw this pin on pintrest I was dying to try it. The source recipe for this pin can be found here.

My crock pot has been working over-time lately so I don't always have all of the burny bits scrubbed off the edges. But have no fear the pot is still very clean. I actually have two others and will probably be employing other uses for them in the near future. 

First we start with adding the mushrooms. I chose to use the Amish kind in the jar, partially because I forgot I had straw mushrooms that needed a home.

Next, the rest of a large onion I had in the refrigerator that was also in desperate need of use before it went completely bad.

Now for the beef. I used top round that was already in strips.

Before putting it into the pot I cut those strips into bite sized pieces. Then in they went.

Combine a mixture of oil, beef broth, minced garlic, sriracha chili paste, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper. I was out of sesame oil so I used vegetable.

Mix well.

The next directions are to cook your food on low for 6 - 8 hours. Having started later in the day then I really intended (just about after 1PM) I set the crock pot for 6 1/2 hours.

Don't be like me - check to make sure you have broccoli. Or at least att empt to avoid just settling to go ahead and buy some at 6PM LOL. I just bought a few broccoli crowns and then ripped off pieces.

For any of you who are uncertain about what  a broccoli crown looks like.

By the time I was ready to add my broccoli the smell of the beef was filling the house.

Mix your tbsp cornstarch and 2 tbsp water in a separate bowl before adding to your crock pot.

Adding the broccoli turned out to be a bit more exciting for me than expected (or then I guess it possibly should have been). Look at that beautiful color!

That night was actually taco night so I let this cool and put it in the fridge to eat for lunch the next day.

I was really excited. The sauce wasn't as thick as I wanted so I took some of it out of the container, put it in a separate bowl, and added cornstarch. In this didn't prove to be at all useful. The sauce was still too watery.

I dug in anyway. How was it? Really disappointing. I hated it. If you're really into super hot and spicy food you may like this. It was absolutely nothing like the Chinese food you order, which could be okay, but I still really hated the end result.

For the recipe I used for making the brown rice to go with it go here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kitchen Testing - Kimchee For Mommy

As long as I have been able to remember, my mother has loved kimchee. With all of my pickling and canning adventures recently it seemed like a good idea to at least attempt to make some kimchee for mom.

I made sure ahead of time to stock up on mason jars - I'd run out after the roasted red peppers, pickled red cabbage, and pickled Vietnamese vegetables.

I picked out a few kimchee recipes that sounded do-able and picked this one as my final choice.

Begin with a nice head of Napa cabbage.

Remove the outer leaves.

Cut it into quarters.

The next part of the instructions says to remove the tough inner core. There are two ways you can go about this. First the way you can do this if you really aren't sure where or what the tough inner core is for sure.

Slice you quarter piece as is.
Once it is sliced you will see the difference between the cabbage and the core and can separate it manually.

The second way is still pretty good for those who aren't 100% sure but would like to try to remove the core a bit faster. Diagonally cut across the butt of the cabbage.

When I say diagonally I really mean it. In addition to the general angle you are using from top to bottom, cut at a 45 degree angle.

By now you should have a nice pile of shredded cabbage.

I chose to separate mine into two colanders so that I could make sure that I wasn't going to end up losing a bunch of cabbage into the sink while I cleaned it.

I put all the cabbage into a large bowl and salted it in portions. I'd salt it, mix the cabbage up, salt it, and continued this general way until I used up all of the salt called for.

Here is what the cabbage looked like after I let it sit for two hours and wilt.

While I waited for things to wit I prepared the "sauce" I would need.
Because it's my mother I made sure to use "the good" hot chili paste.

Remembering that some of the other recipes called for daikon I bought another piece. Then once I was putting things together realized that my chosen recipe didn't include the use of daikon. I turned to my second choice recipe to make sure I didn't over-do it with the daikon.

Once everything was ready I thoroughly rinsed the cabbage and packed a mason jar as tight as I dare.
My addition of the daikon made it impossible for the sauce to mix in properly so I poured it back into a bowl.

Added some more sriracha.

And then managed to be able to pack it all back into the jar.

I hope this turns out delicious and that my mother loves it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pintesting In The Kitchen - Crockpot Ham

We ran into some issues with our dishwasher and garbage disposal the other week. Ultimately I ended up with a massive pile of dishes that needed to be done once the dishwasher was finally fixed. When you just keep running out of dishes and you allow yourself to be convinced that your apartment complex will be fixing things the next day cooking anything can become quite a chore.

Once I got the dishes to a much more manageable place I was able to not just consider cooking but to pretty much resume my regularly scheduled life.

On my most recent trip to the grocery store my chosen splurge was a ham.

Nothing really large because we are only a family of three, but large enough I felt like we had a good shot at some leftovers.

TO MY CROCK POT!!!! .... but first TO PINTREST!!!!

Today's kitchen pintest comes from this pin and the source pin here.

Cooking ham is usually a pretty simple affair but what can I say? I enjoy testing out the pins on pintrest.

I rubbed my ham with brown sugar.

Then chose to mix my maple syrup and pineapple juice together before pouring it over the ham.

I set the crock pot for five hours and felt good about the fact that tonight there would be an actual home-cooked meal.

The resulting ham was really good. I didn't get around to taking pictures because I was so hungry by the time it was ready that pictures weren't even on my list.

Is this pin worth a try? It sure it. It's a really common way to prepare ham just with the addition of a crock pot.

I don't make it a habit to keep pineapple juice so I just used the juice from a can of pineapple slices. The husbands favorite dessert is pineapple upside-down cake so I figured this was a great excuse to make him a yummy dessert to follow up a meal that involved actual cooking. Sadly when I went to do so I found we were out of eggs so I ended up making a quick spice cake instead.