Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Grateful

Sometimes, it just needs to be said: I am surrounded by a rock-solid crew of insanely good people. This past week has been a little heady and hectic - still going through the grieving process, trying to get two assignments in (I'm missing my Saturday intensive class this week because of the funeral), working on the program book for the funeral, putting together a photo slideshow, and trying to find time to write a speech, all while trying to juggle the Boobla and do the daily life grind stuff of endless grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and admin. This life is too much sometimes.

We enjoyed a restorative weekend. Friday night we played dodgeball and I got some of my aggression out by turning into an angry dad mid-way through the game. I also left one of my favorite hoodies at the gym, which blows.

Saturday we headed to Mhui's house for a brunch with the work crew. It was so much fun - a grand total of 5 kids all under the age of 3 tearing around, a delicious spread consisting of: waffles, fried chicken, pancakes, baked eggs florentine, fruit, bacon, and pastries - it was insane. Just see for yourself:



I love the look Master T is giving B there.

We waddled home at 3pm, only to start prepping for a dinner party where the guests were arriving at 7pm. I took a lot of preventative Gaviscon to prepare. The dinner party theme was a southern feast, so I made a pear-ginger jam glazed ham, sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping, a zucchini casserole with crushed Ritz cracker topping, deviled eggs, and pimiento cheese spread (which was DELICIOUS, although the Dotytron fingers this as the chief heartburn inducing culprit). For dessert, S made a chocolate cake from some Alabama Baptist church cookbook that featured Coke as an ingredient. It was delicious:



We pretty much laughed ourselves silly that night. Dr. Rei and Hanbo were there, in addition to our friends S & P and S & A. It was a good mix of people and afterwards, our cheeks hurt from sounding off on any number of topics, including but not limited to: Dr. Rei's newfound obsession with Sodoku, the fad you may all remember from 2003; how CBC's Marketplace is basically designed to make mom's go crazy; S's assertion that she heard about a CBC documentary on Toronto raccoons where all the devices we use to keep them at bay are actually making them smarter and they're turning into people; and how Hanbo and I are going to start a Ponzi scheme based on Princess Margaret Hospital lottery tickets. There was also an extended reminiscence on the McDLT and the McRib sandwich.

On Sunday, the Dotytron was an amazing prince and took the Boobla off my hands all day so that I could get my assignments done. The Dotytron is pretty awesome that way. He is also awesome because when left to his own devices, he'll go rummaging around the Boobla's clothes and come up with ridiculous outfits of his own devising. A perennial favorite of his is dressing Master T in a onesie with just socks, or his Uggs on. Sunday afternoon, I was nose-deep in my stupid Senate reform paper when I felt someone hovering over me, looked up, and beheld this:




We call this the "sure we will, Mr. Homer *cough cough*, sure we will" LOL! How cute are the both of them?

This is what's been happening around here lately, dinner wise. Friday night I made stromboli with spicy capicolo and spicy genoa salami, grated mozzarella, pesto, and roasted red peppers. Stromboli is basically a rolled up pizza. So you roll out your pizza dough into a fairly thin rectangle, lay out your toppings on it, roll it up, and pinch it to seal. I brush the outside with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to get a good, crunchy, salty exterior. This was delicious. I served it with a salad I cribbed from Tillers & Jen that they served at the farm - mixed greens, toasted pecans, chopped apple, chopped pepper jack cheese and a maple balsamic vinaigrette:



Last night I made us a brown rice paella with clams, fresh chorizo, shrimp, and squid. It was incredibly tasty.

It constantly amazes me how creative people are and how many tutorials are available online FOR FREE. Especially now that I have a kid and I want more DIY, less branded options that serve the dual function of allowing me to exercise my creativity and need for craftiness, the options are insane.

Chez Beeper has an amazing tutorial on how to make your own magnetic play set that I've bookmarked for when Master T is a little older. Genius! And check out these ADORABLE turtle icebox cookies courtesy of Diamonds for Dessert:


Wren Handmade made a gorgeous giant oilcloth placemat that I think I might copy - it would be lovely to put under the high chair when we embark on baby led weaning adventures and it would totally be worth it to splurge on high quality Japanese oil cloth. Check it out:

Considering I barely have time to knit before begging for sleep at 10:30pm every night, I'm not sure whe I think I'm going tohave time to do this, but a girl can dream, right? I am continually humbled by the creativity (and envious of the free time) of stay at home crafty parents everywhere. Also, look at how stylized their houses are! JEALOUS!

I'm posting the recipe for those Chocolate Toffee S'more cookies I made a while back as they were a big hit and people have been asking. I made only minor modifications to the recipe, principally to produce a bigger yield.

Fin.

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Chocolate Toffee S'More Cookies
Rich, chewy toffee-studded chocolate cookies topped with a gooey marshmallow-graham layer baked right on. Need I say more?

Dough

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. toffee baking bits

Topping:
1/4 c. of graham cracker crumbs
1 c. mini marshmallows
1/4 c. condensed milk

- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
- Cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Then beat in egg and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour until dough just comes together, then mix in toffee.
- Shape dough into an 8-inch log (3 inches in diameter) on a floured surface with floured hands, then flatten ends and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 6 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
- In a separate bowl, stir together graham crumbs, marshmallows and condensed milk (the mixture will be very sticky.)
- Cut dough crosswise into 1/4-1/2" slices. Place 5 slices on each baking sheet (cookies will spread like whoa during baking).
- Top each cookie slice with a heaping Tablespoon of topping.
- Bake cookies for about 15-18 minutes, or until topping is golden and cookies are baked through.
- Let cookies cool on pans for about 5 minutes, slide onto racks to finish cooling completely.

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