Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentines day

Happy Valentines Day!!
It is Saturday already, and most ppl are celebrating tonight, or have already celebrated.  Maybe some of us will celebrate on the actual day.  I'm not sure how many ppl are checking in often, so I hope I didn't disappoint with not having something up sooner.  I do love to celebrate Valentines Day, actually, just love to celebrate period, but this year I did not plan a special meal for Valentines.  However, I would recommend eggplant parmesean and Mocha Molten Cakes

Instead of planning and prepping all day, I had a very special date with my little boy.  I am so in love with him I can't hardly stand it!  He is so precious.  We went to Artisan Cooking School for a kid's cooking class.  This is the first one we've been to and I can't wait to go back!  Today the theme was of course Valentine's day.  So, we baked and decorated lots of treats.  They do kids classes once a month and lots more for adults.  I'm hooked and looking forward to doing something there with my husband, and it would make a super fun girls night out.  I'll be suggesting that to my cooking club. 

We made hershey kiss cookies...

Whoopie Pies...


Stained glass cookies, sugar cookies, chocolate covered cookies and chocolate covered strawberries.  YUM!
Not only did we decorate lots, we sampled everything!  Can you say sugarbuzz!  Joshua thought the best part (besides eating) was the rules:  Have fun and make a mess!  And we followed the rules.

This is one of 3 boxes that we took home, plus a parfait and extra frosting.

Thanks Artisan!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Eggplant Parmesean

This recipe is adapted from Everyday Food Magazine and the Pioneer woman.  I wanted to do the eggplant, but the PW's sauce on her chicken parmesean I liked much better.

2 large globe eggplants (about 2 pounds total), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup plain dried breadcrumbs (I used italian)
Vegetable oil, for frying

½ cups Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
¾ cups Wine (white Or Red Is Fine)
3 cans (14.5 Oz.) Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Sugar
¼ cups Chopped Fresh Parsley
 Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (the real stuff, that you grate yourself... so much tastier!!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.  Put the eggplant in a colander tossed with 1 1/2 tsp salt.  This extracts water out of the eggplant.  Let it stand for 30 min.

2.  Meanwhile, start your sauce. Heat the olive oil and butter on medium until melted.  add the onion and garlic and cook for about 2 -5 minutes.  Add the wine and reduce to about half.  This should take a few minutes.  I find I usually need to turn the heat up just a bit for this.  Add your tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. 

3.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Heat vegetable oil on stove on med. high.  It should come to about 1/2 way up the pan.  Dredge the eggplant in the flour, then dip in the egg, then lightly coat with the breadcrumbs.  To test your oil, drop a pinch of breadcrumbs in, if it sizzles it's ready. 

4.  Once it's ready, place a few slices of eggplant in the oil at a time.  Don't crowd.  They need about 2-3 minutes per side, until they are golden brown.  Remove and place on a rack over a baking sheet. 

5.  Put about 1 cup of sauce in a 9x13 pan, then put half the eggplant on top. Top it with cheese (you can use the parmesean here, or a blend of mozzerella, or an italian blend.), then more sauce.  Place the rest of the eggplant on top, and top with sauce and parmesean cheese. 

6.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.

You can serve this over pasta, or by itself with a salad. 

Mocha Molten Cakes

These delicious cakes come from Everyday Food magazine.  It's from a couple years ago, and I make it every year on valentines day.  They are soft and gooey in the center.

Serves 2
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins

1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for ramekins and serving
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon espresso powder
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 6-ounce ramekins, then dust with sugar. Place butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 20-second increments, stirring after each, until melted. Let cool slightly.

2.Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Add chocolate mixture; whisk to combine. Add flour, and whisk just until combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into prepared ramekins. (Recipe can be made ahead up to this point.)

3.Bake until a toothpick inserted 1/2 inch from edge of ramekins comes out clean, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out wet, 10 to 12 minutes (do not overbake). Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife around inside of ramekins to loosen. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Dust with sugar; serve immediately.

Muffin Tin lunch

This is a fun way to serve lunch to the little ones.  My kids loved it.  I got the idea from Muffin Tin Mom.  She's fabulous, she comes up with themes and everything.  This was our first one, and I just kept it basic.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ground hog day hot cocoa

Is'nt he cute?  Okay, his eye looks a little bloodshot, maybe he's just tired of winter.  :-) 
I made my own hot cocoa.  I will share the recipe, but I'm warning you, it is pretty rich.  My daughter usually wants it, but won't finish it.  Is there such thing as too much chocolate?  I'm just not sure.  This recipe comes from Real Simple Magazine

2 cups cocoa powder
3/4 cups sugar (personally I think it needs more sugar)
8 oz mini chocolate chips

blend together and store in an airtight container. When you make it, use 1/4 cup cocoa mix to 8 oz very warm milk.  I think it blends best when you whisk it together on the stove. 

For the cute groundhog and his shadow, you can find the instructions here.  I used an oreo cookie, because it's what I had.

Groundhog day Pancakes

Think Spring!  I have never celebrated, much less thought about, Groundhog day.  But, having young children and being the middle of winter, I thought we could use a celebration.  We're half way thru winter!  That's great if you're a warm weather person like me!  Don't get me wrong, I love all 4 seasons and have really grown to appreciate winter.  Big chunky snowflakes falling down, while I sit in front of the fire... pure comfort.  Or "cozy-ing up" as my kids say to read books.  God has really helped me to see His beauty in the winter.  I don't do much in the way of winter sports, so the season does get a bit long for me.  My friend Cindy posted something about groundhog day on her blog, and that is where my inspiration came from this year.  To see her post, click here
We started the day with these fun pancakes.

I found this recipe at gourmet mom on the go.  You will also find the hot cocoa recipe here. 
Actually, it's more like putting it all together, not the actual recipes.  Mine were a basic pancake recipe with green food coloring added.  I would recommend a whole wheat or whole grain pancake to make this a little healthier.  Underneath the pancake is an apple w/peanut butter... that was our protein for the morning! 
I hope this will be helpful for next year if you need a little pick me up in the winter.  Or, you could still do it this week.  Hey, people celebrate Christmas for a whole month!  Enjoy!!