Building a snowman. Baking a chocolate cake and licking the spoon. Fixing a pot of soup on a cold night. Knitting.
We made banana bread today. The kids were out of school (again!) due to the extremely cold temperatures we had today, and we had some bananas that were just this side of bad so we put them to use.
We used the recipe from Smitten Kitchen except we didn't add any bourbon and we added some chocolate chips to the mix. It's pretty obvious what the kids thought.
I love to cook and soups, stews and chilis are some of my favorite things to make. Nothing beats a hot, bubbly, steamy pot on a cold day. We've been out of town for the past week visiting my husband's family. Since there is still a lot of unpacking and putting away that needs to be done, I made an easy dinner last night. This chili recipe has become a go-to meal here. It's pretty quick and easy, and it's very, very good. The recipe is adapted from a recipe found in an old Rachael Ray magazine.
1 lb. ground beef
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
cayenne powder, to taste
1 15. oz. can black beans
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
1 10 oz. can tomatoes w/ green chiles
1/4 c. beef broth
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne and cook over medium heat for 5ish minutes. Note: if you want to add onions to the recipe, add them when you add the garlic and spices.
2. Add the beans with the liquid, tomatoes, and broth; bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, 15-30 minutes.
3. Serve with your favorite toppings. We particularly like shredded monterey jack cheese and Fritos.
I forgot the Fritos when I went grocery shopping so I made cornbread instead. Cornbread and chili just go together. The best cornbread recipe I have found is the one on the back of the tub of Kroger brand cornmeal. I've adapted it to my tastes.
3/4 c. cornmeal
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 – 1/2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. vegetable oil or bacon drippings
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease 8 or 9 in. round pan. (I've made this in a cast iron skillet too, and it works just fine with no adaptations needed.)
2. Blend all dry ingredients. For the sugar, the original recipe calls for 1/4 c. sugar. I like it sweeter so I add closer to 1/2 c.
3. Mix wet ingredients. I like buttermilk in this recipe. If you don't have any, like I didn't last night, just use milk.
4. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and mix until moist. Pour batter into greased pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until a fork inserted into the center comes out clean.
Oh so yummy with melty butter. As a side note, a peanut butter sandwich is delicious with chili. Chili with a peanut butter sandwich was a staple on my school lunch menu. Do you think this is strange? As far as I can tell, this peanut butter/chili combo is local to the West Virginia/Ohio/Kentucky tri-state area. Other people think it's a weird combo. Try it. Really. Dip your peanut butter sandwich in your chili. My husband is a total convert.
One of the perks of having a FIL who farms for a living is the many yummy things we bring home with us. We have four dozen farm fresh eggs, a box of potatoes, several baggies of some sort of hot pepper, and a bunch of beef.
Tonight, we grilled some T-bones. We like our meat nice and rare. Since we know how the meat is processed, we can safely indulge in some good and bloody steaks. I served the steak with some of the potatoes which I boiled until tender, then tossed with butter, salt, and fresh dill. I sauteed a couple of portobello mushrooms too. Admit it, you're jealous.
Waiting patiently for dinner were these two.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, but I just don't have too much to say about Down syndrome anymore. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times…Down syndrome just isn't an everyday thing. T-bones aside, this is a pretty typical Saturday night in October around here. Dinner, football on the TV, kids playing (and arguing), me knitting. Life is pretty damn good.
My kids love pancakes. Plain pancakes, blueberry pancakes. Dry pancakes, syrupy pancakes. Pancakes with chocolate chips and whipped cream. If it looks like a pancake and I call it a pancake, they eat it. Sunday morning pancake morning has quickly become a family tradition.
These pancakes make my kids melt. They melt into a weepy mess when I'm cooking them because they just can't wait until they're done. When the pancakes are on a plate, those weepy snarly creatures melt into silent, happy, obedient children.
Today was a morning for pancakes.
More snow for us and it's still coming down.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Pancakes (adapted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade*)
1 cup of Bisquick or similar baking mix
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup pumpkin
1/2-1 t. cinnamon
1/8-1/4 t. ginger
I like these pancakes with a little more cinnamon and ginger, but it's up to you on how much you add. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, but don't overmix. Some lumps are just fine.
I use about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake, but do what you like. Fry 'em up on a hot griddle pan.
Cook until golden brown on each side.
Serve them up with butter and syrup. I like bacon with mine.
Oh, so good.
These pancakes come out very moist and gooey, even when cooked completely. If you like your pancakes a little less gooey, reduce the amount of water or add some more Bisquick.
My kids are now quiet and playing happily. There's no whining or fussing or fighting. These pancakes are miracle workers.
*Sandra Lee annoys me to no end. I'll forgive her a little just for these pancakes.
How about a recipe? I fixed this for dinner on Friday night, and it was very tasty. Juliana really liked "cheesy soups."
- 1 stick butter
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 4 potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 4 c. chicken broth
- 12 oz beer
- 1 c. Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 lb. sharp Cheddar, grated
- 1/2 lb. white Cheddar, grated
- salt & pepper to taste
In a pot, melt butter. Add all the veggies and flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes. Add broth and beer and simmer 15-ish minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in cheese. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, do not boil.
I tossed in some cooked, diced ham when I added the cheese, and it was really tasty. I would definitely recommend that addition. I used Sam Adams Boston Lager for the beer, which had a very strong flavor. It was good, but I will use something more mild next time. I served the soup with a loaf of fresh-baked beer bread.
I don't know what it is about fall, but I want to cook and bake all the time.
Unbelievable as it may seem, I had never eaten a scone before this past week. Nor had I ever made one.
I used this recipe. I made no changes to the scone recipe. I did change up the glaze. Instead of using water to make the glaze, I used orange juice. It gave the glaze just a hint of orange flavor. I think that grating some orange zest into the batter would make a very tasty vanilla orange scone.
Both kids very much enjoyed the scones. Liam added a new word to his ever expanding vocabulary…'cones.
I'm kind of obsessed with scones now. I have recipes for gingerbread scones, pumpkin scones, and double chocolate scones. Mmmm, scones. Insert Homer Simpson-like drooling here.
I love our backyard in the spring. When we were house hunting and saw this house, we loved it immediately. The backyard sealed the deal.
These hostas are ones I planted after we moved here. I have something of a brown thumb. It's not quite a black thumb, but it's definitely not green either. Hostas are something that I can plant and grow well.
This lilac bush is one we planted at the same time as the hostas. My husband's childhood home has lilacs blooming in the yard and he's always loved them. Adding a lilac bush was his decision and a good one it was.
The daffodils and tulips have come and gone. The irises are ready to pop any day now. My favorites are the peonies. They're coming up now. In a week or two, we'll have those creamy pink blooms all along the fence. I love to cut them and put them in Mason jars around the house. They make the yard and the house look so homey and cozy.
I just love our yard in the spring.