Saturday, August 28, 2010

Food from other people

No photo of food this time around but this is what the view looks like for me these days . . . holding baby girl and getting a chance to rest. Some of the reasons I'm able to rest and recover is because a) I have had a lot of help from family and friends - particularly my mom! b) baby girl is a good sleeper and big sister has been doing pretty well with the transition to not being the only kid and c) we've been blessed with food that others have made for us in the past weeks since baby girl was born.

Friends are bringing us meals for a few more weeks and it's been such a huge help in the evening to not have to cook and have a hot, wonderful meal delivered by people we love! If you'd like to bless a friend with meals, check out It's an online meal registry and works really well.

I thought I'd share two recipes of food we've had recently. My friend Will brought over some Nutella Brownies which were awesome . . . we polished them off before he even left our house (not the full batch below). He made them in mini muffin tins this time but I'm not sure of cooking times for that modification.

The other recipe is for meatballs that my mother-in-law has been making for church potlucks. Now, as my family can attest to, I'm not a huge meatball fan. But, I really like these - they are more like mini meatloaf and there isn't too much sauce (which I prefer). These also disappeared really quickly in our house after they were delivered!

Will's Nutella Brownies (8 large brownies)
originally in Sunset magazine

About ½ cup butter
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter or spray 8 muffin cups

2. Microwave ½ cup butter in a heatproof bowl to melt. Add chocolate, stirring until melted, then add sugar and cocoa and stir to blend. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add flour and stir until smooth. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.

3. Using a small spoon, make a depression in each portion of batter 1 in. wide and ½ in. deep. Spoon 1 tbsp Nutella into each.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into brownie part comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 20-24 minutes. Let cool on a rack about 10 minutes. Using a small metal spatula, loosen brownies from pans, move to rack, and cool completely.

Judy's Barbequed Meat Balls

2 1/4 lbs ground beef
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups milk
1 small onion, chopped
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp pepper
Diced celery and green pepper if desired

1 cup tomato catsup
2 1/4 T worchestershire sauce
1 1/4 cup water
3 3/4 T vinegar
3 T sugar

Mix the meatball ingredients and form into balls. Brown in skillet. Transfer to oven proof pot or casserole dish. Combine sauce ingredients and pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Life Goes On

A few days ago, I moved from my purse back into a diaper bag. I never got the hang of carrying two different bags around so for now, it's the diaper bag. The good news is that I still love my diaper bag and I think it's super cute. When I was going through stuff, I read through my cool Nancy Drew notebook (thanks, Lisa) and found a few recipes I had written down from various places. My almost-3-year-old daughter had been asking me to bake for the last couple of days, so I chose this muffin recipe that I had scribbled in the notebook.

Baby girl is a little more than 2 weeks old and it felt good to finally do some baking. One of the first nights that I was home from the hospital, I remember laying in bed thinking that my blog was probably over. There was no way I'd ever be able to cook or write or take pictures and keep up with the blog. But, life goes on, I'm feeling good, and here are some strawberry muffins for the end of summer.

Little girl loved mashing the strawberries and whisking (her favorite cooking action). I overcooked this batch . . . didn't adjust the oven temperature or check them soon enough. My revised baking time is below - hope you have a little better result with that. The overall flavor was good but the muffin was a little denser (more biscuit-like) than I usually prefer.

And this is what baby sister did while we baked:

Strawberry Muffins (1 dozen)
from Body + Soul magazine (Whole Living) 8/09

1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mash the strawberries with a little sugar (I used about a half tablespoon) using a potato masher. Add the wet ingredients to the strawberries and mix well. Fold into the dry ingredients and don't overmix. Bake for 13-17 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Look what was cooking . . .

Here she is! Baby Girl #2 was born 9 days ahead of her due date last Wednesday. Tomorrow she'll be a whole week old and she's perfect. Right down to the teeny tiny fingers and toes.

How could I have forgotten what it is like to hold a little baby and what a miracle they are? I've thought this before but again I was struck with the amazing miracle of life that God gives us and how incredible babies are. I'm not sure how someone can hold their own child for the first time and not believe that there is a God. He is so good!

For those of you who have emailed or called, thank you for your congratulations, prayers, and kind thoughts. Even if I haven't responded, they are much appreciated!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Peach Pie

Countdown: 10 days until baby girl's due date

In an earlier post this summer, I mentioned that one of my cooking goals was to make a fresh peach pie. Marilyn provided a recipe in the comments and I finally tried it out today and wanted to repost the recipe for you all. It was easy and tasty - the most time consuming part was peeling and slicing the peaches which isn't a big deal. I don't make my own pie crusts and have had good results with the ones from Trader Joe's that you bake yourself. I also like the Pillsbury but the ingredients are a little more questionable.

I had leftover peach jello so I made Jello Jigglers for my daughter and she didn't like them! Maybe a texture thing? I was surprised - what kid doesn't like jello? - but it might just be because she's never had it before.

Marilyn's Peach Pie (one 9 inch pie)

1 c. sugar
dash of salt
2 T. cornstarch
3 T peach jello (1/2 box)
3/8 tsp. knox gelatin
a baked pie crust
orange food coloring (optional)
4-5 cups sliced fresh peaches
whipped cream for serving

Step 1: Make the sauce

Combine the sugar, salt, and cornstarch with 7/8 cup water (measure 1 cup and take out 2 tablespoons). Cook 4-5 minutes stirring constantly. It will get clear and thick. Remove from heat and add 3 T. peach jello (1/2 box) and several drops of orange food coloring. Also add 3/8 tsp. knox gelatin which has been soaked in 2 T. cold water. Mix everything together well and cool.

Step 2: Make the crust

Make your favorite pie crust (you only need one crust so for some recipes, you might need to halve the amount), put it in the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan and bake it until it's golden brown. Let it cool. I'm a big cheater and I use Trader Joe's premade pie dough.

Step 3: Make the filling

When the sauce and the crust are cool, slice 4-5 cups of fresh peaches. I think I used 6 or 7 peaches today and I ended up with some white and some yellow peaches. Stir the peach slices into the sauce. Pour into baked 9-inch pie shell. Cool at least 5 hours. Top with whipped cream.

Note: Marilyn says that you can use this formula for strawberry pie omitting knox gelatin and substituting strawberry jello and red food coloring rather than the peach jello and orange food coloring.