Freezer S’mores

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I went from being Type A to Type Meh in the span of just a few years.

Type A = super competitive; anxious about everything being just so; rigid and uptight.

Type Meh = more relaxed; content with things as they are or as they need to be; limber and fluid.

I see this change to varying degrees across the different parts of me.  But I think the change has maybe been most profound in the kitchen.

For example, Type A me would have read Sweetened With Honey’s recipe for Campfire Bars and been all kinds of fired up to make homemade graham crackers and marshmallow and then morph them into a fireless s’more.  Hell, I might have even flirted with the idea of processing my own chocolate….not really, or at least not seriously.

Type Meh me read the recipe and immediately discounted the notion of making graham crackers or marshmallow. There are perfectly fine graham crackers and marshmallow at that big store with all the food so conveniently laid out for me.  The time and effort I would invest into those projects could be better used stealing a nap on a weekend afternoon, sweeping under the sofa for small wooden toys deposited by Hurricane Libby, or being defeated by Level 29 in Candy Crush.

My point is that unless I specifically want to be challenged by a recipe, as in Ken’s Ginger Cream Cake, I’m going to look for ways to simplify a fussy recipe to make it fit into the limited amount of time and attention that I can offer.

What is the take away from this?  1) Not everything in life has to be a big production.  2) Even the smallest treats can be semi-homemade and full of love.  3)  I like to nap.

The correct answer is All of the Above.

Freezer S’mores

Inspired by Sweetened With Honey

BAH Note:  Since this is a Type Meh recipe, there are no exact measurements for anything on this one.  Take a leap and trust your own judgment.

  • graham crackers
  • marshmallow fluff
  • powdered sugar
  • semi sweet or bitter sweet chocolate chips

Combine marshmallow fluff with some powdered sugar in a bowl and beat to combine with a mixer.  Add additional powdered sugar until the fluff has thickened up to a frosting consistency.  It should be sturdy but not stiff.

Place half of your graham crackers on a sheet pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment (for easier cleanup).  Top each cracker with a dollop of the fluff. Top with a second cracker and transfer the pan to the freezer for approximately 30 minutes.

While the bars chill in the freezer, melt the chocolate and allow it to cool.  Dip each bar in the melted chocolate or use a pastry brush to paint the chocolate onto the bars.  Return the pan to the freezer for the chocolate to set.

Allow the s’mores to sit out for a few minutes before serving to soften just a bit.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Dessert, Food, Photo, Recipe, Sweets | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Ken’s Ginger Milk Cake

Ginger Cream Cupcake

I turned 42 this year.  How that happened, I don’t know.  One day I am young; I have my entire life ahead of me.  And then people my age suddenly have children old enough to graduate high school.  People my age are posting on Facebook about their grandchildren.  People my age have as much of their lives in the past as they do in the future.  Call it whatever you like – middle age, seasoned, etc – the reality is that like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.  And as of my birthday this year, I’ve had 15,695 of them.  That’s worth celebrating.

So I decided that I would pick a special treat to mark the end of one year and the beginning of a brand new year of me.  Part of what I’ve learned on my journey is that by virtue of just being me, I am worthy.  I have value.  And until I embrace that and celebrate it, I can’t expect anyone else to.

I may have had Brene Brown in my head as I took the time to mix and stir, to fold and frost in celebration of me. But having love and compassion for ourselves allows us to experience love and compassion for others.   This year, love and compassion tasted like Ginger Milk Cake.

Ken’s Ginger Milk Cake

Adapted from Hungry Rabbit

BAH Note:  I’m not going to kid you, this cake is very hands on.  It’s not something I would attempt with lots of distractions like children, Candy Crush, or a Dance Moms marathon to pull your attention away from the task at hand.  If cupcakes aren’t your thing, or if you have better portion self control than I do, this batter will make two 8″ layers.

Ginger Milk Mousse

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (full fat please)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon super fine sugar

Cake

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Melt 5 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon grated ginger and allow to sit, off the heat, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the 4 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl until pale yellow, smooth, and fully combined.

Sprinkle the gelatin into 1/4 cup of the coconut milk in a small bowl or ramekin.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk, 3/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 tablespoon grated ginger to a small saucepan and heat to just simmering.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for least 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, bring the mixture to a boil.  Remove from the heat and slowly stir a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.  Stir all of the tempered egg mixture into the hot milk and return the pan to the stove.  Cook over medium heat until the milk mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Off the heat, stir in the gelatin mixture and vanilla.  Pour the ginger cream through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.  Cover the surface of the cream with plastic wrap and allow to cool completely.

While the ginger cream cools, strain the butter ginger mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl.  Stir in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, ground ginger, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt into a medium bowl.

In a separate mixing bowl (non reactive s’il vous plait) set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the 4 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar.  Continue to whisk until it reaches about 115 degrees (if you don’t have a thermometer, this is a touch warmer than body temperature but should not be HOT).  Transfer the heated egg and sugar to the workbowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture triples in volume.

Warm the melted butter in your microwave for about 10 seconds, just to loosen it up.  Whisk 1 cup of the egg mixture into the melted butter and set aside.  Sift half of the flour mixture onto the batter and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula.  Repeat with the remaining flour and fold it in just until the flour is no longer visible.  Gently fold in the butter mixture until just incorporated.

Divide the batter into lined muffin tins and bake until the cake just begins to pull away from the baking paper and a tester comes out clean.  Start checking for doneness at about 15 minutes…I honestly don’t remember how long mine were in the oven but Ken calls for 18 to 22 minutes for an 8 inch layer cake.  So cupcakes should be in the 15 to 20 minute range.

Transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.  When ready to frost, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar in your mixer until you get soft peaks.  Stir about one cup of the whipped cream into the ginger cream and then gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream.  Frost the cupcakes and then top with crystallized ginger.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready.

{printable recipe}

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7.20.13

BDAY COLLAGE

My heart is very full.  Happy birthday Libby.

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Libby’s First Birthday

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Dear Libby, you don’t remember the day you were born.  But your Dad and I will never forget it.  You should know that it is one of my most favoritest stories ever and I plan on making sure I tell it to you every chance I get….especially on your birthday.  That’s one of the privileges bestowed on me by virtue of being your momma.  Another is that I get to reflect on the year that has been and wonder what the one ahead will hold for you.

I am in complete denial that your birthday is only a few days away.  Where have the last 365 days gone?  Every time I look at you I marvel at how much change has taken place in a single year.  Gone is the 7 pound newborn who didn’t know day from night, who would promptly fall into a restful sleep the moment she was snuggled into my chest, and whose cry morphed into the bleat of a billy goat when a requested diaper, feeding, or snuggle did not materialize in a prompt manner.

Nope, that Libby is just a memory now…tucked away with mental snapshots of other moments, seemingly ordinary but quietly precious – sleepy middle of the night feedings, the way you smell after a bath, the way you smile with your entire face scrunched up so that all we see is gums with two baby teeth poking through on the bottom.  These are what fills my heart.

All that has made way for you to become an adventurous little person.  You are developing clear preferences for things you like….and things you don’t.  Your curiosity, like your energy, is boundless and it simply amazes me to watch you conquer your world.

I adore the fact that you learned to crawl so that you could chase the cat  (I don’t think the cat was too happy about that development).  And I’ve made it my own personal mission that one of your first words will be “cat”.  It’s clear to me that you know what the word means because when I ask you “where’s the cat?”, you turn and look and point….at the cat.  So we will keep playing “where’s the cat” where I keep repeating c-c-c aaaaaaaaaaaa t-t-t, cat.  And eventually, something that sounds almost sort of like cat will come tumbling out of your mouth.  After that maybe we can work on the idea of “gentle”?  I’m sure the “cat” would appreciate that.

You are already starting to assert your independence and I can see that it frustrates you not to be able to do everything you want.  All I can say about that is it’s my job to identify the boundaries.  And it’s your job to push them. It’s part of the dance that we do.

And as surely as I know the sky is blue, I know that I won’t always get it right.  There will be moments that I am not the parent I want to be, or the one you need me to be.  I just hope that one day you will see that along with the truth of my imperfection you also saw the truth of my love for you.

Happy birthday dear Libby, I love you to pieces.

xoxoxo,

Momma

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Peanut Butter Cup

Peanut Butter Cup

Ok, so these happened.  But like many DIY food projects in my kitchen, I don’t know that I would ever make them again.  Especially when Trader Joe has the most delicious dark chocolate peanut butter cups on the face of the earth.  #seriously

To satisfy your own curiosity, you can check out this post on Sprouted Kitchen…it’s the recipe I worked from.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have Very Special Birthday Party to start fretting over since I failed to make arrangements with the Birthday Party Fairy.

Posted in Candy, Photo, Sweets | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Israeli Couscous with Preserved Lemon and Butternut Squash

Cous Cous with Roasted Veg High Res

Here’s one of the secrets about children that nobody tells you…kids are like computers.  No really, hear me out.

You bring one home, set it up, and start to learn how to use it.  You have some stumbles at first as you get your feet wet with the operating system, programs, and apps.  But as days go by your confidence grows and you become more proficient with Baby 0.0.  You settle into a routine and even set up some shortcuts and reoccurring tasks to run automatically.  What’s all the fuss about, you wonder.

Then things get a little buggy. Random little things.  The Nap program stops running for no reason.  Or you forget the password for a Safe Mode reboot after a hard drive shutdown.  No matter how many times you go into the Task Manager and attempt to force close the Pull Momma’s Hair program, it continues to run in the background…taking up valuable parental system resources as you attempt to redirect your child’s attention to less frustrating programs such as The Quiet Game or Go See What Your Father is Doing.

Your child did not come with a Technical Support option so you are left to your own devices…mainly the Google…to troubleshoot.  You’ll find forums and blogs that reassure you that other users are experiencing similar issues.  They won’t have tested and certified solutions but at least you’ll know that you’re not imagining these things.  But you’ll also find sites that insist that every single system failure must be the result of user error since they never experienced any of these problems with their child.  Feel free to ignore those sites.

And then, just when you’ve gotten to the point where you feel confident that you’ve mastered Baby 0.0, a software update automatically downloads and you’ve got an entirely new Operating System on your hands.  Baby 0.0 is gone and no amount of hard drive restores will get it back.  In its place is Toddler 1.0.  You had no warning and no beta testing to get you used to a new OS.

Oh sure, you had heard rumors that a new OS was in the works.  But you figured that you had plenty of time to do some reading on the topic and get ready for what would have to be only minor changes.  Sadly, you were wrong.  And it’s back to square one.

My friends, I’ve been there.  And if it is any consolation, I know I’ll be back there again.  Just as soon as I get to feeling comfortable with the parenting thing, it changes.  And that’s exactly how it is supposed to be.

While I can’t help you unravel the programming language that is your child, I can give you a meal that you can enjoy regardless of how many times you found yourself hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del that day.

Israeli Couscous with Preserved Lemon and Butternut Squash

Adapted from David Lebovitz

BAH Note:  There is something about the distinct tang of preserved meyer lemon that you just can’t get from any other ingredient.  So if you don’t have any in your fridge, do yourself a favor and head over to the Google for a bit of online shopping.  Don’t try and make do with a bit of lemon zest and sea salt…it will only bring bitter disappointment.

  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, cubed (I leave the skin on but you can peel it if you like)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 3/4 cup israeli couscous
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

Toss the squash and onion with the olive oil and roast on the prepared sheet pan for 40 to 60 minutes or until tender.  Transfer the squash and onion to a large bowl and add the raisins.

Boil a large pot of water and cook the couscous, along with the cinnamon stick, for about 10 minutes or until done.  Drain the couscous, discard the cinnamon stick, and add the couscous to the bowl of roasted vegetables.

While the couscous cooks, take your preserved lemon and cut it into quarters.  Using the back of a knife, scoop away the pulp from the rind.  Cut the rind thinly into a fine dice and add it to vegetables.  Take the pulp and press it in a small mesh strainer to extract the liquid.  Add the liquid to the bowl of vegetables.

Stir everything to completely combine and taste for seasoning.  Season to taste with a bit of kosher salt and black pepper.

{printable recipe}

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Touch of Grace Biscuits

Graceful Biscuits

There’s no graceful way to say this, so I may as well just be blunt…I can be a complete ass sometimes.  And by sometimes I mean when I just react instead of stopping and thinking about how I want to react.  It’s the dark side of living in the moment.  Because in that precise moment, it’s a head spinning, furious fisted meltdown.  I was swallowed whole by  that moment this morning at breakfast.

That’s right.  I had a tantrum over a plate of scrambled eggs.

And here’s the kicker….as soon as I started, I knew I was over reacting.  I knew it and knew that it was easier to just be swept out by the rising tide of my anger than it was to dig my heels into the shifting sand and ground myself to a halt.  And while I see progress in the fact that I’m not sitting here stewing mad hours later, listening to the looping rant in my head about “why can’t you just listen to what I say?”, this place of saying I was wrong is uncomfortable.

Wasn’t I just talking about being a student of life and the continuing education that has come courtesy of the Tater Tot?   What is the saying about pride coming before the fall?  Yeah, the Universe has a way of keeping us humble and in check.  So maybe I should expand this particular life lesson plan to include being mindful enough in that moment to consciously choose how to react.

Since the Universe also has an uncanny knack for giving us repeat opportunities to try and get things right, I have a hunch this won’t be the last time I get quizzed on this particular life lesson.  I can only hope that my scores improve so that I get to move on to the next chapter in the lesson plan.

And what exactly does this have to do with a pan of biscuits?  Well I’ll tell ‘ya.  Once upon a time, I tried to make Touch of Grace Biscuits.  There were  multiple attempts.   And they all failed to make a passing grade.  Really, click that link and take a look at the best I could do.  That’s no biscuit.

But thanks to putting my pride aside and paying attention to the lesson as the Universe presented it to me, I was able to create pans of graceful biscuits.  So while I still have a ways to go with some of life’s lessons, I’m going to say that I’ve gotten a passing grade on this one.

Thank you Shauna Server for bringing me face to face with perfectly graceful biscuits.  I am in your debt.  Not only did you get the right recipe in my hands but your photos gave me great visual cues to how my biscuit dough should look.

Touch of Grace Biscuits

Adapted from BakeWise

BAH Note:  I don’t typically say you need to use a specific brand of anything…unless it really makes a difference.  And in this case, I think it does.  So look in your grocery store for White Lilly self rising flour.  Once you get to know these sinfully graceful biscuits I don’t think that bag of flour will go unused in your pantry.

Oh, and if you were inclined to brush a tablespoon or so of melted butter on the tops of the biscuits when they come out of the oven, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad choice.

  • 2 cups self rising flour, preferably White Lily (see the note above)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening (yup, shortening)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (don’t substitute any self rising flour here)

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix the heavy cream and buttermilk in a measuring cup and set aside.

Place the all purpose flour in a pie plate or dish and set aside.

Whisk together the self rising flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Use your fingers to work the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand with no large clumps.

Add the liquid to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.  The dough should resemble wet cottage cheese.  To tell if you have the right consistency, use an ice cream scoop and scoop out some dough into your plate of all purpose flour.  It should hold its shape.  If not, return the test scoop to the mixing bowl and add self rising flour one tablespoon at a time and gently stir it in.

As soon as your dough holds its shape, place a few scoops of it in the all purpose flour.  Working with one scoop of dough at a time, pick it up, dust it with flour from your plate, and gently toss the dough from hand to hand to form your biscuit.  Place the formed biscuit in your prepared pan and repeat the process with the remaining dough.  Fit your biscuits as close together as you can…they need to be snug up against each other to get a really good rise.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes  or until the tops are light golden brown.  Allow the biscuits to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before turning them out and serving.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Baking, Breads, Cooking, Food, Photo, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Crockpot Char Siu Pork

Asian Pulled Pork

“It’s in the ‘Freezes Beautifully’ section of my cookbook, and I want to make something that freezes beautifully.”  – Annelle, Steel Magnolias

The Mistah and I have only recently begun to seriously budget.  Until now, budgeting meant making sure we had enough money in savings to cover our over spending from checking.  I know  that’s not the best approach…I knew it as we were in the midst of it.  But it was easier than having the conversation about getting things under control.  Now that our family has grown, the money talk can’t be avoided.  I guess I should consider this practice for the other “talks” that wait for us down the parental road.

Have you ever tried to convince someone to do something the way you think it should be done?  Then you know that if you and the other person don’t think alike, that can be a hard sell.  Not to mention seriously frustrating for you both.  That’s how all of our previous attempts at having the money talk went.  It was my way or your way, but not our way.

Something had to change.  So we took a page from organizational management tools and formed a committee.  We meet monthly.  We keep minutes.  We look for ways to meet our goals and objectives without having to be right.

The reason I’m oversharing this with you is because at our last Finance Committee Meeting, one of the ideas presented for consideration was to buy a separate freezer.  The thought behind this is that our refrigerator/freezer can’t accommodate a gallon of ice cream without a fight.  Trying to buy frozen foods in bulk, or heaven forbid actually cooking and freezing individual portions of meals is completely out of the question without additional cold storage.

We haven’t fully committed to this plan.  Do you know how much an upright freezer costs?  They ain’t cheap.  So I’ve been trolling Craigslist.  Until I either land my white whale used or suck it up and drop some serious cash for a new one, my “freezes beautifully” selections are done on a small scale…and our Frigidaire is an ice cream free zone.

Crockpot Char Siu Pork (Asian Pulled Pork)

Adapted from Cooking Light: The New Way to Cook Light

BAH Note:  I scored a deal on a 4 pound pork roast and doubled the recipe.  If you scale it up, be prepared for a longer cooking time.  My 4 pound roast took nearly 12 hours to fall off the bone.

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (lower sodium recommended)
  • 1/4 hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 2 pounds Boston butt pork roast, trimmed of extra fat
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Combine the soy sauce, hoisin, ketchup, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and five spice powder in a small bowl.  Stir to fully combine and then transfer to a large zip top plastic bag.  Add the pork roast and refrigerate at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

Place the pork and the marinade from the bag in a crockpot.  Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until the meat falls apart.  Transfer the pork to a cutting board or sheet pan and let it cool before you shred it with two forks.

Meanwhile, carefully ladle the liquid from the crockpot into a saucepan.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce reduces a bit.  Taste for seasoning and spoon the sauce over the shredded pork.  Stir to let the sauce get reacquainted with the pork before shoving it in your face.

{printable recipe}

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Chilled Avocado Soup

Chilled Avocado Soup

Lately I feel like I’m on the verge of becoming the stereotypical crotchety old lady.  The one who mutters under my breath about “kids these days” and “hell in a handbasket” and then wonders why people avoid making eye contact with me as they pass by.  All I need to complete the transformation is a housecoat, hair rollers, and a coffee mug full of gin as I sweep my porch.  Ok, maybe that is a bit of a stretch.  Because anyone who knows me knows that my coffee mug would be hiding vodka or wine….never gin.

Who knew that I would feel so old and tired at 42?  But when you’re young and daydream about what the future holds, you totally gloss over the unglamorous parts of being an adult.  Things like pulling weeds, taking out the trash, paying bills, and navigating the tough patches in relationships.  What you think about is the freedom of being an adult when you get to call the shots.

You certainly don’t imagine what it will feel like to work a full day, slog through rush hour traffic with a cranky toddler as your backseat driver, and arrive home to discover hair balls and cat vomit deposited throughout your house.  Or as I like to call it, Wednesday.

Oh, and when you do finally get in the door, clean up the vomit, change a diaper, and set the toddler up with enough toys to stock an aisle at Target, you are expected to make dinner magically appear.  After dinner there are dishes to wash, clothes to fold, emails to return, bed time for the toddler, lunches to make, and deep breaths to take.  Glamorous, right?

Some days I handle this with more grace than others.  And on my best days, I have dinner mostly prepped and ready to go in the fridge.  Because let’s be real, if I didn’t we would have cereal for dinner as often as we have cereal for breakfast.  And as glamorous as that may sound when you’re young, at 42 I can tell you that it’s really not.

Chilled Avocado Soup with Shrimp
Adapted from Cooking Light Good Mood Food

BAH Note:  Cooking Light calls for low fat sour cream.  I got feisty and used regular. Let your conscience (and your waistline) be your guide.  Yes, this dish has several components.  But they can all be made ahead of time.  When you’re ready to serve, just put all the pieces together.

Soup:

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1⁄2 cups diced peeled avocado (about 2)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

Lime Cream:

  • 3⁄4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Shrimp:

  • 1 pound shrimp, unpeeled
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup corn kernels (about 2 ears if using fresh)
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped red onion

To prepare soup, place chicken broth, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Cover and chill.

For lime cream, combine sour cream, cilantro (if using), lime juice and zest, and salt in a bowl.  Stir until combined and add additional lime juice to get the consistency you like.

To prepare shrimp, heat oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Spread the shrimp into a single layer on the sheet pan, coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Roast for 8 to 10 minutes or until the shrimp is firm and cooked through.  Allow to cool thoroughly before peeling.

While the shrimp roasts and cools, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until the onions begins to soften.  Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally to allow the mixture to brown and char a bit.

Serve the chilled avocado soup garnished with the shrimp, lime cream, and corn mixture.

{printable recipe}

Posted in Cooking, Food, Main Course, Photo, Recipe, Soup | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

How To Make Grilled Cheese

Perfect Grilled Cheese

It’s funny how if you stop and think about it, you never stop having opportunities to learn.  I am well past my days as a student in the academic sense.  And yet I continue to be a student of life.

In the last year alone I have learned important life skills such as how to change a flat tire, how to snake a drain, and how to reset my garbage disposal.  These are all good things to know and can get you out of a jam from time to time.  So I lump them into category of things I know and hope that I won’t have to use.

But maybe just as important are the things I’ve learned from our Tater Tot, and these I consider to be life lessons with daily applications.  What’s the number one lesson I’ve learned from my child?  It is that I can have a bad moment but still have a good day.  Many of you already know this lesson but for me this is like trying to master a new language.

All my life, if something didn’t go exactly according to plan it threw me off.  A disagreement left me disagreeable for the whole day.  A perceived slight had me fuming and indignant.  I got good at being prickly and stabby. I might say “let’s agree to disagree” but in my head I would be listing the ways that you were wrong and I was right.

And then I began to see how Libby could go from a full on meltdown one minute (or two, or ten) back to happy the next.  Thanks to her developing understanding about wanting everything she sees, she gets upset in the morning when she sees us walking around getting dressed and ready for the day while she is left in her crib.  There are tears.  There are sobs. Sometimes, there is wailing.  And it goes on for what seems like forever (especially at 6:30 in the morning). But eventually she pulls herself together, sits down in the crib, and plays with a toy.  And you would never know that only minutes before this happy, content, singing baby was a shrieking, whirling dervish.

So what does my 10 month old know that I don’t?  Maybe that it is ok to be upset or angry but once you’ve said as much it’s time to let go and move on.  She doesn’t hold a grudge against us because we put her in the crib, won’t let her crawl into the dishwasher, or keep her hands out of the cat food dish.  Granted, I won’t give you an up-arms hug or wet kiss the way Libby does after she’s calmed down but I might not be shooting mental daggers your way either.  Let’s call that progress, shall we?

Grilled Cheese

Adapted from Bon Appetit

BAH Note:  This is more a process than a recipe.  But the two step approach produces perfectly browned toast on the outside with melty cheese goodness on the inside.  No flipping required.  Of all the life lessons of the past year, this one comes in just below not letting a bad moment lead to a bad day.  Can you blame me?

  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Cheese

Heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with foil.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add two slices of bread to the pan and cook until the bottom of the bread is crisp and browned.  Transfer the bread to the sheet pan, toasted side down.  Top one slice of bread with the cheese and place the second slice of bread, toasted side up, on top of the cheese.  Bake for approximately 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Carefully remove from the oven and enjoy.

{printable recipe}

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