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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Canning Spaghetti Sauce (part 2)

If you are not planning on canning this, but are instead freezing it, just follow all of the instructions except after the sauce is done, let it cool completely then put into quart size freezer bags and lay flat in your freezer (remember to leave some space for it to expand).

(remember, these are not exact. cooking is not a science, it's a passion)

20 lbs of tomatoes
1 c olive oil
2-3 onions, minced (you may like more, I just hate onion)
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 green bell peppers, chopped
1/4 C dried basil (or if you use fresh, which I love, you'll need twice as much)
1/4 C dried oregano
1/4 C dried parsley (1/2 C for fresh)
1/2 C white sugar (I would start with less and add if you think you need it)
1/4 salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
3-4 sm cans tomato paste

1. Prepping the tomatoes will be the most time-consuming and labor-intensive part of the whole thing. (Surpassed only by planting the actual garden). You will need to blanch, peel, seed and chop all of the tomatoes. (Make sure you have TONS of large bowls and lots of ice for the blanching). Now set them aside for a few minutes...
2. Heat the oil in a LARGE pot. Add the onion, garlic and pepper and saute until the onion is translucent.
3. If you like a chunky sauce, add the chopped tomatoes now. However, if you are like me and the texture of tomato skeeves you out, this is where you would need to process all of the chopped tomatoes. This will take awhile and it will be messy. Be very sure to hold the blade onto your food processor very tightly when removing it from the base to dump in the pot. Otherwise, it will be EVERYWHERE and you will swear like you've never sworn before. I promise.
4. Once all of your tomato is added, add the remaining ingredients. Your sauce will be pink to start out with. It needs to simmer for a few hours, but you'll need to stir it very frequently. (plus it's really nice to open the pot and smell it)
5. When your sauce is done (leave it on the burner at all times. it needs to stay simmering for canning) start to heat up the water in your canner (remember you'll need the jars to be covered with at least 1 inch of water). Then, sterilize your jars in the oven or with hot water and heat up your lids and rings in a small pot on the stove.
6. Once the water in your canner is boiling and everything is sterilized, you can fill up the jars leaving an inch of head space. Obviously, a canning funnel/jar filler is absolutely necessary with spaghetti sauce, otherwise you'd have one hell of a mess. Be sure to clean off the top of the jar with a wet rag after it's filled. Place the lid and ring on tightly. Once they are all done, put them in the canner (add more water if you need to. if I need more, I use the water from the lid and ring pot b/c it's already heated up). A tip here is that if you don't want your canner to get all discolored on the inside, add some vinegar to the water before you add the jars. They will need processed for 25 minutes in a pressure canner or 40 in a water bath canner (I would recommend just using the pressure canner. better safe than sorry). Once they are done and the pressure is out of the canner, you can remove them with the jar lifter. Now you just have to listen to make sure they all "pop". If one doesn't seal, however, you can stick it in the fridge and use it within 24-48 hrs. But don't get too anxious, it could take an hour or two for them all to seal.
Like I said yesterday, you will need to check out the instructions on your pressure canner to make sure you are doing it right and to see how many psi you need (I believe it's 1000, but I can't remember for sure).

Making homemade spaghetti sauce is clearly not easy, but once you taste it, you can never go back to store-bought sauce, there is just no comparison. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment you feel from growing your own vegetables (and I do basil too) and creating something delicious with it to enjoy all year long.

Makes about 7 quarts

Once I make my first batch (probably in the next couple days) I'll add some pictures for you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How to can spaghetti sauce (part 1)

OK, so it's been awhile since I've posted over here. I am so sorry for that, but I am ready to get back to it. We have a pretty huge garden again this year. And by we, of course, I mean Josh...and the girls because Lord knows they love their worms (I know this because they bring some to show me almost every day...in the house). So anyway, my part in the whole deal is to cook and/or can what we get from the garden. My most famously delicious recipe being my canned spaghetti sauce, so I thought it would be a good place to start (also, because I'll be doing it in the next couple days).

I want to prompt this recipe with the fact that I don't use recipes for things like this. It is all a matter of taste and you either know how to cook or you don't. It takes time to develop a feel for it. I will give generalizations and a basic list of ingredients and the instructions I use for canning tomato products, but you may not like what I like, so please feel free to adjust at will. Just taste as you go and you will eventually end up with something you like. My advice on the subject is to write down what you start with and then whenever you make changes, make note of it. So next year you will have a better place to start. Also remember that certain tomatoes make the sauce taste differently. The best tomatoes for sauce are roma. They are meatier and have the best flavor. Cherry tomatoes are (in my opinion) not to be used. First of all, they are way too sweet. I used some last year (we got the plants for free so we squeezed them in later in the season) and I can taste which batch of sauce has them and which doesn't. Also, they take forever to peel and you end up squirting juice EVERYWHERE.

I also, want to make note that it's best to start small and work your way up. I mean this in every way possible. If this is your first time, it might be better to make a smaller amount for dinner one night just to gauge what you like. And the second way I mean this, is that you can't take away but you can always add. I mean, this is a general rule in cooking anyway, but it's especially important when you are taking all day to make 7 quarts of sauce. If it gets ruined, it's really hard to correct (unless you have an endless supply of time and ingredients and you are using a gigantic pot).

As with anything canned, you need to check the instructions on your canner to make sure you are doing it correctly. The last thing you want is to go through all the trouble and end up having to pitch it because of botulism.

I hope you've found this helpful. I'll follow up tomorrow with the actual "recipe".

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Asian pork & noodle skillet

Ok, the credit to this one is going to the Pampered Chef, however I made some changes of my own (as usual).

What I actually did here, was make about 3 lbs of pork tenderloin in the crock pot (on low for about 8 hours with about 2 cups of water and some salt and pepper). When it was done, I shredded it. So with half (or maybe a little more) I made this recipe and with the rest, the next day, I removed the liquid and added BBQ sauce and made shredded BBQ pork sandwiches. To me, it was easier than the recipe and obviously, it's really nice to have dinner for two nights done in one.

2 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium red bell pepper
5-6 green onions
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp asian seasoning mix (I had no idea what they meant here, b/c my grocery store didn't have anything like that in the seasoning isle. so I bought 2 packets of fried rice seasoning (in the asian foods isle) and that worked great)
4 pkg oriental-flavor ramen noodles (I actually used 6 packets b/c we prefer a lower ratio of meat to noodles, in general)
1 tbsp veg oil
4 cups water

Cut carrots into julienne strips (i just slice them in half lengthwise then slice them on the diagonal). Cut bell pepper lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips. Slice green onions.

Add vegetable oil to 12-inch skillet. Heat over med-high heat until shimmering.

***The actual recipe calls for 2 lbs pork tenderloin to be sliced lengthwise and then cut into thin strips across to make small bite size pieces. Then mix with the sesame oil, seasoning mix and 2 of the ramen noodle packets. Add half the pork to the skillet, cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove and repeat with the remaining half. I did the same thing but with the precooked pork so I only needed to heat it for a minute or two and I did it all together. Either way you end up with an empty pan and cooked/seasoned pork, so it really doesn't matter.

Add carrots and bell pepper to skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add water and remaining ramen seasoning packets. Stir to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add ramen noodles and green onions to skillet. Cover, bring to boil and cook 4-5 minutes or until noodles are softened. Add pork, stir to break apart noodles. Remove skillet from heat, let stand, covered 3-4 minutes or until pork is heated through.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pesto Chicken Pizza

This is another one that I just threw together for dinner a couple nights ago and wanted to share with you because it was really good and super easy.

1 refrigerated pizza dough
1 pkg refrigerated pesto sauce
1-2 C chopped, cooked chicken breast
1 pkg mozzarella cheese (either 2 or 4 cups depending on how much you like)
Parmesan cheese
I'm thinking this one is kind of self-explanatory but I'll spell it out for you anyways lol.
Unroll your pizza dough
spread the pesto on the dough
Top with the chicken and the mozzarella cheese
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top.
Bake according to your dough instructions (mine was 400 for 15-20 minutes)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mini meatloaf....or something along those lines

OK, so I haven't posted on here in a month...which is barely better than on my regular blog. Sorry for the hiatus. Either way, I'm back and I've got a few posts lined up for ya.

Today's is an entire meal (main dish and side dish). This was something I just made up a couple days ago and it ended up being pretty good....actually REALLY good.

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground turkey

Italian seasoning

1/2 lb mozzarella cubed

1 jar pizza sauce

I mixed together the meats and the Italian seasoning (I NEVER measure my seasoning, so I have no idea how much it was, just use common sense and your own taste). I then added a little bit of the pizza sauce (I'd say about 1/4 cup). Then I sprayed Pam on a muffin pan and divided the meat amongst the sections. I then pressed a cube of cheese into the middle of each and topped them with the remaining sauce. I put the pan on a cookie sheet (very important b/c it WILL spill over the sides). I baked at 350 for about 30 minutes.

This side dish is something that I do A LOT. It's really easy, everyone loves it and I love things that cook all together (less clean-up). It's also nice because you can make as little or as much as you want.

Wash and chop fresh broccoli (I use the whole head and that gives us some leftovers). Lay it out on a baking sheet (I use my pampered chef stone and it works great b/c nothing ever sticks to it).

Wash then chop/dice (pretty small so that they cook through) red potatoes (you can use any kind, but I prefer the smaller red potatoes). Spread them out amongst the broccoli. Drizzle with a good amount of EVOO then sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Roast in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes.

And this is what you'll end up with.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

One-pan chicken potato bake

This one is super easy and it's definitely a good weeknight meal. It takes about 10 minutes to put together and It's made with food that almost anyone has in their house on any given day.

4 bone-in chicken pieces
4 potatoes, cut into spears or wedges
1/4 C (approx. I just drizzle it over the entire thing) any salad dressing (I use Italian or a vinaigrette)
1/4 C parm cheese

Preheat oven to 400
Place the chicken and potatoes in a 9X13 pan.
Pour dressing over the top.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 1 hr or until chicken is fully cooked.

4 servings
440 calories
18g fat (5g sat fat)
33g carbs
4g fiber
36g protein

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Creamy one-pot pasta

I have to give the credit for this recipe to The Pampered Chef.

4 lg garlic cloves peeled and minced

1 jar (7 oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil (undrained) I would say this is optional, because I have never used them since none of us like them.

3 cans chicken broth (5 1/4 c)

1 lb penne pasta

1 head broccoli I use a little more than this because I don't do the tomatoes and we like broccoli

2 medium carrots, peeled

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

grated fresh parmesan cheese and snipped fresh basil

I add in chopped cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast so that it's a complete meal (since we aren't vegetarian). I usually cook it in some olive oil and add some Italian seasoning. Then I just add it at the end. But you could also use smoked sausage.

1. Heat garlic on med heat with 1 Tbsp of the oil 2-3 mins. Add broth and heat to boiling. Add pasta and cook 8-10 mins.

2. Meanwhile, slice carrots on a bias and diagonally. Chop broccoli, slice tomatoes and cut cream cheese into cubes.

3. Add vegetables, cream cheese, salt and pepper (and meat if you are adding it) to stockpot with pasta. Stir until cream cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook an additional 2-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Mine generally needs to rest a couple minutes for the sauce to thicken a little. Top with parmesan and basil if desired. I actually stir it in so the cheese melts.

6 servings (the nutritional value does not include the addition of a meat)

410 calories

11g fat (4g sat fat)

65 g carbs

15g protien

1000 mg sodium

5g fiber

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cake mix cookies

I put this recipe on my facebook around Christmastime, but I thought maybe I should put it over here for anyone else that might want it. I've made these a few different ways. I've added Andes mint chips, pb chips, white chocolate chips. I also made a batch where I didn't add anything in, but after they were done, I put a "hug" on top and once it started to melt, I swirled it around. Every way I've made them, they were AWESOME! (esp when they are still a little warm). I've also heard that they are good with yellow cake mix and chocolate chips added in. They are SUPER EASY, though and will definitely cure your sweet tooth.

1 pkg chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
2 Tbsp veg. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick of butter, softened

1. mix all ingredients together with mixer until well blended.

2. stir in 1-1 1/2 cups ANYTHING (PB chips, white choc chips, Andes mint chips, toffee bits, nuts....anything would be good).

3. drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes

4. cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then cool completely on cooling rack

For me, they make just over 3 dozen (39 to be exact) and when I use my pampered chef stones they take about 10-12 minutes. Obviously, the nutritional info would be different with each variation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

BBQ short ribs

These were aaaaaamazing. They were super tasty and very tender. Obviously ribs of any kind are not cheap, but it was definitely worth the money and lots of times you can get short ribs on sale. This is another good one for the working women out there too. It's really quick to throw it all in, in the morning and it's done when you get home. Also, I'm sure these would be just as good if you only used BBQ sauce. I served mine with au gratin potatoes and green beans, which was delicious. But mashed potatoes or baked potatoes with steamed veggies would be good too. (btw what's everyone think of the new layout?)

4 lb beef short ribs
1 onion, sliced
1 C BBQ sauce
1/4 C honey
1 Tbsp mustard

Place the ribs in the bottom of the slow cooker. Then place the sliced onions on top. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over meat and onions.

Cook on low for 8 hrs.

The recipe says that it makes 8 servings. So based on that, the nutritional info goes like this....
430 calories
26g fat (10g sat fat)
26g carbs
1g fiber
22g protein

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Manicotti

OK, you're going to have to bear with me on this one. I lost the recipe for this after I made it, so this is all from memory.

1 lb uncooked, boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 lb Velveeta
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c water (i think? it might have been 1 1/4 c)
12 uncooked manicotti noodles (i actually used 1 box which was 14)
2 cups broccoli
Parmesan cheese

In a bowl, add the Velveeta, cream of chicken soup & the water. Microwave for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Mix it all together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture on the bottom of a 9X13 dish.

Place the strips of chicken into the noodles and place the filled pasta in the dish.

Top with the broccoli and the remaining sauce then sprinkle with the parm.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

We thought it was really good. I was concerned that it didnt call for any seasoning, but it actually didn't need it. I'm sure you could add some pepper or garlic powder or something, but I didn't.

Friday, February 12, 2010

french dip sandwiches

I tried this one a couple days ago and I forgot to take a picture. It was really good, however when I make it next time, I'll probably make one or two changes. One of which is the beer. To ME it tasted strongly of beer. Generally when you add alcohol to any recipe, it cooks away and you aren't really left with the taste of the particular alcohol. I'm not sure if it was because it was cooked in the crock pot (lower temperature than if I were, say, browning a steak on the stove top). But either way, I really could taste it. Now, if you like beer (like my husband), it wont be an issue for you and I'm sure you will really like it (he did). But if you are like me, and even the smell of beer makes you want to puke, you will prob just want to use another can of broth (or nothing, because quite frankly, it had plenty of liquid).

So, here's the basic jist of it (not really a recipe, just one of those throw it in and do what you want per your taste). In a crock pot add a 4lb chuck roast, 1 can beef broth, 1 can french onion soup, 1 can/bottle of beer, a splash or two of Worcester sauce, a couple cloves of minced garlic, salt and lots of pepper. (again, this is just how I did it. you can adjust to whatever you want). Cook on low for 7 hours. Remove from liquid and slice thinly. Add back to cooking liquid and continue cooking for the rest of the 8 hr low setting (should be about 30-45 minutes). Butter french rolls and bake in the oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. Add the sliced meat. Immediately top with sliced cheese (I used provolone, but mozz or swiss would be good too). I made fries with it, and it was really good. You can also put a small dish of the cooking liquid on your plate. We just didn't because it was already super juicy and tender.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

breakfast bake

OK, there are a few variations on this one. You can easily half it or you could use ham instead of bacon. Also, instead of the hash browns you could use a roll of refridgerated crescent rolls (in that case you would only need 6 eggs). You could obviously add chopped onion, peppers or shredded cheese. I don't like onions or peppers and I had forgotten to get cheese, so last weekend I made it this way.

1/2 pkg frozen hash browns

1 pkg cooked bacon

15 eggs

2 splashs of milk

salt and pepper

Spread the hash browns in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

Crumble the bacon on top of the hashbrowns.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over what's in the pan.

Bake at 350 for

Thursday, January 21, 2010

gooey butter cake

OK, people. Here it is. I know you thought it was an urban legend. But I am actually sharing the infamous gooey butter cake recipe. This is definitely NOT one for those of you who are trying to lose weight in the new year. But if you are like me and you care more about spending time playing with your kids, than working out and dieting...ENJOY!

1 box yellow butter cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs
2 C. powdered sugar
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla

1. In large mixing bowl, mix, by hand, the cake mix, melted butter, one egg, and 1 tsp of the vanilla. Press onto bottom of a greased (or sprayed) 9X13 pan.

2. With mixer, mix powdered sugar, 2 eggs, cream cheese and 1 tsp vanilla. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes. Pour over cake mix in pan.

Bake 40 minutes (or less) @ 350. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Easy, Cheesy, Chicken Pot Pie

This is definitely one of the easiest meals I make. It takes all of 5 minutes to assemble (if your chicken is already cooked), it's mildly healthy and it's really good.

3 Cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen vegetable blend
1/2 lb Velveeta cut into cubes
1 can (11oz) cream of chicken soup
1 can refridgerated crescent dinner rolls

Heat oven to 375

Combine first 4 ingredients in 9X13-inch baking dish.

Unroll dough. Place over mixture.

Bake 20-25 mins or until crust is golden brown.
*TIP* When I plan out my meals for the week (on Fridays b/c that's when I go to the grocery store), if I have two meals that need chopped cooked chicken breasts, I will cook them up in a skillet, with some italian seasoning, at one time and divide them into two containers. That way it's much easier when I'm actually preparing the meal to just dump the chicken in.
**Also, I was asked about adding the nutritional info to the recipes, so I will do that if I have it. In this case I do, so here ya go (btw this is based on 8 servings...for us, it's more like 4-6 servings).
340 calories
17/6 Fat/Sat
860 Sodium
22 carbs
2 fiber
24 protein

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cheeseburger Macaroni

OK, I am aware that you can buy the box of hamburger helper and in 20 minutes you'd have dinner. BUT, this is SOOOO much better. There is soooo much more flavor in this one, it's super easy and for about the same money, you get twice as much. So, I recommend trying it at least once. It feeds the 4 of us for at least 2 nights (usually Josh can also get a lunch out of it also). Also, I usually serve it with green beans.

1 lb ground beef
4 1/2 cups water
2/3 Cup ketchup
2 tsp. onion powder
4 Cups (1 16 oz box) elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 lb Velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Brown the meat in a large skillet. Drain.

Add water, ketchup & onion powder. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni and cover. Simmer on med heat 10 minutes (it usually takes me longer) or until noodles are tender.

Stir in Velveeta, cook until melted, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Ok, so until I do this a little more I'm not exactly sure what my set-up will be when I'm trying a new recipe (afa my opinions and what happened when I tried it, etc.). So, for now, I'll be putting my opinions in a different color, in parenthesis and italicising them.

Ever since seeing an episode of Desperate Housewives a couple months ago where they mentioned Braciole, I've been wanting to try it. So I searched and searched for a recipe that I thought would work best for me and be most appealing to us all (including the kids). I ended up with one on allrecipes.com. I didn't feel like it was very difficult at all and I have to say that with one bite, it easily became one of our favorites (and that is coming from a family of VERY picky eaters).

1/2 C dried Italian-style bread crumbs
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 C grated pecorino Romano
1/3 C grated provolone
(I actually used 1C of Italian blend cheese instead of these two)
2 T chopped fresh parsley leaves
4 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 (1 1/2 lb) flank steak
1 C dry white wine
3 1/4 C marinara sauce (I used my homemade sauce that I canned over the summer and it was delicious.)

Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2T of the olive oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

Lay the flank steak on the work surface. Pound with a meat mallet to flatten. (I actually lucked out and my Giant Eagle had it already done in a package that said "braciole steaks". I thought it was kismet, so I also bought a lottery ticket while I was there.) Spread the bread crumb mixture over the steak evenly.
Starting at one end, roll the steak like you would a jellyroll, to enclose the filling. Using butchers twine, tie the steak to secure. (Now, this is where it got a little dicey for me. I had forgotten to get the twine, so I ended up securing it with toothpicks. Not exactly my finest moment in the kitchen, however, not my worst either because it did actually work mildly well.)

Preheat oven to 350

Heat the remaining 2T of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (You might want to take extra note here, that it says MEDIUM HEAT. Because apparently, my first grade teacher would be disappointed in my lack of reading skills. I turned it up to high to save time, b/c I was using my cast iron dutch oven which takes for.ev.er. to heat up. But no, no folks. the stupidity doesn't stop there. Not only do I crank that burner up, I also put on the lid. So as you might have guessed, we had a bit of a smoking issue. So incidentally, one of the sides was a little more brown than I would like b/c that sucker sure knows how to hold the heat).
Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides (about 8 minutes). Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil (I used the lid and didn't put it on completely). Bake until the meat is almost tender (about an hour and a half), basting every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover.

Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve. (I served mine over some ditalini that I added butter and Parmesan cheese to and it was a perfect compliment).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

peirogies a la...my mom?

This is one of those recipes without a name, that someone in our family came up with and it just stuck. It's super easy, has only 5 ingredients and EVERYONE that tries it, likes it. Normally, I will try to have a pic of the recipes, but I actually just made this last week, so I wont make it again for a while. So just close your eyes and use your imagination ;-) lol

feeds about 4 adults.

i have no idea the nutritional value of any of it LOL.


olive oil (or vegetable oil or butter would also work)

1/2 of an onion sliced

1 small box of peirogies

1 bag chopped frozen broccoli (you could use fresh though)

1/2 pkg of kielbasa, sliced

1. heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat (enough oil to almost cover the bottom of the skillet and you can just swirl it around to cover the bottom completely). Place the sliced onion in the skillet and cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally. meanwhile slice the kielbasa.

2. add the pierogies, kielbasa and broccoli. cover and let cook for a few minutes. Uncover and stir occasionally until everything is cooked and golden brown. serve immediately.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A great deal of my life is spent in the kitchen. I'm either cooking or eating or preparing to cook...or eat. Either way, it's what I enjoy. I love it all. I love looking through cookbooks to find new recipes. I love going to the grocery store (the only 2 hrs of peaceful quietness in my week). I love chopping up vegetables and the smell of the flavors melding in the pot. I love when it turns out the way it was supposed to and I LOVE hearing people tell me how good it is. I love taking credit for the recipe even when it's not mine. I love feeling stuffed but still wanting more because it was just.that.good.

But...and this is a BIG but...it doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes I try for a half an hour and just can't get "stiff peaks" or I can't get the roue to work just right. And sometimes it seems like it's going to be perfect, but I know with just one bite that it is faaar from perfect.

This blog is not going to be me trying to emulate "julie & julia". This is going to be me trying recipes and telling you what I think about them. It'll be me sharing my long-time fave's and it will be me sharing what little cooking advice I have. It will be apps and main dishes. Desserts and sides. The best "under 30" mom meals I know and some really special things to pull out for company. I hope that you enjoy and that you follow and read and give me feedback and let me know what you think about what I think.