Friday, June 29, 2012

Design Updates

I just updated the design of my blog a bit (and yes, it needs more than a little tweaking... eventually I should invest in some professional help).  I added buttons to make it easy for you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my favorite addiction: Pinterest.  Just look on the right side of my page and you'll see the icons at the top!

Maybe my nesting instinct will kick in and I'll do some updates that I've dreamed of for this blog... maybe!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Photo Update

Yes, I'm still here!  I'm 32 weeks pregnant (just 8 weeks until my due date) and I'm taking it easy.  I'm still working every day, but I'm limiting my time in the kitchen and I'm spending more time relaxing, sleeping and getting ready for the arrival of Baby Powell.

Instead of sharing a recipe today, I'm going to share a series of photos from my iPhone that illustrate what I've been up to in June.

I'm eating a ton of Rita's Water Ice.  It's a Philly-area favorite and my favorite (only) flavor is lemon.  I buy it by the quart and I can eat the whole quart in two days.  It's much lighter than ice cream, pleasantly tart, and great for a pregnant lady on a hot day.  If I ever move away from Rita's I'll be sad.

It's baseball season!  As some of you know, my husband loves the Phillies, so our evenings are almost always spent with a game playing in the background.  In past years we've been to several games during the season, but I can't take the heat this year.  Fortunately, we were able to score some seats in the shaded and air-conditioned Hall of Fame Club this past Sunday, so I was able to enjoy a game live and in person.  And the Phillies lost.  Go figure.  They aren't doing so well this year.  I still had fun.

I'm doing the best I can to prepare for my new role as mama to this baby of ours.  We've spent evenings in breastfeeding class, newborn class and childbirth class.  I'm even reading this book that's supposed to teach me how to soothe my crying baby.  Yes, I'm overwhelmed, but I'm also excited!  And I'll let you know if the book works for us.

I don't feel like cooking every night.  When I do cook, I often forget to pull out the camera.  We go out to eat often.  This is some pad thai that I enjoyed (courtesy of a Groupon... check out that site!) a few weeks ago.  I miss cooking.  I'm looking forward to getting back to my routine soon.  Part of my lack of desire to cook comes from my small appetite.  This bowl of pad thai lasted me three meals.  I have no idea what's going on, but my stomach seems to have shrunk.  I thought pregnant ladies were supposed to be hungry all the time?

E and I celebrated our 10-year college reunion this month.  This photo is from a booth that was set up at the event.  I can't believe I graduated from college a decade ago.  I also can't believe that I've known this man for almost 14 years.  We go waaay back.  Back to the days of Tommy Hillfiger t-shirts, pagers, and Timberland boots.  Back to living in an un-air conditioned dorm room and having no car.  Back to eating all of our meals in the dining hall and treating ourselves to midnight pizza delivery with Tropicana Twist from 7-11.  Yeah, we go way back.  I love this man and I'm looking forward to our next adventure as mom and dad to this cute little kid.

So cooking?  Not so much at the moment (although I did make some killer blueberry pancakes yesterday and I'm in the process of writing a few product reviews for Potluck, the ShopRite blog).  I'd love to do some summer canning, particularly something with berries, so we'll see how July goes.

What have you been up to?  Any graduations, reunions?  Is anyone else relying on takeout?  Please don't tell me I'm the only lazy/busy one out there.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Cake

Monica from Lick the Bowl Good featured this recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Cake on her blog back in April and I decided to give it a try.  It definitely met my expectations and I can assure you that this cake is great for dessert, but also has a coffee cake-like flavor, so you could also enjoy it for breakfast.

I like dense, poundcake-like cakes because they taste fresh even after a few days and they are easy to transport to the office or to parties.  I also prefer to make these type of cakes because they don't require any icing or fancy decorating skills.  I love to bake, but I'm not a huge fan of frosting and my decorating skills are far from professional.

Here's the link to the recipe on Monica's site.  I made a few changes to accomodate what I had in my pantry:

1.  I used lemon zest in place of orange zest.

2.  In place of the combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour I used 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour combined with 1/4 cup of cornstarch.

Give this cake a try!  You probably have all or most of the ingredients on hand.  Plus, it's an added bonus when you can serve the cake for dessert one night and have it for breakfast the next morning!  (Or, if you're trying to be healthy you can bring it to work the following day and share it with your colleagues... that's what I did!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Scratch Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  Those famous (or infamous) buttery, garlicy biscuits from a certain seafood chain restaurant.  I don't frequent this restaurant (as a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I've been there), but I'll admit that I do love those buttery biscuits.  They are a guilty foodie pleasure.

Most recipes for these biscuits call for some kind of pre-made biscuit mix, but I was looking for a scratch version.  I found one on Pinterest and we've already made it twice, most recently with our Low Country Boil.

I don't care what kind of diet you're on, one taste of these biscuits and you'll be willing to break all the rules for just one meal.  They have three of my favorite ingredients:  cheese, butter, and garlic, all in perfect harmony.  The biscuits are tender and fluffy and full of flavor.  Just go ahead and make the full recipe because I'm sure you'll eat several before dinner hits the table.

I consider good bread to be a weekend dinner treat and these biscuits do not disappoint.  Go ahead and do yourself a favor and whip up a batch of these.  They go great with summer barbecue, or seafood... or even brunch.

The original recipe is posted here on Portugese Girl Cooks.  I made a few changes:

1.  I don't normally buy cake flour, so I substituted the combination of cake and all-purpose flour for 2 1/2 cups of cake flour and 1/2 cup of cornstarch.

2.  I used Cabot Sharp White Cheddar for the cheese in this recipe.  It's one of my favorites and I think the sharp taste really takes these biscuits to the next level.

3.  I pulsed the dry ingredients (including cheddar and butter) in my food processor before transferring them to a bowl and adding in the wet stuff.  If you have a food processor, use it.

4.  You can make this dough a few hours before your meal and have it portioned out on a parchment-lined baking sheet a few hours before dinner.  When you get close to mealtime, just pop them in the oven and watch the magic happen!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Low Country Boil... Revisited

About two years ago I posted my Low Country Boil recipe.  Since then, this recipe has become a family favorite.  As soon as we can get our hands on some fresh corn, we make a big pot of this dish.  It's a great summer alternative to barbecue when you don't want to turn on the grill (or if you don't have a grill).  It can serve at least 4-6 people and can easily be doubled if you have a big pot.  Plus, it's easy.

This Memorial Day weekend we decided to try this recipe with the addition of mussels.  We followed the original recipe, but instead of adding all shrimp we included one pound of shrimp and three pounds of mussels.  This was our first time cooking mussels at home and it was easy.  Don't be intimidated by mussels, there are some great tutorials available on how to clean mussels and check to be sure they are safe to cook and eat.

The juice that forms at the bottom of the pot is very savory and a little spicy.  I love rolling my corn in this flavorful juice.  I also used a spoon to pour the juice over the cooked mussels in my bowl and I even sopped up a little with a cheddar garlic biscuit (recipe coming soon).

Low Country Boil is a fresh, easy dinner that's casual enough for a warm Friday night outdoors but has a restaurant-quality taste that would also impress guests.  We estimate that this recipe cost us about $45, but it serves 4-6, which is a steal when you consider what you'd pay for this meal in a restaurant.  (We recently paid $17 for a shrimp appetizer that included just one pound of shrimp.)

If you live in an area where you can get your hands on some fresh corn and some fresh seafood, give this recipe a try!  Here's the link to my original recipe.

*Special thanks to my mom who prepared this recipe last weekend.  Growing this cute little baby has left me exhausted and my mom has been stepping up and remixing all kinds of recipes from My Life on a Plate.  She's spoiling me royally!  With just 11 weeks left until my due date and the temperatures getting warmer around here, I really appreciate any help I can get!
Related Posts with Thumbnails