Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Sour Cream Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust"

My kids are apple freaks. And that’s fantastic since apples are so great for your body. An amazing source of fiber… You can still find some good apples at some markets but for the most part apples are headed out of season. This recipe is an awesome treat for that last fresh batch. You will eat this pie for breakfast the next day. It’s that good.

But first, a few fun facts about apples:

- Apples are the second most valuable fruit crop in the United States, after oranges.
- Apples are not native to the country. Research shows that apples came from Central Asia. (But they are believed to have been grown in America since the early sixteen hundreds).
- Among nations, China is the biggest grower followed by the United States and Turkey.
- Apples are a member of the rose family.
- Johnny Appleseed’s real name was John Chapman.

O.k., enough. Time to create your new fave pie.


3 T. honey
½ c. sweet unsalted butter
1 ½ c. raw rolled oats
¼ c. sesame seeds
½ c. whole wheat flour
½ t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ c. finely minced nuts (I use toasted walnuts)
½ t. vanilla extract

5 c. sliced and peeled tart apples (like Granny Smiths)
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
½ c. honey
2 T. unbleached flour
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
1 large egg
½ c. sour cream

Making the crust:
Melt butter and honey together. Combine dry ingredients and add honey/butter mixture. Stir well with hands and press firmly and evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate.

Making the filling:
Beat egg well. Combine with other wet ingredients and stir well. Sift dry ingredients over apples. Arrange apple/flour/spice mixture in pie pan and drizzle wet ingredients over the top.

Bake at 375 for about 50-60 minutes. (This pie may bubble up and overflow so be sure to place cookie sheet or foil on bottom rack.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - His-story Repeats

Turns out Bam-Bam comes by the obsession for all things related to firemen very honestly.

Case in point:

Danger Dad circa 1968

I couldn't resist feeding the obesssion a little more today:

Yup, the firetruck at Piedmont Park!

We went on many rescues... (I was invited to sit on the jump seat in the back...)

Apparently, a true fireman knows how to hitch a ride on the back of the truck like this:

And afterwards the hungry firefighters were treated to a lovely picnic by Lake Clare Meer...

I think summer may finally be here... :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Whatcha Cookin' Wednesday - Baby Back Ribs

I’m a sucker for irony so naturally, with a nod to all the Swine Flu brouhaha; today’s recipe features pork.

Yummy, fabulous, succulent Baby Back Pork RIBS, to be more specific. This recipe is re purposed from an Alton Brown fave. I doubled the amount of braising liquid and created my own rub.

The secret to this fabulous dish? Slow and low.

It's worth the wait. Be patient. (When this dish starts making your home smell like the best BBQ joint on the planet being patient will be soooo hard...)



3-4 lbs. (or three slabs) of baby back ribs

Dry rub:

4 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Braising Liquid:

2 cups white wine

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoon honey

4 cloves garlic, chopped


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle each side of each slab generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. (Do NOT literally RUB the meat. Imagine what sandpaper would do to your lovely ribs. Eek! Press it on instead…) Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour. In a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Microwave on high for 1 minute.

Place the ribs on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour braising liquid in bottom of pan and cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 ½ - 3 hours. Remove pan from oven, transfer ribs to plate and pour the braising liquid into a medium sauce pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. (About 30-40 minutes.) Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - Holy Object

We live about 4 miles from a very small, neighborhood fire station. I drive by it at least twice a week and last Thursday we finally stopped in for a tour.

And, aside from the giant ladder truck, the best part was this Holy Object:

A silence fell over both of them...

At first he hesitated to even touch it...

Then Lt. Mark placed it on his head, like a hallowed crown...

I believe this is stone-cold proof of my 3-year old son's first "aha!" moment.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - Climbing the Walls

How to become the place where all the neighborhood kids want to hang out:

Let 'em eat Twinkies?


Let 'em watch unlimited amounts of T.V.?


Let 'em act like crazy monkeys?

Sorrrrt of...

Two words:


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Sweet Potato "Cookies""

Our twins have only had dessert four times in their life - a slice of cake or cupcake on their birthday or ours. Refined sugar has the ability to turn perfectly good children into crazy monkeys so our kiddos just don't eat it. (I'm not judging you if *you* do, it just doesn't work for us.)

Instead of sweets, we eat fruit or a Super Bar. About a year ago I roasted some sweet potatoes in the shape of coins and the kids started calling them Sweet Potato Cookies. Works for me. They're sweet and salty and delicious. A great snack for adults too.



Olive oil
Kosher salt
Sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 400.

Wash one medium/large sweet potato. (Peeling is optional.)

Cut width-wise “coins”

Toss with one Tblsp. olive oil and ½-1 tsp. Kosher salt. (You can also add other spices or fresh garlic…)

Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray of choice.

Place potatoes on sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, turning once.

“Cookies” should be slightly browned and soft to the touch.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - The South - Part 1

When I first moved to the South I was floored at the amount of amazing photo opportunities. Seriously amazing stuff I couldn’t make up. (But sort of wish I had.) Calling home and telling my BFF, "You won't BELIEVE what I saw today!" became a regular thing. Since the absolute weirdest stuff showed up almost daily I started carrying a camera around at all times. I would frequently scream over to the side of the road to capture a funny sign, a funny person or a funny, well, object d’art. Seems this is a good place to start sharing my collection.

Remember, folks: I couldn't make this stuff up. (And I don't own Photoshop.)

Captured near my house... Yes, that's a small mailbox being overshadowed by a VERY LARGE mail box. Art?

One of my all-time fave pics, I wish it had come out better. This ancient sign advertises a "Things That Pour" exhibit. I didn't stop in to see if that included pitchers and watering cans.

Petticoat! Junction!

Again, we didn't stop to find out if you could actually get human hair with your chicken wings but it's a pretty good bet that there might be some truth in advertising here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Meatloaf"

I'll admit it: I find comfort in food.

Faves? Salt and Vinegar potato chips. Gnocchi with plenty of fresh parmesan cheese. A loaded, gut-bomb burrito, all soft and pillowy, filled with sour cream and guac. And meatloaf. I LOVE meatloaf. Nothing quite satisfies like a giant slab of salty-juicy-slathered in ketchup-and-onions meatloaf.

This recipe is a mash-up of a former co-worker's fave, a Martha Stewart stand-by and my own. (I basically added in stuff that that we like. i.e. LOTS of garlic. )



1.5 lbs. of ground meat (I usually use turkey but you can also use lean beef, a mixture of lamb, veal, etc. for a "fancier" meatloaf)
2 eggs
1 t. salt (I prefer Kosher)
1/2 t. celery salt
2 t. ground mustard
3-6 cloves of garlic, minced (depending on how much garlic you like, of course)
2 medium onions, chop one and made half-rings out of the other, keep seperate (half-rings are a topper)
1 T. olive oil
1.25 cups milk
3 slices of bread, toasted and made into crumbs with the Cuisinart (you can save time and use store-bought crumbs - 2 cups - but it may make the loaf a little rubbery)


3 T. ketchup (C'mon people, Heinz really is the best...)
2 t. ground mustard
3 t. dark brown sugar

Mix together until smooth.

Sautee chopped onion and garlic until tender. Put in small bowl to cool. Sautee onion half-rings until tender. Put in seperate bowl to cool. Combine all ingredients (except for topper half-ring onion and glaze ingredients) in large bowl and mix throughly with hands.

Line jelly roll pan with foil. Place wire baking rack on top and top with parchment paper. Form firm, elongated loaf in center of parchment paper.

(a shot before the loaf was popped in the oven...)

Brush with glaze and top with sauteed onion half-rings.

Bake at 400 for 45-50 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - TREASURE

I love art and encourage my kiddos do it whenever they're inspired.

I am a little ashamed to admit that as an OCD-perfectionist-anal-retentive-control freak sometimes the mess and goop and well, the MESS make me hyperventilate.

Grandma most decidedly does NOT have this issue.

2 wildly creative and artful kiddos
1 kooky and eccentric g'ma
5 jars of sloppy, gloppy paint
2 paintbrushes
two smocks (WAY oversized)
2 paper plates
2 small wooden boxes....

Painting "treasure boxes"

NOT afraid to mix colors...

Note that Grandma is sporting a star on her nose. Not sure if she put it there or if the kids did... Seriously.

A little help, but not much...

End result?


Treasures created by MY treasures. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Black Bean and Corn Salsa"

Salsa is considered a condiment in California. Seriously.

We discovered this recipe nearly 18 years ago and it never disappoints. It's scrumptious on everything from quesadillas to salads... and easy and inexpensive to make.

This recipe is literally just food assembly.

And simple: You're in business if you have the skill set to open a can and cut veggies into small pieces.




One 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed

One 15 oz. can corn kernels, drained

1 medium tomato, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 c. finely diced onion (red is best, but yellow or white is good too)

Juice of 2 limes (approx. 1/2 c. lime juice - fresh is best, but you can use bottled if good quality)

1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

1 t. salt

1/2 t. cumin

Pinch of cayenne

**optional - 1 fresh, green serano or jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced, seeds and all

Combine all veggies in large bowl. Mix all other ingredients in small bowl then add to veggies mix. Set aside for at least one hour to allow flavors to blend. (Overnight is best.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - Fearless Flyer

On Saturday we went to Stone Mountain and tore up the kids play area, especially the zip line:




"Hold ON!" says the Mom...

"Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!" says the Bam-Bam...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Children"

Who knew that the witch in Grimm's Hansel and Gretel was a foodie? And that trolls and ogres were fans of the culinary arts? It's a little known fact that these much misunderstood groups have pioneered some of the most beloved eats of our time. Fois gras? An ogre invention... Beef Wellington? The witches own that one. Baked Alaska? The trolls perfected that.

Unfortunately, for centuries they've also been irreversibly castigated for a seemingly barbaric act: cooking and eating children.

I say they just had good taste. All true gastronomes know that children are absolutely delicious.

You can find several recipes for children on the internet, mostly involving some sort of stew or a quick boil to render the fat to be used in other recipes. I've found the very best way is cook children is to roast them. Simple, easy and so yummy! And it's a plus if you have a set of twins to cook. (It's nice to have a spare in case you flub the first one up.)

Enjoy! Cheers to witches everywhere!


1 large 3-year old boy (or petite 3-year old girl, redheads are sweetest)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few sprigs fresh tarragon, rosemary, or thyme (optional)
5 or 6 cloves garlic, peeled (optional, but helps to mellow the flavor of a particularly precocious child.)
Chopped fresh herbs for garnish

Heat the oven to 450°F. Five minutes after turning on the oven, put a cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet on a rack set low in the oven. Rub the children with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover in herb sprigs, if you're using them.

When both oven and pan are hot, 10 or 15 minutes later, carefully put the children, breast side up, in the hot skillet; if you're using garlic, scatter it around the kids. Roast, undisturbed, for 40 to 50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh registers 155–165°F.

Transfer the kids to a platter and let it rest. Garnish, and serve with a HUGE glass of wine.

(This recipe works REALLY well with chicken too. Happy April Fools Day!)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - Water, Water, Everywhere

We went to the Aquarium this morning. Lovely. (And a strange mix of both calm and frenzy, thanks to the kiddos.)

Leafy Sea Dragons... Magical and not of this world.... Truly...


The top of the food chain come face to face with the other top of the food chain.

Jellies... Best to get there early when you have the entire place to yourself... This tank is an absolutely unreal shade of blue...

I 'spose you can never get TOO close...

It's fun to watch someone else do housework for a change. Funny: the diver was using a cloth baby diaper to wipe down the tank window. Every single mom made note of it. ("They truly are multi-purpose!")

The artsy shot of the day...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Mac n' Cheese"

It used to kill me everytime I made "instant" macaroni and cheese from a box. Sure, it was super-easy and fast but even though I made the organic kind it just didn't ring right with me.

About a year ago I started asking around for good mac n' cheese recipes at dinner parties and after potlucks but I had a really tough time creating a dish that tasted as good as the owner had made. I was stumped.

Then my friend and former colleague Lauren sent me her recipe. BINGO. Granted, hers is from Weight Watchers and is a MUCH lower fat version than the one listed here (I practically tripled the cheese) but the basics are still there and it 's super tasty. And easy. (Lauren suggests using Ronzoni pasta since it's higher in fiber.) Other pluses are that it reheats well and my kiddos LOVE it. And I feel good about serving it to them. I guess that makes it a win-win-win-win.

(PLEASE note that the pic above is a halved recipe. The recipe listed below calls for a 9 x 13 pan.)

8 oz. sour cream
12 oz evaporated milk (fat-free or 2%)
1 cup milk
18 oz cheese (we use the “three-cheese” organic mix from Kroger)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp table salt (or to taste - we omit the salt when we make it for the kids)
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp dried bread crumbs
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz. of macaroni or elbow noodles (We use Ronzoni Smart Taste or Trader Joe's Vegetable Raditore)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and transfer to a large bowl.

While pasta is still hot, stir in sour cream; set aside.

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear just around the edges.

Reduce heat to low, slowly whisk in 2/3 of the cheese (12 oz.) and simmer until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in mustard, salt and pepper.

Add cheese mixture to pasta; stir in remaining 6 oz. of cheese. Mix well.

Transfer to lightly greased/sprayed 9x13 casserole dish.

Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle evenly over pasta.

Bake until top is golden, about 40-50 minutes.