Roasted potato salad with a little kick

This story has absolutely nothing to do with the recipe or potatoes in general, for that matter.  But it does have to do with my cooking, or baking rather. This weekend I decided to give these Nutella cookies a go (the pin I saw said to exclude the sugar, but I'd go ahead and argue that you need it for the deliciously sweet cookies).  They turned out just blah.  Not too much flavor, you could barely taste the Nutella, and I used almost a full jar for a total of about a dozen cookies. Sunday morning I was eating one of the cookies for breakfast (don't judge me) and Peanut was very interested in them.  I offered her a bite of one, and after taking a small piece, she made the funniest face and spit it out.  I laughed and went on with my morning, packing us up for a little shopping spree.  About 5 minutes later Peanut came up and asked me for another cookies (well, she pointed and grunted, but that's toddler speak for "I want that").  I told her she didn't like them but she insisted so I gave her my half of the cookie.  She took it and started walking toward the back wall of the kitchen.  The one that has a big trash can in the corner. The kid actually thought my cookies were trash.  ha!  I managed to stop her just short of throwing the cookies into the trash can and we all had a good laugh. This potato salad, on the other hand, is not flavorless or boring.  In fact, it's anything but.  Though simple (because working until 5, picking up a toddler, and then making a … [Read more...]

I’m obviously on a muffin kick

But hey, when it works, it works, right? You know what doesn't work for me?  This whole molars/HFM virus and whatever else has Peanut's pants all up in a bunch.  Our little toddler, the one who was on a perfect little routine and always happy has turned into a needy, whiny little tot.  You know what I have to say to that?  Nothing.  I feel defeated.  Instead I was spending 15-20 minutes rocking the poor, crying P before each bedtime and then watching her wake up, bawling, multiple times throughout the night. Oh, and I made muffins.  Because the tot loves muffins. I'm crossing my fingers that the virus left us alone for good now (without makings its way to Jon and I) and the molars break the skin already.  In the meantime, since P is feeling better and seems to have passed the worst of it (she's eating and drinking again), we've started sleep training again.  Apparently a few days of rocking her and picking her up out of bed a handful of times makes a huge difference and Peanut has been wanting to be held every night.  Instead we've stood by our rules and only went in every few minutes to rub her back and let her know we're there.  Otherwise, we've stuck to our sleep training (after she got better, of course). Last night was the 3rd night of re-training and she only whined for a little while, but otherwise didn't make a big fuss about going to bed.  Hopefully another night or two and everyone will be back to their happy selves. Now let's talk about these … [Read more...]

Fall means Pumpkin muffins

I know that technically it's not Fall just yet (ps - what's up with waiting until the 21st?) but it sure feels like it.  There is a nice breeze in the air, I wore my boots this week, and Starbucks has Pumpkin Spiced lattes (a total crime that I still haven't had one - but I'll remedy that this weekend) so it's unofficially Fall here. Can we talk about Fall for a second?  If you ask me what my favorite season is during the winter, my answer is always going to be Spring or Summer.  But ask me what my favorite season is during the summer and it is absolutely always Fall.  Maybe it's because I like change, maybe it's because looking at Pinterest Fall clothes in August gets me so antsy to buy new stuff for my oh-so-boring closet that I can't stand another day of the hot summer and the same pair of shorts. Seriously though, I love the crispy evening air, the beautiful Northeast orange-red leafs, and the fact that I can turn my oven on again without getting a dirty look from my husband because he can't take the heat. Which means that I can officially bake a ton of pumpkin muffins. Like everything else, I stuck to a simple recipe and use ingredients I had on hand...which basically means that I googled about 15 different recipes, tried to figure out which ingredients I had, and then made a mishmash of all those recipes.  Crossing my fingers, I stuck the muffins in the oven and hoped for the best. They turned out delicious.  Peanut and I have been eating them for … [Read more...]

Sample meal plan for the week

Before we had Peanut, I wasn't much of a planner.  Nor the kind of person who liked stability or a predictable schedule.  I loved living my life by the seat of my pants (is that how that saying goes?) and the only meal planning I did was when I was at the grocery store and noticed something I wanted to have. When Peanut graced us with her presence, it took me a little while to get my bearings straight and adjust to the new family life.  One of the things that changed almost immediately was the way our days were laid out - I grew to love a predictable schedule and planning ahead. Although I'm still not great at planning out all the meals and there are plenty of times when we have fridge/pantry meals (aka pull things out of the fridge and/or pantry, scratch your head for a while, figure out what goes together, throw it all in the pot or in the frying pan and hope for the best), I've made quiet an effort to plan ahead.  I prep most of the things that I can on Sundays, use a slow cooker at least once every two weeks, and double most recipes so I can freeze half and have it on a day I am too spent to think of a dinner.  Our shopping list includes the staples (lunch meat, bread, cheese, yogurt, fruit, granola, milk, avocado) and whatever will help us come up with 5 meals.  Here's a sample week. What's for dinner: Slow cooker chili Baked mac n cheese (adjusted) Baked mac n cheese with leftover chili (using leftovers from the recipes above) Orzo salad with chicken … [Read more...]

Summertime orzo salad

I don't know how the weather is fairing for you, but in our neck of the woods it's hot.  Like, I'm sweating just sitting here and not moving, hot. That means about two things: our electricity bill is going to be through the roof and I'm pretty much cooking only the things that take less than 15 minutes to make (and therefore don't heat up the house too much) and don't require much effort.  Since I'm also working and doing about a bagillion other things, any meal that takes 15 minutes to make and requires little effort jumps to the top of my must-have list. That's why this summer vegetable orzo salad is absolutely perfect.  And the best part is that it tastes just as good cold as it does when it's warm (that's a double win when I don't have to heat the house up twice to have leftovers). Plus it's colorful and pretty.  And who doesn't want to have something colorful and pretty sitting at their dinner table on a hot summer day? I'm sure that just about any kind of vegetable would do great in this one, but I'm sticking to the stuff that comes right from our garden: zucchini, cucumber, and tomatoes.  Add to it some fresh greens like arugula, basil, or parsley and you have a perfect side dish to bring to a BBQ.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did (that's right, this goes on the top of our toddler-approved foods). Oh and if you're looking for some fun toddler activities to keep your little one entertained this summer, check out my guest post on Growing Up … [Read more...]