Thursday, July 28, 2011

PW Cheese grits

I was going to combine this with another post, because just grits as a side dish don't seem to warrant a full post. But what happened was just comical enough to change that. I've been dying to make "Shrimp and Grits" at home for a while now, so this gave me an opportunity to do that.

I think most people have heard of grits. They are pretty common in the south. It's kind of like oatmeal, but made from corn I think, that's the best way I can think of to describe it. The only time I've had them has been out at a hotel breakfast or in a restaurant with shrimp. I used to have the instant kind for breakfast when I was a kid with jelly mixed in. I'm pretty sure grits are the only thing I'll take sweet or savory. Usually I'm one way or the other on most foods. The kind I got in a canister were not instant, but quick-cooking. This recipe calls for 2 cups of dry grits and baking them in a large pan. When PW, queen of the massive portions, calls for a large dish, well, that should have been my first clue.

Here's what they look like after boiling them with water. I figured my large-ish pot would be big enough. So far, so good.

After they are done, then you start adding eggs, 4 of them, and butter. A lot of butter. Like, 12 tablespoons. That's a lot, even for me! After that much butter melted into it, I started getting concerned about my pot size. I still have a buttload of cheese to add.

Now to start adding the cheese. I started with about a third of it, stirred it up. Then the second third. I weighed out dumping out into a larger pot or just seeing if it will all fit and avoid dirty-ing up another dish. Then when I put the final third in, well, you can see what happened.

So, I dumped it into another pot. Not without getting grits all over the freakin place.

Yep, you guessed it. My original, pre-buttered casserole dish didn't even come close to holding all of it. It almost didn't fit in 2 dishes. Into the oven it goes.

These turned out pretty good, albeit swimming in oil around the edges when I took it out of the oven from all the cheese and butter. It has some spicy spices in it, but I could have handled way more. I made up for it with the shrimp....I sauteed them up with some butter, cayenne, old bay, and salt and pepper. They were really good and spicy.
I also kept in mind the whole time this dish got bigger and bigger, that I'm the only one in the house who's going to be eating them. The husband likes neither grits nor shrimp, and I haven't had the boys try any yet. It's something new, and some days, you just aren't up for the dinner time fight, you know? So I divided it up into ziplocs and put most of it in the freezer. We'll see how it keeps. The total amount of grits I think came out to around 12 CUPS. TWELVE.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

PW Perfect Pot Roast

This past week I ventured more into the "meals" sections of the book and out of the "desserts" sections. I know, right?

I decided to make the Pot Roast. This may come as a surprise, but I've never made it before! I'm really a complete novice still at picking out red meat in general. I'm never sure if I'm getting the right thing. I think most people make this in the crock pot, right? Mine isn't very big, certainly not big enough for all this. This recipe calls for slow cooking in a low oven. I have only 2 things that can go from stove top to oven, my cast iron skillet and this, which is cast iron also with an enamel coating. I seriously doubted it was big enough to hold everything. As you can see, it barely was!! First you brown the meat, then the onions, then the carrots, then everybody back in the pot with some fresh herbs and broth.

Here it is after 3 1/2 hours. It was supposed to take around 3 hours for the smaller size of roast I chose, but I decided to add an extra half hour just to be safe.

I made some mashed potatoes to go with it. I figured they were pretty much a necessity! I didn't make the "official" PW potatoes, I went a bit simpler and more rustic with skins on and much less butter.

It. was. AMAZ. ING.

I'm fairly new to this dish, so I don't have much else to compare it to except for the couple times I've had it at Cracker Barrel. This was way better, if I do say so myself. Or PW's self. I kind of tried to scoop a bit of each thing on every bite. YUM. Since I chose only a 3-ish pound roast, there wasn't much leftovers, only about 3 servings. I had one last night. Still amazing, even after being in the fridge for a few days!!! I will DEFINITELY be making this again, and in much larger quantity!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's A..........................

I suppose many have been wondering!!!

We did decide to find out at my ultrasound a couple weeks ago. And guess what???

Can yall believe it!! My oldest gave a fist pump and shouted "Yesssssss!" How cute is that? We are excited-albeit it took me a little bit to process! THREE BOYS! Oh man! I guess I'm equipped to handle that! How much different can it be? (Don't answer that.) The best part is, I still have about 99% of all the baby boy stuff from other boys, so we pretty much don't need to buy any baby clothes....ever.

I am a little sad that we won't be having a girl, I'd be lying if I said otherwise. But I know everything happens for a reason, and this little boy has been chosen to have me as a mom and I'm sure he will be make a big difference in the world.

Everything else looked really good on the sonogram, and I'm still on target for my due date. Otherwise, I'm trying to be as active as I can, it's been so darn hot the only thing we've been doing mostly is going to the pool! I'm only running about once a week right now, I know it's better than nothing, but I need to be doing twice a week at least. While I can anyway! It's starting to get a little harder, and after about 20 minutes of slow running/walking I get a little bit of RLP kicking in and have to switch to walking. grrrrr.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

PW Maple Pecan Scones

I've been trucking along in the PW cookbook, but I can only make about one of these things a week because most of them are time consuming or high-calorie! This started in particular because of a discussion me and the husband got into a Cracker Barrel over the weekend. You know how you can get biscuits or cornbread there? We always go for the biscuits. Then my husband started calling them "scones". I was all, that's not a scone. It's a biscuit. And he was all, no, it's a scone. And I was all, no, a scone is a french thing that is triangle shaped and crumbly. And so on, and so forth.

So I set out to prove him wrong.

Blog, meet Scones.

I actually made these this morning. I rarely make things that require actual preparation in the am's, usually because I'm so tired and just trying to get a grip on the day. Occasionally I'll whip out some muffins, but mostly I make those the day before.

I finally got my new food processor, and she's a beauty. I still don't have a pastry cutter, which this calls for, but since I have this and can gently process flour and butter together for pastry, I was ready to give it a whirl. I'm all about technology, yall.

Here's what it looks like with just the flour, sugar, and butter "cut" in. Nice, uniform, small crumbles of butter. Soothes my Type A.

Then I'm supposed to finely shop up some pecans. I bought a bag of pre-chopped ones, but they weren't small enough. You think I'm gonna chop them up even finer at 6:30 am? Hell to the no! I got out my little processor and gave them a whirl. Aren't they cute sitting there next to each other. I wish my little one would die already so I can get a matching chrome one. But it will probably last forever.

Then you add the liquid, just some heavy cream and an egg. Just a few more quick pulses until it's combined.

Then you dump out the mixture, form it into a circle, and cut into triangles. I am thinking all of this up to here could be done the day before and refrigerated, to cut down on am prep time. Then the next am, all you would have to do is pop in oven.

This recipe also calls for icing. Most scones don't have icing on them. I went ahead and made it. It makes a ton! I had a good 1/4 left of it. This is the "maple" part...powdered sugar, maple extract, splash of coffee. (YUM)

These are SO sweet. I think they definitely could do with out the icing. But the icing? FAB. U. LOUS. I seriously was missing out on the mapley goodness all these years. Ever since the maple cream sauce for the Peach Crisp I have been a fan. I'm not going out and buying all things maple just yet, but it sure is good!

And for the record, the husband liked these alot, but still said they weren't scones. But if Australians call cookies "biscuits" and biscuits "scones" then what am I supposed to do with that?!?

Monday, July 11, 2011

My First Trip to Trader Joe's!

Last weekend I made my first trip to Trader Joe's. We only recently found out there was one here, but it's super far from where we live and not convenient at all. That's probably not a bad thing. It was SO AWESOME!! I thought the prices were pretty good. One thing I did find weird, most of the produce was priced per item, not per pound. Like individual bananas, apples, peaches, etc. were like 50 cents each or something. Wonder why they do that?

this was my haul...minus a water bottle and a package of "licorice dogs"....little scottie dog shaped black licorice pieces. My hub said he had them growing up in Australia and they are different than any other kind of black licorice. I asked him how so and he said they just are. Whatever, I can't even stand the smell of black licorice so what do I know!

This includes....dark chocolate covered dried cranberries, salt water taffy, TJ's mac and cheese, a new flavor of Luna bar, and and grinder thing-y of coffee beans, chocolate pieces, and white and brown sugar. I'm not exactly sure what you are supposed to use it for, but when I saw it it screamed at me "THIS WOULD BE AWESOME ON A CUPCAKE!!!" So, I picked him up. Oh, and an awesome extra large cooler bag. Because you can never have too many of those.

I already made the mac and cheese for the boys, it was pretty good. It doesn't taste like the "real" stuff in the blue box, but it does taste like the Annie's version. I think I like it better than the Annie's anyway. And it's dye-free, which is something we (I) are working toward for the boys. (I've already pretty much eliminated Red 40 from their diet when we are at home, but when we are out they still get a little.)

All in all, it was a really cool little store. I'm not sure when we will be going back. But when we do, is there anything else yall can recommend? Esp for kids?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Springtime Birthday Cake

I haven't been baking a whole lot lately, it just seems like it comes in waves like that. I was super busy Feb-May and then it slowed down. Which is good, because I've been so pregnancy related/boys getting up early- tired! I made this last week for a friend of mine who's birthday was several months ago and I'm just now able to make her cake! We had them over for dinner--grilling out, yay--and I seized the opportunity. This is a smaller cake, about 6 inches round. It is vanilla with mocha buttercream. Can you believe I forgot to take a picture of the inside! I kept it spring-y because that's when her birthday was.

I also made some chocolate cupcakes with strawberry filling last weekend, they were really good, but I didn't get a picture of those either! Ugh! I have a lot of the fresh-strawberry filling left and I don't really know what to do with it....I hate to let it go to waste.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our Fourth in Food

Hope everyone had a great 4th! I'm including our spread here because I made another Holiday recipe from my Paula Deen Celebrates book---I love that thing!
This isn't that just yet...this is just a "cheesecake" (It's not a real's basically half cream cheese and half cool whip whipped together. I've had this recipe from a cool whip add from a magazine for YEARS! I make it almost every year because it's so light and fluffy and yum!)

this is what I made from PD...Low Country Boil. Or low country bowwwwl...depending on how you want to pronounce it :)

Corn, potatoes, sausage, shrimp boiled in Old Bay seasoning. I've never made it or had it before, but it's been on my "to-eat" list forever!

Our whole spread...with hot dogs for the boys (all of them) and baked beans. These are just plain old Bush's baked beans out of the can. YUM.

My plate. The first one, anyway. I ate enough corn to sustain a small village. YUM.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's a Boy!

Ha ha. I toyed with the idea of not putting "fish" in the title of this post, but I didn't want to cause too many heart attacks! We still don't know what the sex of #3 is yet, I haven't even had the u/s yet :)

Blog, meet "Coconut"

This morning before swim lessons I told #1 that if he could float on his back by himself today (or whenever he decided he could do it) that we would go and get him a fish. His very own to name and love. He was quite excited about it. We are in year 2 of swim lessons, we are just finishing up the second week.

We did 8 weeks of swim lessons last year, and floating much less any swimming has been a long uphill battle with him. He was a little unsure the first few days of lessons this year, and I really wasn't sure where he would pick up after all the progress he made last year. He has come quite far in just 2 weeks! I think realizing he can touch the bottom in the shallow end and have his whole head above water has given him some serious confidence. He does really well in lessons, and has playtime with his ring also.

Wouldn't you know it, he floated today!! It's a good thing I was wearing my sunglasses because I was definitely choked up. What a long battle for him. I am so proud! So promptly after lunch, we went to the pet store and he picked one out. Unfortunately he has inherited my indecisiveness, so I think he got a little overwhelmed with the choices on the beta shelf. I wound up having to pull 3 down, one of each color, and let him choose from those. He decided on the name "coconut" on the way home, don't even ask me where he came up with that. Funny kid!

Friday, July 1, 2011

PW Chili and Skillet Cornbread

This meal knocks out 2 at once in the book. The basic recipe for chili is pretty much just the beef and spices, and then it gives you an option to add beans. Which I did, it's just not chili with out them to me! The cornbread starts with making the batter and cooking it for a minute in the cast iron skillet in the stove, the transferring it to the oven for 20 or so minutes.

(just after I took the cornbread out of the oven)

Plated version.

All in all, this was pretty good. But, not being the biggest chili eater, I'm not a fair critic. I'm not a big eater of red meat in general. And, I have a turkey chili recipe that I like much better, from cookbook called "Cooking for Your Man" or something. It's all soul-food type stuff. The ingredient list is like a mile long, but it makes a ton and I always have some left to freeze. Plus I just love the title of it :)
The cornbread was just okay for me. I'm not a big fan of cornbread either. All the cornbread I've had in my life has been from Cracker Barrel or from the Jiffy box mix. It was very fluffy and buttery tasting, considering there's not any butter in it. It also was very grilled-outdoorsy-campfirey tasting, due to making it in the skillet. I'm not all the way sold on this cast iron thing yet. Alot of the black stuff comes off on whatever I'm cooking. Is that normal? Is that healthy? I really want to like it, I'm just not there yet.