Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Organizing the Pantry

Now that you know what you should have in your pantry, I will show you how I organize it.

I'm not really too fond of my pantry. It is too deep which makes it hard to see everything on the shelves. I want The Good Husband to modify it so the shelves will pull out but he says it can't be done. So while it is not nearly as full as it can be, it is full enough that it sometimes causes a hassle when I have to reach for something in the back.

I do have the shelves organized in a way that all common ingredients or uses are together, making it easier to find something.

Top shelf - Canned meat – tuna, chicken, salmon; Stock – beef, chicken, vegetable, seafood; Canned veggies and fruit for TGH; canned pasta for TGH; box muffin mix; tea

The second shelf is my baking shelf. This is by far the most full shelf. Baking chocolate squares – all-purpose, unsweetened, bittersweet, german, white; Baking mixes – pancake, bread, cornbread; Baking powder; Baking soda; Canned milk – sweetened condensed, evaporated; Chocolate and other baking chips – milk, semisweet, dark, white, butterscotch, peanut butter; Cocoa powder; Corn starch; Corn syrup; Cream of Wheat; Flour – all purpose, whole wheat, bread, pastry, cake; Gelatin – instant, unflavored; Honey; Instant coffee powder – coffee, espresso; Jam/jelly – grape, strawberry, boysenberry; Maple syrup; Molasses; Nuts – pine, walnut, peanut, pecan, almond; Oats – quick cooking, old fashion rolled; Oil – extra virgin olive, canola, vegetable, sesame; Peanut butter – crunchy, smooth, natural; Shortening; Sugar – white, super fine, brown; light and dark, powdered; Sun-dried tomatoes; Vinegar – white distilled, apple cider, white wine, rice wine, champagne, balsamic

Shelf three is reserved for beans, rice, canned tomatoes and pasta - things that usually go together when you are making Italian or side dishes. Anchovy paste; Breadcrumbs – plain, seasoned, panko; Canned tomatoes - whole, diced, crushed, stewed, paste; Corn meal; Dried and canned beans – pinto, black, navy, great northern, garbanzo, kidney; light and dark; Dried mushrooms – porcini, oyster, button, crimini, shiitake; Pasta; noodles – spaghetti, angel hair, fettuccini, linguini, lasagna, cellophane; Pasta; shaped – orzo, penne, shells; small and large, rotini; Polenta – quick cooking, traditional; Rice – long gain white, brown, jasmine, Arborio, basmati

The next shelf is reserved for 'taters and onions, garlic and shallots. I store them on a wooden dish rack so they have air circulation but the cold, dark they need to keep from sprouting.

The last shelf is reserved for canning materials and condiments and overflow. Ketchup; BBQ sauce; Mustard – yellow, whole grain, Dijon; Soy sauce

The Good Daughter really wanted to help when I was cleaning and reorganizing the pantry. She thought it hilarious that she could get inside and shut the door. It took forever to convince her to get out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Fluff

Our local grocery store makes this stuff called fluff. It comes in a variety of different flavors and this month is pumpkin. I got a sample the other day and The Good Daughter LOVED it. Then I looked at the ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, red dye 40.

Nope, nope, nope.

So I thought there must be another way to make fluffy stuff but with, you know, actually food. This was simple to make and it was a nice easy dessert after lunch one afternoon.

1 can pumpkin
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipped cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

~Combine pumpkin, cream cheese, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Bend on medium speed until well combined.

~Gently fold in whipped cream. Cover and refrigerated for one hour before serving.

recipe by: The Good Wife

My 200th Post! Cloth Diaper Update

It has now been over a year since I have been using BumGenius one-size, all-in-one diapers for The Good Daughter. And generally we have loved them. There are days that I complain about extra laundry but I complain about the amount The Good Husband seems to generate so it's not all about the baby.

We did develop a small problem of leaking at night. It seemed that the BG, even with an additional insert just couldn't contain everything for the 12 hours TGD is sleeping. This presented a bigger problem since we co-sleep and waking up in a huge pile of pee in the middle of the night has lost it's charm since college.

Thirsties Diaper Duo in (l-r) white, honeydew, ocean blue, storm cloud, orchid

So I consulted a few friends who CD and was told about Thristies Diaper Duos. We used Thristies in the beginning, when The Good Daughter was still small and we were using prefolds and covers. I really liked Thristies and never had any problems with them.

So I hopped online to my favorite local diaper shop, Pinstripes and Polkadots, and be still my beating heart if they didn't come in prints.

After a year of looking a solid colors, it was nice to have a change of pace.

Thirsties Diaper Duo in (clockwise from upper right) Alice Brights Print, Cool Stripes Print, Blackbird Print, Warm Stripes Print)

But the best part is the insert is made of two liners buttoned together, one hemp and one microfiber, so it is super absorbent. Like Thirsties covers, it featured a double gusset at the legs which help keep all the mess contained. We have used them now for 2 weeks and have yet to have one leak. Thank god, since washing sheets daily was getting old. I did have to prep the hemp liners and I washed them a total of 5 times in a hot wash before all the oils had washed away and they were good to go.

While these are an one-size diaper, they do come in two sizes, Size 1 and Size 2, to really fit up until potty training. The Size 2s I got will fit up to a 40 pound child. TGD is 23 pounds, so we have a while to go before we run out of room in these things.

My new stash

Another huge plus is the insert actually agitates out in the wash, so I don't need to pull it out before tossing it in the diaper pail. Both the top and the bottom are open so it will just shake right out.

I also ordered some more cloth wipes, which brings my total to 54, but between all the pre-folds, covers and AIOs, I think my stash is now complete. It needs to survive through at least 2 more babies, but I think it will hold up.

These are a little more bulky on TGB but for now it is her nighttime diaper only. By the time she is ready to wear it during the day, she should be bigger so it shouldn't be as bulky.

I was not paid for this review. I just really love to talk about CDs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Now that we know how to make English Muffins, Holliandase, and how to poach an egg, it's time
for Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict!

I hate Canadian bacon, so while I make Eggs Benedict the traditional way for The Good Husband, I like mine with smoked salmon. Really any excuse I have to eat smoked salmon for breakfast I will use.

The richness of the butter, combined with the warm soft yolk of the poached egg and the soft butter texture of the smoked salmon, will have you in sensory overload.

1 English Muffin, split and toasted
2 poached eggs
Holliandase to taste
6 oz smoked salmon

~Top toasted English Muffin with smoked salmon, poached egg and cover with a generous portion of Holliandase. Serve immediately.

recipe by: The Good Wife

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blender Hollandaise

Since I bought a new full size food processor for my birthday, I decided one of the first things I should make was blender Hollandaise. Since I am still scared to make the real over the stove version, I thought this would be a nice introduction for me. And Eggs Benedict was something The Good Husband requested for dinner recently.

I checked out some blogs for a basic recipe and my trusty Joy of Cooking. Really all this sauce is, is butter, egg yolks and lemon juice. There didn't seem to be a consensus of the proper ratio of butter to egg. I saw everything from 4 egg yolks and 1 stick of butter to 3 egg yolks and 2 sticks of butter. So armed with the knowledge that I couldn't screw up the ingredients, I set out to use my new food processor for the first time.

While I didn't screw up the ratios, I think I could have made sure the butter was a little hotter before I added it to the processor. I added the butter while it was warm, not hot, to the processor and by the time I was finished adding all of it, the sauce had cooled considerably. That said, I probably took a gamble on having the yolks cooked enough, but I lived so it must have been ok.

4 egg yolks
1 stick buttered
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

~In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add egg yolks, salt and pepper and blend for 2 minutes to combine.

~Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter until hot but not brown. With the food processor or blender still running, slowly pour butter into egg mixture until combined. Add the juice of one lemon and continue blending. If sauce is too thick add more lemon juice until desired consistency. Add cayenne pepper to taste and serve immediately.

recipe by: The Good Wife

Homemade English Muffins

This is another one of those recipes that you don't think to make yourself because you can buy it at the store. Then I saw an episode of Good Eats and Alton made these English Muffins and they looked so easy. For a yeast bread there is only one rise of 30 minutes, so it doesn't take that long to make them either.

I made these with white flour the first time but the next time I make them I plan on using whole wheat. Once I master the recipe, it will be a hell of a lot cheaper than the $4.50 it costs for whole wheat English Muffins at the store. The whole wheat version will always have a special place in my heart since when I was pregnant with The Good Daughter, I developed gestational diabetes. I had to severely limit my carb intake and even had to take insulin. For breakfast I could only eat 30 grams of carbs. That equals one whole wheat English Muffin and one 8 oz glass of milk. That's it.

Anything more than 30 grams of carbs in the morning sent my blood sugar soaring and it was not good for the baby. So for 5 months, I ate this breakfast every day. I still like to eat it but take comfort in the fact that I can have a 16 oz glass of milk.

And in case you are wondering what the hell else I could eat for breakfast - ONE pancake the size of a CD, ONE cup of whole grain cereal with 1/2 cup of milk, or 1/2 banana and 8 oz of milk.

I used my large biscuit cutter instead of any special rings or tuna cans for several reasons; 1.) None of the 9 stores I went to Tuesday morning HAD English Muffin rings and 2.) There is no can the size of a tuna can that I could open both the top and the bottom. Not a tuna can, not canned chicken can, not canned ham. Nothing.

So I would suggest using either a biscuit cutter with a handle or a round cookie cutter.

1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening, I subbed butter
1 cup hot water
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Non-stick vegetable spray
Cornmeal for dusting

~In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water. Allow yeast to dissolve. Combine with dry milk mixture. Add flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.

~Preheat a griddle to 300 degrees F.

~Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Sprinkle cornmeal into bottom of ring and fill rings with batter 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle additional cornmeal on top. Cover with a cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

~Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.

Most of the English Muffins I looked up on other food blogs didn't do this ring baking process. As a result of me using it, the muffins turned out thick and dense. For the next round I might try an alternative, ringless version.

recipe by: Alton Brown

Friday, October 8, 2010

Toad in a Hole

My good friend Annie made this breakfast recipe previously. She calls it Eggy Bread. Here at casa The Good Wife, we call it Toad in a Hole. I have no idea why we call it that but that's what they called it in V is for Vendetta. Look it up. Actually, don't. The movie was long and boring and even though stuff blows up, it didn't hold my attention.

Back to breakfast. The Good Daughter loves eggs for breakfast. I try not to give her too many eggs a week since I worry about the cholesterol, but she does eat them about twice a week. She also eats - and I use the term "eats" loosely since most of it ends up on the floor - a piece of toast each morning. So pressed for time one morning it dawned on me that I hadn't made this for her yet.

I toasted the cutout too and I sopped up most of the yolk and ate it before giving TGD the rest. Needless to say this fast and easy breakfast will now make a more routine appearance for breakfast.

I tried used to crack the egg and after it set, would flip the toast and cook the egg on the other side. However, I found that I cooked the egg too long that way and made the yolk almost solid. Since I like my egg yolk runny, I only cook the egg on one side now. If you prefer your egg more done, cook on both sides.

1 egg
1 slice of bread
salt and pepper

~In a small skillet over medium low heat, melt a pat of butter, roughly 2 tablespoons.

~Using a medium biscuit cutter, cut a hole out of the slice of bread. Once the butter is melted, add bread and brown on each side for a few minutes. Once the bread is browned, crack egg directly into the pan, trying to keep the egg in the hole of the bread. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

~After the egg has cooked for a minute, using a small spatula, push the cooked egg white towards the yolk and allow the uncooked egg white to run into the pan in the hole. Continue to cook the egg by moving the egg white into the center of the bread and allowing the excess to run into the pan and cook until the egg is the desired doneness.

~Remove from heat and serve warm.

recipe by: The Good Wife