Monday, May 24, 2010

First Ever Giveaway!

I'm pleased to announce my first ever giveaway! One of you will win a $40 gift certificate from CSN stores.

CSN stores have over 200 stores that will help you find the perfect track lighting, the sweetest modern furniture and, of course, the best cookware. You may recall I did a product review of the Kinetic Go Green Glasslock Assorted 8-Piece Food Storage Container Set I received from CSN stores. But instead of being a greedy whore this time, I'm giving you the freebies! The container set is still awesome but just a tad more than $40, so if you want it, you might have to pay the difference.

But there are over 200+ CSN stores, so you can buy almost anything.

How to score the gift card
Leave me a separate comment for each entry to be counted. This is mandatory. Head over to CSN Stores and tell me in which store you will spend your gift card. Include your email address somewhere in your comment.

Score more entries

~Become a follower of the blog and post telling me who you are

~Follow me on Twitter and tweet this. Tweet, "First Giveaway from @thegoodwifeblog & @csnstores #giveaway". Leave a comment with a link to your status.

~Like me on Facebook, The Good Wife Blog, or like CSN Stores. Leave me a comment telling me you did.

~Post about this giveaway on your blog or elsewhere. Leave a comment with a link.

Good Luck!

Please note: There may be shipping charges or in the case of Canadian readers, international fees, for certain products. Giveaway ends June 1st at midnight. I'll use to pick a winner and I will email the winner. If I do not hear back within 48 hours a new winner will be picked. I will then give CSN Stores the email address of the winner and he or she will be contacted by CSN Stores and receive the gift certificate. If I do not have an email address for you, you cannot win.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this giveaway.

Birthday Dinner

The Good Husband's birthday was yesterday and I try to make his day special by making all his favorite foods. For breakfast he had eggs and 'taters. We then went to a local craft festival and had a small lunch of fresh fruit, sun tea and donuts.

It was hot as hell yesterday. Summer has officially hit central Illinois. It is supposed to remain in the 90s this week with something like 80% humidity. How wonderful.

So this means that I will shun the oven for favor of cooking things on the stove and the grill since we don't turn our A/C on until at least the end of June. TGH wanted steak for dinner so I cranked up the crappy grill pan I have and slaved away.

You can always tell when I cam cooking either steak or on the grill pan since I set the smoke alarms off every.single.time. The Good Baby is used to the screeching by now. It's the one way she knows dinner is ready.

So we had a great grilled dinner of local, grass-fed, organic steak topped with blue cheese from the Farmer's Market, grilled asparagus and organic polenta with purple spring onions and blue cheese. Yeah, I went a little crazy with the blue cheese, but damn, if that stuff isn't moldy heaven.

To grill asparagus:
Trim and wash asparagus. Heat a grill pan on medium high heat until hot. Place asparagus on the grill and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for a few minutes on each side, turning often.

To make polenta:
4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup corn meal
1 green onion, chopped
blue cheese crumbles

~Bring the water to a boil and add butter. Stir until dissolved.

~Slowly whisk in the corn meal, breaking up any lumps that might form with the whisk. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, switching to a wooden spoon to stir frequently. Cook polenta on low for 30-40 or until thicken and the sides pull away from the pan. Add the onion and blue cheese to taste. Serve immediately.

NOTE: I didn't stir in the blue cheese, since I had to leave some sans cheese for TGB. I should have dished her plate first and then stirred the cheese in but I didn't think about it. Oh well.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Farmer's Market Salad

I told you here, that I scored strawberries, spring purple onion, blue cheese and mesclun mix at the Farmer's Market the other day. I pondered what I would make for dinner with everything and on the way home wished I had walnuts to make a yummy salad. But lo and behold, I had a package hidden in the back of the fridge. Score!

A blue cheese and walnut salad with seasonal fruit is a favorite of mine. Now normally a blue cheese and walnut salad is good on its own. Add fresh strawberries and the dish only gets better. But what made this dish great was the blue cheese. F**k me softly with a chainsaw, if it wasn't the best blue cheese I have had in a long time. It was amazing and I hope they have it next week.

It was such a nice simple dinner and a great way to kick off the Farmer's Market season.

5-6 strawberries, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
1/4 cup walnut halves
4 oz blue cheese crumbled
1 handful mesclun mix
The juice of one lemon
A hearty drizzle of olive oil

~Combine the first five ingredients and toss to combine.

~Dress salad with lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil.

recipe by: The Good Wife

First trip to the Farmer's Market

I was so unbelievably excited about the Farmer's Market opening this year. But wouldn't you know the first day it was cold and rainy and just all around crappy. Fortunately the Farmer's Market, while outside, is under a pavilion so The Good Baby and I were nice and dry, although cold.

It was too dark to take any photos and TGB started to get fussy and I had to hurry to get her back in the warm car. But it was good for the first one of the year. TGB got to pet a baby goat and she laughed the entire time it was licking her.

I came home with organic goatmilk bar soap, organic beef jerky, a pint of strawberries, organic blue cheese, asparagus, mesclun mix and purple spring onions.

I had a fabulous dinner of roasted asparagus with a poached egg but instead of making the balsamic reduction, I dressed the asparagus with fresh lemon juice and a generous pat of butter. Once you break the yolk, it makes something of a deconstructed hollandaise sauce.

I also had a small salad of blue cheese, strawberries, purple spring onion and walnuts.

TGB enjoyed a scrambled egg with organic cheddar cheese (bought last week at the store), asparagus and fresh strawberries.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

For my first Mother's Day, The Good Husband and The Good Baby bought me the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Did I ever tell you my first job was dishing up ice cream at the local Dairy Queen? It reveals how deep my love of ice cream is. But having the ability to make homemade ice cream was important for another reason. I could not find organic ice cream to save my life. I want TGB to enjoy some on occasion - like her upcoming birthday - but I want to make sure it is quality stuff.
So after I got the attachment, I decided I needed to find a good ice cream base recipe. Google tells me there are two kinds of ice cream, American and Custard style.

American ice cream is the most straight forward since it is usually just milk, cream, sugar and flavors.

Custard contains eggs and has a deeper, richer flavor.

I decided for the first batch I would make a simple American style vanilla ice cream. Most of the recipes I have found call for seemingly large amount of sugar. This is because the taste buds are numbed slightly from the ice cream, therefor the sugar content needs to be strong enough to register on you tongue. However, I made this recipe twice and found it too sweet both times. I followed the recipe to the tee the first time and then reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup the second time. I think I will reduce the sugar by half the next time I make this and see where it stands.

Both TGH and TGB enjoyed it and didn't think it was too sweet at all.

3 cups whole organic milk
3 cups organic heavy cream
3 cups organic white sugar (I reduced this to 2 1/2 cups and it was still sweet)
3 tablespoons organic vanilla extract

~Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill over night. Once the mixture is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

So now that I have vanilla out of the way, I plan to make vanilla bean and birthday cake ice cream. I also want to attempt to make mint chocolate chip.

But, tell me, what is your favorite ice cream flavor?

recipe by: The Good Wife