Bacon & Brinner

How do you cook your bacon?

I hate, hate, hate cooking bacon on the stove because of the splatter factor. Even with one of those stupid splatter guards.

So, one day when I was watching America’s Test Kitchen on PBS years ago, they addressed this issue very ingeniously.

They baked the bacon. Who knew?

So simple, but so out there at the same time.

In fact, when I bake my bacon when people are at my house, they are in awe. The same awe I was in after seeing it on tv!

I immediately fess up and say I didn’t make it up, but saw it on PBS.

That immediately quashes any doubt.

Until the fire alarm goes off from smoke caused by splattering grease in the oven.

I’ve never had a fire, never even had “smoke” billowing out of the stove, but that alarm goes off every single time anyway.

All you need is a baking rack and a rimmed cookie sheet. I add the tinfoil to make clean up easier too.

Bacon is on the brain because tonight was brinner night.

The choices laid out before Jack were pancakes or eggs baked in toast cups with bacon.

To my utter shock and delight, he selected the latter.

So, I cut the crusts off four slices of bread, buttered both sides and shoved it into the first pan I found which happened to be a mini loaf pan. (I was heading for a muffin pan, but the mini loaf was a lot closer and easier to get to.)

I toasted the bread in the oven like this for about 10 minutes, then I added the lovely free-range, local farmer who delivers to my house on every second Wednesday eggs and a pinch of salt. I then covered with a small slice of bacon, but next time I’ll leave that off since they didn’t get crispy.

(Ignore the pan wonkiness.)

I shoved it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, during which time I made poppyseed cookies, the perfect zingy companion to this savory dish. (I cooked the cookies in the toaster oven.)

I’m making more of these cookies, and I’ll post the recipe later this week. They were perfectly lemony, not really sweet.


14 Days of Dinner

I am a day late on my 14 Days of Dinner because I don’t have time to grocery shop on Mondays now that it is a teaching day for me.

Tonight, I threw together some of my yummy pancake crepes and served them with some of the apple pie filling I canned this fall.

Here’s what I’ll be making over the course of the next two weeks in no particular order (2 days are left out for restaurants):

White Chicken Chili from Annie’s Eats (If I called this white bean chicken chili, no one in my house would eat it but me.)

Lasagna (For one of the nights I’m teaching and the hubby must wrangle and feed our children alone all night.)

Pork Chop and Apple Grille

Homemade pizza with this fabulous crust

Beef Stroganoff (quick recipe)

Meatball Sandwiches from the Pioneer Woman

Hamburger Soup

Sloppy Jacks

Pork Tenderloin (for the other night I’m teaching) (NEW recipe)

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Green Beans from Everyday Food January/February 2011 (not online yet) (NEW recipe)

Parmesan Chicken from Everyday Food January/February 2011 (not online yet) (NEW recipe)

Lime Chicken Fajitas (made with steak) from Dana at MADE (NEW recipe)

I’m looking forward to sharing some yummy guacamole with my girl who eats it by the spoonful!

What are you cooking this week?

I need some new desserts that pack a little lighter caloric punch…anyone got ideas?

 

 


Apple Season

Life is too short for some things. Eating crappy sale apples shipped in from 5 states away is one of those things. In my opinion.

I readily admit that I am an apple snob. I can NOT stand eating a Red Delicious with its bitter, thick skin and tasteless flesh. I LOVE Honeycrisp apples. YUMMY! With its crisp, sweet flesh and thin, tasty skin, how can you NOT love these apples?

The time between peak peach season and apple season is lonely and long at my house. We buy fresh peaches from local farmers who either grow them or purchase them from small Missouri farmers (who then purchase that farmer’s apples or corn when in season).  The extra expense for fresh from the tree peaches is well worth it when you compare the taste with the grocery store picked three weeks before ripening ones.

Peak peach season ends in July usually around here, but apple season doesn’t really ramp up until September. Meanwhile, Jack and I are clamoring for some good apples while we eat the pears we canned the season prior.

Apple season is just one reason why I love, love, love fall. Whenever I go to the local orchard, I am reminded again of why I love, love, love fall. This past weekend, I bought a peck of Jonathan and a peck of Cortland apples from the local orchard for pies and applesauce. Since I consider life too short to eat pies from the grocery freezer section, I am the pie maker for holidays.

I do. not. show. up. without. a. pie.

I was hoping to make some pies and freeze them for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but worried about the freezer room until Jakki suggested I can apple pie filling!

How easy is that?

Super easy!

So, at 9:46 pm I started.   

(Yesterday, Miss Mila woke up in the middle of my apple peeling/slicing/coring and made the quick work it required tricky, so I waited until kids no longer needed me.) What? Don’t you start new and exciting projects at this hour? Unfortunately, I have a long history of doing just that.

Run dishwasher to sterilize jars. Start canning water to boil. Start pie filling yummyness cooking. Get lids and screw tops ready for boiling. (Doesn’t my new painted tile back splash look great?)

Create a workable space for quick apple action! Don’t forget the lemon juice!

Core/peel/slice. Repeat. I kept the apples separated by variety so I could ensure a mixture in each jar.

Fill jars with apples, then filling. I used a wooden kebab skewer to get the air bubbles out. An extra set of husband hands helps with this process.

Boil for 20 minutes and set on rack to cool. Listen to the *pop* while you doze off to sleep. This sound made me so happy as I fell asleep!

All told, this took me about one and one half hours including clean up and prep. Unfortunately, I couldn’t secure enough quart jars, so I had to use mostly pint jars. I think the pint jars will be all right because I won’t feel bad about opening a jar for Saturday morning french toast, oven baked pancakes, crepes, etc.

In the coming days, I’ll be canning applesauce and pears from grandma’s house.


What’s for dinner?

Every couple weeks when I buy hamburger in bulk, I make a bunch of The Pioneer Woman‘s Mini Meatballs and freeze them. I use them for spaghetti, for Swedish meatballs and for meatball sandwiches. Friday night, I made some mini meatballs in a cream of mushroom sauce with no yolk noodles and corn on the cob. The mini meatballs are mini…I cooked 29, and all but three were gone for the four of us (plus Mila).

Everyone is busy making pumpkin this and pumpkin that. Bleh. I hate pumpkin and all winter squash (because it tastes like pumpkin). So, for dessert, I made carrot bars with cream cheese frosting. I used applesauce instead of oil and half whole wheat flour. YUMMY!

Tonight, we went out to a new pizza place, Sam & Louie’s. It had a nice casual atmosphere, a very helpful staff and tasty pizza. We had a coupon that resulted in a savings of $25! Buy one specialty 18 inch pizza and get TWO, count ’em TWO, 12 inch pizzas for FREE. We came home with lunch for tomorrow as well. We’ll go back again.


Inspired.

I’ve been gone awhile.

A long while.

I’ve been busy. And not so busy.

I’ve been incredibly inspired of late.

By bloggers.

By friends.

By family.

By fortune.

I’m ready to share mainly because I have found so much inspiration from others online and it seems  a shame to not contribute in my own meager way.

So, here’s to sewing, upcycling, parenting, cooking, baking and health.


Check out this blog…

Yeah, it’s been a lOOOOOOng time. Got it.

Check out one of my absolute favorite blogs called Cake Wrecks. It is laugh out loud funny when you see what some of these professional cakes look like.

Check out the Sunday Sweets: Reading Rocks post about children’s books that came to life vis-a-vis a cake. These are amazing!!!


The Rumbling Begins…

I just got this email from Aaron…

Aaron pours himself a bowl of raisin bran.

Jack: “I’m going to warn you about that cereal. It will make you fart a lot in the morning.”

Aaron: “It does huh? Is that what happened to you?”

Jack: (pouring himself a bowl of raisin bran) “yeah”.

Two hours later and the angry sounds of methane trapped in my colon are literally interrupting other conversations at the staff meeting.