... or Lucy and Ricky?
... or Ricky and Fred?
Only time will tell.
It’s amazing how quickly these little buggers grow... like bamboo in the spring I tell ya.
I just had to try this recipe for homemade Russian noodles called lapsha. I love making pasta and dumplings and have never made a noddle like this before. To me they are almost exactly like those frozen Reames Egg Noodles, which I had often growing up. I even froze a couple of freezer bags full of these noodles, uncooked, and then was able to successfully cook them from frozen! What a great item to have on hand in the freezer for those days where you crave a comforting noodle dish. I had not heard of lapsha before this recipe and did some looking around online trying to figure out what they were supposed to look like and to compare recipes. Some people refer to lapsha as a simple noodle and broth soup, while others specifically called the noodles themselves lapsha. I think that traditional lapsha are thinner, but I just was not able to get those super thin noodles by hand. I even hauled out the pasta roller, but this dough would not cooperate with that at all. Back to the rolling pin, I figured I'd just roll them as thin as I could and cut them with a pizza cutter into rough rustic pasta shapes, and even if they weren't technically perfect lapsha, I tried my best :)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 large eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour (I probably used 6 1/2 - 7 cups of flour total)
Here are the base directions from the recipe:
Add butter to boiled water and let dissolve, whisk well to blend; let cool to warm.
In a large mixing bowl, add salt, eggs and beat well.
Gradually add water/butter mixture to eggs and whisk well to blend.
Add flour to egg mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
Cut dough into pieces to form dough balls the size of a medium orange.
Cover dough balls with a damp cloth while rolling out dough.
Using a wooden rolling pin, roll each dough ball until paper thin or as thin as possible.
Disclaimer: I am not the most experienced, all-knowing parent in the world. I have one child. Some people equate that with having a pet.
A friend called me last week. She’s writing an article for a local parenting magazine about ages and stages. She needed a quote from the parent of an 11-14 year old. The section about this age group discusses preparing ‘tweens to deal with peer pressure.
Our conversation got me thinking...
For the most part, the ‘tween years are all about preparing kids (and their parents) for the peer pressures that lie ahead in the teenage years. Girls begin to take notice of their appearance fairly early. They become extremely self-conscience. My daughter is currently in the “I’m fat.” “I’m ugly.” “I just wish I looked normal” (whatever that is) stage. Her desire to fit in is extremely important. Hair, clothes, height, weight, looks, are all-consuming in the daily life of a ‘tween.
So how can we (parents) play a role in helping our kids through this stage?
The word that kept coming up in the conversation with my writer friend was communication. That word gets used a lot in parenting. It’s really about being accessible to our kids. Making them feel comfortable talking to us about ANYTHING.
Every day when I pick up Iz from school, the first thing I ask is, “How was school today?”
Usually this turns into a monologue about some not-so-pleasant thing that happened, i.e. she may have failed a math test, one of her friends made a comment about her _______ (fill in the blank) shirt, hair, project, shoe laces... Occasionally she says, “Good.”
Yesterday she jumped into the car and before I had a chance to ask my question, she says, “The gym locker room smelled like pot today.”
“And how do you know what pot smells like?” I asked.
Apparently, the gym teacher had made this claim. So this led to our discussion about what she plans to do when someone asks her to smoke pot with them. She said she’s never going to smoke pot. I told her about the damage it can do to a developing brain. I also told her that if she ever wants to try it (sometime around legal drinking age), talk to us about it, and we’ll see what we can do to make that happen. She looked at me with a shocked look. I just don’t want it to be so taboo that she finds herself curious about it and therefore wants to try it. I also think that when kids don’t feel comfortable talking to parents, they’re likely to seek answers elsewhere. I want her to feel like she can talk to me without me freaking out on her.
If I can show I’m willing to listen and discuss things, I’m hoping she’ll feel comfortable talking to me about sensitive subjects in the future.
I’m gonna need to work on my poker face.
I will not freak.
I will not freak.
I will not freak.
Any parenting advice will be appreciated.
Here's the proof....
This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs the theme was Pot Luck, and let me tell you, I bet this would be one of the first dishes to 'clean out' at a pot luck because it is so delicious!
After seeing Deb's yummy pot luck pasta dish I had a serious pasta craving and paged through Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian until I found a suitor -- Baked Ziti! Bittman calls this old school baked ziti with red sauce a short-cut to lasagna and a pot luck staple -- perfect :)
In the preface to this recipe he says, Whatever you do, don't overcook the pasta! It should be too tough to actually eat when you mix it with the sauce, which will make it perfect after baking.
There are a few variations of the basic recipe listed and I went with the Baked Ziti with Goat Cheese and Olives version, but swapped the ziti for penne and swapped the goat cheese for feta. In the variation you are to swap out the original 1 lb mozzarella in the recipe for the goat cheese, and being the cheese lovers we are, I decided to just use 1/2 the mozzarella and half the goat cheese amount (as feta) so we got some of both cheeses.
Baked Penne with Feta and Olives
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic (I used 5 cloves of roasted garlic, smashed)
1 - 28 ounce can tomatoes, chopped, with their liquid (I used two 14 ounce cans of San Marzanos)
1 lb ziti or other large cut pasta (penne worked well as a ziti substitute)
1/2 lb mozzarella
1/2 lb crumbled feta
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 cup pitted olives, in large pieces (I mostly halved them and quartered a few)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 400.
Add the olive oil to a large pan, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes and olives, bring to a boil. *I added 2 tbsp sugar to the tomato sauce, I was brought up on and love a sauce with a touch of sweet* Turn the heat down so that the mixture bubbles and gently cooks, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta; don't let the sauce get too thick.
Cook the pasta until just tender; it should still be too hard to eat. Drain it, don't shake the colander, let some water still cling to the noodles. Toss the pasta with the sauce and about half of the mozzarella and feta.
Grease (or spray with cooking spray) a large 9 by 13 baking dish and pour or spoon the pasta mixture in. Top with the remaining mozzarella and feta and the parmesan.
Bake until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.
“It’s a short hike to the falls.”
“You may want to wear some rubber boots, it can get sorta muddy.”
Driving on logging roads is only a good idea on weekends. The roads are not well marked, and even though we carried two maps (the old fashioned kind) and three GPS gadgets (I’m not sure why we had so many), as well as our iPhones (which early on read “no service”), we were so lost. We drove around in circles on narrow roads with steep drops to the valley below for two hours before we found the dead end road that joins the trail to the waterfalls. Why do those edges always seem so much closer from the perspective of a passenger seat?
The hike itself was also a bit treacherous. We encountered five washed out sections, forcing us to traverse through streams and over high rocks and muddy hillsides. When we did arrive, it was beautiful! There were even salmon (steelhead, I was informed) jumping, trying to make their way upstream. I got this picture of one. Well, most of one anyway.
Iz enjoyed skipping rocks. Bailey enjoyed chasing sticks. M enjoyed trying to photograph the jumping fish. I enjoyed eating my sandwich and cookie.
Happy Earth Day!
I hope you’re enjoying spring in a special way.
"sisss" for sister
"shhh" for shoes
"bana" for banana
"ash" for trash
"was at" for what's that
"ah-oo" for Thank you
"uh-uh" for uh-oh
What is Lola saying these days? Well...
"ips" for chips
"bahbah" for bottle
"ummm" for yumm
"mm" for milk for water
The girls are also playing the "Where's Your" game. I swear they learned all their body parts over night. Both girls can show you where their eyes, ears, hair, teeth, and bellies are - ellie can even show you where her toes are.
It is amazing to watch how fast they learn, I almost feel pressured to put my teaching skills to work at home on the girls and expose them to everything I possibly can because they are at such an impressionable age, but then again play in always underrated and I believe that children learn best when playing and having fun -so for now I will just focus on playing and having fun with Lola and Ellie.
We didn’t let this put the kibosh on our plans though. We excused ourselves through the crowd of sometimes not so friendly women to get to a spot where we could get a view of the woman behind the blog I’d read every day for the last year.
An announcement came at 6:05 saying that Ree’s Jag had broken down and she would be helicoptered down soon. Hahaha! About ten minutes later, a flustered, tall, redheaded woman in jeans and boots rushed in telling us how her GPS led her to take a wrong turn on Cedar Hills Road... or byway... or lane... or boulevard. Somehow I was picturing Ree, her MIL and daughter being driven here in a limo. She actually drove herself? Did she search for parking in the crowded Powell’s lot just like the rest of us?
Ree answered questions from the audience, did her famous Ethel Merman imitation, then got down to business signing all those cookbooks some 500 women had clutched in their hands. After we heard her talk, and snapped a few photos, Iz and I left in search of a sushi restaurant. We ate, shopped in several nearby stores and swung back by Powell’s to see if the crowd had thinned. Nope. Ree was signing books from ticket number 90. It was going to be a long night. Off we went to do some grocery shopping. I told Iz I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to get my books signed and have my photo taken with the Pioneer Woman. My insightful daughter said, “I’m sure it’s not the most amazing thing you’ll do in your life.” Thanks for putting things in perspective for me. She does her best to keep me centered. I’m still bummed. I do possess two “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” cookbooks though.
I found myself contemplating what makes this woman idealized by so many women. Is it because she appears to live a perfect life that reads like a romance novel? She is, in fact writing her life story and the movie rights have already been purchased. When asked who does she want to play her, she said “Reese Witherspoon has expressed an interest.” Ree... Reese. She went on to point out that’s as far as similarities go. Ree is a tall 5'9" redhead. Reese, “blonde, petite, and narrow.” When asked who she wants to play Marlboro Man, she said she’s not telling.
Ree is as charming and likable in real life as she appears to be on her blog. I want to hate her because she seems to have it all. But I can’t.
This is Ree’s daughter. She’s 12. It’s always good for Iz to see a fellow tall 12 year old. Especially one who seems proud of her height. She’s very poised. Too bad she and Iz didn’t get to meet.
Time for Tuesdays with Dorie and I have two treats to share this week! First off, our pick for today, Sweet Cream Biscuits, chosen by Melissa of Love At First Bite -- thank you Melissa! These biscuits were amazing, probably the easiest of all TWD treats we've made, and the end results were completely delicious.
We love biscuits and I make them often, I have a favorite recipe that uses butter and cream (which can be swapped for buttermilk) and is a little sweeter, and we mostly use it for strawberry shortcake which is one of picky husband's favorite desserts. I can't wait to make these Sweet Cream Biscuits again for shortcakes, and see if anyone notices I've switched from my old standby biscuit recipe.
I almost always skip the biscuit cutters and just pat my dough into a rough rectangle, then slice it into misshapen squares with a pizza cutter. As long as you don't mind biscuits that are not all identical and a little rustic looking, that is the way to go. Pizza cutters are usually sharper than biscuit cutters, and a nice clean cut is essential to the rising. Also when I just cut the dough into squares, it eliminates the need to reshape and cut scraps, because there are none. That way there are no tough biscuits and all are nice and fluffy...
Speaking of fluffy, look how tall and fluffy these guys got!
I think they even rose more than my usual biscuit recipe! I baked them at 425 as suggested in the recipe, on an insulated baking sheet (which helps biscuits not get burned bottoms), for 12 minutes. I set the timer for 12 just to start checking since the recipe calls for 14 - 18 minutes, and as soon as I checked at 12 I knew they were done.
Now on to Swedish Visiting Cake, which was last week's pick, chosen by Nancy at The Dogs Eat the Crumbs -- thank you Nancy! This was a fun cake to make and also an easy recipe to put together and get in the oven. I loved baking in my new cast iron pan (this was the first time I used it, after seasoning) and the cake looked just like the photo in the book.
Although I baked along last week, I didn't get to post about the cake last Tuesday because the internet was down, purposely, thanks to the construction of an addition on our home -- a new master bedroom and bath. I am so excited to have more space! I shared the cake with our construction crew and it was a hit :)