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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Cherry Blossoms

Turns out that having a baby means there's pretty much no time (read energy) to do awesome craft projects for blogging, hence, the lack of posts this year.  So, to at least get an entry in the books this spring, here's a bunch of photos from our trip down to the Tidal Basin to see the famed cherry blossoms! It was a stunning spring day and even though the crowds were annoying, it was worth it to take lil G down for the photo ops. Enjoy!

Getting ready for the big outing!


The Jefferson Memorial




Really enjoying the sites.
My fam!



Rosslyn Skyline







Grandma and Papa!

Pretty Flowers
XOXO,

Mrs. B


Thursday, February 20, 2014

"The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Carrots" Soufflé


A couple months back (yes, that's how long it's taken me to blog this) I was at a church dinner and happened upon an inconspicuous orange pudding/custard/souffle looking dish. I added a spoonful and continued down the buffet line. What happened next changed my life. Well, not really, but that got you interested, right?  I took a bite and was met with a sweet, slightly carrot-y, melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness. It was so good, I excused myself then and there and got another helping before anyone else discovered the unassuming orange ecstasy. The next thing I did was find out who made it and got the recipe.

Shout out to Mrs. J for sharing her family favorite with me so I could share it with you. See how that works? Sharing IS caring! Mrs. J simply called the dish "carrot souffle", that's nice but it doesn't quite convey how epic it tastes. I decided to re-name it something slightly less subtle: "The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Carrots" souffle. That should do it.

The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Carrots Souffle 

1 lb carrots
1 stick melted butter
¾ Cup sugar
3 eggs well beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp flour 


Cook (boil until soft), drain, and mash (I use my food processor) carrots.

Go upstairs to change the baby, get a phone call, forget that you're boiling carrots, run downstairs to discover all the water has boiled out and you were thiiiiiiis close to burning them to death!!! DO NOT FOLLOW THIS STEP


Place in blender (or food processor). 
Pour melted butter on top and blend... I didn't melt my butter. 

Add eggs (room temperature), blend. 
Let the carrots cool enough so when you add the eggs they don't cook. 
Mix dry ingredients together and then add to carrot mix. Blend well and pour into glass casserole dish.

 
Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. It may seem soft but if sides are dry and pull away from the dish, go ahead and remove from oven. It will continue to set up as it cools.




Technically, this is a side dish but I would not judge you in the slightest if I saw you with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it... Or if you were having it for breakfast.

XOXO,

Mrs. B

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hambone Soup


The holidays are over, now we sit here and stare at winter's ugly mug, hoping we don't lose our minds, until the buds start popping up. The short days and cold temps can really be a downer after you un-deck the halls. So, when you come down from your sugar cookie high, and need the epicurean equivalent of a warm sweater, it's time to make yourself a comfy, cozy pot of hambone soup.

Spiral sliced hams are a great buy. I like to separate the meat, use some of it for sandwiches or omelettes and freeze the rest in baggies, leaving behind the good ol' hambone.

The hambone is packed with deliciousness just begging to be set free and all you have to do to help it out is throw it in some water and let it boil (low boil) away for a couple hours.


The night before I started my soup, I soaked some dried chickpeas in water. You could use canned peas but I really noticed a difference in the texture with the dried. They held up to the soup and even had a bit of firmness to them in the leftover soup.


To go with the soup, I also whipped up a batch of Kitchenaid's Basic White Bread. It's an uber easy recipe and the bread is excellent.

 
 

You SO need to make this bread!


While my bread was rising, I got together my soup ingredients. In the biz, we call these bad boys the "aromatics". And by biz, I mean the cooking shows I like to pretend I'm on. In a large Dutch oven, saute the garlic, oregano and thyme in olive oil and butter. Be careful not to burn them.


Add in the sliced/chopped carrots, onion and celery.


After you let the aromatics saute for about 10 minutes (or until the carrots start to soften), pour in the hambone stock, bone and all.


Let your soup simmer on medium low for about an hour. The ham should really be falling apart by now. Pull out the hambone pieces and pick off any meat that's still hanging on and toss it back into the soup. Add in the chickpeas and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.


I let everything simmer for on low for about another hour. While you wait, you can play with your adorable sous-chef.


Your bread should be fresh out of the oven and ready to sop up all that hammy goodness.


Exact measurements aren't really needed for this soup. A few carrots, a few stalks of celery, one onion, season to taste. Don't get hung up on being exact with the ingredients and if you want to throw in different beans or maybe butternut squash, go for it!

One last note before you dig in, make sure you take the time to spoon off the excess fat/oil that will be floating on top of the soup. If you don't it will be a greasy spoon... in a bad way



XOXO,

Mrs. B

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Simple Christmas Fudge


Merry Christmas!!! I can't believe it's that time of year already. Christmas always seems to sneak up but this year it practically ambushed me. I guess being a new mom will do that to you. My days seem to blur together with slobbery kisses and dirty diapers but it's the best kind of blur there is! 

This year we're hosting Christmas for my parents and the in-laws so I did manage to get the tree up and the halls decked but time seriously got away from me after that.




So, if you find yourself with a sleepin' babe,



 and need a holiday treat that looks impressive but can be made during nap time, check this out!

 I love me some Pioneer Woman and the other day she gave a recipe for INSANELY simple fudge. I tried it out and was instantly impressed.

To make the basic fudge, all you need is:

  • 12oz Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
That's IT.

You melt the chips in a double boiler.



until smooth


then add in the condensed milk.


Once it's incorporated, smooth it into a parchment paper lined dish and pop in the refrigerator for an hour or so.


I wanted to fancy it up a little so I experimented with some different flavor combos.

The first one I tried was mint. As the fudge was cooling, I sprinkled Andes mint chips over the top.


Then topped it with Christmas sprinkles.
 

I spiced it up the next batch with cinnamon and cayenne pepper


and topped it with hazelnuts.


Then the lil angel woke up and joined me. I got distracted and stopped making fudge.




 But then daddy came home and swooped her up. This is how they roll.



That gave me enough time to try one more flavor, orange! I zested a couple of oranges into the melting chocolate and added some almond extract


and topped it with more zest.


If the chocolate seizes up when you add the milk or the extract, you can add in a cap full of vegetable oil and keep stirring over medium heat until it smooths out.

And there you have it, simple, elegant and delicious!

I think the orange is my favorite but the cinnamon/cayenne is SO good too and Mr. B loves the mint. Now, please excuse me while I stuff my face with fudge wrap presents!




Merry Christmas!!!

XOXO,

Mrs. B