Friday, December 20, 2013

A New PICC Line

Sam has tested positive for pseudomonas so they placed a PICC line this morning and he'll be getting Cefepime infusions for the next 7 days. Great timing, right? A Christmas morning trip to ambulatory infusion. Only Sam. We don't care though. Whatever it takes to kick this illness.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Sugar Saucers

I am in love with these cookies. There is nothing extraordinary about them, but in my opinion, they are just what a simple Christmas cookie should taste like. Obviously, you could change up the adornments and they could fit into most any holiday or celebration. The original recipe calls for very large cookies, but I kept mine on the smallish side. It's up to you, but your baking time will change accordingly.

Sugar Saucers

Note: If you're going to make small cookies, be prepared for a huge batch of cookies. You could always make just half the recipe or freeze half the dough to use later. It also keeps in the fridge for 3 days if you want to break up the process. Just let the dough soften up a bit on the counter before attempting to scoop and shape your cookies.

4 cups (600g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil
1 cup (225g) granulated sugar
1 cup (200g) confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
rainbow sprinkles or colored sugar, for decorating

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about a minute. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the oil, and then add the two sugars, the eggs, and the vanilla. Make sure to stir well after each addition. Slowly add the flour mixture, about a quarter at a time. Mix just until the flour disappears. The dough will be soft. Refrigerate for at least an hour before proceeding (up to 3 days).

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Scoop and shape the dough into balls. Mine were about 1-inch. Roll each ball in rainbow sprinkles or colored sugar until thoroughly coated.  Place them on the baking sheet with enough room for them to spread a bit (I got a dozen cookie balls per sheet). Use your fingers to flatten each ball slightly.
Bake for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies (mine were done in 12-13 minutes). Bake until the edges start to turn golden. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

"Sprinkles are my favorite!"

 recipe source:  Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple by David Muniz, David Lesniak and Rachel Allen via Lottie + Doof

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs Florentine

That's right. One pot. Everything cooks together. The sauce, the meatballs and the pasta. And it's really good. I'm not sure what's going on at your house, but it's a little hectic over here. And that's with us curtailing much of the usual Christmas craziness. I've had this recipe tagged for months, and after several failed attempts at slow cooker dinners (if you want to see a grown man shudder ask Sam about my crockpot bbq pulled chicken) I was happy to hit on something relatively quick and simple. Now, before we get too excited, there is still the part where you're shaping and frying roughly 36 mini meatballs. I don't know about you, but I hate frying meatballs. With a passion. I know, I know. I'm a nice Italian girl from New Jersey. I'm supposed to be born loving this sort of thing- or so Sam loves to remind me. But it's time consuming. And messy. And getting them to "brown on all sides" is tedious work for a Tuesday night. But I thought I'd be a sport since everything else about this recipe is pretty streamlined. Dinner was on the table within 35 minutes, and everyone was happy! happy! happy!

One Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs Florentine

*Note- When I do find myself frying meatballs, I always try to use a large pot with high sides like the enameled cast iron one shown in the picture. This cuts down slightly on the oily, splattered mess. Also, and this is just a personal preference, next time I'd use either all ground beef or even ground turkey- though not too lean. We're not big pork people and you can definitely taste the ground pork in the meat mixture.

1 pound meatloaf mix
3 ounces (3 cups) baby spinach, chopped (this means measure, then chop)  
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs  
1 egg, lightly beaten  
5 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper  
1 tablespoon olive oil  
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes  
2 cups water 
8 oz uncooked spaghetti, broken in half  
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Combine meat, 1 cup of the chopped spinach, panko, egg, half of the garlic. and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Mix gently until everything is incorporated. Form into small, 1-inch meat balls. You should get about 3 dozen. Heat oil in a large 12-inch skillet or pot over medium-high heat until smoking. Cook the meatballs until well browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.  

2. Add remaining garlic to skillet, cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, water, spaghetti and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and stir often until spaghetti begins to soften, about 7 minutes. Add meatballs and continue to simmer, covered, until meatballs and spaghetti are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining 2 cups of chopped spinach and chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper.

recipe source: Cook's Country Dec/Jan 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

The First Sunday of Advent

Brisket, latkes and donuts to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. And yes, that's our elf, George. This year he's joining us at the table each night for a *very* brief scripture reading. It's Jack's job to make sure George sits still and pays attention. He loves it.

Sam has been very sick. I'm honestly not sure he's completely recovered from his bout of pneumonia. His counts were very low so they gave him a Neupogen shot last week to help boost him back up. We're praying this helps. This nagging cough and extreme exhaustion has haunted him for 3 months now, and it's really wearing him down. Prayers for peace and healing are much appreciated. Happy Holidays friends!