Friday, April 30, 2010

The Stomach Bug

It creeps into your house in the middle of the night
Taking precious sleep from parents and babies
It steals away hours of sick time
And any plans you may have for the next twelve to twenty-four least

It necessitates loads and loads of laundry
An abundance of lysol
Towels and pedialyte
And mother's comfort

It will suck the life out of a rambunctious toddler
And sap the strength of everyone involved
Pale skin and tired eyes are it's hallmark
Trips to obtain pedialyte and crackers are the result

Poor babies
Poor parents
Poor everyone involved
House is in quarantine.....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes

Last night Jack and I watched “Julie and Julia.” It was a really good movie and considering I had just finished Julia’s book about living in Paris I really enjoyed it! Jack asked if I had gotten the idea about a blog from the movie. He has no idea the number of food blogs that exist and have nothing to do with Julia Child! So I started thinking about the food blogs that I enjoy. One of my favorites is The Pioneer Woman. She lives on a ranch and blogs about her life. She has some amazing recipes and I love to read them. Lately she posted her recipe for sloppy joes. There has always been something a little subversive to me about sloppy joes. As a child, here was a meal that you were actually allowed to be messy! Now that stuff in a can is pretty good, but I have always thought that it had to be pretty easy to make them myself. So last weekend I found this recipe and lo and behold I had everything I needed already in the kitchen! All except green bell pepper, but I’m not a big fan of those anyways so I just left it out.

I browned the ground beef in my favorite skilletIMG_2992

Added the onions and garlic.
The spices and brown sugar                       IMG_2994
Then added the rest of the ingredients and heated.IMG_2998
Extreme close up!
How’s that for dinner??
Of course my little camera hog had to have his picture taken too! He really loved his sloppy joe!
And then I did this! Pulled out my food mill and ground up some of the mixture
So I made this! Sloppy joe baby food! Nell loved it and ate it well. We are currently eating all kinds of foods so it didn’t seem like a stretch to just share this meal with her too!

Here’s the Pioneer Woman’s recipe! I actually cut this recipe in half for our family so do however much you want! We had none left and Jack had two sandwiches!

2 Tablespoons Butter
2-½ pounds Ground Beef
½ whole Large Onion, Diced
1 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced (I left this out)
5 cloves Garlic, Minced (I used three)
1-½ cup Ketchup
1 cup Water
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Chili Powder (Next time I think I’ll use a little less. It had a kick to it!)
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
½ teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
Worcestershire Sauce To Taste
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (mine had gone bad so I left it out)
Tabasco Sauce (I left this out too)
Salt To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain. Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft. Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sandy Paws…

We interrupt your regular blog for a special report from St. George Island

This week Jack and I took out first trip without children since Jay was born! We’re so lucky to have parents who were willing to put their lives on hold for a few days and spend time with their grandchildren.We’re also extremely thankful to Kim and Zeb Bost for the use of their house here. We arrived on Wednesday to some windy weather, but by Thursday morning the ocean was smooth and the sun was ou. We had two grea days on the beach, then went to Appalachicola on Saturday. If you’ve never been there, you really should go. Our favorite restaurant is there Boss Oyster’s. We had two and a half dozen oysters between us. Then did a little shopping and I hit my favorite yarn store here for a skein of yarn that I’ll make something for Nell out of. Last time we were here I purchased some yarn that I’m’ making some wrist warmers out of. They’re almost done so it’s time for something new. But that’s all for another post. We’ve read, watched movies (thanks Shana for the first season of True Blood), napped and I knitted. This morning about 6:00 the storm hit and we had rain, thunder, lightening and hail! Then had lunch at another great restaurant here Harry A’s and went for a nice walk in the late afternoon. Other than that, I’ve been working on a Quantitative project, but it’s not so bad when this is the view.
On the way here we found this at one of our favorite stopping places, Stripling’s. It claims to be kosher and safe for vegetarians! It’s really not half bad on a sandwich.
We also climbed the light house!
92 steps, 12 ladder rungs and squeeze yourself through a 2 1/2 foot hole! And there we were…
What a view!
Tomorrow we leave here and while it’s back to reality, I’m really anxious to hold my babies, although I think they’re really having a better time being spoiled by grandparents! Time for a little retraining!
Tomorrow is my regular Monday posting so check in there for that! I made sloppy joes!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cupcakes and the Martha Stewart Mafia

This is my long awaited for cupcake post! I know you were just all waiting with baited breath, right? Right? And really, what is baited breath? Sounds stinky.

Back to the cupcakes. I made cupcakes for Easter this year. And yes, I know it was weeks ago, but these cupcakes can be made any time of year! Make them right now! Go on, I dare you to make them now!

No, I won’t make these cupcakes and bring them to your house for you…

At any rate, I decided that Johnny (my stepdad) needed coconut cake for Easter. You see, his mom made a coconut cake for Easter every year and I still remember that cake and I knew it was one of his favorites. So I decided to follow that theme and make coconut cupcakes. Unfortunately, my mom does not like coconut. Normally I’d just let it go, make the cupcakes and let her fend for herself (what a fabulous daughter), but this was for Easter which signifies the end of Lent, for which my mom gives up sweets every year. And that truly is a sacrifice since that woman loves her sweets! One of her favorite cakes is carrot, so carrot cupcakes and coconut cupcakes it was! I pulled out my favorite cupcakes book which just so happens to be Martha Stewart's book (it's the only cupcake book I own, but even if I had more this would be my favorite) and I found her coconut and carrot cupcake recipes. Not too shabby, huh?

So now, about the cupcakes. First of all, we all know that Martha never does anything simple. You look through the book and see recipes that call for specific brands of chocolate, unsweetened coconut, specific cocoa powders and a wonder called the seven minute frosting. The carrot cake recipe called for a pound of carrots....finely shredded. I was really happy that Jack brought home the mini pre-peeled carrots, that is until I started shredding those little bad boys.Yeah...
So I  shredded and I shredded, all the while cursing Martha under my breath and thinking what a sadist she is. But then it occurred to me. Martha has people. She has people who provide whatever she needs at that exact moment. One pound of shredded carrots...done. A package of some fancy dark chocolate....they run right out. A pound of peruvian pickled pears....on the next flight. Whack some other home/craft/decorating question. Yes, I am jumping to the conclusion that there is a Martha Stewart mafia and there is a legion of people....let's just call them minions who stand ready to fetch whatever it is she needs. Which brings me to my next point...I need minions. They don't have to be particularly well trained or even do things quickly, just someone to pick the pacifier up twenty times, wipe Jay's hiney when he goes to the bathroom, pick up the hundreds of toys left on the floor by my children. I'm not asking for much. I wouldn't even make them grate carrots!

Back to cupcakes. I finally did get smart and throw my carrots in the food processor and that worked just fine.
IMG_2762These cupcakes were so delicious that you didn’t even need icing. We ate a couple for breakfast the next morning.IMG_2764
But of course there has to be cream cheese frosting and Martha’s recipe for that was pretty easy and it turned out so yummy!! I could just eat it straight out of the bowl without putting it on the cupcakes…oh wait, I did!  IMG_2803But I also iced cupcakes…
Hello precious little cuppycake…
IMG_2804 Oh my…IMG_2805
And then there’s the seven minute frosting…I actually saw Martha make this on her show one day and was very intimidated. It looked a little complicated. Using candy thermometers, and streaming things and lots of whipping. If I didn't have my Kitchen Aid I would never have tried this. But it was actually much easier than I had thought it would be. I was a little worried after adding the sugar syrup in that everything had deflated and liquefied, but amazingly enough it came back together and made this beautiful shiny frosting.
IMG_2794 One thing about it is that you really need to eat the cupcakes the day you frost them. As they sat around for a day, the frosting didn't look so hot. But it's good and not too sweet so paired with these sweet coconut cupcakes it was wonderful.
And then the flaked unsweetened coconut on top looked so fresh and clean. These I will also make again, but I think I'll have to or Johnny will get angry...and no one wants to see Johnny angry...
So that's cupcakes. Here’s the part where I would normally post a recipe for these treats, but to be honest, I feel the far reaching arms of her private mafia would find me and break my kneecaps. So just buy this book. I promise you won’t regret it! 

Monday, April 12, 2010

The long and short of making Baby Food

The main reason I hear people use for not making their own baby food is that it takes too much time, they don’t have time, too time consuming, etc. But there are several shortcuts one can use to make it quickly. I generally like to get two or three meals going at once. Get everything on the stove and cooking and the process each one, washing out the processor by hand in between. This afternoon I made three dishes in under an hour. From the book “Blender Baby Food” by Nicole Young. Unfortunately the camera was outside and me being focused I just worked on through.

My first step was to peel and slice the apples and start them cooking in a bit of apple juice. As those simmered, I started a pot of oatmeal. Once I started the water for that, it was time to cook some corn in butter. While everything cooked, I sliced peaches and then added the oatmeal to the water. I blended the oatmeal with the peaches and bananas, then cleaned the processor. By this time the corn was ready so I put it in the processor with some sour cream. Processed that and washed again. Now my apples were tender and could be added to the processor with some ricotta cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Three meals finished in an hour and everything washed and put in the dishwasher. That’s enough food to last through the week.

So before you think you don’t have the time, multitasking can be your friend.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Missing Monday

I had fully intended to post a brilliantly written entry about my cupcakes today. I took beautiful pictures, even came up with witty discussion to describe and enhance my post. Then Jack took off to the Master's practice round with our camera...containing the memory card....on which my precious cupcake pictures were stored......

So hopefully I'll be able to put something up because these cupcakes were so yummy!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I posted something on my facebook the other day. Something that I thought was funny, but others didn't find it so. There were several comments made on that thread both supporting my right to free speech, and expressing the opinion that the joke wasn't so funny. Some people took it a little far. I tried to post again stating that it was a joke and things got worse. People on my friends' list began attacking one another and I did nothing. I acknowledged a post that was written on my wall by someone on one side and inadvertently hurt someone else. I should have had their back too, but was too afraid that if I jumped in the argument that I would make things worse.

Now I'm afraid I've lost a good friend. I don't know if she'll read this, but I feel just sick over the whole thing. I'm reaching out all ways that I think I can to try to mend this fence.

Everyone please get the message to Jennifer that I'm sorry and this is my public apology that I did the wrong thing and I didn't have her back. This is upsetting me in so many ways.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jelly Bean Brittle

So how many of you noticed that I posted something the last two Mondays, then this week didn't? I promise I'm trying to post every week, but we got hit hard by the stomach virus last week. Nell came down with it Sunday night, then Jack and I proceeded to get it Monday night. We carted Jay off to Gigi and Papa's to try and spare him, but Wednesday afternoon he came down with a very mild case of it too! All in all, I spent four days at home last week. My boss accused me of just wanting to lay out of work, but I would have found something way more fun to do if that was the case! In the midst of all this, we discovered that Nell still had the UTI that was diagnosed the beginning of March! So she was put on a new antibiotic for that as well. So fun times in the Taylor household! Hence not having the time/brain meats to put together a decent post.

So here is one for Easter and it's a quick easy treat that you can throw together for someone's Easter basket. Often I make a seasonal treat, but it's right before the holiday so I take pictures and mentally think that I'm going to post them next year in time for people to make it, but this treat you can literally have in about an hour, and most of that is letting the candy "set up." It take all of five minutes to make and uses simple ingredients.

1 package of white bark candy coating
1 bag of jelly beans

Melt the candy coating according to package directions (I use the microwave directions and this stuff is melted in about three minutes). While that is melting, line a cookie sheet (the kind with an edge, not just a flat baking sheet) with a piece of wax paper. Pour the melted candy coatin onto the cookie sheet and sprinkle the jelly beans over it.

Like this
And really close up...
Then just break up into pieces and put into bags for gifts or in a basket to serve or just eat the whole thing and chase with a bottle of pepto-bismol!
Once again, this recipe came from an old issue of Simple and Delicious!