Monday, April 30, 2007

Basil Alfredo Pasta, Almond Angel Food Cake, and my new favorite earrings

After tonight, my blog will be featuring recipes from, because that's what I need to be doing: cooking light. I find that I'm usually attracted to recipes that call for butter, heavy cream, etc. That is not going to help me get off this baby weight. But tonight, as a last hoo-rah, we had one of Bobby's favorites: Basil Alfredo Pasta with Goat Cheese. We add a few chicken breasts, sliced and sauteed in olive oil.

2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
18 oz fresh spinach fettucine (or just dry regular fettucine if that's all you can find)
8 oz chevre (goat cheese), crumbled
½ diced seeded fresh plum tomatoes
½ cup slivered fresh basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 chicken breasts, sliced and sautéed in olive oil

  1. Bring cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until thick, 20 to 30 minutes. Then add the chopped basil and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and fettuccini, and cook at a rolling boil until just tender.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, add half the chevre to the basil sauce. Return the pan to low heat, stir, and heat through. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl.
  4. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce and chicken, and toss lightly. Top with the remaining goat cheese, tomato, slivered basil, and black pepper. Serve immediately.

I started checking out the Cooking Light website today and found what looks like some pretty good recipes. I brought dinner to a friend who just had a baby and the dessert was Almond Angel Food Cake with Creme Anglaise and Macerated Strawberries. I confess I love recipes with fancy, descriptive titles of 10 words or more.

And these are my new 80's earrings I bought from I love them! It's a store that my little sisters shop at in California. If you like cheap clothes, and you're desperately trying to hold on to your last shred of fashion sense like me, you should check it out. I can't believe I bought these, because I never, ever thought I would go back to any semblance of 80's fashion. But when I saw these $2.00 plastic earrings, I had to have them! My nose looks huge in this picture.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Trashy Food

I love Nigella Lawson. I checked out her book Nigella Bites from the library this week and there is a whole chapter on "trashy" recipes. I really liked the idea so I thought I'd feature one of my favorite "trashy" recipes here. Nigella has the following criteria for a trashy recipe: it should contain at least one brand-name ingredient. In the case of my Southwestern Chicken in the Crockpot- that ingredient is Pace Medium Salsa - "Chunky Style". Next, it should use a "low-rent" ingredient, one that food snobs would turn their noses up at- for my purposes here, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips maybe? I am going to add to Nigella's list that it should be prepared using some kind of gimick-y kitchen tool or appliance.

This is everyone's favorite recipe that I have. It's the easiest recipe I make and it tastes pretty good. I'd venture to guess that 75% of you who know me and read this blog already have this recipe, but for those of you who don't, you're going to like this one.

1 small bag frozen corn
1 can black beans
2 large frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar Pace medium salsa - chunky style
shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips
lime wedges
chopped cilantro
chopped avocado

Pour bag of frozen corn in bottom of crockpot. Place frozen chicken breasts on top of corn and cover with rinsed and drained black beans and jar of salsa. Cook on high for 1 hour, and then on low for 4 hours. Shred chicken with forks and then sprinkle cheese on top and let it melt until you're ready to serve. Serve over tortilla chips with desired toppings.

I've learned a lot from Nigella, like maybe it's okay to cook with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom every once in a while... :)

"Yes, I want whatever I do eat to be good, but there is surely a place- and in my heart a very fond one- for a bit of kitsch in the kitchen." - Nigella Lawson

Pizza Rustica

We had this for Sunday dinner with a spinach salad. It was good. It has prosciutto, italian sausage and also ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. The filling is baked in a double pie crust. I need to start making healthier dinners.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Family Picnic

Today we had perfect weather. Bobby took a break from studying to sit outside with us and have lunch. We don't get this perfect weather for very long, so it is my intention to soak it up as much as I can until it gets hot and sticky and miserable. I'm looking forward to a lot of fun afternoons at the park- Franny seems like a different kid since last summer. Last year when we went to the park, I could usually find her sitting in the tire chips on the ground and running them through her fingers, stopping every now and then to laugh at something the other kids were doing; or we'd go to the park and she would insist on swinging the whole time we were there. Then after an hour when it was time to go home, she would have a huge tantrum right there at the swing set. Now she LOVES to play with the other kids and follow them around. She's also much more flexible on outings and transitions are not so difficult for her. It's a real testament to ABA and how much it has helped our little Franny. As for Sophie, hopefully she will continue to be the easiest baby ever and this spring and summer will be a blast! Speaking of Sophie, she is really into plastic bottles: coke bottles, ketchup bottles, etc. She flips out over them. It is SO CUTE. She opens her mouth really wide and starts flapping her little arms with excitement when we're handing her one.

Also, these are my new favorite peanut butter cookies.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Tangy Zip of Miracle Whip

Miracle Whip? Ew gross. Hellman's mayonnaise all the way. I once told Bobby that there are only two ways that I don't fit in with his family: 1.) I'm allergic to dogs and cats, and everyone in his family has a pet and 2.) I don't do Miracle Whip. Although Molly says she prefers mayonnaise, too. I knew I liked her.

This was really REALLY good. I saw it on Boy Meets Grill- it's a recipe for Grilled Tuna Salad Sandwiches with Lemon-Habanero Mayonnaise and Watercress (sans the watercress- I hate that stuff). I don't actually have a grill so I just used the George Foreman. It worked great. I cut the ciabatta loaf in half and buttered the slices and broiled them for a few minutes so they would be nice and crispy. Oh I can hardly wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow!

Franny dancing

When Franny has the day off school, I always try and take her to her "Happy Feet" dance class. I love to watch her dance! (Thanks Jill for helping me learn how to post a video!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chicken Hawaii

I made this curry dish for dinner last night and it was a big hit (that means Bobby liked it.) It reminds me a lot of Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp- my favorite thing to order at Cheesecake Factory besides white chocolate and raspberry truffle cheesecake. It's a curry sauce made with coconut milk, fresh ginger, and cinnamon over chicken and rice and topped with toasted coconut, lime juice, peanuts, cilantro, and fresh pineapple. Next time I think I will add shrimp and use cashews instead of peanuts.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

I made these pancakes last night for cooking club. They are very light and spongey and I love the flavor. The recipe suggests raspberry sauce as an accompaniment. The raspberry seeds and fruit have never bothered me, in fact I prefer them, so I chose not to bother with pushing the sauce through a sieve. Bobby didn't even try them, but the girls at cooking club loved them!

Everything I make has lemon in it, have you noticed that?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

That's what she said

My dad is very wise, and he once told me that there is a line from the movie Tommy Boy suitable for every situation in life. Well, Bobby and I have found the same to be true for the television show The Office. My friend Ashley is particularly good at finding the perfect Office line. If you haven't started watching The Office, you should really think about starting. I probably had at least 10 people recommend that show to me during its second season, but I didn't start watching it until last summer after seeing it on an airplane and just about laughing my head off. All those people must have thought I was crazy. At any rate, it's a a great train- you should get on it. There's only one person I know who has seen The Office and doesn't love it and her name is Erin and I'm convinced she just needs to see a few more episodes and she'll be addicted like the rest of us.


Who would you like to see Jim end up with? Pam or Karen? Bobby likes Karen better. He says that Karen is Pam 2.0. My argument, which I think is a really great one, is it's Jim and Pam. That's it- it's Jim and Pam. They have to end up together.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

These two love each other so much. It is so fun to watch as their Mom. They are starting to play together a little bit. Franny asks for her when she's sleeping and is impatient when we won't wake her up. Noone can make Sophie laugh like Franny can. Another cute thing I've noticed lately is if Franny finds a pacifier on the ground she brings it to Sophie and tries to place it in her hand and says, "Pappies" - which is her way of saying "passey." Franny is always trying to place herself right next to the baby and LOVES to hug and kiss her sister. It's so adorable!

Gyros and Key Lime Pie

Last night I made gyros with roast leg of lamb and Tzatziki sauce (cucumber sauce). I made this once before with a recipe for lamb patties that I found in Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer. This was also a very tasty option for gyros. The tzatziki sauce recipe makes the meal- it's from Barefoot Contessa Parties. I highly recommend it. I served the gyros with shards of feta, cherry tomatoes, and the sauce. My friend brought a delicious Greek salad that some of us tried stuffing in our gyros and that tasted great, too.

Here's the Frozen Key Lime Pie I made, too. The recipe comes from Barefoot Contessa Family Style. It's very simple and very delicious. I think it works best if you freeze the filling in the crust TWO days before you want to serve it.

Red Vines

I have always had a thing for red vines, but lately they've become more like an addiction. I like to joke that my red vines are like cigarettes to a smoker. When Franny's behavior problems were the most severe, late last summer and into the fall, I'd grab a couple stale red vines and I guess chewing on them helped alleviate some stress. So now I've got a really bad habit of grabbing one out of the cupboard every time a situation arises with the slightest amount of stress: both babies are crying at once, Jack Bauer is trying to deactivate a bomb, I'm done eating breakfast... It really is out of control. I knew I needed to break this habit when I got through 2 lbs. of delicious red vines in one week! Two packs a week!? Ludicrous! So I gave them up cold turkey nearly a week ago. I only mention it here so that I have motivation to stick to my goal or else I'll have to admit defeat on this blog. Otherwise all that is keeping me from my chewy red vines is $1.24 and a trip to Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lemon Fusilli Pasta with Grilled Lemon Chicken

I promise this picture does not do it justice. I have got to get a new camera! This recipe also comes from Barefoot at Home. I added Grilled Lemon Chicken from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I actually had to substitute spinach for arugula and rotini for fusilli because I couldn't find those ingredients here. Ahhh Kirksville.... It worked, though. I was really happy with it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chicken Piccata

This was tasty. I got this recipe from It's from her new cookbook, Barefoot at Home. I am so excited she has a new cookbook out! I can't believe I didn't hear about it until now. I freaked out when I saw it in Anthropologie. I know I live in a small town, but I was surprised I hadn't heard about it somewhere, like on the Food Network or something. Anyway, I was really happy with it. Also, I tried a new recipe for peanut butter cookies tonight and they were fabulous!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Just like boxing

I can't say enough good things about this one. She is the sweetest little baby and just makes life better. I can only say one negative thing- she is not a good sleeper! Sophie is 6 1/2 months now and she was up every two hours last night! Before we went to bed, I told Bobby, "it's Mommy vs. Sophie tonight." Let me explain: Sophie has always preferred sleeping with her mommy, and since we got back from California, she's been sleeping with me every night. I've been complacent, mostly because I'm too tired at night to care, but also because she's been sleeping on my chest and it feels really nice. But enough's enough! So this morning Bobby asked how the battle went, and I said that I won round 1 and round 2, meaning she slept in her crib from 8 PM - midnight, and then from 12:30 - 2:30, but that she won round 3 and round 4 because I let her sleep with me until she woke up again at 4:30 and and at 7:00. Bobby said, "there's only one round, Katherine. It's just like boxing. It's all one round and there can only be one winner. So who won the battle, Katherine."

Me, with just a hint of self-pity: "Sophie."

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I have recently become totally obsessed with homemade scones. I have a friend who made up this fabulous recipe for scones with lemon and dried cherries. I've been making lots of variations: lemon and blueberry, lemon and apricot, orange and cranberry... but the cherry and lemon is still my favorite. I also tried the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Maple scones- they were also pretty good.

2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1/2 c dried cherries
zest of 2 lemons
2/3 c buttermilk

glaze for scones:
juice of half a lemon
powdered sugar

Mix dry ingredients in food processor. Add diced butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add lemon zest and cherries and pulse 2 or 3 more times. Add buttermilk all at once and process until dough comes together. Pat dough on a floured surface into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into circles or half-moons. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and brush with lemon glaze.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

As has become a tradition in our family, we had a few friends over for St. Patrick's Day this year. I made corned beef and cabbage, buttermilk pie with raspberry sauce, and mashed potatoes, and then my friends all brought something delicious. The corned beef recipe I used comes from and it is my favorite way to prepare corned beef so far. I think I'll stick with this one from now on. I love this picture of Sophie and her little friend Abbey. They're holding hands!

My super model sister-in-law

My brother Richard is married! Sophie and I got back from San Diego just over a week ago. It was such a fun and beautiful wedding and it was great to see family and old friends. We love Richard's wife. Her name is Kristy and she is obviously gorgeous. Richard and Kristy live and work in San Diego and Richard is also going to school. They are so cute together. I am so thrilled that another one of my siblings is married and I'm excited to have a new sister-in-law.

It was especially fun to hang out with my three sisters. We all got to share a hotel room for a couple of nights in San Diego. One of my favorite memories will be Annie wanting to wake up at 6 AM the day of the wedding so she could have a good 3 hours to get ready. She's getting into hair and makeup and I have to say, she's looking absolutely gorgeous. I wouldn't let her get up at 6, though. She agreed to set her alarm for 6:45 instead. Also, poor Julia got left at Walmart without her purse or cell phone. We forgot her! She didn't think it was very funny... but it was. Kirksville, MO doesn't have a lot of options for shopping, so thank you Mom for dressing Sophie and I for the wedding. We love our new pink and brown clothes! You have great taste.

Meanwhile, Bobby and Franny stayed in Kirksville and Louise (Bobby's mom) came to take care of everyone while I was gone. Not only did she take great care of Bobby and Franny, but she cleaned my house, stocked our cupboards, dressers, and refrigerator, and left me a package of red vines. She is so wonderful. Bobby and I are so lucky to have the moms we have!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Franny and I had some time on Saturday to decorate Easter eggs together for the first time. We bought the apron she's wearing at Old Navy during Christmas break. Bobby had seen it and pointed it out to me while we were in line. I went over to the rack, picked it up and started trying it on. I couldn't figure out quite how to wear it though, the straps seemed too small to go around my waist. I did not get that it was a childrens' size apron! Bobby did, though, and he sat quietly watching me with 20 other after-Christmas shoppers who were waiting with him in line, laughing to himself at my expense!

These were taken at our Easter egg hunt the day before. This is a picture of Franny and her very best friend Alyssa. They've been B.F.F. for about 1 year and a half and this is the first time we've ever been able to get a picture of them both smiling and looking up at the same time.

S'more Brownies

We had the missionaries over and I served S'more brownies for dessert. I am always looking for desserts that Bobby will like besides snickerdoodles and Betty Crocker mix brownies. He rated this one a 7/10. I think it was more like a 7 1/2 or an 8. It has a graham cracker crust, brownie batter made from scratch, and marshmallows broiled on the top. I thought it was yummy.

Lemon-Ginger Cake with Blackberry Curd

We had a little dinner party on Easter and I made this delicious lemon-ginger cake. I wish I remembered to take a picture before we cut it up, but at least this way you can see the blackberry curd. I got this recipe from a friend who found it in a newspaper. I thought it seemed like a perfect Easter/spring cake recipe.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring Break

We spent part of Bobby's spring break in Pittsburg this year and we all had a blast- especially Franny. She LOVES her cousins. It was pretty cool to watch. We spend so much time worrying about her social skills, her speech development, her behavioral issues, and the whole time we were there, all she wanted to do was follow her cousins and do whatever they were doing. It was the first time Bobby and I could just let her play outside without needing to take turns entertaining her while the other cousins were off playing together.
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