Tag Archives: friends

Cherries to Cheer You

Yesterday was National Cherry Cobbler Day. Cherry Pie is one of my favorite desserts (not that I eat it, or any other dessert, very often… In fact, last time I had Cherry Pie was when I had lunch with a friend back in October at Twede’s Cafe.) As you know, I’ve never really been great at making pie crust, so Cherry Cobbler is second best, since it does not require the labor (of love) of making the crust.

So, in order to celebrate the Holiday, it seemed appropriate to make a cobbler. And since the day’s work brought me to Prosser, home of Chukar Cherries, I took a moment to stop in. I had never been to their store previously, and I was greeted by one of the best smiles backed up with the most excellent customer service I’ve experienced in a long while. (Thank you, Tami! You were a true bright spot in my week.) So, I was happy to pick up a beautiful jar of cherries, along with a snack pack of nuts and dried cherries to stash in my desk for a quick “pick me up”. And because I was made to feel important while in that little shop, I will definitely be stopping in again.

Now, I know that what you’re actually waiting for is to see the cobbler come together, right? So, without further ado:

Triple Cherry Pie and Cobbler Filling from Chukar Cherries, and some Dove Dark Chocolate

Pour cherries into ungreased casserole dish, and grate chocolate over the top.

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Bake at 400* until biscuits are browned and filling is bubbly.

Invite a friend over and enjoy with ice cream and laughter to cheer you!

I was blessed to have my best friend and her kiddos join me and my kiddos for this cheerful dessert. We agreed that the chocolate grated over the top of the cherries made all the difference in this wonderful mid-week treat. Thanks for joining me, friend!

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Stir it Up

Just some soy sauce, chili oil, green onions and garlic. That’s all you need to add flavor to your stir fry, no matter what it is you’re stirring up! I’ve used this with veggies, chicken, beef, shrimp… Over the years since I started using this simple sauce, I have tried prepared sauces from the store and always been left with disappointment at the flavor. So, I stick with what works.

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3-4 green onions, green and white parts
  • Soy Sauce
  • Chili Oil*

What to do: Press garlic into a small bowl (I use a Small Prep Bowl that holds 1 cup), slice green onions and place into same bowl. Pour soy sauce over garlic and onion until covered. Pour a couple drops of chili oil into this. (Use more to taste. I don’t like things too spicy, so I just use a couple drops.)

Yup. That’s it. Now you just need to stir-fry your meat and veggies (small batches so you get a little browning. If you overcrowd the pan, you’ll end up steaming the food instead of getting the carmelized yuminess that you want.), and when they’re all cooked up, return all to the pan, make a well in the center and pour in the sauce. (If you want to thicken it and make it a little glossy looking at the same time, you can add a bit of corn starch and water, too) Stir this all up, and share with Friends.

* To make your own chili oil, use about a cup of oil (peanut oil is a good choice, but you can use whatever cooking oil you have/use) and about a tablespoon of chili flakes. Heat in a pan on the stove. Once cooled, transfer to a glass bottle and store in the fridge. The longer it sits, the hotter the oil becomes.

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Let Them Eat…

A sleepover birthday party for the boy child. This means a house-ful of pre-teen boys. And THAT means food…and lots of it. It also means I had the pleasure of being part of great memories for a group of young boys. They will hopefully forever remember the night their friend’s mom bought too many pizzas (who knew there was such a thing for so many boys, huh?), made brownies for dessert (while they were here, so they were yummy and warm and they got to smell them while they were baking), let them run through the house with nerf guns, play video games, watch movies, eat, drink, eat some more, be loud…oh AND their friend’s mom even attacked them with silly string. Not once, but twice. Now THAT was the best laughter I’ve ever heard, and I was even able to snap a group picture of them all while I was shooting the string at them. They will each get a copy of the picture to help them remember the fun night.

We have leftover pizza and leftover veggies (now made into tonight’s stir fry), and possibly some Otter Pops in the freezer (hard to tell… I did find an awful lot of wrappers around the house today 😉 ), and as I said earlier, memories of the laughter and happiness echoing through the house.

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I’m a Flake

Yes, you read that right. I’m a flake! Finally, after years of practice and being taught many times by self-proclaimed “flake experts”, I have finally, yes, FINALLY made a perfectly flaky pie crust!

Yup, 45% of you voters got it right! My surprising kitchen success was a flaky pie crust. Many people are often surprised to learn that I use “cheater” pie crust most of the time, simply because the frustration of pie crust was too much for me and since I didn’t enjoy making it, it just was never worth the frustration.

So, why the change of heart? Why make my own pie crust after deciding to give up on it years ago (with a few failed attempts after making that decision, helping me stick by that choice!)? Funny story.

I have a friend, I’ll call him Dean, who in a matter of just a few weeks heard me talk excitedly about cooking. Everything from homemade bagels (for which I’ve just realized I still owe you a recipe and pictures! Must see what I can do about that soon, huh?) to roasts, cookies and basic dinners (yes, even my corn dog dinner and kitchen “mishaps”!). Well, one night in December, he invited me and my kids over for a game night and dinner with his daughter. Upon our arrival, he proudly announced that I was going to make pie crust. This was, obviously, laughable to me. But he insisted that it is easy and that I could do it. He patiently talked me through every step (though he really did much more of the work than I did!) and there it was… perfect pie crust. (Which I secretly decided I would probably never make, but was glad at his attempt to teach me.)

Fast forward a few months. It’s Mother’s Day weekend and I have decided that for my Mother’s Day dinner (that I would be cooking for myself) I wanted to have a Quiche, made with goose eggs from Triton’s Farm. So I contacted them and arranged for delivery of 3 goose eggs, along with a dozen duck eggs (for my breakfast that my awesome kiddos would serve me in bed. 😉 ). And then my kids asked me if I remembered how to make the pie crust like D taught me. Um, maybe? Kinda? I think? I’ll give it a shot! With the boy reminding me to add salt (I rarely add it to anything, so I know I would have forgotten!) and the girl asking me if I remembered the measurements, and both by my side, anxious to see if it would flake or flop, I got to work and was pleased to end up with an amazingly flaky, buttery pie crust for my Quiche. Below is the measurements, kinda… but I can’t explain the technique… so I hope you know what you’re doing! 🙂

PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • salt (1 tsp?)
  • 1 cup butter (put in freezer to make sure it’s super cold)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ice water (this is a technique thing… I don’t know how much, several tablespoons, I guess?)

The egg yolk I think was the trick! Oh, and NOT working the dough too much! And keeping it cold. Sorry I’m not more helpful on how to actually make it, but, as you know, I’m a FLAKE! (Who can now make flaky pie crust! THANKS D!!!)

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Kitchen Success

I’m back! And well, I thought it would be so much more fun if you had to GUESS what my latest kitchen success might be! So here’s a poll. It’s open for only 1 day. Cast your vote by tomorrow night and I will reveal the details of my kitchen success once voting closes. Share with all your friends and get them in on the fun, too!

 

 

 

 

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The Year of the Rabbit

Today is the Chinese New Year. And I forgot all about it! I arrived at work this morning to find baskets filled with goodies and New Year wishes “Kung Hee Fat Choy”. It is now the Year of the Rabbit. A lucky year that will be followed by my personal favorite, the Year of the Dragon, next year (I was born in the Year of the Dragon and find the creature to be fascinating, but I think that’s a blog post for another day. 😉 ). This year, though… THIS year is my son’s year. The Year of the Rabbit. A lucky animal, indeed.

Several years ago, I began celebrating this holiday with my children, simply because we like to celebrate things and it’s a good excuse to eat Chinese food. Tonight’s dinner plans are now changed. The Tamale Pie will be frozen and can make it’s way onto next week’s menu instead. (It’s a lucky year already! I’ve got a dinner ready for next week, and it’s not even the end of this week, yet. 🙂 ) I will pick up some potstickers and some other of the kids’ faves on my way home. We would usually cook up a big Stir Fry, and had I remembered, I would have made some Chinese BBQ Pork as well. But tonight will be about sitting around and celebrating the New Year together with some fun Coloring Pages and crayons instead of making a mess of the kitchen.

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Bagels, Bagels, Bagels

I was talking to a friend about food yesterday. (Is that surprising? Yeah, I didn’t think so…) In this conversation, I commented that I love to make bagels in many different flavors and continued on about something else, while he was interrupting me with “Wait! What? You make bagels? Like you toast them and put cream cheese on them, not like actually make bagels, boiling and all that”…. I laughed, and replied that of course I mean I mix the dough, shape it, boil it, bake it… how silly to assume I meant anything else, right? 😉

So, making bagels has been on my mind for quite awhile now, but always gets set aside. It is time to stop putting that task aside. I have asked my friends what their favorite bagel flavors are and I received several responses. “Blueberry” “Cheese” “Onion” “Garlic” “Dried Cherries with Honey” (let me add my YUM! to that request!!! Sounds great!) “Pumpkin Spice” “Sun Dried Tomato with Italian Spices”

Well, that’s a lot of flavors! And I am not ambitious enough to try to do them all in one bagel making session, but I will make bagels this weekend! (Please, would someone remind me to pick up some more flour, cheese, onion, garlic and I guess some blueberries…) I will mix, shape, boil and bake… and then I will wrap and freeze for easy breakfasts and snacks. And yes, I will share! Of course I will share. It’s what I do. 🙂

You can find my recipe HERE! Happy boiling. 🙂

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Journal. 8.11.2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It was hot today as I ventured into the garden to see what would await the dinner table. I found:

  • tomato plants heavy with fruit which has yet to ripen
  •  eggplants that I am beginning to wonder if they will produce any fruit at all (though the leaves are a gorgeous deep purple now, making me smile)
  • corn stalks that I am proud to say we started from seed and are now growing nearly as tall as my 13-year-old girl child
  • potatoes, oh so many potato plants (I will definitely be sharing those crops!)
  • and there… at the back of the garden is where I find the night’s treasure

The zucchini has been slow to start, but I am so proud to report that we snipped 2 zucchini from the vines, each about 4 inches long. We also snipped several blossoms, including the still-young zucchini they were attached to. And oh my. The flavor! Intense, bright flavor! I experienced tonight a flavor explosion so great that I may never buy zucchini from a store again (ok, that’s probably not true, since we don’t have a long growing season… but it will never be the same).

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Well, that was fun… but I haven’t kept a journal in many years, and don’t expect I’ll be starting again now. So, what triggered that journal posting? Simple… I shared my productive day with friends & family via a Facebook Status Update that read:

WOW! Productive day! After work I set the raw milk out with yogurt culture (yes, making my own yogurt! Go Me!), clipped the first of the zucchini (2 of them) off the vines, along with a few of the blossoms & snipped some chives. Put together a quiche with our fresh veggies, then used the remaining chives and some leftover buttermilk to make a fresh ranch dressing…..

Two of the replies that followed:

Patty said: Little House on the Prairie!!

Daniel said: I feel like you should be on one of those survival TV shows…. where they are left out in the middle of a forest on a deserted island…. you’d probably whip up some German Chocolate Pound Cake from roots, bugs, and moss… idk how, but I’m sure you’d find a way lol

Those replies made me wonder what it would have been like to live “On the Prairie” (which, by the way, I don’t remember ever watching the show… but perhaps I should…) or try to survive on a deserted island. I would surely keep a journal then, right? Well, this blog from That Cook Girl is as close as you’ll find me to journaling. So, enjoy… and check back soon because I’ll be sharing my experience with making yogurt (which I will then turn some of that into cream cheese)… and I’ve got some amazingly wonderful ideas for using up an over abundance of eggs (no, I don’t have chickens, but many of my friends do… so I get eggs. I’ll share my garden crops with them).

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If You Build it… They Will Eat

The kitchen table is a magical place. Wouldn’t you agree? It is there where you dream and where you get to have long talks with your family and your friends. It is the kitchen table that makes life, dreams, and love possible. If the kitchen table is so magical, I have to wonder why more people don’t sit around theirs. It seems to me that the best way to have a magical life is to create it around your kitchen table.

My dream of building a house is on hold, but that’s ok. It gives me more time for planning every detail. I once drew a quick sketch of what I wanted in a house. When I showed it to a friend, he asked “Why is half the house a kitchen?” I couldn’t even come up with a reply to that. My question when I see house plans is always “Why is the kitchen so small?” I say get rid of the living room, because I want everyone to gather in the kitchen with me, around that magical table. I want people to enter my home, whether through the front, back or side door and be transported to a special memory of sitting around the kitchen table at Grandma’s house. I want my kitchen to be what envelops my home, with access to all other parts of the house coming right through the kitchen.

As I go outside, I want to pass through my kitchen and into a garden that is fit to feed my family and all my friends, using only the freshest, most high quality foods, grown right outside my door with love. A view of mountains surrounding my home, with endless trails through forests of trees and meadows filled with wildflowers in every color will make the backdrop for the outdoor kitchen with even more magical potential for gatherings of loved ones.

I could dream for days, weeks, months… well, years, really, about my dream home, and every time I think of my dream home, it is, of course, filled with love, laughter, friends, family, and even friends we’ve yet to meet… and in all those dreams we are gathered in my kitchen cooking and eating, laughing and dreaming.

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Like Old Times

Stir Fry & “Friends”… just like old times!

It’s been several years since my friend moved away, and several years since we have enjoyed Stir Fry and sat down to watch “Friends” together. When I got the news that she was recovering well after her surgery (kidney donation to my Aunt), I was excited to invite her for dinner while she was still in town. Just like we used to do on Thursday nights, I cooked up some Stir Fry. And because I had cabbage and carrots, I mixed up a quick salad with Asian-style dressing, as well. When we sat down with our dinners and started flipping through to see if anything was on TV to watch, we were thrilled to find that “Friends” was about to start! So, we had a great night, eating stir fry and watching friends, just like we used to do.

Hot Fudge topped Ice Cream with nuts, whipped cream and of course cherries on top!

And then there was dessert!

 

 

Next time I make Stir Fry, I’ll share my process and my stir fry sauce. It’s nothing spectacular as far as ingredients go, but the love that goes into it makes all the difference in the world.

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