Monday, December 16, 2013

The "Dumb Husband" and the Cookies: A Life Lesson Learned

There are a lot of family dynamics and stereotypes on television today. My husband generally doesn't give much thought to things like that, as he generally avoids any "family dramas/comedies" that were made after The Fresh Prince of Bel Air went off the air. But, there is one particular family related stereotype that sends my husband on a rant whenever he happens to see it: the stereotype of the "dumb husband". The "dumb husband" can be seen in commercials turning on the blender sans the lid and looking horrifyingly bewildered while the contents of the blender come rocketing out. Generally it would be at this moment where the condescending (if not slightly smug) wife comes in, smiles, and shakes her head at her dumb husband. Inevitably the wife ends up cleaning the mess while we can only assume the husband goes to put on a helmet.
Well, last night I wanted to watch something on T.V. that my husband doesn't like, in fact he T.V. shames me for watching (it's Lifetime's "Witches of East End". Don't judge me). While heading back to our bedroom to watch my show I just so happened to mention, once or twice, that I was craving my favorite Christmas cookies but was in no mood to bake. Around the holidays all I seem to do is bake, and I almost never get to eat the fruits of my labor. There is nothing as frustrating as being surrounded by the sweet, sweet baked goods that only come out at Christmas time and not getting to eat them.
 Anywho, during a commercial break I went into the kitchen to get some water only to find my husband in the very early stages of making cookie dough. Of course I mouthed the "oh, you don't have to do that!" and "I could have waited, you shouldn't go through all that trouble" while I was secretly super pleased. "You're such a sweetheart" said the spider to the fly before I went back into the bedroom to finish my show. When I came back out of our bedroom I heard furtive whispering "...crap! Hurry, we need to clean this up or Mommy is going to make fun of us." A sense of morbid curiosity compelled me to enter the kitchen to find my toddler on a step-stool, my husband desperately trying to stir the very crumbly cookie dough, and my stove top covered in flour and bits of Andes mints.
 Liam's making his "CHEESE!!!!" face


"I AM NOT THE DUMB HUSBAND!" was the first thing out of my husband's mouth. "I refuse to perpetrate that stereotype. REFUSE!" After I got done laughing, and reassuring him that the cookie dough was supposed to look like that, I helped him clean up his "little helper" who had so kindly helped to stir the dough and in the process give everything in a 3 foot radius a fine dusting of flour. As amused as I was, I had to reassure him. "You're not the dumb husband. You're the husband who now understands how hard it is to get any cooking or baking done when you have a 'little helper'". I mean,  you try making 6-8 dozen more cookies while Liam the Flour-Fiend maniacally laughs while he "helps" you "stir" the dough, batter, or whatever it is you're mixing.
Later that night as I munched on some very delicious cookies that I didn't have to bake, I chuckled to myself and had to wonder...why didn't he just use our Kitchen Aid stand mixer? It's not like it's a blender, which we all know husbands can't operate without loss of life or limb. But, it is something that can mix dough without making a mess and still entertain a "helper" who likes to flip the switch. Either way, a life lesson was learned and I got delicious baked goods that I did not have to produce. Win/win.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Economy Meals: Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

It's time for economy meals post #2. I got this recipe from a friend, and changed it a little to my family's tastes (which you are welcome to do as well). It's very easy to make, it's super healthy, and it freezes really well if you want to make it in a large batch and save some for later. I love this economy recipe not only because of how healthy it is, but also because of how cheap it is to make. I usually have some, if not all, of the ingredients in my fridge or fruit basket at any given time. Plus, pasta is a mainstay in most pantries, which is generally what I serve this sauce with.

Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Ingredients
  • 3-5 tomatoes, whichever variety you prefer. The first time I made this recipe I used a carton of cherry tomatoes and 3 roma tomatoes, but this time I used 3 vine ripe tomatoes and 3 roma tomatoes. Use which ever variety you prefer, or what looks best at the market that day.
  • carrots (about a handful of baby carrots or 1 regular sized carrot)
  • 1 bell pepper, the color of your choice
  • 1 onion
  • various vegetables of your choice: the first time I made this sauce I used zucchini and summer squash, this time I used a little cauliflower and broccoli that I had leftover from a previous meal
  • garlic: fresh or jarred, your choice. I usually use fresh, and if you choose this option use whole cloves (as many as you like, I usually use 3-5). If you choose the jarred, minced garlic option (which I did this time b/c I forgot garlic at the store) use about 2 tsp during the last 10 mins of roasting.
  • extra virgin olive oil, salt, fresh ground pepper, dried basil, dried oregano: all to taste
  • a blender, food processor, or immersion blender
Directions

1. Wash and dry all of your veggies. 

2. Cut up your veggies and place them in a large baking dish or roasting pan.
3. Drizzle them liberally with extra virgin olive oil and then sprinkle your salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Toss your veggies so that they are all well coated.
I always have a hard time keeping my husband from sneaking veggies while my back is turned.....

4. Roast your veggies in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 mins. Take your pan out of the oven and toss them again. *if you chose to use jarred garlic, now would be the time to add it*
5. Put your pan back in the oven for about another 10 mins, or until they are done.
Your house is going to smell soooooo good

6. Remove your pan from the oven and allow the veggies to cool for a bit. Once they have cooled blend them well, adding oil as needed, until the sauce is as chunky or silky as you prefer. I always leave mine a little chunky, but it's up to you. *It is important that if you are using a traditional blender that you make sure to cool your veggies for a bit.*
7. Transfer your sauce into a sauce pan for reheating, and add any additional salt, pepper, or herbs that you desire. Serve immediately and freeze or refrigerate leftovers.
My finished product. Yum!

I served my sauce over some penne rigate pasta with cheesy garlic bread on the side. My husband loves this recipe, and it's a great way to sneak some fresh produce into your kids. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Two Things I Learned this Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving. My little family drove to Alabama to spend the holiday with my Dads side of the family. We enjoyed visiting with everyone and needless to say, Liam loved getting all that extra attention. Now we're back at home, and I've had some time to reflect on two things that I learned this Thanksgiving which had nothing to do with family, friends, or Hallmark moments. Here they are, in no order of importance:

Thing 1: Head injuries swell remarkably quickly. My 2 1/2 year old son, Liam, tripped and fell. Fortunately he was fine; unfortunately he used his head to break his fall. Less than a minute after the initial impact Liam had a goose egg the size of a golf ball on his forehead. After making sure that he was okay, and thanking the Lord that we had already taken pictures with Santa, we rushed to put ice on his giant, swelling bruise. In order to completely heal Liam's injury, my husband had to make a trip out to Walmart to get our son some ice cream. I'd like to commend that brave, brave man for walking into Walmart just as the Black Friday madness was beginning.

Thing 2: Turducken is a real thing. If you're a "Supernatual" fan like I am, you've heard of Turducken. I had no idea whatsoever that it actually existed, and that people actually ate it. Turducken is a de-boned chicken which is stuffed into a de-boned duck, which is then stuffed into a de-boned turkey. That way, when you carve off a slice, you get three different kinds of meat. In my opinion, this sounds disgusting. However, to heap-big carnivores like my husband, this sounds like Thanksgiving taken to a whole new level.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas season has officially kicked off in our house. We are of the belief that holidays need to take their turns, so we don't do any Christmas decorating, play any Christmas music/movies or set up the tree until the day after Thanksgiving at the earliest. My husband has officially given me the green light to geek out and rock the holiday spirit to my hearts content. Ready, set, go!