Sprouts in the Raised Vegetable Bed

Last week we planted vegetable seeds in our raised vegetable garden and have waited for the little seeds to grow into seedlings.  I went out to check the garden today and we have little sprouts! The cucumber, zucchini, jalapenos and tomatoes have sprouted. As I mentioned in the previous post I planted way too many cucumber seeds and they all sprouted so I’ll have to get rid of some. Below are some pictures of a few of our little babies

Zucchini Sprout
Zucchini Sprout
Cucumber Sprout
Cucumber Sprout
Jalapeno Sprout
Jalapeno Sprout
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Cinnamon and Chocolate Croissants

Chocolate and Cinnamon Croissants

I created this recipe after having run into a cooking conundrum (not unusual). I was going to make Giada De Laurentiis’ cinnamon twists, but the puff pastry I had defrosted had somehow gotten dried out in the freezer. In addition I didn’t have the cardamom the recipe called for. What I did have was a package of croissants and chocolate chips, which became the recipe here.

1 tube of store bought refrigerated croissants

1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

½ tablespoon of cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of ginger

1 egg

Preheat oven according to croissant package directions. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Beat egg in small bowl. Brush each croissant triangle with beaten egg. Place about a half of a tablespoon of the brown sugar mixture on each croissant. Then line each croissant with 4 chocolate chips. Roll flat croissant into the normal croissant shape (haha). Brush tops of rolled croissants with beaten egg mixture and place on a sheet pan. Cook according to croissant package directions.

*Tip: I place the croissants on parchment paper on the sheet pan, it keeps the bottoms from getting to brown

*Side Note: I have to give credit to my in-laws for this idea as well. They always have chocolate croissants when we come to visit and they are hard to find where my husband and I live.

Cinnamon and Chocolate Croissants

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Laundry Day

I just had to post these pictures of Super A because they were too cute! Super A helps me with laundry during the week (and by help I mean he plays on the floor while I sort, wash, dry, and fold), but one of his favorite things is the laundry basket. I can set him in the laundry basket and he will just sit there and play with his toys while I fold laundry. Who knew a laundry basket would be so much fun?? So here are some pictures of him playing in his basket. By the way Doggy M is Super A’s stuffed dog that M gave him when he was born. Since A doesn’t have a real dog, Doggy M is the next best thing (And yes I named it Doggy M. And yes, I got the idea from an episode of Full House. If you can name the episode you get a gold star for your 80s-90s television knowledge!)

Aidan Playing with Doggy McDavid in his Laundry Basket
A Playing with Doggy M in his Laundry Basket
Aidan in his laundry basket
A in his laundry basket
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Old Fried Shrimp

As you may have noticed many of my cooking beginning debacles involve fried food. I’m not sure why I try to fry food because I am not particularly good at it and it usually ends with some sort of disastrous results. These include fanning out the entire house and opening all the windows so the fire department doesn’t show up because I’ve built up too much smoke in the house, and standing in a shower with water running over my face continually because I’ve burnt my eyes from the smoke. I’m not sure if it’s my love of Paula Deen, or my distinct love of the south that draws me to frying. This should provide some background for my next cooking beginning. It involves a box of old fried shrimp, and a lot of oil. I tend to buy most of my fried food in the freezer section of the store and bake it in the oven. Back when I had moved into my first apartment (back in the day, oh five years ago) I bought some butterfly fried shrimp thinking I would bake it one night in the oven. However, I didn’t read on the back of the box and realize that it needed to be fried. So I kept sticking it into the back of the freezer thinking I would fry it one day when I had time. Well the time came 2 years later when my then boyfriend (now husband), and I were looking for something to eat and he opened up the freezer and found the “tada” fried shrimp. I couldn’t remember exactly at that time when I had bought it, but I thought it couldn’t have been that long ago (only two years…isn’t frozen food like canned food? NO. It’s not). Even canned food has an expiration date. Anyway we decided to try it anyway so we dumped some vegetable oil into a heavy sided skillet and let it heat up to medium high (which on my stove should have been called “don’t go there high”) and dumped in the shrimp. Despite the fact that the oil was spewing hot the shrimp was so cold the oil popped sizzled then basically lost all its heat. I being the eternal optimist when it comes to cooking just tried to break apart the huge shrimp ice block so that it would begin to fry. As the ice block dissolved so did the shrimp. It dissolved into a disgusting mess, with no actual shrimp left, just floating remains of what was probably breading. And so, we ordered pizza. But at least I didn’t start a fire!

The moral of the story? Don’t cook old food and expect it to turn out well. You’re a cook not a magician. Oh and don’t fry in a skillet unless using very little oil to make say crab cakes. OH and buy a thermometer that can go in oil to know what the heat is, so that way when the food is burning you can say as I did “oh so 400 degrees IS too hot”.

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Papa Hat

Now that it’s summer A and I have been taking walks almost every day. We of course have to avoid the rain, which for a few weeks we were all deliberating on whether or not we needed to start building an ark, but it has subsided some for now. When my Grandparents came to visit in March we purchased A’s first “Papa Hat”. Which to most is referred to as a bucket hat, but to my family it’s referred to as a Papa hat. Well as A is growing like crazy his Papa hat from March is getting a bit to small, so I purchased him a new Papa hat from Gymboree. He seems to like it, in fact A likes hats very much. He is going through his stranger anxiety phase right now, and for some reason if I put a hat on him around strangers he calms down. I think he thinks he is invisible with the hat, which I find amusing. So here is a picture of him in his first Papa hat and his new Papa hat.

First Papa Hat
First Papa Hat
New Papa Hat
New Papa Hat
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Salt, Salt, Salt

Did you know that there are different types of salt? I’m sure you are questioning my cooking skills right now, but even though I knew there were different types of salt I didn’t know that certain ones are used in certain recipes even if they aren’t specifically stated. Three types are kosher salt, sea salt, and then your everyday table salt. Table salt is actually stronger than kosher salt. So if you are ever watching a food cooking show (as I frequently am during the week) and they state they add a pinch of kosher salt, and then you make the recipe later and add a pinch of table salt you may find the dish is more salty than you planned. As someone who doesn’t really like a lot of salt I found that this was good to know. I also realized from this that I should add kosher salt to my spice rack. Unfortunately it is really difficult to find kosher salt (where I live) in the local grocery store. However, I did find sea salt. This is not the same as kosher salt! Sea salt has larger grains (much larger) and will add a different taste to your food. I could have put this in my cooking beginnings section, but this happened about a month ago haha. I’m a cook in progress. And I’m still searching for kosher salt. I’ll let you know if I find it!

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Why I Cook Cupcakes Wednesdays

– Because they are weight friendly. You can eat just one cupcake and you know exactly what the portion is that you are eating. (And if you eat two, you know you are getting the same portion as the first)

-Because  they encourage peace. You don’t ever hear anyone at a birthday party complaining about one person’s cupcake being bigger than another person’s (well maybe, but you shouldn’t eavesdrop on conversations at parties anyway. It leads to all sorts of misunderstandings.)

– Because I have a hereditary trait of not being able to cook even cakes (Which means that all my cakes slide. It’s passed down from one generation to the next). But a cupcake doesn’t slide.

– Because there is an equal proportion of icing to cake. That’s just simple physics.

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Jack Bauer Quesadillas

These are in honor of our semi-yearly (January through May) commitment to spend at least one hour a week clenching our fists in tension as we wait to see what will unfold on the next season of 24. I made these one Monday night and they earned their moniker because they contain a jack with an intense kick!

Ingredients:

1 lb of chicken tenders

1 package of monterey jack cheese

1/4- 1/2 cup of store bought mesquite marinade

2-4 tablespoons of hot sauce

Jarred pickled jalapeno’s

1 package of tortillas

Sour Cream (optional)

Salsa (optional)

Instructions:

Dice chicken into bite size pieces. Place into a medium hot skillet with about 1/4 cup of the marinade. Add about 2 (or more) tablespoons of hot sauce to the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked through heat tortillas on a griddle or in a skillet. Place some chicken on one half of the tortilla, add some monetery jack cheese, and as many jalapeno’s as you like. Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the covered half. Slice and dip in sour cream or salsa.

Chicken Quesadillas Cooking in the Skillet
Chicken Quesadillas Cooking in the Skillet

Chicken Quesadilla Filling
Chicken Quesadilla Filling
Folded Chicken Quesadilla
Folded Chicken Quesadilla
Tada!
Tada!
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