Thursday, April 24, 2014

What's What Wednesday

I am certainly no Martha Stewart. I don't have a fancy camera to take staged elaborate pictures of my meals, I haven't taken any cooking classes and most of my recipes, deceiving little buggers, are super simple and quick. That being said, I have a lot of friends who ask, "How do you do it?" It is true that my boys are spoiled rotten. I'm very fortunate to be able to stay home and care for them. I make a very healthy, delicious home cooked meal every night.  But, looks and especially social media, can be extremely deceiving. Let me let you in on a little secret: I'm a lazy stay at home mom. No, seriously. I have you all fooled.

I'd like to start a weekly post on this blog called "What's What Wednesday." It will likely include a few easy recipes and a fun project or two that me and Kade are working on.


Before I begin, it's important to state a few facts. I am not myself a gourmet chef. I don't (usually) create my own recipes from scratch. All of my recipes were found on the internet, in books or handed down from family members. That being said, it's important to me that I am not guilty of plagiarizing any ideas. Most of my recipes I have altered to my liking- a little less of this or more of that- but I would still like to give the original creator the credit that is due. I will do my best to site where the original recipe came from. If you notice something that hasn't been sited and know where it came from, please let me know so proper credit can be given.


What's For Dinner?

We live in Washington where we are fortunate to have a whole lot of rain. I say fortunate because it's beautiful, keeps things green and it's always soup season. Three-hundred days of the year, baby. I'm a sucker for a good, easy soup. I'm especially keen to a good, easy soup that can be frozen and kept for a rainy day (see what I did there?). If you don't live somewhere with such awesome soup weather, this is a great soup for sick days. Recently, Kade has been struck by a nasty cold and a couple weeks ago, it was Ian with the sniffles. This will soothe the throat and keep the sinus' clear. I found the original recipe on Pinterest but altered it quite a bit to fit my liking. It's made with orzo- super inexpensive when bought in bulk and absolutely packed with iron.

Lemon Orzo Soup

1/2 Onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1 carrot, coarsely grated
Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
6 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1/2 cup orzo
Salt and Pepper to taste

First, put your broth in a pot and start it on medium-high heat. While that's warming up, heat your olive oil in a skillet. Toss in your chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for about 30 more seconds.
Put your onion and garlic mixture into your warming pot of broth, add your carrot, basil, salt and pepper. Once you've got a boil going on, add the Orzo, lemon juice and zest. Cook until Orzo is soft (about 8-10 minutes).

Seriously, that's it. The entire thing takes about twenty minutes and is seriously so delicious. I made a batch today and put it in the freezer for when Ezra is born. It's an easy meal to quickly heat when you're exhausted and don't know what to make for dinner.

What's For Dessert? 

I originally planned on a homemade roll recipe to go on this post but honestly, I'm pregnant and craving cookies. This is another recipe that's so easy and so delicious. It does require the dough to sit in the fridge for 2 hours before baking, so plan ahead for that. I like to make this recipe on the weekdays and stick the dough in the freezer (it stays good in the freezer for up to 3 months). When the weekend comes, it's easy to slice it up and put it in the oven- no hassle. Ten minutes later, you've got cookies for your Saturday night.

Honey-Cinnamon Cookies, original recipe by Catherine McCord

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg

Whisk together your dry ingredients: your flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. In a separate bowl, combine your wet ingredients: softened butter, brown sugar, honey and egg. Once that's mixed well, add your wet ingredients to your dry, forming a nice soft dough.  Shape the dough into two logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Then, either freeze for up to 3 months or refrigerate for 2 hours. When you're ready to bake, cut the cookies into 1/2 inch slices and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 400 degrees.

I made both of these recipes today in under an hour while Kade napped. Before I knew it, I was plopped down in front of House reruns with a cup of coffee in my hand.  I told you, I have you all fooled!

What Are We Learning?

Kade is all about books. He is a book worm like no kid I've ever known. He often has me read the same books again and again until he can recite them. He even starts with the authors name, like "Stormy Day by Claire Henley."  This drives me a little crazy- I've been known to recite lines from books that relate to whatever it is we're doing. On the way home from the grocery store last week, I told Ian, "Look! A rainbow! Soon the storm will be over and the sun will shine." He thought I was pretty hilarious and maybe sort of pathetic. Lately, I've followed Kade's lead and have based most of the art projects we do on the books he's been reading. With a little bit of imagination, this is easy and so much fun to do.

Two of his favorites right now are The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl and Mr.King's Castle by G. Cote. For the caterpillar, we simply painted his fingers and then cut out eyes and a little nose. This is an awesome sensory activity; the paint is cold and wet!

For Mr.King's Castle, I helped Kade cut out lots of shapes and let him glue them onto the paper, creating his own castle. (If you have an older kid, they could cut the shapes by themselves). This project was good for shape recognition and helped him with some kindergarten skills (cutting and pasting).

What's Making Me Smile? 

I feel so blessed to have such amazing friends from all stages of my life. I received the sweetest gifts in the mail from an old friend for baby Ezra. Warm fuzzies all over.

Kade made this all by himself- 100 percent without my help. He calls it a "Baby Sheep." It's the first project he's done where I can actually see what he sees. That's awesome.

Kade's awesome mind. He's been memorizing all of his states and loves to talk about what his body does with food- calcium, iron, etc. But letters are a foreign and hilarious concept to him. It's amazing to see how his brain works.

Let me know what you think about What's What Wednesday, I'm open to some ideas! Hope you're enjoying your week, friends. The weekend is almost here. Do yourself a favor; make a cup of tea, turn on some music and hum hum hum. Life is good.

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