Living Life Imperfectly

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Do you ever just have one of those days?  Today was a doozie for me and my family.  So, no recipes today – just some funny crazy stories about a day in the life of me.

I am incredibly thankful for the ability to laugh at my mistakes and failures and just life in general sometimes.  Yesterday,  I spent the day busting my buns making my house look…. moderately semi-clean.  There were still muddy puppy prints in the entry way, crumbs on the table and those pesky piles of clutter in the corners of the rooms that I just know I will be able to get to, some day.  I bathed dogs, taxied kids to and from our house to play with friends, made what seems like an unending supply of snacks and when the day was wrapping up, I decided to make a nice baked salmon and asparagus dinner with a beautiful Quinoa salad.  I hadn’t heard from my hubby yet as to his estimated time of arrival (since he had a crazy busy day of meetings and always has to deal with rush hour traffic) but went ahead thawing the salmon and preparing for a lovely dinner.  I placed my four beautiful bright pink salmon fillets on the sheet pan and surrounded them with crisp asparagus spears.

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[Enter cute puppy]  At this point, our adorable 10 month old little Chug (Chihuahua Pug mix) puppy, Bentley, scratched at the door.  I walked away from dinner and let him outside.  He started barking as he darted off.  I growled in frustration and ran downstairs to the mudroom to fetch my shoes then went outside to wrangle the pup.  Of course, he decided it was a great time to play “Catch Me If You Can!” FINALLY I was victorious and carried the little runt inside.  As I turned the corner into my kitchen, my heart sunk.  Where there used to be 4 beautiful pink salmon fillets, now lay 3.  It was no mystery where the fourth one went [enter our bull-in-a-china-closet, eat everything in sight, adorable, loving, chocolate lab Drake (and of course his best buddy Bentley)].

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Immediately, I remembered a conversation I had long ago about raw salmon being possibly toxic to dogs and the search for the Hydrogen Peroxide commenced (a little shout out to the vet who once gave me the tip to give your dog peroxide to make them throw up if they have eaten anything possibly harmful – this little trick has saved us literally thousands upon thousands of dollars in vet bills for our sweet Drake.)

I closed him in the downstairs bathroom and gave him his first dose of peroxide, then went upstairs to try and salvage my motivation to continue with this dinner.  I made the delicious lemon, garlic, parmesan sauce and basted it on the salmon, seasoned the asparagus and popped it in the oven then went down to check on the salmon thief.  No progress.  More peroxide down the gullet and back upstairs to start the Quinoa.  I measured and rinsed it, then put my pan on the stove with some olive oil.

I hear my 10 year old yell “Mom, Drake puked.”  Back downstairs I went, loaded with paper towels, gloves and disinfectant.  I opened the door noticing that there really wasn’t much umm… salmon-ish substance there.  That’s when it hit me! He had ralphed right by the other bathroom door that leads out to our office.  There is a good size gap under that door so everything flowed under the door and into the office where our adorable previously mentioned 10 month old puppy was happily “helping me clean up the mess.”

Meanwhile, I can hear the timer going off on the salmon but seriously, am so frustrated at this point and am not wanting to even deal with food while I am dealing with this disaster. As I am juggling the puppy and cleaning the mess, giving him some peroxide and cleaning up his secondary mess, the smoke alarm goes off.  I ran upstairs to find that my pan that was heating the olive oil on the stove was now black on the bottom and sending plooms of smoke into our house.  I threw it in the sink, reset the smoke detectors, set the table and dinner was served.  My salmon dry like sawdust and my asparagus slimy and overcooked

My husband called to tell me that he had just left the office.  I advised him to stop off and grab a beer and some food elsewhere.  He happily obliged.  My sweet, loving boys ate every bite of their salmon and asparagus while we giggled about the happenings of the last hour.  I,  decided to cap off my meal with a big piece of chocolate cake my loving friend had gifted me earlier in the day. Happy ending, right? WAIT! That’s not allll!!!!

Fast forward to 4AM.  My youngest son Henry softly touches my shoulder and says “Mom, I just threw up.”  I said “I’m sorry honey.  Are you okay? Did you throw up in your bed?” He said, “No, in the hallway.  I tried to make it  to the bathroom.”

After cleaning him up and tucking him back in, back downstairs I went to the gloves, plastic bags, paper towels and disinfectant.  The poor boy was so close to getting to the solid surface flooring – just one more step would have gotten him off the carpet and into the bathroom but that was just not the way our day was working out. So… there I sat in the dimly lit hallway scrubbing away while my family slept.

Once I got it cleaned to my satisfaction, I tied up the bag and started for the stairs.  I took the first step then as my second foot contacted stair #2, the slow motion fall began.  I landed hard on my right hip then gracefully (of course) thudded down each and every step after.  My little sick boy, Henry, appears at the top of the stairs and says in his sweet, quiet little voice, “Mom, what just happened?”  “Ummm… Mommy just fell down the stairs buddy, but I’m gonna be okay, you can go back to bed.”  I chuckled as I limped to the garbage can to deposit the bag of yuck.

So, as I sit here today with my entire right “buttock” completely black and blue, a sore shoulder, elbow, back and neck, amidst a home that went from being moderately clean-ish yesterday to a complete disaster (somehow, haven’t quite figured out how) today, I just have to laugh.  I think if I didn’t laugh at myself, I would curl up in a ball and cry – because of course those are the only two options, right?

So cheers to all of you moms (and dads) out there who get the joy of living life imperfectly.

 

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Stuffed Breakfast Croissants

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My husband has always been  my biggest fan, especially when it comes to food.  I will make him something and he will say “This is the best … I have ever eaten.” However, when I made these, he told me again and again that these were the best things he has ever put in his mouth.  Let me just tell you, these babies are a little (okay, a lot) time-consuming to make but they are complete masterpieces.  This is something that you will want to make when you want to blow someone’s socks off.  If you are not a huge fan of recipes that take a long time to make, I would suggest buying puff pastry dough in the freezer section and cutting your time WAY down.  I can tell you, they won’t be quite as amazing but they will be the next best thing.  I have always wanted to make puff pastry.  My very favorite thing in the world is chocolate stuffed puff pastry or croissants (we’re not talking Pillsbury canned croissants here folks, were talking tender, flaky, buttery heaven).  I have known that it is a multiple day process so I have put it off but finally feeling motivated, I set off to find the perfect recipe and oh my goodness, I found it. Drumroll please…..

http://www.sprinkledwithjules.com/home/2015/6/14/croissants-2

This is the most beautifully blogged recipe.  I took pictures of the whole process, but , honestly, there is no way that I could do what Jules has done here in her post.  She explains everything beautifully and has AMAZING pictures which I LOVE so why try to recreate something that is already amazing!

So, that being said, first go to her blog and make your dough then stop at step 8 and come back here and learn how to stuff them

Ingredients:

1 batch of puff pastry/croissant dough – find recipe at http://www.sprinkledwithjules.com/home/2015/6/14/croissants-2

10 eggs

breakfast meat/filling of your choice (ie. 10 pieces of bacon, 20 slices of ham, 1 lb sausage)

1 egg (for brushing tops)

1 Tbsp heavy cream

20 slices of your favorite cheese (I used Havarti)

Directions:

 

Okay, so let’s say you have gone through the lengthy (but oh so worth it) process and you have  your beautiful dough now. Let’s make the filling then we will take it out of the fridge and get started.

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Beat one egg in a small dish.  Pour into a buttered, preheated pan.  Pick up your pan and circle it around to where the egg covers the bottom of the pan.  Let cook about 20-30 seconds or until the egg is firm.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper then flip over.  Cook for an additional 20-30 seconds.

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Remove from heat and place one slice of bacon (or you can use any meat of your choice here, sausage, ham, prosciutto, or make it vegetarian and do spinach, mushrooms, whatever your heart desires). Top with your favorite cheese, ours is Havarti (super buttery and creamy).  You can even add a little bit of your favorite hotsauce (Tapatio, Cholula, etc.) then roll everything up inside the egg.

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Each one of these little rolls will be cut in half.  So make one for every 2 croissants.  I did 10 breakfast croissants and 10 chocolate stuffed croissants (which I will be blogging next)

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Okay NOW time to get that beautiful dough from the fridge.

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Cut it in half and wrap the other half in plastic wrap and place in your fridge.  You will want to roll out the other half to about 8″x15″ and about 1/4″ thick.  Now cut it into 10 squares.

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Roll each square out so it’s about 4″x8″.  Place half of one of your egg roll-ups inside and roll.

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Now you will want to pinch the ends together and seal it up so that cheesy goodness stays inside.

Repeat this process until all of the dough is used.

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Next step is to proof the croissants. You can do this 3 ways:  (1)let the rolled croissants proof slowly in the refrigerator overnight, (2) let croissants proof out on the counter in a cool place for 3 hours, (3) let croissants proof in a slightly warm place for 1 hour.  Letting them proof overnight in the fridge furthers the development of flavor, however at this point,  keeping it real… I just let them proof on my counter for 1 hour because I wanted to eat them so bad 🙂

If croissants proofed in the fridge, remove them and let them come to room temperature on the counter, about 2 hours. When dough is proofed, the croissants will be puffy, but not doubled in size. When the baking sheet is jiggled, the croissants will jiggle a little.

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Next, whisk 1 egg and 1Tbsp of heavy cream in a small dish.  Now brush it on the tops of those beautiful rolls with a pastry brush, gently.

Place in a 400F degree oven for 30 minutes, rotating after 15 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown.  My oven cooks a little hot so it didn’t take the full 30 minutes.  Watch them closely folks because after all of the time you have put in, the LAST thing we want to do at this point is burn these beauties. I can’t imagine the disappointment.  I think I would cry.

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Once they are baked to perfection, let them cool slightly so that they firm up.  Don’t serve these babies to someone you don’t like.  You worked way too hard to waste that effort (haha, just kidding… kind of).

Serve and sit back and listen to everyone rave as they close their eyes and savor every bite.  Not kidding folks.  They ARE that good.

Stay tuned for directions on stuffing them with chocolate which I highly recommend!

Stuffed Breakfast Croissants

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 batch of puff pastry/croissant dough – find recipe at http://www.sprinkledwithjules.com/home/2015/6/14/croissants-2

10 eggs

breakfast meat/filling of your choice (ie. 10 pieces of bacon, 20 slices of ham, 1 lb sausage)

1 egg (for brushing tops)

1 Tbsp heavy cream

20 slices of your favorite cheese (I used Havarti)

Directions:

  1. Beat one egg in a small dish.  Pour into a buttered, preheated pan.  Pick up your pan and circle it around to where the egg covers the bottom of the pan.  Let cook about 20-30 seconds or until the egg is firm.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper then flip over.  Cook for an additional 20-30 seconds.
  2. Remove from heat and place one slice of bacon (or you can use any meat of your choice here, sausage, ham, prosciutto, or make it vegetarian and do spinach, mushrooms, whatever your heart desires). Top with your favorite cheese, ours is Havarti (super buttery and creamy).  You can even add a little bit of your favorite hotsauce (Tapatio, Cholula, etc.) then roll everything up inside the egg. Each one of these little rolls will be cut in half.  So make one for every 2 croissants.  I did 10 breakfast croissants and 10 chocolate stuffed croissants (which I will be blogging next)
  3. Okay NOW time to get that beautiful dough from the fridge.  Cut it in half and wrap the other half in plastic wrap and place in your fridge.  You will want to roll out the other half to about 8″x15″ and about 1/4″ thick.  Now cut it into 10 squares.
  4. Roll each square out so it’s about 4″x8″.  Place half of one of your egg roll-ups inside and roll.  Now you will want to pinch the ends together and seal it up so that cheesy goodness stays inside. Repeat this process until all of the dough is used.
  5. Next step is to proof the croissants. You can do this 3 ways:  (1)let the rolled croissants proof slowly in the refrigerator overnight, (2) let croissants proof out on the counter in a cool place for 3 hours, (3) let croissants proof in a slightly warm place for 1 hour.  Letting them proof overnight in the fridge furthers the development of flavor, however at this point,  keeping it real… I just let them proof on my counter for 1 hour because I wanted to eat them so bad 🙂
  6. If croissants proofed in the fridge, remove them and let them come to room temperature on the counter, about 2 hours. When dough is proofed, the croissants will be puffy, but not doubled in size. When the baking sheet is jiggled, the croissants will jiggle a little.
  7. Next, whisk 1 egg and 1Tbsp of heavy cream in a small dish.  Now brush it on the tops of those beautiful rolls with a pastry brush, gently.
  8. Place in a 400F degree oven for 30 minutes, rotating after 15 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown.  My oven cooks a little hot so it didn’t take the full 30 minutes.  Watch them closely folks because after all of the time you have put in, the LAST thing we want to do at this point is burn these beauties. I can’t imagine the disappointment.  I think I would cry.
  9. Once they are baked to perfection, let them cool slightly so that they firm up.  Don’t serve these babies to someone you don’t like.  You worked way too hard to waste that effort (haha, just kidding… kind of). Serve and sit back and listen to everyone rave as they close their eyes and savor every bite.  Not kidding folks.  They ARE that good.

 

 

Aebleskivers – Dutch Pancakes

nutella filledjelly filledHappy New Year!!!  I hope you have all had an amazing time celebrating with family and friends. We spent the countdown at home this year with our 2 boys.  This was the first year that they actually made it until midnight (or technichally the first year that we haven’t tricked them with the East Coast countdown.. heehee).  We had a fondu night complete with cheddar beer fondu, beef broth fondu (for steak) and my favorite, chocolate fondu with lots of fruit and donut holes for dipping.  It was such a fun night full of games, music and of course food.

Breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs and these delicious gems called Aebleskivers [pronounced eb-el-skee-vers].  These Dutch pancakes do require a special pan if you want to make them round (you can technically just cook the batter flat on a skillet), but if you have the chance to pick one up, you are in for a treat! pan I purchased mine (actually my sweet momma bought it for me) from World Market.  I understand William Sonoma and Amazon also sell them.  These are to die for!  They are slightly crisp on the outside and dense yet fluffy on the inside.  Generally, they are served rolled in powdered sugar with some kind of fruit preserves (or Nutella).  You can also just serve with butter and syrup.  I like to pipe preserves or chocolate into the center of the pancake for a little extra wow factor.

Historically, Aebleskivers were made in hammered copper pans but today, the pans are generally made from cast iron or aluminum with a non-stick coating.  You will also want to have something to turn them with.

stick I used a little wooden stick I had for making caramel apples.  You can also use a chop stick, a fork or even a knitting needle if you really want to do it like  a pro.

These are such a fun treat! They are a blast to make and even more fun to eat.  There are several different recipes online, most call for either yeast or baking powder as the leavening agent.  I can’t wait to try the yeast ones but the baking soda ones apparently require a little less effort.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 Tablespoons sugar

5 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 cups milk

4 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

dry ingIn a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt).  wet into dry ingIn a separate bowl, whisk butter, milk and eggs together.  Add liquids to dry ingredients until evenly moistened.

butter panfill cups

Place aebleskiver pan over medium-low heat.  When pan is hot enough to make a drop of water dance, brush pancake cups lightly with melted butter and fill each to slightly below the rim with batter.

first turn

Cook for approximately 1 minute then poke your dowel (or whatever you are using) into the center of the batter and pierce the bottom.  Gently pull shell to rotate pancake until about half the cooked portion is above the cup rim and uncooked batter flows down into the cup.

turn all

ballsCook until crust on  bottom of ball is again firm enough to pierce then rotate ball with skewer until ball is closed.  Continue cooking, rotating the ball if needed until the batter in the center is completely cooked.  You will want to pull one of the pancakes apart slightly to test the center.

fill nutella

rolled in psAt this point, you can pipe filling into the center.  Roll in powdered sugar if desired.  Serve warm.

Aebelskivers

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 Tablespoons sugar

5 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 cups milk

4 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined.
  4. Heat pan on medium-low heat until hot enough to make a drop of water dance.
  5. Using a 1/8th measuring cup or ladle, fill each half sphere in your pan almost to the top.
  6. Let cook for approx. 1 minute or until a good crust forms on the bottom of the pancake
  7. Pierce your skewer into the bottom of the pancake and swipe it up, turning it 1/4 of a turn so that the batter once again fills the half-sphere.
  8. Let cook for at least another 30 seconds before turning again to complete the ball.
  9. At this point, you will just keep cooking and turning until the inside of the ball is completely cooked (you can test this by poking with a toothpick or splitting one slightly and peeking inside.
  10. Remove from pan.
  11. Pipe with filling if desired.
  12. Roll in powdered sugar.
  13. Serve warm.

I found this recipe here http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/danish-pancake-balls-aebleskiver.