Range Failures & Deliciousness

After writing my post yesterday about wanting to continue to blog, etc. and actually pushing myself to do it, I posted this to Facebook.
Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 4.55.53 PMI was determined yesterday to feel accomplished and was needing some down time for myself in the kitchen. This is my happy place and my anxiety about returning to work has kicked in and panic attacks are ensuing. My anxiety and a quick trip to the grocery store for milk and fruit this morning coupled with the boys asking me to bake for them today pushed me into the kitchen to create awesomeness.

Except…my awesomeness turned into failures. Damn 15 year old range that heats unevenly, takes 45 minutes to preheat, etc. I bought a new Samsung 5 burner range yesterday, but it doesn’t get delivered for another 2 weeks – the light is at the end of the tunnel! I’m still geeking out over this new range and I’ll be sure to post about it when it arrives. Bring on the range love!

Failure #1 – Tortilla chips. I cleaned out the fridge this morning and had 1/2 a package of corn tortillas that needed to be used up. We’ve had a ton of tacos lately and I decided that I’d just throw them in the oven to make homemade chips to use up the little bit of homemade guacamole I had in the fridge as well (both recipes are from Homemade Snacks & Staples by Kimberly Aime). This was breakfast – not a great start to my day, but oh so delicious! Here is the picture of how they turned out. Same oven, same temp setting, same time. ARGH. Anyway, I ate the pan of good chips and threw the others out into the compost pile.

Failure #1

Failure #1

Deliciousness #1 – Cranberry Raspberry Upside Down Cake with Raspberry Italian Meringue. So delicious! This recipe came from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, which Steve bought me for Christmas. I love, love, love her books and have them all, but definitely don’t do her food justice. The meringue was a bit tricky to make as I don’t have a hand mixer, but I got it. It’s not pictured, and my cake isn’t as pretty as hers in the cookbook picture, but yep, it’s delicious!

Cranberry Raspberry Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Raspberry Upside Down Cake

Failure #2 – Homemade Cheese Crackers (think Cheese Nips or Cheese Its) – one of my favorite crackers and it was my first homemade attempt at them. The flavor is awesome, but once again, my stupid range. In a matter of under 10 minutes at 325, this is what my cheese crackers looked like. Sad. I will for sure make these again, once my new oven is here and I can trust that out of the three pans, three will turn out, not just 1/2 of one. I will not roll them out as thin and make them into circles. Recipe is courtesy of Homemade Pantry (check out her blog!).

Cheese Crackers

Cheese Crackers

Deliciousness #2 – My own recipe for meatballs using the fresh herbs that I had. One pound of grass-fed ground beef mixed with minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, a little oregano, and minced onions. Baked, cooled, and frozen ready to go for dinner next Wednesday.

Deliciousness #3 – Homemade Pizza with the crust recipe from Homemade with Love (check out her blog)! We top our pizza with a light coating of olive oil, italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, onions, and fresh mozzarella cheese. For the boys, just a plain, extra gooey cheese pizza. It’s our Friday night dinner every week. We mix up the toppings once in awhile, but we love our Friday night tradition of pizza and a movie. Especially since the boys are starting to watch fun movies like Harry Potter, Jumanji, Night at the Museum, etc. instead of just animated ones.photo

Deliciousness #4 – As long as the range works today well, I will be making homemade Pop-Tarts. My kids ask for these disgusting things every time we are in the store and they gross me out. They are dried out, filled with nasty ingredients, and really just gross me out. When I found the recipe a few years ago for homemade ones on Pinterest, I was pretty excited. However, that recipe just didn’t do it for me. Then I bought  Homemade Pantry (check out her blog!) and was sold on just using a pie crust recipe. Pop-Tarts this week will be filled with Nutella, Wildtree’s Wild Blueberry Jam, and some homemade Strawberry jam. I haven’t attempted creating savory ones yet. The boys love their sweets so I’ve just stuck to those. Fingers crossed I have a cooperative oven today!

New Year, New Beginnings

New beginnings seem to swirl around our family at least once a year. This year, our new beginning really seems to coincide with the start of 2015. Let me explain. In September 2014, we swapped houses with my father-in-law to live in the home that my husband grew up in. This beautiful home is situated on roughly 175 acres of farm land and has a small wooded area and a conservation pond in the back of the property. There is room for the boys and the dog to run, the cats to wander, and for me to garden. The quiet life has happened upon us and we couldn’t be happier.

Officially, in the upcoming monthss, we will finalize our purchase of this home. We are excited to begin this new chapter of our lives and raise our boys the way we want to – to be outdoor kids and appreciate nature and sustainability. The boys love helping out with the heifer cows (cows that aren’t producing milk yet because they haven’t had babies) that the neighbor keeps here and eventually, we’d like to have a few of our own to raise for meat only. When we moved out here, my father-in-law built us a chicken coop and bought 10 chickens for the boys. The immense need the kids have to run around and play in the dirt is satisfied on a daily basis with building a fort in the woods, playing in the sand pile or swingset, or just running around being boys. They are excited to help me plant and work in the garden again this year and love taking long walks or a quick 4-wheeler ride back to the pond to check out the wildlife.

I decided that with the new year started, I should really focus on this blog thing that I attempt multiple times a year and then drop. My personal blog will continue to stay focused on my family and the craziness that ensues with two little boys and now incorporate me living on a farm, trying to be more sustainable, and getting used to the concept of chickens running around everywhere. Another focus will be to discuss cooking from scratch and how we provide for our family with using very little processed or prepared food. My love for being in the kitchen continues to grow and I cannot wait to share this love with others.

In other words, here’s to new beginnings, new outlooks on life, and being grateful for the life we have!