Tuesday, April 13

Cooking adventures, accessories, and contests

I love spring. Okay, I just love the change of seasons. But I really love the rejuvenating change from the blustery winter to the crisp clean spring. It livens the senses and awakens the soul. For me, anyway. It makes me feel energized and I find new things to do and love and get excited about. I was recently talking to my BFF about the importance of hobbies. Having something that is just for you that you do a few times a week. Well Nicole, I think I've found it! I never ever ever thought I'd say this, but I love SEWING!!!

To let you know why I am so excited about this, there are a few things you need to know about me. ONE: I love food. Any kind of food. It is my addiction and my passion. It's pretty much what I think about during any free moments in my day. How good what I just ate was, how excited I am about what I'm eating at the moment, what I'm craving for my next meal. It's sad really, but it's true. TWO: I love cooking. I have no training at all in this area, but it's something I really enjoy. I could watch food network every second of every day. I love specialty foods and all the fun and gourmet things you can do with them. I also love the comfort of simple home cooking. I used to work next to a William's Sonoma and would go there on my lunch break every day (now I just go to the website a couple times a week). For Christmas I simply asked for cooking supplies (and got it! Thanks Samby). I don't even know if I'm very good at it, but I really love it.

In other words, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So my first sewing project was an adorable little apron. It wasn't the easiest project ever, but I was a little overly excited about it so I got it done in one day. Ha ha ha. I'm just a tad obsessive! Anyway, here's the finished product:

I really love the fabrics. I am going to make a ton more because it was pretty simple and I want this apron in all colors and shapes! :)

So now I need ideas of what to cook in my apron. Like I said, it's spring so I've been busting out my brightly colored, full of fresh produce, light tasty recipes. Made these the other day and they just scream spring to me. Literally, they scream it. Makes it awkward when you're eating them (I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid):

If you have any fun spring time treats you like, leave me the recipe in the comments section. The best treat will get a prize from yours truly!

And now I need your help and participation with one more thing. My parents flew up here over Easter weekend for General Conference, allowing me to make a big Easter dinner. We had a pretty sizeable ham, which means we now have pretty sizeable leftovers. I really should have done this contest earlier when the ham was fresh, not frozen. But I digress. Now I have leftover ham sitting in my freezer and I am fresh out of ideas. We've had more ham and swiss melts than I thought I'd eat over a lifetime and I need something new. To get ideas flowing, my favorite leftover recipe was this:

A delicious day-after-Easter brunch with eggs, spinach, ham, mushrooms, and gruyere cheese. Yum! So your task is this - leave me a recipe for my leftover ham. The winner will get a prize!

So there you go. Two contests. Two winners. Well three, if you count me. Because I'll be the one eating all the yummy entries. Anyway, feel free to enter even if you're a blog stalker and I don't directly know you. I will stop taking entries Friday the 16th at midnight. Good luck!

* the prize will be one of my choosing and will be sent out whenever I send it. Hopefully sooner than later. In the words of the contest inspiration herself "I reserve the right to determine how 'soon' is defined in this case".


Nicole said...

Oh. my. gosh. CUTEST apron EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER!!! AND you made it!!!! I love it so much. Can I please have one so we can be hot mama twins together as we cook our delicious meals because we are both so obsessed with food and think about it all the time?! Seriously, you are smokin' in that thing. The colors and fabric you chose are so cute and go so well together. I love it. I have one little crappy apron I received from our wedding and have been wanting to make one for so long... please help me! You did such an amazing job on yours!!!

The cupcakes really are the cutest cupcakes I've ever seen. I want to eat one. Now. :(

As for the recipes... I will be scrambling to come up with some really great ones. I feel so frantic--I only have two days! Aaagghhh! So much pressure...okay I'll be getting back to you soon...

Shannon said...

My little sweetie Nicole. We shall talk aprons. Also, since you live in the future you can have until your Saturday midnight (my Saturday morning). That'll give you the same amount of time as everyone else, right? I think. I'm excited to try whatever you give me, because you're such a great cook. Also, I'm so thrilled that you love my cupcakes because we all know that you are the cake decorating QUEEN! So I feel very honored.

Cameo said...

So I don't really care if I get a prize or not but I thought of this recipe while reading: Hummingbird cake! Sooooo yummy :) I love love love this cake. All of the recipes you find online are pretty much the same so just google it and I'm sure you'll find it.

As for the ham I suggest a fried ham sandwich with a couple of cheese and some spicy mustard on sourdough or a nice cibatta.

shelley said...

from your seriously cooking-challenged sister, my favorite springtime treat is those "birds nests" - you know, the ones made out of chow mein noodles and peanut butter that you put jelly beans in. shaelyn loves them too.

left over ham... left over ham...

dye it green and make green eggs and ham?

i'm in total preschool mode, can you tell?!

yes, i make my hollandaise sauce from a packet.

and i want to be "future sister" - because i live in the future too!!!

Deb said...

I'll give it my best shot! Here's my favorite recipe....
1. Get in car.
2. Pick up a friend who is also hungry.
3. Drive to mutually agreed upon restaurant.
4. EAT!! (Serves 2 or more!!)

kelly said...

I think that I may get disqualified for doing this, but I'm submitting a recipe you gave me because it's one of my favorites and I know you must like it because it's yours. Is that cheating? Well here it is.

1/2 to 3/4 c diced ham
2 onions peeled and sliced
3 t minced garlic
2T dijon mustard
2 lbs potatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c cheese blend (I think you said you used white cheddar if you were using ham)
2 T flour
2T butter
2 cups milk, cream, or half-and-half (I can't remember which one you told me)
1/4 c cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and ham and season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.

In a large saucepan, stir flour and butter to make a roux. Add cream and mustard and cook till thick. Add softened cream cheese and other cheese. Cook and stir till melted and gooey. Add ham and onion mixture and sliced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into greased casserole dish. Top with extra cheese if you like. (I know you do!) Bake for about an hour or until bubbly and golden.

Anonymous said...

I haev no recipes but I want one of those aprons. Really bad. I don't think I ever saw an apron so cute in all my life.

Jennifer said...

oh my, that is such a rad apron...yes I just said rad. Will you make me one pretty please, I'm not so good at the making dinner concept...just ask Nick...but that apron would give me soem good motivation.

I don't really have a favorite "spring" recipe, but I am loving chocolate chip cookies right now.

Those cupcakes are so stinking cute...love the colored frosting.

Sorry, can't help with the ham...i'm not a fan.

Jenna said...

So much to discuss.

1. I love "Deb" who commented. I don't know who she is but I love her.

2. I just registered for a cooking class (alone) to realize our dream of going to a cooking class. I can't live in denial any longer. You're not coming back to Phoenix. But we are coming to you.

3. I'm very excited about this contest. I will send over my recipe asap.

4. Love you guys.

Nicole said...

After perusing through my cookbooks, I think I have finally narrowed it down to one recipe each. That was really hard to do. I have lots I want to share with you that I think you will enjoy. Soooo, I was thinking, you should join the recipe blog I'm on. Not many people really post to it, so if it is just you and me posting recipes for each other, and having someone else run the blog itself for us, that would be awesome. Let me know if you want to!

To the recipes.

Light-N-Luscious Lemon Pave

I just realized this one is SUPER long. I'm too lazy to type it, so I'm just going to scan it and email it k. You can go here to see pics: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2024608&id=1351724053#!/photo.php?pid=30462759&id=1351724053. It is delish.

As for ham, I have a list of suggestions for you, then I will give you my contest entry. :)
You can use your ham in quiche, fried rice, potato cheese soup, pizza, chicken cordon bleu, and salad (if you want recipes for these, let me know).

Pepper Avocado Omelet


* 1 medium poblano or green sweet pepper, roasted,* seeded and chopped
* 2 Tbsp. butter
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 medium avocado, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
* 1/4 jalapeƱo pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
* 1/4 cup manchego cheese, shredded (1 oz.)
1/4 cup cubed ham
* Crushed red pepper
* 1 recipe Fresh Tomato Compote, recipe below


1. Roast poblano pepper (directions below); set aside. In 12-inch nonstick skillet heat butter over medium-high heat. Add eggs; gently swirl to spread eggs to edge of skillet.

2. When eggs begin to bubble, sprinkle with poblano, avocado, ham, and jalapeno.

3. When omelet is very lightly brown at edges, add cheese. With spatula loosen egg from sides; fold half the omelet over filling.
Season with black pepper and crushed red pepper. Serve with Fresh Tomato Compote and toast.

4. Fresh Tomato Compote: In medium skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 12 cup thinly sliced onion; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley, 1/8 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper. Heat through, serve with omelet.

5. To Roast Pepper: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Halve pepper lengthwise; remove stems and seeds. Place halves, cut sides down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast 20 to 25 minutes. Wrap pepper in foil; let stand 10 minutes. Gently pull off skin in strips, using a sharp knife to help loosen. Makes 2 servings.

(you can also see recipe here: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/eggs/debbie-shores-pepper-avocado-omelet/)

The original recipe doesn't actually call for ham, but I think the recipe is really good and would be even better with some cubed ham in it, so I added it to the ingredients. Hope you like!

ANNALISA said...

I am glad that you sent me a comment, I will get my receipe book out now and wow you with my Italian goodness.. be right back.

ANNALISA said...

I have a few reciepies in mind and will leave each of them in a seperate comments.

3 cups flour
3 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cup butter
grated lemon peel
jam of choice

Mix the flour with the sugar, 3 egg yolks and 1/2 egg white and the butter (melted and at room temp.) and the grated lemon peel.

Work the dough for about 10 minutes and then let it sit for 1/2 hour in the fridge.

Divide the dough in 2 parts. Roll the bigger part of dough out and then place in a medium sized buttered and floured pan.

Spread your favorite jam evenly over the dough.

Roll the other part of dough out and cut into long strips. Place the strips over the jam creating a nice criss cross.

Cook 40 minutes at 360°.

This is an italian basic treat. Yummy and simple.

ANNALISA said...

1 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 liter whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
pavesini/savorardi (cookies that soak up liquid well, or cookies for Tiramisu).
Mix all ingredients together until dense and fluffy.

In a small saucepan mix 2 cups water and 1 TBS sugar and boil for 10 minutes (makes a syrup). LET COOL. Add lemon flavoring or any other flavoring that you want.

In a cake pan spread a layer of cream in the bottom.

Dip the cookies in the syrup and then put them in the pan creating another layer.

Spread cream, making a layer.
Put cookies in pan making a layer
Continue until all cream and cookies are used up. Or make as many layers as you want.

*add sliced strawberries on top of the cream.
*chocolate pieces (shaved)
*drizzled nutella

The cream should be the last layer. Garnish the top as you like, chocolate drizzled, cocoa, or strawberries. USe your imagination.

I hope this makes sense...It is amazing. Make it in advance because the cookies need to time to soften.

ANNALISA said...

Ham and Pineapple PIZZA

4 cups flour
1.5 TBL yeast
2-3 TBL olive oil

Ham, Cheese, Pinneaple

Put all of the flour on the table (make a flour hill)
Dissolve the yeast is a small glass of warm water
Put a small hole in the flour hill with your finger (you will be adding the water and oil there)
Add the entire glass of water
Add salt and oil
Mix all together by hand (add water if to much flour, add flour if too much water)
Knead the douugh until smooth and soft (about 25 minutes, really work it)
(It will take awhile to kneed, but you are finished when the dough is soft and smooth)
Keep kneading, keep kneading!!!
Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a dish towel
Let rise 2-3 hours
Roll the dough out (I like it thin, but you choose)
Add the tomatoe sauce on top of the dough
Bake at 400-425°
Add the cheese at the end (the last 5 minutes)

(let David knead some of the dough, he will love it)

ANNALISA said...

P.S. how did you learn to sew? This is my goal for the year...maybe when I come in September we can have a chat. LOVE the apron and the cupcakes!!! good job.

Shannon said...

Adorable apron!!

Jennifer said...

I have a suggestion for the ham.
Throw it away, that is just too much ham...blech.

Mom said...

Know I never posted what a great apron this is...and loved the posing!!! This was a great idea that created a lot of response (yummy response). I already know the outcome, I'm just trying to catch up on commenting : )