Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits (with Oven Home Fries)

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  • 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage (used turkey)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper

Cook sausage in a cast iron skillet. When done, remove sausage from pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat (id using a lean meat add enough oil to equal 2 Tbsp). Whisk flour into the fat and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk a little at a time. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer and thickens. (Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan, that's where the flavor is.) Check seasoning, add crumbled sausage and serve over biscuits.

Original Recipe

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kielbasa and Apple Pasta Bake

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  • 1  pound  rigatoni
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1  large  onion, sliced
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1    quart milk
  • 1    block (10 ounces) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)
  • 1  teaspoon  hot-pepper sauce
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  package  fully-cooked kielbasa (14 ounces), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins
  • 3    Fuji apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2    scallions, thinly sliced

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat oval 10-cup baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large deep pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook rigatoni until al dente, firm but tender, following package directions. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to boiling, stirring continuously; boil until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

4. Set aside 1 cup cheese for topping the casserole. Stir the remaining 2 cups of cheese, the hot-pepper sauce and salt into milk mixture until smooth.

5. In pasta cooking pot, toss together pasta, cheese sauce, kielbasa and apples. Spoon into prepared baking dish, mounding slightly. Cover.

6. Bake in 350 degree oven, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover. Stir rigatoni mixture. Sprinkle top with reserved cheese and the scallions. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Original Recipe

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Maternity Photo Shoot

Last weekend, at 32 weeks pregnant, we had a great time working with Melissa DeVoe for a maternity photo shoot. We met early in the morning (best lighting) at West Point on the Eno in Durham. It was our first time going there; I loved the simplistic beauty of the area. After about 45 minutes, we headed back to our house for some more intimate shots (which ended up being my very favorites).

Melissa well exceeded my expectations, doing such a fabulous job and I highly recommend her. You can view a few of our photos on her blog here. We can't wait to have her back at our house just after our little Greta is born for a newborn photo session!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Peanut-Sesame Noodles

I wasn’t planning on blogging this one, but the sauce was too good not too! So I took a quick photo (excuse the bad lighting, I was too tired and hungry to spend time on a good one).

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I added chopped, cooked broccoli to the mix too. It can be eaten warm (skip the ice bath steps), room temperature, or cold.

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth plus 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Asian dark sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons peeled ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal

1. Cook linguine in a large pot of lightly salted water following package directions. Drain, and immediately plunge into an ice water bath. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in medium-size saucepan, combine peanut butter, chicken broth and water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Whisk until combined. Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.

3. While sauce simmers, toast sesame seeds in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, shaking pan to keep seeds from burning.

4. Drain noodles, discarding ice cubes. Toss with half of the dressing (about 3/4 cup), and allow to soak in for a few minutes. Add remaining dressing and toasted sesame seeds to noodles and toss until well combined. Top with sliced scallions and serve cold. Best if served on the day it is made.

Recipe courtesy of Parents Magazine

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nursery Complete (almost)

We’ve continued to work on the nursery little by little and we finally have it almost complete. I say almost because we still need to get a few items - video monitor, Seuss mobile and lamp, and changing pad are the main visual items missing (and a pack n’ play to use in the beginning in our bedroom). I struggled a little with exactly how to arrange the wall decals and framed pictures, but I think I finally got it worked out nicely.

(You can click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Entering the nursery

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Back wall

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new furniture and Seuss book shelf (the chest has all her clothes with each drawer organized by size and the dresser has cloth diapers and supplies, blankets, swaddle wraps, etc.)

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new convertible crib

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closet wall

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I bought this Irish linen when I traveled to Ireland in 2000 and have been saving it ever since. I decided to hang it on the back of the nursery door and place the small stuffed animals we've been given in it for now. I think the pattern is darling.

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Nursery Door (Kristin made this as a baby shower decoration, I placed 3M wall tape on the back and placed it on the nursery door.)

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The guest bathroom also got a bit of a Seuss makeover.

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Baby Shower: March 12

My friend Kristin was ultra sweet to throw me a baby shower this weekend. She did such a beautiful job: her home was beautiful, the food was fantastic (gourmet cheeses, Italian meats, antipasto, shrimp dip, individual quiches, artichoke dip, veggie tray, olive tapenade, Asian chicken, nuts, homemade cupcakes, brownie bites, and fresh strawberry daiquiri's), beautiful flowers throughout her house, and even a diaper cake - she was such a fabulous hostess! It was such a nice day and so wonderful to get to share it with my close friends. Here are a few photos from the day and of some of the items I was so fortunate to receive.

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Embroidered dress and crochet sandals, ducky rattle and lovie blanket

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Dr. Seuss changing pad and diaper kit, plus jammies

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Hooded ducky bath towels and an umbrella stroller

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