Category Archives: Lunch

Donuts, Olives, Hot Dogs, and Some Healthy Stuff

This week there are people in my house who are sick.  I’m working hard at not catching it, so far so good, knock on wood.

I’ve been eating a lot of garlic, and drinking all kinds of antioxidant concoctions.  It’s working, I know it.

 

Tonight I wasn’t too hungry at dinnertime, after a busy day of eating donuts, hot dogs and olives.  My husband made himself some Ramen Noodles with chunks of hot dog floating in it, which didn’t appeal me (go figure!).  So, I made some yummy steamed kale tossed with raw minced garlic, parmesan and some apple cider vinegar.  Then I toasted up some bread and butter.  It was a nice little dinner that didn’t make me feel unhealthy, so I thought I’d share.

I know the picture is horrendous, which is why I used Instagram to fool you into thinking it was artsy!

Kale w/ Yummy Bread

Consider yourself fooled sucka!

I ate it all, then screwed it all up and ate 2 chocolate enrobed donuts.  I may or may not be drinking a martini now.  There’s always tomorrow.

xoxo, Mere

I made another one with a pinched crust and it was much prettier, but of course I forgot to photograph it.

I was sorta wrong, a little right, but mostly wrong.

I’m a reluctant believer.

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while now.  A while back Allie told me about her pie crust recipe.  I told her that I felt store bought, refrigerated dough was adequate. She didn’t believe me.  I was adament.  She wouldn’t buy it.

I realized it was time to break out the big guns, and tell her something I’d been keeping in my back pocket for a while.

I told her a story.  Three years ago, I baked a beautiful pie for Thanksgiving at her house.  It was a caramel-apple-pecan pie.  It was so lovely, and I even made tiny leaf shaped peices out of the dough and laid them all around the edges.  It was Martha-worthy.  I brought it to her house, and everyone oohed and aahed.  Later that night, it was time to eat pie, and I remember seeing Allie take a bite, and say to my aunt, “Mmmm, I just love homemade pie crust”.  I just smiled (evil-like) on the inside, because I’d used Pillsbury on that pie.

I never said anything, partly out of respect for Allie’s strong food ethics, but also because I somehow knew that someday, the perfect opportunity would arise for me to throw that in her face.

So, during that fateful conversation, she was saying, Meredith, you HAVE to try making homemade crust, it’s actually very easy if you have a food processor.  It takes, like FIVE MINUTES!

I could not bring myself to believe her, so I replied by telling her the story about the Pillsbury crust.  She was…. completely undeterred.

I decided that I’d eventually get around to making it.  And I would blog about how difficult it was, and how my kids drove me nuts while I was cooking.

The perfect opportunity arose in a totally unexpected way.  There was a death in the family.  I needed to make food for the family of the person who died. I wanted to make them something really special, because they really deserved it.  Thanks to a little urging from Allie, a pot pie was born!

Making the dough was, as hard as it is to admit when I’m wrong, really easy.  It didn’t take 5 minutes, but maybe 15, which still isn’t bad.  The kids didn’t drive me nuts at all, in fact, they helped and were really cute.  The pot pie itself did take a little more work, but I would just recommend, as Allie told me, make the dough, put it in the fridge, and make the pie another time when you have an opportunity to concentrate a little more.

You can click here for Allie’s amazing pot pie recipe, and here for her favorite pie dough recipe.

I also made one of these pies for ourselves, so I killed two birds with one stone.  I’ve eaten a lot of pot pie in my days, and actually love the worst ones.  The ones that are frozen, in a box, with some kind of slimy, salty gravy inside them.  They are so good.  The homemade pies I’ve had were usually terribly disappointing and flavorless.  But let me tell you, Allie’s pot pie is epic.  It has tons of flavor, savory, salty, sweet and wine-y.  The texture of the crust is almost like that of a croissant.  It’s buttery, flaky and tender.  You will make this, I tell you!

Here’s a few highlights:

Helpin.

Licking butter, gross!

This is what it looked like when it was “ready”.

I made another one with a pinched edge, and it was much prettier, but of course I forgot to photograph it.

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This sounds weird, but it’s good.

Not crazy.

Polish dill pickle soup, that is.  It’s amazing, if you like pickles. It does sound really weird, and everyone looks at me skeptically when I tell them about it, but you should try it before you judge it, you just might love it.  My kids always laugh when I tell them I’m making it, so at the very least, you’ll get that out of it.

I actually do a variation of this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/polish-dill-pickle-soup-138138.  Basically, the difference between theirs and mine I use broth rather than stock, and I forgo some of the broth for water and beer. Also I like mine really pickle-y, so I use a LOT of pickle juice, but you can do whatever you want.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
4 large kosher dills, shredded
1/2 cups, or 1 cup, or 2 cups pickle juice from the jar, depending on your taste.  I use 2 because I like it to taste good and pickle-y.
4 cups broth of your choice (veg, chicken, beef)
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup water
1 cup beer
1 egg
2 tbsp. butter, softened
Salt and pepper
Dill (fresh or dried)
Sour cream

Why not?

In a large pot, combine your shredded pickles, potatoes, pickle juice, broth, water, and beer.  Bring it all to a boil, then let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Gradually whisk your flour and milk together and add it to the pot. Bring it back to a boil, then remove it from the heat.
Blend your butter and egg, and gradually stir it into the broth.

Put it all back on the stove to warm it all up again.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with dill and a dollop of sour cream.  This is really good served with some good crusty bread and butter.

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Easy Quinoa Salad

Tired working mom seeks easy.

Since I’m now on a mission to eat something for dinner that I’m proud of, tonight I made my easy, healthy, but most importantly delicious and kid friendly quinoa salad.  This takes about 5 minutes of prep and 15 minutes to cook, and the beauty is that it’s really versatile and easy to tailor it to your family’s tastes.

Most people I’ve talked to have told me their kids go cuckoo for quinoa.  This is true for one of my children.  My daughter chose to eat dill pickles for dinner instead.  To each their own. It’s usually hit or miss with that one.

Here’s how I made mine, but feel free to improvise because it’s pretty delicious no matter what you put in it.

Mere’s Quinoa Salad
1 cup Quinoa
1 1/4 cup water
A handful of dried cherries
A bigger handful of cashews
8 can of kidney beans
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 (8 oz) bottle of goddess salad dressing

Prepare your quinoa as instructed on the package.

While that’s cooking, dice up your apple.  Once the quinoa is finished, put it in a large bowl and add all your other ingredients.  Mix it up and eat it all-y all.  You might want to refrigerate it for a bit before you eat it, but it’s good warm too.

The end.

I made gnudi.

A little tired.

After all that build up, I decided it needed to finally get it right.  The verdict, it wasn’t really my kind of thing.  I should have known better, because I’m not a huge fan of gnocchi, or ricotta for that matter.

The recipe was simple, but not very practical after a full day at work with two cranky kids and an out-of-town husband.  Any time you have to make balls out of something, even with a cookie scoop, your going to have an extended workload.  Also, there’s so much flour involved, it was a big mess to clean up.  Did you know that if you let moistened flour and spinach dry out on your bowls and counters, it makes an incredibly strong cement?  It was really fun scrubbing that at 10 PM after the kids nodded off.

Mess #1

Mess #2

I went through the whole process, and after the gnudis were boiled, they looked wet and white and pasty, and it just wasn’t doing much for me.  I decided instead of drizzling brown butter over them, I’d saute them in the butter.   This wasn’t bad, they were a little crispy on the outside.  They are very simple in flavor, and the butter is pretty rich, so I drizzled them with a little balsamic and extra virgin olive oil, and they weren’t too bad.  I think if I were to do it again I’d add a lot more Parmesan to the recipe.The kids didn’t eat them.

Overall, if you’re feeling that hard core white flour, soft, comfort foodie kind of feeling, and you don’t mind using 2 pans and two bowls, and have 45 minutes to spend prepping, go for it!

They look good to me now at 8:55 AM on a cold, drizzly day.

Supermom Cooking Challenge 001 – Mere’s Interpretation

So, my sister calls me and tells me that last night, she made pumpkin waffles for dinner. Since I didn’t have dinner planned yet, I decided that’s what I’d make tonight.  Ironically, I’d made Eggo waffles and bacon for dinner last night, but since I was having a crazy day at work and zero time to think about what to make, I figured two nights of breakfast for dinner was worthwhile, if it would save me 10 seconds of thought.

After talking with her, I realized, “oh, I don’t own a waffle iron”.  Hmmm.  I could go buy one?  No.  I’ll make them into pancakes.  Ok.

The dish situation.

Oh God. Look at that table. No, don’t.

I finished up my crazy day at work and had 15 minutes to pick up the supplies I needed before I had to pick the children up from daycare.   Then, I picked up the kids, and they were insane as usual.  When we got in the door, they promptly began to bug me for a million things.  I had very little time to cook that night, because I had plans to meet up with a friend at 8:30.  I looked around the kitchen.  The sink was full of dirty dishes.  The kitchen table was covered in a pile of clean laundry that needed to be folded.  Before me sat a recipe for something made from scratch, with about 500 ingredients, and required 3 bowls.  I realized quickly that I’d made horrible misjudgment. Luckily, my husband got home just before I began to harm people.  I was relieved, until I saw him open the fridge, and start REHEATING LEFTOVERS for himself while the kids continued to harass me.  Whaaahh?

Me: I’m MAKING a DELICIOUS dinner!  Why are you doing that?
Jared: Oh, I thought you were making a pie for your friend.

I never make pie.  I never cook for friends.  I can barely cook for myself and kids, let alone friends.  Jared is so silly.  So, I explained the deal, and politely asked him to get the kids the fuck out of my site and entertain them.  He’s a good sport.  That being said, here’s a helpful warning:

Warning: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS RECIPE IF YOU HAVE SMALL CHILDREN, AND NO CAPABLE ADULTS ON PREMISES TO KEEP THEM OUT OF YOUR HAIR.

Crying kid.

Oh, no mess you say? I wonder about that…

With no time to do the dishes or remove the laundry, I began making the food, in a rushed manner.  Throughout the process, the thought of “this was a terrible idea” ran through my head.  It was a lot of measuring and a lot of taking different sized bowls out of cupboards.  I made a little mess with all the powdery stuff.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  But, by the time I got to getting the egg whites beaten into stiff peaks, I began to feel better.  “I’m a good cook”, I thought.  Folding the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture was fun.  Once it was all mixed together, the children were allowed back into my life.  Now was the part where I spoon batter into the pan and make pancakes, which I’ve done before and felt comfortable with.

Once everything was cooked and we sat down to eat, I happily watched as my beautiful beasties fed pumpkin pancakes into their mouth-holes.  They loved them.  I took one bite and was instantly transported to a place I’ve been before, Pancake Nirvana.  They were yummy, crispy on the edges and soft inside.  Texture, perfect.  Flavor, delish.  And, truly, the thought pattern in my head switched from “This was a huge mistake.” to, “This was totally worth the effort.”.  Thank you, Alison.

Feeding their mouth-holes.

Note: Alison put her leftovers neatly into containers and froze them.  I, on the other hand, left them in the oven where I’d been warming them, and didn’t discover them again until 25 hours later.  Jared saw them later and put one in the toaster, which caused the oil from frying them to drip onto the coils, which almost caused a house fire.