Monday, November 25, 2013

Sweet Potato Apple

I got some surprise sweet potatoes. Sean doesn't like them and they're not my favorite, but I don't like to waste good food. I had been given some free babyfood in a jar that was sweet potato apple but she wouldn't eat it. Then an idea! Here's my chance to test my theory. Does Augustina not like sweet potatoes or is she just so spoiled that she doesn't like processed jar baby food? Will she eat homemade?

I pricked the potatoes with a fork and baked them in the oven. (400 degrees for 45 min or so, my timing wasn't exact)

I pricked the potatoes with a fork and baked them in the oven. (400 degrees for 45 min or so, my timing wasn't exact)

I let them cool and then pulled the peels off with my fingers. I then used the manual food processor to mash. It can also be masked with a fork.

This is apple mash from making apple juice (I'll be posting that later this week) I pulled out the apple peels the same way I did the sweet potatoes. Easy peasy.

I had blended the apple mash.

Mixed the sweet potatoes and apples.

The verdict is in, she loves homemade, even sweet potatoes.

The mash is much to thick for the pouches, so I blended sweet potato, apple mash, apple juice and a little bit of warm water.

It made it just right.

Apple walnut stuffed pork roast

I had defrosted a pork roast for a meal that wasn't going to happen. What to do? I needed to cook it, raw meat doesn't last that long. I typed "pork roast" into Google and my mouth watered when this came up.

My prayers were answered, I had all the ingredients. I had never cooked with pork roast before, just not a big pork eater. When I pulled it out it looked like a blob of meat. How was I going to stuff this? What weirdos came up with a stuffing for pork blob? I understand a turkey or a chicken, but this was new territory.

So I researched.
Seemed simple enough. Not really. Evidently the pork is supposed to come out fairly even, this is how mine looked.

I then realized that I didn't have a meat tenderizer. That's what a cast iron skillet is for. I used plastic wrap to cover the meat and pounded away. It actually worked pretty well, still wasn't as flat and even as the picture on the website but it was good enough.

The meat was laid out in my stoneware bar pan (I don't know if a regular cookie sheet will work but I assume so. Time to work with the stuffing. (For multi taskers the meat part can be done while the stuffing is cooking)

I took an apple, couple stalks of celery and one onion. Cut them into manageable chunks and then used my manual food processor to chop.

Simply beautiful. No onion smell hands and these are already mixed nicely.

I forgot the walnuts (about a half cup) so I had to chop them separate.

I had a French bread loaf that I had accidentally left out and never used...for a couple weeks. It was super stale, but I didn't want to waste good, albeit super hard, bread.

First I broke it to bits and smashed it with a rolling pin inside a plastic bag. I then put it in my manual food processor to even out the chunks.

The celery, onion, apple, walnut mixture was placed in a heated up pan on medium with 4-5 tablespoons of butter and sautéed till soft and lightly golden. Next time I make this, here is where I'd add any seasonings like cinnamon or nutmeg or whatever you want)

I then added the bread and about a cup of water.

I scooped the stuffing on top and all around the flat pork, letting the extra spill over the sides. I was in a hurry so for seasoning all I did was sprinkle cinnamon and ground mustard over the flat surface before rolling, and then I rolled it up. I laid the rolled pork lengthwise and spread the stuffing all around, like a nest.

Oven was preheated at 325. I put it in and cooked it for an hour. Cooked through and the extra stuffing has a nice crunch.

For microwaved leftovers, I made a brown gravy to top the pork and stuffing. It was a great idea. Yum!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Last Year Halloween 2012

Last year was our first year doing couples costumes or group costumes. Sean was never a "dress up" kind of guy and wasn't really interested. I asked him if he would be willing to dress up if I made the costume. He said he would. So I wracked my brain as to what we could be. Originally we had planned on being Frankenstein's monster and Bride of Frankenstein; but then I turned out to be pregnant. I no longer fit into my white dress and since I had quite the belly, I figured I'd need to do a pregnant costume. I didn't like any of the ideas that were showing up on Google images, until I came across this site. Last Minute Skeleton Costumes.

All of the steps on how she made it are on that site. I just followed her example with one alteration. There was a joke going around that since my husbands belly was bigger, that he must be pregnant with an elephant. I just couldn't resist.

Towards the end of the party I had used elmers glue and a couple candy wrapper ends to make a bow since I knew she was a girl, but that never made it into the picture.

The nice think about this freezer paper as a stencil for fabric idea, is that now I have a number of ideas of shirts and things I could make. If I only had the time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Apple / zucchini

This was Augustina's first favorite combination. Maybe it's because zucchini was the first food I introduced her too and she didn't like it one bit. Maybe it's because she likes almost anything with apples in it. Maybe it's because her food is made with love. Or maybe it's just because it was the first combination I made for her. Whatever the reason, here it is.

Always wash the fruits and veggies, even if you're going to peel them. 

I slice the apples, tossing the cores, and place the slices in the steamer. I steam for the maximum my machine can do, 30 minutes. I'm lazy so I don't peel my apples plus, I don't currently have a working peeler. Peeling the apples will give a much smoother texture, while leaving the peels on will give more body and very tiny bits of peel that don't blend down completely. The tiny bits are easily swallowed and don't cause any issues.

I steam peeled zucchini for 5 minutes and unpeeled zucchini for about 10-15 minutes max.

I blend up the apples and zucchini together with enough apple juice to let it blend all the way. If the blender is fighting and only the very bottom is blending, then I add more juice.

Then place in your favorite babyfood storing container, Tupperware, bowl with lid, etc...and freeze. Anything in the fridge is only good for two days while in the freezer it lasts for 6 months. Dating it makes sure you use older stuff first.

Egg toast

I've always called this Egg Toast but I learned that Sean calls them Eagles Nests. I like his name better. It's as simple to make as frying an egg.

I learned how to make these using a biscuit cutter and just cut a hole in the center of the bread. I have also simply used my fingers to tear a hole out. But my favorite is to use cookie cutters and experiment with different shapes.

I melt some butter. 

A spray oil is a healthier option. I don't like using cooking sprays because of what is in them but this is a kitchen spritzer from pampered chef, and I'm sure other companies make them. I put in olive oil, pump it up and spray. Real nice an the oil lasts a while so it's also much cheaper. 

Place the bread with the hole, into the pan. Then crack an egg in it. I like my yolks slightly runny but you can always break the yoke by poking it with the cracked eggshell or a fork.

This is the best time to add your seasonings. I like ground sea salt and ground pepper.

When the egg is cooked to your liking, usually only takes a couple minutes or so, then flip it over.

As an experiment, I tried making it with scrambled eggs, no milk.

It doesn't really work out.

I can't see the pumpkin shape, not even a little.

In a separate pan or after cooking all the eagles nests, lightly toast the centers.

Both sides.

The shapes aren't perfect but with the browned centers you can always tell what shape you made.

I like to use a griddle when making multiple breakfasts. Much faster and they are all done at the same time.

After flipping the eggs, I can get the centers started browning without them being in the way.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Family Halloween 2013 (pt 6/6)

As can be seen by the 5 previous posts, we did the Frankenstein family this year for Halloween. Sean was Frankenstein's monster, I was bride of Frankenstein and Augustina was baby of Frankenstein.  After all that thought, work and patience, we were able to show off the family as a whole.

We won first place for most crafty costumes for both adults and baby categories.

All in all, the family effect was the best.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family Halloween 2013 (pt 5/6)


Augustina, Baby of Frankenstein, was the inspiration for this decorated trunk. I had wanted to do something more elaborate but time and finances made that impossible. This was a friendly and happy medium. In this picture Augustina is trying to bring her stuffed bear to life. Dangling from the top of the trunk is a cup of smoke and a plastic jar with her rubber duck. The elephant in the middle is the leaver that makes the magic happen. On the feeding tray/operating table are her tools and a squiggly toy brain for her bear.

The treats we handed out were goldfish, I know I know, some kids were disappointed that we weren't one of the candy trunks to visit. Why a decorated trunk? Our church had a Halloween party with Trunk or Treat, where all of the children visited trunks of cars, instead of trick or treat where children visit houses.