I love breakfast, but 90% of the time I don’t eat it. On the weekends we’ll cook up a big breakfast...sausage, bacon, potatos, eggs, pancakes, waffles, crepes... But that’s when we have the time to make and enjoy it.
Most weekdays, breakfast is something you scarf down between cups of coffee, getting kids fed and dressed, washing your face, and preparing for the day.
I meal plan every week. Since I live with my in-laws, that means that once a week my mother-in-law and I sit down and talk through what to make each day of that week. This usually happens Saturday morning. We plan through the week up until the next Sunday. I find planning a bit more than an exact week is important. Otherwise, you could end up needing to meal plan for the week and on top of that, for dinner that very same night. I find that stressful. I never like waking up not knowing what I’m going to make for dinner because that automatically means a good-sized chunk of my day is going to get eaten up deciding what to make.
Happy Saturday! We have a decent spread this month’s Mixed Media, and we’re hoping some conversations might begin. We found more than a single gem, which we hope you will enjoy as well. And don’t miss the final note to honor St. Patrick’s Day!
I love this kind of salad so much. It’s colorful, it’s hearty, it’s nutritious, and it tastes delicious on top of all that. I serve a basic old house salad with every dinner, so a salad like this is kind of like a treat. It’s also a perfect side salad to fill out a meal that needs just a little more substance on the side.
Alternatively, you can throw grains (like farro, barley, or quinoa) or roasted veggies (Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes are my personal fave) and make this a legit meal. It makes a delicious lunch or a lighter dinner. With all the different elements and flavors you end up feeling totally satisfied.
We were having BBQ pulled pork the other night, and in my mind, BBQ requires cornbread. Problem is, my husband and kids don’t like cornbread (truuuust me, I know…) so if I ever make it I spend a week afterward trying to peddle leftovers to my kids until I end up eating it crumbled and warmed with butter and honey. It doesn’t sound like such a bad ending, but it’s just not worth it (much as I love crumbled up, warmed up, buttered and honeyed cornbread mash). Anyway, so I dreamed up these yeasted cornbread buns. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? I got my honey corn contrast to the salty BBQ and my husband and kids didn’t get … cornbread. Instead, they got these delicious, buttery, honey sweet cornmeal hamburger buns. They are tender and soft but sturdy enough to hold pulled pork (or later on I made them again for zucchini turkey burgers!). They are simply delightful. You know you’ve done something right when the kids ask for a second bun over the (very delicious) BBQ pulled pork.
Tomato soup and grilled cheese: it’s an American staple. Probably because it’s fast, and it’s satisfying.
The thing is, as a grown adult cooking for my family, I discovered that many cans and cartons of tomato soup are chock full of sugars. On the other hand, a lot of homemade recipes, although fresh and delicious, take time to make, and don’t yield that ultra smooth brilliant soup you get from a can.
I have three toddler items that I use constantly. They are ingenious little items that have saved my sanity over and over again. And what is more — basically everyone who sees these products in action comments on how much caCHING the inventor must be rolling in
…or wonders aloud why they hadn’t thought of it first.
I was inspired to make this dish after trying a recipe from this Food52 cookbook. The squash & chickpea salad/side recipe was delicious, but lacked enough “oomph” to pass for a meal on its own (at least in our house). So I added in couscous, tweaked the proportions, and discovered a few toppings that paired nicely. The result: a delicious, filling and surprisingly fresh dinner, sometimes hard to come by in the winter with no garden fresh produce.
This bread is pretty dreamy. The chocolate flavor is pretty intense, amped up by the addition of some espresso powder. The toasted coconut adds a wonderful texture. And despite the ample amount of banana in the bread, the crumb remains pretty tender and not at all squidgy. It’s good for dessert, snack, or … yes … breakfast.
It may seem like we have significantly upped the ante this month with our GBBO Challenge. But let me assure you, these are easier than you’d think. The dough comes together beautifully in a stand mixer and is a dream to work with — smooth, soft, and supple. There were several times during the process I was convinced I must be doing something wrong; it didn’t seem difficult enough to produce the insane goodness I’ve had at a pastry shop.
“It was one of those days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Leave it to Charles Dickens to nail a description.
What is March good for, really? St Patrick’s Day? Sorry, doesn’t cut it. Sometimes Easter but not always. Lots of rain. Slogging through the remnants of cold weather. Slogging through the school year. It’s like one long hump day. It’s probably why so many schools take a break, because everyone needs a little boost of spirits and energy. A little refocus. Time to look at the house and make a spring cleaning list. Time to look at the calendar and make some yearly plans. Time to look at those resolutions and see how you’re doing.
Time to look at the light… and see summer!
Here are some links we’ve put together for you. Happy Saturday, Happy March, Happy Spring!
Let me say right now I am no sourdough expert. I don’t bake up perfect loaves. But, I do bake on a regular basis, and the method and recipe I’ve developed produces a reliably tasty loaf. I make bread work with my schedule. I’m pretty hesitant to plan my day around my bread.
We’re switching things up a little for our monthly recipe round ups. Going forward we’re going to offer a round up of recipes in three categories: 1. ones from our blog (usually with some variation or suggestion), 2. ones from other websites (recipe wins we would make again), and 3. ones that we want to make (they have seriously caught our eye) but just haven’t yet. May they all be a source of inspiration for you! (Especially if you find yourself in a meal planning slump…where we have been way too many times.)
Scientists basically agree on five “tastes”: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory (or umami). These are the sensations registered by our tastebuds. We can distinguish these aspects of a food even if we plug our nose, or have a bad cold.
What we can’t register when our nose is plugged is “aroma,” a sensation perceived by the nose. People say they can’t taste anything when they have a cold, but really what they mean is that the food has no flavor, because flavor depends on aroma.
These are some super light and tasty pancakes. The amount of baking powder makes the batter almost spongy by the time you get it onto the griddle. They remind me of the pancakes you get at a pancake house - they’re so light that they just soak up alllllllll the syrup. It does have a faint metallic taste if you eat it plain but you can’t detect it under any toppings. The batter came together so quickly and easily, they were ready in 10 minutes, and they made perfect amount for my kids’ breakfast. I imagine I would turn to these on a weekday morning for a quick treat. I won’t say they’re better than my own go-to Cook’s Illustrated Buttermilk pancakes or our Dad’s pancakes because they’re just not. But they’re light, easy, yummy and kid-friendly and that checks a lot of boxes!
Potato soup is comforting, easy, and economical. This recipe takes under an hour to throw together and makes everyone happy and content. The garlic and cheese are really what make this shine and taste all the more delicious.
Since it’s nearly Valentine’s Day and the world is awash in all things pink-hued, I thought it’d be fun to start off this month’s Looks we Like with some design tips for incorporating pinks into everyday life.
This is, hands down, my family’s favorite bread. It is so soft and flavorful, a wonderful enriched bread but not too rich. It makes incredible sandwiches and even more incredible French toast. Even just toasted with butter is a treat. And it is easy! The dough comes together quickly, it’s great to work with, and bakes up beautifully. It also just looks really impressive. Try a batch and wow your friends or family ... or just eat it all yourself, slice by slice.
Like any casserole, this is one of those meals that doesn’t look that impressive. I wouldn’t necessarily serve it for company. But, it is easy to whip up, works with what you have, and goes over well with both children and adults. So in my books, a weekday win.
I don’t know how authentic “Indonesian” this recipe is—I don’t even know where we got this recipe—but in our family it has gone by the name “Indonesian Chicken,” sometimes “Peanut Butter Chicken,” for years.
Ok we’re really excited about this: a monthly baking challenge based off of Great British Bake Off bakes. Basically the three of us have all watched all the GBBO episodes (some of them more than once … or twice …) and we’re always saying to ourselves and each other how much we want to try this or bake that. So then we figured, why not channel that into a blog feature? Our idea is basically to introduce the challenge on the first Sunday of the month. One of us will find a recipe, try it, write it up, and review it. Ideally the other two of us will try it as well - either as written or with adaptations/variations - and write up a little add-on at the end of the post. And then we invite you, readers, to try it as well and comment on your success! And if you do try it, please post it to Instagram and tag us or use our hashtag #beaneaththecrustGBBOchallenge! It will be so fun to see all your bakes! And we promise not to go all Paul Hollywood on any attempt. :)
We all hit slumps, right? We all three of us hit a blog slump at the same time. A little bit of holiday overload, some traveling, and a lot of sickness - 2019 came on like a bear and laid us flat just a little bit. But now we’re pulling ourselves up and out of it and kicking off our 2019 … just a month late!
I have two pork recipes I use if I have a pork shoulder or butt: carnitas or milk-braised pork. They’re both great recipes and I doubt we’ll ever get sick of them, especially as they are really versatile and the leftovers freeze great and work with a multitude of subsequent meals. But I had a bone-in pork shoulder roast sitting in my fridge this week, just asking for special treatment. If you’ve watched Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix (which you should!), you’ll know what I mean when I say the idea of a porchetta sandwich was driving me a little crazy. One of my Cook’s Illustrated magazines had a porchetta recipe which I had been eyeing for a while, but I wasn’t up for deboning and fussing over any meat, so I skipped all that and roasted it bone-in. I guess I can’t compare it side by side to a boneless version, but it was incredibly delicious. The fat on the outside gets crispy and all crackling like and just explodes with flavor. It was a smash hit - and pretty simple and straightforward for all that.
Like I said last year, I don’t usually make resolutions on the actual day. So, at the end of January, I’m finally writing this post.
If you’re curious how last year’s resolution concluded, I’ve written my thoughts on the remaining books at the end of this post. I managed to make it through most of my absurd challenge — reading all but two, one that I finished early this month and one I don’t plan to complete — and was resolved I would never repeat it again. (At least, not while I have young children.)