Pioneer Woman Weekend

I’ve had the Pioneer Woman’s lovely cookbook for some time now, but I haven’t been inspired to cook from it until recently when our friend Tori cooked some of her delicious recipes.   This cookbook is no longer on the shelf collecting dust with my 30+ other cookbooks (my husband and I have a book-buying problem).

Last night I made Penne a la Betsy from the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook.  I cook versions of shrimp pasta often, but this is probably one of the best ones I’ve ever made. It must be the wine!

Tonight I’m going to try her meatloaf.  The last time I cooked meatloaf, it was as hurricane Ike was rolling in to the Gulf Coast and we were bracing for impact. I had just gotten my new food processor and wanted to try it out. I was so sure the power was going to go out as I was laboring over the feast. It didn’t. The recipe was one from my mother-in-law, and it was very very good meatloaf.

Graham and I were invited to our friends’ house in Ohio and they asked me if there was anything we didn’t like to eat, and I told them there wasn’t.  When I hung up the phone with them Graham said “I hope they don’t make meatloaf.” Guess what we had for dinner that night? It was wonderful meatloaf, and it certainly changed our perception of meatloaf.  Soon after that, another friend introduced us to a meatloaf sandwich at the Fern restaurant in Findlay, that was also surprisingly enjoyable. Meatloaf has such a bad reputation, but we were enlightened to the fact that meatloaf can actually be darn good.

So we shall see how the Pioneer Woman’s recipe scores on the meatloaf scale — but I have high hopes! Off to the kitchen to get that prepared while the baby is still asleep!


Soup Creation

I was determined to make dinner last night without going to the grocery store. I made some beef stock during the day from soup bones I bought for dirt cheap from Olde World Farms at the farmers market.  (They’re my new favorite meat and egg providers).  So, I wanted to proceed to make some kind of soup with the nutritious broth and surveyed what little I had in the fridge and cabinet and brainstormed various combinations  and consulted some of my favorite cook books for general ideas. This is what I came up with.  We can call it beef coconut cabbage soup.

I cooked 1 c of brown rice in 1 small can of coconut milk. I thew in part of a leek to flavor the rice while it cooked.

I sauteed two big handfuls of chopped savoy cabbage in coconut oil until well wilted. I added a splash water a couple of times to help them cook without burning.  I added few shakes of soy sauce to the cabbage to flavor it towards the end of the cooking.

Then I pulled the little bits of meat off the soup bones to put back in the broth, and grated some ginger into the soup pot, and added the brown rice, and cabbage. I seasoned the soup with some more soy and tasted the soup. I found it to be too salty, so I opened up a second can of coconut milk, and added about a half can until the broth was creamy and less salty, but still full of beef broth flavor.  I served the soup with lemon wedges and chopped leeks for garnish, and some whole wheat bread & butter.

It was a very simple soup and an uncomplicated dinner, but it was very satisfying and full of great nutrition!!

Curious Boy

Ephraim’s become more curious about solid foods and while we’re not giving him a daily snack yet, he gets the opportunity to explore some new things now and then. He chewed on a carrot while I cooked yesterday.  After dinner he got to play with some junk mail.

He did this much damage in under 5 minutes!!  Amazing.


Ephraim turned 5 months this past week, and also, mommy had a birthday!

This weekend, we had a great time at Bengy’s with great friends, and Ephraim got to cuddle with our beautiful friend Anabeth!

He also sat in the backyard to supervise Dad’s work on the pizza oven.

It takes a lot of work to get a picture where Ephraim is smiling because he gets really distracted by the red-eye light and just stares at it. Here are our latest attempts at capturing the ever adorable smile!



I’m trying this recipe.  I made salted caramel brownies two times this month, and I had trouble getting a good caramel consistency. Hopefully these from Bon Appetit‘s cover recipe from last month will be just right.

The caramel brownies I made for the super bowl were the first brownies I ever attempted to make from scratch. Amazingly, brownies are pretty good with freshly ground whole grain Kamut flour!



So, I made Kombucha this week. Kombu  what??  Kombucha. Never heard of it??

Kombucha is refreshing, tangy, fizzy beverage made with sweet tea that is fermented with a blob-like culture called a “scoby” or referred to as a “mushroom”, even though it’s not actually a mushroom.    It’s a pro-biotic drink that supports good health in a variety of ways.  I’m really happy with the way my first batch turned out, and I’m hoping to make Kombucha brewing a regular part of my kitchen routine.  I followed the instructions from the Happy Herbalist.  There are lots of variations I can play with in the future, but for now, I’m happy with the simple black tea version.  I purchased my scoby/ mushroom from the Kombucha people at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market.

This is my bottled Kombucha.

This is my scoby:

Crazy looking, huh?