Happy New Year! We have all been struggling with a pretty serious cold at our house. First, Grace started feeling sick. On New Years Eve, after throwing up a few too many times, I took her to the doctor to find out that she had a bad cold that had settled in her chest and she had two ear infections. As soon as we left the parking lot, I started to feel congested, too. I can’t say I’m that surprised. When a snotty baby sticks her hands in your mouth all the time, it is pretty much a miracle if you come out on the other side without contracting his or her illness. Even Andrew the H is coughing. She is a sneaky one with those snotty hands!
The other day, I was talking at work about how excited I was for Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons, and I often make an excuse to celebrate it twice by hosting Thanksgiving with friends. It is a carb-lover’s dream! Dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, a little turkey on the side. How can you not love it? Until my friend at work said that she in fact, did not really like Thanksgiving food. It took me a few minutes to comprehend how anyone on this earth could not love Thanksgiving food and when I finally came to, she explained that it was the dressing that just didn’t do it for her.
Who has to work this week, raise your hand. Okay, now, who is actually—I mean, really working this week and who is just catching up on Google Reader, pinning new pics to Pinterest? Yep, that’s what I thought. I mean, I already did a much needed re-org of my work inbox, cleaned off my desk, put together some emails to shoot out on Tuesday when the rest of civilization goes back to work, and created not one, but two pretty awesome if-I-must-say-so-myself Pandora radio stations. I guess you could say that it has been a pretty productive non working, work week!
Well, it’s a miracle that I haven’t had a heat stroke yet. It is still at least 105°F outside every. single. day. I mean it’s only been two months of torture. But I promise I won’t groan about the weather today. Besides, I am hopping on a plane to Knoxville, Tennessee, where it is a balmy 89°F. I bet the grass is green there, the bushes full, and the flowers abloom. I can’t even wait! Plus, my BFF since the beginning of time just had a baby boy who I can’t wait to coo at all weekend long!
Happy Memorial Day!
Carrots, an underrated vegetable, are often overlooked in the grocery store. Why? Because many children all over the world have been scarred by mushy, cafeteria-style carrots (I know it isn’t just me). When I think of cooked carrots I always think of the mushy boiled variety or the packaged baby kind that frequented many lunch boxes growing up. The turning point for me may have been when I tasted spiced carrot mash or roasted carrots. There was actually life beyond boiling; carrots are really good! And even though nothing is worse than an overcooked carrot, they are pretty easy to cook and an incredibly versatile vegetable. Here’s a tip for avoiding mushy carrots: use a knife, test carrots for softness with a little bite (an especially important test when steaming or boiling).
There is really nothing better than a middle of summer tomato from the farmer’s market. And after tasting one, it is even harder to eat mid-winter grocery store tomatoes. So what’s a tomato-loving girl to do during the winter months? Why, make slow roasted tomatoes, of course! These jewels are fool proof and provide the perfect flavor pop for your winter tomato blues. They take less than 5 minutes to put together then slowly caramelize and shrivel in the oven for most of the morning (or afternoon). If you have never tried slow roasted tomatoes before, you will be shocked by the change of flavor from simply roasting super low and super slow.
Continuing with the brunch theme on this President’s Day, I bring you a ridiculously good huevos rancheros recipe. See, I have this problem. I absolutely love eggs, especially fried eggs, on top of just about anything. On top of pasta? Sure, why not. Oh, an egg comes on that pizza? Well, don’t mind if I do. Smothered on this grilled cheese sandwich? Yes, please! (The lucky ones in NYC can enjoy croque madame deliciousness here).
I know some people get creeped out by runny eggs, so for those of you with this issue, you may want to skip this recipe. But the salsa is still yummy and so are the “refried” black beans, a healthier take on the traditional lard-infused Mexican refried beans. And while this recipe may look a bit labor intensive for a morning meal, let me assure you that it is worth all of the effort. The salsa can be made ahead of time, and the beans come together in a snap. You can also try mashing them to make it even easier (though I personally prefer the creamy texture of the pureed). This is perfect for a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning when you don’t mind eating breakfast for lunch. Or do something even better and have it for dinner (because who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?).