Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Grocery Store Mishap

Some of you are probably going to think I'm a big wuss for admitting this but I have not gone to the grocery store on my own, with both Anna-Kate and Thomas!

I avoid it like the plague!

There is absolutely nothing that appeals to me about juggling an unpredictable baby and a testy toddler/ preschooler!

I know that most women are a lot more brave than I... In fact today I saw a woman with 4 children doing her weekly shopping!


Sometimes I want to stop these women and ask how they do it- but then I realize they don't have time to chat... they've got 4 little ones!

Well today was a bit different. I don't know where my mind has been. I went to the store and forgot several things that I needed.


So when I picked Anna-Kate up from school (mistake numero uno) I thought it would be great to just take her out to the store with me to grab the three things I needed.

Thomas was fussing before I even left to get Anna-Kate. He was in a funky mood today anyway. When I got to Anna-Kate's school, she was pretty worn out too. (Clue number 2!)

I persevered though, knowing I just had to have those 3 things at the store.
dryer sheets
paper towels

So, we walk in and I went to grab a cart but Anna-Kate insisted on me pushing a grocery cart that has a car in the front.

ugh. I can NOT stand these carts! I look like a complete and utter fool when I drive these things!

So here I go, swinging these wide turns and bumping into everything I can. Just to get my three little items. I grabbed the dryer sheets and then the frosting. On my way out Anna-Kate sees raisins (her favorite snack) and so I had to grab a bag of those too.

"Great", I think, "I'm all done!"

At the check out I realized that I left the debit card in the car! So I had to get both kids out of the cart, park the thing and run out to the car to get it.

On our way back in Anna-Kate decided she wanted to ride the race car again. Of course I told her no that mommy just needed to pay for the groceries and then we were leaving.

Oh. my. word.

If it wasn't just last week I said "oh, Anna-Kate doesn't really throw fits. Especially in public"

Okay moms- laugh at me...

get it all out...

So here I am trying to pay for three measly items and my child is wailing. I've got another one on my hip who's not too thrilled either.

I paid, grabbed my groceries and my crying child and RAN out!


Not happening again. At least for a month.

And I still forgot the paper towels!

And it's 10:00 and I've not used that frosting or ran any laundry. I didn't need those items this afternoon.

any advice is welcome.

I am not a negative person and I do like to think I don't complain a lot but I'm not perfect! Sometimes juggling two is exhausting! It has been a HUGE adjustment for me! I'm so much more comfortable balancing them now that Thomas is on more of a routine.

On a side note, I have to mention that Derek and I wanted to try a new dish so bad but we just didn't have time this week with Easter! I should be really cool and tie one of the French recipes with our Easter dinner but I'm just not cool.

So, next week we should be back on schedule to post about our cooking journey!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Love Me Some Chicken

I was supposed to have done this a week ago but the whole family has been bitten by the stomach virus and we took some time off to deal with that. So, for the record: I LOVED THAT CHICKEN FRICASSEE!!!

It seems like such a fancy French thing but it was really pretty simple. The chicken itself was cooked just right. I'd like to take some credit for that as I was the one watching the clock on it. But Nicki did a great job browning the bird first. Mainly you just put a light sear on the chicken and then simmer it till it's cooked through. Because it gets simmered in the tomatoy-herby-vinegary-oh so goody-sauce, it stays moist and flavorful.

The sauce was so perfectly balanced too! I love tomato sauce and that is the base of the fricassee sauce. But it has a healthy portion of red wine vinegar too and the acidity is so complementary. I really like the herbs that kind of pop out at you too! Overall, our first experience with French cooking was a success.

I think the best part though is getting back in the kitchen with Nicki. I enjoy cooking and I'm not half bad either. But Nicki has gone from good to great in the last several months and taken over much of the kitchen duties while I've been working. I like that she is able to do that and have something to be proud of, but I still want to help some too.

After we got married, we usually shared the kitchen work. It is one of our favorite things to do together and it is an enrichment to our marriage. So I have to say, the best part of the meal was not the chicken. The food never is the highlight for me. It was working together to create a great tasting meal for friends, and a great memory for us.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Derek, Nicki and Virginia

Hmm... doesn't sound quite as catchy as Julie and Julia...

Lets try: Friday Feast

We are cooking French food, even some of the same dishes as mentioned in Julia Child's cookbook!

Derek and I love to cook! We both enjoy being in the kitchen and playing with our food to see what outcome we get. When we first got married it was such a great bonding experience! We started finding our distinct individual tastes. However, we were pretty limited (both by budget and by time). After Anna-Kate was born we resorted to the easiest, simplest meat and one, maybe two basic vegetables. Eventually we were able to put more into our meals but it wasn't until I discovered Pioneer Woman's website and cookbook that we really started enjoying food.

I don't know why I'm so obsessed with this woman or her recipes! I just love the way she writes! If I ever had the opportunity to meet her... I'd be pretty embarrassed by how cool I think she is! I know it sounds crazy, but I usually cook something out of her cookbook or blog three or four times a week!! I believe that most newly-weds need this cookbook. It's such a great way to learn the basics of cooking and how to really play with herbs and foods in their natural state. Not only are her recipes simple and delicious but she just lays it out so well. She photographs nearly every step so you no longer have to be afraid of the beef short ribs... or any other meat! (Okay, I am probably the only person who is afraid of cooking meats!) At this point I am probably driving you nuts with all of this harp on Pioneer Woman, so just click here to see for yourself.

Where was I? Oh yes, so I discovered Pioneer Woman and starting discovering my inner kitchen diva. Haha or so I like to think! I have never seen Derek act so grateful! It really is true that the quickest way to a mans heart is through his stomach! Since then I just started making my way through the cookbook and just really experimenting with food. It never occurred to me that Derek might feel a little left out.

Poor Derek.

Lucky for you we have a really fun solution! I know you felt bad for him.

More on the solution in just a second!

So now that I've really started coming to my own with this whole cooking thing, my Aunt decided to lend me one of her cookbooks. I was really excited... until I saw the cookbook! It's a French cookbook! Well French with (American) South influence. Thanks Aunt Susan...

Bon Appetite Y'all
By Virginia Willis

I flipped through it and I actually love it. As I flipped through it I decided that it was a little too advanced for me. I did want to at least make one or two recipes. I was especially interested in making my own vanilla extract!

If you would like to check Virginia Willis out (she's pretty cool too) just click here.

After staring and drooling at this cookbook for 2 weeks and after realizing how left out Derek had been an idea hit me! Completely original too. ;)

What if Derek and I cooked "through" this book and blogged about it together? Cheesy, I know, but we really have nothing better to do... Plus, the recipes don't seem quite so daunting when there are two of us to figure things out.

So this week was Derek's choice.

Chicken Fricassee.

After a good 30 minutes of trying (and most likely failing) to pronounce it and laughing at each other we agreed that would be our first recipe!

I'd like to be really cool and even more original and take pictures along the way but I forgot this week. A tired 2 1/2 year old, a hungry 5-month old and a Tasmanian devil husband in the kitchen don't make for good memory. Lets face it, probably wouldn't make for good pictures either.

So on the menu this evening:
Chicken Fricassee, Green Bean Bundles, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

And because my life wouldn't be complete without Pioneer Woman

I started the chicken and Derek finished it. Then Derek made the green bean bundles and I made the garlic mashed potatoes and breakfast puffs.

Wow!! Was I blown away! This chicken looked delish, was easy to make and tasted better than I would have ever imagined!! So much so that I wish I had cooked more chicken!

Derek rocked the green bean bundles too!! Yummy! Basically we just took fresh green beans, snapped the ends off and then wrapped them in a piece of bacon. There was a glaze of sorts but I'll let Derek post that recipe!!

The only alteration I strongly recommend with the breakfast puffs is to make them mini size!! They're so much easier to eat but they are a little more difficult to make since you have to dip so many in butter and cinnamon sugar. But beware- they're super addicting!

Oh and how did everyone else like the chicken? Anna-Kate loved hers!! She asked for more of everything!

Look for Derek's take on the recipe and all coming soon!!
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