Dec 28, 2009

Steaks and Friends

Our friends Gary and Susannah are in town for the holidays from California. Last night we got together for dinner. The last time Gary was in town, I went on and on about the cow in our freezer, and then I made him eggs. Since Susannah doesn't really eat beef, Gary doesn't get to have steak very often, so this time around, I made steak... pioneer woman style.
I think it helps to make a mean face when you cook steak in cast iron, right?
Susannah put the salad together, and you can see a bandit in the background stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. BUSTED!
Baby Ju Ju was ticked that her mom wouldn't let her eat steak!

Ribeyes over sauteed spinach with Blue Cheese Cream Sauce. Shut your mouth!!!!!!!

Susannah enjoyed the "amythecook sandwich." Pesto and mozzarella grilled cheese on fresh deli style bread. Have I mentioned that I want to eat this sandwich every day? Except when steak is on the menu, of course.

We love you Gary, Susannah, and Flora!!!!!!!!!
In joy, troye

Dec 26, 2009

I've been making bread at home for well over a year now. I have used one recipe for all of my bread needs- loaf bread, cinnamon rolls, french loaves, hot dog buns, etc. It is good bread, but it is very dense, and not a great sandwich loaf. This week, thanks to Susannah, I found a new recipe, and I'll never look back. This recipe is pretty heavily adapted from this post over at Passionate Homemaking. It makes four loaves (you can freeze them so that you don't have to make bread as often), and it is soft and delicious. It really tastes like deli style bread.
Yumm-oh! Here is the recipe:
Troye's Bread (adapted from Homemade Bread- Lindsay's Way)

4 1/2 cups water, HOT from the tap
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup honey, raw
1/3 cup flax seed, ground
2 1/2 cups rolled oats, optional (if you don't use this, you will definitely need more flour)
1 tsp rice lecithin (if you have access to dough enhancer, you can add 2-4 tbsp instead of the lecithin), optional
11-12 cups flour (I use a combination of fresh ground flour here- hard red wheat, hard white, wheat, kamut, spelt)
2 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
Combine water, salt, egg, oil, honey, and half of flour (about 6 cups) in mixer. Place lecithin, flax seed, and oats on top of flour and knead on low speed until combined. Turn mixer off, and add other half of flour. Place yeast on top of flour. Knead on low speed. Once the flour is incorporated, begin to add flour one tbsp at a time until dough pulls away from side of bowl. *the goal is to use the least amount of flour possible for the softest loaf, so add slowly here* Knead for a total of approximately 10 min.
Remove to a LARGE greased bowl, and cover with a towel. Let sit until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. *I let mine sit in the oven with a roasting pan of hot water underneath, and the light on*
Punch down and divide into 4 loaves. You can roll each loaf out with a rolling pin and roll up into a loaf for perfectly shaped loaves.
Place in greased loaf pans and let rise again until doubled (about 30 min). *For this, I turn the oven on the lowest setting while I shape the loaves, and then turn it off prior to putting the loaves in. And, remember to remove before preheating oven.*
Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 3o minutes. Remove from oven, and let rest in pan for 10 min before removing from pans.

The dough makes fantastic cinnamon rolls...
Also, a DELICIOUS sandwich thanks to the amazing mind of amythecook is to spread pesto on the slices, and melt a thick slice of whole milk mozzarella- grilled cheese style. Shut Your Mouth!!!!!!!!!!! I want to eat this sandwich everyday. And, as you can tell, there is no photo of it because I could not stop eating it long enough to take a pic. :) Sorry! Just make the sandwich, and then you will be able to see its beauty.

In joy, Troye!

Dec 14, 2009

You Gotta Make Dis!

Guinness Beef Stew

3 lbs Boneless Beef Chuck
2 tbsp butter
2 onions
4 cups chicken broth
1 3/4 cups Guinness Draught, Divided
1 tbsp lt brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 oz, weight bittersweet chocolate, chopped (take my word for it- sounds, weird, but so worth it!)
5 whole carrots, peeled and cut
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut
1/4 cup flour
Cut beef into cubes, and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in cast iron dutch oven. Brown beef over medium-high heat. Add broth, 1 1/2 cups Guinness (reserve remainder- refrain from drinking- especially if, like me, you are preparing this before you leave for church Sunday morning), brown sugar, thyme, and chocolate. Bring to boil. Add carrots, onions, and potatoes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for at least two hours. In a small bowl, whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup Guinness until smooth. Stir mixture into stew. Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes on medium heat or until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper (lots and lots and lots of fresh ground pepper!!!).
And, try not to slap yo momma!!!!!
In joy, troye

Dec 13, 2009

Night on the Town

"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry with your girlfriends."
All girls need at least one fantastic girlfriend to combat the craziness of life. I am blessed BEYOND MEASURE to have many friends that I would put in this category. Some of them I am not able to see on a regular basis (Nikki). Some live right down the street, and I am lucky to only see once in a while (Andrea). And, some are crazy enough to get together with me on a weekly basis and act stupid, and eat way too much food, and drink way too much drink, and watch way too much trash television. It is my medication.
This group of girls decided to make a trip to the city (Atlanta) to meet Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, our new BFF. Some of us have followed Ree for a long time. Others are new fans, and others are mad that they were not told about how fabulous Ree is sooner (sorry Cheri).
Ree was signing copies of her new fantastic cookbook in Buckhead, and we had two December birthdays to celebrate, so we dicided to make a trip out of it.
Doesn't Ree look adorable signing Kimberly's book?
We didn't have to wait in line too long thanks to Cheri and Kimberly who drove to Buckhead Monday morning to pick up wristbands to reserve our place in line.
Here is one of the birthday girls waiting with our trump card, Baby JuJu (who is a little slice of heaven- seriously, could she be a better baby?).
This is how excited we were to meet Ree.

And, of course, we had some very important business to conduct in line, so we had to have our iphones armed and ready!
My nose is ginormous in this picture!!!!!!

We had a blast waiting in line, and people around us all backed away. We have that effect on people. Sorry to anyone who encounters us when we go out into public together.

And, here we all are with Ree. If you didn't know which one Ree was, you would just think she was part of our group. She fits right in. And, if you didn't know Susannah, you would wonder why she decided to sit on Ree's lap for this photo. Silly girl!!!!!

After the signing, we went out for dinner, and then we went back to a hotel suite sponsored by Kristina's boss, Connie. Connie we lit candles and paid homage to you while we were there. The suite was amazing, and we had a blast.
Birthday gifts were opened- and tried on. Adorable!!!!!

We laughed hysterically over youtube videos.

We modeled footed Santa pjs!

And, we ate cupcakes and drank champagne. We also played an exciting game of "propel yourself across the room in the rolling conference chairs." Good Times!!!!!
The next morning, we went shopping. Nordtrom Mall of Georgia gave us all free makeovers, and a private party catered just for our birthday girls complete with a fashion show and intimate apparel fittings.
This is the only photo I have from the shopping day. We had to take a photo of the killer boots Kimberly found!!!!!!!!!! Shazam!

We had a fantastic time, and I think the birthday girls had a much deserved happy day!
Thank you, ladies for being my dose of good medicine.