Thursday, December 29, 2016

Posole by an Irish Girl who Married a Mexican Man

Posole is one of my husband's favorite meals.  I remember eating it for the first time on Christmas day several years ago.  My mother-in-law had made a big pot and it smelled fantastic.  She ladled up big bowlfuls and we added an assortment of toppings: shredded cabbage, chopped radishes, lime juice, tostadas and queso fresco.  It was like nothing I had ever tasted and I loved the crisp, cold of the cabbage with the spicy soup loaded with pork and maize blanco (hominy) offset by the tart lime and salty, crunchy tostada.

After that initial taste, I tried to make it myself and failed miserably. It tasted nothing like my mother-in-law's posole. She is one of the best cooks I know and just a natural in the kitchen.  The second try was a little better and I slowly improved.

That brings us to today.  I finally made my posole JUST RIGHT.  Not sure if it was my new, huge 9 quart Dutch oven (Christmas gift from husband) or a random recipe success....but it was pretty darn delicious.  I did deviate and use a lean tenderloin as the shoulder can be so fatty and require trimming.  I was unsure if it would lend the same flavor and not end up terribly dry, but it was ok!

Remember, I am not great at measuring exact quantities, so adjust as needed:

3-4 pounds pork tenderloin
2 onions, chopped
2 Tbs. garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, 1 tsp. sauce
1 Tbs. Mexican oregano
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 can tomato sauce
Big can maize blanco/hominy (108 oz)
dried chilies of your choice, stems removed
salt and pepper

Saute onion in olive oil until softened.  Add pork and turn on all sides to lightly sear.  Toss in garlic, chipotle pepper, sauce, dried chilies, tomato sauce, stock and seasonings.  Set lid on top and let cook on medium low heat for 2 hours, making sure it does not boil.  Add maize blanco and taste to adjust seasonings.  Cook on low another hour.

Serve with shredded cabbage, chopped radishes, oregano, tostadas, cilantro, queso fresco and fresh lime wedges.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Anisette Knot Cookies

To be truthful, I am posting this recipe mostly for myself.  After tweaking a couple recipes this afternoon, I baked a tasty batch of anisette cookies and know how I often forget my changes.

Thes are delicious!   Not too sweet,  perfect with hot coffee.  Even better the next day as the anise flavor is more pronounced.  Enjoy!

Anisette Cookies

2 sticks softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Scant Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons anise seed

2 cups powdered sugar
Anise extract

In heavy enamel skillet or pan, toast anise seeds until fragrant, shaking pan often so they do not burn.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and blend.  Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Using mortal and pestle, tap and lightly grind anise seed.  Add all dry ingredients and anise seed to mixer and blend until it forms a ball.  Do not over beat.  Pop in fridge for a few minutes while you prep oven.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lay parchment on baking sheets.  Make thin icing glaze with powdered sugar, extracts and some water.

Roll out teaspoon sized amount and form into knots.  Bake about 8-10 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned.  Remove and slide parchment off hot baking sheet so bottoms don't keep browning.

Dip tops of hot cookie in icing.  Sprinkle with sugar or nonpareils.  Let cool and store in airtight containers as they tend to dry out.  Even better the next day or two!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Just Tired

Sometimes I revisit the blog, mainly to look up a recipe that I have posted here.  It always makes me a little sad because I had so much more time to tend to my home.  Granted, the boys were smaller and Charlie was not in school, but those were sweet days.  And I probably didn't realize it most of the time.

For the past 2 years I have been working part time doing office work.  Initially, it was a limited number of hours and it has stretched into about 18 a week.  That translates to 3 days a week from the time I drop off Charlie to the time I pick him up.  And I am exhausted.  Still doing etsy as much as I can.  We self insure and our premiums have increased to such an extent that they exceed our mortgage.  In fact, in 2017 our premiums will be 39% of our take home pay.  Feeling like we are drowning in the burden of it.

My heart wants to be home, doing the mundane things like: laundry, meal planning, cooking and making the house beautiful.  Perhaps it doesn't seem like an admirable aspiration to some, but it is simply how my heart is wired.  I love being a wife and mom and homemaker.  I love it.

Hopefully people give me grace when me home is messy, because it feels like it has been an endless "messy season".

Through it all, God is good.  He gives us clear signs of His providence and love.  Despite all the weariness and anxiety, we are living in a home of love and riches that transcend anything money can buy.  E and I are praying for wisdom and clarity on how to best manage our time, finances and family.  He has been driving uber and it has been an excellent means of extra income.  We are thankful, but I miss him.

Will try to post more stuff, mostly recipes!  I know no one reads this, but if you do, thank you for "listening".  If you are a homemaker, your work is precious and my heart finally understands this more than ever.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

It has been a long time since my last post!  Wanted to share some of this year's Christmas decor.  Christmas is an exciting time around here as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  My mom always did a fantastic job of creating a peaceful and joyful atmosphere in our home and I hope I can do the same for my family.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Warm Cake in 10 Minutes

Last week I stumbled onto a video tutorial of baking a cake in the microwave.  The end result of the cake on the video looked fantastic and I knew I wanted to try to bake one myself.  This recipe is not going to be the healthiest option for dessert and fresh fruit would certainly be a quick option, but.....sometimes you just want cake!

You will need:
Large glass bowl (I used a Pyrex 4 quart mixing bowl; the largest of the nesting sets)
Cake mix of your choice (Choose one that needs only water, oil and egg)

Butter or spray the inside of your bowl.

Follow instructions on cake mix.  If you are making a chocolate cake, substitute strong, cooled coffee for the water to intensify the chocolate flavor.

Pour into prepared bowl.

Microwave on High for 8 minutes.  Set the bowl slightly off center on the turntable so that it rotates evenly.

When it is finished, you should be able to press the center and it will slightly spring back.  Immediately invert onto serving platter.  It looks like a giant, delicious sponge dome.  We used a quick ganache glaze and sprinkles on the one pictured below (banana cake mix).


Dinner Prep in 15 Minutes

Spinach Lasagna

Ricotta Cheese (about 2 pounds), homemade or bought
2 eggs
8 oz. Mozzarella, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parm.
1 box frozen, chopped spinach  (thaw & squeeze until dry)
Salt & pepper

No cook lasagna noodles
Favorite marinara sauce (about 2-3 cups)
9 x 13 pan

Mix Ricotta, Parm, eggs, spinach and half of Mozzarella.  Season with salt & pepper.

Spoon sauce and drizzle olive oil onto bottom of pan. 
Add one layer of noodles.

Use 1/3 of cheese mixture and spread over noodles.

Add layer or noodles.

Spoon some marinara over top.

Add layer of noodles.

Use 1/3 of cheese mixture.

Add layer of noodles.

Use 1/3 of cheese mixture.

Add layer of noodles.

Cover completely with sauce and sprinkle with 2nd half of Mozzarella.

Cover loosely with foil Bake in 350 oven for 50 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Taking Care of Business

This winter has been long, cold and icy.  The supposed Polar Vortex enshrouded the Midwest in snow, freezing temps and high winds.  Normally, I would welcome the heaps of glorious snow since my kids love to play outside and it wear them out, thus reducing cabin fever.  That is not an option when the temp drops to negative degrees.  Baking cakes and roasts was a great way to heat the house and the boys loved eating cake late at night!  We all love our cozy cottage of a home, but it feels really, really small when we have been trapped inside for weeks on end.....

Here is a picture of the little guy building "machines" with his wooden blocks.  Our new cat, Roger Wee, enjoys watching him from under the stool.

Stay warm!