SAHM Adventures and Mishaps

Chicken Jalapeno Dip

I love Jalapeno Popper Dip.

Love Onion Dip.

Love, love, love Buffalo Chicken Dip.

So, this past weekend, while it was cold and snowy and Valentine’s-y, I wanted to try a new spicy hot dip. I combed the internet and came up with … nothing. It was time to experiment. I combined the tastes and flavors of all three well-loved dips into one. Feeling like I was onto something new and yummy, I took this to dinner with friends. The bowl was practically licked clean. I have to say, it was hard to stop eating this one. Everyone loved it!

Chicken Jalapeno Dip

1 chopped onion
3 seeded and diced jalapeno peppers
1 1/2 cup shredded chicken
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
4 oz. softened cream cheese
Optional: 1 tsp Tastefully Simple All Natural Fiesta Party Dip Mix. Not sure if it added much to the flavors, so I will make this recipe again without this option. I have a feeling this dip can stand on its own without this addition.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, mix all the ingredients well. Bake 35-40 minutes until bubbly. Serve hot along with your favorite chip, cracker, and veggie. Makes enough for eight.

Delicious!

A random thought for the day: This is a process, not an event. Try something new and see what happens!

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

I am so happy there’s a day of the year devoted just to cheesecake. It’s one of my family’s all-time favorite homemade desserts. Since this is the summer that barely was–sunny and a high of 80?–I turned the A/C off, turned the oven on, checked my kitchen and found I had all the makings of a yummy cheesecake with a sour cream Greek yogurt topping. Yes, Greek yogurt! So good and so good for you. We think it makes it extra creamy and rich. Mm-mmm. As my oldest daughter says, “This is just like heaven, and if the greatest song ever was a food, your cheesecake is what it would taste like.”

Cheesecake with Greek Yogurt Topping

Crust 
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (this is pretty much one sleeve from a box of graham crackers and I prefer the cinnamon sugar graham crackers)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar
Mix these together in a bowl and press with back of a spoon into 9″ springform pan.

Cream Cheese Filling
3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temp (I often use a mix of regular, reduced-fat, fat-free or Greek yogurt. It’s all divine.)
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Make sure cream cheese is soft. In large bowl, beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in sugar for one minute. Add one egg at a time, barely beating after each one. With last egg, add vanilla. Pour into crust. Wrap pan bottom and sides in foil and place on baking sheet.
Preheat oven and bake at 300 degrees. Check at 55 minutes and remove when the center is nearly set. It may crack as it puffs up during baking. This is an excellent reason to hide imperfections with…Greek yogurt topping.

Greek Yogurt Topping
3/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Mix in small bowl. Gently spoon over the cheesecake, starting at the edges before spreading toward the center. Bake at 300 degrees for 11 minutes.

Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

Out of this world! Will post pictures soon……..

 

 

Love is a Gift

Love
Is a gift
You can give it away freely
You don’t ask for it back
You don’t expect it to be returned
You can give as much or as little as you have.
It is deep and bottomless
Yet
You can carry it with you.
Love can be a smile, a hug, a kiss
A gentle rub, a smoothing of hair, the gentle brush of two fingers on a cheek
A bouquet of roses, a mud-pie, perhaps a cup of watery lemonade.
Sometimes
A phone call, a text, a letter, and the words I Love You
Never get old.
Though
On tough days, the gift of love is fleeting
Other days, the gift of love is overwhelming.
Save those free-flowing days in your memories
Savor the feeling
Those loving memories will carry you on the dark days.
And
On the darkest of dark days, remember:
Love is a gift.

 

To my newest friend, DB: Thank you for sticking with me and finding my words. I was giving up; but, you stuck with the search, even though it wasn’t your job to find my stuff, even when I was resolved to the loss. Truly, it means more than you know. Thank you!

Words for Today…and Tomorrow

While I was doing a little spring cleaning today, I found a few notes I made for myself. Some recipes, a list of chores my oldest did for me, some helpful tips, like look for electric dryers that have an extra heat setting. No mention of why this is important, but I thought it was at the time. Below the dryer note, I wrote the perfect note for today:

Words to Live By

This is how good I am today. I am better than I was yesterday, and I will be better tomorrow.

I really needed to see that message. I don’t remember writing it, but I can imagine that a few years ago I knew it was a valuable reminder I’d want to see again. Thank you, past dear self, for the reminder.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Yesterday, I got an email from my daughter’s teacher. This is an unusual event. since we have agreed that we are sailing smooth waters, and unless we hear otherwise, things are great at home and at school. This email, however, said that my daughter lethargic, unenthusiastic, off her normal work habits, and simply wasn’t her best self. I thanked the teacher and signed off wanting to know more. So, when my dear daughter got home from school and had her snack, I asked her what was going on at school. She was upset that I received the note from her teacher, and along with a few tears and a bit of confusion, her response was, “but I thought slow and steady wins the race.” Hmmm. I didn’t think anyone would ever claim she was like either of the characters in The Tortoise and The Hare. Usually, she cheerfully and efficiently works to finish her schoolwork. Now she has taken it to heart that she will not be like the hare in the fable, rushing through and not giving her best work or best effort. So we talked that it’s good to be slow and steady. And then we added efficient and confident, especially when we know the work ahead of us. Granted, these are big concepts for kids under the age of ten. Kids (and adults!) are a work in progress.

In real life, there are so many more character choices than the two extremes in the fable. *sigh* I need to reread the story and see how this can apply to her in school and at home. I think I’ve got some homework of my own.

But it leaves me wondering about the dogged tortoise in today’s all-hare-like world: Is slow and steady really best? 

How I Saved a Dried Out Cake

I love my new oven. Maybe one day I’ll write a love note to it. A sonnet maybe. But, in our short time together, we’ve had our share of ups and downs. Firstly, I am very old school in many ways, so I’m years, possibly decades, behind the introduction to convection cooking. The new oven, while basic and old-school, has convection cooking. The key to this type of cooking, which circulates air for even cooking, baking and browning is to lower the temperature by about 50 degrees. Secondly, I make my fair share of mistakes. Thirdly, did I mention I am new to convection? Yes, well, I am still new to this. Oh, forgive me, Jewish Apple Cake! I flipped the convection switch, but forgot to lower the heat. Consequently, I baked my apple cake to within an inch of its life. Oh, it looked deceivingly lovely and golden brown. However, as it cooled, it revealed its ruination–underneath its golden crisp crust was more crust, covering a dried, dusty cake.

I couldn’t serve this to my family — I wouldn’t even eat it. I was ready to toss this hideous pan of deception. But tossing out food goes against my old-school nature. And one of my favorite sayings is Sometimes You Have to Make Lemonade Out of Lemons. There had to be something I could do to remedy this mistake. Maybe frosting or icing. Or, a glaze!

Then I remembered my post about fluffy pancakes using buttermilk. Remember?
[Buttermilk: 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 cup measuring cup + filled rest of way with milk + wait 5 minutes = buttermilk]

True to my old-school modern-day SAHM self, I quickly Googled buttermilk glaze and found an easy recipe, which I adapted for my cake. I saved the day (and the cake was deeeee-lish)! Here are my recipes for Jewish Apple Cake and the Buttermilk Sauce:

Jewish Apple Cake

5 apples (I used Fiji or Gala)
2 T cinnamon
1/8 C sugar
3 C flour
1/2 t salt
2 1/4 C sugar
1 T baking powder
1 C oil
4 eggs
2 t vanilla
7 T orange juice or pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt cake pan. Peel, core and slice apples into 1/8″ wedges. In medium-sized bowl, toss with first 2 ingredients and set aside. In large bowl, mix remaining ingredients together just till combined. Do not overmix. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Drop in 3/4 of the apple mix. Pour in rest of batter. Place remaining apples and liquid around the top. Bake 1 hour. Test by inserting a cake tester or thin in the deepest part of the cake. Cake is baked when there aren’t any crumbs on the tester.

Do not overbake. But, if you do, top with this buttermilk sauce.

Buttermilk Glaze – drizzle over whole cake or each individual slice
2/3 C buttermilk, prepared as directed
1/2 C sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t baking soda
3 T cornstarch
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine buttermilk and remaining ingredients. While stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Boil one minute, then remove from heat. Serve drizzled over cake or individual slices.

More about Jewish Apple Cake To be kosher, and this is totally from my memory and not based on religious research in any way, you do not mix certain ingredients. That’s why Jewish Apple Cake includes oil and juice, not butter or milk. I include the buttermilk sauce in this posting to save my family from choking on dried crumbs…take it or leave it, but if you are Jewish, disregard buttermilk sauce if needed and simply don’t overbake.

This recipe for Jewish Apple Cake was always made by my mother when I was a child. I’m pretty sure I asked for this cake for my birthday, which is in August. It is That. Wonderful. Thanks, Mom, for spending hours sweltering in the summer heat to create this cake. And, you never overbaked. But if you had, maybe we could have topped it with a buttermilk glaze.

What do I make with leftover honey-baked ham?

For Thanksgiving dinner, we chose to have a ham instead of turkey. Judging from the long line at the local honey-baked ham store, I know I’m not the only family who likes both ham and turkey! That ham store is amazing and crowded with other ham lovers over the holidays. I think we Oreganos might prefer ham, so we got a big mama. After a few days though, we still had leftover ham and mashed potatoes, so I decided to make a soup. There were a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes along with a few potatoes, plus those magic veggies that turn every soup into Food Love…amen to the onion, the celery and the carrots. You all are beautiful in the pot. You make the house smell fab and our bellies feel warm. Yummm.

Back to dinner prep. I have never made a ham soup, so I did what every modern-day SAHM does (right?) and Googled ham soup. I was thinking ham and bean soup, but then I stumbled onto a recipe for a yummy combo of ham, potato and cheddar soup. Even better. Even faster, since I have all those ingredients on hand. I added and subtracted a few things to make it my own. My DH declared it the best soup he has ever had. Give it a try with your ham leftovers. My recipe is below. Bon Appetit!

Creamy Potato and Ham Soup – serves 4

1 – 2 T oil
1 C celery, chopped
1 C onion, chopped
3/4 carrots, chopped
1/2 t thyme
1 t parsley
1/2 t sage
3 T mashed potatoes from your leftovers
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 C milk
1 potato, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

In large saucepan, heat on medium oil, celery, onion, carrots, thyme, parsley, sage. Saute on medium for 5 minutes.
Stir in mashed potatoes leftovers and cook for 2 more minutes.
Whisk in chicken broth and milk, stirring constantly to bring to a gentle boil.
Reduce heat. Add potatoes to pot and simmer 20 minutes.

Just before serving, add 1/2 C ham and serve hot.
Optional: Add 1/2 C cheddar cheese, 1 t fresh chives.