Wednesday, May 29, 2013

From Toddler to Teenager

     I have finally come to terms with the fact that my baby girl is no longer a baby, but I didn't think she would skip straight from toddler to teenager.  That little Monkey has the wit and attitude to try a saint.  Last night for example, my little brother and I were watching a movie after Monkey had gone to bed, or that's where she was supposed to be at any rate.  Then I saw a little head poke out behind the staircase.  I told her to get back in her bed.  She giggled and obeyed.  Then she came back downstairs.  I told her to go to bed again.  She bargained and argued, and I finally told her if she came off those stairs again she'd be in trouble.  She listened.  Sort of.  After our movie was over we were headed upstairs to bed only to find Monkey camped out on the stairs with her blanket and pillow, fast asleep.  She listened to her mommy and didn't come off the stairs again, but that's not exactly what I had in mind.

     In addition to being pretty good at finding the loophole in just about anything, she's also got a pretty sharp tongue in her head.  The other day we were coming through the gate on base, and we stopped at the ID checkpoint.  When the guard stuck his head in the car to check the backseat, Monkey hollers, "Hey old man would you quit looking at me?"  Thank goodness he was old and hard of hearing.  That child is going to get me in trouble one of these days.

     Besides keeping the inevitable grey hairs at bay, I've also been enjoying my down time.  It will be ending all too soon, as school starts up again next week.  In the meantime, though, I did manage to squeeze in a visit to my hometown to see family.  I had a great trip, and it was long overdue.  I missed my kitchen, though.  Since we came home Sunday I've been cooking like crazy, and I have an excuse because my little brother is staying with us.  And of course, I have to share :-)

    First up is a new favorite pasta from Quick From Scratch Pasta Cookbook, which is quickly becoming my go-to for recipes.

Ziti with Honey Mustard Salmon
You'll need:
1 lb salmon fillet
1 TBS honey
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 TBS cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tsp grainy or Dijon mustard
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 lb ziti

     Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly oil a small roasting pan.  Put salmon in the pan, skin side down.  Spread honey over the salmon, and then sprinkle 1/4 tsp pepper over the salmon.  Roast until just barely done, about 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.  Remove from oven.
     In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and simmer until about 1 TBS remains, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the mustard, cream, salt, and the remaining 1/4 tsp pepper.  Turn off heat.  Flake the salmon and stir it and the parsley into the sauce.
     Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the ziti until just done, about 13 minutes.  Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.


  Since I've been a slacker and have only blogged twice this month I'll share a few more things.  We've been hunting blackberries just about every night for the past couple of weeks.  They're everywhere on base!
      These are perfect for Monkey's afternoon snack and J's morning yogurt, plus I can freeze what we don't eat for later.  Not to mention they're free!  And I can use them as substitutes in a few baking recipes like this one:

Blackberry Yogurt Cake
 You'll need:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 TBS lemon juice, divided
Zest of one lemon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz Greek yogurt, plain
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup powdered sugar

     Preheat oven to 375.  Grease and flour a 10" Bundt pan, set aside.  Sift together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix in lemon zest, set aside.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Stir in 1 TBS lemon juice.  Alternate beating in the flour mixture and yogurt, mixing until just incorporated.  Toss the blackberries with remaining flour.  Mix them into the batter gently.  Pour batter into Bundt pan, and place in the oven.  Reduce temperature to 325.  Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool 20 minutes in the pan.  Then turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.  Once cooled whisk together remaining lemon juice and powdered sugar and drizzle over the top.

    This is a recipe I've adapted from A Spicy Perspective, and it was delicious!  This cake seriously lasted one day in our house.  I kept having to swat J away from the kitchen.  Enjoy!

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