We are so lucky to live in a place where January brings unexpected 60 degree days and perfect weather to play outside a couple of times a week. Though we’ve been housebound for almost a week now, sinus infections and sore throats, we are looking forward to 70 degree weather this week and hope we can get back outside soon!
Here are a couple pictures I snapped of the boys two weeks ago. Big Zoom loves dragging the trucks around and exploring behind trees and bushes. Little Zoom is happy to sit in his bucket seat and observe. And, I love chatting with the other moms! We bring snacks and juice and spend whole afternoons at our neighborhood parks.
This guy is our goofy and super cute friend Owen. His mama is my photo mentor guru.
Ugh. I was worried about this assignment. How to take an interesting self-portrait without simply standing in front of a mirror? I considered using the timer, but with my focus point issues and lighting problems somewhat unresolved, that seemed risky.
Here is what I came up with: a portrait of myself in the lid of a cooking pot signifying one of my favorite hobbies. My mother instilled a love of the Food Network in me. We used to watch the Martha Stewart show before Oprah came on after school together. We’d watch Martha cook up roasts and stews and sweets and place them on her perfectly arranged tabletop complete with fresh floral arrangements. Oh Martha, you set the bar so high! I watched cooking shows for years before I actually started cooking for myself on a regular basis after graduating college. Now, it’s one of my favorite things to do.
A little over-exposed and with the focus point out of whack: here’s me! Fitting, really.
These are so, so, so good. Let’s just get started, shall we?
These are blueberry scones. Shortly, they’ll be glazed with this lemony sugary goodness.
Then, you’ll have this.
Two hours later, you’ll have this.
This, friends, is what happens when you start a blog and begin to post recipes for the world to see. You begin to eat, and eat, and eat. Perhaps I should have considered a different hobby.
I am not joking when I tell you that after taking the initial pictures, I stopped glazing the scones and started dipping them into the goo with a fork and popping them into my mouth. They were THAT good. I also sacrificed my daily lunch of chips and salsa in favor of these puppies. If that doesn’t convince you to try these out this weekend, I don’t know what will!
Lemon Glazed Blueberry Scones
Makes 12-14 scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar). Toss in butter and using a pastry cutter, or your hands, combine until flour covers butter and mixture resembles crumbs. Add blueberries and stir gently to combine. Don’t be too vigorous with them or you’ll turn your scones blue! Next, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in your egg and heavy cream. Get your hands in there and mix until just combined. Dough will be very dry and crumbly. Don’t worry!
Turn out batter onto a lightly floured surface and press into a rectangular shape keeping your dough roughly 1/4 inch thick. Slice into smaller rectangles and eventually into traditional triangular shaped scones. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.
While the scones are baking, make the glaze. This glaze is so easy. Measure confectioner’s sugar into a bowl and add lemon juice. Whisk to combine. Next add lemon zest and melted butter. Again, whisk to combine. Drizzle over warmed scones. Or, skip the scones all together and eat this with a spoon!
Here’s a shot I snapped of Big Zoom this afternoon just after I’d taken his temperature at 102.1 degrees.
Poor little guy still looks so sweet.
And, here is where I ask for help. I LOVE my camera to death, but I’m starting to feel disheartened. I am shooting 100% manually and in JPEG and I’m having major issues with white balance. I just can’t seem to get lighting right, in any situation. I am working on a MacBook and know my screen is totally out of whack calibration wise (my images look totally different on Mr. Zoom’s PC), and my photos always seem to have this orange glow on them (the one above has an action on it). What to do? Can anyone point me in the direction of any resources I might try? Is the answer to switch to RAW?
Ahhhhhhh! Why do I do this to myself?
Mr. Zoom and I have three weddings to attend this summer. My cousin is getting married this spring at the beach and my two very best friends got engaged last year, and will be getting married this summer and early fall. We can’t wait to celebrate with them, and after having spent the last 3 years in the depths of pregnancy and babydom, we decided we want to look good this summer. We’ve been on a major fitness kick since Little Zoom was born; we both joined the YMCA and have been attending regularly. Our biggest challenge is never the exercise part, we both feel so much better when we do it. What gets us is the food. I like to cook yummy things, and then we have a tendency to eat lots of it!
So when I saw this Deep Dish Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie on Eat, Live, Run, I should have immediately closed my browser and done something else. But instead, I kept reading. And then I looked at the pictures. Bad (in a really, really good way) pictures. After checking the ingredient list, I realized I had everything I needed in the house already. Before I knew it, this cookie pie deliciousness was in the oven and I was watching the seconds count down on my microwave timer.
When I tell you that this cookie pie was good…I mean it was GOOD. So rich, so sweet, and the touch of sea salt: perfection! And, I love the rustic quality of it being baked in a cast iron skillet. You must make this. Unless of course you have three weddings to attend this summer. If this is the case, close your browser and go do something else!!
I’m loving my Monday blogging sessions. It’s been three weeks now, and I look forward to 6:30 on Monday evenings when I can scoot out and spend some time with my new hobbies. Plus, iced coffee served in a mason jar? What could be better!?
Tonight, I forgot to order my latte decaffeinated. Whoops. Guess it’s going to be a long night!
My blog reader is chock full of food blogs. I don’t discriminate; there are baking blogs, vegetarian blogs, gluten-free blogs, mexican cooking blogs, cooking on a budget blogs, California cuisine blogs, wine blogs and kid food blogs. I drool over their delicious recipes every day and daydream about how I’ll incorporate my favorites into my weekly food rota. Though I don’t really know them, and they most certainly don’t know me, I consider them my friends. Sort of sad, but very true.
One of my very favorites is Jessica at How Sweet Eats. Not only are her recipes stellar, her food photography is inspiring. This week she posted a recipe called Crockpot Beer Cheddar Chicken Tacos. I immediately knew Mr. Zoom would love it (I mean, c’mon. Beer and Cheddar and Tacos), and I had a hunch Big Zoom would appreciate some protein in his diet. So I busted out a bottle of Fat Tire and went to work. I put the goods in the crock at 11:00am, added an extra 1/4 cup of beer, and watched it closely as my crockpot has a tendency to cook things super fast. 7 and a half hours later, it was done and I shredded like crazy until I had a pot full of cheesy chickeny goodness. We piled the juicy meat into warmed corn and flour tortillas and topped them with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and a pinch of extra cheese.
I definitely suggest trying this recipe if you like beer, and cheddar, and chicken as much as we do. Check out the rest of Jessica’s recipes as well. You won’t be disappointed!
Oh dreams. I don’t even know what those are anymore. With Little Zoom coming up on 5 months and weighing in at nearly 18 pounds, every book, blogger, and internet google doctor says he should be able to sleep through the night at this point. We’re doing a dreamfeed at 10ish, another feeding at 2ish, and then up for the day at 6ish. Sub 4 hour blocks, though better than the 1-2 hours blocks during the newborn stage, are making it tough to get much solid rest. I’m not sure when the dreaming phase of sleep starts, but I know I’m not hitting it!
Enter Starbucks drive-through. I’m from Seattle, home of Starbucks. I remember several years back when I came across the first Starbucks drive-through. At the time I scoffed at the idea, wondering how lazy a person had to be to hit a drive-through for coffee. What a difference a couple of years make! There are two in my immediate area, and I haven’t set foot in an actual Starbucks in months. Two little ones, an overstuffed diaper bag, and shelves of breakable mugs in a coffee shop are not a place for me and my Zooms right now!
So, because I’m not dreaming real dreams right now, I’ll dream for more drive-through Starbucks locations in our city! I keep telling Mr. Zoom we should have bought stock in the company when Little Zoom was born. I’m certain that I’m keeping our two locations afloat single-handedly.
Frost covered the trees and grass and rooftops this morning as I trekked out in the minus 30 degree temperatures with Big Zoom to do the grocery shopping. I’m a big fan of one pot meals, especially during the winter months when warm dinners are an absolute must. They also make for quick cleanup and typically freeze well for leftovers.
A few years back, my mother made an incredible gift for me for Christmas. I was living in Dublin, Ireland at the time, trying to find my way around Irish cooking, and failing pretty miserably with the slightly different ingredient lists and somewhat bland flavors. For Christmas that year, as I was celebrating far away with Mr. Zoom’s family, my mother sent me over a handmade scrapbook style cookbook full of some our family’s favorite recipes. This Jambalaya recipe was in there, and is in my opinion one of the best one pot meals in my repertoire. It may not look like much; it certainly isn’t the most beautiful dish to come out of my kitchen but it warms us and tastes delicious.
Mama’s New Orleans Style Jambalaya
Melt butter in large heavy pot. Add flour and stir until blended; then add sausage (crumble) and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp, tomatoes, water, onions, garlic, and parsley. Bring to a boil, add rice, and stir in Worcestershire sauce, salt, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Sitr occasionally.
This recipe makes an absolute ton of food. You’ll definitely have leftovers (unless you are feeding an army of teenage boys), and it will certainly freeze well.
Big Zoom: 20 months
Little Zoom: 4 months (Thanks to Becky Keller for editing help on this one!)
Happy Friday! We’re off to have Family Gym Time, and start our weekend!