Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spending Time Together

I've found myself unable to sleep due to a pounding pain in my jaw and ear. So I'm now sitting on the couch with my therma spa heat wrap thing around my face. I'd thought I'd share a little bit of what's going on at the Jesch home!

Blake's been doing some cooking! We watch a lot of Food Network and Blake has recently begun to get more and more inspired. He saw a thing about a grilled cheese sandwich and then he was off the to the market to buy fat big and was home with a jiggady jig. Not really... but whatever. He came home with some goods!

He used tons of dishes, and therefore can't point out my obsession any more!

His "blakewich" consisted of:
Cinnamon raison bread
pepper jack cheese
fresh jalapeno
fresh bell pepper
bacon fat (not kidding... he put it on top of the bread)
1/3 a stick of butter (no lie)

He was so proud of his creation. And it was exciting to see him happy to cook!

He also brought home my favorite chips, which I of course was unable to eat because of my wisdom teeth removal. I was drooling over them.

I've had a lot of catching up to do this week and so have been doing some fast meals that are soft enough for me to eat. I saw this idea of southern living's webpage this morning and decided to try it. I usually not a fan of refrigerated dough, but this wasn't so bad. And yes... that's pre cooked meat. I was feeling lazy and so it applied!

Anyways this was the result: BBQ Chicken Pizza. It has chicken, red bell pepper, onion, bacon, cilantro, cheddar and pepper jack cheese, and head country BBQ sauce. It was fast easy and pretty good.

I'm hoping that I'm feeling a lot better next week! Looking forward to cooking more again!

Tonight I gave Blake a hair cut. I decided to buy a fun smock because I'm the one doing the cuts so I should pick out one that makes me happy! And this one definitely does! Blake wasn't thrilled about taking a picture in it! But he did it for me :)

I've also been doing some scrapbooking...

We've also been watching some Star Trek. Blake loves it, I've of course, never watched any of it. He is really nice about watching stuff for me, so I decided to take time for one of his favorite things.

We had a fun weekend despite my wisdom teeth adventure because we were able to spend more time than usual together just taking it easy. We had 3 full days! Blake did a wonderful job seeing to my every comfort and need and I only hope I can be so kind to him when the favor needs to be returned! If you made it to this point in the blog, thanks for reading!

Remember to take it easy now and then!

Monday, July 19, 2010

20 Minute Cooking

I love hearing my daddy talk about all the cooking and baking my grandma did. Noodles from scratch, spread out all over the kitchen, fried chicken, and of course baked goods. Meals that took all day to make! I know my granny did that as well, always having something yummy to eat. I've gotta say... it sounds like a dream to be able to spend all day cooking stuff. But realistically I don't get home until 5 and some days head immediately to the bathroom to shower off swimming pool loveliness and sweat from the zoo. So big fancy meals don't happen quite as much as I wish they did. When they do, poor Blake has to wait until 8 or later to eat! And then we have tuns of dishes to do! And as much as I hate having to cook quick and easy meals, they are what's practical in my life! So I thought I'd share tonight's meal with you. It's a pretty standard meal and has many different variations.

The butcher didn't have the usual small pork chops I like to buy so I had some massive chops to work with. My daddy always taught me to cut up chicken breasts in order to cook it quicker so I applied the same principle to the chops. This is about the easiest way to cook meat folks. Heat olive oil on a pan (med-high), season meat, and sear. It cooks super fast, if you cover it even faster. I grew up eating meat cooked like this and it's one of the first things I ever learned to cook. Simple, easy, fast, and yummy. My favorite part is that I can feel like a fancy chef... looking through my spices getting creative as I want. You can add sauces or anything you want it's pretty hard to mess this up.

Blake and I have recently gotten into asparagus thanks to my aunt and uncle. They cook it in the oven with some olive oil and salt. I wanted to warm up some rolls so I thought I could just do it on a pan on the stove. It was very easy. Wash what we wanted, heated olive oil on the pan then threw them in along with salt and pepper. Stirred them around until they were bright green.

And sometimes I do things this easy. Sticking a bag in the microwave... don't even open it. That's so easy it's not even funny. I love using fresh veggies, but when I don't I use frozen. These steamer bags are amazing. Now, please don't judge any spots you see in my microwave. You see it's way above my head and I have to pull out the step ladder to even see the bottom. So it's not cleaned that often I'll admit.

Now because I felt like it I added a couple tablespoons of butter and sugar along with salt and pepper. Judge me if you want, I couldn't resist it though. It's kinda like when I have a bowl of Wheaties I have to add a bit of sugar... it's the same kinda crave. It's just SO good.

Served this with some Sister Shubert dinner rolls. I buy the kind in the bag so I can pull out what I need. Tonight I brushed on some herb oil and sprinkled some sesame seeds on them. They were done in about 7 min. And of course they are amazing.

This meal was a super fast meal to cook... like I'm pretty sure it only took 20 min. So this is the kinda stuff I make more often than that other stuff that takes more time. And it's kinda healthier so I don't feel as bad when I make that other stuff :) haha. There is always time to make supper if you have some staples around. It's an important part of the day and I always look forward to it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

nothing like mac & cheese

Maybe I blog a little too much, but I have been trying to limit myself to once a week. I'm not making my limit this week though. I'm just to excited to share tonight's dinner with whomever might look at this! Today was a busy day of being a nanny. I took the boys to Edmond's little "water park" (as they call it) and there is just something about swimming that is exhausting! But I got straight home and cleaned up, started the laundry and by 5:45 I was ready to begin this meal. It was finished around 7:30, because I always do stuff slowly. We were very hungry and I was ready to sit!

So let me tell you about this yummy meal! I got a new cookbook from Williams Sonoma called "Family Meals". I love it! It talks all about using natural ingredients and puts it in terms that you could make the meal with your family. It will be so much fun many many many days and years from now when we have kids. But I love it now too : ) I made mac and cheese, oven fried chicken fingers, and fresh green beans! Sounds like a simple easy meal, and maybe after I make this enough times it will be. But let me just say, this is way better quality mac and cheese and chicken fingers than I've ever had before! Worth every min. it took!

This is the amazing mac & cheese. It is made with all fresh and natural ingredients (Except for the salt and the bay leaf). OK, I'll confess though, I didn't grate fresh nutmeg. I just don't know what else I'd use it for this week. But it was really yummy :)

I was really proud of my chicken strips because I never successfully made breaded meat before. This was incredibly easy to do, and now that I've made it once I'm sure it will be even faster next time. Took me about 30 min including prep time. They are breast tenderloin strips dipped in flour, egg whites, and bread crumbs with thyme, fresh ground pepper, salt and freshly grated parmesan. They are "fried" in EV olive oil and take about 8 min on each side at 450.

It was my first time to have fresh green beans this summer and I was really excited! I started these with a bit of EVOO and half a TB of butter. Then I added chopped onion and a couple cloves of minced garlic. Then I added some green pepper, and the green beans. I put in some chicken broth and salt and pepper and simmered it for a while. But not too long, because then they get too soggy. But they were yummy. OK, now I'll tell you how I knew how to do this... because I looked it up on google today and Pioneer woman had this recipe. But to give myself a little credit, I didn't have red pepper so I used green pepper.... that ends my creativity. Haha
Blake was really pleased with the meal. He said I outdid myself... which I thought was sweet of him to say. Funny how it's the simplest of meals that are just so darn delicious! Props to my honey tonight for helping me with the first round of dishes. It was kinda like the intermission of cooking. There were so many dishes that I had no space on the counters. He also took care of some laundry and vacuumed the floors while I cooked. I'm a lucky girl. ( :

The quote of the night is: "Kristin you use more dishes than anyone I know!" But he also said that I use a lot things a lot more than he thought I would and he was impressed. So all yall can know that I am using all those crazy things I registered for! I really do use everything! I've just about used everything I have I think.

Well that's all for tonight! Have a good one!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Little Home Projects

This is what our living room looks like so far.
Cream colored walls are not exactly my taste and style, but because we can't paint these apartment walls, they will have to do. We were really blessed and didn't have to buy much furniture, except the coffee table- which was a craigslist find. It feels a lot more cozy to us, and I'm looking froward to finding more ways to spruce it up : )

This was my latest craft, if you can call it that.
I call it a craft, because I used scissors and went to a craft store. I had no idea what to do with the big blank wall behind the couch. The frames were 40% at Michael's so I was pretty pleased. I thought about pictures but decided against it because I want them in other places too. This was a super easy project and instantly added a lot of warmth to our room!

These are the couch pillows I made.... with a lot of help!!
My cousin Jenny is a very good pillow maker and graciously assisted me in this project. I cut out the fabric and pinned on the trim, and she helped me sew them up and stuff them. Of course, I had done some of it wrong, so she fixed all my mess ups too! Then when my mom visited, she worked with me to finishing sewing them up.... I mean she did it for me. Haha.

Anyways they are really simple to make if you know how to sew and use a machine. That might sound crazy to say that, because I know every woman 20 years older than me knows how to do that. But we didn't learn those things in school... it was replaced with more math and science! Boo! But anyways they were lots of fun, and if you wanna know how I... I mean WE did it, let me know and I'll tell you!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. I absolutely love my country and I praise the Lord that I live here! Putting aside the politics, this land is great and I am thankful that we have had many generations to choose how we worship, live, work, and so on. But there is lots to talk about so I'll stop my little rant!

My parents and my brother Jake came to visit us this weekend, and bring us some things from home. We were so glad to spend some time with them! Blake and I made them lunch on Saturday. Blake wasn't expecting to cook, but when I became short handed and running behind he stepped in and cut all of the veggies and the chicken and then continued to help lots more! We made Pioneer Woman's cajun chicken pasta! I made some jalapeno corm muffins to go along.

The pasta was amazing! I remembered to take a picture after we started digging into it, so it's not that presentable of a picture but you get the idea. I think it would be great with some gulf shrimp... too bad there won't be much of it!

The corn muffins were, well, not bad, but not worth the trouble of making again. Definitely made some better corn muffins before.

On Sunday evening we went to my aunt and uncle's house to celebrate! My cousin Jenny made an amazing red white and blue salad (strawberries, blueberries, almonds on spinach with yummy dressing). There was traditional corn on the cob, grilled meats, beans, and more. All wonderful! I made dessert! Cherry pies and a flag cake.

I made 2 cherry pies, one I wrapped the crust with foil, the other I used a pie shield. I decided the pie shields do not work. Don't have a picture, but that pie came out quite brown on the crust. The other pie was yummy but not exactly picture worthy. Crust was a nice color though. So I don't have one to post. But word to the wise: stick with foil.

The flag cake was super fun! I just used a vanilla cake mix, but I did make some cream cheese icing. It was amazing icing. Here is a picture. And let me tell you how to make it.

3 sticks of unsalted butter @ room temp (I know... quite healthy)
32 oz of cream cheese @ room temp
About 3.5 cups of powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix up the butter and cream cheese until its fluffy. (med/high) Then reduce the speed and add the sugar and vanilla. Mix it until it's amazing!

My second cousin Meredith helped me decorate our cake. Was a fun yummy treat!

And of course.... Blue Bell makes everything amazing!

We all sat around and played cards... don't know the name of the game. Herbshaw? I don't know, but it's a good game that doesn't take much thinking and lets ya be social. My daddy grew up playing it and he's taught it to us. I loved watching my daddy in his glasses. He hasn't worn them very long, and is starting to need his "reading glasses" more and more. I wish I could have captured his funny thinking expressions but this will have to do!

Anyways, it was a fun weekend! I feel so blessed to have such a great family and so many wonderful opportunities. Now Blake and I are getting to live and build our American dream. It's been a lot of fun so far!