I always enjoy a family-style supper where everyone is involved, from the kids to the grown-ups. Grown-ups stirring, pouring, catching-up and kids running around being kids! And, I especially love when it all begins with a glass of bubbly.
Our friends had a great theme going of apples & pork - a kind of apple confit on soup, baked apples, apple chutney, and grilled pork. MmmmMmmm good.
For the past few weeks, my kids have politely asked that I make Nutella pancakes. Honestly, it's been almost every morning... with all that chocolate hazelnut goodness, how could I say no?
Nutella Pancakes 1 C. all-purpose flour 2 Tbsps. superfine sugar or Agave Nectar 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1 C. milk 1/3 C. Nutella 1 egg
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk milk, Nutella, butter, and egg in a large cup, add to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Pour batter on lightly oiled frying pan. Cook pancakes until bubbles just start to appear on the surface. Turn over and cook for about one minute (I just usually take peek sooner!). Repeat. Serve with rich maple syrup, more Nutella, or dust with powdered sugar.
* For a healthier version, I use 1/2 C. of all-purpose flour and 1/2 C. golden flaxseed meal. The kids still love them!
This is a very simple recipe that was featured in the NY Times a few years ago. It's still one of my (and the kids) favorites, if you like a crusty top crust. And, it's a nice alternative to the fast-food box set. I often use Grafton cheddar - seems to give the dish a tangy kick.
Crusty Macaroni and Cheese Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
3 Tbsps. butter 12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated 12 ounces American cheese or cheddar cheese, coarsely grated 1 lb. elbow pasta, boiled until just tender, drained, and rinsed under cold water 1/8 tsp. cayenne (optional) Salt 2/3 C. whole milk
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use one tablespoon butter to thickly grease 9 x 13” baking dish. Combine grated cheeses and set aside two heaping cups for topping. 2. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, cheeses, cayenne (if using) and salt to taste. Place in prepared pan and evenly pour milk over surface. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top, dot with remaining butter and bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Raise heat to 400 degrees and bake 15-20 minutes more, until crusty on top and bottom.
I recently discovered these crackers, Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps, and they have quickly become a favorite afternoon snack. I love all the little treasures embedded in the crisps. On their own or with goat cheese, the Cranberry Hazelnut flavor is scrumptious!
Last Tuesday was another LMNO (Lovely Mom's Night Out) as well as Skye's birthday. We met for dinner at Bungalow 44, followed by a comedy show at nearby 142 Throckmorton Theatre. Little did Skye know that we had planned a big birthday cake attack after dinner. As you can see, she was surprised!
Our cake eating session lasted a little longer than expected (thanks Lisa & Melissa for a delish cake!), and the show was about to start... so we quickly walked to the theatre where we laughed, and sometimes cried, with Mark Pitta & Friends.
During intermission, our fearless friends Cathy and Christine "illegally" went backstage and asked Mark to give Skye some s*%# about her birthday... which he did! Later, when Mark asked if Skye had seen his show before, she - in her witty way - replied, "I have to admit, I'm a Mark Pitta virgin." Priceless. Lots of laughter and a Happy Birthday! A special thanks to Cathy, our event planner extraordinaire.