Friday, June 24, 2011

Food, Party, Food & a FIVE year old! Oh- and food!

Probably if I spend too much time awake without purpose tonight, I'll cry. Why will I cry? Because Alex will wake up tomorrow a 5 year old. FIVE?!?! What? I am not ready. I am not ready for Alex to be a Kindergartener. I am not ready for training wheel free bikes or "r" sounds that sound like "r". (I AM ready for accident free nights, but that is a whole other post...) And yet, here we are- 5 years old. Alex has gone from this:

My fav. Alex pic (3mo.)

To this:


This transformation has me thinking all kinds of sappy things- including, but not limited to, Trace Atkin's "You're Gonna Miss This" and the words of a poem on the wall in my Mom's kitchen (Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'till tomorrow, for babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.). In short, I'm an emotional wreck. I'm happy that Alex has made it here, and I'm excited for all the new and exciting things to come in his world. But I'm not quite ready to start viewing him as anything but the Barney obsessed toddler in my memory.

Speaking of all this emotional overload, let's talk food. That IS how it works, right? Emotions=food? If you disagree, you've probably never needed to attend a Weight Watchers meeting. Which, by the way, I should probably attend next week- thanks to the food I'm going to blog about.

First up: Cake Pops!!!
I know everyone in the world (mine, at least) is sick of hearing about cake pops. I fully accept it- I get obsessed. I have been thinking about cake pops to the point of insanity for two weeks now. And it paid off:


I may never have the nerve to even LOOK at a cake pop EVER again- but there they are. Al B.'s beloved, requested cake pops with sprinkles. Party ready. A few things, for those of you crazy enough to consider making these little headaches-on-sticks:

-When dipping cake pops into chocolate, use a small crock pot. Someone told me this might work better, and I swear I owe that woman a lifetime's supply of cake pops (alas, I'm swearing them off, so that isn't possible).

-Use melting chocolate. Even if it is a pain in the butt to find some that fits your needs (in my case, gluten and peanut free)- find it. It is SOOOO much better than chocolate chips with oil.

-Pony up and buy a stryofoam block. There is really no way around this. The End.

Ok. That is the end of the cake pops. I think. For now.

Now I move on to tonight's dinner:


(Gluten free) Penne with Smoked Salmon Vodka Sauce

If you like low fat meals, you should stop here. This is NOT Weight Watchers friendly. And yet, it is SOOOOO good!

1 small white onion, sliced
1/2 lb. smoked salmon (I made my own, but Trader Joe's sells it too!)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried basil (but fresh would taste better probably!)
1 1/2 shots citrus vodka (I used Smirnoff Citrus Twist)

1 package penne noodles- cook as directed

Sautee the onion in a small amount of olive oil on medium high heat. When onions are transparent, add lemon zest, salmon, cream and basil. Stir constantly and keep at medium high heat until sauce begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium/medium low, add vodka, and simmer (stirring frequently) for 5-10 minutes. Add to pasta, and toss in some steamed veggies if desired.

This was one of those I-know-this-will-increase-my-waistline-but-I-don't-care-it-tastes-so-good type dishes. I got the original recipe from a class at Hipcooks (which you really should try, by the way!). The hipcooks recipe was an amazing blend of fresh herbs, hand made pasta and incredible enthusiasm. When I made this dish, I was tired from my battle with cake pops, had no fresh herbs but an abundance of smoked salmon and abslutely zero enthusiasm for making my own pasta. So I made do. Either way was great, though I'll give it to Hipcooks- mine was yummy. Theirs was to die for.

And since I'm all about food tonight, I have to show off a meal that Dusty and I really made together. But his part was better.


Broiled Rockfish and Moroccan Lentils with grilled sweet peppers and asparagus.

If you haven't had a chance to check out Crockpot 365 , you need to. Besides just being a genius with the crock pot- which is a great thing to be, since life gets so busy- the author of this blog is also a gluten free cook. To me, this combination is perfect.

When Dusty called me at work and offered to make dinner if only I'd give him a hint on where to begin, I sent him a link to Crockpot 365's Moroccan Lentils. As it turned out, we only had about half the requested ingredients. We DID have fresh basil and sweet peppers, though, and those went in the pot. So technically, we don't know what the original recipe tastes like. We DO know that what Dusty did was pure lentil genius.

On top of the lentils came rock fish, which was supposed to have been baked in white wine with garlic and peppers. Since I didn't have the patience to wait for baked fish, it quickly became broiled rock fish. This was my fist time cooking such a fish and I was impressed! It will now be added to my list of things to make.

The peppers and asparagus were cooked together at high heat with a very small amount of olive oil. Why were they cooked together? Because I was lazy and didn't want to dirty another pan. There really is no better reason. Whatever the reason, though- it was great. Dusty says it was the best aspargaus he's ever had. To be fair, Dusty could have been saying that because he wanted to make me feel better. In this meal, Dusty was the star. Those lentils were awesome. And the leftovers made a fabulous bean dip for chips, which means one less thing for me to make tomorrow for Alex's 5th birthday party.

Goodnight, world. Goodnight, 4. Five...I'll see you tomorrow.

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