Egg in a Nest
August 31, 2009, 2:24 pm
Filed under: Breakfast

Hey Mom!  Look what I made for breakfast! 

I don’t know what made me think of it, but my mom used to make me these little egg in a nest breakfasts once in awhile and I thought they were so cool!  I decided I’d make some for Cooper and I this morning.  We all know what I’m talking about, right?  Throw some butter in a skillet, get butter on both sides of a piece of bread, then use a cookie cutter or the top of a glass to cut out the center, and in goes an egg.  With a sprinkle of salt and some fresh ground black pepper, it’s absolutely delish!  And cute…even for the bigger kids. 

Here’s mine freshly cracked in the skillet.  Yeah, I know I didn’t do the best job on that egg, but cut me some slack…it was 7 in the a.m.!



Anyway, broken yolk or not, Cooper wasn’t as impressed as I used to be.  Once it was cooked perfectly, I put it on a plate with some grapes on the side, and brought it out to him.  I exclaimed “Hey Coops!  Check this out!  It’s an egg inside your toast!  How cool is that!?”  He looked back at me with a blank stare, totally unimpressed and said “Yep…it sure is.  I don’t want it.  I just want peanut butter toast.”

Great.  Hey kid…you’re supposed to be impressed and then dig in, all the while reiterating how scrumptious this special breakfast is that your thoughtful mom made for you.  Didn’t you get the memo?!

Oh well.  I ate it.  And I loved it as much as I did when my mom used to make it for me.  Though, there is something special about having someone else do the cooking.

Mom, if you want to make one for me any time soon, I promise I’ll still be impressed and amazed, unlike my own offspring.

**photo update Sept 3**

I could no longer stand that the yolk was broken in that first pic and that it didn’t look like I wanted it to, so I made the good old Egg in a Nest again this morning and it came out much better…here ya go.



A Swing and a Miss
August 31, 2009, 2:08 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes, Pizza Sundays

For a wedding gift from my brother-in-law Keith, we received a very nice pizza stone and an awesome pizza cutter.  The second we opened it I exclaimed to D.Jones “Oh, how perfect is this!?  We’ll use this all the time!”  That was in May of 2005.  Yesterday, which of course, would be August of 2009, I decided to try it.  The stone, that is.  The pizza cutter has actually gotten a lot of use.

I looked up easy pizza crust recipes and decided to do some slight modifications to the Smitten Kitchen’s “Really Simple Pizza Dough“.  I shouldn’t have.  Well, modified it that is.  I have no doubt that the pizza crust would have turned out perfectly had I followed the recipe as intended.

Who knows why I thought I would be some sort of expert at pizza crust making when it’s never even occurred to me to do so until moments prior to dumping some white whole wheat flour in my mixing bowl, but I did.  The result was a dough that was way too wet, so I started adding in more flour until I thought it was a good consistency.

I read that the pizza stone should be fully heated and the dough should be laid upon the pizza stone as it’s hot to achieve a perfectly crispy crust, so I heated up my stone as my dough was rising and I thought everything was good-to-go.

Now, stretching and rolling out pizza dough was more difficult than I imagined it would be, so I was getting frustrated, which helped nothing.  I ended up tearing the dough on more than one occasion and had little Cooper Jones been within earshot, he’d have some choice new vocabulary on his hands…just in time for preschool to start on Wednesday.

I sprinkled some corn meal on my pizza stone as someone else had recommended on another blog, and then finally was able to get my dough onto the stone.  It even looked reasonably okay.

On went the toppings, which I decided to keep basic for my first attempt.  Shredded mozzarella, sliced green olives and sliced red onions, with some homemade sauce, which I made out of tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, 3 garlic cloves and some fresh ground pepper and some red pepper flakes.  All to taste, really.  I measured nothing, and the sauce, I must say, turned out wonderfully!  I’ll include it in an actual recipe in the future, when I make attempt #2, which will be soon.

Here’s how it looked going in to the oven….


And the finished product…


Not bad looking, but it had some issues.  First, the crust was too soggy for me in some places, and the thicker parts of the edge were way too doughy.  Ick.  The other problem was that much of the crust stuck to the actual stone, which was frustrating and made clean up hellish.  The flavor was pretty good, but it seemed to be lacking something.  Not sure what…

It’s a good sign that my husband took the leftovers to work today anyway, so I guess it was okay, but not what I had hoped for.

It is kind of fun, though, and so satisfying to see it baking away in the oven.  I’m gearing up for my second attempt and will keep you posted.  If I feel it’s more successful, next time you’ll actually get recipes.  Until then, I’m proud that I finally gave it a go, and that pizza stone is finally going to get some much deserved attention.

Heaven on Earth – Dutch Apple Pancake
August 27, 2009, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Breakfast, Main Dishes

Taking a hiatus from tomatoes, I decided to make breakfast for dinner tonight and begin my end-of-summer segue to Autumn.  Oh, I love Autumn.  I absolutely cannot wait for the apple orchards to open, for the crisp early morning and evening air of fall, for the smell of fireplaces and the sounds of leaves crunching underfoot.  I know so many people who say they love fall, but have you ever heard someone say they don’t?  I mean, people say “oh, I don’t like summer.  It’s too hot/humid”, whatever, but Autumn?!   Never heard of it.

Oops.  I perhaps got carried away with my love of fall, so what I was getting at were the flavors of apples and cinnamon.  I’ve seen tons of recipes online for Dutch apple pancakes, but I’ve never honestly had one, and I’ve definitely never tried to make one, but I had three lovely Pink Lady apples calling out to me, and I thought “why not”?

I didn’t follow a recipe, but instead kind of took what I’ve read on other recipes and made up my own version.  A traditional Dutch Apple Pancake is apparently made in a cast iron skillet, of which, I own none.  They are also sometimes sprinkled with powdered sugar, of which I also have none.  So, without further adieu, here is my take on a Dutch Apple Pancake, sans skillet.

If you haven’t had one…I can assure you…you must.  Absolutely must.

Kristin’s non-traditional Dutch Apple Pancake

3 medium apples of your choice, cored, peeled and sliced

2 T. butter, plus approximately 1 more T. or so for buttering your dish

3/4 c. milk (I used 1%.  Use what you like)

3/4 c. flour

5 eggs

3 T. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 T. brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon


Using medium sized skillet, melt 2 T. butter and add apple slices, cooking them on low to med. until they soften and begin to brown.


While apples are cooking, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Use remaining 1 T. of butter (or slightly more) to thoroughly butter your baking dish.  I used a round baking dish that is 11″ around and about 2 1/2″ deep.  If you having something of a similar size but square or whatever, I wouldn’t worry.  It should work just fine.

Once apples are softened but still have good texture to them, add them in a single layer to your buttered baking dish.


Next, sprinkle lightly with brown sugar and cinnamon…


Let them hang out while you make the batter.   So, in a medium mixing bowl, add eggs, milk, flour, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with a hand mixer until well blended.  (Or use a blender if you prefer).  Pour mixture over eggs, and bake until the top puffs up and is starting to get brown.  Make sure the middle feels solid through, and you’re good to go~

This simple process will turn into the most light and airy, sweet, but not too sweet, apple-eggy goodness that you can ever imagine.  I simply sliced mine right up with a pizza cutter, which worked pretty well.

D.Jones topped his with pure maple sugar, but I didn’t think it needed anything but it’s own simple goodness.  Served with a veggie sausage patty and some grapes, it made a perfect breakfast for dinner.  And I’m telling you, your house will never have smelled so good!  When D.Jones walked in the door from work he said “are you baking a pie?”  When I replied “No, that’s our dinner” he looked at me like I was crazy.  When he took his first bite of this delicious little slice of heaven on earth, he said “Mmm…wow.”  I think that says it all, and the verdict is still out on who gets the leftovers for tomorrow.



My Darling, Caprese…how I adore thee
August 24, 2009, 7:23 pm
Filed under: side dishes and salads

I think I perhaps mentioned an attempt this year to grow my own tomatoes.  We’ve gotten some, but truth is, I tried to container grow them, and having no clue what I was doing, I overcrowded.  The ones that are surviving are delicious, though, and I never understood the joy of growing my own food until this year. 

Yesterday Cooper picked a few small ones for me and I immediately thought they’d be enough for some vegetarian BLTs for tonight’s dinner.  Then I remembered the other scrumptious looking locally gown beauties I saw at our neighborhood grocery store last night, and I thought of the perfect side dish for our BLTs….a Caprese pasta salad. 

Yeah, I know…not overly original, but I can assure you that when I just had my first biteful of that basil, tomato and mozz, I didn’t care in the least!

Here’s what I did this time…

Caprese Pasta Salad

3 c. dry pasta of choice (I used whole wheat rotini)

4 to 5 med. tomatoes

10 large basil leaves

1 c. mozzarella pearls

salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic

2 T. olive oil

1 T. balsamic vinegar


Cook pasta according to directions.  Rinse and allow to cool.

In the meantime, chop tomatoes into bite sized pieces. 

Chiffonade basil leaves by rolling them up together and slicing thinly.

Add chopped tomatoes, basil shreds and mozzarella to pasta.

In small bowl, add balsamic vinegar, garlic cloves either finely diced or put through garlic press, and salt and pepper to taste.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil.  When whisked together, pour over pasta, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.  Toss gently and serve or chill to serve later.

Mmmm, mmmm.  I could never tire of this combination of flavors.  So simple and such a wonderful fresh taste of summer!


Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
August 23, 2009, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes, side dishes and salads

This morning, Cooper, D.Jones and I walked to a local farmer’s market.  I have been trying to talk D.Jones into joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where you pay a fee beginning in February and throughout the growing season, you pick up a weekly 3/4 bushel box from a neighborhood drop site and enjoy locally grown, seasonal produce.

He thinks I wouldn’t use it all and we would feel awful for wasting any of it.  I’m trying to convince him otherwise.

So, when we went to the farmer’s market today, we picked up some gorgeous beets and I promptly went home and began looking up recipes with which to use them.

I found this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis and made a few minor modifications to come up with this….

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 T. honey

1/4 c. olive oil

salt and pepper

4 to 5 med to large beets, cooked and peeled and cut into bit sized cubes

4 c. mixed salad greens

1 handful walnuts and 1 handful almonds, toasted

1 oz. craisins (I used an individual snack pack)

1 ripe avocado, cut into bite sized cubes

crumbed goat cheese


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil. 

Whisk vinegar, honey and shallots in bowl.  Slowly add olive oil while whisking. 

Place cubed beets in bowl and drizzle with just enough of the above vinaigrette to toss to coat.  Place beets on foil-covered baking sheet and roast  for 12 to 15 minutes.  The beets will begin to carmelize. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Toss mixed salad greens, walnuts, almonds, and craisins with remaining vinaigrette.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Divide salad between 2 to 3 large plates.  Place cubed avocado and beets on top of salad and then sprinkle with goat cheese. 


Deconstructed “sushi” bowls
August 15, 2009, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes

Now, this meal idea deserves some credit, and I know I got it off of one of the food blogs that I check out on a regular basis, but of course, now that I need to give someone credit, I can’t, for the life of me, find the original link or recipe!  So, if you are that person and you happen upon mine, I apologize.  Drop me a line so I can give credit where credit is due!

This has become one of my favorite light summer suppers.  It’s fresh and wonderful and filled with the vegetables of the season.  (or, whatever you want to add, which is an additional beautiful aspect of this dish!)

Deconstructed Sushi

Sushi rice or brown rice (1 c. uncooked)

2 to 3 large radishes

1/2 english cucumber

3 to 4 water chestnuts

6 to 8 baby carrots

3 green onions

1 sheet of Nori

1/2 avocado

brown rice vinegar

agave nectar (if you have it and want to use it…it’s not necessary for the dish)


Cook the rice according to directions on the package.   I usually make this with brown rice, but happened to have sushi rice on hand tonight, so I’ve done it both ways.  It makes no difference.

Once rice is cooked, move it to a glass bowl.  Add 2 T. brown rice vinegar and about 1/2 tsp agave nectar.  Toss with the rice and cool it in the fridge.

Cut up all of the vegetables in whatever form you like.  I usually try to julienne the baby carrots and the radishes,  dice the water chestnuts, and cut the cucumber and avocado into small cubes.  (for my husband’s bowl, I also usually throw in a handful of raw broccoli because he loves it).  Really, use any veggies you like and you’ll be just fine.


Toast your nori sheets over a small flame…the flame of my gas stovetop works perfectly.  Once it turns a darker shade of green, it is toasted, which brings out more of the flavor.

You can also add toasted sesame seeds if you like.

Take cooled rice from refrigerator and seperate into serving bowls.  Top with veggies of choice, crumble nori over the top, and then shake on some soy sauce and dig in. 

Nice and cool on a hot summer evening!


Tomato Pie
August 4, 2009, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes

Yet another way to use those juicy, ripe, scrumptious tomatoes from your garden.  This time, I made a spinoff of a southern dish that I’ve heard called “Mater Pie”.  It usually has bacon in it, and I made a few other small changes.  Either way, it turned out deeeelish!

Tomato Pie

3 to 4 tomatoes

1 deep dish pie crust (if you make your own, more power to ya.  I bought an all-vegetable frozen version)

3 to 4 green onions

2 vegetarian sausage patties

3/4 c. nayonaise (or regular mayo, but not miracle whip)

1 c. sharp cheddar, shredded

And here it is.  Simple as…you guessed it…pie.  (My apologies for that one.  I couldn’t help myself).

Preheat oven to 350.  Pre-bake your pie crust for 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool while you do the rest.  Slice tomatoes and layer them in to the pie crust. 


Heat the vegetarian sausage patties through, and then use a fork to mash them into crumbled sausage.  Sprinkle over tomatoes.  Slice green onions into small rounds and sprinkle over the sausage.  Sprinkle the shredded chedddar on top of that, and then top with the mayo.  Do your best to spread the mayo on so it’s even.  If it mixes with the cheddar, that’s fine, just try to make it look smooth and relatively evenly spread.

Bake for 40 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned on top.


With the addition of a side salad, it was perfect.  I must say, the bottom crust did get a tad soggy, so I might experiment with trying to get some of the juice and seeds out of my tomatoes next time, but it wasn’t too bad, and both D.Jones and I loved it!