Thursday, February 19, 2009

free stuff

as usual, i have a TON to catch up on, but before that... i have some free schwag to give away!

a PR rep for Red Gold Tomatoes contacted me. he stumbled across my blog, and offered me some free product and merch for my readers (you lucky dogs, you). i've got a cutting board, a T shirt, some key chains, a hat, and some other stuff, so email me if you're interested. they sent a recipe book along with various cans of their tomatoes, so i'll be trying out some meals from there and reporting back to you.

the tomatoes are all natural, to some degree (no preservatives), though as they are not organic, from what i can tell, they still use fertilizers and pesticides. red gold does not have their own fields; they have farmers growing the tomatoes for them. however, the tomatoes are grown in actual fields, not hot houses, thus during actual growing seasons (not year round as a hot house would allow). so that's a plus. i've used them a few times in the past, but my normal brand is Muir Glen, so i'll be sure to let you know how they size up!

and on to everything else...

wednesday, january 28th: homemade black bean burgers topped with cheddar, lettuce, and a scallion lime aioli; sweet potato fries. bryan and i aren't generally fans of black beans, but he made some pretty kick ass burgers, and i made a pretty kick ass aioli, if i may say so myself.

thursday, january 29th: sausages with red onions, stewed lentils, and roasted acorn squash. oliver loves sausage, so it was no surprise that he ate his without any problem. what was a little bit more of the surprise was how much he loved the lentils - he had about 3 helpings.

friday, january 30th: vin santo pot roast with polenta and raisins; glazed carrots (recipe from: La Mia Cucina Toscana, by Pino Luongo). this was really quite delicious.

saturday, january 31st: while doing our grocery shopping at the outpost the previous day, friday, bryan asked our fantastic produce guys what was good. he immediately directed us to the fresh blueberries. which was lucky for bryan and oliver, since i then had fresh blueberries on hand saturday morning in order to make blueberry pancakes. this was a new recipe, using yogurt and seltzer water. it did not disappoint.

the produce guy also recommended the avocados. we decided to pick up a bunch, and utilize one with dinner saturday night. we selected a whole red snapper, which bryan poached with onions, garlic, and lime. we also had garlic lime shrimp, roasted delicata squash, and our standby of saffron rice with peas. the fish was rather sublime with the avocado. we stuffed ourselves.

sunday, february 1st: bryan made posole for lunch. using homemade chipotle peppers. he loves me, it's true.

that afternoon, as it was super bowl sunday, bryan prepped some snacks. he fried some homemade corn tortilla chips, and made a perfect guacamole with more of those avocados. it was a shame for him that i was home, because i hit the guac pretty hard. i love that stuff.

but, lucky for him, i paid him back and made 5 - count 'em, *5* - snack mixes for him to enjoy over the coming weeks:

buttermilk ranch (which oliver loved SO much he actually started saying a new word - MORE),

spicy (using bryan's homemade hot sauce),

maple honey oat raisin,

chili garlic,

and chocolate peanut butter.

i think i won the good wife award that weekend.

monday, february 2nd: ficelle picarde - crêpes filled with ham and mushroom duxelles; sweet peas. oliver, as usual surprised me, and loved the mushrooms.

tuesday, february 3rd: crockpot chicken parmesan, spinach, rolls. as expected, the breading on the chicken didn't crisp, as it was in a crockpot. the cheese also finished a little too quickly. but, for a super easy and pretty tasty weeknight meal, this hit that mark.

wednesday, february 4th: chicken carbonara.

friday, february 6th: roasted butternut squash enchiladas, suizas style. since this was a meatless dish, and bryan needs a little bit of bulk with dinner, we used sprouted wheat tortillas, which added a nice bite (as in toothiness) to the dish. bryan cubed and roasted butternut squash, which i then mixed with corn, cumin, and oregano. i stuffed the tortillas with this mixture and monterrey jack cheese, placed them on top of diced tomatoes (from our garden, which we had froze), topped with a jack cheese sauce, and baked. would you believe, these worked?

sunday, february 8th: i had a special request - bone marrow risotto. we were able to obtain some rather large beef bones from the outpost, which bryan had to use a hacksaw to shorten in order to remove the marrow. since this was a very rich dish, we simply served it with roasted spaghetti squash.

wednesday, february 11th: back around 1/20, i had made pizza casserole, which wasn't spectacular, but i wasn't ready to give up on it. this time around, i re-dubbed it pizza mac. i used pizza spiced pork sausage with the pasta and red sauce, topped it with mozzarella cheese, and then with pepperoni. by placing the pepperoni on top, the fat rendered and crisped. this time around, it was much better.

friday, february 13th: chorizo and saffron baked mac and cheese. this one sums itself up.

saturday, february 14th: ahhh, valentine's day. bryan and i hadn't come up with any plans for our semi romantic dinner (i say semi, as i had a 15 month old rubbing food up and down my left arm). while shopping at the outpost that morning, they had some very lovely whole rainbow trout, so i picked two of those up. bryan broiled the trout and made a white wine lemon dill cream sauce, hashed browns, and sweet peas. i think i've mentioned this before, but i love this sauce. the fish was very good; the whole meal was. for dessert, i made homemade chocolate pudding with a graham cracker topping. i think this dessert made him fall in love with me all over again, so it was perfect for valentine's day. and i must admit, the pudding was pretty damn delicious. bryan now wants it on a regular basis.

sunday, february 15th: on recommendation from my friend (and oliver's godfather) chris, i took the leftover hash browns, mixed them with sour cream, milk, and cheese, and left them in the fridge overnight. sunday morning, i topped them with more cheese, sliced green onions, and baked them. that, along with niman ranch bacon and an egg white omelette with cheddar and tomatillo salsa (we had some extra egg whites leftover, the yolks used in the pudding). everyone was very happy that sunday morning.

monday, february 16th: crockpot tofu in peanut sauce, with spinach. oliver wasn't a giant fan of the tofu, but rice and spinach in a peanut butter based sauce? yes, please! the sauce was a little thick and peanut butter-y, so i think it could stand a little change, but overall, not too bad.

thursday, february 19th: crockpot chicken makhani (indian butter chicken), with peas and rice. this was a big, giant hit with everyone. the chicken was falling off the bone tender. i omitted the cayenne, so that oliver would eat it, and eat it he did - 2 helpings. one taste and he couldn't get it into his mouth fast enough. i think next time, i would use more spices to get a more intense indian flavor, but it has been requested to be on the permanent menu nonetheless.

at the end of january, oliver had his 15 month appointment. 26.4 pounds. he's a GIANT.

and, of course, some random cute child pics:

oliver lounging in his crib, waiting for mom or dad to get up. (sunday, february 1st)

some bath time pictures from that morning (necessitated by allowing him to feed himself oatmeal for breakfast):

(yes, he is saying MOO here)

lovin' up the dogs

reading a book about seurat with dad

the weekend before last (saturday, the 7th), the weather was phenomenal - not only was it above freezing, it was nearly 50 degrees. we headed to the zoo for the day, which was perfect. the weather couldn't have been better for this time of year, and oliver had an absolute blast looking at the animals.

our first stop was the dairy barn. oliver was so incredibly thrilled to see cows, which are easily one of his favorite animals. he was so happy, it was so cute. he kept yelling "MOO! MOO!" at them. we probably could have stayed there all afternoon.

hitchin' a ride with dad

checking out the monkeys

big huge lizard

oliver very much enjoyed running from aquarium to aquarium in the reptile house. he did much better at actually checking out the animal before running off to see the next one.

snacking, growling, and climbing things is hunger inducing (sunday, february 8th)

helping dad make dinner (thursday, february 12th)

friday the 13th, mom came over to put oliver to bed and hang out while bryan took me to the imax to see a special valentine's day presentation - a romantic tour through the stars. we agreed it was kind of cheesy, but it was cute, and a nice little date. mom teased us for being such party animals, and making it home by 9:30 pm.

on valentine's day, i got up with oliver in the morning, and bryan had placed a card from him, a card from oliver, and chocolates out for me to find. (he had gotten me red tulips the day before.) it was a very sweet thing to wake up to.

monkey see,

monkey do (sunday, february 15th)

oliver enjoying his indian butter chicken and rice (thursday, february 19th)

oliver has been sick lately. the never ending cold has had a chest wracking, phlegm-y cough added to it. he seems to be on the mend now, though. he's also been working on that last molar. for a few short weeks there, he was sleeping a solid 12 hours through the night. it was heaven. the cough and tooth ended all that, though. someday, i swear, he will sleep all night, every night. right?!

of course, there are tons more pictures in the january and february galleries.