Things have been a little different around here lately. As some of you may know, Q left for a 9-month deployment a few weeks ago. Carl and I spent the month before he left at home in Tennessee spending time together as a family. Now we are back in LA, living with my parents (Carl’s grandparents) and working at the job I have had for the past year. We will stay here for the deployment, which is wonderful as I get to be surrounded by friends and family, and then move home once Q returns.
Some say that each deployment gets easier. I think each deployment is just different. New location, new means of communicating, a new role for Q. All which are exciting and empowering for him. As a spouse, I’m just so proud of him and what he is doing. I am SO lucky to have a husband who loves his job, is passionate about what he does and does whatever it takes to get it done.
During Q’s first deployment, I wrote this post. I reread it today and smiled. Much of it is still true and much of it has changed. I certainly stay informed, but I try to limit the amount I read/listen/watch, since it can create more anxiety than soothing. I have strong coping mechanisms that are sort of second nature at this point. I hate being without my partner, not doing the simple things we like to do together, but I know that in 8+ months we will be back to normal again. So I just continue to keep my head up, keep busy, and snuggle Carl each night knowing that this to shall pass. Thanks for all of your well wishes/prayers/positive thoughts. xoxo
Let’s talk about breakfast for dinner. It could be one of my favorite types of meals, but instead of doing the usual cereal/oatmeal/eggs, I decided to make savory waffles, fried eggs and pan-roasted chicken for dinner the other night. The waffles were SO good, honestly better than I thought they were going to be. They are filled with herbs and cheddar cheese and then topped with a fried egg.
This recipe uses what felt like a lot of pots and pans in the kitchen, and required some time management (frying eggs and making waffles at the same time isn’t as easy as it seems), but the end result is totally worth it. I made all of my waffles before I fried my eggs. I made them and then popped them in a 200 degree oven, so they stayed warm while I used up all of the batter.
Gluten-Free Cheddar Herb Waffles
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free baking flour (if you don’t need to be gluten free, use regular all purpose flour)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 6 eggs, divided
- 1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup packed, grated sharp cheddar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme, chives and basil), plus more chives for garnish
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and yeast. Make a well; add two eggs, milk, water, honey and oil. Whisk until smooth. Stir in cheddar and herbs. Set aside until batter is doubled in volume and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Cook according to waffle iron instructions.
- Place a medium frying pan on the stove. Heat the pan on high heat for at least 30 seconds and then add your olive oil. Make sure to coat the bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan. Let the eggs sit and cook for 2-4 minutes. They are done when the whites are cooked through and the edges begin to turn up. (I like to pop mine in a 350 degree oven for 2 minutes at the end to make the eggs more like over-medium, but if the oven isn’t on that can be a pain).
- Divide one waffle into four servings and arrange on plates. Top each with an egg. Garnish with chives.
Hi friends! I have another fun dessert for you today. This one is a Chocolate Dump-It Cake. The term comes from the ase of literally dumping everything in a bowl and baking it! This is probably my favorite go to chocolate cake. It’s one of those “through it in the oven 45 minutes before company comes over and voila, you have dessert” cakes. It is moist, chocolate-y and perfect with a big scoop of ice cream. I sliced four pieces of this cake for a small dinner party, sliced the rest of the cake up, froze it in tupperware and reheated it piece by piece when we wanted some. This cake is perfect for freezing and saving for later! Enjoy!
Chocolate Dump-It Cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 ounces (1/4 pound) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- (For Frosting) 1 ½ cups Nestle’s semisweet-chocolate chips
- (For Frosting) 1 ½ cups sour cream, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack to catch any drips as the cake bakes on the middle rack. In a 2- to 3-quart pot, mix together the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and water. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. It will curdle, but that is ok! Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan (Tip: Be meticulous, and really work the butter and flour into the crevices of the pan. This is a moist cake, so it really needs a well-prepared pan to keep it from sticking).
- When the chocolate in the pot has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions, and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice to blend. Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack. (This can be tricky — if someone is around to help, enlist him.) Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile for the frosting, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler (here is how to make an easy one: http://bakingbites.com/2009/09/how-to-make-a-double-boiler/ ) then let cool to room temperature. Stir in the sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth.
- When the cake is cool, you may frost it as is or cut it in half so that you have 2 layers. There will be extra icing whether you have 1 or 2 layers. (I frost it as is to make it easy!)
Recipe adapted from The New York Times, May 12, 2002
This is one of those OMG-this-is-the-best-weeknight-dinner-ever sort of meals. These peppers and the stuffing were SO delicious and tasty that I ate one every day for lunch and dinner for the three days after making them. And if you aren’t a fan of peppers, make the stuffing alone and eat it with some fried eggs (like I did). Trust me, it is GOOD.
If you don’t feel like making your own semi-homeamde pasta sauce, feel free to skip step 2 (where you blend fresh basil and garlic with tomato sauce and instead use whatever pasta sauce you have on hand). I made 7 peppers (whatever fit in the baking dish), and still had the filling left over (which is great). There is no real science to filling them or how many you can fit, just use up as much as you can (keep it as easy as possible for you!).
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/2 cups chunky tomato sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
- 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup cooked brown (or white/wild/any type) rice
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 -8 medium to large green bell peppers
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a blender or food processor, add 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce, garlic cloves and basil. Blend on high 1-2 minutes until smooth. Set aside. (This step is optional, use pasta sauce if need be!)
- Heat olive oil in a large 10 inch skillet or frying pan over medium high heat. Add diced onions, cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add turkey, breaking up the meat as you stir. Cook for 4-6 minutes or until turkey is cooked and no longer pink. Stir in tomato sauce from the blender, along with oregano, Italian seasoning and spinach. Simmer uncovered on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes; stirring every few minutes. After it is done cooking, stir in beans and rice. Taste, add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- While the turkey and sauce is cooking you can prepare the peppers: Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the ribs and seeds. Rinse out extra seeds and place each pepper next to each other in a greased 2 quart baking dish.
- Fill each pepper with turkey mixture to the top. Add an extra spoonful of remaining tomato sauce on top each pepper with a little mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until peppers are tender. Makes 6-8 peppers!
- (Peppers can be frozen and baked at a later date. Same thing with the filling: prep ahead and freeze if necessary!).