Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Luke/Giada Project, recipe #2 and #3

November 25, 2013
Recipes Made: 3

Recipes to go: 122

Luke has stayed very busy in the kitchen, and I have not done the best job doing my part and keeping up on my blog.  I mean a promise is a promise.

He got two recipes out at once this time.  He was responsible for making desert for two different family Thanksgivings.  He looked though the cookbook and he chose the Zucchini Carrot Muffins and the Banana Blueberry Muffins. Some of the ingredients like for example brown rice flour were different for Luke to use.  He was very careful when using it because it is quite expensive as far as flour goes. 

Before he started he thought these were going to be easy recipes, and that his favorite would be the blueberry banana, not that he has anything against zucchini and carrots, but as far as muffins go he was not too sure about them.  He said, “Well, I will trust Giada, she would not put anything in her cookbook that is not good.”  

Making muffins from scratch was harder than Luke thought.  We have made muffins before, but never from scratch and never all on his own.  It was a process, and by the time we were done the kitchen was a disaster zone with flour and bananas everywhere, including Luke's hair.  He was a champ and cleaned up his own mess because that is what good chefs do.  I did feel bad after about 30 minutes and helped him out. 

When it was all said and done he had his muffins ready to go and he was surprised to find out that he actually liked the Zucchini Carrot Muffins the best.  We all agreed!

He was very proud of his muffins, and when he passed them out at Thanksgiving you would have thought he was handing out presents, when in fact they were better than presents because of the time a dedication he put into making them, all the way from SCRATCH! 

Stay tuned for the next recipe…and Luke would love to hear from you, if you leave a comment I will be sure he gets the message!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Little Disasters Can Make a Blissful Day

We all have eventful days, sometimes good, sometimes bad.  They may leave you taking in a sigh of relief to see the sun finally set or if you’re like me a margarita or two with dinner.

It was a freezing morning 21 degrees to be exact, which for this Houston native is reason enough to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. When you factor in getting three boys ready for school, one being an infant and you have to be out the door before 7am, it’s a madhouse, thank God for husbands! 

5:45am, I finally unglued my warm and toasty self from the bed and started the morning routine, I get ready first, it is easier that way. I have to use a flashlight to find clothes in the closet because the light is out, still. Wait let me rewind a bit, 4:45am, baby wakes up, diaper change, bottle, back to bed. 6am, begin breakfast, this usually entails cereal, instant oatmeal or doughnuts, and that’s on a good day. On a bad day, dry cereal in a baggie for the car or a qucik stop to What-a-burger on the way to school. Did I mention I am NOT a morning person? But, not this day.  I make fresh baccon, in an actal frying pan, and cresents.  Now this may not sound that impressive to you, but for our house this is noted as a miracle for a school day.  Not that I don’t like to cook, I LOVE to, as you can read about in previous posts, but NEVER early in the morning.  I more of the cook with a glass of wine kind of girl and not with coffee kind of girl.  I was really proud of us all.  It was 6:30 and we were all dressed, and sitting down as a family eating breakfast, mark your record books.  The boys even had on shoes and belts and everything! I could get used to mornings like this, maybe I could try this again tomorrow, maybe…. This was a lot more smoothly than yesterday, when we went to leave in the 25 degree weather and neither of the older boys could find there jackets… anywhere. 6:50am, off to school we go. Traffic is not too bad; this is going to be a great day!
frozen fountain
7:30am, arrive at school the boys help me into school, which consists of Will dragging my school bag across the parking lot, making yet another hole in the bag, but at least they offer to help, right? All the boys get to class, I give the baby a kiss and pass him on to his nursery school teachers, whom he loves, and I am off to teach a fun-filled day of Pre-K.  It actually is fun, once I get there.  Did I mention I am not a morning person?
8am, school begins and school wise the day is eventless, and when you teach pre-K that is a success in itself.  I mean no one threw up in church, to where I had to leap over three students and catch it in my hands because I did not want it to get on the floor, in the house of God, yes this actually happened.

9am, I receive a text, your alarm is going off, constable on the way to your home.What?  Call the husband, he decides to go to the house, which is still super inconvenient, his office is not close, at all. Here I am thinking there are criminal people in my house taking our possessions that we work so hard to provide for our family.  He calls when he get there, to find out the alarm never went off, and the maid was there.  Why the text then?  I call the company and they never received a signal and it must have been a glich in the system.  This is not the first time for this to happen.  I try to cancel our service so we can go with a more reliable company and they go on to tell me that if I cancel before March of 2015 that I will be charged a $1,300 dollar early termination fee.  What? You mean to tell me that I have to pay to cancel a service that is not working properly or malfunctioning? The short answer, YES! I file a ticket to get the fee waved and they at least take off this months alarm fees.  All of that took up my entire planning period, plus my lunch break.  So my husband has spend a good chunck of his work day going home to a alarm that is suppose to be going off, but is not, and I have spent all of my break dealing with this alarm situation. Perfect!

Wait, I left something out, 9:30am, in the middle of all of this, I receive an email from my bank saying there have been several charges on your card from Amazon.  Great, now someone has hacked my Amazon account and is out there charging away.  Between calls with the alarm company I call Amazon and see what all the charges are about.  It all there were 23 charges…so far.  I tell them I have not bought anything since before Christmas on my account.  Right when he tells me the first charge, I figure out exactly what happen.  He begins $13.99 Selena Gomez album download….he goes though all 23 charges that total almost $100 dollars, all songs, all downloaded onto my SONS kindle.  That little rat, I even went and found him in the school before I called Amazon and asked him if he has gotten anything on Amazon, just to make sure.  No, mommy I have not bought anything. Needless to say he is in big dog trouble right now!

3pm, school ends, I stay a little late to get a few things done and work on the baby’s poster because he is baby of the month in his class and this momma is a little behind seeing as it was January 7th. As I am finishing up the poster I receive a call, Charlie has a fever and he needs to be picked up. Poor guy.  On top of this fever now, he has also be dealing with these random hives that we cannot make go away. That’s another story.  I go pick him up, we head home.

4pm, we get home, start homework, start dinner, meatloaf with a balsamic glaze, garlic mashed potatoes, and peas with shallots and a sherry cream sauce. See I told you I like to cook! The baby has had a dose of meds for his fever, I think we are going to make it to boy scouts on time too, which is all the way back to school.  We are not one of those lucky folks where school is right around the cornor.  It’s a great school, but it’s just far from our house.

6pm, about to sit down for dinner, husband still not home, but the boys are hungry.  Quick diaper change, and while the babys hinny is still shining I hear a loud thud followed by a scream. I leave a naked baby on the floor and run to catch blood gushing out of Luke’s mouth in my hands.  He is screaming, my hands are full of blood, the baby is still naked and dinner is getting cold on the table….husband is still not home.  I wash him off, and I am thinking we have an ER trip in our near future. Then I hear the ding of the door sensor, such a relief, as a mother of three little boys sometimes that sound cannot come soon enough, daddy’s home.  He comes in, to well, chaos! I say, Will is trying to get a diaper on the baby, I am icing Luke’s lip trying to get the bleeding to stop, dinner is totally cold, and there is not way we are going to make that boy scouts meeting, but how was the rest of your day, hun? He did not have to ask me the same.

8pm, everyone is bathed, baby is in bed, still however, with a fever, no school for him tomorrow. The boys are reading, and my husband hands me a Margarita, whew! What a day.

Here is another way to look at my day….
1)      No one was actually breaking into our house.

2)      We got a credit on our alarm account for the month.

3)      The maid came, so my house is clean.

4)      No one hacked into my Amazon account.

5)      We had money to cover the charges that Luke made. (A few years ago I could not have said the same.)

6)      I finished the baby’s poster, and did a good job at that.

7)      I actually had a dinner planed, cooked and ready.

8)      Luke did not need stiches.

9)      The baby was asleep before 8pm.

10)  Husband stopped to get Margarita stuff on the way home!

I choose to look at this day full of little successful moments, it could have been so much wose, I go to bed feeling blessed and ready to do it all again in the morning.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Luke/Giada Project, recpie #1

Luke was very excited to begin this project he figured there are 125 recipes, so if he makes two recipes a week he should finish in one year. This mom will do her best to help this happen, while at the same time recording his project into words and pictures.

I really want this to be his project, so other than answering a few questions and being present in the house so he does not burn it down. I will try to stay out of the kitchen, expect for a few snap shots for evidence. With this may come a few spills, messes, cuts, burns and a whole lot of learning.

Now let the fun begin…

November 19, 2013
Recipes Made: 1
Recipes to go: 124

Off to the store we go to get all the ingredients. I have a feeling our pantry is going to have some very interesting ingredients by the time we are done with this. When we checked out Luke told the lady at the register all about what he was doing, he was so proud. When we got home he could hardly wait for us to unload the groceries so that he could start. You may even see a few groceries in the pictures that did not find their way to the pantry before he began.

Now hummus is not usually a dish that most kids enjoy, but not this kid. Luke actually chose to make this recipe first because it was served at the book signing of Giada at William Sonoma, he loved it. Luke has watched and helped us in the kitchen for years, but now he is in the star role and I think he is going to really take off.

He gathered all his ingredients and supplies and was ready to begin. I was surprised to see him rinse the beans for the hummus the way he did. I asked him why he chose the way he did and he said, “this is the way Giada does it,” like they were close friends and he was just over at her place cooking. I do believe that he dreams about cooking with her though.

He carefully cut the ingredients that needed chopping always remembering to tuck his fingers back. This was the first time he got to use our “real” chopping knife, which he was very excited about. The food processor came out and all the ingredients went in, and mostly they stayed in. He did learn that the food processor is very powerful and it will overflow.

It came time to put the hummus on the cucumbers and I was curious to see how he was going to do it. He looked at the picture and asked how she got it to look like that, because it was not just by spooning it on the way the recipe said to do. I told him about the special pastry tool tip that can make things look fancy like the way they did in the picture, and we got ours out and he made his first attempt.

He did very well, however the hummus was not as thick as he had wished so the shape of the fancy tip did not last, but the hummus was delicious. The entire family enjoyed the dish as our appetizer, even baby Charlie. I would say Luke is off to a smashing start.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Luke/Giada Project

From reading my earlier post you can tell that my son loves to cook, right? Meeting Giada has been the highlight of his year and he has not gone one day without talking about it. He has already read the entire cookbook and was eager to start cooking some of her recipes.

Luke has never been one to do things the way you would think a typical kid would, so I was not surprised when he thought up this idea. He came up to me the other night and said, “Mom, you know that movie Julie and Julia, I want to do that, but with Giada’s cookbook. I want to cook my way through her cookbook and then you can write about it on your blog. I mean you already have one, so that part will be easy, right mom?” What I do you think I said?

Stay Tuned…

Monday, November 18, 2013

On Top of The World

How many times have you had the feeling of being on top of the world? These moments are sometimes hard to come by, but cherished when they arrive. My son Luke got a taste at being on top of the world recently, and all it took was meeting his favorite chef Giada DeLaurentiis. Months before her arrival to Houston to do a book signing Luke already had big plans to buy her book and go to William-Sonoma to have her sign it. When the date grew closer his excitement grew as well. He was on the ball when marking our family calendar in the kitchen, and he made sure we all knew when Giada was going to be in town. (Side note: I love how he has marked that we are scheduled to go to Mass each Sunday too!)

I called William-Sonoma the week before the signing to buy her book so we could have a spot in line to get her autograph. Luke also made sure that we bought a book to donate to the Texas NF Foundation as an auction item for Cookies with Santa, a big fundraiser he is involved in this holiday season to benefit Neurofibromatosis, which he suffers from. (see web site and hopefully you can come, After talking to one of the very friendly sales clerks there named, Catherine, she took down my information and we were all set. Before we hung up I thought to ask if there was any way Luke may have the chance to have a few words with Giada? I told her a little about Luke’s story with NF, and then went on to tell her that Luke has been watching her show since he was 2, which was when he started to cook, yes age 2, (you can read about one of his cooking adventures on my blog by clicking the link here and he also wants to before a chef someday. She put me on hold and then came back with a wonderful answer, YES! One of the managers Steven, told us to be there early and to come on in. As if we were being invited into their home. When I told Luke about this amazing news you would have thought I was telling the kid he was going to Disney World. He literally began screaming, the way you see those kids on the commercial screaming when their parents have just told them they were going to Disney. Now that I look back, I wish I would have videoed it because it was so sweet.

The big day was here. Luke pops out of bed and gets dressed with no fight and helps get everyone going. He makes sure we have the NF shirt ready for Giada with a special note and picture that he made for her as well. He packs his NF shirt too so he could change after school and we head for the car. After school could not come soon enough, and Daddy came to get the two younger boys (which Luke and I were very grateful) and we were off.

We got to William-Sonoma and the line was wrapped around the building already and the parking lot was full. We pull in right as another car pulls out; and I knew right then, this was going to be an amazing experience! And it was. We walk in, found Steven, which he lead us right to our two reserved books and then we found ourselves right in front of Giada. Just like that. Luke talked to her for what had to be almost five minutes. He told her all about NF and his aspiration to become a chef someday. He told her about how he loved her show and he has been watching it since he was two. He talked to her with such ease, like they had been friends for years. Her kindness and grace towards Luke brought tears to my eyes. Luke ended with a bang and asked if he could be a guest on her show. Her answer; let me get your information and we will be in contact with you! Okay now he was on cloud nine. Their meeting ended with a picture which I learned later from some of the William-Sonoma staff, she does not usually do, which I totally understand the line was at least 500 people long. Luke’s words, “You never know mom, I just might be on her show, you never know.” I love his attitude!

We made a night of it and went next door and had a dinner date and talked all about his wonderful experience. We walked around a bit out in the crisp fall weather, held hands and shared a cupcake. Of course before leaving he had to go back in to get one last look of Giada, which once he saw her again I think he could have sat there for hours just watching her and listening, and since we were there he started a Christmas list of a few things he wanted. Before he left he even managed to finagle one last hug from Giada.

It was such a magical night for him and because of that it was magical for me too…


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