Hannah is used to me spending hours in the kitchen. Normally cleaning up while I make a mess and typically putting things away already that I haven’t even used.  Sunday we had “blizzard” conditions so I had to post-pone a lunch and thrifting with my Mom and SIL.  Because I thought I would be gone a lot yesterday, I did my grocery shopping on Saturday, um, after walking on the treadmill for one hour at 8% incline, because I am a badass like that! Open-mouthed smile

I ended up not going to the Memorial for Laila (I had her name spelled wrong!)  I just wasn’t mentally up for more sadness and Jacob and Hannah understood.  But I was lucky, because they brought back Laila’s older sister Dahlia to spend the night.  She’s adorable, just turned two, and had feety pajamas – too cute!  Thankfully she’s young enough that she doesn’t even realize her sister is gone.  She moves a mile a minute and is transfixed by remotes – always in search of them!

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At one point I had a small bowl of blueberries on the counter, and she just sat down on the counter and went to town – at one point having blueberries in both hands as if we were going to take them away from her!

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So this was the first Sunday in a LONG time that I’ve actually spent a lot of time in the kitchen and it was. . . comforting.  It’s was weird not planning Superbowl Sunday food.  Yesterday was bittersweet because the best day of the year for him was the Superbowl, but also the saddest because he’d have to wait seven months for the next season to start.  We are in a sports rut in the winter as we both hate basketball and hockey, and the Sox, well, let’s just say they haven’t been that great lately – maybe this year will be better?

You know I love to make Artisan bread all the time – just mix it, let it rise, then bake.  But I stumbled upon a quick white bread recipe on Pinterest and I was intrigued.   I wouldn’t think you could make a decent loaf of bread in less than an hour, let alone 35 minutes!


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That’s how the yeast looked after 10 minutes, nice and bubbly!  I buy my yeast at Sam’s Club and store it in a large Mason jar in the fridge – I’ve had this particular batch of yeast since around November, and it’s just fine – and cheap!  I think the whole container cost $5, and it’s the equivalent to 110 packets of yeast – not joking about that either!

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Of course, since I have a daughter who could live off of bread for the rest of her life and be perfectly fine with it, we cut into this loaf after it rested about 10 minutes – the crust was still crunchy, but the inside of the bread was nice and chewy.

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Once it completely cooled, the crust became soft again, but after putting a piece in the toaster, the crust got nice and crunchy like the Artisan bread.  This one is a keeper, and completely doable on a weeknight for dinner if you are making stew, or something that has a lot of gravy that you could use the bread to soak it all up.  Like Jacky’s Saffron Fettuccine with Spiced Butter (holy balls does it look good!).

So for breakfast yesterday morning I made breakfast baked potatoes – I tweaked the recipe a bit and will post it later this week, but it is a great idea for a brunch or make ahead breakfasts.  My store had Idaho potatoes on sale 4/$1 so I can never pass up a bargain like that!  I tweaked the recipe a bit and got each half of these down to 257 calories and 20 grams of protein.   I made sauteed apples on the side and this was our Sunday brunch.

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Pork shoulder was also on sale at my store – $.99 cents a pound because it was at the expiration date.  I found Jessica’s recipe for pulled pork sandwiches and started cooking that Sunday morning – mine was just under 4 pounds, so mine was ready in 2 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.  Searing your meat before going in the Dutch oven makes all the difference.   I also used Blue Moon beer for the braising liquid.

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The meat was so tender, that the center bone just pulled right out.  I let it cool, took away most of the fat (some fat is good!) and then tossed it in Rudy’s BBQ sauce that my step-son and daughter-in-law brought me from Texas.  If you don’t have a Rudy’s BBQ by your (aka live in Texas) you can use my copycat recipe here – SO close to the real deal.  I bought pretzel buns at the store, and melted some muenster cheese on the bottom, and topped with the BBQ pork and spicy pickles.

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I hate my fucking fluorescent light, so this picture does NO justice to this sammie – super tender, tangy, with a nice salty bite from the cheese.  Jacob LOVED this sandwich – Hannah?  Not so much – it was a bit too BBQ for her, so I just made her a chopped pork sandwich and drizzled a bit of vinegar and Tabasco on hers – but I think the BBQ sauce one was way better.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink, much like Hannah is with most meat.  I still don’t know how that onion loving, non-meat loving, “it’s too spicy” girl came out of my body!

Much like I did before Tony got sick, I spent lots of football Sunday’s in the kitchen while he watched his beloved sport.  I think yesterday was the first time in months that I had that sense of comfort in the kitchen again, although it was weird not to have him swear at the t.v. after a bad call.

But this was all new for Jacob, he’d watch me make a dish, clean up, only to start another one, until at one point he said “What are you making now?!”

  • roasted a chicken for meat for enchiladas later in the week, pulled the meat off
  • made extra noodle chicken noodle soup with the chicken carcass for the kids for lunches
  • made a potato and zucchini quiche for breakfasts later this week
  • made a German potato smoke sausage and sauerkraut soup that tastes amazeballs

And don’t think that I was a bizzy beaver in my kitchen all day!  I am addicted to a new series on Showtime – The Affair.  I had never heard of it until I saw it won some awards on the Golden Globes and I am hooked – I watched 4 episodes yesterday – FOUR HOURS of t.v.!  I would make something, clean the kitchen, then watch an episode, then repeat!  It was actually the perfect way to spend a snowy Sunday.

I think all told we got about 12-14 inches of snow? I was just telling Helen last week that I hadn’t brought out my snow blower all year, so I basically jinxed myself.  Oh well!

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I am off to clean off the car again and warm up the car before heading out – hopefully the roads have been plowed pretty well by now – I have to say though, I am enjoying the $25 I am spending to have a neighborhood kid bobcat my driveway – totally worth the money!

Today starts the first week of strength training for my 16 weeks to becoming a Spartan!  Totally going to kick ass – duh.  Make it a great day!