Tuesday, May 31, 2011

3 Four and Under

Hello Lovely Friends! I have the privilege of guest blogging for Trisha from 3 Four and Under today. Trisha's blog is awesome and packed full of her kids, her crafts and her Etsy Shop. I am so excited for you to visit her rocking blog.  I can  you believe this is my first time guest blogging. Check out my guest post here.

Just a glimpse to tempt your tastebuds

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wyatt and Sookie

Hi everyone I am back to blogging. My dad's surgery (take 2) went wonderfully with no fun surprises this time. He is recouping and doing great. So I wanted to share these great pictures of my cats with you. I finally got some great shots of both cats earlier this week.  As you can probably tell, we had a very lazy morning just hanging around eating breakfast,  taking naps (the cats) and pictures (me).  Both Wyatt and Sookie love to sit on the shelves of my wood IKea kitchen cart and the end table. I guess with cats this cute I can give up my kitchen cart for some fabulous shots.  Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Indroducing Wyatt

OK friends, the conclusion of the cookie calamity has been put on hold till Tuesday. Instead I would like to introduce the newest member of my family, Wyatt.  It has been 5 + months since I lost Raider and it was time to find a friend for Sookie.   
So far Wyatt is really calm and at ease in stressful situations, like coming face to face with a growling Sookie (first 2 days) or getting a bath. He only crys at night but is happy curling up with me in and snuggling in bed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welcome Home Cookies Part #2

So the calamity of cookies continues. So a few days before dad's surgery I made another double batch of these delicious cookies. But I was in a hurry and tired  so mistakes were make, big mistakes. I used white sugar instead of brown sugar.  I didn't want to toss out all that butter and sugar so I continued on with the recipe (after a few choice words).  

So I baked the cookies and although they weren't what I was expecting (they were fluffy and cakey) but they were still yummy and I hate to toss out ingredients.  So I packed off a few to Courtney from Misadventures in Cooking and the rest were divided between work, friends and the overnight bag for the hospital.  Check out Courtney's post about me here!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome Home Cookies: Part #1

I am dedicating this post to the rocking Courtney from Misadventures in Cooking. She shares her cooking and baking triumphs and tribulations on her blog.  I need to share my cooking calamities more since they are not so few and far between lately. My family has certainly had our share of tribulations this week. My dad's surgery on Thursday was crazy, after an hour in surgery he had some blood pressure issues and they stopped surgery. He is fine and feeling good at home. The surgery is rescheduled for the end of May.

So I am so glad to be home. Moving sucks but I love my new place but with everything that has happened in the last 2 weeks, I haven't finished painting or hanging pictures. But it looks great and Sookie and I are feeling very at home. But the last few weeks have been a crazy mixed up calamity of events, starting with these cookies. 

These cookies were the first thing baked in my new apartment and oven. They turned out delicious and super  awesome despite the fact that I  bought the wrong kind of chocolate chips, I got bittersweet 60% dark chocolate baking chips. But after my momentary freak out (it was 11 pm, no way was I running to the store) I decided to change up the recipe. Instead of 1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips I added 1 cup of white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the bittersweet chocolate chips.  They turned out super yummy and the cookies didn't last 3 hours at work. LOL that is why I have no pictures of these freaking delicious cookies, so I used this picture from Martha Stewart. This was the first batch of cookies. Check out part #2 on Thursday. Enjoy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fake it till you Bake it

Fake Fried Chicken

I was recently asked by a friend to come up with healthy versions of kid friendly foods like pizza, tacos and fried chicken. This chicken is a play on one of my old childhood chicken recipes for cornflake chicken. As a child and teen I made cornflake chicken all the time. It was my go to recipe and I made up tons of variations like honey cornflake chicken. This fake fried chicken recipe is super simple. With only ONE ingredient addition, this recipe can be transformed into many different dishes. I like to serve it with low and slow roasted root vegetables. Enjoy!

Fake Fried Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs.
3 cups of low fat buttermilk
3 cups panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1-teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-teaspoon cumin (optional)
In a large mixing bowl or large pot, mix together 1 teaspoon of salt with the buttermilk. Wash and pat the chicken dry. Put the clean chicken into the buttermilk and stir to cover each piece of chicken completely in buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
In a large pie plate or plastic bag mix together the spices and panko breadcrumbs. Lightly beat the eggs and pour into a large plastic gallon bag. Pour 1 to 2 cups flour into a large plastic gallon bag. I like to line up everything in order of use, so the chicken first then flour in bag, followed by eggs in the bag, panko breadcrumbs and finally a large baking dish. Working one piece at a time, dip a piece of buttermilk chicken into the flour and cover completely. Shake of excess and dip into slightly beaten egg. Then cover the chicken into the panko breadcrumbs and then put the chicken into the baking dish. Continue until all the chicken is covered. Please use a separate fork for each dish.
Bake the chicken for approx. 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 140˚F. Serve and enjoy.
Different Variations:
Dijon Mustard: Instead of cumin and garlic substitute 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
BBQ Sauce: Substitute 3 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce for the garlic, cumin and paprika
Dijonaise:  Instead of cumin and garlic substitute 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Please let me know any other variations you come up with!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cinco de Mayo and the Drunk Cupcake

I'm back from my move and I'm so excited to be blogging again!! I can not thank my awesome guest bloggers enough for keeping Calamity Kate's going while I was moving. They were fabulous and I loved how each post was unique and how every ones writing styles were so beautiful. Thanks again guest bloggers! 

My apartment is not yet done. I still need to finish up some painting and hang a few pictures but I love this place and already feel at home. I will be sharing pictures with you soon. Sookie is loving the view from the patio and bedroom windows. The birds fly around and land on the patio which freaks her out. I don't think Sookie knows what to make of them yet but they keep her entertained! I am thrilled to have such a great view and tons of sunlight. I just planted my strawberries, mint, basil, cherry tomatoes and yellow-pear tomatoes yesterday, the rest will have to wait to be planted. 

Back off  kids, these are adult only cupcakes

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Guest Blogger Katrina from In Katrina's Kitchen

Happy Mother's Day
Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

I love Katrina's blog, In Katrina's Kitchen and although I do think she is trying to kill me (although death by incredible photos of delicious food is a pretty good way to go.)   I have been privileged to get to know Katrina. 

Cookie Monster Cookies
 It might surprise you to know that Katrina has only been blogging since late January 2011 and she started on a high note, Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookie Sandwich.  Since then this delicious blog has been a chocolate drizzled, gooey marshmallow filled delightful treat.Katrina rocks and she makes homemade Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies…  yummy!

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies

I’m pleased and honored to be a guest blogger here at Calamity Kate’s Kitchen. I think Kate is just a sweetheart. She always has an encouraging word for me and I know I’m in for a treat whenever I hear from her.
I bring to you a childhood classic in its grown-up form: Hot Ham and Cheese. Do you remember having this sandwich as a child? I make ham and cheese sandwiches all of the time for my children. It is perhaps the quickest and easiest go-to dinner or lunch in my house. I think ham and cheese is so loved by kids because the flavors are usually pretty mild. And who ever refuses melted cheese on warm bread anyway? Throw in a little lean protein and you’re good to go.

This is of course a very basic recipe and can be adjusted to fit your tastes. I used smoked ham, provolone cheese, and green onions. I had intended to throw in some roasted red peppers but I couldn’t get the jar open. Fail. You’ll have to use your imagination. Oh well it was still yummy!

Hot Ham and Cheese All Grown Up
Printable Recipe Here

1 (13.8 oz) can Pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust
4 oz deli ham, thinly sliced
4 oz provolone cheese, thinly sliced
3 green onions, chopped
¼ cup roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375⁰F.
Roll out dough into a rectangle (approx. 9x13 inches) on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Arrange ham and cheese all over the dough. Sprinkle with green onions and red peppers.
Fold the short sides of the rectangle over slightly before folding the whole sandwich lengthwise twice.
Bake seam-side down for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 4.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guest Blogger Ashley from Ashley plus 3

If you haven't been over to visit Ashley plus Three  you are missing out.
Lovely Family

Champagne Risotto with Grilled Steaks

Ashley is a mommy of 2 beautiful kids, a part of For the Love of Blogs (if you aren't a part of FTLOB you need to be) and a her blog is just gorgeous. Not only is Ashley a blogger, she takes the most beautiful pictures, is a fabulous cook but a great, uplifting, fun blogger to read!  
How Sweet! 

Food Photo Fun: Learning how to use White Balance 

Hello friends! It's so exciting to be guest hosting here at Calamity Kate's Kitchen! Today I'm going to share a little tip I learned recently about making food photographs look good.

We all know that when you have a food blog or are sharing a recipe online, you want your pictures to look as good as the food tastes. This can often be hard when you are taking photographs of food indoors and in the evening (when many of us cook our nice dinners we want to photograph and share!) One thing that will really affect your pictures is White Balance.

All cameras come with pre-set White Balance settings. Usually they are Auto, Sun, Cloudy, Shade, Tungsten Light (lightbulbs), Florescent Light and Custom. You may not know where this setting is on your camera but looking at your camera manual will solve that. If you can't find your manual, just google it! Your manual will be online or if you google white balance and your camera model, you will probably find a short cut right to the information. It should be really easy to switch to a difference white balance mode.

Here is an example. Nothing changed in these photos except the white balance. Can you see how drastically different they are? These photos were taken near a window in natural light.

My husband was horrified that I used that lump of pizza dough for this post so I took a pic of some (very sloppy) Easter cupcakes to show you a better example. I took this picture away from natural light, on our kitchen table. This is where taking a good food picture gets tricky in my kitchen. My photos before learning about white balance always came out yellow. Now I can fix that with a quick tweak of my camera settings!

That's it! Super easy and that yucky yellow tint will be gone for good. Good luck!

Thank you to Kate for having me!

XOXO Ashley

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Whimsical Poppysmyic Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Courtney from Misadventures of Cooking, the winner of this  awesome felt flower headband.

Courtney please email Chrissy at Whimsical Poppysmyic with your address.

  1.           Killing Birds is not Art
  2.           Killing Birds is not Art 
  3.           Misadventures in Cooking 
    1. Misadventures in Cooking 
  4.           Miki's Scrapbook
  5.           Miki's Scrapbook
  6.           Miki's scrapbook

True Random Number Generator  4Powered by RANDOM.ORG

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Guest Blogger Courtney from Misadventures in Cooking

    This guest post is courtesy of my friend Courtney, her blog is Misadventures in Cooking.   In Courtney's own words she is a "33 year old cooking novice.  Self diagnosed with Mageirocophobia (fear of cooking).  Working on it one small dish at a time."   But this girl is crazy hysterical funny and very brave in the kitchen. What other "kitchen novice would attempt and this?

    Check out this amazing family bread recipe that looks incredible and absolutely delicious (also my bread has never looked like that ever).

    Also Courtney has mad frosting skills, check out her first time  frosting a cupcakes, it is gorgeous.

    Chicken Cacciatore for Dummies

    Let’s just start out saying that I am not a dummy.
    (I actually did really well in school – and I’ve handled real life pretty well, too, if I do say so myself.)
    But when it comes to cooking, I have some challenges.
    And a lot of time, I’m drawn to recipes that are considered ‘easy’, ‘idiot-proof’, or ‘for dummies’.
    Since I’m lucky enough to be guest posting here at Calamity Kate’s, I thought I’d go all out – and pick a supposed idiot-proof fancy dish.
    (You know the ones that I mean.  The ones that you see on restaurant menus and have a hard time pronouncing…like foie gras, cioppino, and pappardelle.)
    Oh, yes.  I want to prove that if I can make it, anyone can.

    The Recipe:

    Chicken Cacciatore from Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network

    4 chicken thighs
    2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
    2 t salt, plus more to taste
    1 t freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
    1/2 c all purpose flour, for dredging
    3 T olive oil
    1 large red bell pepper, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    3/4 c dry white wine
    1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
    3/4 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
    3 T drained capers
    1 1/2 t dried oregano leaves
    1/4 c coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
    Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.
    In a large heavy sauté pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, sauté it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and sauté over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.
    Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.
    The Results:
    Since I was intimidated by the phrase “halved crosswise” I just used some boneless breasts and thighs (they were on sale – and easy to find while dragging my two boys around the grocery store).  Note to self and everyone else out there: when a recipe says to use bone-in and with-skin chicken, it is for a good reason – probably flavor.
    But I’ll get back to that in a minute.
    To start the recipe I had to touch raw chicken.  I hate doing this with a passion.  It completely grosses me out, and I’m a tad paranoid about food poisoning.  But I did it.  I dredged (never done that before), and it wasn’t too bad.
    Browning the chicken and making the sauce was actually pretty easy.  (Except when I added the onions -– hot oily pan = hot oily splatters!)

    It did smell heavenly…I do love that about cooking; the smells can turn out amazing.
    I added back the chicken and periodically checked on it (meaning between changing diapers, feeding my four year old, letting the dog out, etc., I would stop by and make sure nothing was burning).  I also made sure to use my handy-dandy meat thermometer to make sure the chicken came up to the correct temperature.

    Look at all that color!
    I also cooked up some quick egg noodles to make it a full meal.  And I even timed it out correctly.
    I plated it all and was excited to dig in.  And the sauce was delicious!  So flavorful and balanced.
    But the chicken… it was kind of bland.  And now I know it’s my own fault.
    Must follow directions.   Must follow directions.  Must follow directions!
    Guess maybe I am a dummy.
    But only slightly, right?
    And if I can do it with only one major mistake, and you already know what that is, YOU can do it perfectly!
    Good luck and happy cooking!
    Hey, at least it looks good!