Musing, discoveries, thoughts and opinions about family life and the lady who coordinates the calendar.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Spinach, I love you!

Mmmmm, spinach. I just never expected to fall in love with spinach. Most of my childhood was spent thinking canned French-cut green beans, was spinach. Sad? Maybe. But true.

My brother loved Popeye so my mom told him that's what the green stuff on his plate was.  My overall vegetable knowledge and exposure was rather non-existent until I got to college. We ate ice berg lettuce, those green beans, sweetened carrots and peas and the occasional broccoli.  Oh, and corn if you count that. It is just how my parents rolled.

Flash forward... in our house, we eat quite a variety of other veggies as well as an extensive amount of spinach.  You'll find it in almost any dish. Is there a recipe spinach cannot go in you ask? I've used spinach puree in smoothies and in baked goods. Makes awesome green cookies. Our latest fave has been spinach dip which is just a great excuse to eat mayonnaise in large quantities.

Today amongst the Sunday Pokemon gaming event, a hot family game of DC Monopoly and reading, I made Spinach Cheese Pastry.  I made it up and I'll write out what I did along with some ideas to improve it.

Spinach Cheese Pastry
8 Tb unsalted, butter, softened
3/4 container of sour cream
2 T grated cheese (parmesan type cheese, I used romano pecorino )
1.5 C (plus extra) Spelt Flour
1/2 t coarse salt

In mixer, I whipped the butter and added the sour cream until blended well.  Add the flour and salt until it is combined but not over worked yet holds together in a ball. Add more flour if needed. Divide into 4 balls, wrap in plastic and put in fridge for 30 minutes. Then take out for about 10-15 minutes before rolling it again.

Flour your surface and your rolling pin well -- you'll use lots of flour. One ball at a time roll it out, flipping and adding more flour as you roll, to create a rounded blob. If you don't add enough flour, then it will stick. Somewhere around 6-8 inches diameter stop. You could cut out a circle with a big enough bowl as your guide.

Add what you want to the center so you have plenty of blob to wrap still, much like a stramboli. We put chopped spinach, chopped basil, ham, salami, and diced tomatoes ~ topped with grated white cheddar and just enough tomato sauce to cover the top. Slowly flip the two shortest edges onto your pile of yumminess bring each of the larger sides flipped over -- looks like a burrito or an envelope. You could work it all to look like a crescent folding over the edge to seal the sides or pinching closed. Poke the dough to make a vent hole -- with a fork.

Preheat oven to 375 and place on a butter or lined baking sheet, as I used a pizza stone and it made the bottom to0 soft.  Bake 20-25 minutes.

Tips: Spelt is tricky and needs extra time to bake so check frequently after 20 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes before you eat. I found that oiled baking sheet worked best when I used the dough to make dessert pockets later. Also if you leave the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes and just roll it out, it worked really well for me, again with the dessert.

Dessert Pockets: As noted above, rolled out the dough, cut with 5 inch circular cookie cutter, and put one teaspoon of Fig Preserve made early this week, into the center. In some I added whole almonds or chopped walnuts too. In some I put just chocolate chips or sugar-free Hershey's bars cut up with above nuts or cashews. I also took a small bit of dough and rolled it with chopped walnuts and in the center I put some Fig Preserve with Sartori BellaVitano Merlot.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It be Cold Outside

Frost dances across our windows. Streets are iced and shining. Branches are breaking from the weight of the snow. And the temperature is well below zero. Hello Winter.

Worked for the man today. In order to do that, I had to leave the house. Which meant I had to drive the van. And that involved getting up early enough to leave time for the van to warm up.  Where I live you never let your gas tank get less then 1/2 empty in the winter and you let your car idle to warm up before you drive it when it is cold. Ignoring these two guidelines can leave you frustrated and stranded.

I woke before my alarm this morning at 530am. What's a mama to do? It was pristinely beautiful outside and so very quite. I got the fire place started, made some chai and plopped my self down to watch the sun rise... and yes, be on line. But it was glorious and it was my time. Did I mention the solitude?  And I was early for work. ( ps. work, please don't expect this... ever.)

I've spent way too much not enough time going through Q's baby pictures. Oh me, oh my, my heart is a glow. I love being his mama. I'm going to share them with him tomorrow. Off to my warm bed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Warm Gingerbread Crackers and Fig Preserves

Busy day in the kitchen. Fiesta Rice for lunch. I ended up baking Gingerbread Crackers with Fig Preserves today. What a gigantic hit. You can make this too. Mary Jane Farms is an amazing resource in both humor and the art of caring for your family and home in her very own get-back-to-the-simple-beauties-of-life ways. It was actually quite sunny today for a chunk of time. The house was filled with light. Loved it.

 I used Spelt flour and had to almost double the oil and water to get the right consistency. I kept adding equal parts oil and water until I got it right ~ a teaspoon at a time. Whenever baking with Spelt, note that you'll have to add moisture in some way.  We made a few Gingerbread people too and we'll add some icing later. As always, we chose someone to share the goodies with and surprised them with a front door delivery. Could there be a better day of lessons? Cooperation, baking, and sharing.

Still Snowing

I just had the best cup of coffee ever. I realize that is because of the two hours of shoveling before hand. Anything I eat or drink right now is blissful. The Big Fella spent more then four hours shoveling and snow blowing.
Of course they worked hard on an assortment of snow sculptures. Both he and Q are sprawled out in front of the fire place right now laughing. Yum. Q feels so much better today too. This blizzard has given us much fun and many moments of laughter already today. And yes, it is still snowing. No work today. Another gift. We'll bake later. Some holiday gifts need our attention. I'm also quite sure video games are in my future. For now, there's a fire that requires our presence.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snow's a coming...

The wee one doesn't feel well. Tired. Sore throat. Dry mouth. Fever. Good day to snuggle at home by the fire, so we did. Tomorrow looks like the perfect day for more snuggles and baking. If my job is closed I'll spend my day smeenching on Q. If I go to work, I think I know a Big Fella who'll gladly smeench Q all day.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Life & Love

Life is the School. Love is the Lesson. This inspires me often when I can't seem to get over my self. Reminding me that we're all here learning and living and loving ~ right along side of eachother. This blog is a place to explore what it means to live life and love. Simple. Straight forward. Always challenging. Equally rewarding.