Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year of the Waffle and Everything Blended

I am a waffle lover. I don't remember exactly when I had my first Belgian Waffle but that was love at first bite!!! I wanted waffles everywhere we went. When I was around ten years old I asked for a waffle maker for Christmas. (another hint toward my foodie tendencies that I ignored back then) It made cute heart-shaped waffles and it beeped when the waffles were ready. The only complaint I had about my pretty heart waffles was that they were not as thick as Belgian waffles. Still, that heart-shaped waffle maker lasted a little over 20 years and it brought me and my family many delicious heart waffles. Here I am over twenty years later (with my own family now) and guess what I asked for this year? THE waffle maker of all waffle makers...

This is the All-Clad 4-square Waffle Maker! It makes the best waffles ever! I've fantasized about this waffle maker (sillly? yes... ridiculous? to some, maybe... ) for over three years now and I finally got the courage to ask for it for Christmas. After all, it will get more than used in this house. Thank you, husband!!! Laugh at me now, but if you ever stay with us and wake up to the best waffles ever, I guarantee you won't laugh at me anymore. So if you wonder what I make on the weekends for breakfast, come on over! We're having "the BEST waffles ever!" as my son has now dubbed them. I'm so proud to have created another waffle lover to pass on the greatest waffle maker of all time! We've even had waffles for dinner already.
As if THE waffle maker wasn't enough, there was an extra surprise for me under the tree.

The Kitchen Aid Immersion Blender with Chopper attachment.
I didn't expect to love this thing as much as I do. It is so easy to whip out and mix waffle batter with!!! It's the best companion ever to the waffle maker! All fun aside, though, I know I'll be using my new immersion blender for soups, smoothies, sauces, and more! I can't wait!
My father gets a huge kick out of me getting so excited about getting household appliances for Christmas, by the way. He couldn't believe I was so excited about getting a waffle maker and an immersion blender and he thought my husband was in trouble until I told him I had asked for these gifts. My Grandmother would have apparently been completely offended to open a household appliance as a gift. I get it and it makes me laugh. I love expanding my kitchen supplies every year and I love that I got exactly what I have been wanting for a long time. One day I hope to have the best stocked kitchen ever so that I and my entire family can make plenty of delicious memories together.
So, it's been a year, and mine and my family's ended pretty darn deliciously! I think it's safe to say that my kids think so, too, since they are currently scarfing down the latest batch of "the BEST waffles ever!!!" ...thanks to my two new kitchen toys and my hubbie.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back to life...

The post Thanksgiving food hangover is not an easy one to overcome. It is so easy to turn to fast food, pizza delivery, and restaurant eating in this busy holiday time frame. Everyone is so busy with work, preparing kids for Christmas pageants, regular after-school activities, staying on top of homework, planning more family get-togethers, moving the Elf on the Shelf every night... how do we still have the energy to get home on time to provide a healthy sit-down dinner? I'll be honest; we just got off of a 3 day pizza binge here at my house. Two of those pizza nights were homemade pizza nights, but still... how much pizza can one family have? It turns out my kids could seemingly go forever just eating pizza. Enough is enough! I ended the madness tonight with one of my favorite go-to recipes ever: Chicken Curry. I'll be quick to note that this is by no means an authentic curry recipe straight out of India. I have done my best to replicate the flavors of my favorite curry dish in a way that I can quickly cook it and get it on the table on a busy night without me having to hunt down hard-to find pastes. I also wish I had a clay oven in which to make my own naan bread to serve with the dish, but alas... if I remember to get it, the grocery store-bought naan bread will have to do.
I have always loved Chicken Curry and so I took it upon myself several years ago to figure out my own version of it. It is a recipe that I somehow always have the ingredients for, and so it comes together in about 20 minutes. It was perfect for tonight! It is a great way to start the week... especially as cold as it's been. Chicken Curry has a way of warming you right up! My kids love this recipe! I just have to be careful to not make it too spicy so they will eat it.
 The ultimate curry recipe is made with an authentic curry paste, but I have always made it with curry powder (since that is what is most readily available in the states).  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Be sure to use plenty of cilantro at the end!

1 onion, sliced
3 carrots, sliced thin
3 stalks of celery, sliced thin
2 potatoes, diced or sliced
4 chicken breasts, sliced
1 can of Coconut milk
1 cup of chicken broth
1/2cup of white wine
3 Tbsp. curry powder
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
Salt and pepper
olive oil
Garlic salt

Jasmine rice

This is a 20 minute recipe, so I have taken a couple of shortcuts since I like to make it a quick meal for a busy night. (Fresh garlic is best here, but in a pinch I always use garlic salt.) It is best to start the rice first. Cook the Jasmine rice according to the package instructions. Once you have the rice on the burner, it is easy to begin with the curry.
Chop the onion, carrots, and celery. Also cut up the chicken at this point. Add about 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a pan and turn heat to med high. Add the onions and chicken and let them begin to cook together. Add a little garlic salt - just enough to cover the tops of the chicken pieces at this point. (Again, garlic salt is not the most kosher of choices, but it is an ingredient that my mom has always used and so it is one that I always use in a pinch to add flavor to my dishes.) Once the chicken has cooked a little bit, stir in the wine and the rest of the veggies. Pour in the coconut milk, chicken broth and add the curry powder. Stir everything together and let the curry come to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes on low heat to let the chicken cook slowly. This way, it will be more tender. The slower you cook this, the better the flavors, but it's very good in 20 mintues!
Add some chopped cilantro at then end. Serve the chicken curry in a bowl over white Jasmine rice topped off with a little more cilantro and you are ready to enjoy!
I would love to hear if you try the recipe and how it turned out for you! Please leave me a comment if you do! If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section as well and I'll be happy to help you with it!