Friday, October 24, 2008

and the cooking begins...

OK...the kids are sleeping, finally, so I can start my cooking for the party. The menu is fairly simple. Chili, cornbread, Asian broccoli slaw, fruit platter (courtesy of Terri), veggie platter with spinach and Parmesan dip. And, of course the chips and dips (Anne claims to know a great beer and cheese dip for pretzels), and scrumptious pumpkin dip (thanks Tracy). Mummified hot dogs for the kids with spooooky mac and cheese. Boy am I hungry. Should I really be cooking when I am this hungry?
I just finished making the apple crisp and is cooking as we speak. The recipe is from Tammy from work and is delicious.

6 apples
1 cup water
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup oats
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon ( i added some pumpkin pie spice too)
1/2 cup softened butter

Spray bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Add 6 peeled and sliced apples to the bottom. Add 1 cup water over the apples. Mix together cake mix, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon. Add softened butter and mix, will be crumbly. Sprinkle over the apples and water. Bake 40-50 min 350 degrees. Yummy!!! Ya'll have to let me know what you think tomorrow...

Kids will have (Tracy requests adults too) pumpkin cupcakes and Halloween cookies. As well as way too much candy that will be received during trick or treat. Mom and Dad may find a way for some of the candy to disappear!

I am taking a chili recipe and cornbread from Chelle at Brown Eyed Baker. I may modify a bit because I think I need a little kick to the chili. We will see.

Tracy and the kids came over for a visit today. Maddy and Cooper are so funny. This may be blackmail someday, all the time those 2 spend playing in Maddy's bed. How is that it's ok now, but ask us in 10 years and we may be changing our tune. They played so great together, Emmitt and Winn too! Back to my cooking, just needed a quick break

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween is here..........

I am in the midst of putting together my Halloween costume for this saturday. We have trick or treat in our neighborhood in Tosa this year on saturday night. It is a huge deal here at the Ehrhardt home, as it is our favorite holiday. The past few years, I have not had a costume for the annual T or T event, and I feel the wrath of Jeff. Last year, not even 48 hours before Winn was born, I was walking around (waddling around is more like it) in a Harlem Globetrotters costume (Curly none-the-less). I looked quite ridiculous as I was walking around with my every 10 min contractions and a bald wig on my head. Note-I purposely did not insert pic here.
I finally got my act together and came up with an idea...and started it ahead of time. My mom is working on part of it, and I will be taking my well-behaved kids (talk to Tracy) to Bartz's for a few select items. I hope it all turns out. I cannot mention to the world what I will be (nor does anyone really care), but a few select people know. I don't have to elaborate on what Jeff will be, since he is the same thing EVERY year, and it is a huge hit EVERY year. But the Captain (not Morgan) will be out on the streets of Tosa this year again!
Jeff and I are planning on going out on Friday, Halloween night! We are hoping to hit a few costume contests. Captain usually does pretty well at the contests. We will see!! Our Halloween party/Winn's birthday should be quite an to follow on Pocket Full of Squirrels.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


The girls had our monthly girls night out last thursday. We went to StirCrazy, the new restaurant in Brookfield. My review on this new place is: new restaurant boasts loud and overly ambitious trainees to wait your table. If you want you can stand in line and watch the cooks make your CRAZY stir fry, or you can just sit on your butt and have them make it for you (hello...yes). All kidding aside, it was alright, not somewhere I'll be rushing to on my lunch break, but may patron again.
It was a good time, and we were home by 9:30pm. A bit early, but it was nice to get home at a reasonable hour.
Conversation ranged from haircuts to halloween costumes to unsupportive significant others (did I say too much)...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers-- Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Today is my first posting from the Barefoot Bloggers, which is a website/blog celebrating the cooking wonders of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa. We receive 2 recipes for the month, and we are to post our cooking adventures on the 2nd and 4th thursday of the month. The first recipe was a Saffron Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash chosen by Rachel of Rachel Likes to Cook,. This seems like the perfect recipe for this cool and rainy weather we have been having here in Wisconsin. I was very excited for my first barefoot blogger recipe!! When I was telling people at work what I was making many seemed leery of the butternut squash. Now I truthfully never had butternut squash before, so I was starting to worry myself...was it really that bad? Well, I am glad I went for it as is. I followed the recipe pretty close to exact (I am known for not measuring, so I made a better effort to do so this time!!!)

The ingredients are as follows:

--- 1 butternut squash (approx 2 lbs)
--- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
--- Kosher salt
--- Freshly ground black pepper
--- 6 cups chicken stock
--- 6 TBSP unsalted butter
--- 2 oz. pancetta
--- 1/2 cup minced shallots
--- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
--- 1/2 cup dry white wine
--- 1 tsp saffron threads
--- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

I peeled the butternut squash (took much longer than anticipated), removed the seeds and cut it into 3/4 inch cubes. I placed in a large bowl and added 2 TBSP Olive oil, salt and pepper, coated well.

I placed the squash on a baking sheet and baked at 400 degrees (I think...I have a crazy oven with a mind of its own) for 30 min, turning once. Now, remember I said I was leery of the butternut squash, since everyone I talked to said they didn't like it. To make sure it was ok to serve to all :), I had to test a piece. It was fantastic!! Note: next time I will get a bigger butternut squash so I can eat some of the extras.

While the squash was roasting, I heated the store-bought (sorry no homemade for me!!) chicken stock in a covered pan, on low. In my Versatility crock pot pan, I melted 6 TBSP butter, and sauteed the diced pancetta (approx 2 oz) and minced shallots (2 large shallots) for 10 minutes. The rice was added and stirred to coat the rice with the butter/pancetta/shallot mixture.

I added 1/2 cup wine (and a glass for myself) and cooked for 3 minutes. Then added 2 ladles of chicken stock to the rice, with the addition of the $$$$saffron$$$$$, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. The mixture was stirred and simmered for 10 minutes until the stock was absorbed.

This process was supposed to continue for 30 minutes, adding 2 ladles of stock at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time cooking until the mixture was a little dry. I never found the mixture to be dry, or even a little dry. So it took much longer than 30 minutes. But eventually, I got the risotto tasting like I thought it should. I then took the risotto off the heat, added the roasted squash and Parmesan cheese.

I cooked the risotto at 9 at night, after dinner. This was pretty much the only time this week I had to cook this! But I am so glad I did, I had myself a small bowl, and it was delicious!

Maddy and I will definitely have it for dinner tonight, maybe Winston too! Thanks Barefoot Bloggers, can't wait for the next one!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Book Club

So there must be about 20 e-mails flying around about book club. We usually randomly pick a book and date to discuss. I'll admit, I don't always finish the book, sometimes I am heavily involved in another one (or more), or simply put, do not have any interest in the book itself. The book this month is as listed below, You Remind Me of Me, by Dan Chaon. The story focuses on the lives of 3 people that are interwoven together by unfortunate events. It is a really good book. Unfortunately, book club happens to fall on this Thursday, which is the first Thursday of the month, which is when Jeff teaches a class on navigating the Fidelity website. Come on now, hello crazy market, do people really need to be doing that now? I have book club here, that's way more important the economy...sure. Anyways, no sitter. So I will find out from Tracy the next book and date.