this week in my kitchen

A busy week for us, winding up the school year. But there is always something happening in the kitchen.

Once a week, the kids have to cook dinner, we call it Kids Cook Night. The Girl is perfecting her Pasta with Red Sauce technique, and is quite good! Here’s what she looks like while she tends the pot.

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Baked Chicken Parmesan from Skinnytaste is another people-pleaser in our house. Everyone else had pasta as a side dish, but I skipped it this time.IMG_1976-001

My favorite way to eat the rainbow, chicken stirfry.

IMG_2097IMG_2101And tea, there is always tea.

IMG_1800And caramel brownies to celebrate 8th grade promotion (which is what the call graduation now, apparently).IMG_2085

Linking up with Heather at Beauty That Moves. Click over to be inspired!

how to clean your stove hood filter


A nasty bout of the stomach flu made its way through our family last week. After a couple of days of doing nothing but lay on the couch, I started feeling restless and started puttering around the house, freshening up different corners. I remembered a not-so-fun chore of cleaning the stove hood filters that I had been meaning to get around do for quite a while.  This was the day!

I thought I remembered that the last time I cleaned them I had read about putting them through the dishwasher. So I started googling. I kept coming across this blog post, which actually references this post on cleaning them by immersing the filters in boiling water mixed with baking soda. It worked well, was quick, but a bit smelly.

Here’s how to do it:

Remove your stove hood filters and marvel at how disgustingly gross and greasy they are (the last part is optional).IMG_1933

Next, find your largest pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil.IMG_1938

Measure out 1/2 cup of baking soda and slowly add it to the boiling water. If you add it too fast it will immediately boil over and make a mess of your stovetop, creating another chore for you once this one is over (ahem).

IMG_1942Carefully drop the filters into the boiling water.

IMG_1945Boil for 5 minutes, all the while amusing yourself with watching the disgusting amount a grease coming out of the filters. Flip them over about halfway through if your pot is not big enough to submerge them completely.IMG_1951

After 5 minutes, take them out and give them a good rinse with hot water to get them completely clean. I put mine outside to dry for a little while.

IMG_1955I’m not sure if you can tell, but there is quite a difference between the before and after. The whole thing only took 10-15 minutes and leaves me with that smug homemaker feeling.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

this week in my kitchen

All kinds of things happening in the kitchen this week, starting off with Chocolate Chip Scones on Sunday morning.

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Always a favorite over here is Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss from Rachael Ray.10-IMG_1663 1-IMG_1670

I just made up a recipe for shrimp fajitas, which were pretty good, but I’ve got some notes on how to improve them next time (buy cleaned and deveined shrimp and add jalapenos to the pepper mix).04-IMG_178801-30 shrimp fajitas

My neighbor Minki sent down a delicious plate of chicken topped with pesto and hot pepper. It was delish.06-IMG_1743

And another batch of banana bread. One topped with chocolate chips. That one was gone the first day.05-IMG_1783

It was nice to have on hand when a friend stopped by for tea and a chat. It was so nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.02-4 teaLinking up with Heather at Beauty that Moves. Pop on over there to get all kinds of kitchen inspiration.

 

yarn along

IMG_1761 Just a cotton dish cloth on the needles this week. I love having a drawer full of them in the kitchen. And I like having a stash of them handy for last-minute gift giving. Everyone seems to love a handknit dish cloth. I have made virtually no progress on Tea Leaves in the last couple of weeks, which happens when I start quilting more. It’s a balance. I’ve picked up The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott again. I got it for Christmas, but got distracted by other books. I’m fickle that. It’s historical fiction, which I love about an author I adore. I’m looking forward to finishing it this time!

Linking up with Ginny at Small Things.

cookies


Chocolate chip cookies are the absolute favorite cookies in our house. I’ve tinkered with many recipes over the years and this one has emerged as the all-time favorite. I rarely have to make them myself anymore, as my daughter has taken over as the Head Cookie Baker. However, I did whip up these the other day for Boy #1 to take to school for a party.

26 cookies 126 cookies 226 cookies 31 cookies 21 cookiesHere’s the recipe, I think the difference is the bread flour, but it works with all purpose flour too. If I have time, I refrigerate the dough a bit. The cookies come out a little thicker that way. We often don’t make actual cookies, but put the dough in a pan and make cookie bars. That has become the favorite, because the are thick and gooey. On this day, I doubled the recipe and did both, cookies to give away, and cookie bars to keep. Enjoy! (My daughter named the recipe :))

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c. bread flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 bag  (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside

3. In large bowl combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy

4. Beat in eggs

5. Gradually add flour mixture

6. Stir in chocolate chips

7. Refrigerate dough for an hour (this is optional, but results in thicker cookies)

8. Drop by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets

9. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 12 minutes

10. Take cookies out of the oven, let them cool slightly on the cookie sheet, and then remove to cooling rack to cool

Cookie Bar Variation:

Put dough in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

neighborly gifts

I love it when I get a text from my neighbor Minki that says something like, “Send your son down if you want to try some bread I just made”. Because we all know delicious things will follow. And always adorably packaged. I’ve learned a lot about presentation from her.
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1 bread close up

The bread was so yummy and like nothing I’ve ever had before. It was topped with cheese and corn and was sweet and delicious.

Minki is also an uber-talented crafter, an artist really. She has two blogs, one in English and one in Korean. Don’t be afraid to check out the Korean one, the pictures really tell the story of her beautiful handmade crafts and sweet family.

{this moment}

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8th grade promotion dance. He hates to have his picture taken. So glad I got this one.

{this moment} ~ A single photo – no (or few) words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Linking up with Soulemama.

this week in my kitchen

Linking up with Beauty That Moves. Just a peek at what was happening in my kitchen this week.

Breakfast on the patio.

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Chocolate Chip cookies.

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Not a pretty shot of this Beef Chili. But it was tasty.

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And the first Strawberry Jam of the season. I had forgotten how good homemade jam is.

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And Kids Cook Night. Grilled chicken sandwiches with corn on the cob. I love seeing my kids in the kitchen.

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a walk with teddy

Since I started working out at the gym, poor Teddy hasn’t gotten quite as many walks. And because of the heat, we’ve been staying in a bit more. But this morning, I headed out with Teddy before the heat set in and took along my new camera.

15 teddy15 waterfall15 waterfall 215 lantana15 pink 215 purple15 daylilly15 stone wallI hope you are enjoying your day, wherever you are.