In the spirit of Christmas, my next few five posts will be random things for others.  Today is for G.

1>> minecraft tee from threadless.
2 >> pug clock.
3 >> this beethoven ipod dock would blow g's mind.
4 >> stop motion camera.
5 >> feather pencil.


FML ice cream.

Thus far this week has been pretty fucking terrible.  I battled the stomach flu and now await the arrival of my monthly friend.  Maybe this is a bit too much information, but not only did I want to explain my absence this week, I wanted to explain where my head is.
 I have a confession to make.   I don't really like ice cream.  I definitely don't hate it, but it's rare for an entire container to be eaten before it turns to that crystallized gummy goo.  There is an exception, of course, and that is this particular time of the month.  It's not uncommon for J to get a request late at night to go to the store and purchase a tiny little carton of ice cream.  He always asks what I want and I always tell him to surprise me. Knowing that choosing incorrectly during this crucial time of the month could end in a teary temper tantrum, he wisely asks me to be more specific.  My response is always the same. Something with chocolate, something crunchy and something salty. 
This month, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and create my own pms ice cream. It doesn't alleviate mood swings, or bloating or my sometimes bitchy demeanor, but it's salty, crunchy and chocolatey. And that is good enough for me.

Chocolate Covered Bugles
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  •   Bugles 

In a small non-stick pan melt chocolate chips over med-low heat until totally melted. Dip each bugle half way into chocolate and place on wax paper or plastic wrap covered cookie sheet to cool. 

FML Ice Cream
  • 2 cups heavy cream 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  •  1 Tb. vanilla 
  • 5 egg yolks 
  •  pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup chocolate covered bugles

In a large sauce pan bring cream and milk to a simmer over med. low heat.  Very careful not to boil. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks. Slowly add 1 ladle full of milk/cream mixture to eggs 1 ladle full at a time, whisking constantly. Continue until 1/2 milk/cream is combined. Pour mixture into pan with remaining mixture and cook over low heat, whisking constantly. Cook until mixture coats the back of a spoon. It should be about the consistency of maple syrup. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or over night (or, if you are really needing a fix, pop it in the freezer for about 30-40 minutes.)

 After sufficiently chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions.
After churned, add peanut butter and bugles and churn until mixed throughout.  Place in a 9x13 pan and freeze for another hour or two, or until hardened. Serve to others or eat directly from pan.
If any is left store in an airtight container in freezer for a few days. 

Best Days.

Food, decorations, board games, and sleeping in, it couldn't have been better.  Well, except for chasing a certain little cat out of the Christmas tree over and over and over again.  The boys found it entertaining and we mostly did, minus the broken glass and the removal of all ornaments for the time being.

It really feels like the holidays have begun.  We are all excited and have lots of projects in the works.  Stay tuned.  Hope everybody had a wonderful and relaxing holiday weekend!

1>> post thanksgiving day green smoothie.
2 >> best breakfast sandwich. kale and ham frittata on a rosemary + parmesan biscuit.
3 >> "the longest garland" the boys and I made.
4>> pizza night is the best night.
5>> sunday breakfast. left over pizza with an egg on top.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Yesterday we had a quiet family dinner at home. It was relaxed and lovely.
We hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend.  Enjoy!


Woolgathering // Family way.

 "For what it's worth, we have nice things but they don't work"; it's a quote I was reminded of during a rather spirited break table discussion last week. Well maybe discussion is not the right word, more of a impromptu therapy session. Wherein, we make cracks on ourselves and each other about the fact that we have chosen to be adults who work on bicycles as a career. Certainly not glamorous work most days, and definitely not the kind of thing that makes you excess amounts of disposable cash. Despite the fact that I try to remind myself often, I still sometimes forget that's not why I do it. It's not why any of us do it. I am of course, assuming. But I am pretty sure I am right.

      If I had to guess, I would say we stay because we remind each other of, or consider each other family. Dynamic interactions and a sense of belonging is sometimes much more appealing than the trappings of a normal 9:00 to 5:00. I know it is for me. Knowing that everyday you can depend on people to be there for you no matter what, or consistently let you down is comforting. Just like a real family, I cannot stand some of the people I am around everyday, but I deal with it the best way I know how. A combination of inappropriate jokes and total avoidance. Somewhat childish, always effective. Seriously though, I really do consider some of these dudes my family. That is why I do what I do. I am glad to be reminded sometimes, that I really am lucky, despite what my bank account says.

I had no intentions of writing any kind of holiday themed post, so even at the risk of being cheesy I am just going to come out and say it. I am totally, (mostly) thankful. 

For my various families. The ones that keep me sane. The ones that keep me fed. The ones that have my back. The ones that know how to party. The ones that call me on my shit. Even the ones that really suck. I am thankful.

If you feel like I am talking to you, I probably am.

Thankful for my families. All of them. This is where I've been.



Maple Pecan Spice Cake

Last week (or maybe the week before), we received a big ol' box of pecans. 10 pounds to be exact. When G was down visiting his grandparents outside of Austin, he called to tell me they were harvesting pecans and asked if I would want some. I responded yes, not really realizing what I was in for.  So, the task has been figuring out ways to utilize the nuts. All ten pounds of them.

I immediately remembered an issue of Gourmet from 2007.  It had a towering spice cake on the cover with cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans up the side.  I knew I had to make it.  So, I did! With a few modifications, of course.  This cake would be a great addition to any holiday dinner or party.  It is fairly easy to throw together, but special enough to usurp the usual suspects.

Maple Spice Cake
( adapted from Gourmet, April 2007)
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter softened, plus more for pans
  • 2 3/4 AP flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make sure racks are in the middle of oven.  Butter and flour 2-9 inch round cake pans, knocking out excess flour.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in large bowl.  Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar on medium-high for 3-5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add maple syrup and beat well to combine.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour. Mixing on low, until just combined.
Spoon batter into prepared pans and smooth. Drop pans onto counter a few times to expel air.  Bake until golden and tops are just baked and are springy to the touch. **The recipe calls for 30-35 minutes but my oven tends to bake quickly.  I would check around the 20 minute mark to gauge how quickly they are baking.
Cool in pans for 5-10 minutes, and invert on cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 packages cream cheese frosting, cold
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped for outside of cake
Cream butter until smooth.  Add cold cream cheese and beat until combined.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired flavor and consistency are reached.  Add vanilla.

Assemble cake and enjoy!



1 >> craft project with the boys.
2 >> beautiful vintage ornaments from SOV.
3 >> cat hook.
4 >> the cutest!
5 >> yes, please!!

Florentine Biscuit Sandwich

Believe it or not, sometimes we just cook because we are hungry. No underlying motive or thought out plan of execution. Just a simple meal. I know, crazy, right?! Honestly though, that is really how the best things happen. This is one of those recipes. Something just whipped up one Sunday morning without much thought. It wasn't until we found ourselves still talking about it days later that we became thankful that it has just become routine for us to write down recipes as we make them.

Make no mistake, these are not fancy. Just super easy, straightforward, get on with your day type food. Oh, and really delicious. So, make some, then go on about your day.

Florentine Biscuit Sandwich     

  •  your favorite biscuits, homemade or otherwise
  • good quality ham or proscuitto   
  • parmesan, optional
  • 1/3 cup diced onion 
  •  1 cup cherry tomato, halved 
  •  1 cup chopped fresh spinach 
  • 4 eggs 
  •  4 Tb. milk 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a small saute pan, cook onion with a small amount of butter or oil over med. heat until translucent and soft. Remove and let cool slightly. In a medium sized bowl combine eggs, milk and salt, mix until just combined, add in remaining ingredients.    

Pour into jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with lip. ** We used a 9 x13 which made for quick cooking time, but a thin layer of egg.  We doubled (or maybe tripled ) what we used on the sandwich.  If you use a smaller pan, you will end up with a thicker layer of egg but cooking time will vary.

Bake for 5-7 minutes or until center of eggs are set.  Cool slightly and cut into squares or use a biscuit cutter.  Make up your breakfast sandwich.  Enjoy.


lemon + olive oil cakes

Simple, delicious and easy.  This recipe is perfect for a last minute brunch or coffee with friends.  It utilizes ingredients most of us have on hand, and it's pretty.  What's not to love?

Lemon Olive Oil Cakes

  • 3 lemons ( in addition to those used for juice) sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons, melted butter
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)

In a non reactive pan, combine sugar, lemon juice, pinch of salt and lemon slices.  Simmer over medium low heat until slices are translucent and lquid has turned into a thin syrup.  Remove slices from pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs.  Whisk together until homogenous.  Add olive oil, melted butter and yogurt. Mix until well combined.

Fold liquid mixture into dry ingredients.  The batter will be thick and lumpy. Don't over mix!
Grease cupcake tin and fill 3/4 of the way full.  Place a single lemon slice on top of each cake.
Bake for 17-22 minutes OR just until the tops are set and firm to the touch.

Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.  Transfer to cooling rack and and allow to cool to room temperature.  Sift powdered sugar over the tops and enjoy!


Best Days.

So yesterday, it was 70 and blue skies . Today, it is gray clouds spitting tiny white flakes that melt the moment they touch the ground. Midwestern fall, I will never understand you. Since the weekend was so beautiful (albeit, unbelievably windy) we took advantage of what may have been the last nice day of the year. Or perhaps, the last nice day ever, depending on what calender you follow.

Despite the unseasonable temps. fresh on our minds, fall has definitely caught hold in this house . Our food is getting heartier. Our clothes are getting warmer The anticipation of the upcoming holidays is almost too much for us to bear. We even watched our first X-mas movie last night, just to get our fix. Pretty high spirits all around. Even things like raking don't really seem like a chores right now! So cheers, to gray skies, wet leaves, and another awesome weekend.

1 >> grits for breakfast.
2 >> fresh ravioli.
3 >> best friends
4 >> family picnic.  today it is snowing!
5 >> pumpkin puddings.
6 >> little helper.


simple veggie chili + jalapeño grit cakes

O.K.  Chili can be a touchy subject.  Some reject the idea that meatless chili can even be considered chili, and everybody and their brother has a winning recipe. I happen to love chili in many forms, but I do have an issue with the notion that chili is a one pot wonder.  You know what I mean.  We all know that guy who throws every manner of spice and ingredient into the pot.  Ketchup! Soy Sauce!  Ghost Chili! Pineapple! Cashews! Oats! Corn! You get the idea.

I understand how much fun it can be to experiment in the kitchen, but the unfortunate thing about kitchen sink chili is that all of the good things about it are lost. Combining random ingredients and spices and cooking indefinitely just results in a muddy flavor.  But, it doesn't have to be so complicated.  Sometimes, simple is good, not to mention easy.

This recipe came from that idea. A quick Sunday afternoon meal that was satisfying, delicious and healthy.  All the components are stripped down and basic to avoid any confusion about the flavors. Together they make something special.

Grit Cakes

  • 2 cups corn meal, or grits
  • 6 cups of veggie stock-make sure you like the flavor because it will determine the flavor of the grit cakes
  • 1-2 tablespoons of minced jalapeno

Combine corn meal and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer.  Stir occasionally until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in jalapeno.  
Grease a 9x13 pan and fill with grits. Smooth the top and cool until room temp.  
Before serving, cut into circles with a ring cutter.  In a medium saute pan heat a few tablespoons of oil.  Brown grit cakes on both sides. Set aside.

 Veggie Chili 

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup sweet pepper, diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos, minced (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 # dried, cooked beans or 3 cans rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion sweet pepper, and hot pepper (if using) and cook for 10 minutes.  Watch closely to ensure they don't burn.
Add chili powder and cumin and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.
Add tomatoes, garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, vinegar and water and beans.  Cook until reduced by half. Season to taste.

Additional Ingredients

  • goat cheese
  • cilantro
  • minced jalapeno
  • minced onion
  • hot sauce.  I left the hot peppers out for the boys.  It definitely needs the kick.


Woolgathering // Year Is A Year.

 Not entirely sure how it happened, but our little blog just celebrated its one year anniversary! Not really sure how that slipped our minds until now, but it did. We are not really ones to make a big production out of things, we do however, feel very strongly about well deserved things being recognized for what they are. So, I suppose, I had betta' recognize!

Lindsay reminds me every so often of how I was somewhat hesitant to enter into this whole venture with her. As we have said countless times, we do everything together. So why not this? Maybe because I was afraid I would have nothing to say (which, at times, is still arguable). Or perhaps, I was afraid no one would give a shit if I did. As I soon found out though, I didn't much care. Turns out, what I needed was a place to spill the things I have always held onto. To open up the curtains and let some light in. Everyone needs that from time to time. She knew it was something I desperately needed then. After a year of doing it, I can finally acknowledge, I really did. 

I can't imagine she was able to predict the kind of year we would have. But it has certainly been one for the books. Lots of big ups, and way, way downs. Countless times I have sat in my usual spot on the couch, while the rest of the house sleeps, typing away on a post never to be published. During these times I carry on a dialogue with myself that typically consists of things like "Whoa dude, way to much info", "Are you allowed to say that?" or "Come on, is it really that bad". Even the worst shit gets typed at least once. Just so I can see it. It's so much clearer to me if I really mean something, when I can see it written out in front of me. Many times, that's all it takes. Sometimes the author is the audience.

When it is not just for me, I am really glad someone is out there reading. So, if that's you, thanks. If you are just some random person who happened upon us because you saw a random picture of tasty treats, thanks to you too.

Happy to have a place where I can talk.

Talk about being a Dad, getting older, disappointment, joy, food, relationships, creating things, life being lived.

Happy we are here. All of us. This is where I have been.


Tofu Po' Boy // Yogurt Tartar

    Cravings are totally unreasonable sometimes. They make you do crazy things. Like, make a big pot of chicken soup in July, or drink wheat beers in January. Who knows why we want the things we want when we want them. We just do. Not to mention, these cravings are at times so strong that they cannot be ignored.

     But what do you do when what you want is not even available to you? My mom makes some of the best fried fish I have ever tasted (yes I am biased, but seriously it is good), and it has been way to long since I have had some. For some reason, I have been fixated on eating it for a week now. Problem is, to make it properly, you need good quality, freshwater fish. I do not have access to this, nor do I have the means to acquire it myself. And store bought fish just will not cut it for this particular application.

     So..........When you don't have what you need, you improvise. And hope for the best.

     Knowing full well that my mama would consider it sacrilege to substitute tofu when cooking anything, I did it anyway. I was desperate. Not to mention, I love tofu. Sorry mom, it's true.

    It certainly was no early summer, no holds barred mid-west fish fry. But, it was good. Really good. It also served to quell my appetite for the aforementioned lake dwellers. At least for now. 

Crispy Cornmeal Tofu 

1 package extra firm tofu // 1/4 cup all purpose flour // 1 cup cornmeal // 1/2 tsp onion powder // 1/2 tsp garlic powder // 1/4 tsp. black pepper // 1 tsp salt // 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional) // 1 Tb. plain yogurt // Juice of 1/2 lemon // Canola oil for frying

Cut tofu into 1/4" thick slices. Place on kitchen towel set in a shallow pan (like a cookie sheet), place another kitchen towel on top along with a smaller pan weighted down with a couple pounds (i.e a small cast iron pan). This step should be done about 20-30 minutes before frying. You want to extract as much moisture from the tofu as possible, but not crush it. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, and spices, mix to combine. In another bowl, mix together 1 cup water with yogurt and lemon juice. In a medium sized skillet (preferably cast iron) heat about 1/2" of oil over med. high heat. Working in batches, dip tofu in water yogurt mixture, then cover in cornmeal mix. Fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Yogurt Tartar

2 Tb. Dill Pickle (chopped fine) // 1 Tb. capers // 1/4 cup plain yogurt (yes, you can use mayo instead) // Juice of 1/2 lemon // 1 tsp. dill // 1 tsp. parsley // 1/2 tsp. Dijon // Louisiana style hot sauce to taste (optional)

Put it in a bowl. Mix it up

Additional Ingredients

Baguette // Romaine, chopped // Red onion, sliced thin // Louisiana hot sauce

Smear the tartar on the bread. Stuff some Tofu in . Top it off with the lettuce, onion and hot sauce. Good to go.


Best Days.

Productive.  That pretty much sums up this weekend.  The living room was given a fresh coat of white paint, things were organized, rearranged and decluttered.  Every year at this time, we try to make our house as livable as possible to last through the long winter.  We still have quite a few more projects to get finished, but we are well on our way!  The rest of the weekend was spent working on some new recipes.  We have a lot of ideas flying around right now, and are looking into some new possibilities for the future.  It feels good to be thinking forward.  Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

1 >> new white paint.
2 >> Lord Winky has already started hibernating.
3 >> tofu po boy.
4 >> the cat whisperer.
5 >> veggie chili + grit cake.

« »

bird & cleaver All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger