I had 50 of these cute stickers printed about 4 years ago and still have 48 sitting in my stationary drawer.
I enjoy cooking. When I bought my kitchen labels I imagined meals delivered to new mothers, pies welcoming neighbors and homemade toffee for friends and teachers during the holidays.
But since our 3rd child was born and homework started coming home with all 3 children I have had a hard time getting a home-made meal on the table, much less tasty treats for my neighbor (Last week my husband promised to take charge of insuring my 4-year-old completed her homework after I threatened to start gathering troops to storm the school with sharpened pencils and silver protractors)!
After quickly growing tired of
frozen waffles breakfast for dinner and Annie’s maccaroni and cheese (the word “organic” on the box helps absolve a tiny bit of guilt when shaking the neon orange powder into the pan), I went to the internet for help. I found two tools on the web that have helped bring better food to our table.
I thought I would share here on the blog in case you’ve served your children one too many hotdogs this week or Heaven-for-bid SPAM (Diane Swartzendruber, don’t give me that “it’s a delicacy in Hawaii story”.. it is unrecognizable meat that comes in a can and I think we could all probably do without).
My family eats the best when I sit down on Sunday, plan our dinners for the week, pull the recipes, create a grocery list then go to the store for one big weekly shop. But with the multitude of fun weekend opportunities here in Paradise and the rising number of school/church/social obligations for all of my little people, carving the time out to make that process happen, well, has not been happening. And when the Sunday prep doesn’t take place the Kallaher Kitchen usually serves something with a side of Kallaher Ketchup and my worry of raising “Anti-Foodies”, or really just “Junk Food Junkies”, moves the need to provide healthy meal time solutions for my family higher on my mental to-do list.
The meal planning website No More To Go has really taken the time and stress out of the planning portion of weekday meals at our house. I paid a minimal fee for 5 complete meal ideas to be delivered to my inbox every Friday morning, complete with recipes, grocery lists and even kid friendly pointers. I’ve always liked the challenge of trying a new recipe and Stacey, the fabulous home taught chef behind No More To Go, includes a large variety of recipes in her weekly rotation (which means no searching on the internet for the new idea).
My favorite part of No More to Go is the grocery list. The weekly list is organized by department and coded by recipe. I haven’t been able to go 5 for 5 with the ’No More to Go’ recommendations, meaning cook all 5 meals on my weekly email, but that has not made the use of the week’s grocery list a problem. I just pick the meals I want to cook and then easily cross-off the ingredients that don’t go with the meals that I plan to cook for the week, then I still have a list of the necessary items I need to buy, organized by department, and it only took about 5 minutes to print and put in my purse before a trip to the store!
See my husband’s favorite recipe this month, white chicken chili, here
AND I promised my friend Texas that I would get her the homemade granola recipe that Stacey included as a bonus weekend treat. It was WONDERFUL and also made the house smell great. Click here.
For dinner parties I always go to Tyler Florence for advice (but could certainly use any of the No More to Go meals… Tyler has been with me long before I was introduced to my favorite meal planning website)!
Honestly, besides my recent soire last month, I can not remember the last time I hosted a dinner party. My recent Friendship Project has pushed me to try new things so a couple of weeks ago I made good on a promise I made on the blog to invite a family that I got to know at a child’s birthday party over for dinner (see the old blog post here).
On D-Day (“d”inner party day) I went to the grocery store on my way home from my half marathon training run and by 9:30 a.m. every burner on my stove was turned on high. My husband took our
wild child youngest to the golf course, while her siblings enjoyed a lazy day in the house and I had fun cooking and decorating for our 5:30 dinner date (Saturday night start times have gotten earlier, especially when the kids are included in the festivities).
”Tyler’s Ultimate” 30-minute show on the food network promises the tastiest recipe for whatever the day’s topic, irreverent of time, ease or budget. I’ve enjoyed recipes from Paula Dean, Rachel Ray and The Neely’s, but for complete meals I think Tyler really nails it. I’ve tried several of his combinations with huge success. On D-Day I fixed all 4 recipes from his “Ultimate Chicken Corden Bleu” show. This is the second time I have prepared the entire meal and it is fabulous, fancy, but not too hard to make. (click here for a list of his recently aired ultimate meals).
I need to work on my food blogging skills… I did not take any pictures of my recent D-Day until the food was gone….
I am hoping to don one of my favorite aprons a little more often over the holiday season (my stack of cute aprons are threatening to mock me like my tennis skirts used to do before I actually played tennis). I would love to hear about any kitchen short-cuts that make your life a little easier.Read More
This week my friend Texas and I took our little cowboys with us on our weekly exploration of Miami (weekly exploration described here).
We took in a little Cuban culture and visited Azucar Ice Cream Company on the “main street” (8th Street) in Little Havana, less than 10 minutes from my house.
Azucar is an artisanal ice cream and sorbet boutique. Normally I would not indulge an ice cream parlor by repeating their marketing material’s fluffy words, but the creator of Azucar went to Penn State’s Ice Cream University and has her abuela’s (grandmother’s) passion for creating tropical ice cream flavors “tattooed on her soul”, y’all. These Latino sabores are for real!
The Cafe Con Leche (coffee and Oreo) was to die for and the Elvis(peanut butter and banana) looked fabulous too. My little niños did not venture too far from chocolate and vanilla and honestly, I think both flavors could have received a gold medal for best in their class they were both just perfect (oh the fruity sorbet looked wonderful, but even so I always go for the chocolate, it’s just who I am).
So fellow Miamians if you haven’t been to Little Havana since last July (when they opened), run! Azucar is the ice cream bomb.
And to all the others, when you find yourself in this corner of paradise, Azucar is the sp0t where you can get a little taste of Heaven!
Find all of the information that you need on Azucar here on their website.Read More
Last week I wrote a bit about the Back to School Party we had at our house but I didn’t give you many of the deets (How do you feel about that word?).
Today I thought I would share a few of my favorite party tricks because I was real pleased with how the whole night turned-out. As I looked over the pictures I realized most of these ideas were stolen from two of the best hostesses that I know in Dallas- JM and the Other Meredith. If there is a team party, teacher appreciation, birthday celebration or even if there is no particular good reason at all, friends of these ladies ALWAYS look to them to host a gathering. I can not think of one time that either of them has not only agreed but been up for a party and opened up their beautiful homes.
Let me give you the skinny!
Both of my friends’ parties always have a theme and are kept as simple as possible. For my back to school party I used apples, books, globes and glasses to establish my theme and pre-prepared almost all of the food so no one was stuck in the kitchen. We used these baskets with liners, like I have seen the Other do many times (but not always of course, some occasions demand china!). The baskets are cute, cheap (the liners were from Amazon Prime and the baskets were already on hand), easy to eat from while standing or sitting AND make for an easy clean-up. LOVE THEM!
The menu was in honor of my husband’s heritage- doesn’t that sound fancy? In other words, he’s from Memphis and we had barbecue- pork, not beef, that’s a Memphis thing! We tried a new pulled pork recipe done in the oven and it turned out great. Check it out (if the link is not working please scroll down to previous post below)
We served the adults, wine beer a signature drink which you will always find at the Other’s house. Not the same drink, a signature for each party that is a surprise at every event..
What is that you see written on the wall? It is chalk from a chalkboard pen! Have you ever heard of it? I had not until JM told me about them and I LOVE them. I bought a pack of 3 at Michael’s over a year ago for about $12 and they work great. I wrote directions so that guests could make their own drink and then labeled the containers of the ingredients (OK the mint was obvious, but the simple syrup might not have been)! I also used this pen to explain that the bright red punch was ‘kid friendly” but I should have written on that pitcher: liquid apple/cherry sugar… i thought it turned out gross, and the floated apples did not look so appetizing, but of course, the kids loved it and the candy-striped paper straws were also a big hit.
JM’s decor is always superb. She is a high-end make-up artist by trade but everything she touches, not just the faces of Dallas high society, should be called art because she is SO talented. Centerpieces scare me but I remembered the advice JM had given me (1) if you think it is too big, it isn’t and (2) it is almost impossible to mess-up a monocolor scheme. These photographs aren’t great because my dining room has no furnishings (the tables are portable and were just moved there for party) and the serving bowls are empty. Please ignore the naked walls and check out the tables.
And finally, like the Other I love to find favors that the kids are excited to take home and can be used to take great party pictures during the party. The globe beach balls and “nerd” glasses did just the trick. I ordered both from the Oriental Trading Company.
How about you? Do you have any go to party tricks that help make your events a success?Read More
This is the recipe for the signature drink I served to the adults at our Back to School Party.
Small handful fresh mint, about 10 leaves
1 cup ice cubes
Splash simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves; cool)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup vodka
2 red apple slices, for garnish
2 green apple slices, for garnish
In a tall glass, crush mint leaves with a muddler. Top with ice, simple syrup, apple juice and vodka. Garnish with red and green apples slices and serve.
I have had great luck with Tyler Florence’s recipes. I can’t think of one that did not turn out great, and this slow cooked pork shoulder in the oven did not disapoint. I made this recipe for a large group of 12 adults and 8 children and plan to make it again from my Memphis native in-laws, which should tell you it is good because I would not serve these barbecue experts a shoulder that wasn’t spectacular.
We did not use Tyler’s barbecue sauce recipe below because my husband likes to make his own and he says he will not share his secret recipe (I think because he doesn’t know what it is… his sauce is great, but always turns out different, so I think he just wings it!). I’m sure Tyler’s is great though!
Finally, putting the cole slaw on the sandwich really makes it perfect. I did not take the time to make homemade dressing but used fresh cabbage and Marie’s Cole Slaw dressing found in the refrigerated aisle of most grocery stores that I have been too, and it was great.
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt
Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 hamburger buns
1 recipe Spicy Slaw, recipe follows
Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time for, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Put the pork in a roasting pan and bake for about 6 hours. Basically, roast the pork until it’s falling apart and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F.
To make the barbecue sauce: combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
Remove the pork roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While still warm, take 2 forks and “pull” the meat to form shreds. Using 2 forks, shred the pork by steadying the meat with 1 fork and pulling it away with the other. Put the shredded pork in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the shredded pork and mix well to coat.
To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom 1/2 of the hamburger bun, and top with the spicy slaw. Serve with pickle spears and the remaining sauce on the side.Read More
Does my title remind you of the movie Sweet Home Alabama? Reece Witherspoon’s character had returned home and was not too impressed when she saw her highschool friend toting her baby on her hip in the local hang-out: “you have a baby, in a bar?”
My children didn’t seem to mind being at a local happy hour and if we did get any funny Reece Witherspoon looks I didn’t notice because it was loud, we were sitting outside on a beautiful late afternoon and every little Kallaher was eating a delicious dinner.
It was 5:30, and my kids and I had been running errands in South Miami and we were all hungry. That day it felt too late to deal with the stove and I could not face the golden arches.
We were walking back to the car and passed a restaurant I had always wanted to try. I noticed there was outdoor seating, so we took a seat.
We were at Town Kitchen and Bar at 7301 57th Court, South Miami.
The 3 sprites I treated my kids too might have cost more than our food. Well, not quite now that I think about it but it was not very expensive because Town has a happy hour menu that they serve daily from 4-7 pm. We started our meal with calamari that my son recently realized that he likes ($6). The kids shared a Margherita pizza ($8) and I had a tuna avocado on toast concoction ($7) that was quite good while I sipped on my free glass of champagne (that they offer to all adults over 21). Only $25 for dinner at what some critics say is the best restaurant in South Miami and what made it even better was no dishes for me that night!
Friends from Dallas are vacationing on Miami Beach this week and we will only get to see them for one day before we go on our own trip. I wanted to make sure to leave them with a list of restaurants we’ve enjoyed with the kids, because in our family that honestly does not happen very often (I really wish that wasn’t the case but my kids are usually more interested in exploring the new scenery then enjoying their food and sometimes that makes me lose my appetite).
As I completed this list I realized that it worked out pretty well because each spot is in a different part of Miami. If this were a “fun and delicious spots to eat with your children” guide that you followed daily on your vacation, you would get a great tour!
Big Pink 157 Collins Avenue, 33139 (South Beach)
They had us at pink. From the Volkswagen bug parked out front to the seats inside everything here is pink and my girls loved it! It’s like a 1950′s diner covered in cotton candy. Their typical diner faire was definitely not typical. My kids and I went for breakfast after witnessing our first (and only, thus far) Atlantic sunrise on the beach. The pancakes were stacked high and the eggs were delicious. Even though it was only 8:00 am I let my kids have a homemade milkshake for desert because, truth be told, I knew I would get to finish what they did not drink. Those shakes were as wonderful as I knew they would be.
Andiamo’s 5600 Biacayne Bay. 33137 (upper East Side)
We sat outside here recently and I’m telling you guys, even in late July we were not that hot. It was about 6 pm, 87 degrees but there was a breeze coming off the ocean (though the restaurant is not right on the ocean) and we felt just fine. Isn’t sitting outside with your children just better? It is for us because we are pretty sure we have the LOUDEST CHILDREN IN THE WORLD (but they are really cute and funny and sweet… just extremely loud!). This pizza was “slap-yo-mamma” good… or I guess whoever’s mama made these pies. The crust was that perfect thickness and the combinations they offered were divine. We were able to order a kids pepperoni and sausage (which my husband tried as well) and then divide a second pie in half trying two of the combinations on the menu. The blank was out of this world.
The Cocowalk Main Hwy, 33133 (Coconut Grove)
Any of the chain restaurants here would be a great place to take your children but my family’s favorite is Chili’s. The kids and husband love the ribs (I probably need to run that statement by my husband… he is from Memphis so I am not sure how Chili’s ribs rate with him, but I do know that I have never seen him meet a rib that he did not eat). I honestly have been disappointed with Chili’s but the kids beg for it and I’m happy for a walk to dinner (it is half a mile from our new house) and a fun night out. You never know what you will see in Coconut Grove and the kids are always entertained by the street performers. I love the music, especially the kid with the guitar on the corner that I know I am going to see on American Idol soon (note thee are many wonderful, non-chain restaurants in Coconut Grove that are just not in “the Cocowalk”). My husband and my favorite is Jaguar’s but we’ll save that for another post… we have not taken the kids there yet).
The Shake Shack South Dixie Highway (Coral Gables)
This New York born restaurant just opened its largest store yet, and second in Florida, in Coral Gables on July 15th. I haven’t been to this location yet because the lines were so long. I have been to the other Florida location on Lincoln Road on South Beach and it was great. It is simply hot dogs, hamburgers and shakes (and beer!) but the ingredients are top-notch “free of artificial trans fats and cooked with 100 percent Renewable energy.” But more importantly to the kids it IS YUMMY! They have done a few special custards just for Miami (key lime pie) and I understand just for Coral GAbles they are serving the “Smokeshack” (apple-wood smoked bacon with chopped cherry peppers and cheese). Let me know when you are going, and I’ll meet you there!
So Bon Appetite to You and Yours. And if, out of the corner of your eye, you see a Ms Witherspoon type give you a funny look, do not fret. You are in the Magic City, the land where anything goes. Trust me. As you are walking out of that bar with your smiling full children you will wave at the children walking in to begin their family’s evening meal.Read More