Friday, July 30, 2010

A least exciting day

This will probably be the shortest, most boring blog post ever. I'm totally ok with this.

The morning went off exactly like every other morning; I didn't get to see Oliver again, I haven't seen him once this week and it's really starting to suck. Bo dropped him off at daycare and I headed off to work with hopes that we'd have grass in the back yard when I got home.

Work was nice and easy today, I didn't have a lot of work to do and was in a meeting at 10, which turned into a work lunch at 12:30, so really I didn't look at anything until 2. I headed out the door at 4 at usual and picked Oliver up at 5:15.

When I got there Kris told me that Oliver had just started to act a little fussy, and that she figured he was getting hungry but she didn't want to give him a bottle and ruin his dinner. Perfect! Bo had a meeting at 3 in London tonight so he was going to be late anyway. I totally cheated tonight though. I was just exhausted feeling, so Oliver and I stopped at Sobey's and picked up half a chicken for his dinner (ok, so I helped a little bit). He sat in his chair in the office and ate with me while I talked to Jen (her and Alex got back from Europe on Monday!) and emailed her the photography tutorial that I found.

Oliver started to get really fussy because he was tired, so I cleaned him up and then we headed upstairs so that he could eat his bottle and relax. He was asleep in seconds, and I mean REALLY asleep. Bo called at 6:00 to say that he was just leaving, then he let me go so that I could take a nap with Oliver (I was exhausted too). I slept until Bo was 20 minutes from home and he called so that I could order us a pizza for dinner (we were supposed to have turkey parm but I was just too tired after a week of getting ready for the appraiser, Hank, to come on Friday). Between ordering the pizza and Bo getting home with it I did tidy up the kitchen, empty the dishwasher, fold the laundry, organize the towels and organize our bedroom.

We ate dinner fairly quickly, and while Oliver briefly woke up to have a few bites of Daddy's pizza and a couple swigs of milk, it wasn't long before Bo was getting him in his pj's and into the crib. I quickly fluffed up the couch and tided up Oliver's toys, and then it was off to bed for both of us. All day I felt like it was Friday, so I'm a little concerned about how tomorrow will go.

Glazed Roast Peameal Bacon, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Carrots

You all may think, my god, could that roast be any sweater???

Well, no, probably not, but it's only the outer crust that is coated with sweet carmel goodness, so it's really not that much when you eat it. Unless you're like me and hog both the ends. Yumm! I also pour the meat sauce over my mashed potatoes, it's heaven!


Glazed Peameal Bacon

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Serves: varies depending on size of the roast, expect three ¼" slices per adult.

Ingredients:

1 peameal bacon roast
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp ground mustard

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place your roast in an oven proof baking dish (yeah corning ware!), making sure that it's big enough to leave 1 or 2 inches around the roast.

3. In a small bowl mix together 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 1 tsp of ground mustard. Pour this over the top of the roast, then put the roast in the oven. Use a turkey baster to baste the meat every 15 minutes.

4. When the roast reaches 110 degrees (about 30 minutes into cooking) mix together the rest of the glaze (1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice and 1 tsp ground mustard). Use this to bast the meat with every 10 minutes until it's finished cooking (the internal temperature is 170 degrees)

5. Remove the roast from the pan and let rest for 15 minutes, tented with foil. Pour and of the juices back into the pan with the glaze "sauce" and use to pour over the meat if that floats your boat.

Enjoy!
 Out of the oven

Resting


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chucks (the size of a golf ball)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/8 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tbl grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Place potato chunks into a large pout and cover with water.

2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Drain the potatoes in a colander.

4. Use a potato ricer with fine holes, and rice the potatoes back into the pot (not over any heat). If you don't have a potato ricer, just put them back in the pot and mash them.

5. Add the sour cream, milk, butter, garlic, salt and pepper to the pot and mix well with a wooden spoon, making sure that the garlic is evenly incorporated through the potatoes. If they still seem a little dry, add a but more butter and milk.

Enjoy!

NOTE: Instead of using the butter and garlic, you can just use some of my garlic butter if you have it on hand in the fridge!.

A NOTE ON POTATO RICERS:
I was a huge skeptic on potato ricers, I thought they were a waste of money, I thought it would be faster to just mash the potatoes, or drag out the hand mixer and beat them into submission. I was wrong though. Walking through the grocery store one day I saw one on sale with 2 disks (different sized holes) for $10. I figured ok, I guess I'll try it. It is SO much faster then mashing by hand, and the texture can not be beat. They turn out so fluffy and so smooth. I really do highly recommend getting one.



Sweet Carrots

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

8 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼" rounds
1 tbl honey

Directions:

1. Place the carrots into a medium pot and cover with water. Add 1 tbl honey and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Cook at a rolling boil for 10 minutes, until fork tender.

2. Drain and serve.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There's just too much to do...

Tuesday started off perfectly normal. Bo dropped a happy Oliver off at daycare, and I made it to work early for the second day in a row. The downside to these mornings is that Oliver keeps sleeping in so I don't get to see him before I leave for work, which totally sucks. I'm almost ashamed to admit this though...it's easier. It's easier on me when Oliver doesn't wake up before I leave for work. When he does and it's happy it's excruciatingly difficult for me to tear myself away and out the door. When he cries when he sees me leaving it's only worse, and I end up fighting tears of remorse for half of my drive because I HATE that I have to go to work every day and can't just be a fun stay at home mom.

I was out of work on time (when am I not), and I picked Oliver up from daycare. He saw me from down the hall as soon as Kris opened the door and was all smiles. Nothing in this world is better. According to Kris he had a great day at daycare, was all smiles and enjoyed playing with the other kids, and he even took a two hour nap. Awesome!

What wasn't awesome was what Kris told me about the other Mom there when I arrived. Her nephew was killed in Afghanistan. It's been all over the news the past week, but it's especially present in our town, a small town on the edge where the city meets the country, full of old time values and a sense of community that's rare today. The entire town has been mourning, all flags at half mast, all signs dedicated to our soldier Brian, only 24 years old. There's one house in our subdivision with big yellow ribbons on their porch, and I kept praying that it wasn't their son (it wasn't). I realized today though that it doesn't matter who's son it was...because he was everyones in this small community. I'm not a supporter of the war, but this also isn't a political issue. It's just a loss.

I had hoped that I wouldn't run into the family for selfish reasons. I do not handle death well, especially because of a few very personal deaths that have left me riddled with guilt. I've been known to say the wrong thing at the worst possible time, and to muddle my words. I didn't want to embarrass myself to a family that deserved the utmost respect. I'll slowing been writing a letter to them in my head over the last day, since Kris explained everything to me. I think I'll try to write it here later, then copy it to a letter to send to them once the emotion of this week (the viewing is tonight) has passed.

Ok, after that it's hard to get back into the swing of the night, but I'll try.

I'm making a fantastic dinner tonight (a roast of pemeal bacon with orange glaze, garlic mashed potatoes and honey boiled carrots), but it takes a bit of prep, so I cut out or early play time and sat Oliver in his high chair right away. He was fantastic drinking his milk and eating some goldfish crackers while I emptied the dishwasher and prepped everything for dinner. I threw the meat in the oven and had the carrots and potatoes ready to go on the cook top so I took Oliver up for a bath. Straight from the bath I put him in his bouncer with his bottle where he immediately passed out. Poor tired little guy.

While Oliver napped I got his laundry going, then cleaned the tub in the guest bath (there was still grout in it from tiling), and cut off all the excess orange stuff peaking out from the yet unfinished edge of the time. Bo got home just as I was finishing that and Oliver was waking up. Perfect timing! Because Oliver was in a fairly good mood we put him in his crib while we installed the new mirror in his bathroom. I had cranked on the potatoes and carrots before we started this mirror, but it went so well we had time to put the two new mirrors up in the master bath as well. Oliver quite enjoyed being able to play in Mommy and Daddy's bathtub while we did that.

Bad news of the night (and disgusting): When Bo went down to the basement to get the tools, he was confronted my a tray of vegetables and half a watermelon...remnants of Oliver's birthday three weeks ago. SO GROSS. Even worse, our main floor powder room toilet has been leaking. This is especially bad because it means that the guest bath is probably leaking as well because they were both installed the same way. Because the builder didn't install the tile the height is kinda all screwed up and it's just a mess for us now. I'm not sure what we're going to do.

Anyway, with the mirrors installed dinner was ready and it was absolutely fantastic. Oliver really liked it too, so now we're two for two when it comes to flavourful dinners! After dinner I cleaned up the kitchen then headed upstairs to watch tv with Bo while I folded Oliver's clothes. By 10 I could barely keep my eyes open, and Oliver was already asleep so we all packed it in. Well, Bo had a bath first, but I was asleep before it made it to bed so I don't know how much later he was.

Teriyaki Chicken, Roasted New Potatoes and Broccoli


This was a nice and easy meal to make, though it did require a little bit of prep work on the teriyaki sauce.

Teriyaki Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you can use any type of chicken though, just adjust your cooking times)
1 tbl cornstarch
1 tbl water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the cornstarch, water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and ground black pepper. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles.

3. Coat your chicken with the sauce and the place it on a cooling rack over a rimmed cookie sheet (if you're like me and dread the clean-up, line the sheet with foil first). Baste the chicken with the sauce every 10 minutes during cooking.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn pieces over, and bake for another 20 minutes, until no longer pink, juices run clear and the internal temperature is 180 degrees. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes, lightly tented with foil to absorb all their juices.
NOTES: Because Oliver was having a major freak out during cooking, I didn't baste the chicken at all during cooking and it still tasted quite good. I just threw some sauce on at the end and cranked the broiler up for a minute. I've also made chicken thighs like this (boneless, skinless), by putting them in a glass baking dish and just covering with the sauce (no basting) and it was great too.


Roasted New Potatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients:
 
2 lbs small new potatoes (I prefer red)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbl salt (I prefer freshly ground sea salt)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (this stuff is like gold, check your spice isle)
 
Directions:
 
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
 
2. Slice the small potatoes into halves, and medium to large potatoes into quarters. Just try to make the potato pieces close to the same size.
 
3. Put the potato chunks onto a rimmed baking sheet and top with the oil, salt, Italian seasoning and Old Bay Seasoning. Use your hands to mix it all together, making sure that each piece of potato is well and evenly coated with oil and the spices. Make sure that the bottom of the pan is covered in oil too.
 
4. Arrange all the pieces skin side down. Doing this first ensures that the cut edges cook a bit, and means that they won't stick to the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, and then toss the potatoes so that they're now cut side down. Bake 15 minutes and then toss again.  Bake for a final 15 minutes. 
 
Quick Cook Broccoli
 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients:
 
3 heads of broccoli, tips cut into manageable pieces and stalks removed
4 tbl butter
salt and pepper to taste
 
Directions
 
1. Add the broccoli and butter to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until softened and bright green in colour, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
NOTE: A few other tasty additions to this broccoli are minced garlic, slivered almonds, chopped peanuts, sliced bell peppers or red pepper flakes (for some heat)

The best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies you, your Momma, your Grandma and your Grandma's Daddy ever tasted!

Seriously. The title can not lie (it's like incapable or some shit).

I had been on the hunt for YEARS (really, close to a decade) for the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie because it's Bo's favourite and he really doesn't ask for much. I thought that I had it, Bo always requested it, the guys at his work always looked forward to them. They were the shit. Until I tasted Jen's (my cousin via Bo). She kicked my cookies ass to the curb, stomped on them a bit, dug her heel and and spit while she was walking away. The abuse was rough, I'm surprised she didn't need a cigarette afterwords. Anyway, here's Jen's recipe, which she actually got in a high school home-ed class (go figure).

Don't doubt it by the ingredients, just make them. You'll never go back.


Shakespeare Cookies (Oatmeal Chocolate Chip)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12 - 15 minutes
Makes: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup rice crispy cereal
1/4 c chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prep two baking sheets with parchment paper or your sil-pat mat's.

2. Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg, and beat until combined.

3. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour and beat until no dry flour is left. Add the rolled oats, rice crispy cereal and chocolate chips and mix until combined.

4. Place cookies with about 1½ inches between them (I get 12 per sheet). Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are a nice golden brown around the edges, and light brown in the center. Turn the sheet half way through baking to avoid overcooking or under cooking a side beside of hot spots in your oven.

5. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

The countdown begins

So it's another Monday, and to make it better I figured I would start a countdown in my head. A countdown to 1 - the long weekend coming up NEXT WEEKEND and 2 - My birthday next Wednesday. Yeah.

Oliver and Bo each got to sleep in today because Bo had a meeting at 10 or something so he didn't drop Oliver off until 8:30. Our little guy was apparently very happy to be back at Kris's and was full of smiles as soon as he saw her house. My day wasn't quite so good. We have a presentation tomorrow to a home builder and of course I left everything to do today (who wants to bog down a Friday with that, right?)

I spent the entire day designing signs, double checking info, printing and setting up for a presentation (that thankfully) I didn't have to be a part of. I do honestly love being able to do all the fun graphic stuff without having to be an actual part of the presentation. Fun fact: I am a ridiculously nervous person. I was on anxiety medicine before we had Oliver, but I've refused medicine since then, just trying to deal with life on my own, and so far I've been ok. Well, I had a pretty rough patch in the weeks leading up to coming back to work, but I managed. Anyway, my nerves are so severe that I will actually start stuttering, not exactly great for presentations.

Back to the day...

Bo's meeting was a few hours long, and a few hours away, so he got to just go home after and picked Oliver up at 4. What a nice short day for the kid! My afternoon wasn't too bad either though, I had everything done by 3 and just took it easy for the last hour. Traffic was even pretty good for me, maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. I arrived home at 5 to find my two guys upstairs on the couch watching tv. I spent a few minutes with my boy, then headed downstairs to start cooking dinner. Tonight we had terriayki chicken breasts with broccoli and roasted potatoes. I also made the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies you'll ever have. Seriously, they're ridiculous!

Oliver threw an absolute fit tonight though, it had both Bo and I completely freaking out because we couldn't figure out what was wrong, he just kept crying, screaming really. He didn't want a bottle, didn't want to be held, didn't want to be on the floor and play. Eventually Bo got him calmed down by laying on the floor with him and just rubbing his back. Of course, this was all happening once dinner was on the table, lol, Murphy's law.

We finally got Oliver into his high chair and OH MY GOD, he ate, a lot. Especially the broccoli, my kid loves vegetables! He hadn't been eating his dinner well with us for the last couple of weeks, but he eats great for everyone else, it's so aggravating, but there was nothing we could do. On Sunday (with the leftover Buffalo Chicken Bites) we realized that he just wasn't liking the plain food that I had been making thinking it was better for him. Now I've started kicking up the flavour of things and he seems to love it. I'm far to cautious when it comes to Oliver, I need to remember that he's got my DNA in him, and that he'll hopefully like every type of food out there!




After dinner (and after I dropped the baskets of unfolded laundry off in our bedroom), we all retired up to the family room. Bo put the tv on while I read some books to Oliver. Tonight's readings included Scaredy Squirrel (fantastic and hilarious), That's When I'm Happy, Olivia, I Love You Little One, Wild Thing and My Go To Bed Book. I tried just three books, but every time I stopped reading Oliver would start to cry, so I'd grab another book. There are many worse things that Oliver could want, so I think I'll try to encourage this reading thing as much as possible.

Cinnamon Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes


Cinnamon Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I put this recipe into the folder marked "How many foods can I fit into another food". It's a fun game, and I keep raising the stakes (like, if I can get up to 5 foods into another food, I'm totally taking myself to Dairy Queen for a blizzard, the holy grail of putting one food into another!).



Anyway, these are delicious, and Oliver approved, so you really can't go wrong!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 8 largish pancakes (I prefer small ones, so I probably get 15)

Ingredients:

3/4 buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 very ripe medium banana, mashed (optional)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

2. Add the milk, egg, melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, banana and chocolate chips, and give a quick whisk until combined.

3. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat (coat the surface with non-stick spray ONLY if your griddle or pan is not non-stick). Pour 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake, flipping only once the surface is full of bubbles and is starting to look a little dry. Cook on second side until browned.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What day is it again?

Well, we (Bo and I) totally screwed up our internal clocks yesterday by going grocery shopping. You see, I am usually a creature of habit, to a fault, and Sunday is usually grocery day, so I was totally screwed up. Plus, you throw in that Bo got up yesterday with Oliver, and I got up today. Basically, we were screwed.

My perfect son slept in until 7:30 this morning, good buy! However, I woke up at 6:30 expecting him to get up any minute, so I wasted a potential extra hour of sleep looking at gossip on the computer. I fail. Once awake it was time for our typical Mommy and Oliver weekend morning. This starts with a bottle while Oliver watches me make some pancakes for breakfast. This week I made cinnamon banana pancakes with a hit of chocolate chips. Yummy. Oliver devoured his pancakes like the growing boy he is (with a smile on his face the entire time!).






After the pancakes it was time for our favourite activity of the weekend: painting! I picked up a bunch of canvas's at Wal-mart last weekend; they had a three pack of varying sizes for $3.47, a steal to me. I also grabbed a bunch of crayola paints while I was there, both standard and finger paints. Today we were going to use the finger paints. Because I like things to look nice (who doesn't), I've also limited his creativity to a degree by limiting his colour choices (I learned that lesson with his last painting). I'm not completely evil though, once he can ask for colours I'll open the options back up again. Today I decided on blue with a splash of red at the end. Spontaneous, how fun! lol









As you can see, he had a blast as usual, but while his technique seems to be improving, his ability to keep the paint off of his face is not. Oh, and no judging about him shoving his fingers in his mouth. I already had the camera at my eye taking pictures, so it's not like I grabbed it once the fingers were already in his mouth. I got enough crap from Bo for this picture any way.

After painting it was time for a bath and then a second bottle, after which he instantly passed out. Bo had me wake him up at 10, he didn't want to sleep too late and then not be able to fall asleep tonight. We spent a bit of time watching tv and then playing with Oliver when he woke up. Around 11:30 Bo said that he wanted to bring Oliver to my mom's and go see another movie. I don't know what got into him with movies this weekend, or where he's finding all this money, but I don't complain when popcorn is dangled in front of me. I gave my mom a shout at work (she was there until 4:00), to see if she would mind watching him, which of course she wouldn't. Our aim was to be there for 4:30, around the same time that she would get home.

I also started getting quite tired around 12:30 and was going to go take a nap in bed, but then Bo made me feel guilty about not spending time with the family, so I brought my blanket and eye mask to the couch. That counts right? Anyway, I napped off and on for the next two hours (which was fantastic), while Bo watched Election on tv and Oliver played with his toys. At 2:30 I jumped in the bath then got ready to head out.

I threw on my corset bra under my ridiculously cute purple dun dress with the tiny pink and grey flowers, with a grey cardigan, and unleashed the girls onto the world. Except at my mom's, there I did the cardigan up, I didn't need the hootchie comments (hater, lol). We got to my mom's right at 4:30, and she arrived about 5 minutes later, running a little late from work. We just kinda dropped Oliver off and ran to catch the 5:10 showing of Salt. The movie was ok. I didn't love it, but I liked it (there wasn't any hate). I think Bo was the same.

While we were gone Oliver spent about an hour at the park with grandma, enjoying the swing and slides. Sven got upset because there weren't any toys at there house for Oliver to play with, so he decided to take a trip to Toys r Us for him (hilarious), and came home with one of those plastic cash registers we all had as a kid, a hammer peg toy, and the piece de resistance, a mini ATV (not motorized), with buttons to push for the horn, ignition, engine and a song. Oliver went ape shit over that ATV, he kept climbing on and off, on and off, then he would just stand beside it pushing the buttons and dancing. It was so cute! My mom also talked with one of the neighbours on her walk back from the park, and the nice lady brought over a bunch of toys that her grand kids played with when they were little (an antique puppet, peg puzzle, train set and some antique metal toys cars, SO cool!).

While Mom and Sven played with Oliver, Bo and I ate some dinner (chicken and wedges), then we headed home around 9. Thankfully, Oliver was pretty tuckered out from a busy day, so he ate a bottle and went to sleep. Bo and I followed suit.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Bites, Baked Macaroni & Cheese, Garlic Toast, and Garlic Butter


Buffalo Chicken Bites

Ok, so Bo felt like something tossed in my chicken wing sauce, but not chicken wings. He didn't know what he felt like, so I went with chicken bites, nice and easy to make. And they were delicious! They were even delicious the next day warmed under the broiler (though completely different tasting, not as spicy, like a warm spice).

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 (so long as you have something else on the side)

Ingredients:

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut unto bite (or two-bite) size pieces
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups Italian style bread crumbs (or regular breadcrumbs with some Italian seasoning mixed in)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup butter
1 cup hot sauce (we use and love Franks Red Hot, I highly recommend it)

Directions:

1. Take 3 zip-lock bags. Put the flour, salt and pepper in the first, the eggs in the second, and the breadcrumbs in the third.

2. Toss the chicken cubes in the flour mixture until well covered, then put the chicken pieces into the egg mixture and move around until all the pieces are wet on all sides. For the bread crumbs, toss about 6 pieces at a time, and make sure that you let any excess egg drip off before moving them to that last bag (you don't want to gum up the breadcrumbs). Place the chicken pieces onto a plate, because you're ready to fry.

3. Now, I have one of those ridiculously unhealthy but FANTASTIC counter top deep fryers. Bo and I love chicken wings, especially in the winter in front of the TV while we watch a hockey game. I thought it was common for people to have deep fryers, until our cousin Jenny looked at it with pure disgust. So, I get it, you make not have a deep fryer. So, put a couple of inches of oil (I use peanut for deep frying) in a pot (a cast iron one retains the heat best, think Le Creuset or Kitchen Aid who makes a good imitation) and heat it to between 350 and 375 degrees. Drop your chicken in, and fry until deep golden brown, about 8 minutes

4. While the chicken is cooking, it's time for the sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and then whisk in the hot sauce. That's it, we're done.

5. Toss the cooked chicken in the hot sauce and enjoy!

NOTE: When I do a breading like this I usually double bread them because it will give you a ridiculous crunch, this time though it was late and I just didn't have the time. If you'd like to, at this point cover the chicken pieces with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (you can do this for a couple of hours if you want to do most of the prep ahead of time). Then, you repeat the egg and breadcrumb dip, then continue with frying.


   

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
 
I love macaroni and cheese. It's that comfort food for me like no other (those of you for whom soup is your comfort food, I feel for you). I saw this recipe on Cooks Country TV (by America's Test Kitchen). Now, I have a serious hard on for America's Test Kitchen, I have never made a recipe by them that I didn't love, and that didn't turn out exactly as they said it would (and I've got over a hundred of their magazines and almost every cook book they've put out). That said, baked macaroni and cheese is my thing, I immediately saw some tweaks that would make this even better, but I will say that their white sauce base kicked my base's ass. Anyway, here's "our" recipe for baked macaroni...you will love...trust!
 
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 8
Ingredients:

4 slices white sandwich bread , torn into large pieces

11 tablespoons unsalted butter , 6 tablespoons melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbl + 2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and macaroni to boiling water and cook until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup macaroni cooking water, then drain and rinse macaroni in colander under cold running water. Set aside.

3. White the macaroni is cooking pulse bread in a food processor until ground to a fine crumb. Add the melted butter and Parmesan and pulse again to combine. Pour breadcrumb mixture into a small frying pan and toast the crumbs until golden brown, stirring almost constantly.

4. Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in the now-empty pasta pot over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk, hot sauce, nutmeg, mustard, pepper and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water until cheese melts. Stir in macaroni until completely coated.

5. Transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and top evenly with entire bread crumb mixture. Bake until cheese is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


MAKE AHEAD: Cooks Country TV has directions for making this ahead of time. I can't speak for how well this works because I haven't tried it, but here is their directions in case any of you want to give it a go. If you do shoot me a line and let me know how it goes so I can let others know.

The macaroni and cheese can be made in advance through step 3; since the pasta continues to absorb moisture, adjustments must be made to avoid a dry filling. To do so, increase amount of reserved pasta cooking water to 1 cup. Pour filling into 13 by 9-inch baking dish, lay plastic wrap directly on surface of pasta, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. The bread crumb mixture may be refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 days (Don't toast the breadcrumbs first though, that's something that I added to get a better crunch from them). When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap, cover macaroni mixture with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle bread crumbs over top, and bake until topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.



Garlic Toast

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 5 minutes

Here's just a quick run down for my garlic toast, which is SO easy to make, and so fantastic to eat!

Ingredients:

Calabrese bread (it's got a nice dense crumb that holds the topping well)
Garlic butter (store bought, or recipe below)
Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Slice the bread into 3/4" thick pieces and spread one side with the garlic butter mix (I usually cheat here and buy it at the grocery store, but it's so easy to make too!)

2. Top with a light sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, and for this I actually prefer the store bought pre-grated stuff (like Kraft) to the real thing. Go figure.

3. Place on the middle rack of your oven and broil for about 5 minutes, until the top is a little crunchy feeling and starting to turn golden brown. Watch this carefully though, as it can go from golden to burnt very quickly.



Garlic Butter

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients together

Notes: This butter is also fantastic on steaks, melted to dip seafood in, and mixed into mashed potatoes. It also stores well in your fridge. Simply roll into a log using plastic wrap and refrigerate, cutting off what you need (example, cut 1/4" rounds and place atop a steak straight off the grill).

Sa-sa-sa-SATURDAY!

So, Saturday morning rolled around at 6:30 when Oliver woke up and I just could not drag my butt out of bed. So I asked Bo to instead, and he did without so much as a sideways glance at me. Good husband! I tossed and turned for another four hours (but I probably could have done so until 3 in the afternoon). I got up and headed to the family room to spend some time with my guys.

We watched tv for a bit, and we played for a bit, just had a nice relaxing Saturday morning. I can't even remember all the details of what we did because it was just that, average and boring and perfect. I made Oliver some macaroni and cheese for lunch, and took some pictures of him while he played downstairs. Ok, time to whore out a wack of pictures. He's just so darn cute though!



 



After another couple of hours spent watching America's Test Kitchen (YES!) while Oliver napped we headed into Newmarket to do some grocery shopping. Bo and I are struggling financially right now. We got in way over our head with credit card debt when we moved into the new house, so now we're doing our best to get out of his, working with the back to consolidate it onto our mortgage. Until that happens though, money's tight. Our grocery / home / Oliver budget is $160 a week (this is for absolutely everything, all food, home supplies, diapers, wipes, etc.). To so many people this must seem like a ridiculous amount of money. You must read this and think, my god, this chick is just completely out of touch with reality.

The truth, yeah, I probably am. I'm 27 years old (28 in a matter of days, I should really just start going by 28), and I have been spoiled my entire life. I never had to worry about where the next dollar was coming from, or wondering if I could afford that $30 wedge of parmagiano reggiano. This is a ridiculous adjustment for me, and it's hard, and I bitch and moan about it in my head (never to Bo though, because I know this mess is far more my fault then it is his). Don't judge me too harshly though. Please. Because I am trying, and I'm trying to make this a permanent change, because I know that it would be good for me.

Just let me bitch and moan on here, at least a little bit. Like, I REALLY wish I could have bought that $30 block of parmagiano reggiano this week. lol.

Oliver passed out in the car on the way home, of course. I swear the car is his kryptonite. Anyway, we unpacked the car and then I started on dinner. It was late though, I couldn't believe it was already 7:30. Tonight we were having (by request by Bo), buffalo chicken bites with canned corn. That's right, my husband is married to someone who loves to cook. LOVE's corn on the cob, and all he wanted with his chicken bites was a can of Green Giant (had to be that brand) peaches and cream corn. He's hilarious. First though, I made a hot dog for Oliver, and he had that with some cheese and a few little munchie things. It was his first hot dog and he seemed to really like it.

Dinner for Bo and I was a little late though, because I also decided to make Mac and Cheese for us as a side. They made it on America's Test Kitchen and it just looked SO fantastic that I couldn't resist. With my own tweaks though. I had considered my mac and cheese as already perfected, but I've been proven wrong before, and I was again.

Exhausted, after dinner and another hour or so of tv, we all headed to bed. This was a pretty darn great Saturday though.

Despicable Me

Ok, so the post title sounds like I've done something horrible, but I haven't, we just saw that movie tonight. We'll get there though.

TGIF was certainly true this week, and I'm not even really sure why. Maybe because of Oliver being sick, maybe I'm still struggling to adjust to working every day, maybe it's a combination of it all. Anyway, TGIF. I woke up and had my bath, then headed off to work (seeing Oliver before I left, yeah!). Work was ok, busy enough to make the day go by quickly, but not so busy that I was losing my mind. Because I knew Bo was picking Oliver up, I figured I would try taking 27 home. It was a nice and relaxing drive, but it wasn't really any faster (actually a bit longer; I got home at 5:15). But it was relaxing for a change. A nice change. That bloody highway traffic is enough to give anyone a coronary, never mind a home sick Momma in a rush to pick up her boy.

I got home to find my two guys sitting upstairs on the couch, watching tv (well, Oliver looked like he was close to a nap, but he woke up to play with me for a few minutes). We started talking about dinner, or what we felt like doing, and my husband actually offered up the drive-in. This never happens, but he was itching to see Despicable me, and I'm never one to turn down the drive-in!

I made Oliver some scrambled eggs for dinner (though he'd been eating snacks with Dad since they got home), and we headed to the drive-in. Well, really we headed to pizza hut to grab a large pan pizza with peperoni and bacon, then we went to the drive in.

Guess what I learned. Oliver hates scrambled eggs. HATES them. Like, as soon as I could sneak some in his mouth, we would grab it out and once I didn't "listen" to him the first time, he started throwing them out of his chair (I was feeding him on the way to Pizza Hut. I gave him his bottle instead, and he drank some then took a nap for the rest of the drive. I should mention here that the pizza, it was fantastic!

Oliver woke up when we got to the drive-in and proceeded to win over every single person who walked by to get popcorn, or who parked close enough that he could see them. He leaned out of Bo's window, chirping and talking, smiling and laughing to literally everyone who walked by. He especially liked one little girl, maybe around 5. The problem with her though was that he got shy. He didn't start talking until after she had walked past the car, and then he started waving like crazy. We felt so bad for the poor boy, not even 13 months old and he already has a story about the one who got away.

One bonus, Oliver enjoyed some of the pizza. I know, it's not healthy, but at least he got something besides crackers into that little belly of his.

The movie was fantastic, so so funny. Bo has already let me know that it will be a blue ray purchase (he's ridiculous). Oliver passed out about 15 minutes into it, which was a nice change for us as usually he fights with us to play with parts of the car through the entire movie. We got home around 12 and we were in bed by 1 (I'm not really sure what took us so darn long).

Friday, July 23, 2010

If Momma aint happy, aint nobody happy!

I'll skim through the morning here because it was the same as every other normal morning.

I headed off to work and Bo got Oliver ready and off to daycare (I did get to see my boy for a couple of minutes in the morning though, yeah!). Work was work, oh yeah, except for Justin who was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to take his appendix out. Holy shit. Thankfully, he's doing really well, but he will be out of work for at least two weeks, which means I'm on my own here. Kinda like when it was just Julia and I, lol.

After work I headed home to pick up my boy, but traffic was brutal so I didn't get there until 5:20. Lindsay mentioned that Oliver still wasn't actual normal (as we told her was normal for him), and she was right. Before I even got to the car he was fussy and gearing up for a tantrum (or so I thought...little did I know, I had not yet experienced a tantrum, gulp).

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that when I talked to Bo on the phone earlier today he said that he was meeting Tony and Wilf's tonight at 7:30, hopefully earlier, to go over what needed to be done, but that he wouldn't be late, to hold dinner until he got home.

Anyway, once we were home I tried playing with Oliver but he was having absolutely none of it. He didn't want to do anything or play with anything. I'm a big fan of just going with the flow and not trying to force anything. So, I filled up his bottle and put it in the fridge, then took him upstairs to give him a bath (he was just gross from daycare, covered in food). I put him in his crib so I could go and get changed first, and while he cried for about 2 minutes, he was sleeping before I got back in to get the water running. So, I let him sleep (of course), and he had a good 30 minute power nap.

When he woke up though, he was even more upset then when he fell asleep. I had never experienced this before, I didn't recognize my own son. He just kept screaming at the top of his lungs, tears rolling down his cheeks. I got him out of his cloths and ready for the bath (which he loves), but even that couldn't stop the screaming. He just kept at it in the water, wouldn't look at his toys or splash in the water, he just kept trying to throw himself back, screaming. I don't even know how I managed because I'm pretty sure both my hands were on him, I washed his hair and scouped him out of the tub, which wasn't hard to do because he kept standing up in it.

I got him back to the change table, but still he screamed. And now, with the wall in close proximity, he just kept pushing his legs off the table to hit his head on the wall. Over and over again. I mean, it's like that scene in alien where the baby alien rips out of the chicks stomach. Oliver was that baby alien. I scooped him up again, but it didn't matter how many hugs, kisses or back rubs I gave him, he just would not stop screaming. We were approaching the thirty minute mark now. Rough.

I decide that maybe he's hurting. He didn't have anything close to a fever, but maybe his ears were just so painful and he didn't know how to say. I left the Tylenol at Lindsay's so I decided crying baby or not, I didn't care how many stares I would get in Wal-mart, it was worth bringing him there to get Tylenol and make him feel better. So, I took Oliver to my room so I could change, and put him on the floor by his toys. He wouldn't let me put him sitting, he kept throwing his head back and arching his back so I had  to actually lay him on the floor. He just stayed like that, looking up at me, screaming. It was like he was paralysed, our didn't know how to move. God damn this kid is stubborn. He finally moved when I went into my closet to put my jeans back on (yeah, so what if I changed into my pj's already, right when I got home). Oliver crawled, screaming, into the closet, clawing his way up my legs. Picking him up did nothing though. Well, nothing but make my ears ring.

Here comes the crazy part. I got his bottle out of the fridge (screaming), got my purse and carried him outside (screaming), put him in his car seat and gave him his bottle...nothing...he grabbed the bottle and started to eat, looking out the window. By the time I got to the park he was actually laughing at something. What the F*ck?

When I parked at Wal-mart I almost had my boy back, and once he was in the cart he was 100% there. I wasn't going to ruin this, so I took my sweet ass time walking around the store, picking up Oliver's Tylenol, and then getting a bunch of crayola finger paints and some stretched canvas' so that Oliver can do some painting this weekend. Now it was almost 8, and time to get home to try and get Oliver to eat dinner. It was also time to call Bo and find out where the hell he was, because he was going to be at Wilf's before 7...He was still there, and told me he was just getting ready to leave (I told him how Oliver had been, and assumed that he could see that 40 minutes of tantrum had pretty much worn me right down).

I got us home and Oliver some dinner, which he ate about half of, he just wanted to play...I thought. Oliver fought to get out of his bouncer, and once on the floor he looked at me then pointed to the window. Then he started his chant "dadadadadadadada dadadadad dadadadada" while he cruised across the couch and onto his chair. Still chanting for Daddy, he climbed into the chair, banged on the window, then put his head down onto the back of the chair and started crying.

Yeah, Momma is pissed now. It's been 48 hours since Bo's spent any quality time with Oliver, and he's sick. Sicker then he's been and in pain and Bo knows this. I went and picked up my boy, giving him as many cuddles as I could, then grabbed a couple of books and a new bottle for him. I put him in his bouncer, then called Bo and bitched him out for being such a dick. I read to Oliver until Bo got home 20 minutes. Oliver was very happy to see his Dad, full of smiles and laughs. I just really wish I hadn't needed to call Bo to tell him that there were more important reasons to be home then to (still) be at Wilf's. We ordered a pizza for dinner, ate, and went to bed.

Quick cook zuccini

Cook-top Roasted Zucchini

Ingredients:
2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼" slices
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste (fleur de sel, french gray, sea or kosher (in my order of preference, lol)

Steps:
Heat the olive oil until it's very hot in a large skillet (this is important, as it allows room for the water in the zucchini to evaporate) over med-high heat.

Add the zucchini to the pan and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium - height heat, until brown spots appear. Flip over and cook on the second side for an addition 3 to 4 minutes until also browned. Don't stir the zucchini.

Turn off the heat and remove the zucchini to a heat proof bowl using tongs, leaving the oil in the pan. Add the garlic to the pan, and working very quickly, smooch the garlic into the pan and oil using a spatula. Do this for a minute or so, until the garlic is fragrant and softened, but not brown.

Pour the garlic oil and salt over the zucchini and toss to coat. Serve while still hot.

Poor sick baby.

After a fairly crappy nights sleep (I was worried about my boy and tossed and turned all night), I got up at 6 and jumped in the bath to shower for work. Such a confusing sentence. (explanation: We haven't tiled our master shower yet, or finished any shower in the house for that matter, so to "shower" we have to have a bath and used the hand shower. It's pretty annoying).

Oliver woke up as I was finished up drying my hair, so I went in to get him and sure enough he was on fire. I knew that this was going to happen last night, just a gut feeling. So, I gave him some Tylenol and brought him into our room to call work and say I wasn't coming in today (something everyone looks forward to doing their second week back after being off for a year). Oh, and why did I have to go to our room to call? That's because our phone / internet lines went down  yesterday, and still aren't back up, so I needed to use Bo's cell to make the calls.

Oliver and I just relaxed in the morning, with me trying to force feed him liquids while he tried to escape from his chair to play.I caved, we played. At nine I called and made an appointment for Oliver to see Sam at 11:30, and it was about that time that Oliver fell asleep for a nap. He napped, I  realized the phones were working and spent the next hour getting the computer reconfigured (not my forte, SO frustrating!). I also gave my mom a shout, she wanted to see Oliver one night after work, and we were trying to figure out how that would work with daycare, so I called to let her know that I was home today. She's heading up at 3.

At 10:20 I woke up Oliver, got him ready, and we headed out for the doctors. Guess what, he's actually quite sick. The little bugger doesn't complain at all, doesn't show any outward signs of being in pain. Nothing. It was on a whim that I mentioned at the last second to Sam "I wonder if he has an ear infection, when I take his temperature, he always grabs his ear and tries to turn away". I hadn't noticed this over the last 5 days, it occurred to me literally as we were pulling into the office's parking lot.

Sure enough, Sam checked his ears and he has not one but two severe ear infections. The poor kid. Sam said that usually they suggest to decrease the duration of medicine, but because it's severe and in both ears he's gotta taken medicine morning and night for the next ten days. Here's hoping he's good with his medicine!

After that I called Bo to see if we could come and meet him for lunch, but he was getting ready to head to London so that was a no go. Oliver and I headed home to try and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. At least as much as possible. I did have to make a quick stop at Shoppers to get his medicine first, and because pizza pizza was right next door I found it quite hard to resist.

We got home and played for a bit, and Oliver took another good nap, waking up just before my mom arrived. Once she was there I was able to take an hour to get the garbage ready and out (I hate Wednesdays), and then started dinner. We had baked cheese capaletti and zucchini, because it was going to go bad if I didn't use it soon. The capaletti was just store bought pasta and sauce, but the zucchini I was finally able to perfect. I'll through the directions up next, it was that good.

After dinner Mom and I took Oliver to the park. I figure even if you're sick, you should still get to do the things you love (so long as they don't make you worse). Oliver wasn't himself, which was to be expected, but he did still enjoy the swings, and walking around for a little bit.

After the park Mom headed home because her call was going to start soon, and I got Oliver ready for bed and his last bottle. Oh yeah, I gave him his medicine too and he was a total trouper, no issue at all! He downed the bottle and then passed out.

Bo didn't get home from London until just after 10, so brutal. I heated up his dinner while he put Oliver to bed, then sat with him while he ate. He had to run on the computer after dinner though, and I was exhausted, so I left him on his own and headed to bed.

Huh...

This morning I wondered why the saying goes "Easy as pie".

Pie is not easy to make, that crust can be a fickle bitch, and don't even get me started on lemon meringue.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A major "Oh F*ck" moment...

So...

Nana stayed over last night to watch Oliver for 1 more day, making sure he's good and ready to go back to day care. The fever hasn't returned, so we're looking good!

I was supposed to have meetings at work today, but some drama went down earlier in the day and everyone left. Fine by me! I wasted my lunch wandering around homesense, falling in love with a big painting that I want for Oliver's room (it has all these little animals, one for each letter, and it's just so unique and cute, but totally boyish...I'm stretching here). It's $50 though...and this is one hell of a tight week month, so I'm not sure it's in the cards. They only have one of them too...I really hope it's still there in two more weeks!

I did get one fantastic call while walking around though. The builder screwed up and paved our drive-way. Woot! We had taken it out of the original offer because we were planing on doing a stamped concrete driveway, or one with big pavers. When we did this though, we forgot that bills existed, so we weren't going to be able to afford either of them...and we didn't exactly have the $700 to pay the builder either, but now it's totally their mistake and we're off the hook. So, so sweet!

Here comes the "Oh f*ck" moment...are you ready?

Nana greeted me at the door as I was walking in. I should have known that something was up. Less then 30 seconds later she let me know that it was her birthday. Oh f*ck. Now, I am horrible with dates, seriously, I can barely remember my own birthday, but still, this was SO shitty of me. I should blame Bo, he always reminds me of this stuff!

Any way, Nana wanted to order pizza for dinner or something, so that she could just relax with us before heading home. I stealthily emailed / called Bo (I probably wasn't nearly as stealthy as I thought), to see if we could take her out for dinner. We couldn't (money wise), but we did anyway.

Oliver was just starting to get hungry, and Bo was almost to newmarket, so we loaded everything up (Nana in the pick-up so she could leave to get Tiki and go home after dinner), and we headed off to Kelsey's and meet Bo there. Dinner was great, I was absolutely starving (these days with no lunch blows), and after a nice relaxing hour plus we all headed to our respective homes.

Oliver was pretty exhausted and passed out for the night shortly after we got home, which was nice because it meant that we could too. That's exactly what we did.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Porcupine Balls and Apple Crisp


Porcupine Balls

Ignore the name, they're just meatballs with rice in them that puffs out the sides, hence the "porcupine" moniker. This is a family favourite, passed down to me from my Nana, but I've tweaked it a lot over the last 4 years and finally have a perfected recipe. Enjoy

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour
Server: 5 to 6
Ingredients (measurements are a little rough, but this part is very hard to screw up)

Meatballs:
1lb lean ground beef
1 large handful rice
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning mixed in)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbl milk

Mix all above ingredients in a bowl with your hands until very well combined. The mixture will feel a little wet, but not dripping. If you think it's too wet you can add a bit more breadcrumbs. Roll into meatballs, I usually do them the size of a ping pong ball, and place them into an oven safe baking dish (yeah corning ware).

Sauce:
3 cans tomato soup
2/3 tomato soup can of beef broth
1/2 tomato soup can of water
1/3 c rice

Whisk together all sauce ingredients in the bowl that you mixed the meatballs in (this will grab any of the little bits left behind. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, then spin the meatballs around a bit to cover them in the sauce.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour in a 425 degree oven. Serve this up with bread to dip in the leftover sauce and you're laughing! Leftovers are fantastic the next day for lunch too! 

 What's left of our porcupine balls. I was hungry, so no photos until we entered leftover territory.



Apple Crisp

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8
This is by far the best apple crisp I've ever had, another of my perfected recipes! Bo and I like lots of topping though, so if you don't you're weird you can cut it in half.

Ingredients:

10 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup water

Put the apple slices into a large oven safe dish (I use a 9" x 13" corning ware). Whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the sugar mixture over the apples, then toss to evenly coat. Pour the water over the apples, do not mix. (If you like your apple crisp more juicy, you can up the water to 1/3 or even 1/2 a cup without ruining the crisp, I just prefer mine only a little juicy, with apples that still have some bite).

2 c quick-cooking oats
2 c all-purpose flour
2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter, melted

Whisk together everything except the butter so it's well combined. Pour the butter over the mixture and combine with a fork or your hands (which is way faster), until there are no dry bits left and it comes together is small clumps in your hands. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes until brown on top and bubbling at the edges. Let cool slightly, and enjoy!