Friday, March 30, 2012

Out for lunch

I recently told you about our favorite restaurant in Chicago.  On Wednesday, Mr. McGhee and I took our oldest mini into the city for a doctor's appointment.  After the appointment, we were starving and decided to revisit our old neighborhood for lunch.  Lunch was ah-may-zing.  We started out with bruschetta.  I am going to share my bruschetta recipe because it is VERY close to the restaurant's.

Here is the restaurant's.

Here is mine.

Tomato Bruschetta
  • 6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1.  Add all ingredients in order listed.
2.  Enjoy with bread.  Tell yourself you are awesome.  Because you really are.  I am too.

I took photos of our food because it was so beautiful and amazingly delish.  

Pizza, according to my mini it's the

Salmon for Mr. McGhee.

Pear Ravioli with sundried tomato (it had a much fancier name that I couldn't pronounce, so I did the oh-so-sophisticated point at the menu when I was ordering).

Dessert.  My mini did not share this very well.

Despite being in the city for a doctor's appointment, we had a wonderful day with our oldest mini.

I thought since we were going to be home all week, that I would be cooking all week long.  In reality, we have been super busy and our meals have been simple.  So this morning, I thought I would whip up a tasty breakfast for everyone.  Mr. McGhee wanted an egg sandwich so I made him the yummiest concoction I could think of.  He said it was delish and I believe him.  

Mr. McGhee's egg sandwich
  • bell pepper, sliced
  • egg
  • 2 slices of bread, toasted
  • small handful of spinach
  • sundried tomatoes
  • cheese, I used white cheddar
1.  Heat a skillet and put bell peppers on pan.
2.  Crack the egg into the bell pepper.
3.  Cook.   Use caution when flipping the egg.
4.  On toast, layer pepper/egg, spinach, sundried tomato, and cheese.  

If I had pesto, I would have put that on as well.

And the minis wanted pancakes.  I tried this recipe for blueberry pie panckes.

Blueberry Pie Pancakes
  • your favorite pancake batter
  • blueberries (1/2 cup per person)
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats (per person)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (per person)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (per person) 

1.  Prepare enough pancake batter for the number of people you are serving.
2.  Add other ingredients, amounts based on number you are preparing.
3.  Cook on a hot skillet like you would cook regular pancakes.
4.  Enjoy with pure maple syrup.

These pancakes are delish.  I added extra everything, so mine were very flavorful and chock full of berries and oats, with a sweet flavor.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fried Pickles!

So the minis are on spring break this week.  So far we have spent a day doing homework and a day going to the dentist, the local farm store, and getting haircuts.  WOOT WOOT, the McGhee family sure knows how to let loose spring break-style.  It keeps getting better, because tomorrow we have an all day doctor's appointment.  Oh, did I mention that today my middle mini got the worst.haircut.ever.  I would say the best part of the day was I taught my minis what the phrase, "that dude sucks and really needs to lose his job" really means.  Big day of parenting!

So, yeah...I'm sort of cranky.  And when I'm cranky, I cook!  So, good news for you!  Tonight Mr. McGhee put a stocking cap on the middle mini and then took all the minis outside to enjoy the 70 degree weather.  While he was out there, he fired up his outdoor kitchen and grilled some steaks.  We served my world-famous sauteed mushrooms and onions on top of our steaks.

Sauteed Mushrooms

  • 3 Tablespoons Butter (or olive oil)
  • 16 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup Sherry Or Wine
  • Kosher Salt And Pepper To Taste
1.   Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet and add sliced mushrooms and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2.  Saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then pour in sherry. Add salt and pepper. 
3.  Continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes, or until all liquid is evaporated. 

This is an old picture.  Imagine this with onions in it as well.

**Sidenote**  You can use oil instead of butter.  I used a mixture of grapeseed oil and butter.  

For side dishes we had roasted cauliflower and baked carrots and apples.

Roasted Cauliflower

  • one head of cauliflower, chopped into flourets
  • few tbsp olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • few tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • salt
1.  Preheat oven to 400.
2.  Drizzle oil over cauliflower and stir to coat.
3.  Spread cauliflower out on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
4.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and a little bit of salt.
5.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until starts to brown.

Baked Carrots and Apples (from Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook)

  • 3 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 4 apples, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
2.  In a steamer, cook the carrots until beginning to get tender, about 10 minutes.
3.  Put half the apples in a shallow 1-quart baking dish and cover with half the carrots.  Season with salt and pepper.
4.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the flour.  Drizzle with 2 tbsp of the honey and dot with 2 tbsp of the butter.
5.  Repeat the layers.
6.  Pour the orange juice over everything.  
7.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the carrots are tender and the mixture is bubbling.  Serve hot.

And, the highlight of our day was dessert.....fried pickles!  

  • 1 jar pickle slices (we like large, thick slices of Claussen dill pickles)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Ranch dressing + hot sauce for dipping 
  1. Turn oven broiler on high.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and flour. Add Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Place panko bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Dunk each pickle slice into the egg mixture, than dredge it in the panko bread crumbs.
  4. Place coated pickles on a rack set above a baking sheet and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place pan in the middle rack of the oven. Broil for about 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve with Ranch dressing and a dash of hot sauce.   (We did not dip in anything, I guess you could say we went "dipless")

These were very easy to do and very delish!  In fact, they did elevate my mood.  Of course, I am still devastated over the worst.haircut.ever.  I am so thankful to have this picture, taken today at the farm store.  

Here is my mini again.  He won a medal last week for having the 

Tomorrow is another day!  Let's hope that prayer my minis said at bedtime is granted...and that he wakes up with a full head of hair tomorrow!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Irony, at it's best

Does anyone else here just love irony?  You know, moments like this when your family is enjoying the RV show and discussing how could anyone in their right mind ever justify spending $250,000 on this.....

.....followed by moments like this, when your family is crammed into the car while stranded for hours on the interstate which has been shut down due to a freak ice storm.

Irony.  It's hilarious!  I am still laughing about that 12 hour car trip that should have only took 6 hours.  When we finally made it to our friends house, we crashed and slept until the following morning.  We woke up to find muffins and cookies waiting for us.  Now, I always knew that my bestie was truly a great friend because she does these things and these things for me.  But, she totally outdid herself this time, by cooking for me!  Yeah!  Nobody ever cooks for me, so I was way excited.  So excited I forgot to take pictures.  But, I will post the recipes of everything she made.

Morning Glory Muffins
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar (bestie only used 1/4 cup and they were still sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

    • Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, apple butter, oil and vanilla.
    3. In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in carrots, apples and raisins. Stir in apple butter mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.
    4. In a small bowl, combine walnuts and wheat germ; sprinkle over the muffin tops.
    5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

Starbucks Molasses Cookies

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon clove (optional)
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter , softened
  • cup dark brown sugar
  • extra-large egg
  • ¼ cup regular unsulphured molasses
  • granulated sugar (for coating cookie dough before baking)
  • vegetable oil cooking spray (for coating) (optional)


  1. 1
    Heat oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the center. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. 2
    Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. 3
    Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. With mixer on medium speed, beat in the egg and molasses, then increase the speed to high and beat about 1 minute longer, until the mixture no longer looks curdled. Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula several times while mixing.
  4. 4
    Mix in the flour mixture on low speed. The batter will be rather stiff. Place some granulated sugar on a small plate or saucer. Use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop or a measuring cup to form 1/4-cup portions of dough. (Spray the cup or scoop with the optional non-stick vegetable spray to make it easier to release the dough.) Transfer the dough to your hands and roll each portion into a rough ball, then roll each ball into the sugar. Place six sugared balls on each baking sheet, spacing them evenly, because they will spread during baking.
  5. 5
    Dampen your fingers with water and press down lightly on each cookie to flatten it a little and dampen the top. Refrigerate one filled baking sheet while the other bakes.
  6. 6
    Bake for 12 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and are firm to the touch. Rotate the sheet 180 degrees halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet.
  7. 7
    Note: This dough can be frozen for slice-and- bake cookies. Just roll into a log 2-1/2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil. Can be stored in the freezer up to 6 months.
These cookies are so delish!  Like, really really really delish.  Today when I was cleaning out our car, I found a piece of cookie in my mini's car seat from last night's car trip.  I ate it.  That's shameful, but the cookies are that good!

Creamy Tomato Soup (from Our Best Bites)

  • 1 T reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes, or olive oil 
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • ¾ C shredded carrot
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper 
  • 1 Tbs dried basil 
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano 
  • 2/3 C sliced sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14oz) can chicken broth 
  • 3 oz reduced fat cream cheese (we were all fancy and used goat cheese)
  • optional: 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I have never done this)
Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish
1. Place oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion,  carrot, and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring often.
2. Add sun-dried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.(If you’re adding red pepper flakes, add them now)3. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.  Cover pan and simmer for 30  minutes.4. Remove from heat. Place soup in a blender (do this in 2 batches if necessary). Add cream cheese. Remove center piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape, but place a paper towel over opening in blender lid to avoid spills. Process for a few minutes until smooth.  You could also add cream cheese directly to the pot and use an immersion blender to combine.5. Add additional salt and pepper to taste and then divide soup among bowls.  Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese and a fresh basil leaf if desired.

This soup is delish.  We served it with garlic cheese bread from Great Harvest, greek olives, strawberries, carrot sticks, sliced orange bell peppers, and a spinach salad.  
Spinach salad
  • spinach leaves
  • sliced green apple
  • raspberries
  • goat cheese, crumbled
  • red onion
  • walnuts
  • brown sugar
  • butter (1-2 tbsp)
1.  Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Add brown sugar and stir.  Add walnuts.  Stir for several minutes.  Remove from heat and cool walnuts on a plate.
2.  In a large bowl, layer spinach, apple, raspberries, cheese, onion, and walnuts.  
3.  Enjoy with your favorite salad dressing.  I recommend trying to make your own.

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper
1. Add chopped garlic to balsamic vinegar
2. Season with salt and pepper
3. Slowly add olive oil and stir to mix. 

It was a truly delicious weekend.  Despite the irony, we also had a blast at the RV show.  Here's a few pictures, I thought you would enjoy!

Mr. McGhee is thrilled to fry up a burger for that sweet lady behind him.

Look mom, a potty!

My dream fridge.  In an RV.