what we ate

I don’t think I’m ever going to be consistant enough with my photography to be able to do an actual “what we ate in a week” post, but a “some of what we ate in the last month” post? Now that I can do.

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The first real thing I cooked in my ippy (aside from potatoes) was a pot roast.

The process involved a few steps, like browning the meat, pressure cooking the meat and then removing it prior to pressure cooking the veggies, and then quick mixing up the gravy, but it was by FAR the best roast I’ve ever made. We feasted that night, and then again the next day on the leftovers, savoring every bite.

I had plans to use the leftovers in a pot pie, but then my older son begged to take them home and that was that.

An entire roast, gone in about twenty-four hours. Pure magic, that ippy is!

(But then I tried oatmeal and it bombed: burned and gummy.

Maybe because I delay-cooked it with an overnight soak? Not sure. Must play more.)

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I’ve recently been digging the fried rice.

A great, last-minute meal, it’s the perfect way to use up all sorts of random veggies and leftover meats. I usually have rice getting hard in the fridge: a quick sizzle in a hot, cast iron pan with plenty of olive oil (or bacon fat), followed by a splash of water and a lid, and it steams back to life even better than it was the first time around.

While the rice is cooking, I sauté some onion (celery, cabbage, garlic, whatever) in a separate cast iron pan. Carrots and other hard veggies get a brief boil in a saucepan. I scramble eggs. And then I start tossing things together, adding, leftover peas, sesame oil, a splash of fish/soy/hot sauce, etc, to taste. Green onions and/or fried cheese round it out.

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One night for supper, we had breakfast: pancakes, bacon, and smoothies.

Weekday mornings, with only two kids at home (and since my husband leaves early and I often go running first thing), it’s yogurt and granola, or cereal, or eggs and toast, or whatever anyone wants, but I miss making pancakes!

We’ve been eating a lot of smoothies, too: kefir (more on this soon), bananas (just bought a huge amount to freeze), frozen berries, jam.

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Left to my own devices for a solo meal, I often resort to cheese and crackers. With a sliced apple or a grapefruit, it’s pretty near perfect.

There’s something so satisfying about it: the crunchy crackers, the cheese’s salty creaminess, yum.

I often cut into a new cheese late morning when I’m beginning to get hungry, or late afternoon when I hit my draggy slump. The thrill of a new cheese is the perfect pick-me-up.

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Pizza night makes everyone happy. This particular night, I also made a pulled pork (leftover from Magpie) pizza with bottled barbecue sauce instead of tomato sauce. I think it worked.

Pizza is a great way to use up random cheese bits: ricotta, mozzarella, something sharp(ish) that no one much liked. One recipe of dough makes three big pans: we feast, and then the leftovers get packaged up in one-person meal-sized portions for quick work lunches for my husband.

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These days, wedding leftovers are the name of the dinner game! Assorted soups, cider, cans of whipped cream (oo-la-la), homemade marshmallows and hot cocoa mix, rolls, chips, jams and hot sauces and salsas, whoop!

Oh, and tons of cookies.

The brown sugar cookies‘ mottled icing is due to freezing/thawing.

I keep trying to off-load them on people (because there’s no justification to do more baking if I have a freezerful of cookies and I’m itching to bake), but my husband is like, Noooooo!!!! I want all the cookies, wah! For him, a bunch of cookies equals easy lunches: just run down cellar and load up a container with snacks. His favorite cookie used to be white chocolate cranberry, but the Kitchen Sink ones are making him reconsider. Something about that caramelly chew….

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The night after the wedding celebration, my husband and I went to our small group gathering, leaving the younger two kids to recuperate at home alone. When we got back, this was waiting for us on the table.

We followed the instructions.

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My younger daughter called me from work to see if I’d be interested in some mac and cheese. Picturing a couple plastic containers of leftover pasta, I said sure (of course). And then she walked in the door with a large terracotta pie plate heaped high with homeade, unbaked mac and cheese — the fancy kind topped with crushed Ritz crackers. Apparently the head chef had made too much for some (private?) event, lucky us!

A couple nights later when I baked it up and served it for supper, my husband borderline raved about it. And rightfully so. It was super cheesy and flavorful (spicy, even!). We all loved it. (Now if I can just get my hands on that recipe….)

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Have you tried a hot chocolate bomb?

My aunt brought us five of them when she came for the wedding. She made them herself, and she said she’s still testing them, though I’m not sure why since they seemed to work just fine. Drop one in a mug of scalded milk and stir. The chocolate shell dissolves and the tiny marshmallows hidden inside float to the top, and there you have it: a fancy cup of hot chocolate.

We have two left (only because I’m hoarding them): one peppermint and one plain. I call dibs on the peppermint!

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This same time, years previous: the quotidian (1.4.21), just for sparkles, when cars dance, of an evening (and a morning), baguettes, my jackpot.

5 Comments

  • Ramona

    How thoughtful of your kids setting out a snack for you and your husband. Would you and your Aunt be willing to share the hot chocolate bomb recipes? Sounds like a good gift idea.

    • Jennifer Jo

      I asked my aunt to share, and here’s what she wrote:

      I think they are hard to make. I was blindsided into learning and teaching these. I learned and had fun with it but I still find tempering chocolate far too tedious to bother with.

      I don’t really have a recipe just a bunch of tips from my extensive sifting through YouTube videos. And from trial and error.

      For your melting chocolate:
      Higher quality bar chocolate is key. 60% – 85% Lindt or Ghiradelli. Higher chocolate content makes less sweet cocoa.
      Chocolate chips work but contain stabilizers to hold their shape in baking. They aren’t as full flavored.
      Don’t even bother using CandyMelts. No tempering needed but very low quality in the taste department

      2” molds are nice for an average mug. 2 1/2” molds hold more filling and make a large mug of cocoa.

      For painting the chocolate I prefer a cheap 1/2” natural bristle (wooden handle) paintbrush that I got in the paint section of the hardware store. Wash and dry it THOROUGHLY overnight before using it. If it’s not completely dry the water will cause the chocolate to seize.

      Paint the inside of each mold with tempered melted chocolate. Preferably 87-88° is perfect, just a bit on the thickish side. Refrigerate 5 min. Remove and let set 5-10 min.
      Hold the shells/mold up to the light from all angles and paint any skippers/thin spots. Keep the rim thicker. Refrigerate again for 5 min. Remove and Let set at least 10 min at room temp.

      Turn the mold of completely hardened shells upside down on a counter surface or cookie sheet and carefully peel it back – allowing the shells to remain open-side-down.

      From this point on, handle them as little as possible. Warm fingers quickly leave smudges. Latex gloves help somewhat.

      To create a sphere with your halves – heat a largish flat pan just until hot to the touch. Off the heat (remove completely if using an electric range) and place 2 halves, one at a time, on the pan until the rim is melted all around. QUICKLY remove and set each halve level on an upside-down milk bottle cap or some other shallow indent. Mini muffin tins work well for the larger shells.

      Fill as desired then press the 2 shells together. Keep the seam level to prevent sliding. Allow to cool.

      Fill with 1-2 Tbsp hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows, and/or a crushed candy cane.
      My thinking is that if you use darker chocolate, 80-85%, all you need to fill them with is a crushed candy cane. Make sure you get the ones with oil of peppermint in the ingredients.
      Peppermint flavored sprinkles/candy don’t pack nearly enough punch.

      • Ramona

        Thank you for such a quick response. I’ll have to give a try sometime. By the way, breakfast pancakes and the fixings for dinner is always a plus in my house.

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