Category Archives: In The Kitchen

Yogurt Faced

While Elanor was having a snack today Sarah decided she wanted to share it with her. Meaning of course she fed Elanor some of her very own snack and then ate some herself and asked me to refill “their plate” more than once.

It was adorable and sweet. It also quickly led to a much-needed bath.

yogurt 1

yogurt 3

yogurt 2

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That last shot is Sarah going to the backdoor and telling me she wants to go and play outside. I’d probably let her go out there more often if she’d keep her clothes on. Girl loves to hang around in her panties.

I have so much chaotic fun with these girls.

Upping the Veggies

While housing a new member of our family I decided it was high time my diet got a little swicheroo. With the help of my awesome hubby, and a farmers market just up the road, we have been experimenting with a lot of vegetables lately. Heck, I have probably washed, chopped, peeled, diced, and pureed more veggies in the past 3 months than I have in a year! Ya, that’s a pretty big statement, and I’m gonna pretend I never confessed to it and keep on typing…

About 2 weeks ago Stephen came home with a butternut squash and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I’d never cooked with one before, heck I don’t know if I had ever eaten one in my life, so I decided we’d try a new soup and began my internet recipe search. I found out how best to cook the squash and winged the rest. I was making soup, so I knew if I just threw a bunch of veggies in the pot with some different seasonings it was bound to taste good.

Most the recipes I found involving butternut squash mentioned how it’s a fall veggie and included things like brown sugar, or molasses in the recipe. Well I’m afraid that wasn’t gonna cut it for me and our 115 heat index. I decided to nix the sweet stuff and add some hot sauce instead. Pregnancy can change the taste palette, and mine is loving anything with a little heat to it.

Here’s a picture of most the veggies that I threw together.

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Sauteed Onion always adds a great smell to the kitchen.
(after my eyes have stopped watering and I can see again)

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pre-squash

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squash added

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During most of the process I kept the kiddo busy with her favorite (and messiest) snack: yogurt! She is little miss independent and wants to eat everything with her own spoon and fork. That, and she always wants to climb up me or be held right when I’m cutting and have a sharp knife in my hands.

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I added some chicken stock and simmered the concoction for about 2 hours.

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This was a great recipe that I’m adding to our soup rotation. It wasn’t heavy, which made it even better. I hate that post-meal heavy feeling that most soups have. It’s light and filling, without the bloated aftermath. Not that women get bloated, especially pregnant ones ;)

Let’s tally up the ingredients…
-Celery
-Onion
-Carrots
-Butternut Squash
-Pepper
-Minced Garlic
-Salt
-Hot Sauce

It was easy, cheap, healthy, and lasted us several lunch and dinners! That’s a successful recipe in our house. Even Sarah ate it. She always wants what we’re eating, kids are silly like that.

Anyone else doing some fun experimenting in the kitchen?

I dont’ know about you, but I’m so excited about the weather cooling down and cooking up more soups. The only downer is the price of fruit skyrocketing… oh how I’ll miss my watermelon, berries, and cantaloupe. On the up side: Pumpkin-everything, here I come!

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Weeknight Cooking

People, it’s Tuesday and I have cooked 2 nights in a row! I know, that probably isn’t a big deal, but in this house, with a 1 year old that suddenly always wants to be held when we’re in the kitchen, a hot cooked meal is huge!

Now, for my favorite kitchen gadget that made tonights meal possible: the handy dandy crock-pot.

 

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Tonight I tried a new recipe: Honey Sesame Chicken.

Here it is on a hill of rice

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I give it a 6 out of 10. My crock-pot cooked the chicken so well that it shredded when I took it out with a fork. Also, there is just something about authentic fried rice that I have yet to replicate. I tried cooking it with an egg, but it just wasn’t the same. They must have some special spice or something.

The recipe made plenty for Stephen and me to have a plate for dinner, and enough leftovers for me to munch on it for the next few days.

Has anyone else made anything new lately? It’s not often I break from my staple recipes (tacos, spaghetti, enchiladas, chili, and burgers), but it was a fun and tasty adventure. Oooh, maybe when Sarah is older we will have culture nights where we make foods from different countries. That would be so fun! Remind me of that in 5 or so years, okay?!!

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Tonights meal was made possible because of Sarah taking 2 great naps today, so thanks kiddo.

A Fall Treat

This past week my grandma came into town for a visit. On Tuesday night we all got together at mom and dad’s for a family dinner. I love family dinners. There is just something so relaxing about sitting around a table with people you love and chatting about life. Plus the exciting fast-approaching holidays. Commence with the Christmas list making! :)

I guess I should start the post with a picture of grandma and our cutie pie.

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Here’s Sarah just before bedtime

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She loves chomping on those fingers. Oh, you probably haven’t heard, Sarah got her first tooth last Friday! I know, our little girl is growing up so insanely fast! When I saw this picture I couldn’t help but wonder how she used to fit in my belly?!? She has gotten so big!

Before heading to bed she helped me make some yummy muffins and I’m going to share the recipe with you.

Alright, now onto the yummy reason for this post.

Super Easy Pumpkin Muffins

1 box cake mix
1 can of pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Add all the ingredients together, blend, place in muffin wrappers, bake on 350 for 18-22 minutes and then enjoy :)

This is what they look like when you finish

 

Lesson #1: Fill the muffin cups to the top. The dough is pretty heavy and doesn’t rise like your standard fluffy muffins. However, next time I’m gonna try it with white cake mix so it may turn out a little different… (funfetti was all that we had on hand). Try ‘em out and let me know what you think.

Personally I think pumpkin based foods and scents should be in our life year-round. It tastes and smells soooo good! Then again if we did that I would probably get tired of it… Pssh, not!.

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A Day in the Life of Lady Ringl

I thought today would be a good day to share a ‘Day in the Life’ post with you. I decided to call myself Lady Ringl in the title because it sounds less teacher’ish than Mrs. Ringl. That, and I’ve been watching a lot of medieval movies and tv shows lately and when you say Lady in front of a woman’s name I think it sounds elegant and pretty.

The day I am sharing with you is this past Tuesday, September 20th.

My day started around 6am. Our days start with getting Sarah fed and then I usually bring her into our bed to wake up Stephen. She loves to sit next to him and laugh and play. It’s pretty much the best way to wake up, ever!

After Stephen got out the door Sarah and I went to the play room and started our day together. I put ‘Elf’ on the tv because I like to have ‘white noise’ in the house. Don’t know why, but it’s something I’ve always preferred. After we played for a little while we moved to the kitchen so I could have a late breakfast. I decided that we would try some bread making. It had been a while since I’d done any. While pregnant I baked all the time. My favorite was the sourdough bread I could expect to enjoy every 5 days with a starter I fed and kept in the fridge.

I was really excited at how accomplished the day was going to be. I got my glass jar out and we quickly whipped up the sourdough starter. After that I got out all the ingredients to make some homemade french bread. I had gone to Publix on Monday and their bakery makes me crave fresh bread every time I visit.

It wasn’t quite noon and we were on a roll. Sarah was down for a nap so I combined all the ingredients for 2 loafs of french bread. It took about an hour (20 minutes of which was watching and then re-watching a video on youtube on how to properly knead dough). Sarah woke up right about the time I had the bread sitting in a bowl so it could begin rising. It had been a really successful day. I hadn’t even had lunch yet and I had made a starter and learned how to knead dough. To top it all off, I also had chicken thawing and getting prepped for dinner.

Sarah was having a little bit of a fussy day, my guess is from teething, so she was a bit more needy than usual. Needy isn’t a bad thing of course, it just means she wanted to be held more than usual.

An hour and a half later I came to check on my bread so I could knead it again, and then roll it out and let it rise one more time before baking. Well, when I checked it it didn’t look like it had grown much. I figured my eyes were just wrong and got the bread ready and laid out on the baking sheet so it could rise 1 last time. Sarah and I went and played for a while and when I came back to turn on the oven I noticed the bread looked the same. I knew something wasn’t right. I questioned my yeast when I first started the recipe because it didn’t bubble the way I thought it should. I even did it twice just to be sure I did it correctly.

Out of curiosity (and a heavy dose of frustration) I went ahead and baked the bread anyway. After it finished baking the top looked nice and browned and made the house smell like fresh bread. I cut into the loaf and turns out only the crust cooked. The inside was still dough. Talk about aggravating. I spent my morning and afternoon getting this ready and the whole thing was a flop.

I did some checking and apparently my yeast had died. Did you know you are supposed to refrigerate the container after opening it? Yep, it even says so right on the top. That would have been helpful, if I’d read the top. Lesson learned: always read labels!

After realizing that the yeast had killed over I trashed the bread and then dumped my sourdough starter. Watching all that flour go to waste was such a bummer. Between the french bread and starter I had used over 8 cups of flour. It felt like I was throwing money down the drain. Actually I suppose I did, since that’s where the starter was dumped.

I figured I would just forget the failure and move on to dinner. I knew Stephen was gonna be happy to come home and find a home-cooked meal. I saw a recipe for chicken fried chicken breasts with gravy. Personally, I’m not a fried chicken kinda girl. I saw this recipe and thought it was worth a shot. I knew I’d be using olive oil for the ‘fried’ part, and I wasn’t drenching the chicken, just putting it in the skillet and flipping it. I got to work on dinner and was excited about how yummy it would taste. It was definitely an out of the ordinary meal for me to cook, especially since I was putting myself in the line of fire by making something that involved the possibility of popping oil (which is the reason I don’t make bacon!)

I followed the recipe and it smelled great. I even made the gravy correctly. After putting the food onto our plates I cut into the chicken because we were 1/2′ing it. That’s when I discovered that apparently it hadn’t cooked all the way through. The chicken was still raw in the center. Gross! I couldn’t believe it. I tried making bread and failed. Made a bread starter and failed. Now I made dinner and had failed at that too. This was the worst “productive” day I’d ever had. All I had actually done was accumulate a butt load of messy dishes.

To try and save the chicken I popped it in the microwave to let it finish cooking. I snacked on some potatoes and gravy and then went to put Sarah in bed for the night. A little while later I smelled something funny. The smell went from funny to horrible in a matter of seconds. I rushed into the kitchen and opened the microwave. As soon as I opened it a horrible smelling smoke filled the kitchen. I quickly turned on the exhaust fan, worried that the smoke alarm would go off and wake up Sarah. I did everything I could to get the smoke and smell out of the house. Stephen came into the kitchen and mentioned the smoke was burning his eyes. Ya, it was that bad.

After things calmed down I took the plate out of the microwave and saw the damage. I don’t know how it happened but that chicken was now majorly disfigured. It actually had a hole in the middle and some black ooze’ish stuff dripping to the side. I’d never seen anything like that before. To top it all off the microwave now looked like a chicken bomb had exploded inside it. It was around this time I was spent. I felt emotionally and domestically defeated. I added one more nasty dish to the sink and decided to call it a night and just go to bed.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was how I spent my Tuesday.

 

 

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A New Accomplishment

I accomplished something new today. I, Cassie Ringl, baked bread from scratch. Not only did I bake bread, but it actually tasted better than it smelled!

I have to admit this wasn’t my first try. This was my 3rd go-around with a bread recipe, the only difference is this one worked. It took 5 days for the starter to prepare itself and become bake-ready. I’ve discovered that one of the reasons Sourdough Bread is so amazing is because of the patience you have to practice while waiting for it. Then again, I’ve never made it before and still thought it was amazing, so… I guess it’s delicious either way.

Here’s my ‘baking station’ with the laptop open for step-by-step instructions:

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That’s the dough after I let it rise overnight:

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Knead the dough for a few minutes:

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Split the dough in half and place in bread pans:

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Let the dough double in size
(mine took about 3 hours)

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Then bake & drool as you smell the aroma of fresh bread wafting through your home

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Here’s the link to the website for the starter and recipe. You should check it out and try it. Trust me!

Makes me wish I lived in a small town where bread was baked fresh everyday and you could smell it when you walked to work in the morning, or visited the market. Wait a second, I don’t have to wish that… I can make it come true in my own home! I am so excited, feeling like a real ‘homemaker’ right now :)

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The Joys Of Dairy

One of the most exciting surprises to our pregnancy was when we discovered that I was able to eat dairy. I don’t talk about ‘health’ much, but since early high school my body did a little flip on me and I found out I was lactose-intolerant. While I have been decent at avoiding most things cheese in my life (with my favorite food being mexican and second being pizza) I’ve learned to cope.

Well, fast forward to July 2010. After a weird aversion from ALL mexican food (nausea and all foods smelling mexican didn’t go well for me) I happened upon mac-n-cheese. After not getting sick from eating it I suddenly became obsessed with cheese. Cheese slices, string cheese, amazing-delicious pizza, mac-n-cheese, grilled cheese, and pretty much anything cheese-filled/related. If it has cheese/dairy as the main ingredient, I’ve probably eaten it in excess the past few months.

While I am PRAYING that this new body-adjustment sticks around after baby Ringl arrives, we have no way of knowing. Which means I need to eat as much dairy-related foods as I can, especially those that I have avoided for most my life.

Last night was a good one.

What do you get when you combine:

chicken

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noodles

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and white sauce

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You get a delicious Italian combination known as:

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

(I forgot to take a picture before I mixed and started devouring)

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Since the 2 main ingredients in Alfredo sauce are: Heavy Whipping Cream & Butter, you can imagine my non-pregnancy intolerance was high! Oh and let me tell you, I covered that stuff with parmesan cheese and it was AH-MAZING!

I need to give a special thanks to my sweet hubby who came up with the idea to make homemade chicken alfredo from scratch. It was a great idea and he executed it perfectly!  If he isn’t careful he’s gonna be setting himself up as the new chef in the Ringl household, which I certainly won’t complain about :)

Needless to say, I enjoyed every delicious, fat-filled bite!

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Pancakes & Friends

Hello all. Surprise, I’m alive. I know you must be thrilled after my sudden disappearance, which I’m calling a temporary sabbatical.

Well I am back, and I have an update for you to read and enjoy.

This past weekend we had a friend come and visit us. Her name is Kim, Stephen and I met her at UWF. We have some great memories from our “college years”, and it’s always a blast when we get together. Yes, I just referred to my college years in the past tense, since, well, that was a few years ago now… ya, time flies.

We arranged for Kim to come by Saturday morning just around time for brunch. I may have had ulterior motives in setting up the time frame because some of our most delicious memories are hanging out with Kim and her making her amazing from-scratch pancakes. She uses all fresh ingredients, even the eggs come straight from her parents chickens!  I had never had real syrup until having pancakes with Kim, and Stephen and I have been hooked ever since. It’s amazing and delicious when your syrup has only 1 ingredient: Maple Syrup.

Here’s Kim making up a batch on our griddle.

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here’s a better look at the goods:

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imagine those stacked & covered in butter and syrup… sooo good!

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Before she left we grabbed a group shot. What did we do before camera’s with timers?!?!

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There ya have it. There’s a brief peek into our weekend. We also celebrated my little brother’s 25th Birthday with some delicious BBQ wings and cookie cake. I don’t know about you, but we had a delicious stomach-filling weekend here on the coast.

A New Love For Mexican BBQ

I don’t know if it’s possible, but I think I get more excited each Friday when it’s time to start the weekend. Even more so when it’s a payday weekend!

We started this weekend off right by trying out a brand new recipe!! It was a beautiful combination of mexican and barbecue. That’s right, delicious cheeses topped with caramelized onions, barbecue sauce, chicken, and MORE cheese. Pure tasteful bliss.

I got the recipe from a site I read called How Sweet It Is. There are a lot of delicious recipes, so if you’re looking for something tasty click over and check out her site.

Here is a picture of what we delighted ourselves with tonight:

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This picture is from the site I mentioned, I was so busy cooking and then stuffing my face that I forgot to take a picture.

Not only was this a new recipe, but I also learned how to caramelize onions for the first time. Turns out it’s really easy (and WAY delicious!)  I wasn’t sure about the combination of cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, AND bbq sauce, but turns out it’s a brilliant combination.  That, and cooking the quesadillas on the stovetop so the shell is nice and crispy.

This was my first experience making quesadillas at home, so I am still high on new recipe satisfaction :)

I think we had ourselves a great start to the weekend!

2 Sistas in the Kitchen

My sister and her hubby are over at our place tonight for some relaxation and, my favorite, mexican food. We are stepping up to new experiences and making an addition to our taco-themed night: Guacamole!

I got some Avacado’s at the store recently and we are putting them to use. While the guys are in the living room playing Rock Band, we are in the kitchen:

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I need a manual can opener… Miriah couldn’t figure out our electric one with all it’s awkwardness (it probably doesn’t help that it isn’t hanging from the cabinets like it’s supposed to, hehe).

I put her on guacamole duty so I could work on the beans and rice. The pro to working in the kitchen…

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Appetizer’ing

Yes, it’s a word. No, there’s no need to look it up, just trust me. Okay? Good :)

Alright, the quesadillas are coming out of the oven and the rice is done.  Enjoy your Tuesday night everyone !