The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Category Archives for ‘Food’

My Blog Has Multiple Personality Disorder

I decided awhile ago that this blog needed to have more specific and consistent content. In the past I have posted about my kids and my vacations and whatever I was thinking about at the moment, in addition to real estate issues and thoughts. I also regularly posted recipes and pictures of food. So I nixed the non-real estate content, to the extent that every post needed to at least be related to my life and my experiences as a Realtor, although obviously I still come at my real estate content from a very personal angle.

I think this has been going very well, especially for the last six weeks or so, during which I’ve been posting consistently twice a week. But, in general, I’m a total spaz, and I have decided that it might be even better if I posted THREE times a week. I know this sounds like it’s a pretty reasonable goal. It’s only one more time a week for goodness sake. And there’s plenty of bloggers who post daily or multiple times a day. But I’m having some anxiety about getting together three real estate related posts (and mine tend to be ridiculously long, I can’t help it, I’m verbally bloated, they should make a pill for it) every week. It’s stressing me out. I’m having dreams about spiders and the spiders are are all wearing shoes made of laptop keys and if I’m not funny and relevant on cue they’ll bite me and my arm will get a hole in it that will turn green until my arm falls off.

So the point is, I’ve decided to bring back my food posts once a week. Because then I can just take pictures of my lunch and be done with it. (OK, I’ll put more effort into it than that. Unless it’s a really good lunch sprinkled with 24 karat gold truffle shavings or something.) I really do enjoy cooking and sharing recipes. And bacon. I definitely enjoy bacon.

Thus, going forward you can expect from me:

Monday – Post with Real Estate content (injected with humor using one of those meat marinade needles)

Wednesday – Post with Food Porn

Friday – Post with Real Estate content (sprinkled with 24 karat gold humor shavings)

Those of you freaks who don’t like food or reading about food can just not come around on Wednesdays. And those of you who think real estate is lame and boring and I’m not funny… well, then you should probably just stay away anyway. In fact, you’re no longer invited over here. I’m *not* crying. You shut up.

And to kick things off, Pictures Of My Lunch:

I totally just made this up!

OK, I was inspired by an article in Everyday FOOD this month about making little pizzas and various other things in muffin tins. But the tortilla part was totally my idea. And the filling (leftover shredded pork and cheddar).

Sorta like a snowcone holder.

Squish the little cups into the muffin tin and fill with whatever sounds yum. *Tip: Meat and cheese is always yum.

Topped with a raw egg and baked at 375 degrees for 22 minutes.

Removed from the muffin tin all crispy and melty, and topped with avocado, sour cream and hot sauce.

Creative lunch makes the world feel less black and heartless on those black and heartless kind of days.

Butternut Squash Risotto

I’d never made an actual risotto before I attempted this recipe a month or so ago. In fact, I’d never even eaten much less prepared butternut squash before. But, I mean really, how could it be bad? Butter? Yum! Nuts? Yum!! Squash? Yum!!! And please, all of the risottos I’ve had were about the richest and fabulous things I’ve ever eaten.

Despite all of this evidence pointing to it being a potentially successful meal, I have to admit I was a little nervous to actually attempt it. People always say risottos are delicate and difficult to create correctly. And really, according to the name, it always seemed to me that single malt scotch should be delicious, like malted milk shakes and butterscotch candy, but I’ve tasted a $200 glass of scotch and it does NOT taste like that. More like rubbing alcohol. So really, who even knows if this butternut squash would live up to the promise of its name?

Regardless of my worries I trudged on. I peeled and chopped the squash as was directed and roasted it on a cookie sheet.

And to my delight, it absolutely lived up to its name! In fact, Jonas (my 2 year old) ate it like candy right off the cookie sheet straight from the oven. He loved it.

I then moved on to the actual risotto part of the recipe. In general, I try to stick with the rule that the first time I use a recipe, I follow it exactly, with no substitutions. This time, however, I decided to take a risk and switch out the pancetta for Italian sausage, which I browned before I began the risotto and set it aside to add when I put in the butternut squash. I also omitted the saffron, just because I didn’t have any and hadn’t worked with it before.

Cooking the rice and cheese was actually much easier and more soothing than I expected. It was time consuming, but relaxing; just a stir and a pour here and there for about 45 minutes.

After the rice was sufficiently cooked I mixed in the sausage and the butternut squash and voila! I absolutely loved it and ate the leftovers for days. The ungrateful, bland-paletted children, however, were another story. Can’t please everyone, I suppose. Someday they will love their mother’s gourmet cuisine, right?

Sausage and Peppers Sammies

And just for good measure:

A horseshoe of sausage (seriously, what do you call that? I have no clue), cut in half and sliced
A red bell pepper, sliced
A green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Garlic salt
Jar of marinara sauce
French rolls
Provlone cheese

Sauté peppers, onions, sausage in olive oil till soft and brown. Butter rolls and broil till bread is brown (how’s that for alliterative cooking?). Heat marinara sauce over stove. Spoon peppers and sausage mixture over bread, top with marinara and then two slices of provolone cheese. Put finished sammies back under broiler until cheese is melted. Close and slice in half.

These were my favorite meal in the last two weeks, at least. Loved it. And Jonas (who is almost two and allergic to dairy, eggs and nuts) ate the sausage, peppers, onions and marinara mixture from a bowl like it was going out of style. But of course the two big boys were not at all into it. Sigh. They will love my cooking someday, right?

Ginger Beef and Carrots

Dug it, forgot to take a pic, passing it on:


1.5 pounds stew beef, cubed
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced gingerroot
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
Package of frozen snap peas
Jasmine rice

Toss beef, carrots, green onions, garlic, beef broth, soy sauce, and gingerroot in the crockpot on low in the morning. When you get home from work, mix the cornstarch and water in a bowl and pour into crockpot. Turn the crockpot up to high and add snap peas. Put the jasmine rice on the stove to cook for 20 minutes. When it’s done serve crockpot stew over rice.

I added salt to my portion. It was super easy, quick and delicious, though!

Eggplant Parm – Healthy Version

Last night I made Eggplant Parm. I got started late and it took awhile (I’m slow) and I managed to burn my hand on the oven. Regardless, I thought it tasted great. The kids, on the other hand, were interested in nothing but garlic bread. Boo.

Anyway, it’s a good recipe and is considered ‘healthy’ because there’s no frying of the eggplant involved.


2 medium eggplants
1 container of Italian breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 container of shredded parm
3 cups of shredded mozzarella
2 jars of marinara sauce


Peel eggplants and slice them into quarter-inch thick rounds. Soak in a bowl of water for 10 minutes (to reduce the bitter taste of the seeds). Dry with paper towels. Set up two bowls, one with 2 egg whites and 1/2 cup water (whisked together) and one with breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup parm mixed. Dip each eggplant round first in the egg white mixture and then in the breadcrumbs and lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Broil eggplant until toasted on each side. Layer first marinara sauce, then eggplant, then cheese in a casserole dish until you are out of eggplant. Top with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degree for about 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and marinara is bubbly.

Couldn’t be easier, right?

Lasagna Rolls – Success!

I tried a new ‘kid friendly’ recipe last night that I really liked: Lasanga Rolls (from Giada on the Food Network).

The kids complained bitterly, as they always do when I make something new, but once I threatened them with no dessert ever until you die, they ate it, and actually liked it!

I loved it and will definitely make it again. Although next time I will cut the spinach in half, up the prosciutto by 25% and use an entire jar of marinara on top instead of on the side. I recommend you try it for your kids, or your dinner guests.

There’s a Party in my Potatoes and You’re Invited!

I’m going to let you in on a secret, just between the two of us, and only because you’re a faithful reader.

Come a little closer… just lean in a bit and keep your voice down. That’s right, you’re cool. Nothing exciting here to see, People, keep moving.

Ok… I’m going to give you the recipe for Party Potatoes. SHHHHHHH! I said keep it down!! Act a little more nonchalant! Good lord, you want the whole world to know?

Party Potatoes

Party Potatoes is an age-old Disbrow Family recipe. Mom/Grandma Jackie only makes them on holidays and special occasions and gave me the recipe when I got married, with the expressed instructions that I was NOT ALLOWED to bring the dish to any occasion at her house.

They may not look like much, but I regularly bring Party Potatoes to Tolar/Newlin family events, alongside various other ‘gourmet’, billion-ingredient dishes, and the one that is gone first is always: Party Potatoes.

So I’m sharing this recipe with you, because Mom/Grandma Jackie Disbrow does not read blogs. However, you are officially sworn to NEVER BRING THIS DISH TO A DISBROW FAMILY OCCASION. Do you hear me Internet? Because I am not joking. Use this recipe for your own personal taste bud joy, but do NOT upstage the Jackie. Because I will cut you. Don’t cross me.

It’s very simple, People:

1/2 white onion – chopped
1 can condensed cream of celery soup (undiluted)
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 package frozen potatoes O’Brien
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix the first three ingredients and microwave them for 3ish minutes (until the onions are clear). Stir with frozen potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Cover with cheddar and bake until cheese is melted.

Yep, it’s that easy. Take it to Thanksgiving Dinner and let the praise roll in.

Stuffed Peppers

Alrighty, well I’m really trying to get ahead of the curve here. The holidays pretty much wiped me out. What with Christmas cookies to be baked for the many holiday parties, to packing up our entire family (and presents!) to spend the end of December in Portland, Oregon, to hand-knitting a reversible hat for my husband’s gift, it’s been a ridiculous month. I’ve had a great time, but I’m SO glad it’s over.

The holiday clean-up is still in progress, but I did manage to actually cook dinner tonight. And it was even my own recipe:

Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients –

Four green bell peppers
Box of rice (garlic flavored if possible)
3 mild Italian sausages
1/2 white onion, diced
1 small zucchini chopped
1/2 can of tomatoes
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese (plus 1/4 cup for tops)

Preparation –

Cook box of rice. Cut sausages from casings and brown until cooked and crumbly. Mix all ingredients under green peppers (except extra 1/4 cup of cheese). Slice the tops off the green peppers and scoop the seeds out. Fill the green peppers with mixture and add extra cheese to the top. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and peppers are cooked.

stuffed peppers.jpg

Do you like my apron? A gift from my crafty mother-in-law. I love it!

Limey Madness

I want to a dinner party this weekend. We had this idea that we could mimic the show Iron Chef and pick and ingredient that everyone would have to use in the different courses. We chose lime as our main ingredient.

Debbie made ceviche:



Laura P. made a yummy salad with a lime vinaigrette and limed veggie skewers. Laura T. made a tomatillio lime salad and a cilantro lime pesto.

I did a Tequila Lime Chicken Pasta:

tequila lime chicken pasta.jpg

And we finished it off with four lime desserts made by Danielle, Jessica and Laura P.:

lime desserts.jpg

There were, of course, margaritas, limeade, lime sherbet smoothies and even Pepsi with Lime for beverage choices.

It was a totally fun experiment, but I think we learned that there’s a reason why people usually balance the flavors of their meals a little better. By the third bite of the evening, the only thing I could taste was lime. In fact, I may have had my fill of lime for the month.

Next time, Mexican, maybe.

The Lime Gals:


Laura T., Jessica, Debbie, Danielle and Jackie, Laura P. and Me! (Yes, I realize Laura T.’s eyes are closed, but mine are closed in the other one we took and it’s my website, ha!)

The Art and Science of a Quiche

Since my last post was so heated and controversial, I thought I’d transition to something calming to everyone: quiche (right? No one has any blood boiling opinions on eggs and crust, do they?).

I made a quiche last weekend for Easter brunch and I thought it turned out well. I was thinking of posting the recipe, but I realized that it’s less of a recipe and more of a map of how to get from A to Quiche. Really, quiche is four parts, and as long as you have those four parts, it’s tough to screw it up. The four parts are: Crust, Filling, Cheese and Eggs. You can interpret these in many different ways and it will still come out yummy. Mine went like this:

Crust – Pillsbury Crescent Rolls dough pressed into a greased pie tin.

Filling – Asparagus, onion and red potato chopped and sauteed in olive oil until tender.

Cheese – Ideally grated Gruyere (a cup or so), but a nice swiss works almost as well.

Eggs – 5 eggs beaten with about 1/4 cup of heavy cream and a 1/4 cup of skim milk.

I put the filling into the pie tin filled with crescent roll dough, top with cheese and then pour the egg over top until it’s full. I don’t always use all of all of the ingredients. Then I bake it at 375ish until the middle isn’t liquid anymore (jiggle it to tell). The top will be a bit brown.

You could do a zillion variations on this. Make it southwestern by using green chilies, red peppers and sausage as the filling and a pepper jack cheese. Maybe toss in a blue cheese and add ham for the filling. You could also use a premade pie crust or make one from scratch. Or if you like your quiche eggier (my version’s on the creamy and cheesy side) omit some of the cheese and cream and add a few more eggs.

Try out a quiche. I find them classic, creative and perfect for brunch!