Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dining Room Table Discussion: To tattle or not to tattle is the question

The hubbs and I are in a bit of conundrum.  Well, he's not.  He knows that he's right and thinks I'm being silly for for questioning.  I just want to make sure I'm teaching my child correctly.  She is at the age now that things we do or say can/will start to shape and affect her.  It's not "don't touch the stove because it's hot" anymore.

Let me back up a bit.  Several months ago we were watching a cartoon with Jesalyn.  She was young enough that she had no idea what was going on or what the people were saying, but it entertained her so we let her watch it (I know, I know.....)  The days theme was on tattle telling.  As funny as it seems now, I can't remember if it swayed towards or against it.  I can't remember because afterwards, we started talking about it.  Jarrod was 100% tattle.  His thoughts were if someone is doing something to you, at a young age you should definitely tell the teacher.  I agreed to a point. As toddlers, you don't have the communication skills to sit down Dr. Phil style and talk to the other person about how what they are doing is hurting your feelings.  But at the same time, if you get in the habit of tattle-telling when your younger you become that junior high kid that no one likes. On the flip side, it's important that the child is comfortable to tell an adult when something serious is wrong. We agreed to disagree (well, sort of. I still hadn't made up my mind) and went on with our business.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I go to pick Jesalyn up at day care.  The teacher tells me that my daughter has two reports for that day.  They get a report anytime something happens (i.e. falls and bumps her head, got hit in the head with a toy....)  Today's reports were because she bit two different kids.  Two!  A few months back, we got a report that she bit someone but the teacher played it off.   "I can't really tell her 'go Jesalyn' but she was kind of sticking up for herself.  She was minding her own business playing with a blanket and another kid came up and grabbed it from her hand.  Jesalyn said no, and when the child didn't let go she bit her."  Other than that, we hadn't had any problems.  But now, two kids in one day.  On the drive home I talked to her about how it wasn't nice to bite.  That it hurts people when you bite them and she didn't want to hurt any of her friends at school.  That night, I was changing her diaper, again reinforcing that she should not bite people.  "Just because someone takes something from you, that doesn't mean you should bite them...." and then I was stuck, I just set the sentence up so that it required the alternate action to biting.  I saw her looking at me listening as if saying "then what should I do mommy?"  From the other room Jarrod says "tell her to tell the teacher."  I had nothing else, so that's exactly what I did.
And so here we are at our conundrum.  Part of me wants to say just share your things.  If someone takes it from you, just let them have it and play with something else.  A bigger part of me says "no way!" if you have it, and someone just grabs it from you, stand up for yourself.  The issue is at age 2, standing up for yourself translates to "bite."
Am I making this too complicated.  Mommys?  Teachers? Nannies?  I need some input here....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pear Galette

First off, for those of you that don't know what a galette is, let me give you the definition according to Wikipedia (the only place to get real, true information.  do you sense the sarcasm?). 

"Galette is a general term used in the French cuisine to designate various types of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes,[1] similar in concept to a Chinese bing. One notable type is the galette des Rois (King cake) eaten on the day of Epiphany. In French Canada, the term galette is usually applied to pastries best described as large cookies."

If you knew this already.  50 cool points!!!   If you didn't know what a galette was, don't feel bad, I had to look it up too.  Let me give you my definition.

Galette:  Pure, yummy, awesomeness.   Perfect food for people who aren't crazy about pies (aka:myself) but like the idea of them.

I think I liked this so much because the filling wasn't so thick that you had a mouthful of pears.  You get to actually taste the crust, which in my opinion is the best part.  Kind of like a pear pizza.  Plus, it isn't so sweet that all you tasted was sugar.  It's easier to describe if you just try it yourself.  
*You could substitute any other fruit in place of the pears* 

Preheat oven to 350degrees
To make the dough:
and sugar all go in a bowl.  Mix

add chopped butter and mix until it resembles course crumbs

It will form together when pressed, but easily fall apart

Slowly pour the buttermilk in and mix until a dough starts to form.  *picture turned out fuzzy*

Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 45min

Cut your pears up in thin slices and set aside

Once the dough is done, take out and roll out to as close to a 14-15 inch circle you can get.  
The dough gets sticky as you work with it, and you don't want to add extra flour.  I found rolling it out between two pieces of parchment paper to work great.  When its rolled out, transfer it directly to the cookie sheet your baking it on.

brush the dough with the apricot preserves

layer on the pears leaving about a 2inch border

Fold the border over.

brush the edge with egg wash

sprinkle on the sugar
and cinnamon and bake

Once the crust is browned and the pears are tender (about 45-50 min) take out of the oven
*yes, I know I need new baking sheets =)*

add some whip cream and enjoy!!!

Recipe:  slightly adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 large Bartlett pears, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1T cinnamon


1. To make the dough, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a in a bowl. Add butter pieces and mix in with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Slowing pour in the buttermilk until a dough forms a ball.
Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before rolling out.
2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough.  Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, forming a 14-15-inch wide circle. Place the dough with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Brush the bottom of the dough with the apricot preserves. Arrange sliced pears in a spoke pattern on the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the border over the pears, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.
4. Lightly brush the edge of the dough with the egg and sprinkle crust and pears with turbinado sugar and cinnamon.
5. Bake the galette for 45-50 minutes, or until the pears are tender and the crust is golden brown. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Note-you can make the galette dough in advance. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Serve the pear galette with whipped cream or ice cream.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

French toast with grandma

Jesalyn got a lot of quality baking time with MaMa this weekend.  This kid is destined to bake when she gets older.  It's in her genes  =) 
Her favorite was making french toast in the morning

Start with some eggs.

Whisk those up really good

 Add in your spices

 ..and then mama secret weapon (vanilla creamer)

 Mix, mix, mix..

Pour in a little milk and mix

 And then cook them up on the stove.  Be very careful when flipping

And then enjoy the fruits of your labor

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

In my house, we have a love for Chinese food.  If it were allowed, we would have it at least once a week.  There is just nothing more simple than sitting down with a nice big bowl of rice, some sort of a chicken dish, and a couple of crab ragoons to top it off.  We like it so much that one of the first things we bought after getting married was a restaurant style rice maker.  We go through so much rice at our house, it's probably embarrassing.  It's just so easy to make and you can eat it with just about anything.  While my standard rice go-to is topped with sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, and sriracha hot sauce (try it and you'll never eat another brand of hot sauce,) I decided to get a little crazy with our rice and make a main course to go with it.  I am normally a sweet and sour kind of girl.  I use to eat General Tso's, but it mentally got to me with each bite.  It just didn't have that chicken texture, I didn't know exactly what was in it, and I finally gave it up.  While the flavors were good, I just couldn't shake that "what is this" feeling.

And then, I came upon this recipe.  If this turned out, my problem would be solved.  It turned out not to taste exactly like the restaurant style dish, but I loved the texture and flavors of it.  It has a strong ginger taste to it, so if your not in love with ginger, I would cut back on it and add a little more garlic in replace of it.
It was so easy to make too.  It actually turned out easier to make than it is to pronounce.  The more people I talk to, the more pronunciations I get.  Before I get to the recipe I'm curious what you all call it.

1. General "So's"
2. General "Chow's"
3. General "T-So's" 
4. Geners "Show's"
5. "fill in the blank."

....and now to the recipe
 the recipe calls for chicken thighs, but I only buy chicken breast.  This worked great.  Cut it into chunks

Next step is to add your sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, and cornstarch in a bowl.  The mix will be kind of goopy and thick.  

Put your chicken in the sauce and cover to let sit

In a deep saucepan, add your garlic and ginger to the hot oil and cook until it starts to smell up your kitchen (yummy.)  Do you not let your garlic get all brown.  There is not going back from burnt garlic.

In a separate bowl, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and add to the garlic and ginger.
Cook until boiling and thick.  Turn on low and simmer while you cook the chicken.

To test my oil, I normally sacrifice one piece. When I think it's hot, I will throw it in. If it doesn't sizzle, I know it's not ready.  I leave it there until it starts.

Once hot, add the rest of the chicken and cook until it's all nice and browned on both sides.

Does that not look absolutely delicious!!!!
...and we are not done yet.

Once all of the chicken is cooked, mix it with the sauce simmering on the stove.

Throw in some steamed broccoli, a decorative pile of rice, and you've got yourself a meal!

You can find the recipe here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A girls work is never done

So yesterday I had the day off, but if you know me, I never really have a day off.  I tend to fill it with errands. Lots and lots of errands.  Luckily, yesterday I had some big help.
Let's have Jesalyn show you what our day consisted of:

First stop:  the DMV.  Mommy recently refinanced her car.  This involves getting the title redone with the new bank added as the lien holder.  She has tried to do this 3 times, each time forgetting to do something. But we were determined to get it done today.  I munched on some chocolate teddy grahams on the way.

Oops!!!  Mommy forget to get her emissions test done first.   We had to set in line for 1 hour.  I did really good being patient.

Here I am being silly.  Mommy asked me to smile for the camera.  Secretly I think she was just trying to keep me busy.

After being in the car for like 3 hours running all over town, we decided it was time for lunch.  Where else but Macdougals.   Chicken, and free ice cream.

I really liked the ice cream!

And then it was home for a nap.  A girl needs her beauty sleep after all.
Crazy bed head

Laundry, laundry.  There is always so much laundry.

Then it was time to do the grocery shopping

By the end of the day, I was so tired, I let mommy cook the supper.  I finally got to kick back and relax with an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba
Stay tuned for mommy's supper.  It turned out yummy and you just might want the recipe ;)