I love paella. I’ve had several different versions, and each was as tasty as the last. However, I’ve always been too intimidated to try making it. It’s a controversial dish, for sure, with everyone seeming to have his or her own “authentic” recipe. But more than that, I’m not the greatest cook, and there is a lot that goes into any paella recipe. For me, that reads as “there are a lot of opportunities to screw up.” I don’t know if I suddenly had a burst of self-confidence or just too much coffee, but I decided to make paella for our NHN family dinner this month. I’m happy — nay, ecstatic — to say that it was not only edible but pretty darn good. We had rice pudding for dessert — yum. And a dance party topped off the fabulous evening.
Summer is on it’s way! It seems like much too early to say that, but this past weekend boasted temperatures of 60 degrees and that trend is holding strong for the upcoming week. I’ve tried not to get too excited. There is certainly plenty of time for another cold spell or two, but I just can’t help it. The clouds have let the sun through, and it feels amazing! I want to plant the garden, shop for summer clothes, and spend all waking hours outside. I also want fresh summer meals full of flavor. (more…)
There is one place on Earth that rivals Disney World for me. It can’t match the magic of the Magic Kingdom, but it brings joy to a grown-up’s heart, is filled with the scent of delectable Swedish cooking, and when you are able to show restraint, it’s less expensive than Disney. Have you guessed it yet? Yes, I can only be talking about one place: Ikea. The mecca of affordable furnishings and masters of maximizing small spaces. Who doesn’t enjoy perusing Pinterest-worthy room setups while wiping the remnants of a sticky cinnamon bun from your hand? It’s pure joy. (more…)
The week after Christmas each year, the girls’ daycare is closed for a solid week. Including the actual holidays, this gives us ten days together. Sounds amazing, right? It is, but we also go a little stir crazy and by the mid-point suffer from a bit too much togetherness. I also start suffering from a little too many meals including mac and cheese and chicken nuggets. So, on an unseasonably warm day (about 40 degrees), I decided to break out the charcoal and fire up the grill. Not only were we going to diverge from chicken nuggets for dinner, but I would also get to step out of the house of togetherness for a blissful few minutes. (more…)
I was excited for this month’s dinner. Of course, I am always excited for our NHN family dinners, but this month I was particularly looking forward to it. Why? I was making one of my all-time favorite dishes, which includes the mother of all delicious secret ingredients – Crème Fraîche. Crème Fraîche is a wonderful French soured buttercream. While it may sound like Amercian sour cream, it is much more on the creamy side and less on the sour side. And just all-around amazing. I was confident in my meal choice and very confident that Lesley would also find this dish heavenly. Not to mention, the only meat that I would have to cook was bacon, and I can definitely do that. (more…)