Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Nutting Party with Samantha

Featuring no actual nutting, but plenty of food!

When I was a kid, I used to love looking through birthday party planning books. They always seemed like they had such fun ideas for recipes, party treats and events that all followed a theme of your choosing, and while I don't think I ever followed a book's suggestions to the T, I still enjoyed browsing.

The American Girl Party Book is no exception, especially considering the photography is pretty solid and I happen to be overly invested in the topics it covers. Shocking, I know! Each character has two party theme suggestions beyond just throwing yourself or someone else a Samantha or Molly themed birthday party. Sam's suggestions were a painting party, or a nutting party, and as we headed into actual fall, I decided I wanted to try my hand at some of the recipes that went along with this theme. I've often wondered if the shorter recipes are any easier to make than the fully written out, largely from scratch recipes, and decided now was as good a time as any to give it a shot.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kirsten's Swedish Pancakes

Not your average pancake!

Almost every culture has some version of a pancake, whether they be soft and puffy, or thin and eggy. They're a perfect vessel for almost anything, from jelly to meat to cheese to savory spreads, and everything else in between, which means you can enjoy them almost any time of day or night!

Swedish pancakes - or pannkakor - are yet another dish with a slightly obscure history. Although they or similar dishes have probably been enjoyed by Swedish families since ancient times, the first reference to them in text comes from the 1500's, and as it isn't a recipe, we aren't too sure what kind of pancake this was, exactly.

The ones featured in Kirsten's Cook Book are fried, and usually eaten on Tuesdays for dessert after a dinner of pea soup. Originally, frying the pancakes was a tricky business because before wood stoves, doing this over an open fire meant you were at a pretty a high risk of burning yourself! Once you were less likely to give yourself third degree burns making dessert, the dish got more and more popular, and probably would have been something the Larsons brought with them to America to remind them of home.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Molly

An Italian American dish in honor of an Italian American hero!

This year, September 20th is a holiday that I'm going to go out on a limb and say most of my blog readers aren't familiar with. Every year in September since 1981, the town of Raritan, New Jersey holds a celebration in honor of their hometown hero from World War II: Gunny Sergeant John Basilone, the only enlisted Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross during the war. But John Basilone is a significant figure in American history for more than just that, and it's for reasons that many modern Americans wouldn't even consider.

Since I couldn't convince anyone to come down with me to New Jersey this weekend, I had to make do with finding my own way to pay tribute to one of my favorite historical figures. What better way than with a dish that's got some connections to Italy, but is actually uniquely and deceptively American?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Josefina's Green Chile Stew

A tasty, simple stew that's perfect for a fall evening!

Fall is officially here! A little earlier than we'd like, considering we've already started to lose a fair amount of our leaves in my neck of the woods, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't love those sort of cool mornings where all you want to do is stay curled up in bed and enjoy your warm blankets for another couple minutes.

When you don't have that, at least there's simple stews like this one. Although it only has a handful of ingredients, this green chile stew is quite tasty and has enough heat to make you feel nice and warm, if not scald the inside of your mouth! I've had some hit or miss experience making recipes from American Girl cookbooks, but this one was pleasantly simple and was a success with my taste testers, so I'm considering it a success! Hopefully you will too, if you give it a shot.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Maryellen, Chris' Cold Pie & the Winner of Our Anniversary Sweepstakes!

A pie from the happiest place on Earth, which turned out to be a bit of a disaster!

Hello again, everyone! Thanks to everyone who entered our anniversary sweepstakes and provided feedback for what they'd like to see in the coming year. I really appreciate my readers and always like to hear your thoughts about where to go next. It sounds like most people are really looking forward to a horrible savory gelatin! I'll have to see what I can dig up to make that happen.

But for Maryellen's first official post, I turned to a different source of inspiration. 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of Disneyland opening! And while this event isn't referenced in Maryellen's books - much to my disappointment - I'm a big enough Disney geek that I wanted to not just showcase Maryellen, but also pay tribute to the opening of the park that revolutionized the theme park industry, along with many other aspects of American pop culture, business, technology and society. What better way to do so than to make Walt Disney's favorite dessert?

Unfortunately, the pie didn't really turn out the way we wanted it to, but that's okay! Hopefully, it'll at least make an interesting story. And don't forget to read on to find out who won the sweepstakes!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's Our Second Anniversary!

Welcome to Year Three, everyone!

And we're celebrating with the skillet cookie and a giveaway! That's right: for the first time ever, there's free stuff involved. As a thank you to our loyal readers, I wanted to host a small sweepstakes, and because mailing you all a skillet cookie would be a little messy, I decided to do something a little different.

Readers who enter the sweepstakes will have a chance to win a $15 e-gift card to King Arthur Flour, a 225 year old company that specializes in baking and cooking equipment. They're where I bought my ice cream machine!

For sweepstakes rules and more information, please click "Read more" below!