Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rainy Day Fun in Autumn

For weeks we have planned to take the girls trick-or-treating at the Genesee Country Village, but alas, Hurricane Sandy is dampening our plans - literally!  We very nearly went in spite of the cold, damp weather -- our 11-year-old desperately wanted to go! -- but when it started pouring rain we were able to talk her into staying at home today.  She is dressed in her pioneer dress (what she would have worn to GCV) and we are having a day of pumpkin painting & carving, Halloween crafts, and baking, with a special viewing of a "Little House on the Prairie" Halloween episode for our eldest daughter, and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" for our youngest! 

My husband and I have to carve our pumpkins - I can hear my eldest daughter telling her dad to carve the NY Islanders (our favorite team) logo into his pumpkin...  And of course, I'll make a batch of pumpkin seeds - yum!  My little one painted a princess face on her pumpkin and when it's dry, we'll put one of her tiaras on top.  My eldest loves video games (in spite of her longing to be a pioneer...) and she painted one of the PacMan ghosts on her pumpkin -- she did a great job!

I have roast beef in the crock-pot, banana bread in the works, and apple crisp for dessert.  I have the Halloween lights on and yummy smelling candles lit -- it's a wonderfully cozy day at home!  And my little girlie found another cozy thing to do on a rainy day -- tea party for her One Hundred Acre Woods friends! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What is Your "Signature Dish?"

For last night's dinner, I made chicken cordon bleu with homemade rice pilaf and fresh broccoli (purchased at the farm market yesterday).  While we were eating, I asked my family, "What would you say is my "signature dish"?  I mean, years from now, if you were thinking of Mommy's cooking, what would you remember most fondly?"  My husband said, "turkey dinner!"  My 11-year-old daughter said, "turkey dinner, chicken cordon bleu or stew!"  And my 6-year-old daughter said, "Mommy's grilled cheese!"  (She's so easy to please!)  One of us asked my husband what he would say his mother's signature dish is and (as I would have guessed!) he said her meatloaf (she used to have to make 2 when he was growing up -- 1 for him, 1 for the rest of the family!!).  To me, my mom's signature dishes are her baked ziti, her beef burgundy, her rice pilaf and her cream cheese brownies! 

Actually, my signature dishes (aside from my stew) are mostly pieced together from various family recipes.  "My" chicken cordon bleu is actually a recipe that my stepmother found in a cookbook and I added it to my recipe box years ago -- it was actually the first meal that I cooked for my husband when we were first dating.  And my best friend and my mother also loved the dish so much that they added it to their own recipe boxes too.  The rice pilaf that I make is a recipe that everyone on my mother's side of the family makes.  I think it came from my uncle's (mom's brother-in-law's) family, but I remember my Nana, my mother and my aunts all using the same recipe.  Turkey dinner is something that I remember my Nana making - I spent every Thanksgiving at her house in New Hampshire when I was growing up.  I make her stuffing, I make some of the same side dishes that she made, and her squash bread.  I've added a few of my own things over the years - in addition to her stuffing, I make oyster dressing for my husband, sometimes I make my own cranberry sauce and I have tweaked the traditional pumpkin pie recipe to make it my own.  I also make a fabulous apple pie with an apple crisp topping -- that was a recipe I adopted from my stepmother.

As a mom, I like to think about passing things on to my daughters - I have some of my grandmothers' recipes and recipes from other family members written in their own handwriting and those are some of my most cherished possessions.  I would love to put together some family recipes for my girls to take when they move out on their own (although, currently my 6-year-old plans to live with Mommy and Daddy forever!).  Another nice idea that I have seen and would like to do some time, is to frame a couple of recipes and hang them in my kitchen. 

What is your signature dish?