Friday, December 31, 2010

Pinto Beans

We like eating beans fairly regularly here, but eating the same thing over and over again can get a bit boring, especially if the only beans out of a can that you like by themselves are Ranch Style Beans (that would be an Amanda preference and not an entire family preference). I like pinto beans, but not from a can. I've been working over the last few weeks on a pinto bean recipe that I really liked and I think this one is pretty darned good.


1 Tbsp olive oil (because, really, what else are you going to use?)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
3 cups chicken broth
2 tsp dehydrated onions (because they were in the pantry, not absolutely necessary)
3-5 cups of water, added as needed

Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil. Add in the garlic once the olive oil is hot and heat until fragrant. Add in the pinto beans, cumin, oregano, chicken broth, and dehydrated onions. Bring to a boil and then lower heat until beans are simmering. Stir every 20-30 minutes, adding water as needed. Total cook time is 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours.



One of my favorite meals that my mom used to make was brisket made in the crockpot. There's nothing quite like walking into a house warm with the fragrance of something good to eat waiting for you. I begged my mom for her recipe and it couldn't be easier. There are two hard and fast rules for making brisket like my mom's. First, the meat is labelled "brisket" on the label. Second, the barbeque sauce has to be dark. I used KC Masterpiece this time. That really is steam coming off of the plate. I just took a picture of my plate before I started eating so I could put it on the blog because I really thought I'd need to make brisket more than once before I posted it, but the brisket really is that easy to make.


Brisket, mine was 4 pounds
1 bottle of dark barbeque sauce
1 cup water

Trim as much fat off of the brisket as you can. If there's a sweet yellow dog at your house, microwave the fat and trimmings and pour them over the dog food still in his bowl. He will love you and stay out from under your feet while you're finishing up the brisket, not that it's going to take you much longer anyway. Pour about 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce in the bottom of the crockpot (use a crockpot that's appropriately sized for your brisket). Put your trimmed brisket directly into the crockpot (no, you don't need to brown the brisket first) and add in up to 1 cup of water. You don't want the brisket swimming in sauce, but just shy of that point. Cook on high in the crockpot for about 8 hours. Slice and enjoy as is or in a hamburger bun.

Roasted Asparagus

We went to my Aunt's house for Christmas this year. Ed and I even took his parents. Everyone is able to get along for at least a couple of hours, so it worked out pretty well. My Aunt had a tenderloin smoked (which was delicious) and I did a mushroom dish from someone else's blog (I can't remember which one as I'm typing and am still not talented enough to link another website within a post). I also made roasted asparagus, which if you haven't tried, you definitely should.

Roasting asparagus is just about like roasting any other vegetable. Asparagus comes bound by two large rubber bands. All of the magazines I've read say to break the asparagus stalks, one by one, where they will easily break and then peel any other hard parts off with a vegetable peeler. I love my family very much, but I needed to get my makeup on so we could get out the door. I cut those bad boys all at once just above the lower rubber band. You'll get tender asparagus every time you do that. I throw the ends in my compost pile. (Hahahaha!! That would be a spot right outside my side door that grows monkey grass and I'm never going to do anything else with it. I think the earthworms feeding off of it must be 9 feet long though..) Arrange the asparagus prettily in a dish, splash with some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Lie to your mother about the amount of salt you put on the asparagus. Bake it at 400-450F, depending on what else has to go into the oven with the asparagus, for about 20-30 minutes. The tips will be just the slightest bit crunchy if you cook it just right and they'll burn up if you do it longer. Be at the first of the line if you actually want to eat any of it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm moving!

Several weeks ago, I decided that my blogging had become schizophrenic and it didn't really feel like a blog entitled "Cooking for my Twins" could support my mommy blogging tendencies or my foul mouth. :) I've started another blog that will mostly be my mommy blog.

Ed says it sounds like a porn site and I assure you, it's not.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas win

When I was five or six years old, my father produced not one but two huge boxes wrapped on gorgeous Christmas paper for my mother. I remember being so excited for my mother, fantasizing about all of the wonderful things that could be in those boxes. I *may* have caressed said boxes. Christmas morning came and my mother opened those boxes and it was a vacuum cleaner. I was pissed. I had imagined furs and jewels and all kinds of fantastic things awaiting my excited mother in those boxes. Not a vacuum cleaner. I'm getting mad right now just thinking about those boxes. My mother probably knew what her present was. I don't remember her being indignant, or even moderately irritated.

Fast forward to seven years ago. I'm married to a wonderful man and he routinely goes all out to make my Christmas wonderful. His family tradition involved making sure his mother opened enough gifts at Christmas that the cats and dogs didn't feel compelled the next year to all give her Christmas gifts in addition to what my husband and father in law gave her. Fortunately, they feared what the cats and dogs would do if I didn't get enough packages to open. So, Christmas morning seven years ago, I'm opening my presents and the husband and father in law had obviously done a large part of their shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond. One of my many presents that day was a hand held vacuum cleaner.

I didn't say anything about it to Ed that day. Or that week. I did go to work and bitch about how Ed had inadvertently been a little unsympathetic. I may or may not have used stronger words. I never said anything to Ed about the vacuum cleaner, but my coworkers sure did. He was caught off guard as I'd never told him about the vacuum cleaner my mother received.

Three years ago for Christmas, Ed gave me a motorized bathroom cleaning device and a six pack of toilet paper. There was some jewelry hidden in there. But still, a motorized bathroom scrubber?!?!?!?!?!?! For my birthday this year, he gave me a heated mop. I don't even clean my own house. I write out the check once a week! Fortunately for his life, he does hide something nice in with the cleaning supplies.

This year, there were no cleaning supplies. This year, Ed watched me when we were out shopping together to see what I liked but wouldn't buy for myself.

Did you give or get any bad gifts? Or any really good gifts?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Boys at Christmas, II

Last night, my computer hated me and wouldn't let me post the pictures of that other kid who lives at my house and in the room of the obviously favored kid whose pictures were posted yesterday.

It's genetic. Whenever there's a camera close by, my eyes close. Naturally, this happens to an evil munchkin too.

If you can't pick your nose in a picture, what good is a camera?

Why shouldn't your fingers go into your mouth after they've been in your nose?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Boys at Christmas

I told the boys that I needed to take some pictures of them for a present for one of my many aunts today and, naturally, they objected to having their picture taken. I asked them how they would like to have their picture taken and Trip said, "with crazy faces," and Logan said, "in the dirt." It was early in the day and I had yet to turn into a crappy monster mother, so I said, "let's go."

Practice picture. Still cute.

Having fun.

Very obviously my child.

Still my kid.

Drumrolllll,.......My kid is really named Damien. It's because my mother watched Rosemary's Baby way too many times when I was a kid. You're welcome, Mom, for the devil grandkid.