Sunday, December 26, 2010

Exotic Mushroom Bread Pudding

I have received numerous requests for this recipe. Seriously, right now, get your grocery list and add what you do not have. It is inexpensive decadent, and EASY!
(of course, I have no idea which mushroom is considered exotic- so I bought a variety. Always leaving my options open.) 
So, hijacked and adapted from Emeril, I give you... Heaven Sent.
Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups julienne yellow onions
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 turns fresh ground black pepper (I'm not a raging cracked pepper fan, so I did about 8)
1/2 pound wild and exotic mushrooms, about 3 cups (I used 1 pkg of baby bellas, 1 pkg shitake, 1 button pkg- all loosely chopped... more like 5-6 cups)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (I, of course, used way more- like 6 small cloves of garlic)
5 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 slices, 1 inch cubed white bread, about 4 cups (I used more like 5 cups to compensate for the overage of 'shrooms)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used the 6 cheese Italian blend)
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 quart glass rectangle pan with 1 tablespoon butter (or, if you have a small household like me-- use 2 pans so one can be frozen). In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, about 1 minute. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and 12 turns black pepper and saute for 4 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool, covered. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for 30 seconds. Add the heavy cream, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk the mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in the sauteed mushrooms with the juice. Add the bread cubes and mix well. Pour the filling into the prepared pan. Let sit in fridge for about 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle the pudding generously with the grated cheese. (there's nothing low fat about this recipe, so don't start here.) Bake for 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Let me know how it turns out. YUM!

Christmas, take 2

WOW!

What a great day. It was relaxed. It was quiet. It was ideal. We had a dinner fit for kings (or Cagles). Homemade croissants (yessir, compliments of me), exotic mushroom bread pudding (holy moly), my FIRST beef tenderloin- DOMINATED, red wine with dinner, white wine as a precursor, homemade egg nog ice cream for dessert.


Eileen wanted to help cook, and she did a great job hiding the pans in the microwave.


We had our juice (in our lismore) and Eileen had hers.
The picture in the background was a Christmas gift from my dear friend, Petra. It says "When I count my blessings, I count you twice." I love it.

Eileen was not interested in our king's feast, so she had yogurt, with her silver spoon. (the silver server contained the so-good exotic mushroom bread pudding)


Clothes stripped, yogurt consumed, presents opened, and a Christmas tornado having ripped through the apartment- night mom!


The after effects of sitting around the dinner table, sipping good wine, and enjoying each other's company with Gene, Bing, and Frank. Ugh, who's cleaning?

In case you are itching to see more Christmas pictures: 



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas!

I had the cutest bed mate last night...


We slept with the TV on 24 hours of "A Christmas Story" and woke up entirely too early. This Mother of The Year bought an extra hour thanks to Mickey Mouse. 

Snow was falling! This is our first White Christmas!



We finally leapt out of bed around 7 and started making Sausage and Cheese Bread...


Eileen was a fan! (so, was I... but definitely not as important) 

at 7:02am, all the tv's were on A Christmas Story, muted, and the iPod is on a 1950's Christmas Shuffle where it will stay until bedtime.

I am about to start monkeying with the $80 tenderloin and mushroom bread pudding. All I need is a husband.

(please... do you think that this is going to be the only blog today?)


Friday, December 24, 2010

Finished Product...

All we need is the food!


I am such a nut for a well-set table. (and silver, and polishing said silver) The eyelet tablecloth must be packed away, so I went with a red damask cloth instead. Oh, and I cracked... Eileen and I had to get out of the house and headed up to BB&B to "get out amongst 'em." We found some 2 Waterford Lismore goblets 50% off!

Merry Christmas! Eileen, if you touch the tablecloth, I am not responsible for what will happen! :)

Mama had a backer leaf

Today, my husband is on call and I am cleaning our home getting ready for his arrival tomorrow, Christmas afternoon.

Today though, today I miss my china. Yes, it is silly to miss something so frivolous but I do. I have beautiful china, Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf:

Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf Dinner Plate Size:10.5 Inch dia


And beautiful crystal:

Waterford Clarendon Wine Goblet

Fortunately, I carried some of my silver with me. A southern girl has to know how to set a table (dessert fork tines to the right, dessert spoon bowl to the left):

GORHAM BUTTERCUP CHILD FORK STERLING FLATWARE


The only thing I do have is a wedding gift from the first Mrs. William Edward Gilbert Cagle- a lovely eyelet tablecloth that her mother made and was a gift from the first to the second. On this first Christmas at our home, I will be using (their) her (my) tablecloth sans china and crystal, plus silver.

The crystal and china are packed away, tucked deep in Brad's attic and mom's closet. Until next time...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The stockings were hung by the chimney...

The stockings were hung by the chimney, er, kitchen hutch with care...

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon to be there (or here, I can't ever remember and refuse to google it for accuracy)


Something about packages wrapped lovely with brown craft paper.


And friends come over so moms and dads can have a glass of wine and we can watch Mickey Mouse (underneath the Christmas rosemary bushes)


Almost dead, but still twinkling well.


From our 1056 square foot apartment to your home, Merry Christmas! (or, as I like to say, CAGLE CHRISTMAS! but, if you did not know me when I was a Merry, you might not get it.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Taking just a moment

As I sit and type, Eileen has pulled out all of my loaf pans and is sitting next to her Da-Dee playing them with her spoons with the occasional instruction on how “Fur Elise” should go with said spoons. In the background, the finest Bing Crosby is singing Christmas carols from an iPhone instead of a classic 45. We are both sipping egg nog with brandy and quickly rejected the idea of sushi in lieu of staying in.
The tv is off and homemade meatloaf is in the oven. It is the three of us, playing and enjoying each others company for the moment- this very brief moment that we get to be together before work and life takes us our separate ways again. Silent Night just came into the mix from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and I am thinking to myself that this very moment, this second is what Norman Rockwell would capture as a modern family Christmas. This picture.
I woke up to snow this morning.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Climbing Cinderella

Eileen is a climber. Not like a 2 year old climber, but like a monkey climber. She can flip herself up to any chair, shelf, or stool. I was looking for her the other day [in our 1056 square foot apartment] and could not find her. I leaned under the table and did not see any 6-12 month feet.... because they were not on the ground. She had climbed up the bookshelf trying to reach God knows what. I, being mother of the year, snuck up behind her, clapped my hands really loud and said, loudly, (okay, screamed) "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO M'AM! NO M'AM! WE DO NOT CLIMB ON THE BOOKSHELF."

She got down, turned around, looked at me and started crying. However, she has not taken a fancy to climbing on it since.

 She still climbs on the oven. The oven that has no knobs for the stove because she can reach them. And the table. She hits her head on the glass above her, but has not gotten the irony of the glass ceiling like I have. She climbs into cabinets. Well, hold on... she pulls everything out of the cabinet and flings it around the room... then climbs in the cabinet and shuts the door. We are working on, "Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie." ... but, so far, all we have is, "Da-DA?"

 Did I mention she pulls everything out of the cabinets? Last week, one of the last times I left the apartment before the cold set in, we were walking along and I looked into the bottom of her stroller to find the following items: -Le Creuset lid, -cusinart mixer bowl, - 2 cups, -a right shoe.

 Which brings me to something very important to share... I am starting to call her Cinderella because she cannot keep up with both shoes. Right now, we have far more right shoes than left. She has taken to taking them off and throwing them, hiding them, or otherwise disposing of the left shoe. 

Speaking of hiding, Will and I both lost our licenses for longer than I should mention. No big deal as we don't drive anywhere (I get lost and Will doesn't have time to make car journeys) and the bars know that the idiots with the baby are, obviously, of age. So, I was vacuming the other day and needed to move the rug. Well, underneath the rug I found my comb, our licenses, a debit card, a coaster, and a business card for some lawyer named "Yahntz." So that's where they were....

Enough about my child, how about my husband? Well, I sadly do not have much to report on him, except he is working his ass off. He worked a lot as a resident, as you all know, but that was like second gear compared to what he does not. He works (note the word 'works') from 6am to 5ish. That means he gets up around 515am to leave the house by 531, to get to the shuttle by 558, to take the shuttle to arrive before 615. To work. When he is on call, he will work all night long (no sleep) and then come home around 1pm the following day and die until about 6. Eat dinner, play on his computer, hug Eileen and give me a little drunken conversation (not from alcohol, from lack of sleep) before nodding off again about 830-9. Good news, he gets to go back to the hospital the next day. Even better news, next month is going to particularly hard, according to the worker bee. So, he'll need to be AT the hospital by 525 and won't get home until after 7. Unfortunately, the first shuttle does not leave until 6. So, he gets to take the bike to work. In January. In the morning. In the snow. Uphill. Without a helmet.

What? You thought being a doctor was just all work and no play?

And now, me. She who has no MDO, no childcare, and an increasing tolerance for wine. Eileen and I do a lot of yoga and those earthy people are ding bats.

ding bats.

Seriously, I cannot fathom the medicinal or confidence building aspects of not shaving your pits. There is no hygiene in that. Legs-- I get it. You're lazy. It's cool. But, come on, your pits? You probably don't do much hedge work either (of course, of all the places I neglect... the hedges are the first). And, don't fool yourself. Your baby can't do yoga. They can run around. They can put their head on the ground, but it is not downward facing dog (or downward facing puppy as we call it in the Cagle household). Don't try and make them. 

Earthy people crack me up. The guilt they carry from using plastic bags to the organic toilet paper made from trees who were anesthetized before being chopped; please don't think I am exaggerating. There are markets here that cater to them... with a price tag to boot.

Fenging and Sheuing are two things I will probably never understand.

Right, I digress... so, I'm doing yoga and trying to find some inner peace (when I'm not laughing at the hairy women who "OHM" before they "namaste") and knitting to keep my idle hands busy. I am not great at either, but am working to broaden my horizons.  

I'll get back to writing!

I will get back to writing-- but, Eileen is really taking this whole "cuteness" thing to a new level and wanted to share! We saw the trains today at the Botanical Gardens...






Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thoughts on Thirty

I've been thinking about this blog for about a week and... well, I feel like there should be important words that should be said to reflect on my twenties and rev up for jumping into my thirties.

But, do you know what I have? A whole lot of nothing.

While I have few thoughts as to where I would be when the big 3-0 greeted me, I am happy with where I am.

Thirty- it's the new twenty four. That's a thought and a good one, too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

OUCH!

With Husband on call tonight, I have to find things to entertain Eileen as it is getting quite chilly. After her nap, we pile in the car and head up to Home Depot. Getting creative with space for Christmas, I decided on three little rosemary trees, pine garland, a fir wreath and lots of twinkle lights.

Eileen and I have had the best day decorating the apartment, coloring on paper to make small chains for the little trees scattered around the house as we turn this place into Santa's workshop.

Well, just in case anyone out there was keeping tabs, I am also allergic to pine needles. My arms are in complete hives and won't stop itching. The balcony looks beautiful, though. Looks like Husband will be the one taking those down after the new year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Raised Right

Back in the south, as parents, they would say things like, “raised right.” 
“Oh, her? That’s Rachel Merry- her parents are Ange & Woody. She was raised right.”
This statement basically boils down to “Best to bring home to parents” in high school superlatives. I, piously, like to think that I was “raised right.” I can curtsey without wobbling. I can carry on a conversation and write a well-thought thank you note. These are just a few things that involve being “raised right.”
I am, with my very best effort, attempting to raise Eileen “right.” We do nice things for friends, like take them dinner after a baby is born or make cookies, because, really, nothing says friend like a homemade chocolate chip cookie! 
Chocolate chip cookies and being “raised right” go hand in hand. Today, Eileen and I made chocolate chip cookies for a friend who is going to her in-laws for Thanksgiving. Promises that these cookies will be excellent, Eileen and I set off to do such- be a good friend and make cookies.
In raising Eileen right, I taught her about cleanliness (it’s next to Godliness). We shucked her Aunt Polly smocked outfit and put her “helper chair” next to the mixer as we poured, stirred, and created little bits of Heaven. She learned how to get the cookie dough out of the bottom of the bowl.

She is really taken right to being "raised right."
It starts in the kitchen, you know.










Monday, November 22, 2010

It would be called raised right.

I have this somewhat above average blog about Eileen and cookies... and being raised right. However, I can't get the *%&^#$ blogger to find the %&#^ adorable pictures, and the story is not as funny without the pictures...

ARGH!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

hee hee...

I have made a hat and am currently working on a scarf.

Turbo nerd... right here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sewing... knitting....

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to learn how to sew. This past Christmas, my parents picked up on it and bought me a sewing machine. I was incredibly excited and promptly signed up for 10 classes. 9 of my classes were cancelled. I have a very lovely pillow case that I made in my first class, and have had to set the dream aside until we relocate to a place that has reasonable childcare, or I get a husband back from his second residence found at Children's National. 

I moved on to bread. 88 tries at a non-cheating sour dough bread where I caught and grew my own yeast  lead to a very gleeful, "HOT DAMN!" when I succeeded.  What sort of other homemade goodies can I create in my kitchen?

And homemade indeed, I did create. 

Next, Eileen's bows at the store are a ha-ha funny $4.50 EACH. A trip to the craft emporium and found enough supplies to make 20 bows for the same $4.50. Super glue, scissors, and a little Elmer's- Eileen can throw her bows out of the stroller and there are plenty more. I am no longer upset at the loss of $4.50.

Filling the void of sewing and really wanting to learn how to make lace and French handsew, I found a knitting class.

I am knitting a hat. And I am in love all over again. It is a kid-friendly place where I learn to knit from a published expert: The Expectant Knitter: 30 Designs for Baby and Your Growing Family... Marie is awesome and has such patience with my untrained hands.

I knitted and knitted for 2 hours on Sunday night as my babe and husband slept (they both went to bed at 7- one had not had a nap and the "fall back" really monkeyed with her schedule & the other had not slept in 48 hours and worked for 31 of them). Realizing that something was not right with my stitches, the next morning I was in front of Maire's shop, Stitch DC, and she showed me where I went wrong, ripped out my stitches and helped me start over. 

I am so impressed with my abilities and creativity. HOT DAMN!

Yoga... bread... crafts... knitting... what's next? 


Thursday, November 4, 2010

700

It has been cold.
It has been rainy.
It has caused a total lack of ability, not lack of motivation, to continue my commitment of 1000 miles.

My goal has been hovering at 701 for most of this week. That one-- that little ONE at the end of the seven hundred has been mocking me, laughing, and otherwise hacking me off.

Last night, Eileen and I walked to Capital City Brew to eat dinner with Husband as he did not leave the hospital until 7:00. So, FINALLY.... I am at 700.

700 miles left to go, 300 dominated.

I am, sadly, anticipating my speed to slow down dramatically as the weather starts to become less and less agreeable with having a baby outside without DFACS getting a phone call....

Alas, we must make due and find other ways to expel our energy... mine as much as hers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beth & Co.

On one hand, this should not be a blog that I post to the masses. On the other hand, it is nothing that we are ashamed of, and at the rate “gossip” travels through Augusta, GA- I must acknowledge that my mother’s homepage is my blog. Not by her choice, but mine. She does not know how to change it, so every morning and afternoon when she shakes her mouse to check her email, weather, and foxnews, she has to start here- at Meet The Newest Cagle Dot Com.
So, Hi Mom! I hope you are proud of me and your dashing SIL.
What started out as a wholesome family day concluded as such with a little interlude here and there. This weekend was Husband’s first day off in over two weeks. He actually got 48 hours that he could rub together as his own. We spent the weekend walking, attending a kids Halloween festival, restoring sanity, attending mass with the Pillbox that was LMC, and watching the GA/FL game. It was the ONLY thing Husband wanted to do all weekend (football), and I, obviously, was happy to oblige. 
Wholesome-- we are meeting up with Beth & Co. at Molly Malone’s... this might sound like a bar and it might look like a bar, but when it comes down to it, at 3:30 in the afternoon-- it is a restaurant. We showed up to find no Beth. No company.
An email, phone call response, and we were off to, um, Trusty’s.
Sidenote: I get nervous when I meet new people and try to hide it well. Before though, my stomach is butterflies, I talk too fast, and my hands sweat. I have no idea why, but I do. And it happens a lot more now that we are in a city where we know only a handful of people. 
SO- we start walking UP Pennsylvania (not the way you want to go when coming from the hill) and it gets a little shady but, like I said, it’s 3:30 on a Saturday- husband, wife, and stroller are walking to Trusty’s... so no big deal. My hands start sweating, the butterflies are finding their way up my throat. Further and farther up Penn; I call Beth back to make sure we are heading the right way, “YO! Does this place have cheap drinks and free cab rides home? I’m afraid we are going to get mugged.”
“Cheap drinks, yes. Free cabs, no.”
We arrive to the Arkansas Club bar [Trusty’s] and immediately walk home. Not back to Senate Square, but into Squeaky’s Tip Top or Allen’s or Helga’s or DT’s, or any other awesome dive that you instantly fall in love with. With our baby.
We had our baby at a bar. 
Beer from a mason jar, a converted school bus as a bar, and old oil cans as lights, I was in love with this place. There was wire mesh on the windows like at a crusty liquor store that sells no liquor on the wrong side of the tracks. It was awesome.
We walk in and seeing a friendly face like Beth’s, your butterflies flitter away and the sweaty hands cool off. 
Beth & Co.
Beth escorted the 3 Cagles (and our stroller) to two tables in the back where Eileen made friends with the post-college kids and we ran into not one person that knew us, but seven. Seven people separately came up to us or hollered across the cement floored bar, “HEY! You Cagle? Have a beer!” The Kinks were playing on the old jukebox and the burgers were frying next to the bar.
Whether it was our pediatricians sons, the neighbors kids from back home, our banker’s niece, or someone we went to school with-- it was an amazing mixture of only Moultrie and Augusta kids. Promises of babysitters and phone numbers exchanged, we sat and watched Georgia as Sinatra came on the juke box. 
The Polynesian bartender brought another round and Beth nodded that it would go on her tab. Then Guns & Roses. Touchdown Georgia! Followed by INXS, and the Beastie Boys. Interception! The Beach Boys, an order of fries and the immortal Billy Joel.
Stories got taller and the crowd got thicker. Lopsided smiles started to appear on the post college kids faces and the people all around us. 
These were our people here with Beth.
The bartender was unfazed by the baby. 
The cop walking through escorting the prostitute out of the bar tipped his hat to Eileen and gave her a high five.
The prostitute was unfazed.
The PCK (post college kids) were unfazed.
Even Eileen was unfazed when I took her to the roof and out the back door to change her diaper (I would not change it in the bathroom).
She is a versatile kid.
Beth is a great friend.
And we had a great, almost normal day. Average Saturday, just like any Saturday. Welcome home, Cagles.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cornbread

I can’t believe this... I have made the best better! The recipe for cornbread I have comes from a small diner back when they were allowed to share recipes. While it has always served its purpose-- being both bread and made of corn, it never, well, it never just blew my doors off and no one ever said, “THAT! That, my dear, is the best damn cornbread ever!”
Until today. Today, they shouted from the rooftops, "The best cornbread is found at Senate Square! The best cornbread is in the Cagles kitchen!"
Might I share with you my new and improved recipe for cornbread. Just don’t tell anybody. My grandfather always said, “Don’t tell your friends your secrets, so you won’t fear them when they are enemies....”
So, Super Secret Cornbread.... 
1 cup, sifted, AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup self rising cornmeal (I don’t know if this is a common thing, but it was all the store had)
1 cup milk (if doubling, do 1.5 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup Wesson “Best Blend” oil
1/2 cup sour cream
Mis all until just combined and pour into a greased cast iron skillet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
Give it a shot. And then shoot the lights out, because, WOW... I am probably talking this up to much and you’re going to hate it. That's okay, I love it and it is not even out of the oven yet.


--update-- While excellent, I forgot to put in the 1 tsp. of salt... so, I will try that next time and be totally prepared to be blown away.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's been a busy few days...


 We started early in our jammies...




We got dressed and made our way up to the Library of Congress and were only "shushed" once. She ran around the square, we read books, and made friends.


And then we got tired at the LoC and decided to sit a while. Eileen was looking for the chicken and ran around saying, "BAH BAHHHHH"


And, now she started thinking about rallying... and then the rain set in. Cold walk home.


The next day, we went to the Capitol.


And Eileen wanted a picnic.


But, apparently there had been a shooting at the Pentagon the day before, so the cop behind her suspected terrorist activity.


So, Eileen posed her own personal sit-in.


And won.


Until she got bored and moved on.


The next day... we got our first big-girl car seat. I was totally upsold on the Britax because it would be, "The easiest of all to install." Well, if this one was the easiest, I would hate to see the hardest. Not to be messed with.


But, she looks cute in it, albeit hacked off.


Next, Husband got off of work early and after E's nap (and Husband's), we wanted to show her the rockets.


She was more interested in her dress.


And walking.


A lot of walking.


Not so much on the rockets.


But, she was kinda enthralled with the vibrating floor.


Until she decided it was time to get out.


And then rethought her decision.


But then rethought the rethought.


And this was moments before the FOAF (fit of all fits) that caused the Cagles to leaves


So, we decided to burn off some energy at the Nerd Convention going on this weekend.


And Eileen cooled her jets.


And started to run...


Until she went head first into the gravel... she looks a little sad today.