Kitchen crushes: roasted peppers

red bell pepper

“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.” – 
Diana Vreeland

The best things are discovered by accident. At least that’s how roasted peppers entered my life. I did like the occasional pepper, but removing their skins was not my favorite job. I was told to burn them in the oven and put them in a plastic bag to cool. Skins would fall right of. Of course I used the time peppers were in the oven to call my mum. And of course I lost track of time.

The result? Peppers with burnt skin that removed easily and melting goodness underneath. I’m addicted since. Whenever they are on sale, I pick up more than I normally would, just to roast and freeze them.

roasting peppers

Roasting is very easy. Halve the peppers, and spread them on a baking tray, skins up. Put in a hot oven and wait until the skins start to blacken. Then wait some more. You want them to be almost melting. You’ll see the juices on the tray and how the peppers shrink. Get them out, allow to cool, quickly peel and try not to eat all of them.

My favorite way to eat them is with gnocchi. I cook the gnocchi, bake them in some butter, and then add the pepper puree with a spoon of mascarpone, just enough to coat them. Season to taste.
You could also add them to cream cheese and spread on toast. Or mix them through your pasta sauce.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out these fabulous ideas:

roasted pepper recipe

photo credit: see sites mentioned underneath.

You got to love risotto. It’s the best comfort food ever made. Bev has a great recipe for it. And if you don’t get what she’s saying – no worries, the recipe is in the end. It’s a funny read though!

Kevin uses cauliflower to give smoothness to his soup. Creaminess without cream! Plus, it gives an interesting depth of flavor.

Sometimes simple things are the best. Jessie gives you a pretty straight forward, vegan roasted pepper soup.

I love to dip. My son loves to dip. He even adores cucumbers since he’s allowed to dip them into something. Suzy gives the perfect example of hummus with a little extra.

What is your favorite way to use roasted peppers?

Reflections on Sunday #8

Just before the new week starts, I like to go through the old one. Our family life in little snippets, plus some great finds from around the web. Have a great Sunday!

 

cuddling and playing inside

cuddling on the bed – playing inside

Last week was rather rainy and grey. It involved much time inside and while that’s appreciated once in a while, Little Boy isn’t made to spend the days between walls. Luckily there were a lot of cuddles on the bed, and he rediscovered his workman’s gear. He has been playing with it the whole week!

 

 

baby elephant soap bubbles

visiting baby elephant Qiyo (photo credit: http://www.planckendael.be/nl/kai-mook-grote-zus-0) – bubbles

Sunbeams had to be enjoyed. Even a cloudy sky was signal to go out. Our trip to the Zoo made us meet the recently born cute-as-a-button baby elephant. And in our own garden, it was trying to fight the weeds in the lawn (it’s completely useless, but I find it therapeutic) and making soap bubbles. They are this summer’s discovery and Little Boy is getting quite good at it!

 

 

instagram songsofhome pictures

I’m on instagram as @songsofhome now!

I have been playing around a little on Instagram, and created an account for my blog. Participating in prompt challenges here and there. (#fmsphotoaday is my favorite) Mainly being completely in awe of what people manage to shoot. There are some very talented people in this world!

 

 

redcurrant jelly blueberry muffins

playing around in the kitchen – redcurrant jelly and blueberry muffins

I’ve been making redcurrant jelly and blueberry muffins. More on te redcurrant jelly later, I hope to turn it into an interesting post. Of course, I always think of those things when season’s almost over, but hey, I have my jelly!

 

 

library books

“War” was a really good read – picking up some more!

Reading around, finished a good novel (It’s in German and has been translated in Dutch, not in English. The link is to a book review in Dutch on the site of the author) and then went straight to the library to pick up some more goodness. They recently installed self-scan desks and changed there household rules. No you can take 15 materials on one card, without having to pay for any of it. You can keep those for 3 weeks (or longer, you can manage your accounts online). Penalties for being late went up, but everything else has become cheaper (read: free). I love it and I’m splurging on children’s movies and CD’s.

 

 

interesting reads

 

Some good reads on the web too. Being home alone often lately with Little Boy, there were three posts that particularly resonated with me.

 

  • I came across this one before, but now I can totally see the point in it. Calling it ‘babysitting’ when my husband cares for Little Boy is something I have made myself guilty of right from the start (especially the first few months) and it doesn’t do justice to me nor my husband. Thinking that way creates patterns that are hard to break.  If we would decide a second child would complete our family, it’s something that I will keep in mind.

 

  • Another thing I will keep in mind, is this beautiful and honest post. It’s about the comments and reactions a little girl with a severe skin condition gets. Children can be really straight-forward, and sometimes brutally rude too (albeit not always with that intention), but the way we respond to that behavior as a parent can make a whole lot of difference. I love the advice the author is giving here, and some specific examples. I know I will need them one day

 

  • And as much as I love my kid, I appreciate nap times. So even if it’s not very polite to smile when someone’s having an embarrassing moment, I think it’s completely justified when she shares it with the world herself. Plus it’s a fun read. Plus it’s totally recognizable. At least I’m not feeling alone anymore. Never trust a jellyfish, but go ahead and read her stories.

 

How was your week? If you have any great finds to share, please do so in the comments. Have a nice Sunday!

 

 

 

 

Bucketlist for toddlers #1 – the cookie edition

fun with toddlers

Today me will live in the moment; unless it’s unpleasant, in which case me will eat a cookie – Cookie Monster

  • Eat double layered chocolate cookies by opening them, licking the chocolate and totally ignoring the cookies. Preferably invent this procedure in the car, smearing chocolate all over and being just out of reach of those annoying baby wipes.

 

  • Discover a small carton filled with eggs that mummy thoughtfully put out of your reach in the middle of the kitchen table. Surprise her by reaching them anyway. Be very quiet when you paint the egg yolks all over your face, hands, the floor and whatever strikes your fancy.

 

  • Throw a nice tantrum when your favorite cookies are out of stock. Make your parents feel really guilty and bring a few boxes of them when they go grocery shopping next time. Decide you don’t like them anymore. (Bonus points for choosing a brand even your dad doesn’t like).

 

  • Get punished in daycare for taking toys of your toddler colleagues. When you have to stand in the corner next to the carer’s table, spot the pack of chocolate cookies on it. Be very quiet and hide under the table. Try to eat as many as you can before you get discovered.

 

 

I love these lists (especially when the moment is behind me or when it’s not my child). Please share your stories in the comments!

On toddlers and procrastination

It has been raining all day and we snuggled up inside. Tried to make a selection of pictures to print, wondering how I will manage this challenge when holiday is over. That’s like Monday. Last two weeks were a lot of fun. For the first time in ages I actually went with the flow and enjoyed the time with Little Boy at home. It was a lot easier than a few months ago – probably because  he’s starting to entertain himself more and more and he talks better every day, so he’s less frustrated. I like this early toddler stage.

3/365 - line-up

3/365 – line-up

I was full of plans to make a nice, fresh and organized start at school, but I can’t seem to get started. Procrastination is my middle name and this laptop screen is more often than not filled with anything but school work. This happens way too often, it’s a serious lack of discipline. So tonight I’m going to get myself together and start preparing French exercises and type some study materials. Off we go!

3/365 - myself today

3/365 – myself today

Some quiet time and some radio

There is something about the quiet in those very few days where ‘nothing has to’. No pressure, mainly. We could go out for some grocery shopping or we could decide not to (Little Boy and I went for the first option). I could do some school work or not (still not sure on that one). Taking a bath for as long as we like, having a slow breakfast, preparing lunch at the same time, no meat today.

bathtime_project365_0201_songsofhome

project 2/365 – bath time in yellow

Big things are great to blog about but I often feel like I should make the little things pop more. There are more of them and mostly… they are as worth it. Now, for example. The sunshine is falling in, Little Boy is taking his nap and the radio is on. That last one hit me, it really did. It’s an old and simple cd-player, quite an ugly affair, that was bought to let my grandmother enjoy the audiobooks I downloaded for her. She passed away almost two years ago now, and I still miss her every. single. day. We took the radio with us because the little one likes songs, but then it just sat there on the little desk in the corner of the living room. Never used, unless for some occasional cd. Until it moved to the kitchen counter, taking up valuable space and being gloriously ugly, but … used! I put it on in the morning, and because everything is an open space here, we can hear it play from wherever we are in the room. And I love it. It’s exactly how I remember my Sundays at home as a kid. Peaceful. Being together doing or own things. As a family.

It’s in the little things, folks. Even if they’re big and ugly.

2015 morning walk and family philosophy – 1/365

The New Year has come with a bit of a head ache – auch! But the weather was so beautiful – freezing cold and sunny. I think that’s called crisp – and in my opinion it’s just the perfect word for it. Anyway, a morning walk as a family. Does not happen so often, so we all enjoyed it.

project 1/365 - frozen fields

project 1/365 – frozen fields

Going outside more often is one of my uncountable goals for the year to come and I start to think that’s on the list of my husband too. He has spent many days at home during the last two weeks and it felt good to be together, watch him play with his son, hearing the boy ask for his daddy. People around me are getting pregnant like mad and it’s not the first time we are asked if and when there will be a second child. I think it’s a stupid question, but I answer it all the time anyway. If there would be another child to welcome, certainly not now. We feel like we are just finding some rhythm as a family of three, I like how the bounding between all of us has finally set in and I prefer to enjoy that time a little longer before wrapping my mind around the seemingly inevitable question about possible siblings.

project 1/365 - frozen flower

project 1/365 – frozen flower

Winding down

I like those quiet days between Christmas and New Year. Little Boy is making me steak and coffee (pompons and little wooden blocks in his play kitchen) and I can do some reading. Yesterday we have played in the snow. He doesn’t seem to like it that much – his sandpit is frozen and he wants to play with his crayons but the wind is cold as ice and after a while his hands hurt. He was born when the whole country was completely covered in snow, but seems to be more of a summer boy.

winding_down_snow

Yesterday I went through a few maps of old lesson plans. I tossed most of them but rediscovered a few things I can use again this year. Lots of them were from my first years as a teacher and it’s actually nice to see how inspired I was. I do remember though that lots of the actual lessons didn’t go as well as I had imagined. How I wish I could redo some of them with the experience I have now! But it will be easier to turn it around and use the inspiration to spruce up the rest of the year.

winding_down_play

2014 has brought me lots of good things. I grew into my role as a mother. For a moment I was tired of being a teacher but rediscovered my love of teaching along the way. It was a quiet year, filled with little moments of pleasure and peace. I hope 2015 to be as sweet.

Happy New Year to all of you…