Monday, March 28, 2011

Fried Catfish and a Hungry Toddler

I'm the mother of two young boys (an almost 3-year-old and a 1.5-year-old) with ferocious appetites.  Feeding these boys is almost a full-time job in itself!  Although I would love to spend more time in the kitchen slaving over the stove, it's hard to do with two little ones running all over the house wreaking havoc everywhere they go.  So I have to be able to whip up delicious meals that are fast and easy.

Like this one.  Tonight's menu was fried catfish, steamed green beans, and avocado salad.

First off, I took a cup full of organic frozen green beans and placed it in the steamer for about 6-7 minutes until tender.  Then I chopped up an avocado, sliced a handful of cherry tomatoes, threw in a can of black beans (washed and rinsed first), and sprinkled a little fresh lemon juice to make a quick side salad.

The farmed fresh catfish was bought from Costco and came in a pack of 6 (we love us some Costco; in fact, it was one of CJ's first words).   I threw the fish in a bowl, seasoned it with garlic powder, salt, pepper, old bay, fresh lemon juice, and added just a touch of bread crumbs.  Then I threw some olive oil on a frying pan, fried the catfish on each side for about 6-7 minutes.

And voila!  Meal complete.

I wanted to take a few more shots of the dish while the sun was still out.  But as I said before, I have two little ones with ferocious appetites and trying to do food photography when you've got a hungry toddler around can get interesting.

{ What doesn't belong here? }

By the way, do you see what he's aiming for?

I don't know if anyone else has this "dilemma", but this boy loves his vegetables.  CJ will clean off the green beans, tomatoes, and avocado first.   I have to force him to eat the the protein on his plate.  Yes, yes.  I've been told this is a good "problem" to have.

What makes me happiest as a mom is to see the boys eat and enjoy every morsel of something I've made.  Not every meal is a huge success, but tonight was a good night.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Preparing for the Harvest

This is our little garden and our little 18-month-old gardener, Nathan.  It's almost time to start putting our compost to use and get the soil ready and fertile for this year's crop.  Last year, we reaped fresh cherry tomatoes, little cucumbers, fresh beds of lettuce, spinach, and kkae-nip leaves, some basil and parsley, a little eggplant and the spiciest hot chili peppers you ever laid your taste buds on (I was the only person who could enjoy them, and I savored every mouth-burning morsel).

What to grow this year . . .

What are you growing in your garden?



Monday, March 21, 2011

When Life Throws You Lemons

When life throws you lemons, well, you have yourself a good cry and then you bake some cookies as consolation.  And if you've got the time, you create a new website.

The past couple weeks have been such a whirlwind of emotions flying in every direction.  Life has been complicated.  And many days have been spent wondering when things might get a little easier.

Then I visited my best friend while I was in Virginia, and as we talked, she offered me a fresh batch of lemon cookies.  I devoured one chewy, lemony goodness after another and couldn't stop myself.  And when I found out how easy they were to make, I thanked God for simple joys and pleasures in life.  Like these cookies.  And 20 year friendships that withstand the test of time, offensive amount of Rave hairspray, acid wash jeans, stupid boy crushes, and five pregnancies between us.

It took a simple afternoon with a dear friend and some cookies to remind me there is much to celebrate and take delight in, even when life is anything but easy.  Hence the start of this new blog.  Eaternal Bliss.  It's what I hope I'll be able to do every day.  Find joy in life's simple pleasures.  I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Lastly, I am participating in the NYC Bake Sale for Japan.  It's a simple means to help in a big way.  Sometimes we don't think our simple acts amount to much.  But I love this quote on the bakesaleforjapan.com site:  Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. - Howard Zinne

Additional bakers and volunteers are still needed for the New York bake sale.  If you'd like to contribute in any way, please contact Lillian of Sweets by Sillianah at NYCBakesale@gmail.com.  And if you'd like to get involved in your own area, check out bakesaleforjapan.com for more information and to see participating locations.

Blissfully Simple Lemon Cookies
{Makes 24 cookies; Prep-time: 10 minutes; Bake time: 10 minutes}
Adapted from AllRecipes

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar. Roll them around until they're lightly covered. Once sugared, put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown, and the insides chewy.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before serving. 

    P.S.  They're even better the day after they're baked.
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