January 4-This would have been my granddaddy's 97th birthday. As I do every year on his birthday, I made his favorite birthday dinner, his mom's beefsteak pie. You can find the recipe here. I didn't make any peanut butter cookies this year, though. I served it with roasted green beans, mashed potatoes, and a green salad.
January 5-I went to a Moms' Night Out coloring party, so Jeannene fixed supper. When I got home, I had scrambled eggs, banana pecan chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, and bacon waiting for me.
January 6-I didn't make my usual Cuban Nochebuena feast actually on Christmas Eve because our older boys were home and neither of them like Cuban food. Yeah, I don't get it, either. So, I made it last week, instead. I made puerco asado, black beans & rice, maduros, and avocado butter lettuce salad. You can find the recipes here.
January 7-Jeannene made soft tacos with Spanish rice.
January 8-Jeannene had gift cards for Olive Garden, so we went there for dinner. She had the stuffed chicken marsala and a beautiful Caesar salad she was nice enough to share. I got full from my bowl of Zuppa Toscana, which came to the table piping hot and with a nice, zingy amount of red pepper. So, my pasta came home to serve as lunches and dinner on the 9th.
January 9-I was going to make gourmet grilled cheese and sherries tomato soup, but Jeannene had a terrible migraine and didn't feel like eating anything but toast. I decided it didn't make sense to make a pot of soup for just me when I had perfectly good leftover pasta and meatballs in the fridge, so I ate that. I did start the black bean soup for Sunday.
January 10-Our Red Tent Temple gathering was scheduled for Sunday night, but the roads were atrocious, so I encouraged the women who'd planned to come to spend time at home doing things to refill their wells, instead of braving the weather. Since I'd already made the black bean soup, I cooked up some rice and we ate it with the beans ladled over the top, with green salad to accompany. It was perfect for a snowy night! I'd modified the recipe from Crescent Dragonwagon's Downtown Black Bean Soup recipe in her marvelous Dairy Hollow House Cookbook.
Black Bean Soup
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 c. water (I'd've used more stock, but didn't have it on hand)
3 bay leaves
1/4 c. olive oil
3 onions, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped (I'd intended to use 2, but one I'd just bought was rotten inside---I would use 2 next time)
1 jalapeño, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
Bring stock and water to a boil with black beans and bay leaves. Turn down to low, cover, and simmer a couple hours. Sauté the rest in the olive oil until tender. Mix into the black beans and let cook until very tender and well-integrated, flavor-wise. Eat as soup with rolls or bread or serve over hot cooked rice. I like chopped onions on mine. My wife likes sour cream and shredded cheese. Serves 6-8.
I also made some bar cookies Dragonwagon has dubbed "Fallen Angels," which are very similar to my almost-grandma's "Molly Bars." Dragonwagon suggests adding butterscotch chips, but I used salted caramel chips, instead. My wife thinks the bars are amazing!
1 stick butter
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
3 1/2 oz. shredded coconut
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. salted caramel chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in oven in 13x9 pan. Add graham crumbs in an even layer. Pour milk evenly over top. Add coconut & pecans. Top with salted caramel chips. Press down a little. Bake 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. Makes about 2 dozen.
January 11- Jeannene made a delicious pot roast in the crockpot, surrounded by scrumptious carrots, onions, and potatoes.