Nicholas has been very carefully saving his money for a swing set for the past few months now. We told him that if he saved half the money, we would buy the set, and slowly but surely, he managed to do it. Through babysitting my parents’ dog, Beauregard, to chores around the house, and foregoing stuff when we were out (i.e., getting ice cream when we have it at home, etc.), we finally placed the order for the swingset a few weeks ago.
We were trying to teach him the value of money, and I think he has definitely learned the lesson, even if it meant cleaning out Grandma’s desk drawer when he went to visit her at the office! Quite the enterprising little kid! The swingset finally came tonight, and The Husbands got to work on putting it together … losing daylight fast, by the time they got all the pieces unloaded and inventoried, they managed to get one ladder put together before calling it a night. I think they’ll be able to get it done by Wednesday, ‘specially with all the nagging from the little ones.
In about 45 minutes, I managed to bang out three new recipes, producing Baked Spaghetti for dinner with delicious Frozen Strawberry Daiquiris as a side libation (though me and The Neighbor Wife were the only partakers – s’ok by us!). I also made a Carrot Cake to take to the office tomorrow, using a box mix I had on hand, adding a few little extras as well. Jury is still out on that one as it won’t be tasted until tomorrow morning, but the Baked Spaghetti and the Strawberry Daiquiris were both declared winners and will definitely be repeated.
In cookbook news today, Mario Batali released his newest cookbook, Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style. In sounds like a complete departure from his usual style of cooking, featuring recipes for items like Queso Fundido (a “Mexican cheese concoction”), Thai Flank Steak, Grilled Tequila and Chipotle-Rubbed Lamb, Soft-Shelled Crab Sandwiches with Spicy Tartar Sauce, and Corn and Sweet Onion Salad, among others. I happened to hear a radio interview with Mario this morning, and he was talking about a rib recipe that was included in the cookbook. The recipe calls for both a dry rub AND a wet basting sauce during the cookbook … when my mouth is watering for ribs at 8:30 in the morning, that’s got to be good sign! Looking forward to checking this one out.
Anyone else watch The Next Food Network Star with me last night? For me, now that the last two are Guy and Reggie, it’s an easy decision. I like Reggie just fine, but I like Guy more. Out of all the contestants, he has been the most consistent throughout the entire competition; Reggie seems nice and the recipes workable, but sometimes his schtick appears a little forced and comes on too strong. Guy seems like a natural. It’s him and his personality, through and through. Had the last two included Carissa or Andy, I would have had a tougher time making the decision. Carissa didn’t do anything for me in the beginning, but in the last couple of episodes, she has really pulled it together. Given she has a background in cooking already and has her own web site, I think she’ll do fine. Now for those following the show, this time around viewers get to decide who wins. You have until Thursday, April 20, to get your vote in. Got mine all done.
P.S. The recipe for the Italian Ricotta Cheese Cake from yesterday is down below. Keep in mind my notes from yesterday … the recipe has the cooking time at 45 minutes, but mine took nearly an hour-and-a-half, so keep a close eye on that.
A year ago today … it was homemade mac and cheese and Cookie Monster!.
Italian Ricotta Cheese Cake
1-1/2 lbs ricotta
2 tablespoons sour cream
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 whole eggs
Butter and refrigerate a 9-inch springform pan ahead of time. Preheat oven to 300. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and place in the springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes, remove and cool to room temperature. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, the cheese cake is done.