Archive for Cooking

Project 52:5 • What’s Cookin’?


Oh, Beau-Beau. You love cooking utensils more than toys, son. Ever since you could sit up by yourself, you’ve been whisking ping-pong balls around in a ceramic bowl.

Nowadays it’s a wrestling match to see which one of us gets to use the good silicon oven mitt (FYI: I usually let you win).

You have your own set of pots and pans. You even have a favorite “pancake flipper” and when it gets washed and accidentally ends up in the canister with the rest of my tools, you are quick to point out that it’s not in YOUR drawer where it belongs.

I can only hope this interest in cooking and helping in the kitchen continues throughout your life. I have no doubt you would be an excellent chef…or at least skilled enough to bless your future wife by giving her a night off. :)

As your mama, it’s my job to make sure you don’t move out of our house without knowing how to cook more than macaroni and cheese (unless, of course, it’s completely from scratch, in which case makes it fancy!)

At the rate you’re going, you’re learning a LOT and you’re learning it fast! So, what shall we cook next, bubba?


Check out some other folks doing Project 52: Lucas & Mahina; Shawna at StyleBerry; Wicked Kate

If you are participating in this year’s Project 52, leave me a comment and let me know…I’d love to link up with you!

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Day 20 AEDM: Pomegranate 101

About 7 years ago, I was in Atlanta visiting one of my college besties. While we were making a quick pit-stop at Publix, I saw some POM juice. I like to try new things, so my buddy and I each got a bottle. Since then I have L-O-V-E-D pomegranate anything.


It’s funny how a fruit that’s existed for centuries (it’s mentioned dozens of times in the Old Testament of the Bible) is suddenly the “newest” rage.

Surprisingly though, I had never ventured far enough into the fad to mess with a fresh one. I’d even read recipes that sounded amazing but avoided making them because they called for fresh pomegranate seeds and I just assumed it would be too much hassle.

You know what happens when you assume, right?

Although some days my AEDM “creativity” has been something incredibly simple that hasn’t seemed to amount to much, the challenge has given me a new perspective.

WHY on EARTH am I waiting for some magical moment where all the stars will align and the timing will suddenly be perfect for trying new things?!



So, I went to the store and bought a fresh pomegranate. I didn’t know if I would get to it the same day I bought it, but I was SURE I was going to do it for one day of AEDM.

Today was that day. And, I have to say: it was the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen in a long time.

I felt as if I were seeing with fresh eyes. With a childlike perspective. As if I were glimpsing a teeny bit of the great Creator’s awesome imagination. Seriously, my first pomegranate experience was completely transcendent.

If you’re ready to try it for yourself, here are some simple steps. If you’re like me, sometimes just having some fool-proof directions gives you the kick in the duff you need to get over the fear of the unexpected.

Step 1: Cut off the flowery top of the fruit:


Step 2: Section the fruit into a few pieces.


Step 3: Submerge each section in a bowl full of water:


Step 4: Gently use your fingers to separate the pith from the juicy seeds:


((I liked this step a LOT…reminded me of the childhood summers I spent shucking corn on my grandparents’ farm in Nebraska)) :)

As you can see in the photo, the pith is light enough to float to the top of the water, while the dense seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl! Awesome.


Look at those yummy rubies! Mmm. I can taste their tartness now!


Step 5: Use a strainer to skim the pith off the top of the water.


All the seeds will be at the bottom of the bowl at this point.


Step 6: Use the strainer to drain the seeds. Rinse, if desired.


Step 7: Throw a pinch of those sassy seeds in your mouth and enjoy the flavor rush! :)


Afterward, my kitchen looked like a scene from the board game “Clue”: Artist Abbi. In the kitchen. With a pomegranate.


This was fun. It was simple. It was outside my “normal” definition of art, yet it felt intensely creative.

And as soon as the pears in my kitchen ripen, I’m making one of those recipes that called for pomegranate seeds!

Day 11 AEDM: Tee Makeover

I love being a mama and I love being an artist. Some days the former trumps the latter. Like today.

My poor baby’s congestion got the better of him and he refused to nap. Well, he cat-napped. But only as long as I was holding him.

Needless to say, I am lucky to have been able to do much of anything (I got in a cardio workout, made a quick trip to Kohl’s, washed three loads of laundry, AND managed to make dinner!)

I call this “Mish Mash Pizza”…I really didn’t have much of a dinner plan, but what I did have was a half-cup of pesto sauce, some pre-cooked chicken strips, a tomato from my MIL’s garden, some bacon, and a tube of Pillsbury pizza crust. Ta da! Dinner is served. And my fridge is sorta tidied up, too! :)


I also managed to whip together a little project using this relic from the bowels of our closet. Ever since I had my baby, none of my clothes seem too appealing to me. About a week ago, I remembered seeing this book and, LUCKY ME, the library had it!


One episode of “The Office” later, and I had this new redesigned tee to wear.


It’s cute…with little drawstring accents and everything.

Photo 250

I took some step-by-step pics of the process, but Lord help me, I’m tired after such a long day. I learned some things I’d love to share and I also came up with some tweaks I’d like to try.

I think I’ll do this again sometime with a new shirt that doesn’t make me look so boxy. In the meantime, this one will be perfect to wear while I make artistic messes! ;)

Day 7 AEDM: Dinner Menu

Each week, I sit down to make our dinner menu and subsequent grocery list. And each week I ask my husband, “What sounds good for dinner this week?”

Despite the fact we’ve been together over 3 years and married for nearly half that time, it’s as though my question gives him dinner amnesia and he can’t come up with any ideas when I put him on the spot.

And in all fairness, sometimes I even forget what yummy dishes I’ve made before and thus we fall into the same old pasta/chicken/salad/meatloaf/spaghetti/sandwich rut week after week.


Today for Art Every Day Month I made a nifty 1950s-inspired menu list. Ta da!:


I’ve printed this graphic on 12×12 cardstock and will list out all the yummy dinner entrees I have made before. As I try new recipes that we deem “keepers”, I can add to the list. I plan to eventually make coordinating lists for side dishes and appetizers/desserts. That way, when it’s time to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” yet again, I’ll have some ideas at the ready, and hubby and I can avoid the suppertime blahs.

How about you? Do you have artistic or creative ways of making meal planning/prep fun? I’d love to hear them!

Day 4 AEDM: Pizza Soup and Focaccia

I’ve always been impressed with people who can make homemade yeast breads really well. I’ve asked several different people, “How’d you get so good at making bread?”

They all give me the same lame answer: Practice.

Ugh. Why is that always the answer?! :)

With the cold weather approaching, I’ve added “become a better bread maker” to my list of winter to-dos. You see, I like to hibernate stay busy during the winter, and I don’t like to get out in the weather much.

Today Baby Beau and I started “practicing” by making a batch of focaccia for AEDM.

I always make my kitchen helpers swear by oath that they won’t drool into the dough. :)


We also whipped up a batch of Crock Pot Pizza Soup. Some friends of ours had a baby last week, so we delivered this meal to them for dinner tonight (along with some of those sinful cookies from yesterday!)

The dough was made using the good ol’ Betty Crocker cookbook that’s in its gazillionth printing. The dough after rising:


Beau helping stretch the dough to prepare it for baking:


The raw dough after being poked:


Whenever Beau is in the kitchen with me, I let him take a whiff of spices, zests, cut fruit, etc. He apparently likes Emeril’s Italian seasoning blend. BAM!


Here’s the final product. It turned out better than the last batch I made (not enough kneading that time, I think), but there’s still some room for improvement.


However, they do look and taste pretty darn good…and they will be PERFECT for dunking in pizza soup!


Now that you’ve seen the final result, check out this exclusive interview with my sous-chef, Beau.