Dark Chocolate Ganache

ganache

Christmas time is my favorite part of the year.  It's full of seasonal beauty, generosity, kindness, and family.  If you're like me you have an arm-length list of people to whom you want to give gifts: the kids, parents, friends, extended family, mail carrier, neighbors, U.P.S. guy, pastor, and so on down the line. Are you wondering whether you can afford it this year?   How about gifting Foodie With Family style?  For the next 23 days Val and I will be posting directions for creating foodie gifts that can be made with readily available ingredients.  And when we finally reach December 23rd, we'll post instructions for a couple gifts that can be made with ingredients you're likely to be able to find even at your local convenience store.  (Don't worry.  Twinkie Wiener Sandwiches will not make an appearance!)    I know there are some of you out there who equate homemade gifts with popsicle stick ashtrays and macaroni necklaces.  Those little gems of art are for Moms only.  Foodie With Family homemade gifts are good enough to -to quote my Dad-  " make your tongue slap your brain silly."    Where possible, we'll give an approximation of time to prepare the item, costs and what you might pay for an equivalent product off the shelves.      Without further adieu I give you:   Foodie With Family Christmas Gift #1   Did you know a jar of ganache makes a fantastic gift?  You can wrap a spoon to the side of the jar with raffia or ribbon, … {Read on...}

Mind-blowing, good, clean fun.

We are having a wonderously wintery weather day.  The snow is blowing and it's *brrrrrr* cold out there.  It's enough to make you pull on the wool socks, a super thick sweat shirt, brew a cup of tea (or coffee or cocoa), and curl up with a good book.  Trouble is, there's only so much 'curling up with a good book' that five boys are willing to do- blustery winds or not.  The little guys lose interest after an hour or so and the big guys get exasperated that the little guys keep bouncing hot wheels off the spines of their books.    Animusic to the rescue.  We were introduced to the original Animusic DVD by a friend of ours from our old church.  From the first time we heard the music and saw the animation the kids (and the adults) were transfixed.  There's something incredibly mesmerizing about fantastical instruments playing themselves.  And no matter how many times we've all seen them they don't lose the ability to keep us all entertained.  Every time we see them we catch something we haven't seen before.      Another aspect of these that never ceases to amaze is the accuracy of movement in these musical instruments.  They have proper fret placement.  Scales and timing are perfect.  AND THEY'RE ANIMATED.  Take THAT guitar hero.  Check them out and see whether you agree...   This one is my favorite.  The kids and the Evil Genius have their own preferences, but this one makes me feel very mellow and very relaxed.  That's priceless around … {Read on...}

Thor, the overheated rooster…

For those of you reading our blog who don't live in Traverse City, Michigan, I've reprinted this week's Foodie With Family column.  Enjoy!   No chicken recipes here But we sure do love our eggs     Last spring marked our first foray into the area of "keeping" animals. We have had a dog or two, a cat and a few various and sundry fish but that had always been enough.   We decided to follow the example of a few friends and ordered day-old chicks from a reputable hatchery and combined orders with those friends to save on shipping. When we picked up our box of live chicks at the post office our more knowledgeable neighbors sorted the birds and we went home with our little peepers.   This particular hatchery is in the habit of sending a mystery chick along with the others you order and our friends generously told us to keep it. The hatchery does not keep records of the breed or gender of the chicken they send. The "mystery bird" was a great source of excitement around here.   As we watched our chicks grow we all became chicken fanciers. We read up on the different breeds in an attempt to learn what our mystery bird was. All our reading was not without its uses. We realized fairly quickly that our friend had mixed up a couple of the chicks when separating our order. We had ended up with one of their meat birds while they ended up with one of our layer hens. Since they wanted another layer it was agreed that we would simply keep the meat bird and … {Read on...}

And the winner is…

The birthday boys clicked "generate" on our Random.org sequence generator and the winner of our $50 gift card Thanksgiving giveaway is Jen B.!    Congratulations, Jen B.!  We hope this makes your Thanksgiving a little bit more fun.  Happy shopping... … {Read on...}

Oeufs en Cocotte

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Be sure to read all the way through to the bottom.  We're doing another $50 gift card giveaway and the details are after the recipes...   Val and I were discussing food I know, what's new, right? over the phone the other day.  We were talking about some of the requests we had during our last gift certificate giveaway.  Most folks wanted recipes for quick, budget-friendly, family-friendly, gourmet items.  Well, shucks.  Can you say softball?  That's our raison d'etre in the kitchen.  With the economy in a bit of unrest, who doesn't want budget-friendly besides Warren Buffet or the Hiltons?  Inexpensive doesn't need to mean hard to swallow, though.  With a bit of planning you can turn out fabulous meals for a very low price tag.  We did rock, scissors, paper over the phone and I ended up with the first opportunity to share a favorite recipe that fits all of our criteria.    My first thought was Oeufs en Cocotte...   B.C., before children that is, and way back in the day, I was an exchange student in La Belle France for my senior year of high school.  And may God smile gently on those poor folks who generously shared their home with the rebellious punk twit that I was in those years.  They gave me a bed.  They ferried me all over the countryside, proudly showing me many sites of France, Switzerland and Germany.  They made sure I got to and from school daily.  But above all else, they sat me at their table and fed me the most amazing food.  Did I mention that … {Read on...}