Monday, April 5, 2021

Weekly Eats: Firing on All Four Cylinders


A weekly roundup: eats, watches, and reads.  Before we go any further, I need to warn you that this is going to be a loooong post.  There are plenty of weeks where all I have to say is "hi we had mac n'cheese for dinner seven nights in a row and watched a movie bye" but this was not one of those weeks.  I made pizza for the first time in forever, we had a nice Easter dinner topped off by an incredible dessert, my two favorite TV shows on earth are back, and I read a book that's going to stay with me for a while.
Okay fine, nothing to see here except the Usual Suspects.

I went all over the place.  First I had another BBQ bowl (rice, roasted sweet potatoes, veg, and herbed tofu)

I hit up my stash of freezer breakfast potatoes with salsa and eggs.

There were also some unpictured days of Costco pad thai and veggie burritos to round out the noon hour.

Monday and Tuesday: leftover tacos

Wednesday: Hubs and stepson #1 cooked (and they cleaned up afterwards!!!).

Thursday: I was back in action and managed to boil up some ravioli.

Friday: you know that we always have pizza on the Friday nights that we have the kids, it's not even a question at this point.  But this doesn't look like Papa John's....
There is only one thing that I miss from my single life, and that's making pizza on Friday night.  Our current pizza requirements for our family of four are:
  • Hubs and stepson #2 share a pepperoni pizza, sometimes there's a slice left over for lunch the next day.  I predict that within the next few months #2 will start needing his own pizza.
  • Stepson #1 gets a white sauce and spinach pizza which he eats over the course of the weekend
  • Lately I've been getting a pizza for myself that I eat over the course of the weekend.  Not to be a troll, but Papa John's doesn't really do it for me.  I mean it's pizza but...I don't really enjoy it on Friday and I don't love it any more the next day.  Each week I've been remembering how fast I used to be able to make pizza and it seemed to me that I should be able to pull off making my own in the time that it takes to get the fam's pizza.

So this was the week that I finally made it happen!  I made the dough on Thursday night and let it rise in the fridge overnight.

5:00 click the shut down button on my work computer, take pizza dough out of fridge to warm up for a minute.

5:05-5:15 chit chat with the hubs, order two pizzas from Papa John's.

5:15-5:20 roll out dough, put pizza in oven.  Get toppings ready (open can of tomato sauce, dice two cloves of garlic, take mozzarella out of fridge.  I'd also gotten mushrooms but they looked funky so I trashed them...better luck next time).

5:25: hubs leaves to pick up pizzas.  I pull pizza out of oven and add toppings.

5:35: hubs arrives with pizzas.  I pull my pizza out of the oven.  We all sit down at the same time with food = pizza success.

The only thing I would have done differently is to roll the dough out a little more.  I know that stretching it all the way to the edge of the pan is Too Far, and what I did on Friday is Not Far Enough, so I'll lock the correct setting down in the next few weeks.

Saturday: mandatory burger night

Sunday: Easter-palooza!!!

I have to say that I miss our old family get togethers with my inlaws where whoever was hosting cleaned their house and everyone else brought the food.  But our little family of four had an incredible time on our own and I wouldn't have traded yesterday for anything.

Our menu was:

  • Ham via Costco (as per usual hubs was 100% in charge of the meat course)
  • Scalloped potatoes via The Girl Who Ate Everything
  • Mini quiches, a loose riff of this recipe.  The loose parts are one and a half cups of milk instead of evaporated milk and 6 slices of bacon in place of the veggies;-)
  • Texas Roadhouse rolls (I purchased six dozen from a coworker last year for a school fundraiser.  This was back at the height of the shutdown before masks.  I drove to her house, and stood at the end of her driveway.  She placed the rolls in the middle of her driveway and immediately ran back to the house.  I advanced to pick up the rolls and rushed back to my place at the end of the driveway.  We then talked for a few minutes at the distance of her entire driveway.  People say that they can't believe the pandemic is still going on a year later but c'mon we've made progress from "driveway distance" to "six feet".)
  • And then...dessert.  When Sally posted this lemon blueberry tart I knew that I had to have some and soon.  But I've been so busy lately, and we have a ton of Easter candy, why spend time making something that we don't really need?

Here's how everything went down:

7:00: I'm the first one up.  Take rolls out of freezer and set them out to rise while I hunker down over my coffee.

8:00 I decide that yes dammit I'm making the tart even thought we don't need it.  Life is uncertain so you should always make dessert first.  The first and only obstacle is that I thought I had lemons in the freezer but all I had were limes.  I gambled that no one would know the difference and my hunch paid off.  FWIW one of my pandemic lifestyle changes is always keeping a few limes and lemons in the freezer and it works out really well.  Just pop 'em in the microwave for a minute and they're ready to juice.

Another thing that I considered was skipping the blueberry sauce.  The tart filling looked very similar to cheesecake, and I'm not the biggest fan of fruit in cheesecake.  But a tiny voice in my head said "nah, make the recipe as written".  So I did.  The whole kit and caboodle came together in a flash and before I knew it the tart was out of the oven and looking luscious.


9:00: hubs put the ham in the oven, I assembled the scalloped potatoes.  Everything came together just as easily as the tart.

9:30 hmmm...there's nothing that I really needed to do for another hour.  So I air fried 6 strips of bacon for the quiches and made a batch of breakfast burritos.

10:30 all done, including washing all the dishes and cleaning up the counters.  I cozied up on the couch.

11:00 put scalloped potatoes in oven and mix up quiche filling.  At this point the ham should have been an hour away from ready, but it was no where near close.

Noon: the ham is still lumbering along.  The potatoes should be done but they're nowhere near close.

12:30 potatoes are done, quiche goes in.


12:50 ham is finally done!  Rolls go in the oven.  The quiche is almost but not quite ready.

1:00 rolls are ready, the quiche still needs a minute.  We plate everything up and get the quiche in action at the last minute.  Phew!

After brunch stepdog took the four of us for a very long walk.  When we got home, hubs had the kids clean up the kitchen😻😻😻

And then we sat down and had the tart and it was sooo good...please, please make this one for yourself.  Our verdict is that the blueberry sauce is necessary to balance out the flavors.

From a leftover standpoint, we ate almost all of the quiche and potatoes but we have a massive amount of ham left over.  Note to self, next year double the quiche and potatoes.


It just doesn't get any better than this...season 3 of Shtisel is out on Netflix...and season 5 of Mama June from Not to Hot is out as well!!!  Nothing beats the paring of a legit good show and a trashy reality show.


I need to talk about The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian. This book got on my radar from this podcast.  The premise was described as a young woman is brutally attacked and retreats into a sheltered, safe world.  A few years later through her work as a social worker she encounters a homeless photographer and when he dies she is given his collection of photographs which are shots of famous people and oh snap, one of her before the attack...there's a mystery here to unravel. 

My first thought was "a young woman is brutally attacked" isn't my favorite thing to read about, but I was intrigued by the way that the podcast hosts described the book so I checked it out.  I got into right away, but then struggled a bit with the book's premise that The Great Gatsby is non-fiction.  I like a good straightforward story and that was an odd curveball, but the story soon got me back in line.

My only quibble is that I didn't like "the thing" that was the root cause of everything, but oh man this was such a good book and the story was handled brilliantly.  I wish I could say more but I can't without getting into spoilers.  But my vote is: read it!  I'm going to be thinking about it for quite a while.


  1. Oh wow, what a fabulous week, Birchie!
    I LOVE your homemade pizza and that lemon blueberry tart looks amazing.
    You are so efficient in the kitchen and it seems that you have a very supportive team around you. Yay!

    I think I've never mentioned it but I like that you use white plates. I always use white-only dishes as well - I like how they don't distract from the food.

    And thanks for the book recommendation. Fascinating!

    1. Easter morning was so much fun. It will be great when we can do our big family parties again as well, but I love this time that we have had with just the 5 of us (the humans and the dog).

  2. I have not made homemade pizza since...(??). I have a killer thick wheat crust recipe, tool. Okay...spoiler ...that’s gonna change this week. That lemon blueberry image of heaven looks incredible!! I might be making that, too :-)

    1. DO IT!!!! Better yet, DO IT and post your recipe and some pictures;-)

  3. I have a delicious pizza recipe that I haven't made in forever. My husband would love if I made it. Hmmm... I'm also sure he'd love the lemon blueberry tart. We love all things blueberry!

    Your Easter brunch sounds delicious!

    1. Yes please make the pizza and post your recipe! And definitely treat yo'self to the tart. It is just one of those extra special recipes.

  4. Ah, so many thing to say. You had quite an Easter brunch! That tart looks amazing. I sometimes make my own pizzas but haven't in a while- I should get back to that, maybe this weekend.
    Yes, I read that book. I also can't say much without giving too much away, but it was good. A good mystery, makes you think, compelling... and I still think about it sometimes. I like books where what you think is real, isn't, and it dawns on you gradually that things aren't as they seem.
    Lastly, I love this quote "Life is uncertain so you should always make dessert first." WELL PUT.

    1. Oooh you and I both know what we aren't saying!!! I think the way the book was laid out gave us as readers time to "process" and then accept what happened instead of having it dumped on us on page one, in the same way that the one character needed the time to live in their version of events. It was very satisfying. I want to check out his other books.

  5. Oh, lemon blueberry tarte sounds delicious.. :)