Wednesday, April 9, 2014

just a tip | baked farro

Just dropping in for a quick farro cooking lesson this week. I've mentioned in our last real family food post that I'm trying to swap some go-to carbs (like white rice and pasta) for more whole grains. Farro is a really great example of an often overlooked grain that is packed with flavor and nutrients. 

Farro is a wheat grain of ancient Mediterranean origin that is still quite popular in Italy. Farro actually consists of three different grain farro medio begin the most common in the US. Look for pearled or semi-pearled farro, which has had some of its tough outer layer removed to make it cook faster. Its high in fiber, zinc and vitamin B! 

Until recently I had tried the traditional (i.e. I read it on the bag) cooking directions of boiling the farro in salted water I found that it either took forever or I ended up with mushy farro! Recently I tried baking it - which is both faster than boiling AND produces perfect fluffy farro every time.

Baked Faro
1 ½ cups faro
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups boiling water*

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Combine the faro, butter, and salt in a 2-quart glass-baking dish. Add the boiling water, cover (with the dishs lid or aluminum foil) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest covered for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the faro with a fork.

* I typically bring the 3 cups of water to a boiling in the microwave - use a microwave safe measuring cup and try 3 minutes on high heat. Use caution (and an oven mitt) when removing from the microwave! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Grit Tots

Hey, look! I'm back with a recipe AND a brand new look. Thank you for all your kind words on last week's 24 hour post. It was the weirdest post to publish (yup, even weirder than announcing pregnancy two years ago). For the time being, I'm going back to posting two times a week so I can bring you other cool projects without losing my mind. 

But let's talk about this new look: My dear friend Lindsay of Gather and Co. has been working tireless on my logo and other brand elements. I swore I was the worst client ever (I switched color themes as we neared the end the project) but Lindsay was incredibly patient, walked me through all the things I didn't know, and assured me I was not the worst client ever. If you're looking for branding for your blog or business, for wedding invites, stationary suite - I highly recommend Gather and Co.

I still have some technical tweaking to do behind the scenes, but I could not wait to share the new look of Stir & Scribble! I also finally put together a legit portfolio site for my work at An updated recipe database is also underway! But you just really want to know about these Grit Tots huh? 

I have been testing a lot of grit making recipe lately. Basically I'm lazy and I'm trying to find a way to make perfect creamy grits without standing over the stove. I've tried a baked version and a slow-cooker version and Iamthisclose to cracking the code (and I promise to share when I do). All this to say I've had a lot of leftover grits in the house. A good problem to have when you have this trick in your back pocket. These Grit Tots are as simple as cutting up some grits (I used a small round cutter, but I also tested them as simple square) and I'm 97% sure you can do the same with cooked or ready made polenta too! 

Grit Tots 
makes about 36 dozen tots, approximately 4 servings 

2 cups leftover grits - spread into a pan and refrigerated overnight 
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
kosher salt 

Set an oven rack about 6 inches under your broiler. Heat the broiler to high.

Cut the grits into 1 inch square or punch out rounds with a 1/2 inch round cutter. Coat a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread the cut grits into a single layer on the sheet pan. Drizzle on the remaining olive oil and gently toss to coat. 

Broil the Grit Tots for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until golden, about 8 minutes total. If the tots seem to be sticking use a thin flat spatula to flip them. Sprinkle with additional salt and cool slightly before serving. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

24 Hours & a Peek at My Home Office

a peek into my home office - Stir & Scribble HQ! 

Apologies for being MIA this week - I'm taking a mental health break. I've been saving this post for such a time, and while its not at all recipe related I thought it'd be fun to share. 

I've gotten a few questions lately from friends and readers about  "how I do it all" to which I kindly reply - "I don't sleep and my house is a mess and laundry from last week is still in the basket". I hope no one actually thinks I really do it all or have it all together or figured out at all - if I ever gave you that impression I'm truly very sorry.

I do have an incredibly supportive family, a pretty wonderful work situation, and I work really hard. These are the blessings that make each day possible. I'm picking a random Wednesday to share the insanity that is working/momming/blogging life. It ain't pretty but its real. 

Ella's corner of the office. 

6:30 am: I try to get up before Ella. My husband has usually already left for work and left a pot of coffee. I let the dogs out. Currently, one of our dogs is in a cast and has to be taken outside on a leash to ensure he doesn't re-injure his leg, so I get to spend about ten minutes asking him to "do his business" while he sniffs anything, this is before coffee. I fix a cup of coffee and spend as much time as possible before Ella wakes up simultaneously curling my hair and checking in on social media for Stir & Scribble. 

7:00: Ella is awake. I warm her some almond milk, bring her into our room, and let her snuggle and watch PBS kids on the iPad while I get dressed. 

7:10: The dogs are barking to come back in. Feed them. Pull out breakfast fixings for Ella and I - today avocado toast. Turn on the broiler to toast the toast. Head back upstairs to get Ella dressed. 

7:20: Totally burned the toast. Start over. 

7:30: Ella and I eat breakfast together. Mostly she sits, eats, and colors while I pack her school bag. Today she has chapel at school and per my usual I have absolutely no cash for her collection envelope. Fill it with quarters. 

7:45: Search for Ella's blue shoes because she wants to wear them  today. Convince her to wear the black ones (they are exactly the same). Still haven't found that blue shoe. 

8:00: Fill the dogs water, refill my coffee, and get Ella in the car. Blare Thomas the Train songs in the car on the way to school. 

8:15: Drop Ella at school. Take a minute in the school parking lot to make sure that today's Stir & Scribble post published. Put on blush, lipstick, and curl my eyelashes. If I'm really on top of things I also share whatever is on Stir & Scribble that day on Instagram (its the only social platform I haven't figured out scheduling for). 

We found this old rack in the backyard when we bought the house. After cleaning it up and hanging it on the wall - it makes the perfect bulletin board/linen holder. 

8:30-8:45: Get to work. Grab more coffee and try not to be spend too much time catching up with co-workers. 

9:00 - 11:00: Check in with work's social media - check planned posts, look at our Facebook queue, try to generally be on top of what we are sharing each day. Check in on my bosses twitter to see if he's posted anything we can share on his Facebook etc. Check and respond to e-mails. 

11:00 - 1pm: This time is generally dedicated to any special projects we are working on. Right now we're working on a big web-based project that I'm managing. I can't give a lot of detail. 

1 pm: LUNCH! Most everyone at the office brings their own lunch and we have a pretty awesome kitchen for cooking or preparing our lunch. Today I'm eating leftovers of a faro salad that I'm testing for one of the sites I contribute to. 

2:00-4:00: This part of my work day is dedicated to recipes - either writing and editing recipes or organizing and editing photos for work. Right now we're working on a ton of new recipes for our latest project! We try to spend at least one day a week testing and photographing recipes or ingredients that we either use for social media or PR or for new projects.  

4:00 - 5:15: Check back in with work social media. Answer any timely e-mails, wrap up the day at work. 

office essentials at the ready. Ella loves to play in the washi tape. 

5:30: Pick up Ella from school. I try to have a little snack for her in the car otherwise she's kind of a train wreck while I cook dinner. 

5:45: Get home, check the mail, let the dogs out. Ella "helps" me make dinner. Tonight, she and I are having vegetarian burritos with sweet potatoes, black beans and avocado on corn tortillas. We have some variation on this meal once a week, especially when its just the two of us. We listen to music and Ella makes a mess (especially with the cheese) while we cook. 

My editor (ha!)

6:30: Sit down to dinner. Let the dogs in. Dinner time is my absolute favorite. Ella and I talk and giggle. Sometimes we read books, color, or do stickers while we're at the table too. 

7:00: Daddy's Home! Ella and the hubs play hide and seek, while I fix him a plate, clean up dinner, and start bath. Ella takes a bath every other night unless she's incredibly dirty from the day. 

7:30: After bath we all snuggle in the living room or in our bed. Some nights we watch TV and read books and some nights we just read books or play. Ella has been really into building forts lately so tonight we play fort before bed. 

Some of my favorite surfaces to shoot on, bounce cards, and the like. I have a whole extra room of prop storage in our basement.

8:00 - 11:00 pm: Ella goes to bed at 8 (on the dot) and I grab my computer and turn on the TV. Try to catch up with my husband for a little bit while I work on blog recipes, answer reader comments, edit blog photos etc. I work on blog stuff 4 nights a week (Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday) and I try to leave 2 nights each week to catch up on work work (as needed) and 1 night for fun or rest. I might also have a few little home life projects during this time too - like unloading the dishwasher or doing some laundry. I also try to shower during this part of my day too. Tonight I'm working on a post for Friday and recipes to photograph this coming Sunday. 

11:00: Get into bed. Read or pin until midnight - I'm reading Jen  Hatmaker's 7 right now! 

12:00 Force myself to get some sleep. Its truly the hardest thing for me. 

This room is on our lower floor and gets the best afternoon light. 

I held off on sharing this post for a while because I was a little afraid it would come off as a glorification of busy-ness. I could easily give up blogging and save myself a lot of time each week, but I just love it! And my hope is to grow this space into a portfolio I can use later in my career. Honestly posting three times a week since January has been incredibly challenging, and while blogging wisdom tells that posting regularly is the fastest route to growth, I'm not sure its working for me anymore. 

So dear friends and readers - help me out a little here! Do you prefer bloggers who share daily, weekly, sporadically? What keeps you coming back to Stir & Scribble?