Monday, 13 August 2012

Desperate Scalloped Potatoes: Milk and Butter-Free!

I was really feeling uninspired in the cooking department all day today. So much so, that I ate very little because I couldn't come up with anything that sounded appetizing; it didn't help that I need to grocery shop pretty badly, so pickings were slim anyway.

Then dinner time rolled around, the kids were hungry and I thought about picking something up for dinner. Must. Resist. The. Urge. So I did what any desperate mom would do and asked my toddler: "What do YOU want for dinner?". Potatoes. He wants potatoes. Oh, hey, I have those. What I don't have is anything to eat them with, at least in a traditional sense. So, the title of this post may have made you thought that I'm a health nut and/or looking to avoid dairy, but I really just have a lack of fridge essentials. No milk or butter, even. Sigh.

But I do have almond milk (unsweetened), cream, and olive oil. That should work, right? Right?!
Again, as all desperate mothers know, anything thrown together in a baking pan gives you prime opportunity to sneak in nutritious accessories. Like beans. "Holy hell, she's putting beans in her scalloped potatoes!", you may be thinking. Yes. Yes, I am. Put on your helmet, folks ...

Desperate Scalloped Potatoes

6 or so potatoes, peeled, and thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced (or half a red onion, in my case)
2 cups cheese of choice, shredded
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, flour, salt, pepper, thyme and cook, stirring for one minute. While whisking constantly, add in the almond milk and cream. let it boil and thicken (this should take a few minutes), then set aside.

Grease a glass pan with olive oil (9 x 13" should work well) and layer one-third of your potatoes on the bottom. Drop and handful of beans on top and layer half the onions on top of that, followed by some sauce and cheese. Repeat layers until ingredients are gone.

Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Remove foil and bake another 30 minutes until cheese is browned. Let stand for a few minutes so the sauce can firm up a little. Enjoy with chives, sour cream and some more pepper, to taste.

(*This recipe is a loose adaptation of a more traditional version of scalloped potatoes over at Canadian Living.)

Circus Room For A Little Monkey

If you know a little boy, you're probably most familiar with their monkey-like antics and abundant energy. Coming up with ideas for a boy's bedroom can be pretty fun and creative. A few months ago, I applied for a position as a part-time blogger for Apartment Therapy (which I didn't score, thankyouverymuch). The site requested a few submissions as part of the application. One of the tasks I chose was to create a mood board for a little boy's room. Around this time, I had just finished reading Sara Gruen's Water For Elephants, so I still had the old-school circus romanticism in my mind and decided that would be a great depart for a theme.

After I finished the submission, part of me wished that I had chosen to create a vintage circus theme in my son's bedroom. I've always been fascinated by the travelling circus community and it's history. Nomadic workers in the entertainment field were (and still are) one of a kind. From seeing the freak show to watching wild animals perform, the circus of the past was a highlight of every kid's childhood - until, of course, they find out that the living conditions of both humans and animals were not the greatest. But, let's not burst that little bubble and remain ignorant for the purpose of home decor, ok?

*I managed to somehow delete source information for some of the following products, but if you're interested and it isn't sourced, I can at least try to point you in the right direction.

Worn vintage colours from Sherwin-Williams.

Left: Striped bedding imitates the Big Top. Right: Hanging pennants are a playful motif (pillow case found HERE!).
A steamer trunk dresser is functional, but still cohesive with the theme. Solid pieces like these can be passed down through generations.

Top left: Circus print on typed sheet, from Etsy. Top right: Simple wooden mobile.
Bottom left: Adorable baby circus elephant cushion. Bottom right: Red solid wood student's desk, from an antiques dealer.

Left: Another sweet cushion. Right: Lighted marquee letter lamps to personalized your space.