Sunday, September 25, 2016

Knitting Season

'Tis the time of year when all knitters and crocheters begin to panic about all the gifts they need to make between now and Christmas. 

I finally finished 3 gifts for friends who've had babies recently. Now- I'm ready to get serious with my holiday projects!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pantry Purge Series #2- potato salad

So after eating lunch from the new food truck in town (I know, I know- but it's new and I had to try it).  I had a leftover tea smoked egg.  Plus I knew I had some Sir Kensington's Avocado Mayo left in the ice box from this morning's egg sandwich.

What does one do with eggs and mayo?  One makes egg salad or potato salad.  I chose potato.  I tossed a cooked, chopped potato with the avocado mayo and some pickle relish.  Is it the best potato salad I've ever made? No.  Did it clean up an egg and some mayo from my pantry? Yes. 

This is possibly the worst food photo of all time.  If there are razzy awards for food photography, this photo should be nominated.  But it's all I have, so it will have to do.

Pantry Purge Series #1- Breakfast

After making the big announcement that I'd be eating out of my pantry and freezer yesterday, I think posted from the restaurant Will and I went to last night.  Oops.  I pointed out to my commenters that I had taken Will out for his birthday, so it shouldn't count.  :)
So I began the project in earnest this morning.  When contemplating the options for breakfast, I decided to fit in as many little bottles and jars of stuff as I could.

Breakfast was to be scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and cantaloupe.  Additionally, I always have a cup of hot tea.

So the granulated coconut nectar was the sweetener in my cup of English Breakfast Tea this morning. The Sir Kensington's Avocado Mayonnaise went on my fried egg sandwich (which gets bonus points because I also incorporated a hamburger bun from the freezer.

All in all, I feel it was a successful first venture.  Now I'm pondering lunch strategies...

The Great 2016 Pantry/Freezer Eat Down!

This idea actually began as a Facebook post on my page.  My steadfast and much-loved husband, William, is constantly "reminding" me what a wreck our pantry and freezer are.  So I decided to tackle this problem.

The following is the Facebook post that started it all...

My pantry is out of control.  Seriously, it's getting to be a problem.  The reason is not a mystery.  I love to try new things, therefore, I have subscribed to 2 different "Box of the Month" clubs.  One is called "Hatch."  It delivers, right to my door, every month, a fun little box of trial-sized condiments.  I love it when I come home and find the box on the doorstep.  But I don't love what my pantry and cabinets look like, filled with tiny little bottles and jars because I don't use the stuff fast enough.  The other is called "Try the World."  Every other month I receive a bigger box, full of yummy things from a selected country.  Last month was Brazil, not surprisingly.  And while I love this box as well, I have the same problem- zillions of little jars and boxes.  

So I have committed to eating out of my pantry until it is under control.  This is going to mean eating some rather exotic meal combinations, but I'm down with it.  The hubster- maybe not.

My next immediate problem... How to combine ramen-type noodles and quince paste into a palatable lunch... Hmmmm...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer 2016

It's hard to believe the school year is over!  I had a great year with my kids, but I'm thrilled to get some time for personal maintenance. 

Will ran the Vail Valor Half Marathon this morning in Vail, CO. Tomorrow our annual tech trainings begin. I will make an effort to be better at updating this space with our adventures this summer!

Guess I better go make some supper!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Easy Chili

Here's my new go-to chili recipe.  I can make the seasoning mix ahead of time, so all I need to have on hand is a beer and a pound of any ground meat.  I usually use turkey.

Mimi's Chili:

1 pound ground meat of your choice (or lots of chopped up veggies or those veggie crumbles)
1 12 ounce beer (I use Blue Moon, but if you use ground beef, Guinness would be good)
1 recipe of chili seasoning (recipe follows)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 beef stock cubes or 2 teaspoons beef base
1 can chili beans (or any other kind of beans you want to use)

Put ground meat and half of the beer in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook meat until no pink remains.  Add the seasoning mix and stir.  Add tomatoes, beans, beef base and what's left of the beer.  Simmer chili covered for 30 minutes to an hour.  The longer, the better.

This is best served with shredded cheddar, chopped green onions, fresh cilantro and a big ole piece of buttermilk cornbread!

Seasoning Mix (1 recipe)

2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon granulated onion
1/4 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons masa flour
black pepper

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Teacher Party- Pulłed Pork

Sorry I don't have an actual pic of the pulled pork yet, but I will take one this evening. 

I've always been apprehensive about making pulled pork. What if it doesn't come out tender enough?  What if it doesn't have enough flavor?  But not anymore. What has changed my pulled pork world?  My pressure cooker.  I've cooked pork shoulder in my Instapot 3 times- and it has been perfect every time. 

I don't think there's any one right way to do this. You can adjust it to your tastes.  

In my opinion, the secret to good pulled pork is the dry rub. There are tons of brands on the market, but I like to make my own.  Here's my basic combination: brown sugar, granulated garlic, granulated onion, finely ground black pepper, salt, and smoky paprika. Amounts?  Depends on how much butt you're rubbing and what flavor profile you like. I like more brown sugar and garlic.  

However, for this party, I went a little crazy and cleaned out my spice pantry. 

I order most of my dry spices from Penzey's.  Every time I order, they always include little sample bottles of different spice blends for me to try.  This is cool, but those little plastic jars pile up in my spice pantry- and I hate plastic.  So I went on a rampage!  Here's what I put in the rub I used this time: Turkish seasoning, Greek seasoning, Bangkok seasoning, brown sugar, granulated garlic, granulated onion, smoky paprika, salt, and black pepper.  It made quite a bit of rub, but then, I cooked about 20 pounds of pig for this party, so I didn't have any left!

As for the actual cooking, it's almost too easy. I cut the pork shoulder into smaller chunks (because I can't overload my Instapot, I cooked the pork in 2 batches), rolled each chunk in the dry rub, then put it in the icebox for about an hour.  Half an hour before I wanted to cook it, I took it out and put it on the counter. 

I placed half the chunks in my Instapot, then poured in a root beer. I added a wee bit of water to make sure the liquid almost covered the meat. I closed the lid and set it to manual (pressure cook) for 75 minutes. It takes about 15 minutes for the temperature to build up before it seals and begins cooking, and it takes about 25 minutes after it cuts off for the temperature to come down and the pressure to drop. 

When the alarm goes off after cooking (75 minutes), I turn off the pot and let it sit for 25 minutes.  Then I release the pressure valve and open the cooker. The pork is soft and tender. I shredded it, put it in a foil pan, and poured the juice from the cooker over it. It is sitting, covered, in my icebox waiting for 25 people to show up tonight and devour it.  

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