Thursday, October 23, 2008

Binging, Changing Weather, and Other Things In My World



This is what the sky looked like Monday night on the way home from the grocery store. I swear, since I moved out here I've seen some of the wickedest looking clouds...

So I feel really gross right now because I just binged on potato chips. I usually don't let myself do that, but for some reason I could stop myself this evening. Why do I do this?? Now I feel all bloaty and fat and gross.

I think Fall is officially over around here. Wednesday on playground duty it snowed on us, and tonight our low is supposed to be 11. This morning when I left for my library conference it was 5.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I love my crockpot!



Tuesday didn't begin with much flair (or should that be flare?). I could not drag myself out of bed, and after getting ready for work it dawned on me that I didn't have a clue what we were going to have for dinner- which isn't good because I get home from work after 4, and Dev has to be in class at 5:30.

What to do?

Get out the crock pot- that's what.

I sliced half a white onion and threw it in the bottom of the crockpot with half a package of fresh sliced mushrooms. I threw 2 bone in chicken thighs on top, then poured about a cup of white wine and a can of low sodium cream of chicken soup all over it. I set it to low and ran out the door.

When I got home, I diced 3 large red potatoes and sloshed them in a pot with water to cover and 2 coarsely sliced cloves of garlic. After simmering them for 15 minutes, I drained them and added some plain yogurt, about 3 oz of cream cheese, salt and some fresh cracked black pepper. I smashed all of it together til it was lumpy.

Then I nuked some frozen early peas with a little butter and some salt.

Now- let me say this was a dirn good dinner- better than some of the ones I've planned out and actually worked on all day.

I know what you're thinking...."Canned soup- how drole." And I know where you're coming from. Had this been a weekend, I might have drained the juice from the chicken and thickened it with flour and butter and made a respectable pan sauce. But during the week that just isn't an option. And really, with the wine thrown in there, it's hard to tell that it's canned soup.

I will be doing this again- soon.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Dinner



This was our dinner tonight. Pork chops with an apple jelly/raspberry wasabi mustard glaze, green beans and smoked tomato grits.

The pork chops were pretty easy- sear them in the skillet, baste them with apple jelly melted in a pot with wasabi raspberry mustard, then finish them in a 400 degree oven.

The smoked tomato grits were the star of the show.

Dev and I were watching "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on food network the other day, and one of the dishes mentioned was smoked tomato grits. I just acquired a cast iron stove top smoker, so I decided to see what I could come up with.

I cut 3 roma tomatoes in half, one white onion in thirds and peeled 2 big cloves of garlic. I tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, then put them in the smoker for 45 minutes. In the process, I managed to set a pot holder on fire....



Here's what the stuff looked like after it was smoked....



After it cooled, I threw all of it in a blender with enough chicken stock to puree everything.

I prepared a cup of grits using chicken stock instead of water, then after they were done, I stirred the smoked tomato/onion/garlic mixture in and let it cook another 10 minutes or so.

I decided to pour the grits into a pan and chill it, so I could cut out rounds and pan fry them. It didn't work very well, but that didn't change the fact that the grits were out of this world!

Smoking the garlic, I think, made all the difference.

Now I must wait an exceptable amount of time before I attack a home made brownie....

Sausage Hoagie Quiche



I was watching this show on Food Network the other day, and they were profiling some diner where the owner made his own italian sausage, then used it to make a sausage hoagie.

I started thinking that the ingredients for his sandwich (italian sausage, red peppers, onions and cheese) would be good in a quiche.

So, I defrosted a pie crust, browned some breakfast sausage and added some diced onions and red peppers. I put this mixture in the bottom of the pie crust, then sprinkled on about a cup of cheddar cheese.

In my blender I put 4 eggs, 2 cups of heavy cream, some freshly grated nutmeg and a few shots of hot sauce, then processed it for a few seconds. I poured the base mixture over the filling and baked it at 450 for the first 15 minutes, then cut the oven down to 300 and baked it for about another 45 minutes.

I haven't cut it yet, but I think it's gonna be good!

Saturday Lunch



I love cooking on the weekends.

This weekend, I have several projects going (trying to stay ahead of dinners for the week).

For some strange reason I was craving tuna salad yesterday, so I made open faced tuna melts for lunch.

I don't have a recipe for tuna salad, mostly because I always use what I have laying around.

For this version, I used one can of tuna packed in water, about 2 tablespoons of mayo, about 1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish, about 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard, and one chopped up homemade dill pickle.

Then I toasted a couple of pieces of Dev's home made beer bread, slathered on the tuna salad and a coating of grated swiss cheese. After a few minutes under the broiler we had a pretty delicious lunch!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Paying Bills...Bleh

So I just finished paying bills. I hate this activity.

I am fortunate because I do have a tiny bit of money left over (I can't wait for a month when I don't owe the doctor half my salary). But it seems that amount gets tinier and tinier (is tinier a word??) every month.

It is slowly changing the way I plan meals and cook. A while back, I would sit down and look through my cooking magazines and decide which of the yummie looking recipes I wanted to make, then go to the store and get the stuff and cook. Now- I'm wondering how many things I can make with the pork roast that's on sale for 87 cents a pound. I'm trying to view this as an exercise in creativity...how many wonderful meals can I make for the least amount of money. But sometimes, I admit, I'm spoiled and I get depressed about it. I can be such a brat.

So, I should just suck it up and be happy that I have a roof over my head and a wonderful person with whom to share my tiny bit of money. And, of course, there's the added comfort of knowing that I'm not alone in all of this. I am afraid there may be tough times ahead for everyone....
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