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Hot-Spiced Pork and Rice

This is really more like a pork and rice stew. It was really simple to put together and tasted awesome when it was done. The leftovers taste even better today.

I got the recipe out of "Ultimate Casseroles"- which is a supplemental magazine published by Better Homes and Gardens. I am such a sucker for the glossy magazines at the grocery store...with their photos of heartachingly-rich dishes on the cover...promising warmth and gooiness.

Anyhoo- I bought it and have now made 3 things out of it, with a 4th on the docket for this afternoon (Black Bean Lasagne to take to a New Year's gathering).

Here's the recipe:

2 to 2 1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast (I used already cubed pork stew meat)
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
1 8 ounce can water chestnuts (I didn't have any so I left them out)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 14 ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/4 …

Homesickness

I suppose there are dozens of good reasons for me to be homesick right now: the holidays, time off from school, snow on the ground, bone chilling cold, etc. But whatever the reason, I am truly homesick. Maybe I should say I'm "Southsick."

I could go on forever about the differences (geographically and culturally) between my adopted home here in Colorado and my actual, soul home in the South. But as many of my old friends will agree, it really comes down to a state of mind.

I have tried several things to combat this intense homesickness I feel. I tried making a batch of home made pimento cheese- that should have instantly made me feel better- but it didn't. I played some Johnny Mercer on my laptop- that made it so much worse. I texted my friends who still live there, hoping to be cheered by some contact with them- but it's just no use. I'm in a funk.

The only thing that seems to make me feel any better is thinking about our road trip home this summer. Fi…

It's Snowing....Again

You know, the first time it really snowed here, and by really snowed I mean we got 18 inches dumped on us overnight, I secretly thought it was kinda cool. We got a day off from school and everything looked beautiful!
Fast forward less than a month, and after living with the remnants of that first snow storm (it hasn't been warm enough to melt much off), it's snowing on us again. I find my attitude changing. Now it just means snow tracked in the house, and eventual slushy messiness everywhere. But it is still beautiful.
Trying to look on the bright side, at least I have an excuse to stay in and try out a few new recipes. Tonight I am trying a pork and rice stew. Hopefully I'll remember to take some pics and post them here.
I'm also catching up on reading my food blogs. Everyone seems to be posting their lists of the best cookbooks of 2009. So far I only see 2 I am interested in: 'Wichcraft and Hungry Monkey. The first is a cook book all about sandwiches and t…

Meaningful Discourse

One of the things I miss most about Savannah is my book club.

I always looked forward to book club Monday. We had a very diverse, intelligent and lively group of women. I should be using present tense, since the book club still meets, I just don't get the pleasure of attending anymore.

However, this morning, Dev and I met some fellow teachers at Starbucks. We sat around and talked. We talked about school, family, books- anything that came to our minds. It felt so good to sit in the company of friends and discuss things. It almost felt like book club all over again. We even talked about starting a book club group. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about the prospect of that.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can all find some time for meaningful discourse...

On Vacation...

So many things to write about...so much laziness. Oh well- that's what vacations are for, right?

I think I'll start with the food. The one thing I was most looking forward to during the break was a chance to spend some quality time in the kitchen.

Dev's parents came to stay with us for Christmas, and I wanted them to eat well. Wednesday night was our first meal together, so I wanted it to be special. After giving it some thought, I went with seafood.

Using Diane's patented shrimp breading technique, I fried some shrimp and served baked potatoes and barbecue beans.

Thursday morning, we had hashbrown casserole and bacon with fruit salad. The hashbrown casserole recipe was from a Paula Deen cookbook. It was fairly simple- a bag of frozen hashbrown potatoes, sour cream, grated cheddar, and a can of cream of chicken soup.

Dinner brought about a pork loin roast with smoked gouda macaroni and cheese and peas. The pork was dry rubbed, then roasted at 375 degrees until it r…

Cranberry Sauce

IMG_3476, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Yet another award winning food photo (ok, I know it's bad).

This is the cranberry sauce I made for the potluck Christmas party Friday afternoon. It is Tyler Florence's recipe. I liked the fact that it was made from whole berries. I didn't like the tartness that much. I ended up increasing the sugar, and it still tasted too tart for me. Other people seemed to like it, so I guess it was ok. You can go here for the recipe.

Corn Casserole

IMG_3477, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Here's another awful picture. I could have taken it out of the tin foil, huh?

This is another of the potluck dishes I've had to make over the course of the week. This particular dish is Paula Deen's Corn Casserole. It turned out pretty well. If I do it again, though, I'll add a can of spicy green chile to it, to cut the richness and sweetness. You can go to here if you want to see the recipe- it was very easy.

Pasta Salad

IMG_3478, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Is this not the worst picture of pasta salad you've ever seen? I'm not proud of it, but I've had so little time to cook since September, taking professional looking pictures isn't even in my top 50 things to do.

Anyhoo- I needed a salad to take to a Christmas party, so I decided to throw this one together. There was no recipe. I bought some refrigerated cheese tortellini, chopped up some pepperoni, diced a block of part skim mozzarella cheese and threw in some marinated artichoke hearts. I tossed it with a little homemade balsamic vinaigrette and that's the end of the story. Except for next time, I'll add olives. It needed the zing.

Uh, yeah, it's been a little chilly here...

Happy Halloween!

My friend Chris had this up on his facebook page, and I just couldn't resist posting it. I have been a huge Tim Curry fan ever since my Sunday School teacher took me to see the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" when I was in high school. I didn't even realize this movie existed until I saw this clip from it on Chris' page. So, thanks for the memories, Chris!
You really MUST watch this. It's 80s chic through and through. LOVE IT!

Fall in Rifle

Just another example of the fall colors around here. In general, Rifle has more color than Alamosa did, but the drives around Alamosa have some of the most beautiful fall color I've ever seen.

Fall in Aspen

One of the things I love about living in Colorado is fall. The trees here turn beautiful shades of yellow and red and orange.

We didn't get to Aspen in time to see the full on fall color, but there was enough left to make an impact.

I uploaded the rest of the Aspen pics to my flickr page, so go check them out if you want!

Escape- A Restaurant Review

Saturday, Dev and I decided to drive over to Aspen. I had never been, and we thought we'd go before ski season started and the ultra rich people showed up.

We stopped for lunch at a little cafe called Escape. It's located upstairs in a little book store right on the main drag in Aspen.

I didn't realize it until we looked at the menu, but the restaurant was primarily vegetarian.

Dev and I both ordered from the pre-fix menu. Dev ordered the butternut squash soup with a tunafish sandwich and sweet potato fries...



I didn't get a good pic of the sandwich. It looked like pretty basic tuna salad.

I ordered the roasted organic tomato bisque...



And a grilled veggie sandwich with sweet potato fries. The veggies were summer squash and zucchini...



This was a great lunch! My soup was hot and steamy...the flavor was slightly sweet, but rich. The grilled veggie sandwich was perfect, thanks in large part to the crusty baguette. And I can honestly say the sweet potato fries were the b…

shrimp korma

shrimp korma, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. My, my, my....how far the mighty have fallen.

When I used to have lots of spare time, I wrote often about how evil pre-packaged foods were. I categorically snubbed my nose at any and all short cuts involved in getting dinner on the table.

Well, now I don't have any free time. And I'm having to eat a lot of crow. I can't tell you how many times a can of soup has been the quickest route between starvation and dinner before 10pm at our house over the last month and a half.

I found a simmer sauce today that has changed my whole view of jar sauces.

Dev and I drove to Aspen today to check the place out and get a little fresh air.

On the way back, we made our customary stop in Glenwood Springs to get a few groceries. I have become very fond of the Vitamin Cottage- Natural Grocers store in Glenwood. I usually stock up on my favorite fig flavored yogurt there, as well as natural hair and skin care products.

I have been craving In…

Oh yeah- I have a blog!

Oh my gosh...

I can not begin to tell you what the last month has been like. It has been quite the mixed bag of amazing highs and amazing amounts of stress.

I accepted a long term sub position in an 8th grade literacy class. After subbing for 3 weeks, I was officially offered the position permanently Friday. Needless to say, I accepted the position, but wow, has it changed my life.

I haven't had time to cook or knit, which are two of my favorite things to do. The cooking thing especially bothers me. I hate to eat or serve a bunch of pre-fabbed food. However, when I'm at school until 8:00pm, you gotta get something on the table quick. We actually had canned soup for dinner one night last week! How far the mighty have fallen...

Tonight I did manage to make a chicken casserole (again, getting some help from canned cream of mushroom soup). But that was only because I graded papers yesterday. I suppose eventually I'll fall back into a rhythm and get at least some of my li…

Brownies!

Sorry about the out of focus pic...I was really hungry! :)

I usually try to make a treat for Dev to take to team meetings with him on Tuesdays. This week I decided to make brownies.

I think brownies are an under-used dessert. They are so simple to make- but so versatile and so delicious!!

This time around, I didn't do anything fancy to them. I wanted plain old, down and dirty, chocolatey, gooey brownies.

I used a recipe from Rachael Ray's magazine (can you tell I've been going through a pile of magazines lately?? Everything I've cooked in the last few weeks has come out of Rachael Ray's mag. Weird.).

Here's the recipe:

Basic Brownies

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 sticks melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in 3 eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 cup flour. Transfer batter to the baking pan and bake until just set, 25 to 30 minutes; let cool.

I let mine …

My How Things Change...

Just a few short weeks ago I was whining and complaining about having nothing to do. I should have spent that time napping and being lazy- cuz it didn't last long!

I've been subbing at the school almost non-stop for the last two weeks, and somehow I've managed to wiggle my way into a permanent job at the school (starting September 28th).

Dev's birthday was yesterday, but I've planned a party to celebrate on Saturday evening. I took a few days off this week to get things ready and figure out what to serve my guests!!

In the meantime, I have cooked a few memorable meals, and I'll post one of them here.

Not too long ago I did a post about some savory waffles I found a recipe for in Rachael Ray's magazine. The recipe made about a zillion, so I froze the rest to use later.

One morning this week, I popped a few of the leftover waffles in the toaster, topped them with some leftover veggie taco filling (zucchini, onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes), sprinkled on a …

Friends

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that today was, at times, a very pensive, thoughtful kind of day. Most of the students I work with are too young to know the true significance of this date. I suppose most of the adults were doing their best to encapsulate and summarize something that is impossible to describe.

For me, there were times when I sat and thought about things I am truly thankful for- and there are many.

A few weeks ago, while we were unpacking boxes and trying to re-assemble our lives here in Rifle, I came across a file folder of emails I had printed and saved. Most of them ended up in the trash can (jokes and funny pictures, etc). But one was saved and came to mind again today.

On April 17, 1998, Di sent me this email....

"I went to the shore alone and I sat and watched and thought and became aware of my solitude.

I went to the shore with my lover and we sat and watched and played and swam and I became aware of sharing.

I went to the shore with my friend and we …

Saturday Dinner

dinner, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. This dinner was good. I mean really good.

I'll start with the roasted cauliflower cuz it was the easiest.

I defrosted a bag of frozen cauliflower florets. Yes- I said frozen. I was skeptical about the outcome, but it was fine. Actually, it was better than fine. After it was completely defrosted, I dried it on paper towels. I spread it out on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzled it with olive oil, then salted and peppered it. It roasted in a 400 degree oven for probably about 30 minutes. I roasted it while I was grilling the chicken. I wanted it to get a really deep, roasted color.

It tasted really good, and I think using frozen cauliflower was easier than cutting up a fresh head. But if you want to use fresh, I'm sure it will be even better!

Now...on to the mac and cheese...

I found a recipe in the Apr/May 2008 issue of "Cook's Country" magazine for skillet mac and cheese. It did not require boiling the ma…

The Weekend!

What a long week! I had 2 substitute teacher gigs this week, as well as a couple of days volunteering at the school. Although it severely cut into my cooking time, I enjoyed being busy.

I wanted to take a quick minute and blog one of the meals I made this week. Unfortunately, I spaced on the taking pics, but it really was pretty.

Pasta with Lemony Chicken and Asparagus (from Cook's Country- Apr/May issue)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch slices
4 T. unsalted butter (or you could use olive oil)
1 pound asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 pound companelle pasta (I used farfalle)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt one tablespoon butter in large non stick skillet over medium heat. Cook half of chicken til golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with additional tablesp…

Hitting a Brick Wall...

I have done so much cooking over the last week...I feel like I've hit a culinary brick wall. Well- that and I can't afford to go to the grocery store and replenish everything I used up until next week. Luckily, we have enough leftovers to last us at least that long!

I never really run out of ideas for cooking, but I very often run out of funds! :)

Brat, Beer and Cheese Soup

We ate well this weekend. I think I spent more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house.

I made this soup for dinner on Sunday night. I used the leftover brats from dinner on Saturday. The recipe ran in a Penzey's spice catalog a while back. I couldn't find it online, so here it is...

Brat, Beer and Cheese Soup

3 bratwurst sausages, cooked and sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 c. onion, finely chopped
1 c. celery, finely chopped
1 c. carrots, finely chopped
1/4 c. flour
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and diced
6 c. chicken stock
1 beer (12oz)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 c. milk or half and half
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese

Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook about 15 minutes or until tender, stirring every so often to keep from sticking. Stir in flour; cook about 1 minute. Add potatoes, stock …

Bran Craisin Breakfast Muffins

I was on a roll this weekend!! I actually baked my way through an entire bag of flour...

I have a friend who has a wonderful food blog called "Simple Daily Recipes." She is always cooking something that makes my mouth water.

The other day I was surfing around her site when I saw this recipe for bran muffins. It reminded me of a recipe my ex-husband's mother used to make. So I printed it off and gave it a whirl Sunday afternoon.

The results were amazing!! I think I am going to keep these in the freezer all the time so I can have one whenever I want.

Here's a link to the recipe. I didn't change anything. I know- you don't believe me- but it's true! Also- I used "3 Greek Gods" fig flavored yogurt. I found it at a natural grocery store in Glenwood Springs. If you can't find it, go ahead and use plain or vanilla.

ham and cheese waffles

ham and cheese waffles, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. These were Sunday breakfast.

I blogged about my usual waffle recipe earlier this week, bemoaning the work involved. I found this recipe in the September 2009 issue of Rachael Ray's magazine, and it sounded much simpler- not to mention it added a savory element that sounded good to me. So- I got out my waffle iron again and made a batch this morning.

They came out really well, and I'll be making them again soon!

Sausage, Potato and Cheese Waffles

1 link sweet Italian Sausage, casing discarded (I subbed ham)
1 baking potato, grated and excess water removed (I used frozen hash browns)
4 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

In a medium skillet, cook the sausage over medium high heat, breaking it up with a spatula, for 5 minutes. Add the potato and butter, lower the heat and …

green chile corn muffins

green chile corn muffins, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. I had several projects for Sunday, and this was the first one.

I saw this recipe in the September 2009 issue of Rachael Ray's magazine. I had all the ingredients on hand, so I decided to give it a whirl. I'm glad I did, because these turned out really well!

Here's the recipe:

Chile Cheese Corn Muffins

2 1/3 cups flour (I used 2 1/3 cups white and 1 cup whole wheat)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed (I used fresh off the cob)
1 can diced green chiles (I used frozen chiles)
1/2 c. plus 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 c. milk
1/2 c. mayo

Preheat the oven to 425. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Stir in the corn, chiles and 1/2 c. of the cheese. Stir in the milk and mayo. Spoon the mixture into a non stick, 6 cup jumbo muffin pan (I used my 12 muffin pan).
Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle w…

Grilled Peaches with Pound Cake

Grilled Peaches with Pound Cake, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. For dessert Saturday night I asked Dev to grill some fresh peach halves, so I could serve them with a slice of blueberry poundcake- then I drizzled the whole mess with warmed honey.

Geezumpetes was it good! Had I known it was going to be this good, I'd have made this cake months ago!

blueberry poundcake

blueberry poundcake, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. This was my main Saturday project. I have yet to make a poundcake at high altitude, and I decided to wait no more.

I found this recipe in an issue of Paula Deen's magazine. I know. I have said so many times I can't stand to watch her, but everytime I pick up an issue of her magazine, I want to cook every dirn thing in it!

So when I saw this recipe, I could not resist. And it turned out beautifully. I think my Mom would be proud!!

Blueberry Poundcake from Paula Deen

2 c. (4 sticks) butter, softened
3 c. sugar (I subtracted 6 tablespoons for altitude)
6 large eggs
4 c. all purpose flour
1 T. baking powder (I subtracted 3/4 t. for altitude)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I added 3 tablespoons for altitude)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 (I used 375 because of altitude). Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed with a…

thai chicken soup

thai chicken soup, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. I'm gonna confess right up front that this recipe is a total cheat. But it is so fast, and so good, that I will do it many, many more times!

I found this recipe in the January 2009 issue of "Real Simple" magazine. The article was about short cuts to quick meals using things you probably have in your pantry.

There was a section on chicken noodle soup- things you can make using canned chicken noodle soup. I decided to give one of the ideas a try. I'm not sure how the soup got in the pantry, because I don't like canned chicken soup, but it was there, nonetheless.

Here's the recipe:

Thai Coconut Soup

2 14 oz. cans of chicken noodle soup
1/2 c. coconut milk (I used more)
2 t. fresh lime juice
Chopped cilantro

You bring the soup and coconut milk to a simmer, then stir in the lime juice. Ladle it in bowls and stir in chopped cilantro. I wanted mine to have more kick, so I also added a healthy dose of Sriracha h…

Nachos!!!!

nachos2, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. I LOVE nachos. I bet not many people know this about me because I never order them when I go to restaurants.

That is because I am a control freak when it comes to my nachos. I want to know what's in them.

When I was newly divorced and living on my own for the first time (in a very tiny apartment with a miniscule kitchen), I bet I ate nachos for dinner at least 3 nights a week. Horrified? Don't be.

Don't get hung up thinking about nachos the way they usually exist in bars and restaurants. Not that there's anything wrong with them, but they don't always have to be a huge pile of greasy chips covered in mushy refried beans and tons of chemical cheese.

I have always considered nachos to be a quick, easy way to use up bits of leftovers in my ice box. The format is completely interchangeable. The combination of toppings is as vast as your imagination- and if you're anything like me- your imagination is limitless!

To…

pecan pie bar

pecan pie bar, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. I sent a batch of these to school with Dev today...insuring his instant popularity with his fellow teachers!

They were simple to make (but not simpler than a real pecan pie). I guess the only reason to do these instead of the pie is you get more pieces. If you cut them in teeny weeny pieces, you get 36. I got 12. Nuff said. :)

Here's the recipe- as usual I will follow with my substitutions (cuz there are always substitutions):

Pecan Pie Surprise Bars

Base:
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/3 c. butter, softened
1 egg

Filling:
½ c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 ½ c. dark corn syrup
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs
1 c. chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350. Grease 13x9 pan. Reserve 2/3 c. dry cake mix for filling. In large bowl, combine remaining dry cake mix, butter and 1 egg at low speed until well blended. Spread in prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

In large bowl, combine reserved cake mix, brown sugar, corn syrup, van…

waffles!

waffles, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Dev wanted waffles for breakfast this morning. We haven't had waffles in a long time, so I figured it was worth the trouble.

And trouble it is, kids. These always turn out wonderfully, but oh my gosh what a pain in the posterior this recipe is! The only reason I used the recipe again was because I knew where it was and didn't need to look it up...

Here's the recipe...

Basic Waffles
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup veggie oil

Preheat your waffle iron. I use the crispy setting on mine.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites to soft peaks, slowly add sugar and beat til stiff. Remove egg whites to separate bowl.
Use mixer to blend the egg yolks, milk and veggie oil.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk together until just mixed- a few lumps are fine.
Gently f…

peach jam- EPIC FAIL

peach jam, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. So this was my first attempt at peach jam. So sad, it was.

The original recipe calls for 2 quarts of sliced fresh peaches and 6 cups of sugar. I went to the farmers' market and bought 3 pounds of peaches, which would have been enough to get the 8 cups- but after slicing one and tasting it, I got greedy.

I decided to half the jam recipe so I could have peaches left over to slice and eat fresh. Sounds like a good idea, huh? BIG MISTAKE!

Here's the original recipe- my notes on the epic failure follow.

Old Fashioned Peach Preserves

2 qts. Peeled, sliced peaches
6 c. sugar

Combine peaches and sugar in a large, shallow glass or plastic container. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 12 to 18 hours.
Pour peach mixture into a large dutch oven; slowly bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil gently until peaches become transparent and syrup thickens (1 ½ to 2 hours), stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Skim off the foam with a…

rain

rain, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. It rained last night! We haven't had any rain since we moved in on August 2nd. Looking out the window right now, it's still raining!

The plants are loving it!

So am I, as it has cooled things off considerably. As I write this, I'm wearing a sweat shirt...

Cabbage!!!

I know....what's so exciting about cabbage?

Well, I have not always liked cabbage. This really isn't my fault. Or cabbage's fault, for that matter. You know who's to blame?? My mother.

My parents are both great cooks, but they are from the old school that dictated vegetables must be cooked until they are shrunked to a gray, tasteless mass.

I had most of a head of green cabbage in my ice box and I wanted to do something different with it.

As I perused my somewhat sizeable collection of recipes, I came across one from the Amateur Gourmet. If you've never read his blog- really, you should. He writes about his own cooking and he reviews restaurants. He also did the webcast "FN Dish" for the Food Network.

Anyhoo- I had stolen a recipe from his blog for braised cabbage. Now there's something you don't run across very often. I've seen lots of recipes for braised meats- but not veggies. I read through the ingredients and immediately decided this …

Ugh!!!

I really am sad that summer is over. Really I am. But...

If school doesn't start soon, and I don't start getting some subbing jobs immediately...I AM GOING TO GO STARK RAVING CRAZY!!!!!

I think being a housewife is only truly enjoyed by those who fall into either or both of these two categories:

1- Independently Wealthy People
2- People with Small Children

I don't fall into either of those categories. And I am going insane. It was ok when Dev went to work and I had the house to set up (and arguably, there is still some of that to do) but now that all the fun stuff is done, I have a raging case of cabin fever.

There are only so many times in a day you can keep checking your friends' facebook status, or checking sub finder to see if anyone is planning to be sick the first day of school, or measuring the tomatoes on the plant to see if they've grown any today.

I was so nutted up this morning that I actually sat on the couch, waiting for the mailman, so I could introd…

Creative Play On Monday

playing, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. The kitchen is slowly but surely taking shape. I change things around everytime I go in there to cook.





Monday's projects included 2 strawberry rhubarb pies and home made strawberry sherbet.

The pie has been blogged before (with raspberries instead of strawberries), but the sherbet experiment is new.

Here's the recipe. Then I'll weigh in on what I'll change next time...

Strawberry Sherbet

2 c. chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. half and half
2 t. lemon juice
1 t. vanilla
dash of salt

Mix 1 cup berries and sugar in a bowl and let it fester for 10 minutes or so. Throw it in a blender and take it for a spin.
Mix the buttermilk, half and half, lemon, vanilla and salt. Run the berry puree through a sieve and dump it in with the buttermilk mixture. Stir it, cover it and stash it in the icebox for at least 2 hours.

Pour it in your handy dandy ice cream freezer and follow the manufacturer's instructions…

monday dinner

monday dinner, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Not a bad meal, if I do say so myself.

We feasted upon a chicken frittata (sauteed chicken, onions, red peppers, mushrooms set with a mixture of 4 eggs beaten with chile garlic sauce and half and half), cucumber tomato salad with creamy balsamic dressing and Di's zucchini cakes.

sunday breakfast

sunday breakfast, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. This was actually Sunday brunch, by the time I was done with it. I made home made buttermilk pancakes and maple sausage. Dev had coffee and I had chai.

I think I'm going to have to punch up my repertoire now that I have a decent kitchen. I have no excuse anymore!

This is HOT!

yardwork, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Is there anything sexier than watching the man you love mow the backyard??? I think not.

pizza al fresco

pizza al fresco, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. This was our first dinner outside in the lounging area. I made a pizza (mushrooms, pepperoni, feta, tomatoes, onions) and served it with a Laughing Cat Reisling.

A good time was had by all (by all I mean me and Dev...).

lunch!

lunch, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. This is my kinda lunch. I have some flatbread crackers, sliced smoked gouda, pepper jack, dubliner, sliced apples, smoked turkey, smoked salmon and prunes. I know- gross. But I'm getting old, plus I just like the way they taste- everyone needs more fiber!

Outdoor Lounge

lounging area, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. So here's the outdoor lounging area. Considering what we had back in Alamosa, this is the Taj Mahal of outdoor dining spaces. I have found it most excellent for after school cheese, crackers and wine.

Kitchen Garden

kitchen garden, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Part of the master plan for the outdoor lounging area is to have a small kitchen garden. Some things will be in pots and some things have been planted in the built in planter.

Dev transplanted our tomatoes, some sage and parsley into the planter on Saturday. Sunday, we added marjoram, thyme and a Thai basil plant.

We are going to attempt to transfer these to pots before the first frost and winter them over in the sun room. We shall see if our diabolical plan works!

Saturday Breakfast

breakfast, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Saturday was a busy day. We did yardwork for most of it. I decided we needed a very healthy breakfast to stick to our ribs.

Can you tell I'm trying to get used to a different broiler?? That toast got a little dark, huh? But I feel I made up for it with the artfully arranged banana/orange offering.

Breakfast was: scrambled eggs, broiled tomato and dubliner cheese on bagel toast and bananas and oranges. Dev had coffee and I had chai.

Dangerous

shelter cat, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. This little cutie will be available to adopt in about 2 weeks. The Rifle animal shelter had a table set up at the farmers' market, showing off the next batch of kittens up for adoption.

This little guy is too cute. I wonder if I could sneak him past Dev....I know if I got him, Dev would fall in love!

Rifle Farmers' Market

riflemarket, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Every Friday from 4-8pm, Rifle holds its farmers' market in front of the rec center. We walked through briefly before we went into the fair. I hope to be spending many Friday evenings here....

Time Off

pig, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Is this what pig superheroes do in their spare time?

(Get it? The pig looks like he's wearing a mask...if I have to explain it, it's not funny.)

Petting Zoo Grope

rabbit, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. So this kid is wandering around the rabbit area at the fair, and he wants to pet one of the rabbits. So this lady gets one out of a cage and sits down so the kid can pet it. But this photo clearly shows the kid's intentions. One hand on the rabbit, one hand on the boob.

I think that's funny. Does that make me a bad person?

Garfield County Fair!

demolition derby, originally uploaded by All Things Mimi. Friday night we walked down to the Thai Chile Bistro for some sushi, then we decided to saunter on down to the county fair. I think this is a big deal around here, judging from the crowd.

I know this is going to make me sound like a snob, but sometimes I can't believe how much my life has changed in the past 3 years.

I'm not sure which is more redneck.....watching a demolition derby....or watching and taking pictures through the fence because you're too cheap to buy tickets to the demolition derby.

When I told Di what our plans were for the evening, she commented that these two things were at opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. I believe she used the term dichotomy. I knew what the word meant, but I had to look up how to spell it!

Thursday Lunch

Not bad looking, huh? I had bought some smoked salmon as a treat for myself because I've worked like a dog trying to get this house set up. Usually I eat smoked salmon in the morning on a bagel, but this particular day I wanted to have some for lunch. I wanted a bagel, but not a big thick one. So I took one of the bagels I bought from the bakery down the street and cut it horizontally in about 4 slices. I toasted the slices and voila! The perfect crispy foundation for a smoked salmon sandwich!

Dev and Mimi's New Loveshack!!!

Now that I finished blogging our vacation, it's time to start blogging about our new house!

After pulling off one of the quickest moves in recorded history, we are finally settling down in Rifle, CO.

We have rented the cutest little house ever! It was built around 1926 and has all the obligatory nooks and crannies characteristic of the time period. I love it because it isn't the apartment in Alamosa, but also because we can entertain here. There is an awesome deck area in the back, and the landlord left us a mack daddy grill on the back patio. Plus- we have more room for people to come and visit!

I have uploaded pics of it the day we moved in. Go over the my flickr page and check them out!

Ga Vacation Day 14

Monday was our last full day in Savannah.

I spent the morning and early afternoon with Mom at a doctor's appointment. Dev hung out at Barnes and Noble.

I decided to make tacos for dinner. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef (which I found out was not one of my Dad's favorites- oops!). We had hard and soft shells and quite a variety of toppings.

Dev and I spent the rest of the evening doing laundry and packing. We were also mentally preparing ourselves for the packing and moving marathon waiting for us back in Alamosa...more on that later!

Leaving Savannah is always difficult. I enjoy living in Colorado, but Savannah is my hometown and part of me will always be there. I think the only thing that made leaving easier was knowing that Colorado would not be anywhere near as hot.....

Ga Vacation Day 13

Sunday was the last day to visit friends. I wanted to spend the last whole day with my family.

So... we had lunch at a place called Tangerine. We were joined there by another Chris friend. This one was a friend of mine in high school. And as a bonus, his mother came along. She was my teacher in 5th grade, as well as various other times during my school career. I suppose you could say that she was one of the inspirations that lead me to become a teacher myself. I got to meet Chris' wife, Crawford and their two beautiful sons.

We had sushi for lunch, which you already know is my favorite food group! I can't think of a better lunch combination- sushi and a mini high school reunion...

Sunday night we again went to Suz and Di's for dinner. This time her parents were joining us for a tapas party. I brought some cheese and crackers from Fresh Market, while Diane did all the rest of the cooking. She served seared tuna, hummus and pita, roasted peppers, Caprese salad and bu…

Ga Vacation Day 12

Saturday meant another round of cleaning. The floors got vacuumed again and some other stuff got cleaned out and tidied up. We hung out around the house most of the day and drove my parents crazy.

For dinner I decided we should have some roasted chicken. So I went to Krogers and bought a pack of bone in, skin on chicken thighs. I seasoned them and put sliced lemons and garlic under the skin, brushed them with olive oil and put them in a 400 degree oven til they registered 170 on a meat thermometer. I also pan-roasted some cauliflower to go with it. I used frozen cauliflower- but it came out really nice. I think the secret was really high heat and good seasoning.

We watched the last of the Tour de France coverage and headed to bed.

Ga Vacation Day 11

Friday was set aside to go visit my friend Chris in Statesboro.

Chris and I have known each other since I was a high school sophomore and he was a freshman. The minute we met, we just clicked. There was a prolonged period of time when we didn't see each other, but as soon as we bumped back into each other, it was right back to normal. I know I've said it several times over the course of chronicling my vacation, but I feel so fortunate to have so many friends who've been a part of my life for so long. I have always found it easy to make friends, but these friends are different. They know me better than I know myself. We've been through tough times together. These are people I can count on and who know they can count on me.

Wow- I should get back to talking about vacation before things get too heavy...

Dev and I got to Statesboro right at lunchtime, so we immediately jumped in Chris' car and went to El Sombrero in Statesboro. When we both lived in Savannah, Chris…

Ga Vacation Day 10

I felt guilty several times during the trip home. I kept dragging Devin to all these dinners and suppers, making him listen to the same stories over and over, sitting with people he had never seen before in his life. I swear he did that at least once a day every day we were home. Poor guy.

Thursday, we met my friends Ray and Randy at Blowin' Smoke BBQ for lunch. I guess I should explain that Ray is my ex-husband. We are still very good friends, and I wouldn't dream of coming home without seeing him. He caught me up on all the happenings in the choir I used to sing in, as well as news about his sister and her family in Atlanta.

Ray and I always managed to eat well, so it was no surprise that he picked another of my favorite places to eat. For an appetizer we ordered the fried pickles- which were great. I think I enjoyed the dipping sauce as much as the pickles themselves. I ordered the grilled veggie sandwich with hand cut french fries for lunch, and it was really real…

Ga Vacation Day 9

Wednesday was a very busy day...

We headed downtown to meet my friend Jaime for lunch at the SoHo South Cafe on Liberty Street. Jaime caught me up on all the changes at Bethesda, plus news about some of the students I knew while I was there.

I love the food at SoHo. I've eaten there dozens of times and I always leave happy. On this particular day I had the crab cake sandwich with spicy southwestern potato salad. The crab cake was pretty good (Di's were better), but I was disappointed in the southwestern potato salad. It just didn't do it for me. It didn't have much flavor. And it wasn't even spicy. Oh well, everyone has an off day, right??

The down side to our lunch was the PARKING TICKET I GOT WHILE WE WERE EATING. I was exactly 4 minutes late getting back to the meter, but the ticket was already there. It amazes me that crimes are committed successfully all over downtown, but God forbid you show up late 4 minutes to put more change in your parking meter...…

Ga Vacation Day 8

BEACH DAY!!!!

Di, Suz, Dev and I headed out to the beach about 11:00 Tuesday morning. Because I was unable to locate a beach umbrella, I began the process of basting myself every 30 seconds with spf 70 sunscreen. I should explain that I am a pasty white girl who takes medication that makes me even more sensitive to the sun. What fun it is to be me!

I have a love/hate relationship with the beach. I don't particularly like sand. I'm sensitive to the sun and usually scorch myself. On the other hand, there's nothing like sitting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean...wondering if there's someone on the other side doing the same thing. I feel peaceful when I'm sitting at the beach. Problems get put in perspective. Emotions even out and stress melts away.

Then there's the seagulls....why is there always a one legged seagull in the group?? I don't think I've ever been to the beach when I didn't see one. How does the wind not blow them over?? I always…

Ga Vacation Day 7

I think every teacher will admit that he/she has favorite students every year. I know you aren't supposed to, but teachers are human and it happens.

I was fortunate enough to feel that way about most of my classes at Bethesda. But one particular class stands out for me. When I returned to Bethesda after teaching in Atlanta in 2003, I had a seventh grade homeroom. One of my goals from the get go with this group was to somehow meld us into a family. I wanted my boys to watch out for each other and have fun together. I wanted to shepherd them through the process of choosing friends and how to nurture those relationships. I wanted them to learn how to socialize in a comfortable environment. In an attempt to do this, I cooked for them. We took lots of field trips. We talked a lot. We worked a lot. We didn't always like each other, but I think we did bond.

I taught this particular group in 7 and 8th grade. The next year, I moved into an administrative position, but saw th…

Ga Vacation Day 6

Sunday looked quite a bit like Saturday. We worked in the house and the yard all day. I had some shrimp left over from the night before, so I did a low country boil for dinner. For those of you who might not know what that is...

You throw some whole red potatoes, halved onions, some cup up smoked sausage and more Old Bay Seasoning than you think you should in some water in a big pot on the stove (or if you're feeding a crowd- a huge pot on a gas burner in the back yard). After about 20 minutes you add some corn on the cobb (frozen will do fine, but fresh is better!). After about 10 minutes you throw in 1/2 pound of shrimp per person. Then you take it off the flame and drain it. Don't let the shrimp cook for more than about 3 minutes or they'll be too done. Traditionally, this is poured all over a table spread with newspaper and people just pick out what they want. We were eating inside, so I put it all in a humongoid stainless steel bowl and served it from there.

Ho…