Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Edamame Spread

Edamame is a good thing.  It's one of my favorite parts of going out for sushi.  And, it's one of the few things you can replicate in your own home with much success!

At some point on a grocery shopping trip, I made the mistake of purchasing already shelled edamame.  I vastly prefer it with the shell on, for preparing at home.   So, I have had this random bag of shelled edamame rolling around in my freezer for a long time.  I decided now is the time for figuring out what to do with this unwanted veggie.

This recipe is loosely based on a recipe from Ted Allen's book In My Kitchen.  I really like this cookbook.  It has a great balance of easy and fussy, and everything I've tried so far has come out beautifully.

Ted's recipe called for fresh ricotta, and I didn't have it.  So I opened up the icebox and started dragging things out that needed to be used up.  It's amazing the weird things you can find when you start looking in your icebox.  I found a sad little shallot and half a head of garlic and a lemon half that looked like it was well on it's way to mummification.  I also had a few tablespoonfuls of cream cheese left in a container.  After contemplating the recipe for a while, I put this together....

In a small saucepan, I dumped the bag of unshelled edamame.  I have no idea how much was in the bag.  This is why I would make a horrible recipe writer.  I would suggest using however much you need to make the amount you want.  How's that for vague??

I let the edamame boil for about 5 minutes.  I wanted it to be on the softer side.

In a small skillet, I sautéed the sad little shallot and a clove of garlic in some butter until they were both soft.  I didn't let it go too long because I didn't want the garlic to burn.

I drained the edamame, then put it back in the saucepan.  To the beans I added the shallot/garlic mixture, and the cream cheese, and I zested the pathetic lemon half and put in the juice.  I also salted and peppered it liberally.  The original recipe mixed the ingredients in a food processor, but I wanted something with more texture and rusticness (which I don't think is a word), so I used a potato masher on the whole mess.

I thought it turned out pretty darn delicious.  I put it on a Wasa cracker with some goat cheese.  Heck, I probably should have mixed the goat cheese into the spread.  I could have used it instead of the cream cheese.  And I think you could use whatever kind of bean you wanted.  I could see this with black beans, pintos, even small green peas- or you could go crazy and combine them!

Now I need to break out the book again and choose my next recipe!

A New Chili Recipe!

We love chili around here.  I crave it whenever the weather outside gets overcast and cold.

The recipe I normally use, I got from my friend Diane years ago.

I like it because it's simple.  I brown a pound of whatever ground meat I have around (my favorite is turkey or chicken) with a chopped onion.  When the meat is done, I dump in a can of hot chili beans and a can of either Rotel tomatoes, or just plain canned tomatoes.  I can make it feed more people by adjusting the number of cans of beans and tomatoes.  Then I just let it fester on the stove for however long I can stand to smell it and not dive in!

If I had one criticism of the recipe, it would be the thickness.  Sometimes I add a cornstarch slurry after it simmers for a while in order to tighten it up a bit.  I have also used equal parts flour and butter.  Both thickening methods work fine.

I was wandering around on Pinterest a few days ago, and I came across a blog entry on one of my favorite blogs, "Food Pusher" about making chili mix at home.  I know a lot of people buy the packets of chili seasoning mix at the store.  But I also know most mixes like that are full of preservatives, and mostly just salt.  I was very curious to see if the recipe for chile seasoning on Food Pusher would taste decent.  I was hoping it would.  I was thinking I could frankenstein the two recipes together to improve my own chili recipe.

It was a rousing success!  I followed the Food Pusher recipe with the following exceptions.....  I did not have dried basil (because I find it pointless), so I left it out.  I used a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, and I used a can of chili beans instead of regular beans.  I also used slightly less water because of the juice in the can of tomatoes.  As you can see in my crappy photo, I garnished mine with some guacamole.  Because I could.  You could also add chopped fresh cilantro, diced onions, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, or whatever you want.

While I doubt I will make up the chili mix in advance (it's just as easy to measure the spices directly into the chili), I think the flavor profile was spot-on!  I did add additional hot sauce to my bowl, so I might add either some chipotle powder or maybe even a diced chipotle pepper to the mix next time.

Do you have a favorite chili recipe you use all the time?  If so, share!  I'm always looking for ways to tinker with my repeated recipes to make them better!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bacon Cheddar Scallion Scones

It was a snowy day here in Colorado.  I'm fine with that, as long as I don't have to run around in it.  It was the kind of day that makes me want to bake.  And make chili.  So I did both.

These scallions are outrageously good.

I followed the recipe exactly, except I ended up having to add way more buttermilk to get the dough to come together.

I am planning on serving these babies with a big bowl of chili.  I found both of the recipes on Pinterest, so if the chili comes out edible, I'll post it here.  But for now, just feast your eyes on these beautiful scones.

I bet these would be good with any combination of ingredients... bleu cheese and proscuitto,  pancetta and feta... you name it.  Maybe even cheddar and chorizo.  This is making me really hungry.

I found this recipe on a blog called "Love to Cook."  This is the first recipe I've tried from this site.  But I'm really impressed with this first project.  After dinner, I'm planning to curl up on the couch with some herbal tea and crawl around on the site to find more recipes to try!  So, here's the recipe.

Knitting Project

So, my niece Taylor is having a baby soon.  I decided I would knit a blanket for the new baby.

When I was a kid, my father's mother was the fiber arts person in the family.  She crocheted afghans for all the kids, and cross stitched birth announcements, etc.  Nana past away several years ago.  I started thinking about the kids who will be born in the family in the future.  Who would make heirlooms for them?

I figured, even though I'm not nearly as talented as my grandmother (actually, both of my grandmothers crocheted), I can knit, so I should pick up the mantle and continue the tradition.

I started this project a while back.  I am shocked I actually finished it before the baby is born.  I kinda figured I'd give it to the baby when she graduated from high school. :)

It came out very nicely, but the yarn I used was awful.  It's called Baby's First by Lion Brand.  It is really thick, but the strands come apart and break easily.  I think I'll send this one to be there when the baby is born, but maybe I'll make another one that I have more confidence in.  I can just see this one completely unravelling after a few washes.

This project was fun, and it was a confidence booster.  I'm thinking of casting on a scarf project later this evening...

Baked Oatmeal

This stuff is amazing!  Most people who know me, know I really don't like oatmeal.  My preferred delivery platform for it is cookies.  Unfortunately for me, my husband loves it.  I make it for him every weekday morning.  Then I make something different for me.

When I saw this recipe, I got excited.  I was hopeful that this might be the magic recipe that makes oatmeal palatable to me.

I was right!  This is so good, and it is pretty flexible, as well.  You could add anything to it that you normally throw in your bowl of morning oatmeal.

The recipe is here.  It's from a blog called "Food Pusher."  I love this blog.  When I read it, I always come away hungry.  I've made several recipes from here, and they've all been very successful.

So, now all I have to do is figure out a way to replace the oil in this recipe with something slightly more healthy.  Coconut oil, perhaps?  When I figure something out that doesn't compromise the quality of the recipe, I'll post it.

In the meantime, I will finish the batch I made this morning.

Pear Jam with Chocolate

I have found I really enjoy small batch canning.  I don't have the room (or the budget) for large batches of things- plus I get tired of things before I finish a huge jar.

A while back a purchased a book entitled Preserving By the Pint by Marisa McClellan.  When it arrived, I immediately read through it and marked this recipe.

I bought pears at the store this week specifically to use in this recipe.

I was a bit disappointed with the finished product.  The chocolate flavor was not present enough, and the pears were still too structured for me.  When I was reflecting over the process of making it, I decided that I would give it another try, substituting real chocolate for the cocoa powder called for in the book, and adding cinnamon.  I also thought it would be better if I used an immersion blender to break the fruit up a little better.

Imagine my surprise, when I was looking to see if the recipe was published on the internet, (I always check, because if I got the recipe from a book, I don't want to publish it without the author's consent.  If I find it already out there, I feel comfortable doing it myself.) and I found another version of the recipe, published by Marisa, using the changes I had decided to use next time I make it.  So, I'm going to link you to her website, "Food in Jars," to find the recipe.

I can't wait to try this again, but I feel like I need to use up the two little jars I made this time around, before I make more.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cabernet Cranberry Sauce with Blueberries

So here's part one of Thanksgiving prep.

I made the cranberry sauce today.  I found the recipe here.

I did not have cabernet, so I substituted Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel.

I think it turned out just fine.

I also used frozen blueberries and cranberries- cuz I had both of them in the freezer and I didn't want to go out in the snow to get fresh.

I think it tastes really good.  It certainly made the house smell lovely this morning.  It didn't make a huge batch, which is probably good.  I hope there's enough left to get at least one really good turkey sandwich out of on Friday!

The Plan...

Here's the plan for Thanksgiving this year.  I'm really excited, because this is the first Thanksgiving I've ever hosted in my own house!  And it only took 46 years...

It may be a bit ambitious, but I'm planning to put as much together before hand as I can, so Thursday will be dedicated to the turkey and baking things off.

To be honest, I don't really have a recipe for what I want to do with the turkey.  I want to butterfly it and stuff it with fruit and veggies and bread, then make it into a roulade.  I saw it on TV the other day.  How hard can it be?

I suppose the worst that can happen is that 5 people don't get turkey, but fill up on the other 75 things on the menu.

No matter what happens, it will be an interesting day.  And hopefully, it will be the first of many holiday gatherings at our table!

Shrimp and Grits

I love shrimp, and I love grits.  Thankfully, the two go together swimmingly.

I've eaten shrimp and grits at just about every place I've ever seen them on the menu, because... well, it's shrimp and grits!

I'm sure there are tried and true recipes for this dish out there on the interwebs, but I'm really not interested in them.  I like my grits a certain way, and I'm pretty sure this version is much less fussy than all those others.  As a matter of fact, if this post makes you crave shrimp and grits, you should make them just the way you like them.  Grits are a personal thing, y'all.

When I originally made this, I was looking for the quickest way to get from hungry to fed.  When left to my own devices (and when on Southern soil) I prefer stone ground grits.  They aren't quick, but they are the best of the best as far as I'm concerned.

Unfortunately, on this particular day, I was not on Southern soil, nor did I have the patience to cook award winning grits.  Besides, even if I had wanted to, I just can't find stone ground grits out here.  The best thing I've found is Bob's Red Mill White Corn Grits.  They cook up in about 5 minutes.  In fact, if you have everything ready to go, this whole shebang can be ready and on the table in under 15 minutes.

Fortunately, I've found some cheats that dress them up a bit, and make them almost as good as the real thing!

Here's what I did on this particular day.  And honestly, I think this will be my go-to method from here on out.  It was that good!

I made the grits first:

1 cup Bob's Red Mill White Corn Grits
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (I use organic, no salt added)
1 1/2 cups water
dash of salt and pepper
2 cups of grated white cheddar cheese (For goodness sake, please grate the cheese yourself- it's a workout, plus you don't have to eat whatever it is they put in pre-shredded cheese to make it not stick together.)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I splurge on the good stuff- it has such a strong, savory flavor.  PLEASE DO NOT USE THE GARBAGE IN THE GREEN CAN. It isn't cheese.  I really don't know what it is.)
1 splash of heavy cream (optional)
Hot Sauce (optional)

Get out a medium saucepan and bring the stock and water to a boil.  Use a whisk to stir in the grits, then turn the heat down to a pretty good simmer (on my stove, that's medium low).  Throw in a pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir them every once in a while, and let them cook for about 5 minutes.  They will thicken up.  Taste a little to make sure the grits are pretty soft.

Turn off the heat, then add the cheese to the pot, stirring until it's all melted and creamy.  Then put in that splash of heavy cream.  I think this is what puts in over the top!  Taste and adjust the seasonings. Sometimes I put a few dashes of hot sauce in, just to cut the creaminess and cheesiness.

Put the lid on the pot and move it to the back of the stove while you ponder the shrimp part of this business...

The Shrimp Part:

12 shrimp (I used frozen 26-30 sized shrimp), thawed and shelled (deveined if they are nasty)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 good sized ripe tomatoes, chopped (keep the juice)
Salt
Pepper
Fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn

I used my little 8 inch skillet to do this, but you could do it in any smallish pot.

Put the pan on the stove and add the oil and garlic.  Turn the heat on medium high.  Don't heat the pan first, because you want to heat the oil while the garlic is in it so it will be infused with garlic flavor.  Let the garlic cook (stirring constantly so it doesn't burn) for about 30 seconds.

Throw in the chopped tomatoes and their juices.  Picky people might want to tomatoes seeded, but honestly, I didn't have the time or the inclination.  Let them cook for a minute or two, just to break them up a bit.

Now throw in the shrimp and let them cook until they are just barely pink.  Throw in some salt and pepper as well.  Please don't overcook them.  There are few things sadder in this world than rubbery, overcooked, curled up shrimp.  As a matter of fact, after I threw in the shrimp, I turned the heat off and let the residual heat from the pan cook them.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.

NOW PUT IT ALL TOGETHER!

I served the cheesy grits in a big bowl, topped with 6 shrimp (and some of the tomatoey-garlicky goodness) and the torn basil.

This is a very satisfying winter meal.  It warms you up from the inside!

Plus- I had a little bit of cheese grits left over to have for breakfast the next morning- always a good thing!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Busy Morning...

I've been busy so far today.  I just bought a book called Preserving By the Pint by Marisa McClellan.  I have been reading her blog "Food in Jars" for a while now.  The thing I like about this book is the recipes are for small batches of preserves.  I have a small house, and there are only 2 people in it. I can't store (or consume) 3 bushels of apples turned into butter.

One of the more successful plants in our garden this year was habanero peppers.  The problem with habaneros is, they are hot. I mean really hot.  I've never seen a salsa recipe that calls for more than 1 at a time.  So as I was leafing through my new book, I came across a recipe for raspberry habanero jam.  I decided that would be my first attempt at solo canning.

I made it earlier today, and I have to say it's good.  It isn't very spicy, but it tastes very fresh.  Next time I will cut more slits in the habanero, so more spiciness gets into the jam.

After my success with the jam, I decided to try a recipe for marinated lemon cucumbers.  I haven't tried them yet, but how can cucumbers marinated in vinaigrette be bad??

If you have any desire to begin preserving food, I urge you to buy this book.  It will open  whole new world of small batch canning!

Garbage Frittata

Another horrible iPhone picture of a really good breakfast.

I think the frittata deserves more credit than we generally give it.  It is a blank canvas, to be populated with whatever bits of stuff we have lying around.

This one was particularly good.  And, it was particularly strange.

I have been struggling to use up the garden's last gasp this weekend.  To that end, I fried a batch of green tomatoes Friday, and made a huge pot of mashed potatoes.  I served them with a couple of brown sugar glazed pork blade steaks.  I had leftover bits of all those things floating around in my ice box, so I decided to throw them in a frittata this morning.

There isn't really a set recipe for a frittata.  I started by roughly chopping the fried green tomatoes and the blade steak, then warming them in the skillet with about a tablespoon of butter.  When they were warmed through, I beat 4 eggs with a good splash of heavy cream, salt and pepper.   I added a handful of grated Irish cheddar to the eggs, then poured them over the tomatoes and pork in the skillet.  Then I got the container of leftover mashed potatoes and dropped spoonfuls of them around the skillet.  I let it set for about 5 minutes over medium heat on the stovetop, then shoved it in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes.  I let it cool for about 5 minutes in the skillet, then slid it off onto a cutting board and served pieces of it with some cheddar cheese grits and fresh cantaloupe.

The leftovers are going into biscuits for breakfast this week.

So- I highly recommend giving this a whirl.  You will not be sorry!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Galette



I found a new cooking magazine at the store the other day.  It's called "Fine Cooking."  I was perusing the latest issue earlier today when a recipe caught my eye.  I say it was a recipe, really it was a technique.  It consisted of roasting a pan of whatever veggies you have on hand, then wrapping them in a cream cheese based pastry and baking until golden brown.  I knew right then, I had a winner of a dinner.

I don't remember what veggies the magazine used.  I used summer squash, red peppers, potatoes, onions and swiss chard.  I chucked in some rosemary, thyme and lemon set, and roasted them in a foil covered brownie pan at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.  I put the veggies aside to cool while I made the crust.

The pastry crust was pretty simple.  I put 1 1/2 cups of plain flour, 6 oz of unsalted butter (cut into little pieces), 6 oz of cream cheese (also cut into little pieces) and about a teaspoon of salt in my food processor.  I pulsed it about 20 times, then added maybe 3 tablespoons of water to get the dough to hold together.  I rolled it out in a huge circle- ok.  It really wasn't a circle.  I don't have that much talent.  It was more like an amoeba.

I had a 5 oz container of goat cheese that had been softening on the counter for about an hour.  After I  rolled the dough out, I used the back of a soup spoon to spread the goat cheese on the crust, leaving about a 2 inch border around the outside.  Then I piled all the roasted veggies in the center, and brought the edges of the crust up over them, pleating as I went along.

Into a 400 degree oven it went for about 45 minutes.  I let it sit for 10 more while I threw together a simple salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.

Next time, I won't use as many veggies.  I think it was too heavy for the crust.  I think roasted potatoes and onions with a little gruyere would be fabulous!  The crust was incredible, though.  It tasted so rich from the butter and cream cheese.  And really, as far as pie crusts go, this was almost too easy!

I will most definitely do this again, with the aforementioned changes.  It would also be amazing with fruit!

Pizza Toast

Ah, pizza toast, how I love you!  Pizza toast reminds me of being a kid.  When my sister and I were old enough to come home from school and fix our own snacks, this became a favorite for me.

My childhood version was slightly less cosmopolitan.... It usually consisted of a piece of white sandwich bread, a swipe of Ragu Pizza Sauce straight from the jar, and a pile of shredded cheddar cheese.  Popped into the toaster oven for about 5 minutes- this constituted gourmet after school dining!

Fast forward about 30 years (really? ouch!) and I've updated it a bit.  I mentioned in an earlier post today that I bought a loaf of soft French bread to make the bananas foster French toast.  It worked like a charm, but that means I had more than half a loaf of bread left to do something else with.  Whilst rummaging around in the ice box searching for something to throw together for lunch, I spied the wrapped loaf on one of the higher shelves.  Suddenly, I had a blast from the past, and thought about making some pizza toast!

Here's what I did:  I lightly buttered both sides of the pieces of bread and toasted them in a skillet (mostly because I was going to use it to heat the other ingredients and I was too lazy to reach the toaster).  I had a small container of pizza sauce left over from making pizza the other night, so I swabbed both pieces of bread with a healthy amount of the red sauce.  In the same skillet, I put a small knob of unsalted butter, and after it melted and frothed, I added half a green pepper, chopped, about 3 mushrooms, thinly sliced, and 2 pieces of leftover breakfast sausage from the other morning, also chopped.  As soon as everything  was softened, I piled the veggies and sausage on the bread, then covered the toasts in a mixture of cheddar and swiss cheeses (because I had tiny ends of both in my cheese drawer).  I put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and the edges were nice and brown.

Honestly, it's the best lunch I've had in a while!  :)

Bananas Foster French Toast

This was really good.  And it wasn't all that difficult.  But I can assure you it will be added to our weekend breakfast rotation.

A few weeks ago, we went to my favorite new restaurant in Glenwood Springs, Smoke.  We went on a Saturday, so they were serving brunch.  Devin ordered the bananas foster french toast.  He has a wicked sweet tooth, and this played right into it.

When I tasted it, I knew I could recreate it at home, I just needed to do a little research.  I went to Pinterest and searched "bananas foster french toast."  I saw lots of recipes, but none of the pictures really grabbed me.  So, I took off the french toast part of the search.  Low and behold, I found a pin I really liked, and it was from an old favorite- Pioneer Woman.  She had the recipe for bananas foster, which she intended to serve over ice cream.

Fast forward to this morning.  I purchased a loaf of soft French bread (because I can't get challah in my little dinky town) and decided to try my luck.

For the french toast part, I sliced the bread on the diagonal (fairly thick).  Then I beat 4 eggs with a splash of heavy cream and milk, then added some vanilla bean paste for good measure.  I soaked the bread slices in the custard mixture, then griddled them in my 12 inch cast iron skillet.  I put them in my oven on warm, then set about making the bananas foster part.

I used the recipe straight from the Pioneer Woman blog.  I didn't have enough rum, so I just used what I had.  It made the flaming part rather disappointing, but it still tasted amazing.

And I do plan to make some vanilla ice cream, because I have about 2 cups of the sauce left, and I'm not about to let it go to waste!

Sushi Salad

When am I going to learn not to take blog photos under my stove light?  It makes everything look yellow and boring.  Sigh.

So this is sushi salad, or as the blog I stole it from called it, "Lazy Sushi".  I like this idea for several reasons.  First, I'm lazy.  Second, it would make it possible for me to eat sushi way more often than I presently do.  Thirdly, there are literally thousands of variations you could dream up for this.

I pinned the recipe from a blog called Lea's Cooking.  I followed her recipe pretty exactly and it turned out great.  The only change I will make next time (and there WILL be a next time) is, I will leave out the canned tuna.  It was ok, but honestly, I would just use the crab or maybe even throw in a few sautéed shrimp.  The tuna didn't see to fit in.  I think I might also throw in some edamame next time.

I added the baked egg roll wrapper crackers.  I like the different crunchy texture they brought to the party.  You could fry them, but I was trying to be somewhat healthy, so I baked mine instead.

This was a great find.  I am absolutely positive I will make this again.  I think it would be ideal for school lunch, or quick dinners during the week.  It's almost like an Asian spin on a Mexican burrito bowl- only better!

Weekend Silliness

Devin and I have made a pact that we will try to get out more on weekends and do fun stuff, so our day jobs don't drive us certifiably insane before we have a chance to retire.

To that end, we headed to Glenwood Springs yesterday for their little Oktoberfest celebration.  Our friends Greg and Jan went along for the ride.

The event itself was fairly low key.  It was really more like a craft fair with German oompah music, than an Oktoberfest.  There was only 1 beer tent.  Wha???????

That said, though, I had a nice time.  We went to one of my favorite new restaurants in Glenwood, Smoke, for lunch, then walked down the street to the festivities.  I was designated driver, so no beer for me.

We watched some older couples dancing to the traditional German music, and ate donuts from a relatively new bakery in town, Coloradough.  I had an apple fritter, which was arguably the single biggest pastry I've ever seen.  I couldn't eat all of it, because it was so sweet and greasy and yummie, I'd have died right on the spot if I'd finished it.  So that makes it pretty much the perfect festival food. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spicy Fried Quinoa

I love having this for dinner!  It's another clean out the ice box meal.

I made a batch of plan quinoa in my rice cooker (1 1/4 cups of quinoa and 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth/water).

I then used the same technique I use to make fried rice.  I stuck with leftover veggies for this, but if you wanted, you could put any kind of protein you wanted in it.

I usually don't include traditional recipe formats with my blog posts, but I'm going to give it a go here.

Spicy Fried Quinoa
Served 1

1 large egg
Coconut Oil- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
Onion- half of one small, chopped
Garlic- one clove, minced
Thai Birds' Eye Chile- thinly sliced
Fresh Ginger- about 1 tablespoon, grated with a microplane grater
Corn- 1/4 cup (I used frozen white shoe peg corn)
Peas- 1/4 cup (I used frozen)
1 cup of cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
Cashews- 1/4 cup (unsalted)
Sesame Seeds- 2 tablespoons
Cilantro- one handful, roughly chopped

Put an 8 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat, and toast the cashews and sesame seeds.  When they are fragrant, park them on the plate off which you plan to eat your dinner.  Put skillet back on the heat and add a teaspoon of coconut oil.  Lightly beat the egg, then scramble it in the skillet.  When it is done, add it to the plate with the cashews and sesame seeds.

Put the skillet back on the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil.  Add the onion, garlic, chile and ginger.  Allow the oil to come up to temp with the aromatics.  This builds a layer of flavor for your finished dish.

After about a minute, add the corn and peas and allow them to warm up.  Stir in the cooked quinoa and allow to heat for a few minutes.  Stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin and sriracha.  When it is evenly distributed, stir in the cashews, sesame seeds and scrambled egg.

Put it on the plate and garnish with the fresh cilantro.





Saturday, August 9, 2014

Thai Red Chile Garlic Lime Wings!

How comes it seems like the best tasting food I make is always difficult to photograph?

I love wings.  My husband doesn't.  So when he goes out of town, I always make sure I grab some at  the store so I can gorge on them while he's gone.

This was another one of those clean out the ice box deals.

I bought a big bag of frozen wings at the grocery store.  They were huge!

I grabbed 4 of them and put them on a foil lined baking sheet and threw it in a 400 degree oven for about an hour.  I didn't even defrost them!  I did rub them with olive oil, salt and pepper before they went in, though.

After about an hour I pulled them out of the oven and began contemplating what flavor I wanted to make them.

I put about some olive oil in a skillet and grated about a tablespoon of fresh ginger in the oil.  Then I minced about 5 cloves of garlic, zested a lime and dropped some Thai red chile paste in with it.  I turned the heat on medium and let the oil and seasonings begin to sizzle.  After about a minute, I put the wings in a bowl and tossed them with the seasoned oil.

These were great!  I think I'm going to pull a few more wings out of the bag and have these again tonight!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A New Favorite Snack- Plentils!

After deciding to cut back on gluten and dairy, I am on a mission to find snack foods that are better for me than the normal salty, fat-ridden things I usually go for.

While looking around at Natural Grocers today, I found these.  They are called Plentils.  They come in several flavors, but I chose the light sea salt variety.

They taste really good!  And I don't mean they taste good for a health food.  I mean they really taste good- addictive, in fact.

I can't wait to go back and try some of the other flavors.  If you want information about them, visit their website and find a store near you.  If you can't find one, you can order them online!

Keeping Up with the Garden

This is about the amount of stuff I get out of our garden every morning.

If I had a big family, I'd run through this stuff easily.  But I don't.

So it's about this time of year when I desperately comb Pinterest looking for ways to use summer squash and peppers.

So far I've been able to keep up.  I've been roasting the peppers and freezing them.  I've found enough summer squash recipes to keep my head above water.

I certainly don't want to sound as if I'm complaining.  After all, we plant the garden every year so we can get food out of it.  Sometimes it just seems so overwhelming to avoid wasting anything!

Our tomatoes aren't doing so hot this year.  I've gotten the handful of pear tomatoes you see in the picture, and our heirloom bushes have a few blooms on them.  Tomatoes seem to be the one veggie I don't mind having a ton of!  Last year I roasted and froze them, which means I had a great start on red sauces for the rest of the winter.

Every year we harvest, and every year we learn.  I really can't imagine not having a garden.  I know it would make life easier in several respects, but we'd miss out on the satisfaction of eating something we grew ourselves.

I think we'll keep plugging away at it!

Quick Breakfast and Some Dietary Changes

In addition to always being on the look out for summer squash recipes, I'm also constantly searching for quick, easy breakfast ideas.

As much as I hate to face it, school will start very soon, which means my days of leisurely cups of hot tea and late breakfasts are over.

This summer I've been trying to cut back on the amount of gluten and dairy I eat.  I have had numerous conversations with my doctor, and although I'm not allergic to either one, the inflammatory reaction caused by both of those types of foods can make life unpleasant.  Some of the aches and pains I contribute to getting old, could be mild reactions to gluten and dairy.

Now I will tell you right up front, I won't give either up entirely.  There are just some things that need gluten and a healthy dose of cheese (macaroni and cheese, anyone?).  But if they aren't necessary to the quality of the meal, I am trying to avoid them.

So I've been experimenting with some gluten and dairy free products.  The one I tried on this particular morning was Udi's Gluten Free Bagels.  I toasted one and then put a little dairy free cream cheese on it.  Then I put thin slices of cucumber, capers and sliced smoked salmon on it.

Was this as good as a deli bagel with lox and cream cheese?  No.  Was it pretty good and slightly better for me?  Yes.  I think this will become part of my weekday breakfast rotation.

It beats the heck out of almond milk and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. :)

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

My garden is producing more yellow squash than I could possibly ever eat.  We have eaten squash in some form pretty much every day for the last week.

Because of this, I'm constantly on the lookout for new ways to use squash.  And when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it.

I knew from past experience that yellow squash and corn play very well together.  Making a soup out of them is a no-brainer!

I got this recipe from a blog called Cooking Classy. It was very easy to do, and the leftover soup just got better after sitting in the icebox overnight.  It made an even better lunch the next day!

The only thing I added to the recipe was a liberal dash of hot sauce.  I really felt that once the milk and cream were added to the soup, there needed to be something to punch through the richness.  I might also add some roasted poblano or even jalapeño pepper next time I make it.  And there WILL be a next time!

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs

In my opinion, life would be bleak without roasted chicken.  It's one of those things that makes you feel better.  It makes you feel like a good cook.  And luckily, it's easy.

I usually by a package of 8 thighs and roast them all at once, then put whatever doesn't get eaten for dinner in the ice box for later in the week.

The prep is very simple.  I loosen the skin on each thigh, and rub down the flesh and skin with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then I put a slice of lemon and sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme under the skin.

I put a thermometer in the largest thigh and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

Usually my husband likes these with molasses bbq sauce.

I served these with corn on the cob and sautéed swiss chard.

Corn on the Cob

When I make corn on the cob, I always think of my mother.  She could sit and eat corn on the cob and nothing else for dinner.  Just make sure she had butter and salt, and she was good.

I am the same way.  To me, nothing says summer like a few ears of super sweet, tender, buttery, salty corn.

I make it the way my parents made it.  I bring enough water to cover the corn to a boil, then drop the ears in and add about a tablespoon of honey.   I cook it for about 6 minutes, then turn off the heat.  I let it sit in the water until the rest of dinner is ready.  Of course, it wouldn't be the same without some butter and salt!

Super Crunchy Tofu Tacos with Mexican Rice

This is one of those recipes that's a game changer.  Seriously.  I have been attempting to cut back on my consumption of meat, and tofu is something I turn to fairly often.  However, I'm not at all confident about how to cook it.  This will forever be my go-to prep method for tofu.

I can not take credit for the recipe.  As with most of the wonderful food that comes out of my kitchen, I found this recipe on Pinterest.  The name of the blog where this recipe resides is The Woks of Life.  After reading this recipe, I added the blog to my reader feed and have seen several other things I want to try.

The thing that makes this recipe so great is the absolute crunchiness of the tofu.  And the recipe really isn't fussy at all.

The basic technique is to cube the tofu, then marinate it for an hour or so in a combination of sriracha sauce and honey.  Then you coat the cubes with a seasoned cornmeal mixture and shallow fry them in a black iron skillet.  You don't even have to press the moisture out of the tofu before you cube it!

I ended up using the exact same technique on some cubes of mahi mahi (my husband doesn't like tofu), and the results were fantastic!

I served the tacos with some homemade pico de gallo (chopped tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, salt, lime, cilantro) and guacamole (avocado, lime, salt) and homemade refried beans (a drained can of pintos, sautéed with onion and garlic, then mashed with a potato masher).

The second part of the meal was a recipe of mine.  To be honest, there really isn't a recipe.  I knew I wanted some kind of rice to go with the tacos, so I made it up as I went along.

I have a rice cooker and I probably use it more often than any other appliance in my kitchen, except the blender.  I love being able to dump rice and liquid in it and not having to think about it again until the little alarm goes off.  It came with a little scooper cup, so that's how I measure the rice and liquid when I use it.

I put 2 scoops of jasmine rice in the cooker, followed by 4 scoops of liquid.  I wanted to give some basic flavor to the rice, so the 4 scoops were comprised of:  liquid reserved from a can of tomatoes and chicken stock.  I put a sprinkle of salt in, closed the lid, and walked away.

When the alarm went off, I started making the rest of the veggies to mix into the rice.  I sautéed some Vidalia onion until it was soft, then threw in some chopped Anaheim peppers I had roasted the day before (I have a bush in my garden that is spewing forth peppers faster than I can use them fresh) and a clove of minced garlic.  After that I added the tomatoes I had drained earlier and a few handfuls of frozen white shoe peg corn.  I mixed in probably about 3 cups of the cooked jasmine rice, then seasoned with salt and pepper.  It turned out wonderfully!  You could add any veggies you wanted.  I'm thinking yellow squash or other kinds of peppers, zucchini, peas- you name it!

All in all, this was a wonderful meal.  It will definitely go in the rotation of dinners when school starts.

Bedtime Snack

So.... the other night I was getting ready for bed.  When I walked out of the bathroom, this is what I saw.

Sometimes I just have to pinch myself, ladies.  There is so much awesomeness in this photo, it defies description.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Corn Polenta and Zucchini Sauce

Some dishes are not very photogenic.  This is one of those dishes.  Or maybe it's just that I need to read up on food photography.  Whatever- this pic does not do this meal justice.  It looks like my dog vomited on a white plate, but please believe me, this is some good stuff!

The chicken part was insanely simple.  I defrosted 2 frozen chicken thighs in the microwave, then liberally sprinkled both of them with blackening spice.  I covered them with plastic wrap and put them in the ice box to hang out while I put the rest of dinner together.  I ended up throwing the chicken on the grill until they registered 170 degrees.

Now for the fun part...

I won't write out the whole recipe here, but go here to find it.  I did not make the full recipe because I was afraid if we didn't like it, we'd be stuck with it for a week.  Now, I wish I had made the whole thing.  The only substitution I made was using zucchini instead of the eggplant called for in the recipe.  Dev doesn't like eggplant.  I think it would be awesome, though.

I found this recipe on Food52- which happens to be one of my favorite places to find new recipes and techniques.

So, is this recipe a little fussy? Yes.  Would I come home after a busy Wednesday and try to make this for dinner?  No.  Was it worth the 20 minutes it took me to clean my food processor after I made it?  Yes.  Would I make it for dinner if Wills and Kate just happened to stop by?  Yes.

Seriously, if you love polenta, or just love corn, you need to try this.  I just used frozen corn, but it would be awesome with Silver Queen or Olathe Sweet corn.

As a side note, this dinner was also dairy and gluten free.  Just sayin'.

My Trip Home to Georgia

I didn't blog very much while I was gone.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One-  I was too busy eating to stop and blog anything.  Two- I wasn't really sure what to say.

I've been in Colorado for 8 years now. You would think after 8 summers home, things would get easier.  But they don't.  I always have a great time at home- eating wonderful fresh seafood and spending time with friends and family.  I'm usually home for about a month, which is just long enough for my skin and hair to adjust to the extreme humidity.  It's also just enough time for me to realize just how much I miss home.

Homesick blog posts aren't very fun to read.

So what I decided to do this time around, was just link to my flickr account, so people can just browse through all the pictures I took while I was there.  The vast majority of them are food.  This shouldn't shock anyone.

That's about all I want to say about my summer trip home.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cavalcade of Fun- brought to you by...chicken!

Day 2 of the Cavalcade of Fun 2014!

I woke up about 7am. Mom had an appointment with her lung doctor- and we were going to check one of the guilty pleasures off my summer list... Chicken biscuits from Chick-Fil-A.

I know it's awful. I don't agree with the politics of Chick-Fil-A's owner. But I have intense cravings for his chicken biscuits and I allow myself one a year.   And today was the day. 

We got good news at the doctor's office. Mom can travel to Colorado!  It will probably take most of this coming year to plan and save up- but I can't wait to show her the life Devin and I have built.

We met my niece for lunch at a local restaurant classic- Spanky's. I checked two other guilty pleasures off my list- real cherry coke and chicken fingers with honey-horseradish sauce. I dream about them- and Savannah is the only place you can get them.  The picture at the top of the post does not do them justice. 

For dinner, it was a group effort. My sister's husband, Marc, pan fried some fish fillets. Mom fried some yellow squash and green tomatoes. I made a fresh strawberry/basil salsa to put on the fish. Everything was delicious. Too bad I forgot to take pictures. :(

Then I headed to my best friend Di's house to hang out for a while. She, Terry, Suzanne and I sat on her front stoop and had a little wine, before coming in and watching some baseball. They hadn't eaten dinner yet, so Di made chicken burrito bowls.  I had already eaten, but I had to try a little. It was great!

I wonder what trouble we will find on day 3?


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cavalcade of Fun- Prelude


Today was a travel day for me. I hate flying. I don't think hate is a strong enough word for how I feel about flying. 

Nevertheless, I was fortunate that all 3 of my flights were on time. I really expected to be stranded in some airport for hours. 

During my middle flight, I was trapped between 2 very large people. I'm not small by any means, but these people dwarved me. I had no armrest, no place to put my arms or hands.  It was the longest 2 hours of my life. Did I mention neither of them spoke English very well, and neither had bathed recently?  That made things better.

The only bright spot was finishing the second Harry Potter book. I set a goal to read them all this summer. So far- so good.

Now it's late, I'm lying in the bed at my childhood home, looking forward to chicken biscuits in the morning.  

This makes it all worthwhile! :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chilaquiles- I can cook it better than I can spell it.

So I love things like this for breakfast. Not only does it satisfy my savory breakfast craving, but it also allows me to clean up bits and pieces of herbs and such out of my ice box.

You can totally skip the made from scratch part and do this with your favorite jar of salsa.  I just had part of a can of tomatoes and part of a can of chipotle peppers open, so I needed to use them up.

I started with the chilaquiles/sauce part.  I had half of a white onion lingering around, so I chopped that up and threw it in my most favorite cast iron skillet with probably 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings (full disclosure- the bacon grease was left in the skillet from breakfast yesterday- my husband swears he will die from food poisoning).  The drippings were especially good because I had cooked thick cut peppered bacon.  So I got a little bump draft of spice in there!

After the onions were nice and soft, I threw in some dried oregano.  I always use Mexican oregano, because I think it has a stronger flavor.  If you are using dried, make sure you rub it between your palms as you add it to the skillet.  This crushes it and releases more flavor.  Then I minced a clove of garlic and threw it in as well.  I had the heat on medium-  watch the garlic, because you don't want it to burn.  Keep it moving around in the pan.  After 30 seconds or so (you will smell the garlic when it gets warm) I added one chopped chipotle pepper with adobo sauce.

Now a word of warning about chipotle.  I like spicy food.  A whole chipotle makes this fairly spicy.  If you don't like spicy food, leave it out or use half.  I kind of spread the chile around in the onion/garlic mixture.  This helps add to the flavor base for the sauce.  After about 2 minutes, I put in one can of diced, fire roasted tomatoes (drained- but liquid reserved) and another good pinch of dried oregano.

Now it gets fun.  I threw in about 4 handfuls of tortilla chips.  Right out of the bag.  If you wanted to be really ambitious, you could fry some corn tortillas ahead of time.  I'm not generally that ambitious.  I stirred the chips around in the mixture, trying to coat them as best I could.  Don't get wrapped around the axle if you don't do this perfectly.  I also added the juice from the tomatoes over the chips.  After you move it around for a while, cut the heat back and leave it alone.  You want the chips on the bottom to start soaking up all that sauce.

Now turn your attention to the eggs.  My husband refuses to eat eggs any way other than scrambled, so I scrambled 3 eggs for him.  I prefer my eggs fried, over easy.

To serve this, I spooned half the chips/sauce mixture on one plate and added the scrambled eggs.  I garnished with a liberal amount of roughly chopped cilantro.  I did the same with my plate, but I topped mine off with my fried egg.

Possible sides could be sliced avocado or sliced tomato.  If you need something to cool some of the heat, garnish with some sour cream.

This makes a very hearty, stick to your ribs kind of breakfast- perfect for a lazy summer Saturday!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Smothered Pork Chops

Seriously- even though I'm not a huge pork chop fan, this recipe made me happy. But I am a big fan of smothering things (not my students or my family or my friends, but most foods). I consider most foods just vehicles for great sauces or gravies or toppings- like baked potatoes.

Look at that. Look. At. That. Gravy.  Hello, beautiful. I wish I had taken the time to go get my big girl camera- but I was too hungry! I served my smothered pork chops over mashed potatoes (rice or buttered egg noodles would be groovy, too).  I chose roasted Brussels sprouts as my veggie because they are awesome and under-loved. 

This is how it went down...

I heated my cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. I added a few glugs of canola oil (non-GMO) to the hot skillet. I dredged my boneless chops (about an inch thick) in seasoned AP flour (salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, oregano) and dropped them in the hot skillet. I let them go about 3 minutes a side. They don't need to cook through. I fished them out of the skillet and put them on a plate. 

I turned the heat down to medium and added 1 large onion that I had halved and sliced thinly. I also added another glug of oil. I added salt and pepper as well.  The onions sautéed for a few minutes, then I added about 3 or 4 tablespoons of plain AP flour to them and scraped them around for a few minutes. You are building a roux. Next, I added a few glugs of Applejack brandy. You could use wine or any other liquid- cider would be good!  I used what I had around. After that was absorbed, I poured in chicken stock. How much?  Well, I wanted to make enough gravy to cover the chops, so maybe 2 1/2 cups?  I really should start measuring. :)

I stirred the onions and stock around until it started to thicken up. I added another glug or two of Applejack and tasted for seasoning. I ended up adding more salt and pepper.  Then I turned the heat to low and watched until it came to a gentle simmer. 

I nestled the chops back in the skillet- making sure to pour any collected juices into the gravy. I double checked to make sure the gravy wasn't boiling, then put a lid on and let them fester for about 45 minutes. 

While they were simmering, I roasted the sprouts and mashed the potatoes. 

This will definitely go into the Sunday night rotation. Next time I might try it with chicken or veal!



Friday, May 9, 2014

Bear and a Balloon

Funny things happen when you tie a balloon to your dog.  Bear ran around in circles in the backyard for about 10 minutes.  Funny stuff.

Tomato Cheddar Toast


This is one of the first snacks I learned to make by myself when I was growing up.  It is a slightly more cosmopolitan version of "pizza toast."  

When I was in middle school, my favorite thing to eat when I got home from school was pizza toast.  I would take a piece of bread, slather it with jarred pizza sauce, then cover it in shredded cheddar cheese.  After 15 minutes or so in the toaster oven, I had an amazing snack!

As I got older, I realized I could make the same thing without the processed pizza sauce.  Now pizza toast has become whole wheat English muffins with sliced fresh tomatoes, cheddar cheese and fresh basil (if I have it around).

This gets served as breakfast, lunch or dinner around my house.  Possible toppings are endless.  It is a quick and semi-healthy snack!  

Parmesan Vermouth Risotto with Sautéed Shrimp


I love risotto.  I mean I really love it.  I'm not quite ready to say it has replaced macaroni and cheese, but it's a really close second.  Right now, everyone is running around making versions of risotto with things like quinoa, faro and other grains.  I have tried some of those versions.  I don't like them.  In my opinion, arborio rice is the only ingredient that imparts that creamy, toothy texture that is such a part of the risotto experience.

My favorite kind of risotto is made with butter, vermouth and obscene amounts of grated parmesan cheese.  And I mean the real cheese, not some imposter.  Real parmesan is so worth the money.  It's pricey, but it lasts a while and the flavor is impossible to match. 

I have posted this recipe before- here's the link.  Over the years, I've cut the amount of butter back by quite a  bit.  It started out as 2/3 of a cup.  Now I use more like 2 tablespoons.  I also add another 2 tablespoons at the very end before serving.  

When I made it this time, I decided to add some garlicky sautéed  shrimp on top.  This was not a bad idea.  I just peeled and rinsed the shrimp, then sautéed them in a small skillet with a clove of minced garlic, salt, pepper and butter.  I put the shrimp and yummy butter on each bowl of risotto.

This was so good.  And it was insane the next day, after the flavors had a chance to fester overnight.

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad


This was a really good caprese salad.  I had been craving it for a while, but here in Colorado, we are still months away from sweet, ripe, yard tomatoes.  Instead of doing without, I decided to use a grocery store tomato, but roast it to develop more flavor and sweetness.

First I sliced a couple of regular tomatoes pretty thickly.  I put them on parchment paper and sprinkled them with olive oil, salt, freshly ground black pepper and a small amount of balsamic vinegar.  Into a 450 degree oven they went.  I think they probably roasted about 15 to 20 minutes.  

I left them alone to cool while I sliced the fresh mozzarella.  I alternated the slices of tomato and cheese, then drizzled them with olive oil and some Italian herbs (basil, oregano and chile flakes).

I think I may like this version better than the fresh tomato version.  Which means I can have this amazing salad any time of the year!


New Fire Pit Because.... Smores!

We have lived in our house almost 3 years.  I have been after my husband for most of that time to build a fire pit in our back yard.

Imagine my happiness, when about a month ago, he went to Lowe's, got the stuff, and built one!  Doesn't it look great?

To be honest, one of the reasons I wanted a fire pit was so we could make authentic smores at home.  So as soon as we had an evening without wind, we built the inaugural fire in the new pit.

I thought we should make the first batch of smores special, so instead of buying Hershey bars (neither Will or I am fond of Hershey's chocolate), I bought Ghirardelli (spelling) dark chocolate squares.  I was not disappointed.  I think using dark chocolate keeps the finished smore from being too sickeningly sweet.

I was really happy with the results!  Now that we have the pit, I'm sure our summer will be full of evenings around the fire, roasting marshmallows for fancy smores!  I'll never go back to Hershey bars again!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Veggie Nachos- My Favorite Quick Lunch

 Devin and I have been working in the yard today, and I realized around 1:00, I was starving!

When I get like that (starving), one of my favorite things to throw together is veggie nachos.  It really doesn't get any easier.  They are a great way to clean out odds and ends from your crisper drawer- and take care of bits and pieces of tomatoes that you know you can't refrigerate, but don't want to leave out on the counter forever!

 The process couldn't be easier.  I used a small salad plate (to help control portions- I could eat a whole tray of these) and dumped a few handfuls of chips on it.  I don't like to pile the chips too high, because I hate it when the last few chips don't have any goodie on them.  Then I shredded a handful of sharp cheddar cheese.  I had a tomato heel, a stray piece of green pepper, about a quarter of a small white onion and a few sad, wilt pieces of fresh cilantro hanging around.  All got chopped and thrown on top of the cheese.
I nuked the whole shebang in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then plopped a healthy spoonful of plain greek yogurt right in the center.  When I got them to the table, I doused them with some sriracha sauce.

Easy- but delicious!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday Blahs

Don't get me wrong.... I love weekends as much as the next guy.  But this weekend I just can't get inspired to do anything.

Dev had to work yesterday, but I had the day off.  I decided to drive into Glenwood Springs to do some grocery shopping and have lunch all by myself.  While I was in the grocery store, Dev texted me to let me know that they were finishing up early and he'd be home soon.  So my day in Glenwood was cut short.  I checked out with my groceries and headed back home.

For dinner last night, I wanted to go meatless.  I'm trying to cut meat out of my diet completely, but it's harder than I thought.  I ended up making a frittata.  I've made them before, but I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it sounded really good.  I sauteed 2 medium leeks, and an 8 oz. container of sliced mushrooms in garlic and a little bit of white wine.  Then I stirred in 6 eggs I had beaten with shredded fontina cheese, heavy cream, salt and pepper.  I added a little hot sauce for some zing. It cooked on the stovetop about 5 minutes on medium heat, then landed in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  On the side, I made sugar snap peas (sauteed with a ton of minced garlic and red pepper flakes) and roasted brussels sprouts (washed, quartered, tossed with olive oil and salt/pepper- 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes).  It was a very good meal.

Breakfast this morning was a bit odd.  I've decided I need to branch out a little and eat non-traditional foods at breakfast.  Dev eats oatmeal every morning, but I get bored with it.  Also- during the week I am rarely hungry when we have to eat breakfast.  My appetite doesn't wake up until around 8:30am.  So I'm thinking if I open up my options, I'll stay interested and eat better breakfast.  This morning I split and toasted an English muffin, added some marinara and roasted mushrooms and topped it with provolone cheese.  Very good!

Dev is having quite a bit of back pain (but refuses to go get it checked out).  So today he's sacked out on the couch with the heating pad.  So I've been fussing over him all day.  I decided to take the easy way out for lunch.  Lunch was spiced up ramen.  I buy the Annie Chun's version with vacuum packed ramen noodles.  I always add extra soy sauce, fish sauce, scallions, mushrooms and a kick of sriracha.  Not bad for ramen noodles!

Dinner is going to be turkey burgers (last roll of ground turkey in the freezer), macaroni and cheese (to finish off the block of fontina) and the last of the container of sugar snaps (I plan to re-create last night's version without nuking them first- they were a tad on the mushy side).

After dinner I'm planning to start a new cross stitch project.  Not sure what yet, but I'll put some process shots of it up here at some point.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Homemade Pizza and Swiss Chard Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Tonight I made pizza for dinner. I really enjoy making pizza, and consider it a personal quest to find the perfect crust recipe.  I'm not there yet, but I learn something new every time I try. I am up to using 2/3 semolina flour to 1/3 all purpose. The texture is good- I just need to get a handle on getting it thin enough.  My toppings of choice tonight were red onion, mushrooms and green peppers.

But the real star of tonight's dinner was the salad.  No kidding- I think this is one of the best salads I've ever made.

Let's start with the dressing. I whisked together some Dijon mustard, lime juice, orange juice, a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Then I whisked in walnut oil and a little olive oil.  After tasting it, I decided it needed a little sweetness, so I added some agave syrup.  

The greens were represented by some shaved Brussels sprouts and shredded Swiss chard (stems and all).  

The accessories consisted of toasted Marconi almonds, pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan.

I tossed everything together and served it with a slice of pizza.  It sure beats the heck out of delivery!



Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines' Day Dinner

Dev braised some game hens, and I mashed some potatoes and roasted some Brussels sprouts. Very good!

Valentines' Day Breakfast

This was my breakfast this morning: hot tea (mint), blueberry yogurt and toast with cream cheese, capers, and smoked salmon. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2/12/14 Dinner

It was a typical school night for us.  Will had Girls On the Run practice until 5:15.  I took the opportunity to do a little Valentine shopping. While I was out and about, I picked up a rotisserie chicken and some Brussels sprouts. 

Upon arriving home, I trimmed the Brussels sprouts, halved them and tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. They spent 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  As they roasted, I microwaved some frozen peas and cut up the chicken.

Fancy? No.  Really good? Yes.  
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