Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Plastic tubes and pots and pans, bits and pieces and, Magic from the hand, We're makin' Weird Science!

Remember when I did that post about the flowers blooming in my house?

Well.... I rubbed the pollen of the striped one onto the stamen of the solid bright pink one, AND... got it knocked up!! Evidence in the first pic! Those there are seed pods, when they dry out, I will have seeds, and then I can plant them, and wait for them to germinate, and sprout, and grow, and then after a year or so of developing a mature bulb, I will get to see what my very own flower looks like!! I feel like a Mad Scientist!

Hopefully we'll still be on Island when that happens so I'll get to see what my creation looks like! (I'd hate to have to break customs laws bringing plants across borders to find out).

Next we have my new hair, I dye it myself. It's and involved process, and no I'm not a hairdresser, I just pretend on my own head. I was pleased as punch that my rainbow turned out tho! Oh, and none of the color anywhere on my head is mine, I have no idea what color any of my hair actually is.

The next two are Jan 29, Steak and Eggplant Parmesan. Grilled the steak on, you guessed it, my grill pan, with S&P, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. The eggplant is sliced thin, dredged in corn starched, dipped in seasoned eggs, then breaded, layered in a pan with parmesan cheese, and havarti and a thin layer of marinara sauce, repeat till pan is full. I used 1 jar of sauce 7 slices of cheese, 3/4 canister of bread crumbs, 6 eggs, 6 thin japanese eggplant. cook for 1 hr (till fork tender). Everyone loves this dish, and it makes a lot, so we all eat it for lunch a couple of days later (and it tastes better then!)

Last is from 30 Jan, I did Vanilla waffles with peach syrup. The syrup was easy, blendered 2 cans of peaches with the juice (I get the kind packed in 100% juice), add 1 cup sugar, boil till thick, let cool. The waffles, 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 3 tbs Sugar, 3 eggs, 2 oz melted butter, 8oz milk, 8oz sour cream. Combine dry ingredients, beat eggs, add milk to butter slowly, and then combine eggs and sour cream to milk/butter. Mix wet and dry. pour in your favorite waffle iron (makes great pancakes too). To make them vanilla add 1 tbs vanilla.

Now I'm all caught up, hopefully I"ll keep caught up, but once a week seems a little easier? eh, I'll be happy with what I get, and if this is actually helping someone to cook every once in a while!

This was a triumph. I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

Because I failed at the blog everyday in January, here's what I cooked but didn't have time to post, because of sick kids, an entire house full of closet rearrangements, a new calling at church (I'm helping the Boy Scouts now), and DH's having to go to the gym most everyday after work for mandatory PT. Things are out of order, but I will tell you when I made them.

Top: is the newest addition from last night, Sweet Italian Sausage and Spinach Tortellini with more spinach and cream. I just heated up 10 sausage in my large skillet, turning to cook evenly. I get these bags of dried stuffed tortellini in the pasta section, they have a bit of cheese and spinach in them, but are rather dry if you don't put something on them once they are boiled. I've tried Alfredo sauce and Marinara sauce but both are too flavorful for the filling and ruin the pasta. I now just use a 2 cups of cream and 1lb of frozen spinach (salt pepper, garlic to taste) to make a "sauce" that mimics the filling of the pasta. It's not a regular sauce it's more like a coating to keep the pasta moist. DH asked for sausage to go with this (he actually requested this whole meal, which is an event worth noting) but later told me he didn't care for this particular sausage. go figure. This cooks up fast, just as fast as it takes for water to boil and pasta to soften. The older kids an I had to eat this in the car on the way to our Wed night Church activities, not the way I like to eat my meals at all, but better than fast food.

25 Jan: Grilled Chicken breast strips, Feild peas with green beans, egg noodles with herbs and parmesean cheese. I used my handy grill pan (it's a large pan that has raised ridges in it for grilling on your stove top) an seasoned the strips with dried Mustard, Oregano, S&P, Garlic and Onion Powders. Cooked the veg in my cast iron with my usual Ham Flavor. Spiked the Egg noodles with Olive Oil, Parm, Salt, Garlic, Parsley.

24 Jan: Curry. Thinly slice the sukiyaki into strips and then cut the other direction to create squares, saute in Wok with Soy and garlic. Add 2 cans Mushrooms, 1lb bag Frozen spinach, and 2 blocks of curry sauce. In the Grocery (ethnic asile) there are blocks of "golden curry" sauce, I use one mild, and one medium block. There are directions on the back. I used my rice cooker for the rice. Japanese curry isn't like Indian curry, it's more like a gravy, and it's thick and slightly sweet. You can put what ever kind of veggies you like in it.

23 Jan: Fettuccine Alfredo, Honey glazed chicken thighs, Broccoli and mushrooms saute. In the grill pan cooked the boneless skinless thighs with Gourmet Burger seasoning on them, then I made a sauce with equal parts Brown mustard, honey, and Ranch dressing (about 1 Cup in all) piled all the chicken on a platter and poured the glaze over it and let them sit in it while still hot from the pan. Sauted 1 lb broccoli and 1/2lb fresh mushrroms with 1/4 stick of butter and 2tbs soy in the grill pan (lots of good flavor in that pan from the chicken). The Alfredo was from a jar.

22 Jan: Clam Chowder. Chop 4 large potatoes place in bowl and par cook them in microwave (like I do for mashed potatoes). In my large Crock Pot, dump the par cooked potatoes, and their liquid, 1lb frozen corn, 2 cans chopped clams, 1 can whole clams, 1 box chicken stock, 1 pt cream, 1/2 lb bacon (I cooked mine under the broiler) crispy and then chopped tiny, salt to taste. Cook on high till potatoes are tender, then on warm till ready to eat. DD#1 wanted this, and ate nearly 3 bowls of it, and then begged to take it to school for lunch.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Did my time, took my chances Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet

We had a small bug hit our house this week, and while only DD#2 got it, she's the most work for me when someone is ill. Since she is still in that baby phase (she turns 2 middle of next month), and not talking ALL the way yet, it's just hard. And there were a couple days were the fever meds weren't helping. So I got little sleep, I was a Zombie Mom for a few days, and I just didn't make it here to blog.

So you get a 4 in 1 today. Lucky you!

First up (17 Jan) : Talapia fillets with teriyaki sauce. I just took the fish, and dumped the glaze over them, rinsed the bottle with water, added that, and broiled (cook for about 8ish min on each side). Steamed green beans, and rice in the rice cooker. I served everything in bowls because the teriyaki sauce was doing all the work for this meal.

Secondly (18 Jan) : Pan fried Scallopini (thinly sliced pork loin). I dredge it in seasoned flour; that I keep in a zip-top bag in the freezer (everyone has one of these right, a bag of seasoned flour in the freezer, that's TOTALLY normal), then fry in my cast iron skillet till golden brown, and then flip over to cook the other side. (I season my flour with garlic, onion, salt, pepper, dry mustard, paprika, and some hot wing seasoning (not sure what's in there, but it's a lil spicy) there's probably a table spoon of each of these things in the 4 cups of flour I use, I mix it all up, and keep it in the freezer, using it for all my dredging needs, pork chops, chicken, scallopini, till it's gone, instead of making a batch every time I need some cause I'm lazy and cheap). Pasta with marinara (just used a jar of what ever I had in the pantry) I added about 3/4 c Sour Cream to make a blush sauce, and some steamed corn.

Third (19 Jan) : Korean Style ribs, rice, glazed carrots, steamed soy beans. I seasoned the ribs with soy sauce (about 4 table spoons, I think we had 14 ribs) heavily sprinkled with dry ginger, light on the garlic, onion, and pepper. I glaze my carrots with butter, brown sugar, and ginger. The soy beans just get salt. This was the day that DS#1's boys scout group came over and painted their pine wood derby cars in prep for the race at the end of the month, it was lots of fun (cept for the baby with the raging fever that demanded I hold her all the time).

Last (20 Jan) : Because I was tired, and knew I would be tired for a couple days I made soup. I can make it in a large enough batch to feed all of us for 2 days, and they like it. I was also hoping that it would ward off the cooties for everyone else. This particular soup was, 2lbs ground beef, with 1pkg Sazon seasoning, Salt, pepper, garlic, onoin, sage, browned. 1 box beef stock, 2 cans garlic and onion stewed tomatoes, 1 lb bag frozen collard greens, 3 cups (uncooked) Minute brown rice, and 1/2 gal water. I browned the meat, dumped in the tomatoes, and greens, added the water, brought it to a boil and added in the 3 cups of brown rice, let it cook for 10-15 min and the soup was ready. Normally I'd use barley, but I didn't have any, and it takes longer to cook than the brown rice (I don't usually buy Minute Rice either, but my neighbor was having an excess in her pantry and gave me a box cause she knows I cook, I think I like it to add in to a quick soup like this!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The sea was wet as wet could be, The sands were dry as dry.

I wanted to use this sausage for soup, but the family had enough of soup. So we had a pasta dish instead.

The whole time I was thinking of how to prepare this meal I had images from "The Walrus and The Carpenter" in my head, I'm blaming the pasta.

Cut the sausage into circles, then quarter them, saute with yellow squash (I used two 1lb bags, and cut them up to match the sausage). I tossed in about 2/3 of a head of cabbage. No need to season since sausage has plenty of flavor on it's own.

The men in my house love these lil sea shell noodles, I tossed them with some fresh mushrooms and about 1.5 cups Parmesan cheese, season with S&P and garlic powder. The veg/sausage is an on the side/on top of to go with the pasta.

It was a hit, both girls (and me too) had seconds, and the boys all ate all of theirs.

I used two 12 oz boxes of pasta when I made this so I'd have plenty for leftovers for a fast lunch today, I just added in 1lb peas, and 2 cans of chicken meat (it's in the same area as tuna), added in some poultry seasoning, paprika and heated it all up together. That was pretty tasty too.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vacation All I ever wanted Vacation Had to get away

More rain today, and even more wind. Looks like there will be lots over the next two days as well.

No cooking for me today, I get a mini kitchen vacation! Kids finished off the stack of pancakes from yesterday's brunch for breakfast, then we had a late lunch at the food court. Followed by a Birthday Party for friends' kid where there was more food, so I just topped them off with PB&J's before bed.

I'll probably be making some sort of bean and brown rice with sausage soup tomorrow, a la the crock pot while we're at church. That is if I can manage to get it all tossed in before we head out the door round noon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tea, a drink with Jam and Bread

It's a half day at school today, and the kids are missing it. But I had the kids ask their teachers what they would be doing while they were in class yesterday , and they were told, "just this one test, here go ahead and take it now" (their teachers know me too well). So, they're hanging out at the house with me for an extra day! WOOO HOO! also, Monday is a holiday, can you say 4 day weekend!!!

We kicked it off last night with them scrubbing down the bathrooms while I did the steak strips and potatoes (bribery for this morning).

This morning I did a large brunch: blueberry crepes (just thinned out some pancake batter and added an extra egg) (I use Krusteaz) with rasperry jam, bacon cooked under the broiler, canned fruit cocktail, "fancy" scrambled eggs (sour cream, dried parsley, Mc Cormik gourmet burger seasoning; like a dip on top of the eggs), Rose Hip and Hibiscus tea (I get the herbs separate and mix my own tea, I use a French press to make the tea). The crepes did not turn out as well as they do when I make them from scratch, the Krusteaz does good for waffles tho. I just didn't have anything to use for Crepe filling and thought if I used the blueberry mix it would be a good substitute for plain crepes. live and learn I guess. They turned out to be OK thin pancakes tho.

The kids set the table with place mats that DH's Grandma made, some ceramic plates I bought at a yard sale right before I got married (they were my "china", I have matching bowls, tea cups and saucers), mixed tea cups picked up for DD#1 at various places for her tea parties, and had me put all our food in fancy dishes. Then everyone got their bears out. I couldn't argue since they have already agreed to help me scrub the floors today. (they want to go to the amusement park at some point this weekend)

Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka... The Amazing Chocolatier.

Thankfully my back stopped aching. I spent the day making a Statue of Liberty costume for my neighbor's daughter, it was a school project (her mom doesn't sew). She paid me with a giant assortment of chocolates and Pez! (she works at the commissary and when things get close to the expiration date and have to be pulled from the shelves, she has the opportunity to buy them for penny's on the dollar, and then she shares cool things with her neighbors!)

Since I was cutting and sewing I didn't have time to make any tortillas to go with supper (I've been craving fajitas for a week). Instead I made sauteed potatoes. I washed 4 LARGE potatoes, and then cut them into 1 inch (ish) cubes and cooked them in the microwave (in a bowl with some water, used a plate as a lid, hit the baked potato button 4 times), drain, then in the pan I cooked the steak and peppers in (cause there's good flavor bits in there). 3/4 stick of butter, 1 can of mushrooms, and the potatoes and 1.5 (ish) tsp dried Marjoram. Just keep tossing till mushrooms and potatoes are golden.

The Steak and Peppers was just as easy, I cut 4 rib eyes into strips, tossed with salt and pepper and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, thin slice a medium onion and cooked on med high heat with a bag of Pepper slices from the freezer. It only takes a few minutes I pull out the strips when they're on the Rare side and pile them all in a bowl and they keep warm and carry over into medium on their own.

I made DS#1's day by having his fav veggie creation as a side. Spinach and corn mixed. He invented it, 1 bag frozen spinach 1 bag frozen corn, add water to cover, I just keep it simmering till everything else is done cooking.

The only thing lacking was pie, I didn't have anything to use as pie filling so I couldn't whip anything together either. So, we ate chocolate! LOL