Wednesday, October 28, 2009

testing out photos


Friday, January 18, 2008

Dinner this week

Sunday we had spaghetti with spinach pesto and a salad

Monday we were going to have pizza but a trip to the ER with Havoc intervened. DH and Mayhem ended up at Chili's and Havoc & I had Arby's on our way home.

Tuesday we had the pizza - ham & zucchini, on a hard, cracker like crust. The dough had been frozen, then defrosted & left to rise for about 9 hours on Monday, then refrigerated overnight, then left to come to room temperature & rise again Tuesday. Then possibly prebaked a bit too long. It's hard to say because it wasn't quite the spongy texture I am used to so I don't know if it was all the chilling & thawing or a couple extra minutes in the prebake that caused the rock hard crust.

Wednesday we has veal positano with agnoletti (sp?)

Thursday was take out - teppan yaki

Today we are having pasties & salad. Chicken, sweet potato, spinach & cheese stuffed pasties

Saturday is a friend's dinner party

Sunday is soup (veggie TBD) and sandwiches (probably cheese).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The problem with time

Time has been passing without my notice lately.  This is bad because there is usually something in my oven. Something that burns.  It's not as if I have a lot of other things on my mind. I just seem to fail to remember to set the timer. So far I have overcooked a roast, a pizza, a loaf of bread, a chicken breast and some nachos. I almost overcooked scotch eggs tonight but passed by the stove a few minutes after I put them in the oven and saw what time it was. Then it hit me, if I can see what time it is on the stove, I haven't set the timer. Less than 5 minutes had elapsed since I put the eggs in the oven, so I was safe.

I don't know what is the matter with me. I prep the food fine, no ingredients overlooked, no step undone. I get it into the oven at the right temp & I look at the clock and think "Ok, at such and such a time this should be done" and then I walk away. Normally while I am thinking that thought, I set the timer, but not lately. Lately I have been behaving as if I will not only remember that at 4:30 I have to take the bread out of the oven, but that I will also realize it is 4:30 in the first place. 

Perhaps I have subconsciously decided to try cooking by smell.  There is, with many things, a very brief window of 'wow that smells wonderful', right before 'wow what did you burn?' Problem is, that once you hit that window, your food is already a bit overcooked. Add to that you are in another room, need to wade through the piles of folded & unfolded laundry, find some oven mits and then shoo some small children out of the way of the stove, before you can remove the thing that had been smelling wonderful and lots of things are a bit more than overcooked.

It does make for a change though.  For most of December everything I cooked somehow was undercooked.  Maybe next month I'll get it right.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Dough in the freezer

The plan is working fairly well. I have pizza dough, white bread, cuban bread and brioche in the freezer. The downside is that if I make a bad batch of bread, I have made 2 bad batches of bread. I don't realize it is bad until the bread is cooked and the dough is already frozen. Out of sight, out of mind. I made my favorite cheese bread & on a whim added flax meal to it. Maybe I added too much. Maybe flax meal just shouldn't be in that bread. Then I forgot about it. Then I made the frozen loaf today. Eewww.

On the upside, we now have homemade frozen cookie dough balls and can make a couple cookies in the toaster oven any time we feel like it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

more bread in my future

I found an excellent deal on a Kitchen Aid 6qt professional mixer. DH & I have been talking for awhile about upgrading from the 4.5qt artisan that we have. So I bought it for xmas.  He was all about the superior motor of the professional model and the lifting mixing bowl.  Here is the thing we forgot - it is 1.5qts bigger than the one we have & 4.5qts is really pretty much perfect for us.  He made cookies last night & the beater barely beat the butter & eggs together because there was just so much more space than ingredients. I had the same problem with a loaf of bread & the dough hook.  But the solution is obvious.

Make twice as much & freeze half. If I have dough in the freezer, we'll get fresh bread more often. Plus the majority of my bread recipes are for 2 loaves & I have been halving them before mixing them (measuring out half tablespoons to divide 1 1/3 cups of milk) because our old mixer couldn't cope with a double batch of dough.  So tomorrow I am making swiss cheese bread & will make a double batch & after the first rise I will freeze half the dough.  This weekend I am making sandwich bread & wll do the same.  Last time I froze bread dough I had a dough explosion in my fridge when I thawed it. That was 3 years ago & I haven't tried since. So we'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's good to be home

You know you have been stuck in a car with small children for too damn long when you and your spouse staring high fiving one another when you spot a McD's with a play area.  It took us 9 hours to get out of Florida, a trip that should only take 6. Traffic was moving at 20mph on I75 for nearly the whole time we were on it.  No reason for it. No construction, no accidents, no flat tire or cops having pulled someone over (why would they, we were 50mph under the speed limit). At one point I had to pull over so DH could hack his way into the underbrush & find a spot for Havoc to poop. I'd been hoping to reach an exit for 10 minutes by then & only gone a couple of miles. 

I did not want to make this a 2 day long orgy of McDonalds. But you know, decent places don't offer play areas. Only fast food offers play areas and you can't really send your kids out back to run around the dumpster a few times while waiting for the diner cook to make your sandwiches.  Given that we had stopped for ice cream only a couple hours before (and had to eat it in the car because the ice cream shop was at one end of an extremely busy gas station)I was hoping to be able to get a couple of their fruit snack trays & tide the kids over with that for another hour or so until we could find a place to have dinner.  This McD's had no fruit. No fruit at all, not even apple dippers. It also had no yogurt, no juice & no milk.  They were out of everything not fried or carbonated.  So to justify killing a half hour in their play area I bought a McNugget Happy meal with fries.  The kids split it & after a half hour we were able to drive almost to the SC state line without stopping again. We got a hotel at 8pm and settled for take out from Ruby Tuesday's.  I like their turkey burger with avocado. Pity the don't to take out alcohol. I really needed a drink.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I hate the smell of cooked cabbage

My mom is making a big pot of her bean soup. It includes the ham bone from Tuesday's dinner, a bunch of great northern beans and a whole lot of cabbage.

The smell of it used to drive me out of the house when I was a kid. 

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dinner is over

The meal has been eaten. The men are watching football, Mom & SIL are napping, the little kids are in the swimming pool and I am blogging while watching them play. 

Mom made dinner. Mom always makes dinner & no help is wanted.  I try. I offer to make stuffing or a sweet potato side but Mom is on it & wants no assistance.  SIL is allowed to make kibbeh, which is served as an appetizer & is not something that was ever served in our house before SIL joined the family. We are long settled descendants of Irish, German and English ancestors who by & large came here before 1820. We do not make kibbeh, though many of us eat it.  Perhaps next year I will attempt to offer a curry of some sort.

Dinner was as usual, a large roasted turkey (unbrined, Mom doesn't hold with that brining nonsense) stuffed with Pepperidge Farm stuffing (Mom doesn't hold with that 'stuffing is evil' nonsense), mashed potatoes, Kulski noodles, gravy from a jar & some homemade cranberry sauce.  Not a green veg in sight, not even a salad.  Normally there are some canned green beans or broccoli in a bag but I think this year she gave up the fight on that. The green stuff was only eaten out of a vague sense of obligation, the bite required by manners. Occasionally some sweet potatoes with brown sugar & marshmallows appears, but we had them with ham on Tuesday.  This is the Thanksgiving meal I have eaten for 40 years.  While a part of me would love to convince her to try brining a turkey or to let me make some cornbread & sage stuffing or baked zucchini casserole, I know it really wouldn't be 'right'. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving. When it is my kitchen and my meal, then I'll do those things.  Someday, in the future, when I have more than DH & I to feed (the boys eat so little they barely count as half a serving combined) & it's worth the effort to make all that food, I will have a brined turkey with cornbread stuffing, a smoked salmon appetizer, shredded brussel sprouts with bacon, savory sweet potato casserole and whatever else comes to mind.  Or maybe my kids will look back when they are 40 & say "Ah Thanksgiving....No one could make reservations the way our mom did." 

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Meals so far

We arrived Saturday night and Mom had tuna noodle casserole waiting for us. Sunday we had our obligatory Quizno's lunch run. I love Quizno's and there is one only 2 shopping plazas away from my folks place (about 4 miles). I have to drive 40 miles to get Quizno's at home. Sunday night we went for dinner at the Park Place diner, in the same plaza as Quizno's. They had a large menu & do breakfast all day. I had bananas foster French Toast. Delicious. DH had the fish & chips, which were excellent. Dad tried the Greek platter. The kabobs were good but the philo on the spanikopita was too tough to eat. Mom had another greek dish, I forget the name, ground lamb in a creamy sauce. That was good too. Havoc ordered the homemade mac & cheese and was disturbed by their use of large penne noodles. These things were huge! All in all, a very good dinner.

Monday DH & I went to the bookstore & then stopped by a restaurant we's passed on the way called Sushi Thai of Naples. We had an excellent lunch, so excellent in fact we went back on Tuesday. He had Pad Thai, medium hot. He said it had an wonderful flavor & was just right on the spices. I had tempura - shrimp, zucchini, sweet potato and a monster piece of broccoli. The tempura was good but went greasy as it cooled. Our appetizer though was the best. It was sesame tuna. A thick chunk of tuna was crusted with sesame and seared on each side briefly, then sliced thin. Those slices were lightly painted with a sweet teriyaki sauce and then a creamy wasabi sauce was drizzled over it. It was so good. I also have a caliente roll with tempura red snapper in it. Delicious They deliver but not as far as my folk's house which is probably just as well because we can't afford a $35 lunch every day.

Monday night we hit CiCi's pizza for dinner. A great place to do if you have 5 children & 6 adults who all like pizza but can't agree on toppings. Last night we had ham at home. Tonight we are going to Mel's diner for ribs.

I am making the beer batter cheese bread from Cook' Illustrated right now, to use for ham sandwiches. It smells delicious. I had already bought the cheese, knowing full well my mom wouldn't have any. I should have known she wouldn't have any real butter. I had incorrectly assumed she would have flour so I had t go out & get some of that this morning & while I was at it I bought chocolate chips and brown sugar so DH can make cookies and use up the flour & butter I bought.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I hesitate to mention it but,

Mayhem has eaten 3 dinners in a row with a minimum of fuss. Not that they were fuss free or anything, but the fuss was more of a token fuss, a fuss because it is expected, not necessarily because he is actually upset.

Sunday he had taquitos, which were his choice & therefore limited his fussing subjects. He complained about the size of the pieces I had cut for him and there was some grumbling about whether there were too many or not enough pieces on the plate.  Then he ate them and asked for more.

Monday we had cream of veg soup - potato & spinach this time - plus a salad & bread. There was an immediate flurry of protest at this meal that ended with a request that I feed him the required one bite. He eventually ate all the soup, DH feeding him nearly all the bites. He ate the required one bite of lettuce and nibbled at the bread.

Tuesday was noodle casserole with cheese and salad. Basically homemade mac & cheese with some pureed carrot for color.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from Mayhem once he was dragged to the table.  He was persuaded to take the required one bite & he refused to eat more.  However, Daddy distracted him by talking about school, and another bite went in his mouth. Daddy and Havoc started singing the various letter songs that Mayhem is learning in school and in between songs Mayhem would eat another bite.  Eventually he finished the whole bowl.

Now I am in a bit of a quandary.  What should I serve for dinner tonight?  I'd planned on mock tandoori chicken because I need to use up the yogurt. But because Mayhem is eating I'm leaning toward pizza to be sure of keeping up the streak.  Perhaps instead of just baking the yogurt marinated strips plain I could bread them? But I have no bread crumbs.  I do have goldfish crackers though. Goldfish chicken strips!!!! A-ha!  We'll see how that goes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What do we have in the house?

That is what is for dinner this week. Due to nearly $400 in unexpected eye expenses (Havoc is apparently very nearsighted) and another $300 yet unreimbursed, we had, after filling the car, less than $10 to last us until Friday. I bought milk, OJ, sugar & combined a coupon with a BOGO special on bagged salad mix, with that $10 this morning. Naturally tonight is the 3rd anniversary of the Thai restaurant and everything is half off. Alas. It was soup & salad in our house. Tomorrow night will be spaghetti & salad. Wednesday is mock tandoori chicken and, naturally, salad. I'll be having salad for lunch all week. Thursday evening is the school play & hopefully we'll be picking up those pricey glasses of Havoc's in the afternoon. Combined that makes dinner tricky. Normally I'd run though McD's or Arbys but $1.38 will barely get me one item off the dollar menu with tax. So probably PB&J & applesauce in a cup in the backseat.

We're leaving on vacation Friday morning so I would have been eating the soup, the chicken, and using up the pasta sauce anyway to clean out the fridge. I'm taking the apples & grapes with us for snacking on the trip (18 hour drive over 2 days), along with any juice, cheese & yogurt in the cooler. Last year we left a nearly empty gallon jug of milk on the counter for the 10 days we were gone. the smell! Both of us thought the other was going to dump it & rinse the jug.

Our colorful meal tonight.

My NaBloPoMo posts for the last 3 days are on my other 2 blogs.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

So, what will they eat?

It's not as if they don't eat anything but goldfish crackers & pizza. They do like a variety of foods, some of them are even nutritious & many are vitamin fortified.

Havoc will eat - whole grain bagels with honey, toast with butter or honey, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (on soft bread), Tyson chicken patties, Mrs Paul's fish sticks, taquitos, apples, bananas, oranges, watermelon, sometimes mango, dried apricots, any type of pasta in any sort of sauce (as long as it isn't chunky), pretzel, yogurt pretzels, yogurt, scrambled eggs, pizza (any sauce but only cheese, though sometimes pepperoni is ok), assorted cookies that are not solid chocolate (he's not fond of chocolate baked goods), hot dogs, meatloaf, tater tots, curly fries, tempura fried veggies (except broccoli), rice, tamako sushi, chicken noodle soup, vanilla ice cream, most breakfast cereals, pancakes and applesauce

Mayhem will eat - whole grain bagels with peanut butter, peanut butter sandwiches (on soft bread), Tyson chicken patties, Mrs Paul's fish sticks, taquitos, apples, grapes, dried pineapple, raisins, yogurt covered raisins, any type of pasta in any sort of sauce (as long as it isn't chunky), pretzel, yogurt pretzels, yogurt, pizza (any sauce but only cheese, but maybe artichokes or zucchini), assorted cookies, hot dog buns, hamburgers, meatloaf, tater tots, curly fries, tempura fried veggies (except broccoli), rice (only with spicy sauce), ice cream, most breakfast cereals, pancakes, waffles with peanut butter and most hard cheeses.

They drink heavily watered down juice, often V-8 Fusion because it has veggies in it, and milk with breakfast.

Given the above lists, is it any real wonder that I put spinach in my meatloaf and purees in my pizza and pasta sauce? Or make pumpkin waffles and sweet potato pancakes, zucchini bread, banana muffins and carrot cake?