Category: Cooking & Food (Page 2 of 2)

Simply Not Enough On My Plate

I am obviously being sarcastic with that title. I am so busy lately, I don’t know whether I am coming or going. There is just so many little things I am working on right now, I need to add a few days to each week. Meanwhile, I thought I’d just give you a little Friday tease!

I really want to remodel my kitchen. I want to knock down the wall with the stove and fridge on it that separates the kitchen from the family room. I like to visit while I am cooking. And, boy-howdy, I do like to cook. I want to make that a half wall, with a counter on the family room side with some bar stools so the kids can sit there and visit with me while I whip up some of their favorite foods. But I also want to share my food with you, my friends!

Coming soon, I am going to share one of my favorite recipes (which includes the word scalloped in it-I am a sucker for anything scalloped) with you, while I do a review of  this Rachael Ray “Bubble & Brown” 3-Qt. Stoneware Baker . And almost as good as my recipe, is the fact that I will also be sponsoring a giveaway at the same time for this aweseme Rachael Ray Bubble and Brown 4-Piece 10 oz. Ramekin Set.

The giveaway will be sponsored by CSN Stores, and I am pretty excited to share with you!

You still have time (until Sunday midnight PST) to enter for the $25 Target gift card and goodies, just click here and comment!

Since You Asked…

There is still time to go and enter for your chance to win a $25 gift certificate from Target along with some goodies here. You have until Sunday to enter! Many asked for my Fried Cream Cheese Wonton recipe and so here it is:

I combined:
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 egg, beaten
1/2 to 1 tsp. onion powder (you can use chopped green onion if you family doesn’t hate “crunch
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 TBSP sugar
I then put a small amount of the cheese mixture in the center of the wonton wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper with a little bit of water. I folded them into triangles, and crimped up the two corners (like origami). Fry in oil until golden brown and drain on paper towels. Yum, yum, yummy.
There is a lot going on around here this week. I am crazy busy.
  • I am having a baby shower this Sunday! Funsize is 33 weeks today and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little uneasy about this time. Collin was born at 33 wks 4 days and the day before his shower was to happen. What happened was nothing they could have seen coming and there is no reason to believe it could happen again, but I am a bit on pins and needles. I just want to get through the next few weeks and celebrate with joy the arrival of my grandson. I pray daily and it seems to help keep me on an even keel for now.
  • My Medi-Cal was reinstated yesterday, so I am on the search for a surgeon. I want nothing more than to get better and find a job!!!!
  • I am working on a gift for the shower. And it’s something I have never tried before. I might be a little intimidated. But I have some online friends who are experts, so I have help if I need it.
  • I am having another giveaway next week.
  • It’s MARCH! How did that happen. St. Patrick’s Day is my 2nd favorite holiday. If you celebrate, you should head on over to ApronFrenzy and grab a Paddy’s Day apron (they are on SALE, $6 off) and they are just so much fun.
  • I want/need to write a hard-to-write post (I know, again?). It has to do with close knit communities, the tarnishing of a place where my kids/grandkids grew up, being part of a search team and the loss of a beautiful 17 year old young lady that should not have happened.
  • Did I mention there is a baby shower? I need to get on decorations and food. Gotta run!

Why It’s “Cool” To Be A Blogger

I have often written or waxed poetic about the community I have found online, and really that alone is enough to make me so glad that I became a blogger

But recently, I have found out that being a blogger can also get you invited to things! Awesome, fun things! In which you go out and enjoy yourself! Instead of sitting at home being depressed about crap! heather perry(exclamations!)

A short while ago (maybe longer, I am behind) I was invited by the GOT MILK? people to an event at Java Jones Coffee House to meet National Barista Champ Heather Perry. Heather is a two-time US Barista Champion. Let me tell you: that young lady makes a mean cuppa joe. I mean I am not even a coffee person, yet I drank two cups hot and one iced! I was wired for hours! Besides the opportunity to drink some excellent coffee and eat some lovely pastries. The GOT MILK? people also had some fun set up for the kids! Ladybug and Butterball had their faces painted, made a craft and ate pastries while drinking enormous quantities of their most favorite beverage: Chocolate Milk. A tarot card reader was on hand for the adults; and both NannyGoat and I drew very similar cards, strange (or not) huh?latte

The best part was Heather’s sharing of some of her award winning secrets. Okay, that was the second best part. The best part was I won something! I won a coffee press and a $25 Amex gift card. I never win anything, so I was quite surprised when they drew my name! The winning and the learning combined together (oh and the gift card I used at a coffee shop to buy vanilla syrup and caramel) and earned me the new title of barista at home! Both Mr. Vixen and Bear are in love, love, love with my new found talent! (no mine don’t look that good, yet. But I am getting closer every day.)

Like I said at the beginning, being a blogger is cool. I was able to hang out and enjoy a wonderful afternoon, meet some twitter/blogger peeps in person, win something, learn something and show the girls a fun time! All around a win/win situation. And tell me, shouldn’t these girls be on a GOT MILK? commercial? A big thanks to the GOT MILK? people for inviting me and showing us such a great time. (also I forgot my camera at home, so thanks to the GOT MILK? people for sharing theirs with me! You can see more here at their flickr page)

COMING UP soon:  The great #jammyjam adventure. With pictures!

#Tweetsgiving Day Two

what is tweetsgiving

John explains it on YouTube. And here’s the official TweetsGiving.org Site. Join us? For two days tweet with the tag: #TweetsGiving and donate $10 to help build a school in Tanzania!

My children have often said to me (in an annoyed and highly sarcastic way), “Mom, what would you do without Twitter, Facebook, the internetz??!!” I honestly don’t know. These things have become my life line. I have friends now. I have human contact. A support system when I am hurt/down/alone/bored.

So today, I am thankful for the internetz and all the wonderful people I get to interact with. Since this is my first Thanksgiving ever while being unemployed; thanks to the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, I found out you can cook some things IN ADVANCE. That I don’t have to cook it all in one day, on my only day off, and melt into a puddle of exhaustion upon completion. So let’s recap what’s happening here thanks to the wonders of the internetz:

  • Found out turkey was still frozen in spite of defrosting in fridge for three days (turns out they need 4-5 days when they are as large as mine). The helpful Twits and FBookies told me I can defrost it in the sink. IMG_4486
  • Found out I can cook the mashed potatoes today, then tomorrow put them into a crock pot on low for 4-5 hours.
  • I can cook the pies in advance: So I am defrosting my homemade pie mix and bringing my ready-made pie crusts up to room temperature (I am also GRATEFUL to the guy who invented those pie crusts, deeply grateful. IMG_4487
  • I made some towels to go with this fantastic apron I made for Sara, which got some other people excited about my aprons, so I am working on three aprons right now that are already sold!IMG_4484 Which, of course, I am so thankful for because after the leftovers run out I will need some money to buy groceries. Seeing as we really like to eat at least once a day around here. (And now that you have seen that apron, you know you want one too. So go ahead, shop ApronFrenzy.

For now, I am going to get Mr. Vixen working with the food processor and get the onions, celery, onion dip and I am going to have him prepare the Scalloped Corn right up to the cooking point so tomorrow all I have to do is bake it.

Tomorrow is going to be so easy compared to previous years. I am grateful I will be with my beloved family and be relaxed enough to really enjoy them! THANKFUL!! How about you?

I even had time to write this post!

I Had A Wife And Couldn’t Keep Her

Peter_Peter_Pumpkin_Eater_1_-_WW_Denslow_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_18546Before we begin, you should go leave a comment at my movie post for a chance to win free movie tickets. Cuz we all could use some free.

Today we are going to make pumpkin pie mix. Partially. Sort of. Well, you’ll get the idea at the end, okay? Just follow along and have some fun. Let me first address the question I know you have: Why one earth would I make pumpkin pie mix when I can buy a can at the grocery store? The answer is taste. I can’t begin to find the words to describe how much better a pie is when made from this mix than from canned pumpkin. I, too, was skeptical some 25+ years ago when my mom first tried this recipe. But one taste of that pie on Thanksgiving cured all skepticism I had. And the same will happen when you taste yours to. Also it’s a great way to use your left over pumpkins from Halloween. Waste not, want not…or something like that. Be sure and visit ApronFrenzy for a lovely apron to where when making your pies (or any other food). Go ahead and do it now, we’ll wait.

First, gather your ingredients: A pumpkin, cinnamon, oblong glass dish, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, sugar and wax paper. You may notice that sugar is missing from the picture, my mistake, but I will make up for it in a later picture.

IMG_4267You may also notice a pepper grinder and that my bottle of cloves does not, in fact, say ground cloves but instead says whole cloves. I had whole cloves on hand already and when I went to the store to purchase some ground cloves I discovered that Fort Knox is now funded with ground cloves instead of gold, thus raising the price of a small bottle of ground cloves to over $13. Which I found disturbingly overpriced. Being a proper US citizen, I simply refused to pay that much. It seemed unAmerican. I ground my own from my whole cloves in my old pepper grinder. Frugal and patriotic, aren’t I?

Regarding pumpkin usage, I have done this in the past with our actual carved pumpkins. This year I used the one and only pumpkin that grew in my garden. It wasn’t carved because I ran out of time while making those crazy spider eggs you saw in yesterday’s post.

Step Two: Cut up your pumpkin into wedges (I am assuming you have already removed the pulp and seeds-you have right?). IMG_4270 Place them into the glass dish, add a few tablespoons of water (kind of steaming them) and cover with wax paper. Cook in the microwave for about 15 IMG_4271 minutes. You can tell it is done when it’s soft when you poke it with a fork. Allow them to cool to touch and then just slice the flesh off the skin. Easy as pie. (pun intended). Throw all the good stuff into the food processor, push the button and make some mush. IMG_4273

Step Three: Throw the mush into a bowl. Add sugar and spice and everything nice. Stir until well mixed. (see the sugar in this picture-I told you I’d make it up to the sweet stuff).

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IMG_4275 Step Four: Put the mixture into a jar. Put it in the freezer until the you are ready to make the pie. I have two jars because it’s just that good. So I doubled the recipe. That means I will get to eat FOUR PIES this year. I will have two on Thanksgiving and two on Christmas. Or one next week. Not sure how long I can wait now.

This is really, really very easy and so very, very worth it. Here is the actual recipe to finish it off into pie. Remember these steps above only use the first SIX ingredients. Do not add the eggs or milk yet. The remaining ingredients are to be added the day you make the pie. Enjoy.

My Mother’s Pumpkin Pie

1 ½ Cups mashed cooked pumpkin

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon ginger

1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cloves

3 slightly beaten eggs

1 ¼ cups milk ( I use a little less so it’s not so wet)

1 6 ounce can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk

1 recipe Plain Pastry (Vixen’s note: I am terrible at pastry, so I use those really easy, already made stuff you just roll out into the pie pan)

Thoroughly combine pumpkin, sugar, and spices. Add eggs, milk, and evaporated milk; blend.

Pour into 9-inch pastry lined pie-pans (have edges crimped high). Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Creating is My Mojo

There is a long and involved story behind Cinco de Mayo for my family. It involves an insane woman I had never met before and an assault on my husband. The results were many fold. That day, six years ago, the immediate result was police involvement, a standoff, an arrest and hours in the emergency room. Short term, there was the loss of a good job, recuperation, paranoia, fear, anger, and restraining orders. As time went on there were court dates, lawyers, guilty verdicts and arbitration.

The long term result, in my opinion, was the loss of my husbands grasp on the life we had forged for 20 years. Something about the event, whether it was the trauma itself, the depression from losing his job after being assaulted (by a woman, no less. and yes, that is a big deal for his psyche), the paranoia that comes from not being able to make sense of the event, or if it was just the catalyst for something that was coming anyway, I will never know. I just know that was the beginning of the end. The end of life as we knew it.

After a few years, we being who we are, tried to make the anniversary of the date something else. We began to celebrate Happy Stick Day. We would ply Mr. Vixen with margaritas, fill a pinata with candy, blindfold him and let him whack the crap out of it. Retaliation. Anger management. Putting a fun face on a sad day.

Last year we missed Happy Stick Day. This year I felt the need to mark it again. Even though it is a weekday. (That really doesn’t matter to me right now, being unemployed, ha ha…sorry kids). So we have a pinata and a big stick. We will be making margaritas. As always, I decided I wanted to take it another step further this time. I just can’t seem to stop myself. I am an over-achiever. So I am making tamales. I don’t know anyone who has made tamales. I have never made tamales. I read all about it yesterday and cooked the meat last night. This morning by 8am, I was walking to the local tortilleria down the street to purchase husks (yes walk, remember: dead car).

It is now Day 2, Hour 3.5. I will tell you what this little Irish cook as learned: It looks hard on paper. BUT IT IS HARDER in real life. So far, I have broth, meat and soaked husks.

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The meat was cooked overnight in the crockpot with 2 onions and 6 cloves of garlic. While the meat cooled I pureed the onion/garlic in the food processor and added it back to the broth and seasoned with some chili powder and salt. I then shredded the meat (can you say, time consuming?) and seasoned with a bunch of chili powder, some cumin, some salt and some of the broth (with most of the pureed stuff). I have no idea what I am doing. I am sorta (not) following a recipe. I am off now to attempt the tamale dough and the creating of the tamales themselves. I am highly enjoying myself, but I do have doubts that there will be anything to eat tonight.

Wish me luck!

Green acres is the place for me

Farm livin’ is the life for me.
Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

I braved the heat again. Swam through the muggy air across to the apple tree. Took a picture or two. Came back inside. Played with the camera some more (color accent feature, can you see it?) Turned apples into pie. Yum.

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img_0499.jpgAnd it does too make sense to bake something in a hot oven on a hot day.

Jam Session

I am plum tuckered out from all the cooking I did yesterday. I made a double batch of the Nectarine Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce and I made my first ever Plum Jam. I only ended up with the three jars, but it was worth it. This newfound cooking/canning thing is taking away all my crochet time. But its tasty!
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