Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday Geo

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baby of Mine

Mandy's theme this week is babies. Here is a pic of ISH studying his hands and the grass in our front lawn back in our Midwest City days.

Check out more entries here

Friday, May 28, 2010

Foodies Friday: Yummy Sweets

Happy Foodies Friday!

I've had fun cooking with Tanya this week and enjoying one of the major components Rachel Ray was missing in her 365 - yummy sweets! Here's what I've been cooking this week:

Roasted Vegetables, pg 47
Yummmmm! I served this with the home made corn dogs (see below). I used the veggies she calls for- sweet potatoes, purple onion, and yellow squash. I forgot the asparagus, which is sad because I love asparagus, and used red potatoes because I couldn't find the new potatoes. This was wonderful- ISH even ate it! And that says a lot because he doesn't like anything that's even remotely healthy and (previously) without exception will not knowingly eat an onion.

One Dish Cinnamon Swirl, pg 56
I'm going to change this to One Dish and a bowl Cinnamon Swirl. She says in her notes that she truly only uses one dish but you need a bowl to mix the yummy cinnamon goodness (and apparently one bigger than the one I used because I made a good size mess. Oops). I do like how you butter the dish and then put the flour and dry ingredients in to mix up so the dish is buttered and floured already! What a great trick. I had run out of canola oil so I had to use the veggie oil and haven't purchased the "unbleached" flour she calls for so I'm still using the bleached and thus less healthy flour I've always used. But I'm sure the unbleached part wouldn't make this too much healthier- I mean it does have 6 TBSP of melted butter in it. ISH loved this so much his comment was "I wish everything was made out of this cinnamon swirl, except Jesus ... but then He wouldn't be in heaven and then we could do bad things because it wouldn't make Him sad because he'd be made of cinnamon swirl." I think that means he liked it. I served this with scrambled eggs, bacon, and some fresh spinach (you know, to make me feel like it was at least somewhat of a healthy dinner).

Scrambled Eggs, pg 80
LK made this for me because I was trying to wrap up some work and thus it was made without the 1/2 tsp of hot sauce (wimp). He used butter instead of canola oil (she gives you the option). These were very fluffy- more like omelets, and I say that as positive because I don't normally like scrambled eggs but these were good. LK said the hard part is I don't think she expects you to cook enough for 4 at one time. But he did and I think it turned out well, so quadruple the recipe as needed.

Homemade Corn Dogs, pg 112
Tanya has tried her hardest to make corn dogs healthy. Unfortunately, ISH caught wind of what I was making for dinner and with all the cuteness he could muster begged for "cheesy wennie corn dogs." Saying no really wasn't an option. So I used the completely unhealthy cheese hot dogs- but ISH's petition was a good one. Those cheesy wennies were excellent as corn dogs. I don't think I did the whole "tall jar" thing right because once I'd covered the first few hot dogs I couldn't get the batter all over the remaining dogs (I think I need her to come and give me a tutorial on this method especially since I actually got one hot dog stuck in the tall container I was using. Yes, I am that talented). So I emptied the remaining batter into a shallow bowl and rolled the remaining dogs around in that. Her note about wiping off the water from the dogs before putting them in the batter is spot on. I didn't do it with some and while cooking the batter didn't really stick. We had these with the roasted veggies. It felt like great "Welcome" to summer meal- just add baseball!

Chicken and Rice, pg 114
I need to ask about this one. It calls for 9 TBSP of olive oil to cook the veggies in as well as topping with 1 stick butter. But when I was done cooking it there was a lot of olive oil at the bottom of the casserole dish. Now- it could be as a result of any of the following variations to the actual recipe that I made. She calls for 2 mushrooms but I had about 5 I need to use up and she calls for 1/4 c celery but I used probably about 3/4 to 1 cup because, like the mushies, I needed to use them. But I would think that would use up more of the oil than leave too much. Here is one that could have done it- I didn't use raw chicken. I had just about a whole chicken left over from the bacon roasted chicken I made last week for my girlfriends, so I cut that cut and used it (and the bacon) instead of the whole chicken cut up that she calls for. Since the chicken was already cooked I didn't cook the casserole for the full 3- 3 1/2 hours. I cooked it closer to 2. My guess is that had I had raw chicken and cooked it for 3 hours more of the oil would have been gone. I also didn't have 2 cups of milk (I need to go to the grocery store) so having long ago learned the valuable lesson that ranch dressing cannot work as a milk substitute when cooking a casserole, I used 1 cup of milk, 1/2 a cup of evaporated milk and 1/2 cup of water. I really tasted pretty good though. I served it with sauteed spinach (one of my favorite veggies)

Simply Basic Vanilla Pudding, pg 134
An elder at a church where LK and I use to attend once said he though the reasons more marriages end in divorce today compared to his generation was the invention of instant pudding. I don't know if he's right or not but I can see how serving your hubby this yummy treat could keep him happy. My first round with this I apparently misinterrupted the boil calls for. She warns not to let it boil too much or the cornstarch will breakdown and I think I errored on the side of too cautious (there's a first time for everything) because the pudding never set- like 5 hours later never set. But when I dumped the not-setting pudding back into the pan and really let the boil happen it set up almost immediately. I topped it with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles (both of which I had on hand). I can see this one becoming a staple around these parts.

Check back next week my foodie friends as I try my hand at using Tanya's recipes to make Geo's 7th!!! birthday cake (he wants a rainbow starwars cake. Really. Rainbow colored.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The beauty of Thy peace

I'm going to start this post with a disclaimer: Warning- it's very possible what follows could be seen as a rant. I don't intend it to be that way, but a warning none-the-less. There, if you get to the bottom of this post and think "Wow! She really ranted there didn't she!" I can point to this disclaimer and say, I told you it was coming.

The other day I came across a blog written by a stay at home mom. I'm going to straight up admit I have not read her blog so I can pass no judgement on it's content. What I do want to discuss though is her blog description:

Confessions on motherhood, from an overachieving, stress junkie stay-at-home mommy with a sweet tooth (and a Martha complex)

She even has a little badge that you can put on your blog if you'd like to identify with her Type A stress junkie approach to life.  And in trying to figure out why the whole thing hit me wrong, I put my finger on the idea so many (even myself at a time) buy into - that stress coupled with overachievement is a good thing- something "badge worthy."

I remember when I was younger and I had my daytimer full of meetings and events and I rushed from one place to the other telling others how little sleep I got the night before as some sort of indication of my value. It was as though I believed that the busier I was, the more important I was. As though to say if you're not stressed, you must not be doing it right. And I hung my hat on my achievements.

Fast forward to the 30-something me -- but please keep in mind that I do not sit here on some lotus pillow in an enlightened state of Zen adulthood. I still get stressed. Just ask LK and he'll tell you about the other night when I was rattling off in a 90 mile an hour fashion all the things I needed to have accomplished before we left town. There are times when stress just happens.  And my daytimer is still full, especially now that kid's activities are added into the mix of my own.

So what's the difference between the type-A stressed out mommy and the approach I'm suggesting?

The difference is balance.  It's peace. The difference is now I recognize the stress and work to remove it rather than glorify it.  The difference is now, while my daytimer is full, it is also balanced.

To me now, the words of "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" perfectly sums it up:
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
till all [my] strivings cease;
take from [my] soul the strain and stress,
and let [my] ordered [life] confess
the beauty of Thy peace.
Back in the jam-packed-daytimer-crazy-stress days I hated the word "still."  The song "Be still and know that I am God" made me shutter.  To me I had the whole lack-of-motion-mediation thought going on when I heard the word "still" and I hated it because, let's face it- I'm an active person.  Someone once asked how I fit everything into my day- my response was that I don't sit still very easily.  So the thought that still could be anything but annoying didn't register.

I still don't like the word all that much but I can understand it better.  The way I see it now is that "still" does not mean I can't move- because even when I'm sitting still some part of my body if still fidgeting.  But instead, I try view it as an acronym.

                                                          Love the

Because, if I love Him, I'm going to trust him.  I'm going to let him order my life and my priorities. I'm going to see that hanging my hat on my achievements, that living life to the point of becoming a "stress junkie" doesn't show the world where my values lie.  But if I live a STILL life, then my actions will show what matters most.

So today I'm adding a badge to the side of my blog. A badge to remind me that it is the beauty of a God ordered life, a life that comes from living with a STILL state of mind.  The life that I want to strive for, not the life of a stressed-junkie, overachieving mommy. So if you identify as being someone that has this state of mind, or identify as someone who wants to have it, please feel free to take the badge and put it on your blog as a reminder to yourself that stress and overachievement is not the mark of a successful woman, but having a STILL life is.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

God knows

This morning as I was getting ISH in the car to take him to SonShine school I remember putting my coffee mug on the roof of my car. And I remember thinking to myself in passing as I buckled in my child:
I wonder if I left this mug up here if it would slide off and smash my windshield 
but then correcting myself by thinking
why would I do that?! This is my favorite KaliKosmos Travel mug that my sweet LK had made for me. And that's my only windshield. And further more, that mug contains the caffeine goodness that is going to get me through the day. Best to not leave it on the roof of my car.*
But this was the view I saw when I got out of the car to unbuckle ISH once I arrived as SonShine school

(no wonder that mom was looking at me so strangely when I was pulling in)

"ISH!" I said. "You have to come see what's on the top of mommy's car!"

"Oh!" ISH said. "It's your coffee."

"I know," I replied. "I have no idea how it stayed up there from the house to church. That's so crazy!"

ISH thought for a minute and then replied "I think God held it up there."

"Oh?" I responded

"Yes." ISH said confidently. "He knows how much you need your coffee."

*yes, I do talk like this to myself frequently. I'm okay with it, you should be too.

Monday, May 24, 2010


i heart faces challenge this week is yellow. I've mentioned before my thoughts on yellow, more than once actually. But I do, it ends up, have a yellow picture that has a face in it. I took this one at my mom's birthday party. Dr_EAM and my SIL had given my mom a hard hat for her birthday (it makes perfect sense if you know her) and ISH, 18 months old at the time, was having fun with the new shiny (and yellow) toy.

Check out more yellow entries at iheartface's website.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Mandy' theme for her photo challenge this week is "girlfriends". Most of my girlfriend pictures from my personal experiences are pretty goofy and would be best to keep off the wide world of the internets. But here's a picture I shot while in Sorrento, Italy of some girlfriends out soaking in the sun.

Head over to Mandy's photography blog to see other entries.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Foodie Friday: The Joy of Bacon

I've decided to move my "what have been cooking" posts that I've done once a month (except for big/special occasions) to a weekly post called Foodie Friday.

As a reminder from my post on Wednesday (or in case you're just now tuning in) I'm currently working my way through Cartwheels in the Kitchen by Tanya Turner Leckie.

Mushroom Tomato Bisque, pg 20 (sort of)
I bought all the stuff for the mushie tomato soup but when I got into the kitchen to cook I forgot which one I was going to make and started on the Tomato Basil Soup, pg 26 which doesn't seem like it would be that different- but really it is. So my mushie soup ended up with 2 medium yellow onions and 5 cloves of garlic instead of the called for 1/2 cup of onions and 1 tsp minced garlic.  These were all sauteed together before the mushies were put in (unlike what the recipe says to do) because I forgot about the mushie until the onions were already soft.  But from adding the mushies and letting them sweat and forward I completely played by the rules and I used fresh tomatoes, not canned ones (she gives the option). I served this as a starter in little ramekins when my girlfriends came over but it could have been a meal in itself with a nice salad and some crunchy bread.

Butternut Squash Casserole, pg 41 (aka "the squash goodness")I served this to my girlfriends as well and can't put into words the reception it got.  I think I could have served seconds of it for dessert and they would have been tickled pink about it.  Some of the girls said this would now be replacing sweet potato casserole for their family at Thanksgiving and all of them I think would have fought to take the leftovers home.  I made this because one of my friends can't have gluten and this doesn't have flour so it was good to go for her.  But it really comes out with a bread pudding constancy because of the cornstarch and stiffened egg whites.  Seriously. Amazing.  Oh but- for real, butter the casserole dish before putting it all in there to cook.  Whoever washes your dishes will really appreciate you for doing so (sorry about that one LK- does it help to know I tried to save a dish to wash by mixing the casserole in the dish I baked it in?)

Bacon Roasted Chicken, pg 121

I've never bought nor roasted a whole chicken before.  I've always just grabbed the rotisserie ones they sell in the deli at the grocery store-- but not any more.  This was not only easy to do but so tasty.  She says this needs to be cooked in a roasting pan, but then is kind enough to give advice on what to do if you're like me and don't have one- lay forks together on the bottom of the pan and set the chicken to cook on top of the forks.  Brilliant! There was to be 7 of us at dinner when my friends came and I didn't really know how much one whole chicken would feed, so I got two.  On one I used McCormick's mesquite seasoning that I had on hand (thought about using the citrus one I love so much but didn't know how it would go with the other things on the table- another time perhaps) and then I just used salt and pepper on the other one because I wasn't sure about the gluten content of the seasoning (and I ran out).  I cooked it at 350 and it was pretty well done in 2 1/2 hours.  Again, very moist and yummy (and I'm picky about dry chicken so that says something for sure).

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken with White BBQ Sauce, pg 123

This recipe calls for 2 TBSP BBQ seasoning so to kill two birds with one stone I used the Memphis Style Dry Rub For Ribs recipe that she has listed in the sauces/mixes section of the book (see notes below).  She calls for "Blue Plate" mayo but I used Helmans, and in fact, I didn't tell LK the main ingredient in the white sauce was mayo because I knew he wouldn't eat it if I did (he has the same adverse reaction to ranch dressing).  But even though the main part is mayo- I didn't walk way feeling like I'd sucked down a bottle of the stuff.  The key is moderation and that the cider vinegar and lemon juice thin out the mayo and give it some kick.  Plus if you coat the chicken in the rub like I did, you're gonna need something creamy and dairy based to cool off your tongue. Whew!  I also buy the big bag of boneless/skinless chicken breasts and their pieces are normally pretty big so I cut them in half.  The bonus of that is more pieces= more places for the rub and more bacon!  I also didn't buy panko bread crumbs like she calls for because I had some basic regular crumbs on hand.  The chicken came out so moist and so very yummy.

Memphis Style Dry Rub For Ribs, pg 200
Memphis dry rub.  mmmmmmmmmmmmm -- sorry I'm back now.  After our time in Memphis I can tell you that dry rub is one of those things that will get into your system and wake in a rageful craving that will give you crazy ideas like throwing the family in the car at 2am to drive to Memphis if only for a brief taste of Corky's or the Rendezvous.  And being back in Oklahoma, I've tried to describe why it is that dry rub is so amazing but had not been able to find a recipe that closely recreates the beauty that is.  Until now.  This is it!  I used it for the Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken with White BBQ Sauce and dipped the chicken right in so I didn't keep the small amount of leftover rub- but I won't make that mistake again.  In fact I found LK in the kitchen trying to locate where the rub mix was so he could put it on some leftovers we had-- this mix, I do believe, will be made by the jarful and treated like gold around these parts.  Bonus- it's super easy to mix up more once the supplies run low!

Chocolate Velvet, pg 137
Tanya says "You'll be a QUEEN when you serve this." and a queen I was was indeed.  I made this for my girlfriends (and had a little set aside for LK and the boys too) and remember- one girl can't have gluten which really limited dessert making, or so I thought.  You could modify this and have it on a graham cracker or chocolate graham cracker crust and LK said he's like it with coffee and a wafer cookie to cut the richness, but really it was quite nice all on it's own (well with coffee, of course).  Now here is where I have to admit that something dreadful has happened in the world of my kitchen appliances- I've lost one of the beaters to my mixer.  The mixer is old and was soon to be replaced so it's not too sad, but it did make the step of mixing all the ingredients together until "it forms stiff peaks" a bit difficult.  But I did the best I could (mixing on super power high for what seems like 10 times longer than I would have with two beaters) but I can't fault the recipe for that.  I did take her advice and chill everything really well before starting so I can't attest to what travesties will occur if you don't.  It's hard to not want seconds of this for sure!

Liquid Fudge (AKA Chocolate Gravy), pg 166
This was the first step in making the Chocolate Velvet and I don't think I will ever make it again.  Why? Was it hard? No.  Did it taste bad? No hardly!  I will never be able to make this again because after scooping out the 2 cups needed for the second step, I stored the remaining fudge in the refrigerator thinking I could use it sometime over ice cream or pancakes.  But then, like a siren of the kitchen, it kept calling to me.  Telling me I deserved another taste.  Reminding me how I had cleaned the windows, or typed a sentence of an email so I surely deserved a taste.  By golly I had to eat it just to make the thing stop calling to me like that. Dangerous stuff-- and don't say I didn't warn you (okay and Tanya warns you too and I quote "It's quite addictive!")

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Mother of a Brunch

The Mother of a Brunch is a tradition that started the spring of 2005. That Mother's Day I cooked a brunch for both sides of my family as a way to get everyone in the house together and announce I was pregnant. While through the years we've had large crowds of family and like family, this year was a smaller gathering of just the more immediate family members of each side (13 total).

For the decorations I grabbed two mixed floral collections from the local grocery store, made my own arrangements from them.

Then put the arrangements inside zebra striped gift bags. Then I set out a few tea candles and curly ribbons over the white table cloths. For the place settings I used LK's grandmother's cut glass dishes set over a black plastic plate so they didn't blend in with the table cloths.

As people came they brought beautiful flowers as well- my FIL brought some of his homegrown Evelyn's (one of my favorites) that smell better than any rose you'll buy in a store

and my mom brought down one of the centerpieces from the party my SIL threw for her parents anniversary the night before

and the beautiful flowers my dad sent a few days before so they would be open and gorgeous for the brunch (they were also lovely to look at as I was sick in bed the week before the brunch- and yes, I did get a dr's clearance to cook and entertain after being so sick lead up to the party)

The majority of the food came from Tanya's cookbook that I've started working my way through. I did throw in my family's recipe of 5 cup salad, a basic green salad with dried apples and cranberries, rolls (not my MIL's homemade but still good), mixed veggies, potato salad, and one of my SIL's brought some mixed fruit and yogurt dip and the other roasted tomatoes and mozzarella (very yummy- need to get the recipe). But the three main meats and dessert- that was all Tanya.

One Hour Reuben Loaf, pg 102
This was the hit of the brunch- hardly a scrap of it left by the end. Looking at the instructions seemed a bit daunting to me- it calls for yeast and making your own dough yikes!- But really, it wasn't hard. In fact the hardest part for me was getting the stinkin' can of corned beef open. The little key on the side broke off the blasted thing and I was sure I was going to slice my finger off as I tried to figure out how to get the contents out of the can (And no, a can opener did not come to mind thank you, instead I thought I could just stab it repeatedly with a knife and pry the top off. And yes, that is exactly what I did. And no, please do not try that at home). But I'm wondering if I could find those glass jars of the thinly sliced dried corned beef if that would taste better or worse. The canned corned beef was really good (and I will prepare better for the next time). I did leave out the caraway seeds because she said it was optional, I'm not the biggest caraway seed fan, and I didn't have any on hand. As you can see from the picture this looked beautiful even when sliced and was equally as tasty.

Crispy BBQ Chicken from the Oven, pg 126
I had actually bought the ingredients for this prior to getting sick so it was sort of an afterthought to add it to the brunch. Since I wasn't expecting to serve 13 with it I just had the big pieces of bone-in chicken breasts the recipe calls for. So I just hacked them up (removing the smaller bones as I found them) and made smaller pieces of fried chicken. And since it wasn't necessarily the "main" dish of the meal, that it helped it go further. And yes, I know the picture's not that great, but I wanted you to see what it looks like even if through a blurry lens. The pieces that had the skin on were particularly yummy IMO. This was even great as leftovers post brunch.

I also made a dish of Tanya's Poppy Seed Chicken, pg 114 but I reverted to the less-healthy-original version she gave me when I married. I sort of went into autopilot mode and bought what I knew the original recipe called for even though I had the new recipe things written down. I kept thinking to myself, oh poor Tanya, here I am about to show everyone how wonderful your cookbook is and the first recipe is wrong. Only to get home and realize- no. It's not wrong- I was. She's just modified and improved from what I have in the older cookbook. So all that to say, I'll be trying the new version another time and I'll let you know how that one goes. But Tanya, this new one has a lot to live up to. To me, the original poppy seed chicken is one of those comfort food dishes that even ISH will eat- but I'm going to trust you on this one.

For dessert I served the fruit one of my SILs brought and some brightly decorated cookies and Tanya's Lemonade Cream Cake, pg 154. Tanya warns that this is a denser cake than if you just made a cake mix, but she's also right that it's "super soft and light" and it too come with lovely presentation. Believe it or not, I flat out followed the directions on this one (it's that easy). She calls for "1 small can frozen lemonade concentrate or 1/2 a large one." I could only find a 12 ounce can of concentrate, which I took as the large size so it could be it would have been less dense if I used all 12? I don't know- sounds like a good excuse to make this one again!

All in all- it was a lovely time and I'm very thankful I was able to share it my family.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Call off the search party!

Call off the search party! Bring in the blood hounds! I'm here. I'm okay.

Since the beginning of the blog I have posted everyday- 107 days in a row to be exact- and yesterday was the first break in this perfect streak. LK warns that my OCD is showing in this run of postings but I just call it being thorough in my new little hobby (though there was a certain amount of twitching going on come 11:45PM and me not having a post listed for the day but I've calmed down a bit more now).

Yesterday was a day full of cleaning, working, laundry-ing, (which is different than laundering), strawberry picking, guitar-lessoning, cooking, hosting a dinner party for some close girlfriends and then collapsing in bed just before midnight after the guests had all left- and since I hadn't lined up a post autopublish my perfect streak was broken- really I'm okay with it, well getting okay with it.

So since I didn't do it yesterday, I'm going to introduce the new cookbook I'm using this month: Cartwheels in the Kitchen by Tanya Leckie. Those who attended the Mother of a Brunch and my dinner last night (pictures to come tomorrow and Friday) have already raved about the success of this cookbook- I think I sold 5 cookbooks last night just by serving dinner.

Why did I switch from Rachel Ray?

Well for starters, my food budget can only had so much of her exotic little extras, and after while I found the flavors to run together. She has good flavor, but it just started to taste all in the same vein. But most of all I'm the type of person who rearranges furniture often, the person who likes to shake things up a bit- so changing up the cookbook selection is really just par for the course with my nature.

So then, why Tanya?

I decided to go with Tanya because I've had pieces of this cookbook (in it's less healthy form) since LK and I married. Tanya and her husband Doug were friends of my family while I was growing up. I attended church with them as Tanya went through her cancer treatment, was there when they adopted their lovely daughter, Scarlett, and LK had to prove himself worthy of my hand in marriage to Doug by passing a series of New Testament exegetical questions. And when LK and I married, Tanya shared some her best recipes with me- a person who previously never really cooked- to get me started on the right foot in the kitchen.

But beyond the personal relationship factor, I've chosen Tanya's cookbook because following her battle with cancer, she began to rework her recipes to make them healthier. As Tanya says in the opening of her book:

... my friend Barbara gave me some very useful information on ingredients I should and should not be using. MSG has such an adverse affect on me, I steer clear of it. (As Barbara so politely said "It's just not something you should put in your body.") Smoked meats and bleached flour contain carcinogens I'm just not willing to use. That's what makes this book different from any other.

And I love that she has stories to go with each recipe- where they came from, why they're good, how to make them if you don't have the right kitchen tools lying around. And she has useful information at the beginning of each section such as varieties of apples, how much of what you'll need if serving crowds (like 25, 50, 100 servings type crowds), substitutions for missing ingredients (we all know I need this one!), microwave hints, and a handy spice and herbs guide. Plus she had the most amazing dessert section- I mean seriously! I might just have to spend the next while cooking and (sigh) eating desserts.

It is a little scary though, cooking through a book written by someone you know. I doubt Rachel Ray will ever read my blog and see all the ways I've misread and messed up her recipes- but Tanya. Well she just might come down here and revoke my cooking privileges after she reads about some of the things I do.

But it's these "experiments" of mine that I hope give you all courage that if I can misread and mess all these recipes up and the food still turns out pretty much edible most of the time- anyone can do it. I mean, I once had a friend who said she would never try her hand at arranging flowers because she was too much of a perfectionist. Good for her to know her hang ups, but what a way to live-- too afraid to mess up that you never even try. I guess I take the same approach with cooking, decorating, anything really, that I do with parenting. I figure I'm bound to screw this up somehow (I consider it job security for the future therapists of the world), but that's not what's important. What's important is the reaction to the screw up and what you do with the end game.

Wondering what my neighbor who watches me through my kitchen window will think of me now when he see me start doing my own cartwheels in the kitchen,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Faces and Flowers

iheartfaces challenge of the week is combining faces and flowers.  And come to find out, I don't normally add the human element to my flora photos.  But I do have this one.  These girls were preparing their offerings of lotus flowers and carnations to take to the temple at Angkor Wat.

Check out more entries here

Taken by,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

They may not be dressed like monkeys, but ...

Mandy's theme for this week's challenge is that the picture must relate to a movie quote, and while I'm all about movie quotes, this one was harder than it would seem. But none-the-less, I present to you, my entry.

Roger. In the computer. It's so simple.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

SoCoS: Queue

I know - it's late.  Sorry.  But it's still Saturday so there's still time for SoCoS. Today's randomly generated word is Queue. Ready and go:

Queue is one of those words I never really used pre-LK. Much like capsicum (bell pepper), script (prescription), and mind your .... (as in I'm going to mind your children tonight, or mind your step). All of them Brit words he's introduced to my life.

We once had an argument about what the Otto was. He wanted it taken to the curb and I didn't have a clue. Ah the joys of a third culture marriage. Or maybe that argument was about the meaning of the word taut. Otto by the way is the word the garbage bin the trash men come and collect.

I use queues in work now. We have queues we check every day, but those are spelled Q-U-E-S which only adds to the difficulty I have in spelling queue correctly. Oh how I cannot spell! But that's what spell check is for, right?

Hit a road block, Hit a road block, Hit a road block, maybe I'm hitting these because of doing SoCoS so late today. My apologies. You can all queue up to tell me how it's thrown off your day. Or, if you like, you can just write about it.

Now it's your turn. If you'd like to participate in a little SoCoS action here are your guidelines: Write on the same topic for 3:37 without stopping. If you can't think of what to write, write "hit a road block" over and over again until something comes to mind. When you're done- post a link to your SoCoS writing as a comment to this post.

Looking forward to see what you all have to say

Friday, May 14, 2010

Food for Thought: April

I admit it. In the month of April there was pretty well zero cooking for me. While I was out of the country I left my mom and LK home with frozen lasagna, Carolina Crockpot Chicken, and omelet making material. And, in reality, they were happy.

But at the end of the month, I did manage to make a few final Rachel Ray meals before moving on to another cookbook. Here's how it went:

#171 Fruited Chicken Curry in a Hurry
I'm not gonna lie, this one was interesting. I love the Real Simple peach curry recipe that I've used for years so this one had a lot to live up to if it was going to replace the staple. And prunes in the curry- well that's just a strike against it before the game even started. But over all it wasn't bad. I didn't have golden raisins like I thought I did, so those were left out and I got the idea that I could use the canned coconut milk I've had for a bit to make it creamy- but I guess I've had that can longer than I thought because the milk had solidified! (I threw it out rather than try and salvage). I topped it with scallions, coconut and cilantro. Overall it was done in a hurry and it was pretty good- but I think Real Simple still wins.  (In trying to find the RS recipe to link to it seems to be gone from the internets.  So I guess that means it's time to make and post it. Filed away under things to do.)

(would be higher he said if not for the prunes)

#201 Aussie Meat Pies, Made Quick
This was amazing! AMAZING! I made this for LK on ANZAC day and while it wasn't spot on Aussie in that I know the origin of the meat contained inside the pie (thankfully) it was still absolutely yummy. I used basic refrigerator pie shells put into a muffin tin instead of the puff pastry- though I think the puff pastry would have been better. I cooked the bottom of the crust for 8 minutes, then filled the crust with cooked meat, topped it with the other side of the shell and cooked for another 8 minutes. I do believe I'll be making these the next time the Aussie team gets together.

#356 Honey Chicken over Snow Pea Rice
I omitted the scallions because I was looking for shallots and I only used 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes because my family doesn't like spicy things- though I added more to mine because I was on the heels of a trip to Asia which completely altered my taste buds. I also added some sesame seeds because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Overall it was pretty good. But again, I was on heels of Asia and so it was, well, US-modified Asian take-out.

Happy Eating,