Monday, June 28, 2010

Use it Up!!

One of the weirdest parts of getting ready for a trip...using up the perishables in your fridge!  In anticipation of this, we didn't do any grocery shopping this weekend.  Nope, no more bagels, orange juice, etc etc.  Working on finishing up what may go bad while we're on vacation in Wisconsin.  Right now....looks like it will be spaghetti and cupcakes for breakfast tomorrow.  :)  I mean, can't let these precious cupcake beauties go to waste!  Also, we have four eggs, a little coffee creamer and I've defrosted pork chops for dinner tonight.  A side dish ought to be interesting. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Agenda of a Cupcake

It's been a blah day.  It's been a crappy week.  With nowhere to go today, Brian and I had taken to lounging on the couch, watching World Cup and knitting.  (Guess who was doing what??)

So when Will said he was hungry and suggested cupcakes, I was very open to suggestion.  I too am hungry, and well, a cupcake sounds really good.  I tend to eat when I'm sad so it wasn't strange to desire baking.  Plus it gives us something to do instead of sitting and thinking.    I rifled through our cake mixes and had two choices:  spice cake or devils food.  Easy choice, no?  :)  The delectable goodies are baking in the oven, prepared as indicated on the back of the box.   However, to make them extra-special, I am going to make a chocolate-marshmallow frosting from scratch. 

Will's VERY excited about the cupcakes, although he doesn't realize that they're not for dinner.  I mean really, cupcakes for dinner?  I'll bet in his three-year-old mind, that would be wickedly awesome.  He's full of questions, starting with the ever-present "Are the cupcakes done yet?"  Repeated every five minues.  The really interesting one was asking what cupcakes do when they're not baking or being eaten.  Hmmm.  I don't think cupcakes really have an agenda.  No calendar to fill, no appointments to run to, maybe a birthday party to attend, but pretty much all they do is sit.  Bake, sit, get eaten.  The life cycle of a cupcake.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Single-Mom Dinners

Hubby's in Cleveland this week, so dinners have to be really easy.  After all, it's tough to make dinner for me and the Big One, while the Little One is usually clamoring for food too.  The Little One recently discovered that he likes fruit.  Not baby food-fruit, he likes that, but he really likes "real" fruit.  He was lusting SOOOOO hard this weekend after my watermelon slice at a birthday party that I gave in and let him lick it.  He loved it!  I tried the same thing with a strawberry slice this morning at breakfast and he was all over that thing, too.  It's funny what you'll try with a second kid, I never would have held up a piece of fruit to Will when he was a baby to let him "lick a taste."    :)

Anyway, with being a "single mom" and not having the neat-o ability to grow a third arm (why not!!!!)  dinners for me and Will have been super-simplified.  Like quesadillas for him last night and me eating a soft taco, standing up over the sink.  Tonight I said I'd make pancakes.  When I asked if he wanted blueberry or chocolate chip, DUH he said chocolate!  I didn't even bother shredding zucchini in them.  Then, to my horror, I realized that we were almost out of Bisquick.  Nope, not even enough to eke out a batch of pancakes.  Sean was screaming like crazy, the house was hot, and  I had just had a miserable time of changing Sean's crib sheet for the third time this week.  (Seriously...somebody needs to figure out a way to make that easier!)  I very nearly caved and tossed the whole fam damily in the car to have an impromptu dinner at Friendly's.  What stopped me was our quest to save $$$, and Will really was excited by the idea of pancakes for dinner.  And the rain shower had already spoiled my plans of eating the pancakes al fresco.  So I pulled out "The Bible."  And I made pancakes from scratch.  It was surprisingly easy, and the cooked up nice on the electric griddle.  And wow, they were delicious!  I mean, breakfast and chocolate for dinner?  What's not to like?  The pancakes were slightly thin, but so delicious.  I'm telling you, I'm never buying Bisquick again! 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spice and Sass

I think that there's something out there that I haven't tried and that I should....Vietnamese food.

We had "Vietnamese Spiced Pork Chops" the other night from a Cooking Light recipe.  Usually if I'm having seconds it's of the starch, like rice, pasta or potatoes.  But this meat was so good, I had a second piece!  I realize that it's not really "authentic" Vietnamese cooking if it's in Cooking Light.  But I found the spices intriguing enough to want more. 

Then on Friday night, as we were driving home from our friends' wedding, I spied a big new Vietnamese restaurant on the way home.  It's definitely a sign.  :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Surprise! Taste Changes

I've been saying it for years:  I like seafood.  But I despise seafood salad.  Lobster, it.  But when you mix it with mayo and put it on a roll, well, YUCK! 

Then I found myself at work the other day, putting out food for their food program.  Lunch was seafood salad on whole wheat, three-bean salad and fruit.  Having had a very quick bowl of cereal for breakfast, I was starving!  Like black-hole-FEED ME kind of starving!  I eyed the seafood salad cautiously, and said "What the hell." 

I was surprised!  While I didn't love it, I didn't hate it either.  I think the difference is that this seafood salad was chopped very fine and wasn't saturated with mayo.  And the wheat bread made a difference, too.  It's not something I'd order on my own, but good to know that if it's the only thing available I won't go home hungry.  :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Giving it Another Go

I've said this before:  I used to be a big fan of Cooking Light magazine.  I used to bring my copy to work and on my lunch break, I'd circle and star recipes that I was interested in making.  And I'd actually make some of them.  Then, as time went on, the love affair went stale.  Ingredient lists got really long, with expensive things that I would never use again.  I became disenchanted, and declined when it came time to renew.  However, I've held on to my Annual compilations from 2001, 2002 and 2004, and I've cooked the hell out of 'em! 

I got a wake-up call at the doctor this year after my second pregnancy.  I started blood pressure meds and upon getting the prescription filled, I promised myself that I'd start taking better care of myself.  One of those ways is to eat better.  Two things I'm doing to achieve that:  not eat from stress or boredom, and cook healthier meals.  The not-eating-unless-I'm-hungry thing is a bit tricky sometimes but it seems to be getting replaced by a new habit:  knitting!  Nothing soothes a stressful mind than banging out a few rows on your latest creation.  (and I've got the pictures on my Ravelry account to prove it!) Then, I was flipping through a Cooking Light mag at a checkout and discovered something:  the food in the magazine is looking good!  So I took a chance and resubscribed.  I got my first issue a few weeks ago and I've only made one recipe so far.  But the pen is back, with circles and stars intact.  :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cooking up a Storm....In a Storm!

Lots of thunderstorms this weekend.  It's been a very busy one, with something going on for pretty much all of it!  And most of it was food-related.  We went to a wedding on Saturday, and it was a very simple affair, including a potluck reception.  I kind of like this idea!  However, with work, two kids and going out the night before, I just didn't have time to make something for it.  So we picked up some chips and pineapple salsa on the way.  Luckily, no one else thought of this and it went nicely with the other things on the table.  One of my knitty friends baked a cake that was out of this world!  It was a spongy roll cake, with a sweet cream and fresh berry filling.  Awesome!  Congrats and Best Wishes to Danielle and Dave!  :)

Tonight's dinner is grilled chicken breast with melon salsa.  Brian made the salsa this morning from honeydew melon, canteloupe, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno and simple syrup.  The recipe called for agave nectar but I'll be honest, I don't know what that is.  And since I was short on time, we made a substitution.  We hit a snafu when Brian went out to light the grill.  I think I forgot to mention this....our grill caught fire a few weeks ago.  Yes, a grill is "supposed" to catch fire, however this was on the outside.  We'd lost one burner but could still cook.  Today we lost a second one so the chicken's grilling on our George Forman grill.  It's not looking good for the season as far as grilling is concerned.  And gas grills are so damn expensive.  I'm hoping that we can hold off until the big summer clearance, when they start bringing in the grills at the hardware store and putting out the snowblowers!!

I'm also bringing a meal to my friend Shelly tomorrow.  Shelly had her baby boy "Tadpole" (not his real name) two weeks ago and I'm bringing her family a vegetarian meal tomorrow night after work.  I'll stay long enough to visit and meet the baby, and also help her out with some cleaning or whatever.  Naturally, I left the cookbook that I picked a recipe from at work, because that's just how I roll.  :)

I am sorry to report that Crafty Mama is seriously lacking in the gardening department.  Every time that I have time to work on it, it's raining!  This afternoon has been simply ridiculous.  I'm afraid all I'll get to this year is maybe a couple of tomato plants.  Oh well, there's always next year.

Lastly, my pup Joey is not feeling well.  He was sick this morning and I pulled his food.  After making sure he wasn't throwing up for the rest of the day, Mama made him a big bowl of white rice and boiled hamburger.  He was really appreciative, let me tell you!  This is a great thing to make when your dog's not feeling good.  If you don't have any hamburger on hand, chicken's a good substitute. 

So that's it for now.  Whew!  What a whirlwind weekend!