Saturday, May 31, 2008

Red Wine Marinade for beef

By Saturday I am tired! I look forward to the work day ending so I can come home. Today after work we will go grocery shopping. I am lucky, my Honey likes to grocery shop. I appreciate that and he can choose the cereal that he wants to eat. Because I would buy whole grain, no added sugar, etc cereal; and he likes the sweet stuff!

Dinner and a movie sound (both at home) good to me on Saturday.

Then Sunday is for fun.

Monday is my home day, laundry and cleaning and some yard work.

Then back to work on Tuesday.

And the routine starts over again.

Sometimes I will cook something, or concoct something that is so very enjoyable; and forget to write it down. And that is the case with the marinade I threw together for the tri tip that went to camp and was grilled. It was delicious, and I wanted to write it down here, and share.

Marinade for beef

1 c dry red cooking wine
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
1 t thyme leaves, crushed

Pour over beef, turn to coat well. Refrigerate for 24 - 36 hours.

Grill beef as desired.

Notes: I cut the tri tip into approximately 1 inch pieces. We forgot the skewers and had to use a hamburger basket to grill it, and it turned out fine. A large piece could be grilled and then cut into thin slices to serve.

Enjoy!

M

Friday, May 30, 2008

Spicy Beef Patties, these are delicious!

There is a red gum ball dispenser in the kitchen, it is filled with jelly beans. A penny is required to operate it and "purchase" your treat. Next to the dispenser is a small red bowl of pennies. My Granddaughter gets to have candy every time she comes to visit. She gets a pennyworth. A pennyworth is about 5 beans. Not enough to cause sugar overload, but one of the little rituals that has been established. And enjoyed.

That is what we do as families, make rituals that enrich and connect us together. That is the reason for the Sunday Cafe.

It is gray and cool again this morning, but again I have thoughts of blue.

Blue skies and warm sun.

Family and friends gather for BBQ, potato salad, jello salad and vegetable plates with dip/dunk. Corn on the cob, cole slaw, fresh rolls with butter and watermelon slices.

These beef patties are delicious. They can be served on a bun, but shine on their own as well. They are rich and delicious. They are great grilled or pan fried in the kitchen on those days when grilling outside is out of the question.

Spicy beef patties

2 c sliced mushrooms
1 pound lean ground beef
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 c shredded cheddar cheese (the sharper the better!)
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worchestshire sauce
2 "grinds" of pepper
1/4 t thyme leaves, ground in a pestle
2 T dijon mustard
1/4 t garlic salt

Saute the mushrooms, set aside to cool, chop slightly. Crumble the ground beef into a medium size bowl, add remaining ingredients. Combine gently incorporating all ingredients evenly. Shape into 4 patties 1/2 inch thick. Chill in fridge until time to grill or pan fry. Cook as desired.

Serves 4 generously or 6 as burgers on buns

Enjoy!

M

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meatball and Zucchini Stew

I am feeling the pinch of the lackluster spring we have been having here in Vancouver. More gray than blue and enough already is my thought. Don't get me wrong, I do not enjoy hot weather, but I do love blue.

Blue skies and warm sun.

There are blooms on the berries and tomatoes. There is rhubarb ready to pick. There are lots of birds singing in the trees and squirrels scampering in the yard looking for that already hidden peanut. The grass is green, (and needs mowing again) the bulbs are in bloom (some need to be dead headed) and the snapdragons are about an inch high in the planter box.

But where is the blue sky and warm sun? I am ready for blue skies and warm sun.

In the kitchen I am trying hard to master my crock pot. What is to master, you might think. Well here is my problem, food seems overcooked and flavorless. We had fairly good BBQ chicken thighs last night, but they were definitely over cooked. OK, but overcooked. As convenient as a crock pot is, some things don't take 8 hours on low. Or there is no one home at the right time to turn if off or unplug it! I am trying to find recipes or techniques that work well, so there is a hot meal ready when we get home. I will keep working on that and if anything really good turns out, I will share it with you.

This is a light and refreshing take on ground beef and zucchinis, and it would still make a nice dinner when the sky is blue and the weather is warm.

Meatball and Zucchini Stew
Crock pot

1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 c fresh breadcrumbs
1 t garlic salt
1/4 t pepper
1 egg

Combine ingredients throughly, form into 16 meatballs. Using a small amount of oil, brown in a skillet. Drain off excess fat.

1 16oz can tomatoes - diced
1/2 c dry red wine
1 beef bullion cube
1/2 t marjoram leaves
1/2 t thyme leaves

Combine in skillet used to brown meatballs. Heat to simmering making sure bullion cube is dissolved.

3 medium zucchini, sliced 1 inch thick
8 oz carton mushrooms, cut in half
1 large potato, cut into 1 inch cubes

Place vegetables into the bottom of the crock pot, add meatballs then liquid. Cover and cook on low 8 hours.

Serves 6 -8

Enjoy!

M

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I use instant pudding

The reason for this headline is that it is OK to be tired, or even lazy because you want to spend your time doing something else (besides cooking, which I love, but even serious cooks get the blahs!). We had instant chocolate pudding with whipped cream for dessert last night.

I did have to explain to my Honey that it is only pudding when you put it in your bowl, but when you add whipped cream, it becomes dessert! Yes I can be and have been full of bull from time to time! I won't go into detail about the horrible dinner I served, it was comprised of leftovers from many ethnic cuisines. So of course the only saving grace, was dessert.

Tonight for dinner I am planning a crock pot affair. I love the food blogging community. There is a recipe on the web, with reviews; for just about anything a person would want to cook. Or need to cook. Having a well stocked pantry helps. I subscribe to about 40 sites. I look over each one on a regular basis. In addition I have email updates sent from Allrecipes and Recipzar. I enjoy both very much. I might not make that recipe, but it is much like a Sears catalog, looking is fun and does not cost a cent. For a while I made "freezer meals" and would like to get back to a small stash of dinners. I again don't think everything should be in the freezer waiting to be heated up, but a combination of "freezer dinners" the crock pot and the pressure cooker should make dinners better at this house. I do believe I have those on my list.

I would say my favorite kind of recipe for scratch cooking and ease of getting dinner on the table is a 2 part recipe. You prepare part in the morning investing a few minutes and then complete it in the evening for serving. I do not have enough of those and should work on finding more recipes or adapting the recipes I have to that method.

In the mean time, you can make this up ahead and keep in the fridge to serve later.

Sunday Cafe Gouda cheese spread

1 8ox Gouda cheese
2 T milk
1T dry white wine
2 t Dijon mustard
2 - 4 drops red pepper sauce

Grate Gouda cheese using the small holes of your grater. Combine with all other ingredients in large mixer bowl. Beat on low to combine and "warm" ingredients. Continue to mix until mixture is uniform and appears to be a spread. Scrape into a jar with a lid, fridge until needed. This is great after a week to age and mellow.

Enjoy!

M

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rain but only one night

I rained Saturday night. I am amazed how sound travels in the woods. The rain was loud! For me anyway, I am a light sleeper.

Thankfully my Son brought an additional sun screen/tent that was our saving grace to the rain and made the difference in being able to stay or pack it up. They put up the addition tent, while my daughter and I made a hot breakfast. After breakfast the rain settled down and we had a nice time. It was visiting, eating and laughing. We all came together, worked together and had a good time together. I am very proud of my family!

The Sunday Cafe strawberry funcakes were a hit! The white chili would of been better with pulled grilled chicken instead of turkey burger, but it was hot and hit the spot. And I must say a French Press at camp is the way to go, put on a kettle of water and you can have coffee, tea and cocoa. The peculator was used but only as backup, because the press was great.

My Honey and I like to camp, we learned that we are very different campers. Honey wants to rough it, down to only taking what will fit in your backpack. Well me, not so much. I am willing to go with only what will pack in my little car, but be warned I am a good packer! I can find a bush to visit if no bathroom facilities are available, but I want a chair to sit in around the campfire and a lantern to light up for card games or late night walks.

Granddaughter is a happy camper, literally. She wakes up happy and stays that way most of the day. She got a little bored by Monday, and faked needing to go to the bathroom so She would have something to do!

Honey and I are planning another camp out in 2 weeks. I do find however that the sleeping on the ground is getting harder and harder to do. The old bones are very set in their ways, and don't like change. But a good walk the next day should work out the kinks, and the pain.

No recipe today, just an update of the weekend.

M

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hummmm, it seems we have no latern fuel

Isn't is always the way, you think you have everything and TA DAH!

You find that the one thing you probably cannot go without is missing. Who knew that the small tanks for the lanterns are MIA? Not me apparently, and no, I was not organized enough to get everything out and make sure, since the garage needs a good cleaning and I had to move the car
out this morning to begin the process of getting it altogether.

But the only point in this second post of the day is, "it will be OK". We can stop on the way out of town and I will go in and get a couple.

But other than that, it will be great and have a wonderful restful weekend yourselves!

M

Friday, May 23, 2008

Old Fashioned Sho Fly Cake, and well used cookie sheets

This morning I baked up the maple walnut oatmeal cookie dough that I made a couple of days ago. The cookies will go to camp. I also cut tri-tip up for the ka-bobs, added some red wine, balsamic vinegar, dash of sugar, lots of french thyme and of course minced garlic. Squished it all together and put it in a freezer bag.

During kitchen clean up, I realized how ugly my cookie sheets look. They of course are not going to be replaced, they still function very well. They have been used, very used many times over. Thousands of cookies have been baked on those sheets, because of that they are beautiful. That is my kitchen and my life, essentially. I have used equipment in my kitchen. Not that I am complaining, exactly the opposite really. Each time a piece of equipment, including my hands is used in the kitchen, life and happiness continues. For me life does not evolve around a family room with big TV.

Life is in the kitchen. From the start of the day over a bowl of cereal and the newspaper, with comments or "come look at this" thrown in, to the end of day with dinner completed and "let me help you with that" offered. Cookies cooling on a clean towel, coffee or cocoa being sipped with conversation, a card game after a meal, strategy talks of how things will be accomplished or better yet hopes and plans shared. Life is in the kitchen and the table is the meeting place.

I love the early morning, I get up at 5:00 am, 7 days a week. I open the door to listen to the birds singing, drop some peanuts on the deck for the squirrels, feed the visiting cat (Big Orange, he looks like Garfield on a bad day), feed my own cat, sip coffee, get an idea for a meal and just enjoy life. My day starts in the kitchen, my life is enriched by time in the kitchen, my day ends in the kitchen. I love life and my family from the kitchen. It is a workshop, meeting place, financial planning center and at the same time a calm zone.

I have about 3 stops to make after work, the white chili to cook up and the get ready part ( you know the finding and the packing and the last minute "did you see".or the "do you know where?" "I can't find..."stuff). We will pack it up on Saturday to head to camp. We will share time and it will be centered around an outdoor kitchen.

See nothing changes, no matter where you go, there you are!

Molasses is an old time taste, I love it. I hope you try this simple but tasty cake. You can serve with ice cream also, but it is good plain too.

Sunday Cafe Shoofly cake
350F

2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 c butter

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, cut in butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Remove 1/3 c of the mixture and set aside.

1 c hot water
1/2 c molasses

Combine well and stir into the large bowl of crumb mixture. Stir just to moisten, do not overmix.

Pour into a prepared 9 inch round pan.

2 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
reserved 1/3 c crumb mixture

Combine all ingredients and sprinkle evenly over batter in pan.

Bake 25 - 30 minutes

Serves 6 - 8

Enjoy!

M

Thursday, May 22, 2008

There is a lot to be done, but it will be OK

We leave for camp on Saturday morning.

There is a plan, load all the supplies in the son's truck.

We will take the granddaughter in our little car.

That is the plan.

I know it does not sound like much. But how things will be transported is the most important part of any plan. It does not matter what you want to take, if you can't take it.

We have already worked out the menu, who is bringing a coffee pot or better yet a French Press. Sounds fancy but, a French Press is great for camping. All you have to do is boil a bit of water. There is also a peculator for backup!

Leave Saturday late morning, therefore Saturday lunch is a FFY. Saturday dinner through Monday breakfast is at camp. Including Sunday Cafe. I am excited.

But I have a lot to do. I don't mind.

I have made a general menu for Sunday Cafe dinner. The weather has cooled a bit after our scorcher days early last week. My original plan was for White turkey chili and accompaniments. Then we had the hot weather and I thought maybe I should rethink my choice, now we are back to our standard weather and the chili is back on the menu. Oh and something fun, strawberry shortcake. I still need to call and coordinate with daughter and daughter in law, make sure we all have everything that is needed. I know I have one more stop at Costco, might as well get everything in one trip.

I still need to:
marinade the tri tip for shish ka bobs.
bake the maple walnut cookies
pickle red onions
shred cheddar cheese
pick up last of the foodstuffs
get out the camping supplies
purchase a cooler, the one we have is too small
make White turkey chili
pack clothes
pack foodstuff
not a bad list really. It will be OK!

Right before we leave for camp I must remember to water everything in backyard. Especially the tomatoes in deck pots. They are blooming already and that was a surprise. I love fresh tomatoes. There should be plenty to share with the kids. Next week after camp, I have rhubarb to pick and enjoy. This is a great time of year.

Here is something fun. Everyone can fix for themselves, and the separate parts are easy to take to camp.

Sunday Cafe strawberry funcakes

1 box twinkies
1 large bowl of sliced sweetened juicy stawberries
1 large can real whip cream

Unwrap 1 twinkie, place in serving bowl. Cover with strawberries and some of the juice. Let rest 3 minutes (You could roast a marshmallow while you wait if you wanted!) for the twinkie to soak up the juice. Decorate with whipped cream, add a few more berries over the top for color and because you can never have to many berries.

Enjoy!

M

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dimpled Kuchen

I have come to enjoy this blog.

It is something I started for me. I like the routine of getting up, bringing my coffee into the home office, and starting the day with another post on Mom's Sunday Cafe. I probably won't on Sunday however.

That is family day. It has always been family day, from the time I was old enough to remember. We had dinner on Sunday, supper all the other days of the week.

Dinner is special. It is served early, approximately 2:00pm. It is a large meal, a small celebration if you will. And always dessert. Sundays in my childhood home were, breakfast, dinner and if you needed a sandwich later. But usually just my Dad ate later. We were still stuffed when bedtime rolled around.

I have always had a desire for something sweet on Sundays. I am sure it is my memories of Sunday dinner. When I married and had a home of my own, I would bake a coffee cake for Sunday morning breakfast, I still do sometimes. But it was not until now that I realized where my desire for something sweet each Sunday morning came from.

I like a casual Sunday, nothing forced or rushed. Food that is enjoyable but not fussy. Let the day unfold, be enjoyed and provide for happy memories.

Soft music, fresh flowers from the yard, soft cloth napkins and food that satisfies the soul and the stomach. That is Sunday dinner.

This will satisfy that morning desire for a little sweet, don't let the length scare you off. It is very easy and can be done in 2 parts, first the yeast batter and then the butter topping the next morning before baking.

Dimpled Kuchen
375F

In a medium size sauce pan:
1 c milk
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c butter
1 t salt

Heat and stir until butter melts, let cool to lukewarm.

In a small measure cup, combine to proof yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 T dry yeast (1 1/2 packages)
1 t sugar

When yeast foams, stir into cooled milk.

In large mixer bowl beat well:
2 eggs
1 c flour

Add:
milk mixture
2 1/3 c flour
1/3 c raisins, plumped in hot water drained well and chopped

alternately add milk mixture and remaining flour, beating well after each addition. Stir in raisins. Pour into a prepared 9X13 pan. Cover and let rise until doubled OR cover and place in fridge until next morning to finish and bake.

10 T butter ( 1 full stick butter and 2 T cut from another stick)
1 1/4 t cinnamon
3/4 c sugar

When dough is ready to bake, cut butter into 1 T sections. Cut each section into 8 pieces. You should have 80 tiny squares of butter. Scatter the butter over the dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the butter covered dough.

Bake 35 - 45 minutes or until tests done. Cool in pan 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into 16 pieces.

Serves 8-16

Enjoy!

M

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rain, rambling thoughts and "retro" living.....

I have always been frugal, it just is how I operate and think and do. I turn off lights when I leave a room, put on a sweater when I am cold before turning up the heat or building a fire in the stove. I hate waste, in food, in time and in energy. I came from a large family, it was reuse, repair or do without. I did not feel neglected or abused or downtrodden. I thought it was the way of the world.

I have great memories of collecting discarded pop bottles to return to the store to claim the deposit nickel AND then spending it on penny candy.

Sunday drives to the park and zoo to see the animals or feed the ducks some scraps of left over bread. Bread pudding with raisins when we had not been to feed the ducks in a while.

Soda pop (shows my age, but hey I am that old!) was a treat, maybe once a month or so, not an everyday beverage.

Bedtime was 8pm, it did not matter what was on TV, because Mom and Dad picked the shows.

We were told to go outside and play, did not have a TV in our bedroom, expected to read a book before saying we were bored. And being bored was not a good idea, if we complained, magically a chore or two would then be assigned.

And we did have chores, YUK! I washed dishes from the time I was tall enough to stand on a stool and get the job done. I finally got a dishwasher of my own when I became a Mom and was a homeowner and we did a kitchen remodel. But the funny thing about having chores, is that you learn life is life, there is work to be done, and when that is done, your time is your own and you "spend" it wisely.

I incorporated some of that with my own children, but not all of it. In the end they are voracious readers, proud and responsible adults with families and homes and chores and time to "spend" as they wish! And the cycle continues with the next generation.

I recently had a change in my shift at work, that threw off my routine, and yesterday (05/20/08) when I started this I ran out of time to finish before I had to leave for work, so I pended it in blogger. I reread it this morning and decided to add to it and go ahead and publish it. I have a lot to get done this week, we have camping and Sunday Cafe at camp. I need to get some things cooked up, and I also have to pick up another cooler. I am looking forward to camping and being with the family and having a long weekend. So I offer this recipe today.......

Sunday Cafe life

1 part hard work
1 part laughter
1 part "don't worry about it"
1 part surprise
1 part "this will do"
1 part thanks
sprinkle with love, serve with pride!

Enjoy!

M

Monday, May 19, 2008

Orange Caramel Sauce

We were outside almost all day yesterday. The sun was out, it was warm (hot almost) and little chores were done and fun was had along the way. It does not get better.

Front of the yard where the heather grows was watered and weeded. The lilac tree had a branch cut off, and it looks like it is standing up straight now. The flowers were clipped and taken into the house and put in a vase of water to be enjoyed. Took a drive to Battle Ground and purchased a coffee table for the front room. Stopped at a thrift store on the way back, got a great bread cookbook. Then stopped at Bi Mart for a steel garden rake and a new no slip tub mat for the shower. Swept the street where the pine cones fall, salvaged the unbroken ones for the unused flowerbed by the front door. It is now "mulched" with pine cones. Cleaned up all the other debris and put it in the pickup can.

It was a FFY* evening meal, my honey had canned chili and the left over corn bread. I chose a cold beer and then ice cream. Then showers and climb into a freshly made bed. I am very lucky, my honey is great in the kitchen, he is happy to get a meal on the table. He says he is a "one trick pony" and has cooked all the meals he knows, but it is just nice that I am not the only one to work the kitchen. I love cooking, especially for my loved ones. But FFY is his idea, thanks honey!

I like to keep vanilla ice cream in the freezer. First I love vanilla, never get tired of it and when I want something extra there is always a spoon of jam or chocolate sauce and even peanut butter to add a bit of extra flavor.

For those times that you want something special, and yet quick and easy,

Orange caramel sauce with bananas, over ice cream

1 T butter
2 T brown sugar
dash cinnamon
1/4 c orange juice, if using a fresh orange add a bit of the zest
1 green tipped banana
2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

Melt butter in small pan, add sugar and cinnamon, cook over medium heat until sugar melts. Add orange juice and simmer until sauce is bubbly and begins to thicken. Peel banana, slice diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Quickly fold into sauce and immediately serve over ice cream.

Serves 2

Enjoy!


M



* FFY is fend for yourself

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fresh Cauliflower Olive Salad

When I look over my list of things to do, this is the one where I come up short... every time darn it!

I don't mean to, try not to.

But the whole vegetable drawer vs fruit bowl problem already discussed is still in the works.

I solved that a bit, I purchased a beautiful wire basket tiered tower from Costco. It is sturdy and beautiful, and holds a lot of fruit and vegetables. I have tomatoes there (yeah I do know, they are actually a fruit) an English cucumber and fruit. So OK really I have 1 vegetable there and well now, falling short again.

In the fridge drawer I have a cauliflower, and a bag of salad greens and carrots and green onions. Not a bad inventory really. But again it is hidden away. Today I will make a veggie list, and post it on the outside of the fridge. A gentle reminder that vegetables are waiting to be use, enjoy and not forgotten. Something not too cute, and something that will blend in with my kitchen decor.

Forget all that decor stuff, how about a bold handwritten block letter list that reads:

CAULIFLOWER
SALAD GREENS
CARROTS
GREEN ONIONS
RED POTATOES

The red potatoes are actually in the garage, but I can be forgetful about that hide away spot also. When I am in the kitchen to prepare a meal, the vegetable inventory will be right there in front of my face, reminding me to use it, eat it and enjoy it. I hope that works, with a school teacher for a daughter in law, I sure do not want to be given a homework assignment of sentences!

In the spirit of eating more vegetables,

Cauliflower salad

1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
1/4 c sliced green onions
1/2 c sliced celery
1/3 c sliced black olives
1/4 c mayonnaise
2 T buttermilk
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil, drop in the florets, count to 10 and drain in a colander. Cool and pat dry with towels.

Slice the florets add onion, celery and olives. Combine mayonnaise and buttermilk. Pour over vegetables and toss gently, salt and pepper to taste. Place in fridge until serving time.

Serves 6 or more

Enjoy!

M

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Well now that was not worth dressing for

I did get up, get dressed, drive my 30 minute commute, for an hour! Man o mano! Like I said earlier, this is a doozie. I even reread my post from this morning, boy do I sound sharp, you know angry sharp. But I am not, just not well yet. Warm weather is coming to Vancouver, maybe all the "bugs" will finally go away for the season.

Thanks for letting me yammer on!

M

Graham Cracker Crumb Cake, this will give cheer

I have been in bed for two day! Since I rarely sleep more than 5 hours each night, this was a long long time! I am well enough to go back to work today, not over it completely, but good enough to return to work. I don't do "sick" well at all. I want to curl up away from everyone and just be alone. Don't ask me if I want anything, don't ask how I feel. Because I know you care, however I would like to be left alone. To sleep if I need while I heal. To eat when I am hungry while I heal. To heal.

My parents did not coddle us when we were younger, I do not know how to be coddled now. Some tricks are hard for an old dog to learn!

You will enjoy this simple cake.

Graham cracker crumb cake
350F

1/2 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs

Combine above ingredients, mixing well to incorporate leavening ingredients.

1/2 c butter
1/2 c sugar
2/3 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla
1 c buttermilk

In large mixing bowl, beat the sugars into the butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add the dry mixture and buttermilk, mix well.

Pour into a prepared 9 inch pan, bake 40 minutes or until tests done.

Serves 9

Enjoy!

M

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Corn Moussaka

I am not one to come down with a cold as frequently as I have in the past year. So it is time to take stock of my life, and see the changes that are not positive and replace them with positive behavior or environment. Sounds easy doesn't it? But it is something we all must do from time to time, or we can get so off track, that the return is a lot more work!

I had a very hectic year in middle of 2006 through the first part of 2007. I began the process of change, but even change is hectic! I have accomplished many of the tasks on that list, but truthfully there are a few more to finish. So this rerun cold, brings to mind my unfinished list. See there is a little positive in everything. However I get a little tired of having to have a talk with myself, I can be an unruly child.

Vancouver Washington is in full rain as I send this blog out. I am getting a bit tired of the rain, and I will be glad for the sun. I have a large backyard with lots of trees, large trees with wide spots of shade created. So bring on the sun! It will be warm and for those that want direct sun there are plenty of areas that do not have a tree, for those of us fair skinned (also you could read this as "sun whimppy") there are the trees. You may recall that the cooking center is complete, so the BBQ is ready. There is also a wonderful table with umbrella, ready to sit around for a meal. There are chairs for the table, and separately there are deck chairs. Heck when the sun goes down, there is even a fire pit for enjoyment. So let me repeat this, bring on the sun!

In the next day or so when you are busy waiting for the sun and dinner needs to be cooked, you may want to try this. It is tasty, different and delicious.

Corn moussaka
350F

2 c frozen corn
1 pound lean ground beef
1 t flour
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 t garlic salt
1/4 t rounded top cinnamon - 1/4 t flat top is not enough, but 1/2 t is too much

2 eggs
1 16 oz carton cottage cheese
1/3 c parmesan cheese

Spread corn in a 1 1/2 qt flat bottom oven proof casserole.

Brown beef, drain excess fat. Sprinkle with the flour cook an addition minute. Add garlic salt, cinnamon and tomato sauce. Stir well and spread meat over corn.

Beat eggs well, stir in cottage cheese, spread over meat mixture. Bake 20 minutes.

Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Serves 6

Enjoy!

M

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cabbage and Meatball Soup

I have a cold and it is cold in the house.

I have come down with a spring cold. I have also been lazy today and have not made a fire in the wood stove. It seems a bit late in the year for needing a fire in the wood stove but, it is cold in here. I always want soup when I am cold and when I have a cold. I also seem to want vegetables at the same time, so soup fills that need also.

Since starting this blog I have come to realize the work and thought that a blog requires. I have also come to enjoy it and look forward to keeping it up to date with interesting recipes and some small talk. I have come to realize how boring our meals can be, that I would like to improve. I believe the blog will help.

For me homemade soup and bread could be served at each meal and I would be very happy. I love both. Soup is a wonderful way to be creative and frugal at the same time.

None of the recipes I offer here are set in stone, please feel free to make them your own as well. That is what cooking for your family or yourself is all about. Using todays recipe as an example. If you do not like beef, use ground turkey or chicken. If you do not eat pork, use turkey bacon.

Cabbage and meatball soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg beaten
1 slice bread, made into crumbs
1/4 c chopped parsley
1/2 t salt

Combine ingredients and shape into a 4X8 rectangle. Use a large knife and cut the meat lengthwise into 8 strips, cut it crosswise into 4 pieces. This will make 32 squares of meat. Roll each section into a small meatball.

4 slices of bacon diced
1 large onion diced
4 carrots diced
2 large potatoes diced
1 pound of cabbage chopped
8 c beef stock/broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 t garlic salt
1/4 t leaf thyme crumbled
1 T catsup

In a large stock pot, brown bacon, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In bacon drippings, brown meatballs a few at a time. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all fat leaving brown bits in pan. Place onions in bottom of the pan and let cook until golden. Add stock, seasonings and carrots. Bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes. Add potatoes and cabbage, again bring to a boil, cook 10 minutes. Add meatballs finish cooking 15 minutes.

Serves 8

Enjoy!

M

I have been tagged, here goes!

Janelle, YaYa's Mom tagged me. This is fun, and shares more about the person being tagged.

4 jobs I have had in my life:

Restaurant cook
Carpet binder
Auto License clerk
Assisted Living Administrator

4 movies I have watched more than once:

The Four Seasons
A Christmas Story
The Wizard of Oz
Forrest Gump

4 places I have lived:

Fairfax California
Yakima Washington
Albany Oregon
Vancouver Washington

4 Tv shows I watch/have watched:

The wonderful world of Disney
Bonanza
Jeopardy
General Hospital

4 places I have been:

Victoria Canada
Tijuana Mexico
San Francisco California
Maui Hawaii

4 people that email me regularly:

Gail Taylor - this is funny, she keyed my email by mistake and when I let her know I was not who she intended to send the email to, we became efriends. She primarily sends jokes, etc
Jessica
Karen
Janelle

4 of my favorite foods:
garlic
chocolate
wine
beans

4 places I would like to visit:

New York, NY
Australia
Italy
Vietnam

4 things I am looking forward to in the coming year:

changing jobs
kitchen semi-remodel
car paid for
continued happiness

4 people to Tag:

Jessica
Karen
Melody
PaPa Duck

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sweet Curried Hens and Mother's Day

I thought today about the association of chickens (behavior or reported behavior) and Mothers (behavior or reported/complained about behavior) You know things like......... she is acting just like a Mother hen. Or she is so busy she is running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. But I must say that my favorite is.....She is protective of her "brood".

My brood, although grown and out on their own, are very important to me. I still want to protect them. I am fortunate that my brood has grown, actually my brood doubled! And another generation brood is in the works.

Without them, all of them, I would not have had the best opportunity in life.

To be a Mother.

I am renewed each day at the joy of life, through my children. Each day for me has been Mother's day. I must say Thank you to each of you for the happiness that I feel each and every day.

In celebration,

Sweet Curried Hens
425F

4 pounds chicken parts - I prefer skinned thighs

1 small onion, diced
2 T butter
1 t curry powder
1/2 c white wine vinegar
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 T honey OR brown sugar OR real maple syrup

Melt butter in skillet, add onion and curry powder, cook over medium heat until onion is golden brown and the mixture is fragrant. Add remaining sauce ingredients.

Place chicken pieces in a large flat pan (9X13 is good) pour sauce over chicken. Bake chicken for 45 minutes, basting chicken with the sauce at 15 minutes and 30 minutes into the cooking time.

Enjoy!

M

PS, this message was brought to you by the generous love and support of the following:
C & J with O and J & A.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chinese Spaghetti different than you might think

I have a little black book, it is full of recipes that I have hand written. These same pages have side notes added later and they have splatters. Splatter and drops that proves they have been made, enjoyed and enjoyed again. That little black book has been visited by my daughter and she has copied a couple of the recipes to cook in her own home as well.

Many years ago I made each of the kids a cookbook. It contained recipes of family favorites we enjoyed throughout the years. Gramma Jean's lasagne, Gramma Mary's apple cake and many more. It also contain a little bit of information regarding family lore. But I do not believe I put the following recipe in the cookbooks, because it is the one my daughter came to collect!

It is fun, unusual and can be made with ingredients on hand. It is also thrifty. Add a cooked vegetable and a fruit dessert and dinner is done.

Chinese spaghetti

2 c chicken broth/stock
1/3 c peanut butter
1 T brown sugar
1 t ground ginger
1/8 to 1/4 t crushed red pepper - your personal preference on this, like hot or not?
2 T soy sauce
2 T vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef

8 oz spaghetti - cooked and set aside

1/3 c sliced green onions
1/4 c chopped peanuts

Combine sauce ingredients, set aside. in large frying pan brown beef and garlic, drain off fat.
Add sauce ingredients, simmer 10 minutes. Add cooked spaghetti noodles, toss and simmer an additional minute.

Pour into serving bowl/platter, garnish with sliced onion and peanuts.

Serves 4-6

Enjoy!

M

Monday, May 5, 2008

Got a lot done yesterday

On Saturday the second planter ring was completed while I was at work. Bless His heart! He went to Home Depot and got the supplies and hauled them home, hauled them to the backyard, and then picked them up a third time to place them into place for the planter ring. "Them" being 54 concrete blocks.

We also got a lot done yesterday. The yard needed mowing, and the best part...the cooking area was improved! The cooking area is larger and concrete pavers were added. We had to make a trip to the Home Depot for the pavers, and some garden soil. Back home and get to work. The lawn mower was a bit fussy, so it too had to have a bit of work to run. I weeded the flower beds, picked up sticks and rocks etc, fetched, carried and planted the deck planters with 4 tomato plants. Oh and I took a fall. I hate it when that happens, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Bam! down I went, my right knee took the worst of it, and my left palm has red lava rock punctures. But nothing broke and we continued on with the day.

When we were all done it was about 1:30 in the afternoon and we were hungry. We showered and went out for a nice early dinner. Came home and sat in the backyard and enjoyed what we had worked on that day, while listening to the wind chimes tinkle in the breeze. Nice ending to a happy day.

I did not cook yesterday. Poured some cereal and out the back door we went. I have a ham bone to make soup with today. I am not going to offer a soup recipe however. Something fun to make. These can be made for company and served with a glass of wine or you can make them for family and serve with a bowl of soup.

Olive cheese balls
400 F

2 c grated cheddar cheese
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c butter melted
about 36 stuffed green olives

Make sure the olives are well drained and dry. Combine cheese and flour, add melted butter mix well. Mold 1 teaspoon of dough around each olive. Shape into a ball. Place cheese balls on platter, chill 1 hour (or longer depending upon your schedule). Place 2 inches apart on plain/dry baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes.

Makes 36 (about)

Enjoy!

M

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sweet and Sour Slaw

My work week is Tuesday - Saturday. I enjoy coming home Saturday evening and just staying in. My commute to work, 9 hour shift, and commute home equal about 11 hours, so I am glad when the week is done. A nice easy home cooked meal, some music, maybe a walk after dinner (if it is not raining, we have had a loooonnngggg wet season) and then the "weekend". As I continue to improve with age, I like home more and more!

We recently made a cooking station in the back yard. I had a portable awning that was put up again the house under the eve, and then anchored. The BBQ grill is now there and this weekend I want to move the smoker to the cooking station. My plan is to cook year round. And now this can be done even if it is raining, starting to rain or even threatening to rain. I won't care, put on a sweatshirt to keep warm and keep cooking.

I have become a fan of grilled foods and smoked foods. I have also come to enjoy the relaxation of the hands on process of cooking. I like taking the time to make something from start to finish by hand. It is calming to the mind after a week at work.

I have become a bit lazy however. You know the don't mean to kind of lazy, the this won't really matter kind of lazy. We will dish up from the stove or serve from the cooking pan. I know, not big sins really, but presenting food attractively is nice. And I like nice, I just need to not be lazy and let nice slip by!

Make this up before going to work, for dinner grill your personal favorite, add some fruit and dinner is done.

Sweet and sour slaw

1 t salt
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c vinegar
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 c milk

8 c shredded cabbage

Combine dressing ingredients in a large bowl, beat until smooth. Fold in cabbage. Cover and place in fridge until serving time. Serve with a slotted spoon, the dressing will thin as the cabbage gives off liquid.

Serves 8-12

Enjoy!

M

Friday, May 2, 2008

Marinated Tomato Slices

Vegetables, how can you love something as much as I love vegetables and yet "forget" to eat them?

Maybe it is the "grab and go" habit, or the fact that I forgot it in the vegetable drawer and it is beyond eating, or it is end of the week and the marketing needs to be done. What ever the problem is, I need to remedy it, fast!

Fruit is easy, it fits in with the "grab and go" of busy days, does not get forgotten in the drawer because it rest on the dining table in a fruit bowl, and there is usually a piece or two left over when marketing is completed on the weekends. But vegetables, sadly no. They do not have their own bowl, only a drawer in a dark fridge!

Here is a recipe that may help.

Marinated tomato slices

3 T oil
2 T vinegar
1 T fresh minced parsley
1/2 t garlic salt
1 t sugar
pinch of dried oregano leaves, crushed
dash of pepper

4 large ripe tomatoes

Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight lid. Shake well to mix.

Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick and arrange on a platter or large plate. Drizzle the dressing over, making sure to get on each slice. Cover and set in the fridge until serving time.

Serves 4-6

Enjoy!

M