Monday, May 30, 2011
Things are hopefully going to get back on track for me this week. I need to work on my "To Do" list for sure after having last week so messed up. Monday is Memorial Day. That means holiday for the working crew around here and no school. Kind of dumb in my opinion, that they get the day off then go back to school for three days. Half days at that for finals. Maybe if they didn't have three separate three day weekends in January and February (King's birthday, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday) they wouldn't have to go to school this next week. But what do I know, I am just a parent, that has to drive them to school and activities. Thursday June 2 is the last day of school, then Monday June 6 starts summer school and volleyball practice. In case you are interested, that means that starting next Monday, I get to drive my daughter to school at 5:00am each morning.
Well, since there is a holiday, we are having the boys come over and going to cook out. Don't know what we are cooking yet as hubby hasn't made up his mind on what meat he wants to burn yet. Thankfully, we are having wonderfully mild weather. Especially for this time of year for here.
Here is what the meals for the week around here look like.
Mon. - Grilling something.
Tue. - Chicken Saltimbocca, rice, carrots
Wed. - Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad
Thu. - Baked Sausage, easy mac & cheese, green beans
Fri. - If wild fire is out and weather hold we will be heading to mountains for some camping and riding for the week end.
Don't forget to go by MPM on Organizing Junkie for more great menu postings.
Thanks for stopping by.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Start with a recipe from a cookbook published in 1944.
1/2 teasp. salt
About 2/3 c. sifted all-purpose flour
Beat the egg, then add the salt and enough of the flour to make a very stiff dough. Knead on a floured board for 3 or 4 minutes, then roll out in a thin sheet. Cover with a towel and let stand about 20 min. Then roll up as you would a jelly roll, cut into thin strips, unroll, and lay out to dry thoroughly. Store until needed. Then cook until tender as in Boiled Noodles, p. 389. Serve seasoned as a vegetable. Or add to soups.
1/4 lb. fine or wide noodles
2 teasp. salt
2 qts. boiling water.
Break noodles into 1 1/2" pieces. Add the salt to the boiling water, then add the noddles gradually, taking care that the boiling does not stop. Cook the noodles uncovered, stirring frequently with a fork, until a piece of the noodle rubbed between the fingers is tender - the time varies with the noodles - about 10 minutes. Avoid overcooking especially if the noodles are to be added to a sauce. Drain, rinse with boiling water and used as indicated in individual recipe. Or add 3 tablesp. melted butter or margarine, and a dash of pepper and serve as a vegetable. Makes about 3 c. and serves 4.
So, reading the recipe over again, then writing down the quantities (because I don't want to take a cookbook from 1944 anywhere close to anything liquid) I head in to my kitchen feeling brave, confident I can do this and I pull out a bowl and get an egg and start.
Now I measure out the flour. This is when it hits me, I have no idea as to whether I am to measure out 2/3 cup flour, then sift it. Or if I am supposed to sift out some flour and then measure out 2/3 cup of the sifted flour. I precisely measure with my 1/3 cup measure, twice, then I sift it. I did notice that 2/3 cup flour, sifted, turns into about 1/2 cup. Mixing the flour in it begins to make crumbles, then like a snowball it all starts sticking to each other to grow in to one big crumble. I take my hands and finish mixing it together in to a ball. Knead that for a about 3 minutes (because some one once told me it is bad to over work the dough, of course that could be for bread. I have no idea) and then I let the dough rest.
I let the ball of dough rest, setting the timer for 20 minutes. Nice little ball of dough, but little is the key word. Of course, let's ignore the fact that I was supposed to roll it out then let it rest. See, I should have written down the complete directions to take with me as well. I go forward though, because I did not know I had messed this step up.
Yep, after 20 minutes I rolled the dough out flat, rolled it back up like a jelly roll, cut it into strips then unrolled the strips for the noodles. I think I had about 9 noodles. But they were a bit long so I went a head and cut them down to size and then let them dry.
I don't make jelly rolls, have never made a jelly roll, don't think I want to make a jelly roll. Tell me to roll it up like tortilla appetizer, like a fruit roll up, even a taquito, something I can understand. Not a jelly roll. I thought about my mom's famous pumpkin roll and used that as my visual. I like pumpkin rolls, the cream cheese filling and all, have always wanted to try one, but I don't have a jelly roll pan and have always been a bit intimidated by the directions of rolling the pumpkin layer in a tea towel, letting it sit, then unrolling it, spreading on the filling and rolling it back up.
I am pretty sure that I would not get that to work for me.
Although my oldest daughter, that never much cooked when she was living at home, plowed in and made one that all her in-laws raved about and now request she make each holiday.
Back to the pasta story. Tonight I really impressed myself with our dinner. Normally I have to have a precise recipe to follow, then hope that I can understand it. Not tonight. I had some pork chops that needed to be cooked, had thawed them out a couple of days ago. I put tenderizer and seasoned salt on them, browned them lightly, then put them in a pan to bake in the oven. Now, at this point I normally spread on a can of cream of mushroom soup. Tonight though I got a wild hair and I just poured a little wine in the pan, covered it with foil and baked them. I wanted a white wine, like they use in the cooking shows, but we didn't have any open so I used a Zinfandel, pink variety. The kitchen sure smelled great. Now, what to go with it. I noticed a pan of left over cornbread, headed to the trash with it, realized it was still good, so instead of bagging it up to just mold I decided to make a savory type dressing dish. I chopped up some onion and bell pepper, sauteed it in butter with a little minced garlic. Then put the cornbread in the food processor along with a couple of hot dog buns. Mixed the crumbs, sauteed mixture, an egg, some sage, celery salt, black pepper and a little bit of chicken broth and water. On a lark I heated up some sliced almonds and threw them in the mix, poured that in a baking pan and put it in the oven with the pork chops. Also whipped out a pan of green bean casserole. I only had the cream of garlic mushroom soup on hand and used the original recipe for the casserole. Do not like it nearly as well as what I usually make. Dinner was a success though.
The noodles were not pretty, a little doughy, but it was all pretty good if I say so myself.
Next time I make pasta though, am making a larger quantity and will pull out that pasta maker I have, in the cabinet, still in the plastic wrap, never been used.
Have a great night all.
First off, I did clean out my smaller pantry. This was done the week of May 16 as this past week, week of May 23, was pretty much taken up with caring for mom. That really threw me off as far as housekeeping chores go. But, am so thankful I was able to do it and she is back in her own home.
I can't believe how much junk was in this pantry before I cleaned it. Sorry I don't have the before photo, but there was not one inch of empty space on any shelf. And, that was before I did the canning. I had to clean it out so I had some place to put the beans and catsup. Still need to do a little vamping with the top shelf and the bottom (not shown in photo) as there are better places for some of those things. Have a great empty space on my baking shelf. That will help when I clean out the main pantry this coming week.
Now, to my menu planning. This is what I have been dealing with.
I can barely make room to write anything, much less do any sewing or crafting. The desk I hate to confess is not in any better shape, but I did get a pretty good system worked out.
Now, I took an old file box that I had and designed a folder system that I divided in to categories that work for me.
As you can see, the front sections are for the most used. My Menu Plans, in this section is a folder for each week. When one week is completed, that folder becomes empty and moved to the back of the section. There is a Try Soon section which is for recipes that I want to try out sooner rather than later because they either sound really great or feature some ingredient that I already have on hand. May also be something that just sounds incredibly good. Then there is a section for OAMC which is for all the recipes that I know are good for cooking ahead, or are going to be part of the same session. For example, all the chicken dishes together, the beef dishes, and such.
Then each category is color coded. Only that I changed colors to keep the beef and beverages all looking like the chicken and soups. Like I said, this is what works for me and the way my weird little brain works. However, some categories are divided and I kept the same color through out. Beef is one, there is Beef and then Beef Casserole. Same for Bread and Desserts, broken down by type.
Each category also has a file folder in it labeled Keepers. Most of the recipes in all these categories are pulled from magazines or printed off from the internet. I have since made an effort to try and add the web site addy for where to find that address so I can give credit or link to it if I post the recipe. Since these are recipes that at some point sounded really good, pulled my interest in some way, once I try them if they are a success with the family then it goes in the Keepers folder. It it wasn't a success, then I toss it making sure not to make it again.
Now, a little about how I make a menu plan.
I have blank calendar sheets that I made using Excel. This is a copy of the older ones that I already had printed and didn't want to waste. My week starts with Monday since I join in on I'm An Organizing Junkie's blog and post to her Menu Plan Monday section each Monday. If you haven't looked at it, please do. Over 300 members all post links to their weekly menu plans. Great inspiration and ideas, huge variety as some are vegetarian, some are gluten free, healthier minded, and most are all budget minded, from all over the world.
Back to my system. I take the blank calendar sheet and write out what I want to fix that week. Also, an effort is made to make sure that I vary the protein (meat in this family) so no two days are the same type. Then, if I know something is going to tie up my time that day (grocery shopping, taking mom on her errands) I plan on either a fast fix or slow cooker meal.
All of the recipes for that week are placed in order in the folder for a week. Of course these are only the recipes that are written out. A lot of times I fix meals that have no written recipe at all (meat loaf, chicken fried steak) or just open a can of vegetables that wouldn't need a recipe. The next step is I take a few minutes to make a grocery list for the week, check off what I have on hand then list what I need to buy. Some items are just not good bought way ahead, lettuce for salads is one of those. Fresh mushrooms don't last well if you are buying groceries two weeks at a time, so those items I will make a run to the store for.
That being said, life does happen and things don't always go as planned. On those days, I wing it. Thankfully I have had a fairly well stocked pantry and freezer that allowed me to do this. I am planning on changing that this next week or so, trying to make some casseroles that I can put in the freezer for just that purpose. Then, when the plan goes awry, I just move that meal plan to another day. No big deal.
I have to pick up my daughter and start some lunch, will be posting more through the week so drop by soon. Thank you for visiting my little corner of the web.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I got to change my ticker and am so motivated to keep choosing better food choices and more determined to make the time to get in to the gym. Have not even been this week because of taking care of my mom, but today is the last doctor visit and will now be able to get back to my own routine now that she is back at her home and doing well.
My menu plans have not gone as planned this week, but I just skipped a day, family ate left overs of which there were plenty. I should be able to get back on track this evening. I still have to buy groceries, but will probably do that tomorrow. I was waiting for the sales to change out. WOW, am so disappointed that no one has any good meat sales, cannot find any beef for less than $2.50 a pound. The cheapest I can find ground beef (at least that isn't full of fillers) is $2.48 a pound. I was hoping to catch some roast on sale cheap and just cut them up, but will have to keep watching. I really figured that with Memorial Day coming up this week end there would be some sales. Only sales are on wieners, guess I will be buying those up. I was surprised that there aren't even any great sales on chickens at the major stores. Some of the store chains that cater to the Hispanic population have some legs and thighs on for a pretty good price, will see if I can take the sale circular in and get a price match, if not then I will just wait. The store is in a really bad part of town and as bad as this sounds, I am very uncomfortable there. Thankfully though, I have a pretty good stockpile of chicken though and it really is about time for Albertson's to have their chicken sale. Another great thing, I just about have a whole month of menus planned and have all the meat, fish, pork and chicken I need for those menus in the freezer.
This week ends plan is to do a big cooking and prep session. I really think we may go camping, so am not really planning to hard. However, it being Memorial Day weekend, hubby won't want to fight the crowds in the camp grounds so we might just get a little work done around here. Still have some plants to re-pot and and want to work on planting some shrubs and flowers in the front.
Well, I need to run so I can take mom to doctor. Thanks for stopping in and feel free to look over the past postings and to leave a comment. It is always fun to know who has been visiting.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Of course, in the day, the household was significantly less inventory. Minimal furniture, minimal kitchen ware, and of course minimal clothing. I know that the next time I decide to do any canning I will be bringing out the aprons for sure. Not the little half apron that mom wore for the holiday dinner either. No sir, full apron that covers neck to knee. Now I will be on the hunt for cucumbers, pears, cherries, peaches and strawberries. Maybe some apples and carrots as well. However, around here, carrots are harvested 11 months out of 12 and are extremely cheap in the stores. If I come across a great deal on tomatoes I may can a few, but we just don't use them enough to bother with cooking, peeling then canning them. I do have two plants growing that are the variety that produce large fruits, another one that is the small grape size variety.
This is what I did with the old barbecue pit that has been standing in the corner growing spider webs. The burners and such no longer work, we have long since replaced it with a new and larger grill. In the middle are the two tomato plants I have planted in containers. Our whole back yard is swimming pool, in ground hot tub and cement. With four small dogs about, the flower beds were not an option, they are very small as well. So...the notion of container gardening came about. On either side of the tomatoes are pepper plants and you can't really tell from this photo but behind the tomato plants is a container that has some cucumber seeds and lettuce seeds planted. I am really hoping that they sprout and grow, but may be going and buying some starts as well.
This is the topsy turvy planter that I planted the tomato plant in that will produce the tiny tomatoes for salads.
This is my version of an herb garden. There are five different herbs growing in the planter that is hanging on my patio. I should be able to harvest off enough of what I want for just us with just this one container. There is oregano, basil, cilantro, chives and thyme. It is called the Mexican Fiesta container, just not sure what those herbs have to to do with Mexican flavor. This next week I will be taking my first clipping from the plants. Will see how things go with it. Before we had dogs I planted lots of herbs in my little flower bed beneath the kitchen window. The blooms would smell so good through the open window. I miss that. But maybe when hubby fixes the screen and I can once again open the window I will be able to catch the scent from the hanging baskets.
I will have a fuchsia plant more honey suckle growing as well. Then it will really smell nice.
Today I made Muffaletta for lunch.
I found this recipe in the June 2011 issue of Woman's Day magazine. You can find it here. There are lots of great recipes on their site. If you have never had Muffaletta you are missing out. It is a mixture of chopped olive, garlic and seasoning, spread it on each side of the bread, then add your lunch meats, put the sandwich together, slice for servings. I used one of the round artisan breads, called a boule. You can use what ever you can find though. One of the round bread loafs that are used for serving dips or chowders will work fine. Also, I added some chopped black olive in to the mixture as well. The recipe calls for Genoa salami and capicola ham which I don't buy, but I did have some sliced cooked ham and turkey. I know that I will be putting this recipe in my keeper file. It will be great to take to luncheons.
Friday, May 13, 2011
I found a local farmer that happen to have some green beans available. So, I met with him and bought some. Two bushels to be exact. I had done a little research on the the internet which told me that I could expect to get 10 to 13 quart jars of green beans from a bushel. I bought two dozen jars thinking that would be enough for the the two bushels.
So, I started washing the beans. My mom told me it would be best to wash them as I go. Now I am glad I listened to her.
Then, I took a comfy seat in my dad's old chair. Turned to something good on TV and settled in to string and snap the beans. It was an odd thing, I was dreading the work but instead I found it very therapeutic. Sitting there with all the beans was very good for my soul, almost spiritual. Maybe it is because I was sitting and forced to just take the time to sit awhile. I thought about my dad, since that was one of his favorite chairs to sit in. I thought about the past, the gardens I use to grow when I actually had a bit of land to plant. Thought about my relatives that have gone on to heaven, all the tons of vegetables that my aunts canned over their life time. Talked to my mom while I snapped beans, she offered to take some but I just didn't want her to have to do that tedious work, but was so thankful that I was able to question her about the things I had forgotten about canning. Talked to my youngest daughter who came in and chatted with me while she snapped a few bowls, a really nice talk between a mother and her daughter, between a daughter and her mom.
Then, two nights later, I have finally finished snapping all those beans. They are bagged in gallon size bags that I can stuff in the fridge if I need time to finish the canning. Which I am sure I will have to finish tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Family Swiss Steak
2 pounds round steak
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms, stems and pieces, undrained
1 large onion, diced
1 cup tomato juice
Cut steaks in 6 pieces. Coat with flour. Brown on both sides in hot oil in a large frying pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms with liquid, onion and tomato juice.
Cover tightly and simmer on stove or bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serves 6
I made a few changes, due to what I had on hand. I didn't have any tomato juice so I substituted tomato sauce. I added some diced tomatoes as well. Also, maybe because of my changes, this was really soupy, the pan was full of juices to the brim. I am glad I forgot to leave the mushroom juice (I had drained them before adding them. The prep time went really fast. I put some crescent rolls in the oven with it and made the mashed potatoes after I pulled things out of the oven.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Well, tomorrow is Mother's Day. Of course, once again, my husband has not planned anything. I will never forget the Mother's Day that I was 9 months pregnant with my oldest son, big as a barn, and sweet hubby goes to the store for some milk on Saturday evening, comes home with diet chocolates. Yeah, you got it. At any rate, their is a little whisper that the same oldest son is bringing me fried chicken tomorrow. I had told them that I would rather have their dad go get some KFC as opposed to going out to eat. But not really sure about that. I just know that I am not doing a thing in that kitchen but pointing tomorrow.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Last night, hubby surprised me and took us out to eat to get a break from the heat. I had decided last night that I would pay back the kindness and make a nice meal, instead of the quick cook casseroles I had been making. I used the crock pots so as to not heat up the kitchen.
Cooked roast beef, baby red potatoes and green beans. Man the house smelled incredible all day. It was time to eat, you see my plate, and I ate all alone. Hubby told me when he got home he had football meeting to go to, daughter Miss J opted to accept a friend's invitation to go eat at the bowling alley. Go figure!