Friday, October 9, 2009

I am still getting through my Rachael Ray, Just In Time cook book. The weather here has been kind of dreary lately. It is really strange to imagine only a year ago we were in a drought so bad that people were bragging about how they were saving water. In fact my mother still collects rain water, but I don't think she collects the water from the clothes washer...

Anyways, I needed soup and there has been this recipe in there that I've been dying to try so I finally got to make it! Chicken Parm Soup. And oh its just as wonderful as I imagined it would be. I mean really, who doesn't love chicken parm? And then you get to have it in a soup? Fantastic. Is it the best soup I've ever had? No. Is it the best soup I've ever assisted in the making of? No, the french onion soup in my viking cooking class was better. But this was still pretty fantastic. And okay, so the camera can't take fantastic pictures all on its own, sigh, but it really was so pretty I wanted to add the photo to my digital recipe book.

Also used this Tuna Pan Bagnat recipe for the sandwich. I had already had one half the sandwich yesterday but as the recipe had predicted its better once it has sat for a bit and the juices have soaked into the bread. Its from Cooking Light the magazine. I highly suggest this was one to take to work with you because you can make it ahead. And it tastes great.

The girls and I are starting up our potluck dinners again. Should be awesome. We will hold it at my house as I have a house and a dining room table and so on and so forth. Last time I made the entree but that at least we are taking turns with. And I'm so glad because I'm so excited about De's Oven Baked Chicken. I have to wait almost a whole week! Bah, but I am going to try these Apple Charlotte's I saw on Tyler's Ultimate. Look so good, easy, and elegant, oh gives me an excuse to buy ramekins finally! Hey, warned you before I'm still starting out on all this!

Other than that, my skylight should hopefully be fixed, I am waiting one extra day to be sure the caulking has dried and then taking the tarp off. I am kind of excited...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Atlanta Flood

So, we got a bit of rain here. Yeah, okay, more than a bit. I ended up with 2-3 inches in my basement. Now I have a brand new 5.5 hp Shop-vac water vac. If you have a basement I suggest one period. I have never had water in my house before and thank goodness I already owned a dehumidifier. Between the two I dried out pretty fast. However, I did spend about 2 days walking around in golashes. Okay, so that was kind of fun.

But in the meantime, I have been looking through my cookbooks I bought before I really got into cooking. Ones I got because they said they had cheap and easy recipes. I want to trim down my stash but thought I'd get some of the good recipes out of them first... So, since its been an expensive month I even went ahead and tried the Baked Chicken 'N' Pasta. Only thing I really changed was that I didn't cook the frozen peas ahead or melt the cheese first. I let it melt/cook by mixing it in with the cooked pasta before baking. Oh, and I added bread crumbs on top. Why? Because I had them. It turned out okay, and I saved two servings in the freezer for later. However, definitely not a meal to make when friends come over. It was your typical boring old casserole. And yet the work Baked and Pasta in the name had had me so hopeful.

And since I was trapped in my house by pouring down rain I made some Cocoa-Oreo Crispie Bars - recipe by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody - for my nephews. Delicious and dangerous. I had to give the extras away as I was continuing to eat too many of them. Luckily, thanks to the flood all my friends from work are making their way into town to assist with the flood. I was able to give the extra to my friend from Arizona and told him to either eat them all himself or hand them out.

Oh! And I seeded my grass just before the flood. The majority of my grass ran away with the water but there's still new grass sprouting up every day. Its so exciting to see it sprout up where there used to be no grass at all. I love it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quesadilla Yum

Mmmm.... Frozen corn, sundried tomatos, white onion, and mozarella in a corn quesadilla? Delicious. And I already had all the ingredients in the house! I must say thank you to Cooking Light for that one. You may find I will be doing a good many of those recipes in the next few weeks, or other recipes from other healthy sources. I really have been feeling a tad bigger than normal lately and am going to see about losing enough weight so that I can start eating mostly whatever I want again. I also need to get more energized and athletic so hopefully the eating healthy will help with that too.

My dog Audrey is a funny little thing. Fearless even in the face of defeat! First on Sunday I met up with my family at Kennesaw Mountain and while the cannons surprised her she was otherwise fine. Unlike my parents dog who tried to shoot off every time. And then this morning she realized there was a cat next to the fence and ran at it. Well the cat wasn't the type to take that so they were arguing through the fence when Audrey realized there was another cat actually on our side of the fence and started to argue with it. I yelled at her from inside and by the time I got outside they were both on our side of the fence going after her. And as she hurried inside the house one of them was batting at her hind end. Which was only funny after it had backed off and I knew it wouldn't be following her into the house! Well, I just let the little one out again, and she went straight back to the scene of the crime to try and give it another go. Silly girl. And no, neither cats nor dog were harmed in all this.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I love my camera. Its a Canon S3-IS. And I know that they say that a good camera can still only do so much... but really I think that picture is pretty darn nifty. And all I had to do was put it on the right setting and whalla (or is it walla? I never cared before). It had been out of service for awhile because I didn't want to do too much when its lens cap was missing. However, new lens cap arrived yesterday and my friend is back in order. So I am playing with it again just like its a brand new toy. What does this have to do with cooking? Not so much. It kind of means I can take photos of my food I guess. Which I wanted to do for my own little recipe program. We'll see if any become worthy of being posted. Tonight is leftovers.

However, as much as this is about me starting out as a beginning learn it as you go cook, I like the idea of being able to include my other first time homeowner stories as well. Well okay, right now I just sort of want to brag. No more bees!!! They're gone. All gone. And not a single one chased me. I cut the vines away from the nest yesterday day, and then last night soaked it with two cans of bee killer stuff. And now not a single bee has come out of their little hole. Paranoid that I was just missing them I stuck a stick down inside to stir them up and still nothing! Ding dong, the wicked bees are dead! So now I can get back to getting all the weeds out of my ivy. Bah. But hey, at least my zinnias are looking pretty. By the way, all zinnias were purchased off of Lowe's 50% off carts. Of course, so were the petunias that are now dead. And the marigolds that have since died, but the zinnias and the salvia (obviously not pictured) are alive and well.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lemon-Poppy Chicken

Another Rachael Ray recipe. I have made this before but I think I prefer the way it turned out when I screwed up on it a few months back. I am not always good at reading directions, especially when entertaining at the same time. And as I am still learning, I thought it told me to add the couscous to the pan the chicken was in. When all the tastes were mixed together and the couscous was lemony and the chicken minty... Mmmm... Otherwise it is still good but I think it really tasted best when all jumbled up and cooked together.

But on the other hand I think I failed bad at another task. Killing bees. Tonight I got all suited up to protect my skin the best I could. See on the far side of the driveway is a retaining wall and yesterday I was cleaning out the weeds in the vines that spill over the wall when I was stung. I stepped back and looked down and sure enough bees were going into a crack in the wall. So today I got the stuff to kill the nest and planned as per my father's instructions to attack the nest once the sun had gone down. Well it went down and as soon as it did I realized I couldn't find the nest! So I guessed. I think I hit the right area but then no bees came swarming out at me! So now I think I must have gotten it wrong. But I used the whole friggin' can practically so I'm going to have to get another can tomorrow. And I will again get dressed up in boots, leather jacket, thick gardening gloves, and scarf around my head and face, and attack it again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

5 Spice Barbecue Pork Chops

Dinner for the family. My family has never been one to try new foods and yet two recipes that people seem to really enjoy require them to taste new things. I decided that the Asian flair was the safest route. So I made Rachael Ray's 5 Spice Barbecue Pork Chops with the Asian Succotash. Both are absolutely delicious, though I myself prefer the Asian Succotash. Corn, Onions, Snow peas, and lime juice - what can beat it? And the pork chops dead easy, just cumin and grill seasoning cooked in a pan and hoisin sauce added at the last minute. They were very impressed. I plan to make another safe recipe and then I will go back to trying new things, and I am sure that they will be as disastrous as ever. However, starting this blog may turn out to be the good luck I always needed.

After we went to watch the Falcons beat the Chargers 27-24. It was a competition up til the very end thanks to all the Charger's penalties. Was back home by midnight, and getting into the delicious Bruster's Butter Pecan Ice Cream. One of my favorites.

Monday, August 24, 2009


This weekend was quite an adventure. I made my first brisket! How awesome is that? Found a fantastically easy recipe on food network website. Bought the ingredients. Compiled them, cooked them, and whala. A fantastic dinner Saturday and awesome Taco meat for Sunday. Basically, went to the Farmer's Market, got a 4lber. Laid it out in a 9x13 pan after salting and peppering. Sliced onions and spread them over top. Mix the liquids with the garlic and brown sugar and pour it over top. Cooks for three hours with foil over it, take it out, take off the foil and cooks again for another 45 minutes. Now, it was a fat piece and so portions of it were a little dry as they weren't all the way in the liquid. Next time I will trim it so it is all able to be in the liquid. And I forgot to let it sit before slicing. However, those eating it didn't appear to notice these little glitches. They were very impressed with this easy process.

Now served with the brisket the first night was a salad I had just watch Giada make. Took a cucumber and with a peeler made ribbon slices, then blanched asparagus and sliced it on the diagonal. Mixed this with lemon juice and olive oil. Then my only change was I sprinkled parmesan over top because I had it.

The next day was the Mexican Potluck. Did quite a few little tests. And oddly enough they all kind of worked. Supplied the brisket meat and meat from a rotisserie chicken from Publix. For sauces, I took hints from two Rachael Ray recipes. For one I combined Tequila Lime Salsa and sour cream. This was by far the favorite sauce. Then also made a Chipotle Cream, Mayo, mint, scallions, and chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. Not as much of a hit but when people tasted it they did like it. Just not as much as the other.

However, I think my best of the night was the salsa. This I had made before, in a cooking class I took. But I changed some things. Its supposed to be yellow corn, I used sweet, it wants a white onion but I thought a red onion would give a richer taste, it also had red pepper, tomato, cilantro, sun dried tomatoes, lime juice, and small bit of red vinegar. The corn was dry roasted, onion sauted, red pepper put over the gas flame to char but it was my first time trying it out so it didn't char enough. But I was scared of charring it too much! Next time I will be more patient and brave, I swear. Still, people were in love with my salsa. So victory.

In the past week I will say I've had more successes and no real failures. This has been great for my confidence in the kitchen. And its nice when I can throw a shindig and people can really enjoy the food and each other's company. I love playing hostess. Its so much fun!