Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pork and Rice

One of the leftover dinner nights was the pork chile verde over rice. When we finished the chile verde in the crockpot, it was very wet.  I separated it into the "meat" and the "juice/sauce".  When I made the rice tonight, I used half water and half "juice/sauce".

That, with leftover pork, cheese, avocado, salsa, and sour cream (you can see my packed up lunch leftovers here) was DELICIOUS!!  Good lord, I forgot how good rice and a little meat can taste.  Especially Mexican flavors.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Roast Vegetables and Stir-Fry Asian Greens and COOKIES!!

I love vegetables.  I bet you didn't know that. :)
This week from the CSA we got some baby beets, baby scarlet turnips, and cauliflower.  I decided it would be tasty to roast them all in olive oil with some onions and garlic.  But the baby beets were so...baby...I mean, they were all beet greens, that I was perplexed.  So.  I composted them.  The remaining veggies were great!  I roasted for about 40 minutes at 400F.

We also got some great Asian greens.  Kale, baby bok choy, tatsoi.  I love baby bok choi and tatsoi.  I stir-fried them quickly and put some of Trader Joe's Island Soyaki sauce on them delish!  And in the same Trader Joe's vein, we had breaded chicken cutlets.

I was also craving something sweet yesterday.  Bad me.  I thought about cookies, and where better to look than Love Veggies and Yoga.  I mean, all the desserts Averie makes - she's a pro.  I found her recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, and the rest was history! I cooked mine a little longer than she did, but they were still tasty.  My only regret is that I made bagels on Saturday and needed only egg white for that, but I needed an extra yolk on Sunday for the cookies.  Next time, I'll make them on the same day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pork Chile Verde Tacos and Refreshing Salad

I was feeling like pork chile verde today.  I'm not sure why. I got a big shipment of tri-tip and pork (organic, free range), from my source at work.  The pork loin was HUGE (4.5 lbs - and $50), and frozen solid.  So I bought some non-frozen pork at Trader Joe's to try out a new recipe before committing the big loin.  Plus, something that big deserves a party, or at least more than just our family.  So, I'll see what I can do about arranging that.

I used this recipe, edited a bit.  I only had 2 lbs of pork, and I used a full can of enchilada sauce.  So I ended up omitting the beer, the salsa verde, and the green chiles and tomatoes.  I think it would have been spicier with all of that, but the family likes it mild.  Gotta figure out how to spice things up on the side for me.  Even though it was 75F today, I enjoyed using my crockpot.

I was on fire today, with grocery shopping, making chile verde, making bagels, doing a ton of quilting, and walking 2 miles to the park so my son could play.  Yay for me!

The cost of the chile verde was about $14.50 (filling only).  $12 for the pork loin, $2 for the enchilada sauce, about $0.50 for the spices.  I topped it with sliced green onions, sliced radishes from the CSA, cheese, and guacamole. I estimate it will be about 4 or 5 meals (lunches/dinners).  I saved the meat in one container and the juices in another to use to flavor cooked rice.  My boss and my coworker brought me avocados 2 weeks ago, and darn it if they all didn't ripen on exactly the same day.  So I have 5 ripe avos in the fridge, and hope they last for the next 5 days.

The refreshing salad had lettuce, arugula, macadamia nuts, tangerines from our tree, carrots, and a rice-wine vinaigrette dressing (vinegar, oil, pepper, garlic powder).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Falafel and Homemade French Fries

The falafel was my fave recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, with a small adjustment - I didn't feel like going into the dark to see if I have fresh parsley still living, so I used dried.

And I sliced up potatoes and made homemade oven fries.

Vegan meal, at least until I dipped the fries in ranch.

There's a distinct lack of green on the plate, but I did have cole slaw for lunch and sugar snap peas for lunch also.  It was a really long day yesterday, culminating with my work computer getting a virus.  So I left with no email account and no computer.  I ended up going back in for 2 hours using someone else's computer, but I only had access to about 1/2 of the programs that I needed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chickpea Curry (Aarti Party) and...when you have energy - GO FOR IT

So, I taped an episode of Aarti Party this weekend and enjoyed watching her make Chickpea and Artichoke Masala.  I was inspired and bought artichokes and dried chickpeas to make on Sunday. Except I didn't have the energy on Sunday, and went to a friend's house for dinner.  So I postponed it to Monday.  It was very easy.  I love Indian food and was happy to see an Indian show on the Food Network.

The only things that I changed were: I used a can of tomatoes (it's not tomato season), used lemon juice instead of lime juice, and I omitted the yogurt (making it vegan).  Not because I wanted to make it vegan, but because I took my plain yogurt to work, and I didn't think that vanilla would taste right.  With the beans, tomatoes, and vegetables, it's a pretty frugal meal for sure. 

I did, however, take the time to cook up a pound of chickpeas on Sunday.  I used to be in the habit of cooking a pound of beans a week.  According to the USDA, they're good for you! (1/2 cup a day is recommended!) When I was doing the paleo/primal thing, I gave up beans.  I still try to avoid them at lunch (too many carbs), but I just love beans.  And chickpeas are versatile.  I used some in the masala, then I used some in falafel.  I froze the rest.  I probably should have saved the cooking water for some chickpea gravy ala Cook for Good or Wildly Affordable Organic (I can't remember where I read it, but I'm pretty sure it was from Linda Watson!), but I didn't.

I was also supposed to make Cole Slaw on Sunday for Monday's dinner, but didn't have the energy for that either.  So I made it last night (with much help from spouse) and we ate it tonight.  Plus lunch tomorrow.  And the next day.  I rounded out tonight's dinner with more potato and kale soup and some baked chicken fingers from TJ's.

After all that dinner tonight though, I had some energy.  So while my family was occupied with finding a camera for my son's photography class tomorrow (I know, he's 5.  Weird.  Maybe soon he'll be taking my food photos.  Nowhere to go but up!) - I got busy making the falafel in the food processor.  It will be nice and cold and ready to shape for dinner tomorrow.  And that's my lesson - when you've got the energy, go with it! 'Cuz you never know when you'll get home without even the desire to face the microwave, much less the food processor, knife, or stove.

We ate the last of the bagels today for breakfast, so here's to hoping my energy stays high enough to throw some bread into the bread machine.

Oh, and Friday night's dinner, I made nachos.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Potato and Greens Soup - CSA and a Fridge on the Fritz

Our fridge has been on the fritz.  I noticed on Thursday that the milk just didn't seem cold.  So I mentioned it to my spouse.  He vacuumed out the coils and all, checked various parts of the fridge, but it still didn't seem quite right.  So Friday, we called the Sears repairman.  It's a 10 year old Kenmore fridge.  I was starting to think that I might have to bring home my mini-fridge from the office.

Spouse met the fridge guy at home, and he diagnosed the problem.  It cost us 70 bucks for the diagnosis.  The fan in the freezer was not running.  I guess the way the fridge works is that there's a fan in the freezer that blows cold air into the fridge, but the fan had stopped running.  He tapped it and it started again, but noted that it probably needed replacing.  The cost for the part would be $90, and labor would be $200.  But he told my husband that there's a local store that would sell the part for $60, and all he had to do is remove four screws and plug the thing in.  So, being engineers, that's what we decided to do.  But oops, they aren't open on the weekend, so we've been spending our weekend constantly checking on the fridge.  It's gone out at least one more time.  Thank you Sears repair guy for the money-saving tip.

This week from the CSA we got organic Yukon Gold potatoes and a bag of mixed "stir-fry greens". This is a mix of dark leafies.  There's a few kinds of kale, and what looks like cabbage and radiccio, maybe some dandelion greens too.   I felt inspired to make soup based on a BBC show I watched on line, that was linked from this post of a blog that I really enjoy.  Turns out that soup makes you feel fuller longer.  And I've been loving my Blendtec since I got it for my birthday a couple of years ago.  I also have an immersion blender that I use for slightly chunkier soups.

I also pulled out my cookbook from Nikki and David Goldbeck called American Wholefoods Cuisine, and found a recipe for "Potato and Greens Soup".  I used their recommendations on how long to cook the soup with just the potatoes and after you add the greens. 

It was quite delicious, but needed a tad more salt.  I always under-salt my soup and need to add more later.  You can use water or vegetable stock instead.  I roasted two chickens of chicken parts last weekend, and saved all of the bones in the freezer.  So, step 1 of the soup yesterday was to make the stock.

Potato and Greens Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
About 6-8 cups chicken stock (I just eyeballed it until it looked right)
1.5 lb potatoes, diced (I left on the peels because they are nutritious and were organic)
1 bag or 1 bunch greens
1/2 to 1 tsp oregano
1/2 to 1 tsp marjoram
pinch fresh rosemary ('cuz we had it)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
S&P to taste

Saute the onion in olive oil in a pot until soft.  Add the garlic and saute one more minute.  Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil.  Add the oregano and marjoram.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile wash the greens and remove tough stems.  Remove cover on soup when potatoes have been cooked 15 minutes and add the greens.  Cover again and cook 15 minutes.  Add the rosemary. 

Move the soup to a clean, cool stockpot.  I find that when I want to puree the soup in the blender, I need two pots, and I need to cool the soup.  So I first move the soup to a cool pot (in this case, the one I had the stock in), and then after it cools about 5 minutes, I puree it in batches in the blender.  Then I move the pureed soup back to the original pot.  Makes more dishes, but it easier.

Once the soup is pureed, return to low heat and add the cheese, S&P.  Delicious!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I made bagels!

And burritos.  The burrito filling:

Pinto beans (cooked from dried), onions, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, corn, rice, cumin, oregano, chili powder, S&P.  This was dinner on Thursday and Friday, lunch today, and probably lunch tomorrow.

The bagels came from this recipe using the bread machine.  I was inspired by my neighbor who made them for her hubby's birthday a couple of weeks ago.  They were pretty easy!  And only about 13 cents per bagel.  Can't wait to have one for breakfast.  I topped mine with sesame seeds and coarse sea salt.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ginger Glazed Carrots and Turnips, and Leftover Brisket

Okay, the brisket was MUCH better on day 2.  That's probably why the recipe suggests you make it the day before.  Softer, not chewy, flavorful.  Yum.  Maybe I'll try it again sometime.  It was delicious over brown rice.

I used this recipe from smitten kitchen.  My brisket was only about 1.75 lbs, so I edited it.  And I didn't have chili sauce so I used a little salsa.

I also made ginger glazed carrots and turnips.  I got this bunch of teeny tiny baby turnips from the CSA, and thought they would go well with the rest of our carrots. 

Tomorrow is Wednesday.  Last Thursday was our first pick up day of our CSA.  All we have left is a lemon and some lettuce.  Good thing pick-up day is coming the day after.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Spaghetti Squash Parmesan, and my first brisket

Chicken Parm

Last night's dinner was chicken parmesan.  Now, I've made versions of this from scratch before.  As in, debone the chicken breasts, pound them out, bread them, fry them, make the marinara sauce, etc. etc.

This was not that kind of chicken parmesan.  I did use spaghetti squash instead of pasta and had to roast the squash.  It was good, but the only pesto I have left in the freezer is arugula pesto, and it wasn't as good as basil pesto would be.

Spaghetti squash chicken parm
1 spaghetti squash
16 oz marinara
olive oil
1 small onion
10 oz sliced mushrooms
2 cubes frozen pesto
4 cloves garlic
mozzarella and parmesan cheese
frozen breaded chicken tenders (From TJ's)

Slice the squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Place face down in a pan coated with cooking spray. Roast 1 hour at 375F.  Let cool.  Remove strings with a fork.

Saute onion and mushroom in oil.  Add squash strands.  Add pesto and combine well.

Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Layer veggie mixture out.  Place chicken tenders on top.  Top with marinara and the cheeses.

Bake covered at 350F for 15 min.  Increase to 375F, remove foil, and bake for 15-25 more min.  Delish!

I roasted the seeds!


I also bought my first brisket at the farmer's market. I found a decent crockpot recipe.  And...we didn't like it.  The sauce was good, but the brisket was way too fatty and chewy.  So, maybe we screwed it up (spouse did it today - he had the day off).  How can you screw up a crockpot recipe?  Anyway, next time I just go with pot roast.

We also steamed up some baby kale and cabbage leaves and I made a cream sauce with milk, parm, cream cheese, garlic powder, and lemon juice.  I don't have a final photo, but THAT was great.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dijon-Glazed Salmon and Steamed broccoli

Simple as simple can be. 

I found a piece of salmon in the freezer.  It was free from the neighbor, which means it's probably been there for 6 months.  But we sealed it up with the FoodSaver, so I'm sure it was fine.

Line a pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Place the salmon in the pan and S&P.

I glazed it with: 1/4 c unpacked brown sugar, 2 Tbsp dijon mustard, and a sprinkle of dried dill.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 min.  40 was about right.  Most salmon recipes call for "broiling", but my smoke alarm goes off at anything above 450F.  It's always been that way.  So I don't broil.  I found the alternative of baking in allrecipes (one of the comments on the recipe).

It was delicious.

The broccoli was micro-steamed, tossed with S&P, olive oil, and parmesan.

Simple.  Delicious.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Banana Muffins

I searched this blog for this recipe this morning (my banana bread recipe), and couldn't find it.  Kinda crazy!!  How did I go 4  years without posting it?  It's basically a recipe from one of my cookbooks that I healthified.

I generally healthify a dish by cutting the sugar to 1/3 to 1/2 of the original recipe, replacing some of the fat, and subbing whole wheat flour for some of the all purpose flour.

My kid complains about nuts, so I left them out.  Usually I make bread, but I was feeling like muffins today, and they bake in less than half the time.

Banana Muffins
1.5 c. all purpose flour: 0.31
1 c. whole wheat flour: 0.20
1 tsp baking soda: 0.05
1 tsp salt: 0.01
1 c chopped walnuts (optional).  Other options: chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut: 0.50
1/2 c. sugar: 0.09
3 T canola oil: 0.15
2 eggs: 0.63
3 mashed ripe bananas: 0.57
1/3 c. milk: 0.14
1 tsp vanilla: 0.15
1/4 c. organic natural applesauce (unsweetened): 0.37

Total: $3.17 for 20 muffins, or $0.16 per muffin.  Two for a nice breakfast, one for a snack, yummy!

I made one pan with a few chocolate and peanut butter chips, and the other pan with coconut and chopped macadamia nuts.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken and Rice

I was originally going to make chicken fried rice.  But I didn't have the energy to make the rice ahead of time (and it's much better if you do).  And I also didn't feel like dirtying another dish.

So I made the chicken and rice all in the rice cooker.  And except for the fact that I added the peas too soon (and they got gray), it was very good.

Chicken and Rice in the Rice cooker:
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1/3 to 1/2 cup leftover pan juices from roasting the chickens (see note below)
1 cup frozen peas
2 large carrots, chopped
1 chicken breast, chopped
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Note: The Fine Cooking recipe for citrus roasted chicken recommended saving the pan juices to use as flavoring later.  I saved about a cup of it.  1/3 was chicken fat that solidified in the fridge.  I skimmed off most of the fat, leaving about 1-2 Tbsp.  I put that and the rest of the pan juices that had also solidified into the rice cooker.

Into the rice cooker: brown rice, water, pan juices.  Press go.

About 15 minutes before it should be done (45 min later), add diced chicken and carrots and stir.  I also added the peas, but I'd recommend adding them even later.  When the rice cooker is done, stir well and eat!

Top with a little soy sauce.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chicken and bean burritos

I have been ON FIRE this week.  After cooking up that chicken on Sunday (well, 2 chickens) I've been morphing those babies into many meals, including chicken burritos, chicken sandwiches, chicken and potatoes, chicken salad...

One night was chicken and bean burritos.  I made a pot of pintos last week and used some in a sausage and bean crockpot extravaganza.  The remaining pintos went into the freezer, destined for these burritos.

The filling contained:
1 chicken breast, cut up
3-4 cups pintos
1/3 bag frozen peppers and onion
some salsa
garlic powder

As usual for me, it's all about the toppings.  Now, you can't see the toppings here (they aren't on here yet), but I had shredded local cheddar, sour cream, salsa, and some fabulous guacamole (the avos are really good this year...so creamy).

We had broccoli on the side, but after the burritos, I wasn't hungry so I took it for lunch.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sausage and Pepper sandwiches

Sometimes, you don't feel like cooking.  And this is a great meal for those nights.  I forgot to take a picture though.  Ingredients:

Chicken/turkey pesto sausage, sliced
1/3 bag frozen peppers/onions
1/3 24-oz jar marinara sauce
Hot dog buns

Saute the sausage and veggies in oil until done.  Add the marinara and warm through.  Scoop onto hoagie rolls.  Top with mozzarella.  Bake until the cheese melts.

We had this with the last of the cauliflower and kale soup.

Now if I only could open the marinara jar.  Man, I'm getting weak in my old age.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fine Cooking - Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread and Roast Chicken

So, I started getting Fine Cooking by subscription recently.  My son's school was selling magazines, and this is one that I will buy whenever traveling for airplane reading.  I get good tips and recipes, including ginger-glazed carrots, that stay in my repertoire.

This month was no exception.  They had a good article on roast chicken (I know, me? roast chicken?).  And on how you can roast two chickens and eat for a week.  It used to be that one chicken lasted us two weeks, but we were mostly vegetarian then.  Now we are three people, and I've learned that it's easier to maintain my weight if I eat more meat, because I get less hungry.  Too many carbs = hunger for me.

The recipe this month was for citrus roasted chicken.  I did not buy two whole chickens and break them down myself as recommended.  I did not buy two cut-up chickens from the farmer's market, at $23 each.  I did buy two cut-up kosher chickens from Trader Joe's, at $10 each.  Sometimes, you compromise.

I edited the recipe a bit.  I generally don't buy whole lemons - my neighbor has a tree.  In season, I pick 'em (with his permission), and then zest and juice them and freeze both in ice cube trays.  So, I used 4 cubes of juice/zest.  I didn't use oranges - I subbed our tangerines from our tree out back.  I also didn't read the recipe until 2:30 pm, so the chicken didn't get the recommended 6-12 hours of marinating (only got two). I also edited the cooking temp/time for my oven, and for the fact that I forgot to reduce the temp. It was still quite tasty.

Citrus roasted chicken
2 chickens, cut into 8 pieces each (legs, wings, thighs, breasts)
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 cubes of lemon juice/zest (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup)
3 tangerines.  Zest and juice two and slice the third.
8 cloves garlic, pressed
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
S&P to taste

Mix the lemon juice, tangerine juice and zest, garlic, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and honey.

Place the olive oil in a roasting pan large enough for all the chicken to lay without overlapping (I use my turkey roaster).  Swirl it around.  Place the chicken in the pan.  Pour over the marinade.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate up to 12 hours, but two will do if that's what you've got.  Or 1/2 hour.  I don't know.

Preheat oven to 425F.  When ready, turn chicken to skin side up and add salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 mins at 425F.  The skin is supposed to get brown. Mine didn't really, and that's with doubling the recommended time at 425F.  Reduce heat to 375F and cook 15 more minutes.  My oven is low and slow, so I always need to up the recommended baking/cooking time.  Just saying.  YMMV.

I served this with fried potatoes and kale chips.  Gotta have the messy kale chips the night before the cleaning person comes.

The leftovers are destined for chicken salad sandwiches, chicken and bean burritos, and maybe some chicken fried rice.  I saved some of the pan juices.  They recommend risotto, but I'll probably go with the fried rice.

I also started the day by trying out cinnamon raisin swirl bread from the same issue.  Again, my house is on the cool side, so even with extra time on the stove top with the stove on warm, it didn't quite rise like I wanted it to, so the bread is a little bit dense.  But still delicious.  Should freeze a loaf so it doesn't go bad.

The recipe calls for using the stand mixer, so it really wasn't that hard.  I started at 7 am and was done at 11 am.  Next time I might try the bread machine though.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pizza, Soup, and Hummus, Oh My! and Cupcake Wars

And cupcakes.  Let me explain first about the cupcakes.  Last weekend (the long holiday weekend), I vegged on the couch a bit and watched Food Network.  And I came upon Cupcake Wars.  Now, I do like my food TV and competitive shows.  I like Anthony Bourdain.  I faithfully tape Top Chef.  I enjoy a good episode of Chopped.  When I was on maternity leave 6 years ago (almost), I watched a lot of food TV while nursing my son (my husband ate like a king during those 3 months, and I watched so much that it was over a year before they showed an episode of Barefoot Contessa, Giada, or Rachael that I HADN'T seen.)

But these "challenges" and "wars" - not really into it so much.  Maybe it's because I'm not really into dessert.  But we caught the start of an episode, and lo and behold, one of the contestants was from Santa Barbara!  We have more than one cupcake shop in town, but Crushcakes Cupcakery is one we drive by weekly.  It's in downtown and on the way to the farmer's market on Saturdays. 

I enjoyed watching the show and so did my son (probably had something to do with it being cupcakes).  The editing on the show isn't that great.  I've seen 4 or 5 episodes so far, and it's pretty clear very early who is going to win. Thus far, it's always been the "pretty girl" (young and pretty, and I'm not exaggerating), and she gets a lot of air time.  So alas, our local girl came in 2nd (for the THIRD time). 

Yesterday, we (I) decided to stop at the shop after our grocery shopping.  Spouse picked vanilla (not lemon, who knew?)  Kiddo picked "peace" because he liked the frosting.  Mommy picked peanut butter cup.

We waited until after lunch and after a trip to the park to try out my son's new bike to eat them (and did that while watching another episode).  I am pretty amazed at the combinations of flavors they come up with and the decorations.  I'm pretty sure the contestants know the "theme" before the go (such as poker or surfing), so that they can take the decorations they need and design a final display.

The cupcakes were pretty good, but were $3 each, so they are a treat for sure.

On the home front yesterday, I decided to make hummus. I've had the ingredients forever, including an unopened jar of tahini, and have just been lazy and have been buying it.  I use the Cook's Illustrated method, which basically involves putting the water-based items in the food processor first (chickpeas, lemon, water, garlic, spices) and puree'ing them pretty fine, and drizzling in the olive oil/tahini mixture later.  Makes it really smooth.

How come the hardest part about making hummus is the 10 minutes that it takes to stir in the oil in the tahini jar??

Next up: Creamy cauliflower kale soup

I saw this recipe in my MIL's Martha Stewart Living magazine, and basically bought the magazine to try it out.  It is vegan, and tasted pretty good.  However, it uses water as a base.  So it could have used a little more seasoning.  Maybe extra salt, or some homemade stock.  I'll make it again, but with stock next time.  It's cauliflower, kale, garlic, onion, water, salt, pepper, and dill.  Pretty simple.  If you use the blender, it gets really creamy and frothy.  And we love soup in this house!

And finally: Pizza

You know me, I love pizza.  And I had some time, so I fired up the bread machine.  The bread machine makes it so easy.  To make the dough the way I like it, it still takes a couple of hours.  The bread machine only runs for 45 minutes, but there is a little bit of kneading, resting, shaping, resting, par-baking...much of this isn't necessary, but it's what works with my oven and pans.

This is our standard pie, with sauteed onions, pesto, cheese, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Eaten with ranch and sriracha of course!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Potato burritos and Kabocha

It's the squash time of year again!  Last year, I finally tried kabocha squash, after reading about it all over various blogs.  I'm a butternut kind of girl (and delicata).  Well, kabocha is delicious!  Maybe even a little better than butternut.

So at the market last weekend (farmer's market), I bought one.  Last night I simply cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and sliced it (okay, that's a pain).  Salt, pepper, olive oil, roast it 30 min at 400F.

I served this with potato, onion, and cheese burritos.  The CSA starts up next week, so by Thursday we're running low on veggies.  I fried up some onions and potatoes and shredded cheese.  I had two HUGE avocados for guacamole.  And that, my friends, was dinner.  I forgot to take pics at the beginning.  Oops!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

4 + years!

Wow, this blog is over 4 years old.  Looks like my first post was mid-December 2007.  It slipped my mind this year due to travel and family tragedy.  But, happy belated anniversary to my blog!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My crazy cooking weekend.

I haven't had a weekend like this in a VERY long time.  But here goes:

Bagel-egg-cheese sandwich for breakfast
Brownies (from a box)
Sweet potato appetizers

scrambled eggs
scones (from a package)
sausage and leftover pasta for lunch
aloo gobi
multigrain bread (bread machine) - it was a little small and dense, probably the flour is old.  Haven't been baking much lately.
pinto beans (from dried) - to be used in crockpot sausage and beans on Tuesday

salmon noodle casserole

Monday, January 2, 2012

A $5 solution to a $200 bathroom problem

So, we have an old-ish house (1947), and only one bathroom.  The bathroom was remodeled some time in the 80's or 90's we think.  It was done mostly tastefully, if a bit retro.  It's black and white (which I love).  The tile is getting old and cracked in places.  The toilet and pedestal sink are black.
But we can live with all this.  The only work we've really done since moving in is to remove the wall heater (a fire trap), install a light/vent/heater, replace some fixtures, and paint.

We've had a problem with the medicine cabinet, however.  It's a recessed cabinet coated in some kind of enamel.  And 7 years of my husband's shaving cream has chipped and scratched the heck out of it - the enamel is basically completely gone on the bottom shelf, and it's rusting.

So we've talked about replacing it with a wall-mounted wood one one, trimmed in black. We know exactly what we want it to look like -  my friend Beth in San Francisco redid her bathroom, and I said "this is EXACTLY what I've been wanting to do to mine!"  Right down to the sink on a furniture-type cabinet.  (While the pedestal sink is fine for me, someone who does not wear makeup, it would be less practical for others.  And more storage would be nice.)

We've hemmed and hawed and delayed doing anything.  Part of me doesn't want to replace the medicine cabinet until we are ready to replace the sink, for placement (my husband says it's fine).  We also couldn't agree on the cabinet.  I want a certain one, and we didn't find one with a cursory look online.  I like the LOOK of this one, but I'd prefer one with three doors.  This one is $200.  Inertia, and life of full time work with a child, is a powerful force towards doing nothing.  Not to mention, we really should re-tile the bathroom because of the cracked tiles.  The problem with that is that we only have one bathroom.  And then your "let's replace the medicine cabinet" turns into a "let's remodel the bathroom".  While I have utmost confidence in our abilities at DIY'ers, that would take time, and I'm not sure how long I want to be showering at the gym or at work.

In any event, we enjoyed our New Year's Day with a swim at the Y, then came home and I prepared lunch (leftovers).  I started smelling a god-awful smell, and eventually traced it to the bathroom and a can of spray paint.  My spouse shut the door, opened some windows, and pulled out the fan.

And here is the end result.  Not the neatest job in the world, but it's no longer cracked and peeling, and all for the cost of a can of spray paint.  Now it should last at least 5 more years.
Edited to add: it was actually "free" because my husband used a can of spray paint we already had, and used to make our son's halloween costume a few years ago.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sweet Potato Appetizers

So, I had some leftover sweet potatoes from Trader Joe's.  Come to think of it, I have a few still, but they expired yesterday.  Should compost those.  We were headed to our friends and neighbors' house for NYE, so I googled "Sweet potato appetizer".  And I found this recipe.  I already had a package of crescent rolls and was about to head out for my walk to the farmer's market and trip to the grocery store.  So I picked up some more crescents at Trader Joe's.

I liberally adjusted this recipe because I only had about 40 minutes, a few items, and I was tired.  Had a SPLITTING headache most of the day, and napped to recover.

Sweet potato appetizers: (makes 16)
1-2 cups diced sweet potato
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
sharp cheddar cheese
2 packages cresent rolls
Saute the onion in olive oil a few minutes until softening.  Add the diced sweet potato (I diced this very fine, 1/2 inch x 1/4 inch pieces).  I cooked this about 10 minutes on low-medium, covered, then increased the heat to brown the pieces a bit.  Salt and pepper to taste.
When the filling is ready, open the crescent packages.  Break into 4 pieces.  Press the diagonal seams so that you have 4 rectangles.  Cut each in half crosswise and press out to 4 inch square.  Spoon filling into each square.  Place a thin slice of cheddar on top.  Fold up the corners and twist into a little "purse".
Bake about 15 min at 350F.  Enjoy!