Sunday, October 30, 2011

I didn't really cook this weekend.

Monday, I started feeling somewhat sick.  Chills all day, so I went to bed early.  Then I started sweating at night.  I then had a sore throat most of the week.  But just the hint of one.  I figured, this isn't so bad.

But of course the weekend hits and I go down hard. 

I made it through Friday night's YMCA Halloween party just fine.  But there was a long line for food, and about 30 minutes into it, we ditched it to get burritos.
Saturday was my son's school's Fall Festival.  I volunteered for food prep.  Which I figured was a bad idea since I was sick.  So I made my husband go instead.  I ended up working a booth for 45 mins, chasing tennis balls and picking up milk bottles.  In the 80C heat, wearing jeans, with no water.  Then my replacement did not show up. So my neighbor and friend wandered around and begged people to take over for me.  Then I got food and water and felt much better.

The kiddo caught my cold, and he fell asleep on my lap during a drum performance.

I spent  much of the night coughing.  Spouse was smart and slept on the sofabed.  Kid crawled into his spot.  Where the two of us proceeded to cough on and off during the night.  I have been suffering from insomnia a lot lately, and was up for 2 hours in the night.  I did get to sleep in until 7 am though.

On to Sunday.  I have probably been drinking gallons of hot tea and orange juice from our tree that I defrosted.  I had a little boat trip scheduled with my triathlon team.  We didn't feel like passing our sick child onto our friends, so I went alone and spouse stayed home.
Being a good wife/mom, I did make split pea soup before I left.  Spouse burned it on reheating (it's really easy to now it tastes...smoky.)  I ate on the boat, chicken, rice, beans, and tortillas.  And a couple of sodas (HFCS, ugh), but wasn't feeling like alcohol with a cold.

But that's all I've cooked this weekend.  And tomorrow is a potluck at the neighbor's before trick or treating.  We'll be taking salad.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Life of a Chicken

No, not really.  Just the progression of a chicken.

Step 1: chop vegetables.  Here we have delicata squash, sweet potato, onion, bell pepper, broccoli, carrot.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, put in a roasting dish.

Steps 2-4:  Stuff a chicken with lemon, thyme, rosemary, and garlic.  Salt, pepper, and butter the outside.  Place on top of vegetables and roast.

Step 5:  Carve pumpkins with your family (and roast the seeds!)

Step 6: Take the chicken out of the oven and admire.
Step 7: Enjoy! With Kale chips!  But feel bad that you bought a free range chicken that was fed corn and soy feed.  Not fit for chickens.
Step 8: Throw the carcass (along with a second one from another chicken made elsewhere...maybe Costco) with some bay leaf into the crockpot and let it cook on low all night to make stock.  I got about 14 cups of stock.

Step 9:  Make a big pot of cream of broccoli soup from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook with your chicken stock (you'll still have some stock leftover).

Step 10:  Enjoy your soup with some chicken tacos from leftover chicken.  That's home-canned salsa on there.

Step 11:  A couple of days later, think: "oh crap, what are we going to eat for lunch, we are out of vegetables, and soup does not travel well by bicycle".  Throw some brown rice into the rice cooker with 2 cups of chicken stock.  When done, add in a can of black beans, the last bits of freezer bags of corn and peppers, some cumin, garlic powder, salsa, and oregano, fresh cilantro, and the last of the chicken.  Enjoy for lunch for 3 days.  Store in the rice cooker pot to decrease dish washing.

Step 12:  Remind yourself that you still have 6-8 cups of stock in the freezer.  Take a deep breath and realize that you aren't cooking at all for dinner this weekend due to various events.  Start planning daytime cooking anyway so you don't starve next week.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese Week...and...when life gets in the way

You know how you sometimes have those weeks that are SO busy you cannot even think of blogging?  Well, this week was like that.  Who am I kidding.  Every week is kinda like that.  This was no exception.  But I remembered to take pictures!

So what I have for you, my friends, is not recipes.  It is photos and descriptions, so you can see what is seasonal and delicious in Southern California in October.
Scrambled egg with chicken and homemade salsa and cheese, with Martha Stewart's Soda Biscuits on the side (this was breakfast):

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I did make the promised stir-fry this week, using up the leftover veggies from the friend's kid's birthday party.  It was fast, easy, and delicious.

We also had roast chicken (from Costco), salad, and lots of chili and lasagna to eat this week.  On Friday, we went out for pizza and to test out our Axxess card (local discount card).  We tried a new pizza place, and the pizza was soggy and greasy.  Won't be going back there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekly Plan and What I'm Using UP

Saturday was a good day for free food.  We went to a birthday party at the zoo.  There was too much food.  The party-throwers were prepared with Ziploc bags and tupperware and send people home with food.  At times in the past, I would have felt weird about taking food from a casual friend's party.  Once you have a kid's party and are left with sandwiches for 20, you get over that.  So we came home with small sandwiches, melon, raw vegetables, and cheese.  The sandwiches will be gone by lunch time, the melon will be great for snacking, the vegetables are destined for a stir-fry and the cheese will end up somewhere I am sure.  A lot of different places likely.
Saturday's lunch was the last of the CSA lettuces, canned beets, blue cheese, sliced turkey, toasted walnuts, CSA pomegranate seeds, and an avocado from my boss's tree.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I feel so spoiled

So, this Friday was a little different than most.  My husband decided to take 1/2 day off to hang out with our son after kindergarten (we are trying to do this more often).  I told him Thursday night "You are responsible for dinner."  Now, I wasn't specific.  But grilled cheese sandwiches or ordering in would have been fine with me.
I used the opportunity to work a little bit late - I find it incredibly stressful to rush out of the office early every day, then pick up the kids, go home, and cook dinner.  Actually having the time to plan out my work and the work of my employees is sometimes a luxury.

In any event, I got home and I smelled...lasagna.  Lasagna is my husband's specialty.  He took our son grocery shopping, and actually made two trays.  He gave one to our neighbors, and they traded us some homemade rolls (my son ate 3 rolls).

On TOP of that, he did a really good job using up items in our fridge and pantry (which isn't normally how he cooks).  He used some of our onions, all of the cherry tomatoes (I have SUCH a hard time using these up), some red bell peppers, and carrots.  He also added the last of the grass fed beef and some bison sausage.  I was SO impressed and it was crazy delicious.  I ate WAY too much.

So that's what we'll be eating for dinner tonight too.  I think my "use it up" for the weekend will be to use the found tri-tip and more sausage and some dried beans and canned tomatoes and frozen peppers (mild and hot) to make chili.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pantry/Freezer meals, week 1

I made a serious effort to eat foods out of my freezer(s) this week.  My small freezer in the laundry room doesn't have much in it.  Some popsicles, some bread, a steak, and a piece of liver I bought at the farmer's market.  And a bunch of chicken stock.

The above-the-fridge freezer is a different story.  Bread crumbs, frozen fruit, frozen veggies, bread heels, and some unidentifed items wrapped in foil  (turns out, these were pancakes and cooked tri-tip, but not together).

My pantry is not much better, with rice and pasta and beans and things that I stopped eating when I went low-carb.  I've kind of drifted away from the low-carb thing, and I'm actually not feeling all that healthy about it.  Ah well, it's a process.

Last weekend I made another loaf of no-knead bread.  This time it was rye bread.  I used up some rye flour and caraway seeds from the pantry (well, I didn't "use them up").  The Cook's Illustrated bread recipe calls for beer.  I found one dusty beer a few weeks ago in the laundry room, and have been using it for the no-knead breads.  I just stick a wine cork in it and put it back in the fridge.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's clean out the freezer week

I am feeling overwhelmed with life in general, and the inability to find stuff in the freezer is a big part of that.  I wonder how long I could eat without shopping?  I didn't make it to the farmer's market this weekend (elected to walk with my friends instead).
So what's on the menu from the freezer?
Sunday, we grilled up the last two chicken breasts, and used them for burritos and salads.  We also grilled some sausage...

which will be served with leftover pasta from the freezer.  I put that in there...probably before our last vacation, which would be ... June?  Don't judge.  I mean, it was frozen solid, so it's probably okay.  Maybe not terribly tasty but...

I also defrosted homemade refried beans (see the burrito part, above).  And a few tortillas for the boys.

I also made  homemade no-knead rye bread, and will be serving that with homemade leftover caponata, from the freezer.

I did add to the freezer this weekend - I made chicken stock from last week's chicken.  I also roasted a bunch of red peppers and a couple of poblanos, and put them in the freezer too. step forward, two steps back.

Other things I'd really like to get taken care of:
make bread crumbs from the bread heels
make something with all those frozen bananas
make beef stock from that steak bone I've got in there
use up more of the frozen vegetables, to make sure there's not too much lurking in the back

I think it's time to just refuse to buy any frozen food until I get through everything that's in there.  Same with the pantry.  Okay, clean out the pantry challenge.  Who's with me?  (I am saved somewhat by my weekly CSA...)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crockpot Pot Roast

This was pretty good.  I was looking for a good thing to do in the crockpot, that would provide plenty of leftovers during the week.  Cooking after a full day of work is a bit much these days, when I'd rather spend my time playing with my kid or helping him with his homework.

I stretched this meal even further by adding a can of Dinty Moore beef stew later in the week, and also some canned beans.  I had the stew for our camping trip, and it never got eaten.