The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2009-04-12

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Know how you know someone loves you?

When they get gifts like this...

Soho Chocolates


They share.

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What's for dinner tonight? Japanese food!

Sometimes you gotta get take out! I'm doing my best to save and cut and manage... but the boy wasn't home and I didn't feel like cooking.

Do you know it was 70 + degrees today in NJ?



Okay, I'm rationalizing. But I did want Japanese food!

So.

What was for dinner?

What's for dinner?

A lovely fresh, green salad with ginger dressing. I had thought the orange in the dressing was grated carrots. I wanted to make it and found the 'top secret' version of the recipe. No carrots to be had so I'm not sure why it's orange anymore, but I adore it.

This is whats for dinner!

Top Secret Recipes version of Benihana Ginger Salad Dressing
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons ketchup
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds or until all of the ginger is well-pureed.


Miso soup

This is whats for dinner!

Mmmmmmm!
I really love miso soup.
Well.
I love miso. Period.
It's wonder in/as a marinade. It's easy to find in Asian Markets but it can be ordered on line. There are so many different flavors of miso, from mild to strong and very very salty.

Sushi

This is whats for dinner!

And not all sushi is raw fish if that bugs you. This is a tray with Philadelphia rolls (smoked salmon and cream cheese) and sweet potato tempura rolls. Oh my goodness! Lightly battered sweet potatoes, crispy fried and than made into sushi roll. You can't imagine how good this is.

But try.



And beef sukiyaki

This is whats for dinner!


Sukiyaki is a great one dish Japanese meal. It's my favorite and very good for you unlike most take out food.

According to wiki:

Sukiyaki (Japanese: 鋤焼 or more commonly すき焼き; スキヤキ) is a Japanese dish in the nabemono (Japanese steamboat) style.

It consists of meat (usually thinly sliced beef), or a vegetarian version made only with firm tofu, slowly cooked or simmered at the table, alongside vegetables and other ingredients, in a shallow iron pot in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.


Thinly sliced beef is usually used for sukiyaki; although in the past, in certain parts of the country (notably Hokkaidō and Niigata), pork was also popular.

Popular ingredients cooked with the beef are:

Now. That was a mouthful, right? But the one thing I wanted to point out was the konnyaku.

What in the world is Konnyaku, you say. I know you're saying it. I can hear you.

"What the heck is konnyaku?"

See.

It's made from konjac which comes from a rather odd-looking plant. While the plant is not a yam, it's called a yam. Sort of nick-named, Yam. Don't know why really. Nick-names are sometimes hard to fathom.

So konnyaku noodles are also called Yam Noodles. It's a really useful product and made into a lot of food products. From noodles to jelly candies to...

But I digress...

Anyway, back to dinner. I love when I can get Sukiyaki because its warm and delicious. It's full of veggies, and tofu and meat and the noodles. Know what's great about those noodles?

Konnyaku is an almost zero-calorie food. It's about 97% water with the rest being mostly fiber. Have you heard of Miracle Noodles? They are very popular in no/low carb circles.

Does it have calories? Yes, maybe 5 or 19 or 20.

Seriously.

It's close to chewing air, calorically speaking.

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I want to feature you here




Are you an etsy seller? I want to feature a seller once or twice a month on my blog.

Comment here with a link to your store and I'll check it out! If I buy I'll promote you!


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Pampered Chef! SCORE!

I was driving around looking for estate sales this morning but didn't find any. I saw two neon green garage sale sign and decided 'What the heck?'

I don't normally like garage sales. They tend not to have very interesting things. It's mostly the new and useless... and broken. Or the old and useless... and broken. Most things don't fall under the catagory of SCORE! They fall under the catagory of OPG (Other people's garbage).

One sale was OPG. One was much better!

Cookbooks for $1... 2 crazy-old vintage straight edge razors with boxes. I don't know what I will be doing with those but couldn't pass them up for $2!

And these:

Pampered chef yard sale SCORE!

According the Pampered Chef Website the bowl is # 2233 and is called a Small Batter Bowl. It retails for $11.50


You can "mix, store, reheat and even BAKE in this heavy-duty, tempered glass bowl." They say its heat safe to 350ºF. Wow. Got mine new in the box for $5. More than I normally want to pay at a garage sale but worth it and useful to me.

The other thing is # 1787 The Herb Keeper and it retails for $13.00. It's supposed to keep herbs fresher longer and I got mine in like new condition for $5. I would have loved to pay less but I lose a lot of herbs. I buy them and don't store them right and the next time I look for them all I see is a pile of green goo in a produce bag. The website also says its good for asparagus.

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What's in my pantry for dinner? Canned Clams..

The canned clams reminded me of a simple mixed seafood sauce for pasta I saw in my old copy of the Joy of Cooking a while back. The recipe got my attention because I'd never thought to use canned clams and shrimp for a scampi-type dish but I thought it was lacking in flavors. The only spices; a little garlic and 1/8 of a teaspoon of oregano.

But the idea of the two together was a winner because when BIG frozen shrimp are on sale in Shop-Rite I can get a 2 pound bag for $9.99 or less. Frequently, in my freezer is 'some' shrimp. Not enough for most recipes but enough for a dish like this. ( I think the original
recipe called for half pound of shrimp.)

So with only stuff in my pantry I set out to make:

Shrimp and Clam Scampi Oreganto a la Pantry.

I took the frozen shrimp out of the freezer and cold water thawed it, peeled all, and took off about half the tails. I left some on because I like the way they look in the finished dish

It's really a recipe of convenience. A throw together. I used what I had and didn't buy anything. Perhaps parsley would have been better than the thinly sliced green onion tops but I don't know. The green onion tops were pretty darn good. I only have approximations but unless you way over salt it, anything you do should be dandy.


Put some olive oil in a already med-high pan - a few Tablespoons - at least cover bottom lightly. But I used a bit more than lightly.

Finely chop up a few garlic cloves and add to the oil - I used 3 or 4.

Stir around. And don't burn. Let it cook for maybe a minute and than add,

2 small cans of clams with the juice.

Throw in dried parsley or chives - just some.

Add a splash of sherry. I did two quick pours.

Add some pepper. And some lemon pepper too.

Let it cook a few minutes to concentrate the clam juice a bit.

Add the shrimp and stir it.

Added the tops (green only) of 3 or 4 scallions chopped finely.

Add a few pinches of oregano.

I cooked it longer than I had to because it was too soupy for me. At the end I added a pat of butter and swirled it around. It just finishes the sauce.

If the sauce was just for me I would have added some Parmesan cheese but I get tired of hearing, "What smells like feet?" when I that.


Whatever. More cheese for me.

What's in my pantry for dinner today?


I served it over linguine because I had two open boxes needing to be used up. Why did I have two open boxes? No clue.

So how did the entirely pantry, kinda gourmet looking dinner go over?

Really well, 'cept this one glitch. Those tails.

The voice from the other room: Hey, why'd you leave those things on?

Me: Um, Im sorry. Did you say thanks so much for making me this really nice dinner with those things on?

The voice from the other room: well, yeah. But I hate when those things are on. Now I have to take them off.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Family resemblance

This is my father at 17 when he joined the army



This is my son dressed up to go to a dance as Danny from the movie, Grease. I think they look very much alike. So did my son and my dad although my dad's hair was much more exuberant.

As my son pointed out , "That's some wild hair on pop-pop."


And so it is. My dad's hair just did that. The boy's hair got to a similar place using a tube of industrial strength spackle, I mean gel... and half a can of hair spray.

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Yesterday's Pyrex score!

I was thinking just yesterday that I needed a loaf pan and pie plate (although why, I don't know...I can't remember the last time I made anything requiring a pie plate. I think I may have some sort of issue with kitchenailia ...)

The day started out with an eye doctor's appointment at 8 a.m. A follow up from the surgery I had on my left eye on March 2 and my right eye on March 31. All was well with that... Next follow up - 2 weeks. Than at 9 a.m., the dentist. I had to get the permanent crown placed.

That was much more of a deal than the eye doctor visit.

The dentist said something that about summed up my whole time in the chair.

"Well, it's a live tooth, Tracy. Feeling what I'm doing is a good thing."

He's the best dentist I've ever had and I did have the Novocaine option. Confusing a 'live' tooth getting a crown with a tooth getting a crown that has had root canal is where I went wrong.

When that was over and figuring my day could not get worse I decided to go to the thrift shop; a normally unproductive and frustrating endeavor.

So I drove there. Just me and that live tooth bitching at me the entire way....



I walked in, didn't grab a basket or anything because what would be the point of that? And there they were as if placed in the thrift shop by the Pyrex fairy....

Score!  Pyrex bakeware...

And clean, besides. No scratches or wear... And no gunk, residue or other assorted schmutz from prior food forays. I washed them and dried them and they shine like diamonds, don't they? I paid $2.50 each. Be still my frugal heart.

Behind my Pyrex finds is my actively warping cutting board and under them are these kitchen towels I love. I got one set as a gift and than bought another because surprisingly they actually dry things rather than just moving the water around.

What a concept, right?

They are pretty, light, dry very quickly...become softer and softer as you wash them and are 100% cotton. They are also great for wrapping around wet hair... Like a turban thingamabob.



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Only in New Joisy

Did you know that in August of 2008 the New Jersey Pest Management Association/ Rutgers University held the 14th (or 15th, depends on where I look) annual Cockroach Derby?

Me either.

And in honor of the upcoming election they ran a special Presidential Cockroach Race; pitting two Madagascar Hissing Roaches (named McCain and Obama) against each other in the ultimate cockroach smack down.

John McCain won the title this year. Well, that John McCain won 'that' title this year.



Here is a picture of John McCain (he's the one with John McCain's face stuck to his back) in the stretch.




Gotta love NJ, right?

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You say road-kill...I say butterfly...

Last nights chicken was a huge hit with everyone which almost never happens. The family was eating and I was hearing things like 'Great!' and 'Wow!' and 'Where's my black shirt? (A trick question, really, because all of the boys shirts are black) and 'Can we have this again?'

I was in heaven and quietly basking in the glow of all the compliments (also something that almost never happens) when the person I chose to spend my life with says:

"But why did you make it look like road-kill?"


It doesn't look like road-kill, it's called butterflying.

"Oh. Well, I guess that does sound better."

If you want to make your chicken look like road-kill, too, here is a video. This guy does a much better job than I did. I just cut down one side of it and smashed it flat.



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The spice of life...

spices

I woke up at 4 this morning. Made coffee and went looking for Splenda. It's usually in the silverware drawer but not this morning.

Where is that box we got at Costco?

I opened the spice cabinet and got beaned by a container of brown sugar. Not just any brown sugar but that impossibly rock hard solid brick of brown sugar that I used in last night's chicken. See it up there on the left in that take-out soup container? I think it weighed 11 pounds. Why does that stuff get so hard?

When I put it back, I saw the problem. It doesn't fit. In fact, nothing in there fits.

Does one really need all those spices? How am I ever going to use all that sliced, dried garlic (It's that big jar, mid picture). And that big jar with the red top... top shelf. Bay leaves. I don't even like bay leaves. How did I end up with a quart of them? On the positive side I did fine whole cloves, unopened, that I didn't know I had (I have a recipe I haven't been making because I didn't have a bouquet garni - now, I do. Thickened tomato sauce, here I come)

But as to the rest of it... What am I doing with all that stuff? And more importantly - How in the world do you organize all those spices in a little space? Make them accessible. And dare I say... Neat? Or just fit, for Pete's sake?

I had a flash back of my dad saying something to me as I was getting clocked with the brown sugar. He was describing the first new car I bought and was paying for... I loved it. She was gold and had a sunroof. And a radio (Thats it, just a radio) and no air conditioning... But I loved her.

Dad took one look at the car and said, "Looks like 20 pounds of shit in a 10 pound bag to me."


Dad can poetically turn a phrase, don't you think?

In the end, I guess Dad was right because the LeCar is frequently on " The worst cars ever" lists... Actually so was my very first car:




An AMC Hornet. Also no air conditioning. And also makes frequent appearances on "The worst cars ever" lists. I really know how to pick 'em.

But I digress...

How do you organize spices? I try but the only thing I end up doing is throwing out the ones I don't need; only to have to buy them 2 days later because I have a recipe that calls for them. I have a step shelf in there... Okay, that helps. But nothing else... think another step shelf would help?

Or is it just hopeless in there? And what will I do next time the spice cabinet attacks? What if I'm beaned by a whole slew of little bottles, falling like rain (Cause that's happened) Will they believe me in the ER when I tell them it was a condiment-related injury?


So, how do you all organize your spices so you can find them, they are neat and they won't cause bodily harm?



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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thrift shop - SCORE!

I know some people seem to be able to walk into a rag-a-muffin of a thrift shop find a silk purse amongst the sow's ears . But that's not me. I'm not one of those gifted thrifters.

In my history of thrifting I am most likely to go into a shop, hopeful as all get out, and what do I find?

A place full of sow's ears...

Or worse. Dirty, stained and smelling like sow's ears, sow's ears. And not a silk purse in the lot.

Some people have great thrifting karma. I follow Eddie Ross's blog. That guy has the thrifting Midas touch. I'm convinced we could walk into the same store and he would walk out with an Edwardian Sterling Silver Compote and I would walk out with...well, something someone else considered garbage. How much self-esteem can you have if you buy someone else's garbage.

But I digress....

Today was different! The stars must be aligned. My bio-rhythms must be in full force positive and I must be getting some sort of Karmic justice for returning that wallet to the owner a few years back.

I found Pyrex! More Pyrex than I could actually buy. Which never happens. I'm saving the Pyrex finds for another post. This post is about lamps.

A few months back I went there and saw these gold speckled retro looking lamps that I loved for $8 each. I didn't get them because I didn't have the $16, didn't know if they worked, couldn't find shades... etc. I gave myself a lot of reasons not to buy them and have regretted it ever since.

After checking out the bounty of Pyrex and deciding what to buy I thought I'd go check out the lamp situation and Lo! and behold there they were. I grabbed them (literally grabbed them), clutching them to me as I walked around trying to find shades (The clutching was so silly because the darn things had probably been there for a year but I didn't want to find them just to lose them). After looking and looking....and looking through many dusty and stained... and may I say oddly-shaped lampshades (Who wants a plastic purple lampshade shaped like a bunch of grapes)... I found two. Alike. The same shade. What are the chances? The price $3.50 each.

SCORE!

I grabbed up all my bounty, paid and drove home. I had the perfect lamp place. I'd just rearranged my dining area to add a buffet. Well, okay not a buffet actually but it can serve as one and it cried out for lighting.

lamp

I'm so happy I could scream. In fact, I think I will...

SCORE!

Certainly glad I am home alone.

The lamp is fabulous. It and the shade need a cleaning but I think it's perfect and just what that dark area needed. I love the gold flecks... The retro vibe and $11.50 price tag. The area isn't suffiantly 'staged' as they say on HGTV but I'm very happy with my purchases.

lamp2

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Much ado about Tea...

I wasn't much into tea. Ever..

I listen to talk radio in my car. Much to the disdain of my family who thinks it's boring...pointless..annoying... But I like having something new to think about. I like hearing people discuss things. I especially like Food Talk with Michael Colemeco and Dr. Joy but I will listen to just about anything if pushed.

One day I heard Mark Ukra, also known as Dr. Tea, on The Joan Hamburg
show and boy is he into tea. His enthusiasm is infectious, even for me... a hard-core coffee drinker.


I had no idea that tea was so good for me... or any of the other things I learned about tea in that few
minutes of interview time.

Did you know that...

...all teas come from just one plant?

I didn't. It's called Camellia sinensis. Yep, doesn't matter if it's green tea or black tea or even oolong tea. If it's tea it's from the same plant. Other things called herbal teas aren't really teas, but tisanes. If it's tea, it's tea. The taste and color differences come from the processing after picking.

... you can decaffeinate your own tea?

I didn't. If you brew caffeinated tea for about a minute, pour out that steeping...add fresh hot water and steep normally you will end up with a cup of tea with most of the caffeine removed.

... drinking black tea is just as good as drinking green tea?

I didn't. I learned that all teas have various antioxidents, phytochemicals, and other assorted good things in different ratios. Green tea gets a lot of press so it's an advertising buzz word in all kinds of products from gum to shampoo to tires (just kidding about the tires). Seems like everything says on the label "NOW WITH GREEN TEA!" But the truth is all tea rocks for your health.

I wanted to know more so I ordered Doctor Teas Book - The Ultimate Tea Diet: Burn Fat and Lose Pounds Fast and Forver. But just to find out more about the health benefits of tea. Not for that bulge accumulating around my... well, around my everything actually.




I even wrote Dr. Tea and and asked if I could get small samples of different teas. I told him I've ordered tea before and it all sounds good when it's being described and when you open the tin it smells like heaven. But after you brew it it tastes like you just brewed a mop. Flat and tasteless... Dr. Tea actually wrote me back and had me call Donald, over at Mr. Tea's store. Donald was very helpful and said he would make up some samples of any kinds I wanted and also made some suggestions. He said he understood that I didn't want to buy a large amount of something I might not like and I ordered small amounts of many teas for and equally small price tag!

Interestingly my absolute favorite tea was one that was suggested to me not one I originally had asked for. Chocolate banana Oh my. What can I say except .... Yummy!

Unless your Rachael Ray in which case you should say Yumm-o!

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What's in my pantry for dinner? Hamburger...


I was really tired last evening and no one was home. My son was at work and my partner was on an elder-parent-doctor-mission... I had a blessed few moments to... well, to do nothing.

Just as I plopped down on my bed and closed my eyes my boy called me to say he forgot his money, he was hungry and when he came home he would be starvin
g.

Gosh, I was tired but I knew he had no money; he told me he forgot his wallet when I dropped him off and the guilts got the better of me for not bringing him his wallet.

And than I remembered the hamburger meat sitting in the frid
ge. I'd bought it right after I dropped him off (sans wallet) with the intention of making him a meatloaf because a day ago he told me, "The best food is a meatloaf sandwich on white bread."

I'm shocked as usual when he says things like that because as far as I knew he'd never eaten meatloaf. The boy is a picky eater. I mean "P"icky with that capital "P" there... He spent the first 12 years of his life eating Boar's Head low salt bolo
gna on white bread (crusts and bologna skin cut off) every day for lunch. Every day.

A few years ago the local store stopped selling Boar's Head Brand. Oh the unbelievable horror of that time. Eventually, after many failed sandwich attempts ("Ma, the bread was good but what was that brown stuff?") we tried to do an Iron Chef bologna one night. We made 12 little sandwiches with different meats and bologna brands trying to find a substitute. He took a bite of each, chewed, and ran to the sink to spit.


No winner in Iron Chef bologna. And I have the video.

But as he's gotten older and eaten at friends houses, new foods have appeared in his life. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to add one so I got out of bed and hauled out the ground mea
t and the recipe I've been wanting to try.


It's called Meat Loaf (That's it, just meat loaf. Don't you love how simple and all-encompassing that is?) and its on page 431 of the 1963 version of The Joy of Cooking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine and shape into a loaf:

1 lb. ground beef (half of this may be pork)
2 T chopped parsley
1 egg yolk

1 T soft butter
1 t bread crumbs
1 t lemon juice
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t onion juice

Place loaf in a lightly greased pan. Bake it for an hour.

Pour some over the top and baste at intervals with the remainder of:
1/4 c butter
1 c vegetable broth or 1 c water and half packet of dried soup mix


I tested the internal temp at an hour and it was 162 degrees and rising. Which is great - gives it time to rest.

The result was a dense meatloaf that I liked very much. I thought it needed a bit more salt but that might be because I used Janes Krazy Mixed up Salt instead of real salt. I love Jane's Krazy Mixed up Salt and use it all the time! It's unbeatable on popcorn.
After all these years I realize I don't know who Jane is so I
just went to her website. This is Jane's story:

Jane's story began in a modest kitchen in a small apartment in Overbrook, PA. She was a rosie-cheeked grandmother-type who was busily mixing batches of salt, pepper, herbs and a few secret ingredients. She wanted to make her cooking go a little faster and make gifts for friends and relatives. Her energy and zest for life helped her turn her hobby into an international food sensation.


Jane told the World News, Roanoke VA, in 1971, "I don't feel anyone should actually retire, but should keep busy meeting people. When you start a business at sixty like I did, you realize that age is not important. It's the enthusiasm." Jane was a one-woman marketing machine. When she wasn't buttonholing customers right in the supermarket, she'd be approaching mom and pop delicatessens and making sure her seasonings were seen and tasted. The unstoppable Jane toured the country and the world demonstrating and telling everyone about her salt. Because of demands of Jane's loyal fans who wouldn't think of eating without her delicious seasoning, we have grown over the last thirty years.

Anyway - there are a lot more Krazy products now and if they aren't in your grocery store you can order them from Jane. What can I say about Jane's picture? Gotta love a woman in her 60's covered in birds, you know?

So this is my meatloaf all browned and moist on the outside. Inside was a denser meatloaf than newer recipes produce - without the pesky pieces (What's this thing?) and strong flavors many kids dislike so much. And the kitchen smelled like home. In fact my son said "What smells good?" when he came home. Always a much better question than the other version which is...

"What smells?"

loaf4


Because his idea of meatloaf is a few slices tucked between white bread, I made the whole thing a no brainer for him. I cut some up, lightly toasted some white bread and added one of the three vegetables he will eat, celery. I set the ketchup there and told him I made it just for him and if he doesn't like it, please eat it anyway. Just use a lot of ketchup... And than I went upstairs and waited to hear the full plate hit the sink.

loaf2


But I didnt hear that. In fact in about 20 minutes my son came upstairs and
told me it was the best meatloaf he ever had. And while I know it's only the second meatloaf he's ever had... I was still very touched.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's for dinner soon? Chicken!

I happen to love old cookbooks. I love the short ingredient lists... The simplicity of tastes... The possibility of finding a recipe where you have all (or most) of what you need to make it already... I love the lack of pretense in the older cook books. And I love how they don't coddle you... How they just tell it like it is... How they say what to do without breaking every step into minutia.

Today cookbooks treat us like toddlers... The older the cookbook the more likely it will tell you less. I know that is scary, to some...but cooking is an art, not a science. Live dangerously. Go with your gut when cooking. Don't look for directions for everything. Improvise.

But I digress.

Peg Bracken wrote cookbooks in the 60's and had a sense of humor. She would have had a heck of a blog it she was still around today. Yesterday I going through her Appendix to the I Hate to Cook Book and found a chicken recipe.

It's on page 39 and is called Bastard Barbeque. Racy, no?

Here goes:

"You will probably be suspicious, as I was at first, of the brown sugar. But go ahead.

Salt and pepper and lavishly garlic-salt a cut up fryer.

Put it in a shallow pan and sprinkle it generously with brown sugar (not the brownulated variety). Dot generously with lots of butter and bake it, uncovered, about an hour, at 350 degrees."

Ah! How simple and beautiful it is... No pesky extra explanations... No 'to taste' after the salt and pepper (which is really redundant if you think about it). And what are the amounts for garlic, brown sugar and butter? Only to do it generously and lavishly.

Poetry, I tell ya.

Chicken was 79 cents a pound at the A &P yesterday so I bought one. Instead of having a cut up chicken I just butterflied my whole chicken... Well, technically I didn't do it right but it's flat and looks like a butterfly. Well, one made out of a chicken anyway....

chickenbrownsugar

I followed the directions regarding lavish use of garlic salt and the generous use of the butter but I had problems with my brown sugar. My brown sugar was as hard as a brick so what ever I could flake off that thing, I used. It was sort of like the trying to take apart a building with a noodle.... It might or might not have been technically generous.

Looking at the picture now, there may be an over-generous amount of butter but what the heck? It will slide off anyway..

Since I was cooking a half and not pieces I cooked for an hour at 400 degrees and about another 15 (just cause I'm obsessive about cooking chicken) at 350. The last 15 minutes were mostly likely not needed. My OCD got the better of me.

Chicken Tonight!

This chicken IS delicious. Even picky son said "It's good, ma" which is equivalent to a rave. You can taste the garlic, you can taste the sugar (When reading the recipe I thought that could be a mighty strange combo... but nope. I think garlic brown sugar must be how heaven tastes!) and its got that mellow butter flavor that keeps everything from getting too out of control.

The butter mellows everything. Reins in all the random flavors and holds them together. It's the diplomat of the culinary world.



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Collecting Pyrex frugally...

I love and adore vintage pyrex...but so does everyone else, it seems. While it can be found in many places on and off-line... the price tag is hefty.

I started collecting because I wanted to replace my plastic new containers with good old glass products that had not had a lead recall... Had not been found to be dangerous in anyway... And had stood the test of time.

On hunting for them I found the prices to be CRAZY-EXPENSIVE! If you have patience and time they can be had at yard and estate sales a piece at a time. I got mine over the last year and the most I spent was $4 for one of the large round bowls - most were under $1.

These were the first bowls I found... One at a time (patience, grasshopper!).... With many non-fruitful shopping trips between the fruitful ones.

pyrex2

Next came the blue and green one at an estate sale. I paid $8 for the two of them.

pyrex

These small green casseroles were part of a score (SCORE!) at a recent estate sale. I think they were about $1 each? Not sure exactly because that was where I bought most of the pieces I have and they pyrex was lumped into sets at that sale.

pyrex1

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The No S Diet...




The No S Diet is so simple. I have to try it... but could it work I keep thinking? On the other hand I keep thinking how could it not?

According to the web site:

The No S Diet, also known as the "Grandma Diet," the "Why Didn't I Think of that Diet," and the "No $ Diet" is a program of systematic moderation I invented for myself that I imagine might work for similarly minded people.

No funny science or calorie accounting involved, just a few simple and mnemonic tricks for giving your willpower the upper hand.

There are just three rules and one exception:

  • No Snacks
  • No Sweets
  • No Seconds

Except (sometimes) on days that start with "S"

That's it.

How could something this simple possibly work? Precisely because it's simple -- or rather, following the Einsteinian dictum, "as simple as possible, but not simpler." For all its folksy charm, there's a lot of serious, practical wisdom packed into those 14 words. Read on if you need more convincing...


So yes. That does make sense. I admit I lose track because of seconds... and in-between meal tastes and bites... And what is hunger anyway? Is it boredom? Or did I just see a commercial? Or am I tasting a recipe I'm working on?


A huge problem I have is breakfast. I don't normally eat it. Today I've decided to make a shake with light soy milk, no sugar chocolate instant breakfast (with splenda), a banana and a few frozen strawberries.

I will say it's pretty. And thick... and a whopping 14 grams of proteiny goodness in a 16 ounce plastic cup that I don't even have to wash.


drink


Read more...

What's in my pantry for dinner? Chicken...

This morning I had 3 frozen chicken thighs (I had pre-sprinkled them with a steak seasoning before freezing) and an onion.

At 5:30 this morning I got out my 1973 version of The Joy of Cooking (It's gem!) and looked under chicken.


Today I will be making Chicken Paprika from page 468,

Cut up as for frying:
A young chicken: about 2 1/2 pounds (I will be using my chicken thighs, skinned)

Melt in a heavy pot:
1 1/2 T. butter
1 1/2 T cooking oil

Add and simmer until golden:

1 C. chopped onions (I will be using my one large onion. At this point my son told me he was going to wait for his ride to school outside. Apparently, all those onions being chopped at 6:55 a.m. was a bit much for him.)
2 t. to 2 T. mild paprika ( I will be using 2 T, of a random unknown cheap paprika when it was on sale.)

Add:
1/2 t. salt (I didn't)
2 C. well-seasoned stock ( Since I had enough Better than bouillon for two cups I used this mixed with 2 cups of water and omitted the salt)

chickenpaprika

Well that chip I ignoring in my stove top seems front and center. Please ignore it.

As soon as these ingredients have reached boiling point, add the chicken. Simmer it, covered, until tender, about and hour.

Stir:

1 t. flour

Into:
1 C. cultured sour cream

Stir it slowly into the pot. Heat the chicken 5 minutes longer but DO NOT BOIL (the sour cream with curdle and it will look most unappetizing) Serve at once. Good with noodles or rice.

I am going to cook it up until you have to add the sour cream. First, because it's morning... Second, because I don't have sour cream... And third because I don't get the idea this is easily reheated... So once the chicken and onions are cooked I'm going to let it cool and refrigerate until I can go get the sour cream... and it's dinner time.

*update*
I finished it later and all I can say is 'YUM'

Chicken paprika done!

Except for the sour cream which I had to go and buy it was totally pantry. A good thing about fridging it for a few hours was that I could skim some of the congealed fat off the sauce. Always a positive!

Amazon is selling the 75th anniversay version of this book! It's a not-to-be-missed-classic!




If you've never tried Better Than Bouillon Stock bases they are wonderful. You can buy them in the soup aisle of your market of from amazon. They are much better than stock cubes and you can get many varieties, including organic and low salt. In this recipe I used the spoonful of chicken I had left and the spoonful of vegetable.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Home, sweet, home

Life is tough when everyone you live with has Attention Deficit Disorder. You clean and than things go downhill fast.

Piles appear out of no where and any pile there longer than 2 hours is no longer seen. Unless it's moved somewhere else.

I have come to the conclusion that the only way to have a clean house is for every thing I own (and everything everyone else owns) to have a home. A real honest to goodness home.

Good luck.

The best book I ever read on woman with ADD is by Sari Solden. I read it a while ago and it's life changing. And empowering.

As the product information states: Every year, millions of withdrawn little girls and chronically overwhelmed women go undiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder because they don't fit the stereotypical profile: they’re not fast-talking, hyperactive, or inattentive, and they are not male. Sari Solden’s groundbreaking study reveals that ADD affects just as many women as men, and that the resulting depression, disorganization, anxiety, and underachievement are also symptoms of ADD. Newly revised and updated to reflect the latest clinical research, the book explores treatment and counseling options, and uses real-life case histories to examine the special challenges women with ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) face, such as the shame of not fulfilling societal expectations. Included is a brand new chapter on friendship for women with ADHD. Three empowering steps — restructuring one's life, renegotiating relationships, and redefining self-image — help women take control of their lives and enjoy success on their own terms.



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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Inko's Tea - a wonderful addiction


I sit to write this after taking long delicious gulp of my newest addiction. Inko's Tea. Oh my! What a wonderful thing. I love it to pieces!

I found it one day while shopping non-frugally (i.e. - wandering the aisles without a list) and happened upon the delicious flavors and light sweetness. It's remarkably low calorie - something that made me think it was not going to taste very good but wow! Was I wrong.

It's just sweet enough. I grabbed the Honeydew flavor (in the refrigerated section of my local market) because I can't resist anything melon flavored and popped it open in my car. Oh my goodness! It was like a heavenly melon in a cold refreshing gulp. And each serving (half the bottle) has just 28 calories. What else has 28 calories? Lettuce?

And the flavors? Oh yum! Here's the list from the web site:

Honeydew
Mmmm.... juicy!
Get the facts

Blueberry
Can you say yum?
Get the facts

Unsweetened
Hint O’Mint

Light, refreshing, subtle
and sublime. And 0 calories!
Get the facts
White Peach
Oh it is just soooo good.
Get the facts

Original
And still the top dog.
Get the facts

Apricot
No infusion confusion here!
This is a totally different taste.
Get the facts
Cherry Vanilla
Ooh la la...
Get the facts

Unsweetened
Honeysuckle
We like, we like it a lot.
Especially at 0 calories!
Get the facts

Lychee
A little exotic, and very refreshing!
Get the facts
Energy
An all-natural, jitter-free boost...
Get the facts
I really want to try the cherry vanilla and lychee (and honeysuckle too if truth be told) but my local store doesn't carry those.

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