Monday, February 28, 2011

Rainy Day

Well, today started out sunny and very warm. The weather definitely turned this afternoon though- tornado watches and thunderstorms! It was raining really hard when I left work- and I really needed to go to the grocery store. So, I decided to brave the rain, because, well, a girl's gotta eat. Halfway through my 30 minute drive the rain let up some which was nice. When I got to the store a parking space opened up 3 spots down from the front. That was awesome, especially considering that it was raining hard again when I left.

My husband has been out of town since last Friday and will be gone until Sunday, ahh! It gets to be a bit lonely around here without him. I am already ready for him to be back. I do get to fix a bunch of meals this week that he doesn't like though, so that's an up-side to his absence.

In other news, our microwave died tonight. It was a good microwave I suppose- I've had it since college. Fortunately it died after I had just heated up a cup of Guatemalan coffee.

Tonight I made curried tomato soup. It was a little side recipe in this month's Real Simple. It was so easy to make and tasted pretty good too. It would easily serve four people. For the recipe you need the following: 1 small onion, diced, 2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped, 1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, 1 tbs evoo, salt, pepper, and a dash of curry powder. To start, pour the 1 tbs of evoo in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Then, add your salt and pepper (to taste) and the dash of curry powder. After that, pour in the tomatoes with their juices. Add the 1/2 cup of water. Bring all of that to a boil. Once it is boiling, transfer it all into a blender and puree until smooth. I transferred mine back to the pan to keep warm. That's it! I topped mine with some chopped parsley and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

The following two photos are of two other meals I've made recently. One is chili- my mom's recipe. The other is a steamed tilapia and rice with vegetables. That's an easy one to make. I'll post the recipe another time because pictures of how to do it need to be with it (I didn't take any this time).

Tomorrow I'm going to be ambitious and wake up early enough to fix a cute little breakfast. I found a bagel recipe that I want to try. You take your favorite bagel, top with cream cheese, spread a little honey on there, and top with some apple slices. Sounds good to me. If I am awake enough I may get a picture in- no promises.

Well I'm off to wrap up my day and make my way to bed (have to get that sleep in so I can make my bagel!). I will say that I do quite enjoy the queen size bed all to myself.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February: the month of food, love, and the flu

About two weeks ago I made chicken parmesan by Ina Garten's recipe. It was rockin. Just thinking of it makes me want some. It will definitely be on the menu again next month. Also, on the night that I made the chicken parmesan, I talked to my friend Liz on the phone for an hour, so it was a doubly good night. To make the dish for 2-3 people you'll need the following (the original recipe yields 6 servings, I've cut it down some):

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
about 1 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
1 tbs water
1 cup of bread crumbs
1/2 cup of grated parmesan
unsalted butter
olive oil
salad greens (you can use torn romaine or arugula)
lemon vinaigrette (2 lemons, 1/2 cup evoo, salt, pepper)

Set up three large plates. On the first, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. On the second, beat the eggs with the water. And- on the third, combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan, reserving some parm for serving. You will need to pound your chicken breasts until almost flat. Then coat them first in the flour, second in the egg, and then in the breadcrumbs and parmesan (pressing lightly each time). Heat a skillet pan on medium heat with a combination of evoo and butter. You can use just evoo, which is what I did. Cook the chicken breasts in the pan for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, toss your salad greens with the lemon vinaigrette. When the chicken is cooked, top it off with some salad greens, sprinkle on some extra parmesan, and enjoy!

I included a photo of my "plate stations" to prep the chicken.

In other news, husband and I have both been sick for the past week. I was officially diagnosed with the flu on Thursday. So, our meals this week have consisted mostly of homemade chicken noodle soup. In fact, that is how we celebrated our Valentines day. I did break out my favorite glasses, antique soup spoons, and candles to make it a little bit more special. We even jazzed it up some with saltine goldfish. Ha. Check out the photo below.

It was still a good Valentine's day, even if we were both sick and grumpy. I wouldn't want to celebrate with anyone else.

Thankfully, today I am feeling much better. I did have to miss a whole weekend away for YL with husband though. So, it's been a little bit lonely around here with him gone. I'll be glad for him to be home tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today is a Good Day

Today my friend Libby had her last round of chemotherapy. Today is a good day. Even if everything else today was stressful, crazy, and blah, her chemo being over in and of itself makes today a good day. The Lord is so good. Thank you to those of you who have been praying for her. It's exciting.

I've made some meals recently-they're nothing to write home about. They were good, but I don't know if I'd make them again. Recently I haven't been falling in love with my food, but that's ok. It makes the times when I do really count.

First off, we cooked some pork ribs last week. And- I won't do that again. Gross. I made French potato salad to go with them, and it was good. So one out of two there.

I also made skillet beef, asparagus, and roasted potatoes one night. That was good. For the potatoes you will need 4-5 gold or red potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut them into quarters and spread them on a sheet pan. Coat the potatoes with evoo, salt, pepper, garlic, and your favorite herbs (I usually use parsley and basil). Place the potatoes in the oven for 45 minutes, until crispy. I have posted the roasted asparagus recipe before here. And for the meat: basically, you just take a good cut of beef (you can use flank steak or a NY strip) and marinate it in 1/4 cup of evoo, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, and 3-4 garlic cloves. Let that marinate for at least an hour. Then, thinly slice the meat. Pour the meat and marinade into a skillet on medium heat and cook until it is just cooked through (or longer if you like your meat well done). It's a pretty easy meal to cook and it yields some great flavors!

The last meal we've had recently is a Mediterranean shrimp and orzo dish. I'm starting to cook more Mediterranean type meals because the flavors intrigue me. However, this one wasn't really good. So I'm not going to even waste time typing it out. Better luck next time. I am putting a picture of the mess it made because my husband told me to put some pictures on my blog of the messes I make. He said it makes the whole thing look more real. Ha. So, enjoy because I probably won't take anymore. I am slightly OCD when it comes to messes in the kitchen (as my friends all nod their heads in agreement, especially you Carla).

Last is a picture of my birthday dinner from one of our favorite places, The Babcock House. It's duck, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

I have the house to myself for a while so I'm off to get some things done and enjoy some solitude. Congratulations Libby.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sometimes you feel like a cook, sometimes you don't

I was talking to one of my friends from work yesterday and she made the comment that we are on "mind overload". So true. When you live in the life of a teacher, you do get some perks- such as snow days. There is always some degree of excitement that creeps up in you from your childhood when you hear that there's no school today- snow day! However, after a while, your teacherhood creeps up and reality hits- we're behind. So these past couple of weeks we've been working extra hard to keep on pace in my class, but it has definitely caused me to go into "mind overload". All this to say that 1. I haven't been cooking many new recipes lately and 2. if I did cook something new, I don't really remember it.

But- February promises to be a refreshing month full of new and good food. One because I am turning 25 this month and we will be dining at some of my favorite dining establishments to celebrate. And, because I have heard of a ton of new recipes that I want to try out this month. I'm excited.

Last week I cooked a pot roast and vegetables in the crock pot. A pretty classic recipe. With the leftovers, I made some "roast sliders". All I did is shred up the leftover roast and added some "Bone Suckin' Sauce" (from NC) to coat. We ate those with some of the leftover vegetables. It was a great way to mix things up.

One day this week husband and I were both under the weather. So, we did not feel up to cooking. He was sweet enough to go out and get us some "sick survival food". We had chicken noodle soup from a can- it was disgusting and even if I am really sick and need it, I never want to eat it again. Gross. I guess you can't go back once you have gotten used to homemade. For dinner, we had fish sticks, and leftover mashed potatoes (from which meal I can't remember). That proved to be much better than lunch. Once in a blue moon, a girl's got to eat some fish sticks.