"No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best" -something I saw on my mom's kitchen wall as a kid, author unknown

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Small hiatus

Good morning and happy holiday season! I’m blogging from my phone today so, sadly, it will be short.

I had been blogging from work since it was slow and such, but the girl I was covering for is back and I now have no computer … for sad.  I do have pictures of my failed bread pudding. Failed according to me, but my Michael ate nearly half of it himself. He does however, eat mostly anything… so I’m not sure he counts when it comes to a baseline on my cooking ability.

I will have lots to say regarding holiday baking … cookie day is quickly approaching and I’m looking to try new recipes.

Until then, bear with me, and happy holidays from my kitchen to yours!

Monday’s Potatoes

On Tuesday I started out with this plan to write about the OsmPotatoes I made for dinner on Monday night… somewhere along way the thought derailed into this hippie-love post for those who have been very influential to me lately. (Love you guys!) And then there was Wednesday… I wanted to get the scrap book out for you as promised… once again, putting the potatoes on the back burner. (lulz?) So today I give you OsmPotatoes! (fully illustrated with photos that made the making of said potatoes take TWICE as long – good thing Michael is patient!)

OsmPotatoes™

Firstly, start out with some firm taters, peel them and cut into bite-sized chunks. I can never remember what kind of potatoes I use… generally the ones from Idaho, I think – just not the ones you can buy in singles for the microwave. (That’s just weird, I think) Use the number of potatoes that will accommodate the meal that you are making… I used 6 in this example and it allowed for a few leftovers! (hurrah!)

Once your potatoes are peeled, cut and washed, soak them in a bath of slightly salty water on the stove… and boil! You will want to boil them to a firm, but not crunchy texture. Since I didn’t time it I have no idea how long it takes – also I was busy fiddling around with my camera… You don’t want them to be soft like you would for mashed potatoes or they will just fall apart in the next step and at that point, really, mashed potatoes would be a better choice.

While I was working on my photos making the potatoes, Michael was busy outside doing the grilling. (Something I stay away from) The grill is Michael’s domain. I think one time he said that grilling is therapeutic for him after an awful day at work (and, unfortunately, he has many of those) so I leave him to it. It’s pretty quiet out there, so I imagine it to be kind of like a zen time for him. Here is what he walked in the house with while my potatoes were STILL in the pot boiling. (I still deny that it was due to my trying to get a good picture to blog with…) He IS a grill master…

Okay so after fiddling with the camera and while the potatoes were still boiling I got to thinking about WHAT to season the yummy chunks of starchy goodness with… what I came up with was a mixture of Plain Bread Crumbs, unsalted herbal seasonings mix and about one or two teaspoons of salt to counter-act the unsalted herbs. (huh?!) I don’t know – it was what came to mind…

Anyway – I drained the taters and put them into a huge bowl and drenched them in butter… maybe about 1/2 cup worth. I just mixed the potatoes around until they were all well-coated. Once the tots were all glistening in buttery goodness, I poured the seasoning concoction over them and mixed – again until all the little chunks were coated. The aroma was divine and drew Michael into the kitchen from the living room. I hadn’t even gotten to the last step yet! It was a good sign… or maybe he was just really hungry and I was just taking way too long?

Once the potatoes were coated with seasons, I moved them to a frying pan on a high heat setting. The idea was to make them crunchy on the outside and to cook the butter IN to the chunks a bit. Also to brown the potatoes. It reminded me a bit of homefries… but for dinner. The frying took quite a bit longer than I had anticipated… I think it was due to the fact that I was frying SIX chunked potatoes in a smallish frying pan. Next time I will probably use the Wok or at least a larger frying pan… (I love my Wok, have I ever mentioned that?) The potatoes were a bit ornery and were refusing to brown… so I put the heat up a bit higher and added another tablespoon or so of butter to try to make the difference. When everything was done, this is what we ended up with:

Yes, I know there are no vegetables there – it’s not that we aren’t fans, we just forgot to make them and so skipped them this one time. My friend (and future house mate), Mark, insists it’s the Irish part of me… ha! I love making dinner with Michael. We turn out some pretty yummy stuff when we try. I’ll have to make sure to include adventures in partner cooking in future blogs.

Thanks for coming out today – if you try potatoes like this, let me know how they come out!

Scrap Book Day – Episode Two

In the spirit of consistency, I think I’ll share my scrap book with everyone on Wednesdays. I found some pictures this past week that I shot in Illinois. (Have I mentioned how beautiful it is in Illinois?) I was going to share them out today, but I think I will wait until next week. What I’d like to share this week is the Ren Faire you’ve been hearing me go on SO much about. Unfortunately there are limited photos as I did not take my lovely ‘real’ camera into the faire. For two reasons really – one, I didn’t want to lug the thing around all day and two, who had lovely Nikons in the 17th century?! amirite? Anyway, I felt less bad pulling out my phone and snapping a few shots of the joust. Which, by the way, I think my phone does a terrific job for being a phone!

So, here is where we started – at home in front of the rose bush… and apparently the neighbors garbage can.

Getting Started

The small one didn’t go along with us this time, though she is well aware of where we were going. As soon as I donned my red skirt she asked, “Mommy, are we going to the faire?”

Here is us being super silly 🙂

Silliness!!

After arriving to the faire, we purchased a lovely bodice for Phoebs. It’s green and reversible to black if she decides to change the rest of her gear ever. Unfortunately I don’t yet have a photo of her wearing it. I’m not sure why I didn’t just shoot one of her with my phone. Hindsight? We decided that if we did nothing else that day that we would not only see the joust, but have amazing seats as well. We went to the field 30 mins early and watched the second half of the archery demonstration that was on just before the joust. Can I say – that guy was AMAZING.

I always love the joust. I think much of that love stems from my very first trip to the faire with my 7th grade history class. That day I shared my ice cream with a horse and bestowed a favor upon one of the rider’s lances before the fight. I felt immersed in the entire event as if I were really in the 17th century… only sporting the tall hair of the 80’s (yikes!) This day we were cheering for Sir William riding for the white and red and Sir Roderick riding for the black and gold. (They were the chivalrous knights vs. the other two who were out for bloodshed and death – exciting no?)

Sir Roderick

 

Sir William Dismounts the rider in Blue and Silver

The Knights We Cheered For

… and she had a great time (you can kind of see the bodice here – though obviously not to the full potential) The bright blue/purple (however your eyes see it) is the inside of her cloak. She was cold and using it as a blanket.

The Ride Home

 

It was a good day… full of quality time spent in 17th Century England.

Thanks for sharing my scrap book today.

Is It Monday Again?

I could have used a glass  bottle glass of wine yesterday, I think…

Michael’s car is crashed. It’s in the body shop as we speak – so far we are aware that the hood looks like the nose of a bull dog, and are assuming that there is something wrong with the cooling system – considering the awful syrupy sweet smell and constant overheating. This, my friends, is not so good. I had to run the little one to school yesterday so that he could attempt to help his poor Crunchy limp to the shop. School is close to where Michael works, which incidentally is about an hour in the opposite direction of where I work. So, I was late. Fortunately, I have understanding bosses.

The fun part in all of this was finding out the hard way that our car insurance coverage wasn’t quite what we thought it was. No towing, and no rental car… what?! The policy I had with my previous company covered all of that – and before we switched, I told the new agent that I wanted identical coverage and if he could offer me a better price, then and ONLY then would I switch. Apparently to the new agent that meant he could shave off things like towing and rental coverage…  It kind of makes me want to call the company and give them a piece of my mind however, now I just feel like a dopey consumer. MY BAD for not reading the policy very thoroughly, MY BAD for trusting someone who could understand the insurance jargon so that I didn’t have to. All I can say is that this will be an expensive lesson, but one that I won’t make in the future.

Michael says we can still call the company and explain our position – not as enraged, victimized customers, but as rational customers who thought they had one product, but were really assigned to another. He would like to see them add these features to our existing plan without an additional cost – I don’t hold much hope of that happening. If it doesn’t, he is prepared to tromp back to our previous agent with heart-shaped chocolates and a bouquet of flowers, and ask them to take us back. I suspect that they will – I just hope that they can offer us the amazing coverage at the amazing price we used to pay. We shall see.

On happy notes! Tomorrow Phoebs and I head out for the last day of the faire. Just her and me – I’m excited. It will be a really fun mommy-daughter day of playing, and shopping, and show seeing. (Oh, and funnel cake eating! – there WILL be funnel cake, make no mistake.) I’m considering taking my camera… we shall see. (I consider it every time and end up leaving it in the trunk of my car)

Here’s to looking forward to a great weekend and a better week next week. Thanks for coming out  today – and hopefully I’ll have some fun pics to share from the faire in the next scrap-book!

Back to Baking

I finally remembered! The Legendary Snickerdoodle Recipe™

I grew up in an area that was heavily influenced by the Mennonite/Amish-type culture and as such many fantastic ‘family’ recipes were made into books and available locally. My mom always baked her cookies and pies from these books and always they were the best. Several of my guild members across the country can even vouch for this, as one year I baked and sent them out to some of them around the holidays. I always thought these books came from somewhere local, but I’ve just found them out on the interwebs; I highly recommend checking out Cook Books by Good Books for some really amazing recipes.

One other thing… for those of you who have trouble getting those “perfectly browned on the bottom” cookies (something I was NEVER able to do) – try a baking stone. Really! And season it well… the more seasoned, the better the cookies turn out. My stone is mostly black now, with only the clay color coming through in a few areas (and on the bottom, of course). It was the ultimate cure for my burnt cookies… I never baked a cookie I didn’t burn, until I got my baking stone. If you’re a lover of cooking with cast iron – you’ll love baking stones, and likely never go back to those metal pan thingies.

And without further ado, The Legendary Snickerdoodle Recipe™

(Makes 4 dozen)

1 cup Shortening

1½ cups sugar

2¾ cups flour

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

  1. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
  2. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt. Gradually stir into creamed mixture.
  3. Chill dough 2 hours or more. Form into balls the size of walnuts. Roll each ball in a mixture of 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.
  4. Bake at 400° for about 10 minutes. (Cookies should be lightly browned but still soft)

And there you have it folks… the best cookie recipe you will ever own. Please, please let me know if you try it. I’d love to hear feedback.

Please remember, this is not my own recipe and the book may be found by following the link above.

Thanks for coming out today – happy baking!

Adopting Dragons

So, I owe you all apologies! As you can see, the maintenance is still underway. However – it’s for good cause!

Friday evening, Michael and I went out with friends and family and had those grape bomb things, remember? They also come in cherry, fyi. I will say this… if you don’t like either grape flavored Dimetapp or cherry flavored Robitussin – I don’t recommend trying these. (I, for the record, don’t like either.) Suffices to say that my drink of choice for the remainder of the evening was NOT anything related to any flavored-bombs. I swapped between Corona and water. Sadly, whether it was a virus or perhaps the mixing of alcohol, Michael became very ill and we headed for home… unfortunately stopping several times along the way. I felt horrible for him. It certainly wasn’t the volume of alcohol, because to be truthful, he didn’t drink all that much. After tucking him into bed, I began to wonder if we’d be hitting the faire at all on Saturday with him feeling like he did.

Saturday morning came and Michael was groggy and ‘meh’ – so I let him sleep. I went to check on him late in the morning and he said he was feeling better and ready to head to the faire! I was excited! We headed out, me in full faire garb and Michael in his jeans and /spit t-shirt. Upon arrival, our first priority was to get that man dressed! And so we did…

(Forgive the poor quality of the picture – it was taken in horrid lighting and with my phone)

He’s adorable, I think. All he needs is a good pair of boots so that he doesn’t feel like Aladdin anymore. (Also missing in this shot is his belt and pouch.) We arrived late to the faire and spent a good deal of time getting him all set and finding proper accessories – such as a pouch to hold our magic pixie toys (i.e. cell phones) and I.D., money etc. Once we had finished and put all of his clothes in the car, we wandered about looking for a good place to eat and then settled into ‘our’ seats at the pub. (I say ‘our’ seats because it seems to be the same place we sit every time we visit.) As last call approached, we decided to find a place nearby and crash for the night so that we could come back in the morning and maybe see some shows (for a change).

The highlight of my Sunday trip to the faire, was the visit to the Dragon Hatchery. Oh, they were so very adorable! These darlings have very expressive faces and jeweled eyes. There were so many and in a rainbow of colors. I had my eye on a black and red. These adorable pets also love to sit comfortably on your shoulder and take in the sights while making the most darling little noises in your ear. I wish I had been able to snap a picture, but alas, I didn’t take my camera along.

I wanted so badly to adopt one of my very own. Unfortunately, dragons come at a pretty penny and I wasn’t able to. However, I have confirmed that the good folks from the hatchery also set up shop at the faire in Colorado – so all is not lost! I’m very much looking forward to giving a home to an orphan dragon next season – and hoping that Mark’s cat doesn’t much mind.

The busy weekend ended nicely with spending some time with my friends slaying some Seriously Angry internet dragons and introducing a new friend to the Lich King. (Also, Evie is now officially a King Slayer – F.T.W.)

I’m really promising to get faire pictures up – this weekend coming, Phoebs and I are going back… her outfit nearly complete! So, perhaps pictures at the house before heading out. Also… that Snickerdoodle recipe? ARGH, if I don’t keep forgetting it at home. It’s sitting out on my kitchen counter and I walk by it nearly 20 times each evening. Maybe tonight I will manage to remember to place it in my bag… or my car even.

Thanks for coming out today! ❤

Autumn Is…

Splashes of color – watercolors if you will, as it tends to be rainy.

Time for sweaters and sweatshirts and snuggly, warm blankets.

Camp fires and marshmallows.

Harvest celebrations.

Earthy tones and smells reminding us where we came from and enriching the spirit.

Apples – both crisp and cooked – and even pressed for cider mmmm…

Leaves that have fallen provide endless hours of entertainment for children.

Time for family and friends coming together closely, intimately.

A season to reflect back on the events of the year; learn from our mistakes and celebrate our victories.

A time to begin change, so that when her sister Spring arrives, there can be fresh growth.

A time when the earth’s children give back to her to help her rejuvenate.

One of my favorite times of year…

Thanks for coming out today and thank you to Apple for the Autumn Inspiration – what is your favorite time of year, and why?