"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 ‘In the Kitchen’ Category

I Lied… I’m In the Mountains…

…but only because I flew back to Colorado Springs for the weekend. Let me share with you what I see when I go to the grocery store (or Office Depot). For some, it’s no big deal – for me? It’s majestic. No, not the stores, the amazing, snow-capped Rocky Mountains that sit as the back drop for everything I see when looking to the West. I don’t think I will ever get used to the view.

Coffee was lovely this morning. I’m not sure if it was more because I didn’t have to make it, or that I was able to use my pirate mug… ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Working Diligently... maybe

So, here I am. It’s cold here people… very cold compared to Phoenix. So when I go back, I’m going to be thrilled to be wearing tank tops again. Anyway, Bff and I were conspiring today. Another friend of ours is having a birthday at the end of January but sadly, I will not be home to help celebrate. In order to remedy this, we decided to throw a party together for tonight. The theme? Socks.

Those of you who know Birthday Friend will totally understand the theme. We plan on making a center piece from socks and maybe decorating some socks with faces and hair to give them… personality. He may be interested in socks with a mouth… who knows?

Are the teeth too much, maybe? >.>

I’ll be sure to take pictures of our creations and post them in a future post so you can see the silliness.

For the event, Birthday Friend decided upon lasagna for dinner. Normally I would endeavor to make an amazing, home made lasagna – however, my time is limited and Bff suggested that we use the frozen stuff to save time. So up on the menu for tonight is ‘ok’ food, and LOTS of fun – with socks. Birthday Friend will be thrilled.

Speaking of such festivities reminds me that it’s time to finish school work and prepare for the evening’s adventures. Thanks for stopping by!

~ECO~

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I’m In the Desert…

So, when I say that I’m taking a small hiatus? Don’t believe me, friends – just don’t. Life has been a whirlwind this past year! Remember all that talk about moving to Colorado? Well, we did it! I’m near my friends and we are now surrounded by beautiful, mountainy goodness – well at least for Michael and Kahlynne. Phoebs is back in PA with her dad and I am in Phoenix for school. I’m kind of sad to be so far from my friends (especially my bff) – again… but it’s for a good cause, I keep telling myself. Crazy changes, huh? The desert is being pretty good to me so far, though I have found that I have an interesting fear of scorpions. It seems that I suddenly realized that scorpions live in the desert and, OMG, I am now in the desert – so, I’m afraid they are going to attack my feet. ALL OF THEM!

How creepy - with babies even!

Okay, so really I need to thank Apple. Apple, I read your blog today and began to think to myself, “Self? Where the hell are you and why did you stop blogging?” I couldn’t find a good and reasonable answer to my question, so I decided to immediately jump back in. Now that all three of you are excited to see that I plan to continue writing, let me tell you a little bit about what I’m doing in school. I’m really excited.

Firstly, I’m in school for something I LOVE. Graphics. Manipulating them, taking many of them and making new designs, altering them etc. All to convey a message. Okay, so that’s the deep down, raw part of what I love to do. My major is Digital Media and I am looking so forward to stretching the boundaries of what I know into the possibilities of what could be with just a touch of creativity.

This semester my classes are dealing with Photoshop, Math (appreciation), a bit of history, web design, and art. I’m excited about all of them – especially my art class. You all may be thinking, oh yes, art… drawing, painting and the like. No. This is bio art. huh?! Yes, that was my reaction also when I heard of the class. Pulling away from traditional art, bio art is at the intersection of biology, art and technology. I’ve only been to one class, but I am looking forward to learning more of this interesting, obscure emerging field.

Not that this ‘defines’ bio art, but Jon McCormack is an artist I was researching a bit about in preparation for a project. He designed this cool program. I don’t know much about it as I’ve only just begun to read about it, but I think it was designed to evolve dna and he creates art pieces around the results. It’s pretty neat and I encourage you to check him out.

I’m really liking my school also. It’s a fairly tiny school and it’s dedicated to technology. It’s fantastic – I’m surrounded by like minded people who love computers, games or at the very least, appreciate those who do. It seems that two of the most popular majors at the school are Game Art & Animation and Game Design but there are lots of other technology based majors available. The first acronym that I encountered (and on my first day of orientation even) was Net Sec… say that fast without it coming out as nutsack… riiiight.

Have I mentioned I’m in the desert? Here’s my apartment:

Evie's Apartment in the Desert

Cute, right? Just kidding. Phoenix is actually a really nice place. There are lots of palm trees – it kind of reminds me of when I was in California with Michael several years ago. Really, who can beat 65-75 degrees in January? I feel kind of guilty… almost like I’m on a really long vacation where I learn stuff. Just watch out for those scorpions.

Well friends, coffee is done brewing and its time for me to be off to school soon. There will be more as it happens. Thanks for coming by today – I know it’s been a really long loooonnnnggg time… like a year! So, thank you for coming back to visit and I look forward to telling many stories about school and more as they happen  🙂

~ECO~

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!

Inspiration and Evolution: my blogging journey

Recently I’ve been inspired.

It’s a funny thing – inspiration – it comes about at the strangest of times and sometimes by the oddest of things. Some people think of this as a muse even. Sandy Ackers has a great blog and brings her muse into a lot of the posts I’ve read recently. MY muse has come to me in the form of fellow bloggers (Sandy being one), or perhaps more appropriately, their blogs.

My bff, Teresa was my first inspiration – back before she was my bff and before we were Altaholics-Anonymous even. Her writing NEVER fails to bring a smile to my face, or even a ‘LoL IRL’. Also, Apple – ever the word of encouragement, she’s always happy to offer up feedback or even play along when I’m writing improv. So a GREAT.BIG.THANKYOU and many more hugs to these two lovely ladies for their inspiration, great reads and continued support in my endeavor to become a better writer.

I love you guys!

 (Note: I do NOT think of you guys as elephants, or heffalumps even… I just could NOT resist the cuteness that IS this picture)

Debra is the better half of my friend Jim and I love her blog. One of her more recent posts has inspired me to be a more social blogger. Reading that post made me realize that other bloggers like to know that they are being read too. Also, who DOESN’T love some comments?! What a great, innovative way to meet new ‘pen pals’ of sorts. Thank you, Debra. (Also, I’m seriously delinquent on making some layouts for you… have you seen the new, highly customizable layout now offered right here in WP? – It’s the one I’m currently using though I’m still working on a custom background).

Touching back on Sandy’s blog for a moment… the passages I’ve read from Strangling My Muse have inspired me to write – not perfect. (Which is something I found to be a huge hinderance to me – even in constructing THIS post). I love the challenges she presents and have tried them out on more than one occasion – sometimes even more than once just to observe the different results. What a great resource for writers in general. Thank you, Sandy!

Another recent, interesting inspiration came from sssourabh. I found him on Freshly Pressed one day when he posted an interesting spin on a ‘Top 10’ list… yeah, you know the kind! Having recently read Debra’s post related to commenting, I felt particularly inclined to leave my mark. A wonderful thing happened – sssourabh, in return, not only responded to my comment but visited MY blog and made comments of his own. Wow, I thought, THIS must be what Debra was talking about! One of sssourabh’s comments was an encouragement to include more photos within my blogs. That comment had me grabbing up my somewhat dusty Nikon case and toting that thing with me EVERYWHERE. (Also, my phone camera has been getting a huge workout) If I was going to include photos in my blog, I wanted them to be my own. (note: I genuinely WANT to learn more about photography, but for some reason have been resistant to reading many books on the subject – I think I’d rather learn by doing with a mentor).

Incidentally, I’ve had an odd inspiration this week for a weirdly interesting photo study (if that’s what they are called)… I’m just not certain how to go about it as it would require a number of volunteers  – with facial hair… Any suggestions are very, very welcome.

While reading his recent post about chocolate, sssourabh encouraged me (likely without knowing) to put more thought into what I write. I read and re-read and re-read again his delicious descriptions – I love (and live very near) Philadelphia and had to applaud him for making me think of ‘my’ city in a whole new light… and the chocolate… his words had me tasting the chocolate and feeling it’s textures without taking one bite! Thank you, sssourabh, for some fantastically descriptive words and for inspiring me to pick up my camera again and shoot the world.

Thank you ALL for helping me to evolve as a writer and artist… your contributions, comments, feedback and just coming to read – whether you know it or not – have been very important and meaningful to me.

Thanks for visiting my kitchen today – and to think this post was supposed to be about the potatoes I made for dinner last night…

All photos are © of their creators. Links to the source are included.

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.

Tacos for Dinner – (I could eat them every night)

Tacos is a favorite in our household… and while my dad always made them the best, I’ve improvised some…

You see, my dad always used REAL ingredients, and you can’t beat REAL ingredients – you know like, green chili’s, jalapenos all finely chopped and added to the filling with many other great choices. Me on the other hand, I take the easy way out and use ‘taco seasoning’ that has all that stuff mixed up and ground into a fine powder that I can add to my filling. I call it the lazy taco…

I can’t wait to get home and make these tonight:

The Lazy Taco:

1 lb ground beef (I use a lean mix of 90/10)

1can refried beans

1can chopped black olives (these come in a small can)

1 onion (I use yellow)

2 packets of taco seasoning (I mix a mild pack and a hot or medium pack)

Any taco toppings that you like!

Brown the ground beef do not drain as the stock will assist in mixing in the taco seasoning. As the ground beef becomes mostly cooked, add the seasoning and mix well. Once the seasoning is well mixed, add the refried beans, olives and onions. Let cook for about 10 more minutes over low to medium heat – keep an eye on it and add a TINY bit of water if necessary to keep it from drying.

There you have it – a quick, easy to cook dinner that everyone can enjoy (IF they like tacos, that is)

Thanks for coming out today! Tomorrow is Scrap book day!! Look out for faire pics and maybe a few other fun choices.