Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Yassa Chicken and brownies

Another delicious Sunday Dinner! 
 Both of these recipes came from the Eat Street cookbook - 
Yassa Chicken, a Senegalese dish with olives and peppers, 
and Chewy Caramel Brownies, although I didn`t make the caramel sauce. 

They were both wonderful, and both will be made again.

I sat down this morning to do some menu planning for next week before my yoga and shower, but have managed to waste nearly an hour messing around on the internet instead.  
Cooking has so little appeal to me lately, it`s just another chore that must be done. 
I think part of it is that cooking for kids is very unrewarding.  
They like nothing and complain about everything.  Very tiring,

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blueberry Oatmeal Waffles

Here's two things I love - blueberries, and waffles. No, three things - add Vegan.

 I LOVE vegan waffles and pancakes, they are always so delicious and so easy to make. 
I like to make waffles on the weekends and freeze the leftovers for
 breakfasts and snacks during the week. 

The kids and I love our waffles with maple syrup, but The Mister almost always goes for peanut butter on his.

 Like I said, these were easy and delicious. 
Oats in waffles are my favorite - hearty and good for you. 
 Give these a try. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Gado Gado Salad with bread

I found this recipe in an issue of Yoga Journal, part of an article on fermented foods.  I mentioned it to The Mister and he was on board to make it for Sunday Dinner.

It's similar to Niciose salad, or at least our version was, in the way that we lined up all the individual ingredients in bowls and on platters so everyone could mix their own salad.

The dressing was definitely my favorite part.  Made from kimchi, peanut butter, maple syrup, and some other stuff, it was amazingly delicious.  And the best part was, it wasn't spicy at all, so my mom and the kids could enjoy it too.

The bread was another good recipe, made from a bread baking book I bought this summer off the discount table at Coles.  It's by Paul Hollywood, one of the judges from The Great British Bake Off.  It was easy and very tasty.  I'm looking forward to baking more from the book this winter.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunday Dinner - stew and cookies

Well, Blogger just ate the cookie recipe link, but it wasn't that big of a loss as 
I wasn't going to highly recommend them anyway.

The rest of the dinner was delicious - beef stew with mashed potatos and buttered cabbage.  
We've gotten a few heads of cabbage from Thistle Farms this fall, and so far 
this was my favorite recipe using it.

The stew was extremely unappetizing to look at - The Mister cut the beef pieces too small, in my opinion, and it got a bit mushy - but it tasted very nice.  I added some extra veg, 
and if I were to make it again, I would add even more.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Whole Grain Breakfast Cake

This was one of those recipes that makes me want to give up cooking or 
baking for my family ever, ever again. I still do not know why they turned their 
collective noses up at this wonderful cake but they did.
 Not one of them liked it and I ate some and took the rest to work where it was devoured in minutes. My family is insane.

I have a lovely friend who has the opposite problem with her family - she simply can't keep the baking around for long, they pounce on it and it vanishes.  
What a problem to have!

While I will not make this Wholegrain Strawberry Breakfast Cake again, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to YOU - maybe you have better taste than my family.......

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book Club - Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

` ``You think I`m going into the zombie apocalypse sober? ` I shook my head.  ``I don`t think so.  Plus, alcohol is a good disinfectant.``
``I`m pretty sure butterscotch schnapps isn`t ideal for wounds.``  He knew me too well.  `

`Like my grandmother always said, `Your opinions and valid and important.  Unless it`s some stupid bullshit you`re being shitty about, in which case you can just go fuck yourself.`

`Then I realized I hurt too much to use Twitter, and that`s when I knew I was dying.`


For Summer Reading Club - A book `everyone`has read.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Brining a turkey

Ooooh - isn't that arty?

I call it "Forest in the Winter".

No, actually I call it "Salt and Stuff in a Bucket To Brine a Turkey".

We decided to brine our turkey for Thanksgiving last month, and we also decided it at the last minute, which sent us scrambling to find a recipe to use, and a bucket to brine in.  With no thanks to the employees at the local sporting goods store for their complete lack of help, we found one and whipped up a brine from Nigella Christmas for her Spiced and Superjuicy Turkey. 

Confession - I've only cooked maybe 3 turkeys in my life, so I was quite nervous about the whole thing.  Would I be able to clean up the mess from washing and brining the turkey so I wouldn't sicken my entire family?  Would the turkey stay cold enough in the garage so I wouldn't sicken my entire family?  Would I cook the turkey long enough so I wouldn't sicken my entire family?  
Yes, there was a theme.
I've always been afraid that I will undercook turkey and make people sick.  I have no idea why as to my knowledge none of my cooking has ever made anyone sick, but there it is, and it's a real fear.  

Anyhoo, as you can guess, the kitchen cleaned up nicely, the turkey stayed cold enough in the garage, and I cooked it to an acceptable temperature. We all lived!

Another quick confession - I am not a huge fan of turkey - it's usually dry and tasteless and you need to add too much butter and gravy and salt to make it taste good.
This bird was juicy - very juicy -  but I still didn't think it had any flavor, which was disappointing.  What's the point of adding onions and oranges and ginger and spices to a brine if you're not going to taste them even a little?

I would definitely try brining again, another recipe next, to see if we can improve the flavor.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Hasselback Chicken and cookies from the freezer

I've mentioned before that I follow the Tasty food videos on Facebook, and here's another one that we made - Hasselback Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes.  

It was really easy to make and the filling was spectacular.  
My only quibble was not with the recipe but with the chicken I bought - the breasts were too big, and so the ratio of delicious, delicious filling to chicken was not as even as it should have been.  If you're going to make a dish like this, look for smaller breasts.  

I can't imagine what creepers are going to end up here via google searches after those last two sentences.

Recipe (and 3 of versions of Hasselback chicken) here.

Dessert was the last of the World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. 
I am so excited about Dorie Greenspan's cookie book coming out.  I've been saving a gift card to Chapters so I can buy it.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Taking Stock - November 5

The lovely Maggie at Mighty Girl recently posted a "taking stock" list inspired by Pip, and I've seen other versions around, so why not join in too.

At the link above, Pip has a blank template you can fill in if you so desire.

Making : more time for yoga.  I took 5 classes this week, and I loved them all - mostly.  I wish my studio either offered more classes at times I could take, or that I could retire and go to all the ones I want.  Taking the 5 was awesome, but also only happened because The Mister was ok with me coming home late one night, and another 2 days because I left work early.

Cooking :  has been pretty low key the last couple of weeks.  I'm out of steam for it.  I sat down this morning to work on next weeks menu plan and instead I am doing this list.

Drinking :  ice tea, as always, and water.  Pretty much the only 2 things I drink.  I've weaned myself off my ice cap habit.  I had one this week and felt terrible afterwards, so that reinforced my decision that this is a good thing.

Reading: Furiously Happy for my book club list.  I have only 3 books to go and I'm done!

Trawling: Instagram for yoga inspiration.

Wanting:  to clean out every inch of this house. 

Looking:  forward to packing up some old clothes and stuff to take to the donation center today.

Deciding:  how energetic I will be this weekend.  Could I do the regular cleaning plus some purging?  Or should it be a lower key weekend?

Wishing:  for peace.  A terrible thing happened here last night - a teenage girl was killed in a hit and run not far from us.  I am shocked and so horribly sad for her family.  Every time I think about her mother, her family, I am in tears.  I hope they find the bastard who did this.  I hope the family will be okay.

Enjoying:  the new stages The Girl is in.  Giving big hugs, her overuse of the word No, in her teeney cute voice.  The Grandparents gave the kids Halloween gifts (???) this year - The Boy got $10 for his wallet, and The Girl got a purse, which she LOVES and must take everywhere.  Last night we walked an endless loop between the kitchen and living room while she carried her purse and said goodbye to her brother and father over and over.

Waiting: for Spring.  I am not a Winter person and can't wait for it to be over, even though it hasn't even begun yet.

Liking:  how I have convinced myself that my Bob's shoe's go with everything - including dresses and skirts for work.

Wondering:  what will happen next week with the American election.  This might be the craziest thing I've ever seen.

Loving: soup.  I'm heading into a big soup phase, I can feel it.

Pondering:  how can I lose these pounds that I've put on since I went back to work?

Listening: to flow/meditation/nature playlists on 8 tracks.  I love them.

Considering:  how we are going to rearrange the house and make space for an office area once we move The Girl into her own room.  We need to purge and declutter big time, and make a space that will be kid friendly and won't cost big bucks.

Buying: nothing but essentials.  Our bank account is low, yo.

Watching: Orange is the New Black when no one is around (so, never), Westworld (which makes me sad and uncomfortable), Speechless (LOVE) and Life in Pieces.

Hoping: that one day my children will sleep in on a weekend morning.  Ha!

Marvelling: at the book Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.  I bought it months ago, and this morning when I was moving some stuff around I opened it and read a page.  Whoa.  I can't wait to get to it.

Cringing: at Americans and their election.  Holy Shit.

Needing:  to clean out the fridge and see what needs to be used up.

Questioning:  what I can do to make this world better.

Smelling: nothing.  My nose does not work well since my last pregnancy.  The Mother In Law very generously bought me a new diffuser from Saje for my birthday, but I can hardly ever smell it.

Wearing: more colors and patterns.  Trying to get away from all black and baggy clothes.  It's hard.

Following:  lots of yoga people and celebrities on Instagram.  I deleted my Twitter a while back, and started up a new one that only follows news, weather, traffic, and Chrissy Teigen, but I only check it if I'm looking for something.  So over Twitter.

Noticing: how awful my skin has been lately.  I've been breaking out almost daily on my face and neck.  Ugh.

Knowing: i need to also clean out our pantry and get rid of all the chips and candy.  We were good for so long - what happened???

Thinking: about buying some new indoor plants.

Admiring:  Jenny Lawson.  Even before Furiously Happy.

Getting: overwhelmed by thinking about the next 2 months.  Birthdays and Christmas = $$$.

Bookmarking:  yoga poses to try, and blogs I hope to love.  I need some new blogs to follow.

Disliking:  the time change tonight.  WHY do we still do this???

Opening:  drawers and closets in this house gives me the chills.  So much stuff.

Giggling:  doesn't happen enough.

Feeling:  too much anxiety lately.

Helping: The Boy with his reading is a lesson in patience.

Hearing:  yelling and complaining and tattling.  The kids are up.

Celebrating: the kids birthdays this month and next.

Pretending:  I'm a good singer.

Embracing:  my family.

Something I like - Peppermint soap

A super fun side effect that stuck around from my last pregnancy was a sensitivity to "smells" - like perfumes, cleaners, air fresheners, hairspray.  It can give me a short lasting mild headache to actually becoming physically ill.  Super.   Fun.
We've replaced air fresheners and laundry soaps and softeners with more natural varieties and doing the same with cleaners is a work in progress.  I mostly like the Method brand, although some of the scents are still too strong for me.  
I've wanted to try these Dr Bronners soaps for years and I finally bought a bottle of peppermint - one of my favorite scents.  I've been into aromatherapy for a long time, and peppermint can often cure or aid what ails me.  The soap can reportedly do it all - clean your body, laundry, bathroom and windows.  I've mostly used it as hand soap in the bathrooms (diluted about 50-50 and put into an old soap bottle for "foamy" soap) and in a spray bottle, again diluted about 50-50 for spot cleaning and quick wipes.  It cleans well and the smell is easy to take.
If peppermint is not your thing, they've got scents like rose, eucalyptus, lavender and unscented too.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

One Pot Pasta

I'm falling back in love with one pot pasta dishes. Well, not that I ever fell OUT of love, but more that I forget how delicious they can be.
This one is even easier, as you use cheese tortellini, which need only a few moments to cook.  Yay!

Check out the recipe here. 

The recipe calls for using meatballs and I had planned to do it, but was running short 
on time, so I just cooked the ground beef as is.  And I liked it.  
The second time I made it I subbed in a jar of premade sauce and 
some water for the crushed tomatos. 
This is a super recipe that you can play around with, and with the cooler weather here (sad face) it makes a fast comforting meal.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Instagram - 100 books reviewed

100 books down, and I think 77 are staying.  I don't believe I got rid of any without cooking from them that wasn't documented.  
I'm hitting a bit of a wall in 2 ways right now - I'm stuck on a couple of books that I really want to keep but am finding that there's not much in them that I want to make, and I'm struggling with food and cooking right now - I hate it, hate menu planning, hate shopping, preparing, eating.  
And yet, somehow I've also gained weight, which makes me sadder than it should.  
The fact that some of my pants and sweaters are now too tight just makes me want to eat more and lie down, not eat better and move more.  
WTF, brain and emotions.