Monday, November 25, 2019

Steak and Ratatouille

Last night, I made steak and ratatouille for dinner, because I had eggplant.

The steak was done under the broiler, with the rack set at the top setting.  For 1/2" thick steaks, I broiled 3.5 minutes on the first side, and 2.5 minutes on the second side.  Lawry's low sodium garlic salt and pepper were my only seasonings.  The boys loved it.

For my ratatouille recipe, I refer you to my previous post here:
https://moderndayozzieandharriet.blogspot.com/2019/04/ratatouille.html
I quartered grape tomatoes, used vegetable stock, and it was delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Thanksgiving Planning

It's that time of year again, when I plan to feed all of my hungry hordes for the best part of a week.  It's nice to have everyone around, although I must confess that I have great twinges of nostalgia for not only when my children were much younger, but for my dearly beloved.  I'd have to say that I never miss him less, I just figure out how to cope.  That's something.

So, here's the shopping list.  The restaurant supply house is due in a couple of hours.  Turkeys are not on this list, because I'm picking them up from a local butcher on Wednesday.  I settled upon this method about 3 years ago, and I have to say that not having my refrigerators crammed up for a few days before Thanksgiving, but only for one evening, has worked out well.


And here's the menu for the week.  I have 3 arriving Sunday, 2 more on Monday, and the rest on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Oh, and the census for Thanksgiving dinner is 22 (subject to change, of course; could be higher).

So the plan is to make the pie crusts and cranberry sauce tomorrow, desserts Monday and Wednesday (I have a business appointment in New York City on Tuesday), and play the rest by ear.  Photos to follow, of course!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ice Cream


Who's going to tell me this isn't the truth?

Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Not Exactly San Fran...

...but when we were scheduled to go, there were fires and no electricity.  So we went to North Carolina instead.  How's that for a change of plans?

A few random pictures of me with Nora, and the family in general.  I bought an instant print camera, so she could have pictures of her vacation at once; 2 year olds don't have great long term memories, and I thought having an instant picture would make her happy.

 We went to an old farm, and this very friendly cow was so eager for company that she stuffed her head right through the fence.  Scared Nora, but Shannon tried to demonstrate that cows are nice.

We took a road trip to the Biltmore.  250 rooms, decorated with 74 Christmas trees.  I'm glad I don't have to clean that place!


And, finally, a sign outside a brewery in Asheville.  One of my favorite things from the trip.  Okay, maybe just my favorite sign.  Whatever.

Happy Weekending, everyone!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Cheater's Chicken Soup

Yesterday was chilly, and we got something like 2" of rain in about 6 hours, so Thatcher and I hibernated.  Along the way, I wanted chicken noodle soup, but didn't want to actually do the work.

Then my veggie box came in.


And then I had an idea: start with a can, and add some actual vegetables to it.  Done and done!

CHEATER'S CHICKEN SOUP

1 can condensed chicken noodle soup
1 can water
1/2 onion
2 carrot
1 rib of celery
handful of frozen corn (why not?)

Peel open the can of soup and add the water; stir to combine.  Mince up the onion and stir it in.  Dice the celery and carrot into small bits, then add those.  Lastly, throw in a handful of corn just for a pop of color.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Watch the dog dance around as he smells the food he just knows he's going to get some (or not, because I'm a meany....).

OK, so there's a lot of salt in canned soup.  But at 60 calories per serving and 2.5 servings per can, I figured that I could eat the whole can and be full and warm while not pigging out too much.  And it was easy, so there's that.  If the rain and cold doesn't stop today, I might do it again!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Chicken Cordon Blue-ish

I wanted chicken for dinner, and we had some random things in the refrigerator, so I decided that Chicken Cordon Bleu would be just the thing.  Except that I don't like pounding out the meat and whatever other steps might be involved.  So I did it my own way, but since my kids don't know the difference, it all works out.

CHICKEN CORDON BLUE-ISH

Boneless, skinless chicken - 4 ounce pieces
sliced deli ham
swiss cheese
scallions
butter, softened
garlic
salt and pepper

If using chicken breast, cut them into smaller pieces.  Boneless, skinless thighs are just the right size.  Cut a pocket into each piece of chicken and dry it.  Soften the butter, and mash it with minced garlic.  Cut the deli ham into appropriate sized pieces, line the pocket of each piece of chicken with the ham. then add the swiss cheese (shredded or sliced - you choose).  Sprinkle in some chopped scallions, put small chunks of the butter/garlic combination inside the meat, then roll it closed and hold with toothpicks.

 If desired, sprinkle a little garlic salt over the top, and grind pepper over the chicken.  Place in a greased baking pan and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until done.



Serve with rice or buttered pasta.  Spoon the butter from the bottom of the baking dish over the chicken for added flavor.  This is how we had ours.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Book Sale!

I'm trying here, I really am.  But I'm not inspired in cooking, and there is so much still going on that life gets in my way.

So...I went to a used book sale with Ryan and Patrick, and came back with these prizes.  The brewing book is for Shannon's husband, who has set up an elaborate home-brew station in their house (and grows hops along their fence: talk about ambition!), the paperbacks are for me to take on vacation in a few weeks, and leave them for someone else to enjoy when I'm done.  After all, paperbacks are perishable!

And the rest I'll read while I'm watching TV.  Because after all, with the exception of Masterpiece Theater, there isn't much on TV that requires actual close attention.

And I love the re-usable bags they gave out at a book sale a few years back.  They gave me 2, and that tells me how many books I can buy.  There are rules, people....

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Blueberry Salad

Look at that: I was able to do something with blueberries other than eat them all as soon as they entered the house.  I really do love blueberries, so this was a real act of restraint.

We had a light dinner one night, and this seemed like the perfect side.  Of course, the boys picked off their blueberries and ate them before dinner, then complained about the blandness of the salad.  Sorry guys, sucks to be you.

BLUEBERRY SALAD

Mixed baby greens or spring mix
blueberries
slivered almonds
Vinaigrette dressing

Divide the greens among bowls; sprinkle generously with almonds and blueberries, and serve the dressing on the side.  No mystery in salads.  Sorry.

But it was beautiful!  So I get a point for that, right?

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Chicken-Veggie Stir Fry

This was a fast and easy dinner on a hot night.  Oh, sure, it didn't require much imagination, but I'm not that big on imagination these days.  And it was healthy and good, so 2 points in my favor

CHICKEN-VEGGIE STIR FRY

3 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1" chunks
Vegetable Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion
2 summer squash
1 zucchini
2 tomatoes
1 bunch broccoli
1 can mini corn
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cold water
2 tbsp cornstarch
sesame seeds

Cut all of the vegetables into bite sized chunks.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet and add the onion; cook for a minute, then add the minced garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Add the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the squashes and broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring so they don't scorch..  Add the broth and soy sauce, bring to a boil, then whisk the cornstarch into the water, and stir into the mix.  Cook until it thickens, add the tomatoes and mini corn, heat for another 2 to 3 minutes, then taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over a bed of rice.

The boys liked it, it was easy, enough said!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Pasta with Kale

I'm not a huge fan of kale.  I find the taste a little bitter, and the edges a little sharp.  Nevertheless, I get kale periodically in my Misfits Markets boxes, and want to make the best of it.  What to do?  Well, how about adding it to a pasta side?  After all, sneaking more veggies into our food is never a bad thing.

PASTA WITH KALE & TOMATOES

1 pound rotini (or your favorite shape)
1 bunch kale
1/2 box grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper

Cook the rotini according to the box directions; pour into a strainer and cover to keep it warm (really! use the pot lid!).  Return the pot to the stove.

Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons, as needed, in the pasta pot.  Mince up the garlic, and saute it in the olive oil over medium-low heat until soft.  Cut the stems out of the kale, then coarsely chop the leaves.  Cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending upon their size.  Add to the olive oil, turn the heat up slightly, and cook until the kale begins to wilt and the tomatoes soften a bit.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then return the pasta to the pot, stirring to combine, and adding more olive oil if necessary to make sure everything is coated.  Leave it on the heat for a minute to be sure everything's heated through, then serve.

My boy loved this.  Patrick announced that he likes kale better than spinach; Ryan announced that Patrick's a little nuts.  In other words, a normal dinner here in our little corner of the world.

Happy Weekending, everyone!

PS: My sewing blog is live, in case you're interested: Marjie Ann Sews!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Roasted Radishes

This recipe, or at least the origins of it, comes to me courtesy of my oldest daughter.

A while back, I had a large bunch of radishes in my produce box, and, let's be honest, you can only eat so many radishes in your salad.  She mentioned to me that she roasts them, and I decided to give it a try!

ROASTED RADISHES

1 bunch of radishes, washed well
2 cloves garlic
6 scallions
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to coat

Wash the radishes, remove the tops and cut them in half.  Mince the garlic, and chop the scallions.  Put all 3 in a bowl, add a little salt and pepper, then enough olive oil to coat them.  Stir together thoroughly, then turn onto a greased baking tray and spread in a single layer.  Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or so, until the radishes are tender.

The peppery flavor of the radishes greatly mellows with roasting.  This made a great side dish with steak, because it had enough flavor to stand out.  And I believe I added the radish greens to soup in lieu of spinach, which was another win!  Sadly, no pictures; I so often forget to take them nowadays.

I'm going to try to remember to write more often.  In order to (maybe) make it easier to decide what to do, I've started a sewing blog: Marjie Ann Sews!  So, food, family and pups here, sewing and such things there.  Maybe I'll be more organized and less indecisive that way.

Edited to add: Sewing blog is live; here is the link: Marjie Ann Sews!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Veggies!

I've been lazy.  Actually, stuck for inspiration.  Plus, I flew to Knoxville to visit my daughter for 5 days.  That was nice.  We went to a place called AR Workshops and did some woodcrafting.



I know they're franchised, and I think there are outlets in a lot of states, if that's something that floats your boat.  It's a fun afternoon activity with family or friends.

We also went to the zoo.  In honor of the fact that students were filtering back for the start of school, I wore the university's colors.  I'm not actually that big a fan of orange, myself.

I stopped my veggie shipments for 2 weeks while I was gone, so this morning was my first one after my return!

There's a fair amount of fruits in here, plus 5 beets with the greens still attached.  Presumably, you can used beet greens like spinach and all of those other greens.  I guess time will tell.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Spaghetti Squash: It's What's for Lunch

Last weekend, I went to visit my friend GMarie at her Carriage Corner B&B.  It's always a nice getaway.  When I left, she gifted me with 2 spaghetti squash which her husband had grown.  Of course, I roasted one after quartering it, coating the cut edges with olive oil, and sprinkling it with garlic salt.  When it was finished, I shredded it, mixed it with diced tomatoes and freshly shredded parmesan, and we had it with steak.  Talk about a great side!

So, since there was some left over, I carefully saved it for my lunch.  I reheated it in the microwave for 2 minutes, then chopped up a small (maybe 2 ounce) piece of steak, and stirred it into the spaghetti squash.  What a lunch! (And my pretty, last-one-in-the-store bowl makes it all the better!)

Thatcher was jealous, so I gave him about a tablespoon of my squash.  Can't spoil the little guy, after all (ha.....)!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Shopping With My Boys

So, I went to Jeff's house last weekend, and we went shopping for some electrical supplies and windows.  Here's what happens when you let men into their favorite toy store:

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Monday Miscellany

When your puppy-o's are so delicious that you just need to lie down and savor every bite....

Thatcher wishes everyone a happy Monday!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sew Camp Challenge Fabric

At the end of June, I went to the extended Sew Camp at Carriage Corner B&B (which is a really nice place in a good, central location, if you're looking to vacation in Lancaster County, PA at some point).  One of Gaylen's gifts to attendees was 3 yards of fabric.  She presented us with choices, and the group voted on one fabric out of which we would each make a garment of our choice within one month of the end of camp.  This is what we chose as a group:

It's a medium weight fabric with a little stretch.  There was a black border on each side into which the flowers in the center faded.  Naturally, I chose to make a dress; for me, what other choice is there, really?  If you look carefully, you might be able to just pick it out of the things hanging here.

Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic designated herself the group photographer, and she was absolutely amazing.  She made us laugh, and got some wonderful pictures of everyone.  So these are pictures she took of me, in my challenge dress.


If anyone cares, I used McCall's pattern M6958.  It has a center front seam (which I usually despise, but this fabric is so busy it hides well), and 4 large tucks front and back for shaping.  There's an invisible zipper in the back; I always use a 22" zipper so I can step into my dresses (I hate clothes over my head if they don't stretch).  This fabric has a little stretch, but not so much as to render the zipper unnecessary.

And if you look through the gazebo, you can see an Amish buggy turning the corner, hence the name of the B&B.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Dog-In-A-Box

What's more fun than a Jack-In-A-Box?  A Dog-In-A-Box!

Jeff has Tank trained so well that he pointed at the box, and Tank obediently sat in it.

Then Tank got out, and Jeff put Thatcher in the box.  You can see from his expression that this did not please Thatcher.

No matter; there were treats for both after they'd sat in the box.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Produce Box, Week 8

My box arrived about 15 minutes in front of torrential downpours, and, as usual, was great fun to open!


This week they included butternut squash, eggplant, summer squash, baby greens, English cucumbers, Bok Choy, onions, broccoli, redskin potatoes, apples, mangoes and blueberries!  Looks like a fun salad is on the menu for tonight, and I guarantee blueberries will be involved.  (I also laughed at the fact that one onion was huge, and the others were tiny.)

Happy Wednesday, everyone; we're past the halfway mark in the work week!

Monday, July 15, 2019

More Food With Veggies

Well, there is a lot of veggie inclusion going around in my little corner of the world.  Today I bring you 2 dishes, neither of which was all that spectacular on its own, but which were actually excellent.

TOMATO ZUCCHINI MIXUP

1/4 box grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 zucchini, sliced
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper

Slice the zucchini into thin, bite sized slices.  Cut the grape tomatoes in half.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or small skillet, then add the garlic and cook until softened.  Stir in the tomatoes and zucchini slices, then cook, stirring occasionally, until they are fork tender (or as soft as you'd like them).  Add salt to taste, and plenty of pepper.  Even Thatcher approves of this.  OK, he's a dog, and as such, he approves of just about any food you'll share with him.  Still....


RICE MEDLEY

1 Cup rice
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 zucchini, sliced
1 summer squash, sliced
1 bunch red or green kale

Put the rice, water and salt in a pan and cook in the usual way.
When the rice is about half done, melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onion for a minute or 2, until softened (this gets rid of any harsh flavor the onion might add to the other veggies), add the zucchini, summer squash and carrot, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the kale, and cook until wilted.   Remove from the heat, and stir into the rice as it's almost finished cooking.

Clearly, I served this with roasted beets and steak, although I can't say I have a clear memory of that.

This is a good way to add veggies to an otherwise boring starch.  Don't get me wrong, I like boring; that's how I've always operated.  But some folks (like my sons) don't.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Grandchildren sewing

Forgive me if you've seen any of these before.  But my grandchildren are cute.  That's not entirely because they're mine, although that helps.  But, let's face it, preschool aged kids just operate cute.  So, as I said, forgive any repetition.  These sewing projects are just fun!

First up: Nora's birthday dress.  I got this little piece of fabric with owls on it.  It literally was under 24" square.  And I had this adorable wrap dress pattern.  And Nora's favorite animal has been an owl since her aunt bought her a stuffed owl at the zoo a few months back.  So, the dress practically designed itself:

And this picture of Nora gazing out the window at the rain, while wearing her new sun hat, was just too adorable to go unnoticed.

I made Maddie a wrap dress from the same pattern.  Hers has mermaids on it.


 I showed you this dress that I made for Maddie from a small piece of fabric gifted to me by Gaylen.  This is when she wore it one day, using the pocket for her stuffed puppy:

And an ABC dress I made from the remains of a piece of fabric from one of my bundles, after I'd made a dress for myself.

And pajama pants, started by Gaylen for her granddaughter, then abandoned in favor of more girly patterns.  I didn't do much; just finished the waistband and added the cuffs to the bottom so I'd be certain the pants were long enough.

I made Maddie a dress from the remains of a border print I'd used for a dress, and a sweater to go with it.  She wore this dress for Easter; Gaylen spotted it on her in some of my photos.  I didn't have a pattern for the sweater, so I just winged it.



There are more, but that's enough for now!  I'd quite forgotten how many adorable little kid garments I had produced!

I hope you're all having a nice weekend!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Gifted Fabrics and the Green Wardrobe

There's a lot of sewing for me to catch up on.  Sometimes I sew to keep me sane; other days I just "need" a whole new wardrobe.  We all have our idiosyncrasies, don't we?

The green bundle came from Fabric Mart in March.  I know that I bought it because of the green that I used for this top, the H0172 (which also can be made as a dress).  I've worn it with brown and black skirts; I love the color and feel of the fabric.  I have beige skirt fabric in the bundle I'm currently working on, and I think that will look great with this top, too.

Next up was a princess seamed, strappy dress, which is a pattern I copied from a dress I bought at the beach about a million years ago (or maybe in 1988).  I really like this style, I really liked this color, and this dress was absolutely, positively impractical in early February, when I was sewing it during a snowstorm.

The last thing in that bundle was an olive green heavy knit, which I cut out using a pattern from about 1995 (I purchased it from the House of Fabrics going out of business sales).  I cut it out, didn't like the color, and promptly stopped to sew fun things for grandchildren, napkins, anything except this.  But the rules (or "best practice" in engineering parlance) state that I have to finish everything from a bundle before I'm allowed to start another bundle or piece of fabric.  So eventually I sucked it up and finished it.

Thatcher was happy to help me take pictures, albeit only because there was no one else home at the time, and that dog can't stand to be alone for more than about 15 seconds.

Gifted Fabrics:

At the March Sew Camp (abbreviated version), Gaylen gifted me 3 pieces of fabric.  First up was this wild striped fabric, which I turned into a "Claire" dress (so named for the lady who gave me the pattern, McCall's M5466).  I love the fabric, I love this dress style, I love everything about it.  I wear it with a narrow white belt.


Next up is another dress from my princess seamed beach pattern.  This is a red chrysanthemum patterned knit, which is soft and cute.

Last up: a black floral print, which I turned into a H0172 draped neck dress.  The fabric is fairly heavy, so I wore it in late winter and really early spring with a cardigan, and really enjoyed it.

That's it for today.  Thank you, Gaylen, for the fabrics, and thank you for encouraging me to finish the olive green dress (or abandon the rules, which you also suggested)!