Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Turkey Cordon Bleu

On Sunday, I was looking for something "interesting" to do with my weekly turkey breast. While flipping through a myriad of cookbooks, and finding little satisfaction, I hit upon Veal Cordon Bleu. Inspiration hit: if there is Veal Cordon Bleu, and Chicken Cordon Bleu, why not Turkey Cordon Bleu? OK, my thought process may be a little twisted, but at least there's a thought process going on, or so I tell myself.

Before I go too far, this is the meat slicer my darling husband bought me (by which I mean he hung over my shoulder and made me order it from JC Penney.com, being the computer illiterate he so proudly is). I've used this for slicing boneless roasts for years. I think he got tired of doing my carving, since my weak hands don't handle large cutlery well, so he got me an easy replacement. I've been using it for cutting raw meat into slices for some of these new recipes, and it works like a charm. All this for about $100; how can you gripe?

Anyway, here's what I did and a lovely photo of the results:

1 Boneless Turkey Breast, sliced about 3/16" thick
ham, sliced paper thin
swiss cheese, sliced paper thin
garlic powder
2 to 3 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water
2 to 3 tbsp olive oil

Pour olive oil in the bottom half of the broiler pan. Dip half the slices of turkey in the egg, then one side only in the flour. Place flour side down in the pan. Top with cheese, ham, scallions, garlic powder, and cheese. Dip the remaining half of the slices in the egg, then coat one side with flour and place flour side up on the turkey/ham/cheese combos. Broil 4 minutes, turn over, and broil another 4 minutes on the other side. Remove to a platter and keep warm while making the sauce:

1 cup cream
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water whisked with 1/4 cup flour
dash salt

Heat the Broiler pan on the stove top, stirring to loosen the brown particles. Stir in the cream, then whisk in the water/flour combo. When it starts to thicken, add the wine, then scallions and mushrooms. Heat about a minute; grind in fresh pepper, and add salt if desired.

Note: Don't add any salt to the meat! All the ham and cheese contains enough salt to give it great flavor.

Happy Birthday to My Youngest

OK, so my smile is a little goofy, because I was laughing at our dog. Our youngest son's 8th birthday was yesterday, and at one point his brother slapped this goofy, floppy hat on the little guy (it has fabric birthday candles on the top of it; one of his older brothers got it for a sister for her birthday). Then Ryan put a birthday hat on poor Thor, complete with the elastic chin strap, and some ribbons on my head. Of course, big sister took the picture. I just thought the dog in a birthday hat was a hoot. I was pleased that I got a chance to wear my birthday dress, made from the sparkly fabric I took a picture of a couple of weeks ago (hey, it worked - I got the dress made on time). I don't think my second daughter will get this dress. It's comfortable, fancy and washable. How much more can you ask from a dress? Anyway, Happy 8th Birthday, Mark, and Paula, thanks for remembering.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Orange Mousse and Milk Bread

This is a heavenly dessert. Easy to prepare, relatively low in calories, unusual, all of that, and you can put it in pretty glassware, too!

I found this recipe in Bon Appetit's Too Busy to Cook? cookbook, purchased in 1984 for the princely sum of $24.85 including shipping (my receipt is in the book, strangely enough). Today, that's not so much money. 23 years ago? A stiff price for a book.

This will definately be appearing on my Thanksgiving dessert buffet. I'll only make one batch, because likely not more than 3 people will want it, but I'm one of those 3. Have everything lined up next to the blender, because this goes really fast.


2/3 cups boiling water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

Whirl on high speed for 30 seconds. Never turn off blender. Add:

1/2 cup sugar

Whirl 10 seconds. Add:

6 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate, partially thawed
2 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups ice

Whirl about 30 seconds, until the ice is crushed and evenly distributed. It will make so much racket that the rest of the family will accuse you of taking a sledgehammer to the kitchen wall.

Pour into 6 to 8 dessert dishes. My preference is cheap cut glass stemware. Looks great, and if the little guy breaks a glass, so what.

This recipe comes from Beth Hensperger's Bread Machine Cookbook, which contains 600 of her favorite recipes. Now, I don't know how anyone can have 600 favorite breads, but to each her own!


1-1/2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
6 tsp yeast
Let this mix in the bread machine, or stir by hand/in the mixer for about 10 minutes, until well blended. Let rise for 10 minutes, split into 2 loaf pans, let rise until doubled in size, then bake at 375 for 25 minutes. The milk gives the bread a relatively darker crust, and great flavor. Wonderful for toast, too. This picture of the slices is more yellow than the bread came out; I think maybe my flash didn't go off.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

French Dip & Oven Fries

When we were married, I told my husband that I was never cooking on weekends, except for holidays. Well, we spent the entire summer of 1993 living in a hotel in Peoria, and the kids got entirely too comfortable in restaurants; it was no longer a weekend treat. Therefore, at the end of the summer, my husband declared that we would never eat out again. Damn stubborn man - I doubt we've eaten out 10 times when we were not traveling since then. Curses! I have to cook on the weekends! But I don't have to make it fancy.

This weekend, I was wracking my brain for something interesting, but not too difficult. Fortunately, on Thursday I had prepared a lovely roast beef. Naturally, I cooked 4 pounds of meat, forgetting that with most of the kids in college we just don't eat that much! Since I had at least half left over, I knew that the "French Dip, Au Jus" that we had in some restaurant somewhere, a long time ago, would be just the ticket. I also wanted fries to go with it, so here it is:

1/2 to 1 loaf French Bread per person (I made my own)
Thinly sliced roast beef
3 cups water
5 beef bouillon cubes

Boil the water in a dutch oven with the cubes. Place the slices of beef, a few at a time, in the water for 30 to 60 seconds, until heated through; remove to a serving plate. Fold slices of beef into the bread, and serve with custard dishes of the beef broth. (Some of my family members dip their bread. Personally, I can't stand wet bread).


1 to 2 redskinned potatoes per person, depending on size of potato and person
1/4 cup olive oil
salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder and paprika to taste.

Cut potatoes into wedges - about 12 wedges per potato. Place on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over them, sprinkle with spices, stir around, add more spices if necessary so that all are evenly flavored, and spread out in an even layer. Put in the oven at 425 for about 30 minutes, turning once. At the end, move to the top rack, turn on the broiler, and brown on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Declared my youngest: "These are the best french fries ever!"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jack O Lanterns

These were the pumpkins my little guys carved. Mark's has a big nose because a deer took a bite out of it while it was on our back terrace, so the little guy inventively made that the nose. The look on his face tells you how hard he was struggling to carry his jack-o'lantern! We haven't been able to put them up on the front pillar yet because it's been raining for 2 days, so they are stored safely in the screened porch for protection against deer.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Viennese Chicken

This is another Craig Claiborne recipe, of course slightly modified for my peculiar habits. My dearly beloved actually requested that this one reappear soon, so I guess it's even better than I thought. Here's how it goes:


3 lbs. chicken breast, sliced into 1/4" thick slices
flour for dredging
6 eggs
1 tbsp. lemon juice
bread crumbs mixed with salt & pepper to taste
1 stick butter, melted in the broiler pan
3 scallions
1 lemon
2 cups chicken broth mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup flour whisked with 1/2 cup cold water

Dredge the chicken breast in flour, then dip in egg beaten with lemon juice, then coat in bread crumb mixture. Put in the butter, flip to coat both sides with butter, then cook under the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from pan, and add chicken broth, stirring to loosen the particles on the pan. Add the flour mixture and whisk until thickened. Add scallions and cook for a minute or 2. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices. Serve over a bed of rice or, as Mr. Claiborne suggests, with plain boiled potatoes. Great stuff, and pretty, too!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pumpkin Seeds & Country White Bread

The boys carved their pumpkins, and I roasted the seeds for them. They were pretty tasty. I made them clean them up and dry them with a clean towel. To roast the seeds, melt 2 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp olive oil on a cookie sheet. Add a bit of salt, and paprika; stir around well to coat all of them, then spread them out. Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Most of ours got eaten while hot; the rest were gone the next day.

Country white bread was excellent with beef, and in sandwiches. It's from Beth Hensperger's Bread Machine cookbook:

1-1/2 cups water

6 tsp yeast
4 cups flour
2 tbsp. instant potato flakes
4 tbsp. nonfat dry milk
1-1/2 tbsp. oil
1-1/2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp salt

Let the bread machine mix the ingredients, move into 2 loaf pans, and let rise. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until done.


I got my sparkly dress done for my birthday, today.

Random thoughts:

Having sold some property, we have set up our income producing assets such that our retirement is assured, or at least for the next 30 years. Beyond that, the interest will carry us. I doubt I'll live that long; if I do, I probably won't know where I am or why. But I'll make new friends every day...that's the way my family has gone. Drop dead between 60 and 70, or get some form of dementia and only live to be 80 anyway. Hope the kids appreciate the planning.

My dearly beloved said my sparkly dress is cute. What more can I ask from someone who's been looking at me for the better part of 3 decades?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lightning Cake

At a used book sale a couple of years back, I found a 3" thick book called the Encyclopedia of Cookery, printed in 1949. It has all manner of strange and marvelous information in it, although not too many recipes. Last night, two of my sons, who are college roommates, called me to ask how to cook a whole chicken - with only salt and pepper for seasonings, and no onions. Anyway, during the course of the conversation, while these two had the phone on "speaker" laying on their kitchen counter while they tried to figure out how to get the giblets out of the bird, one of them asked me what a "red pomelo" was, because he had found one at the supermarket. So I looked it up in this book, then, in flipping through, found this cake recipe.


1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
3 tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp lemon extract.

Cream the egg and sugar until thickened and light yellow. Add the dry ingredients, sifted together, and then the milk, butter and lemon extract. Beat until smooth; pour into a pan and bake approx. 22 to 25 minutes at 350.

Now, this cookbook referred to using filling between the layers, but, unless you double the recipe, you aren't getting layers. I used my springform pan, which was really too big, as you can see by the thickness of the cake; however, everyone loved it. This is what was left after dessert last night; none is left now. I used a lemon flavored whipped cream frosting, and the guys loved it. (I opted out of it; I want to lose those 5 to 10 pounds of holiday flab before they attack me. Then I can eat without remorse.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

At the Pumpkin Farm

Today was the annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch. The 3 kids were fooling around, and this picture was just too cute to pass up.

I expect that the boys will carve their pumpkins tomorrow. Fun, and messy, too. Last year, the dog tried to eat the pumpkin seeds. Not a pretty sight, but quite funny.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wheaten Bread

Last night, I made this Wheaten Bread to go with my chicken. It's a lighter version of wheat bread. Makes excellent PB&J sandwiches, and toast, too. Peach jam or something else that's just a bit tart is a great match!


1-1/2 cups water
6 tsp yeast
3 cups white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp salt

Mix in bread machine, and let rise. Remove from machine, put into 2 loaf pans, and let rise again until doubled in size (20 to 30 minutes). Bake at 375 for 23 to 26 minutes. Terrific when hot!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"We Don't Eat That Green S**t!"

Our oldest daughter is a senior at the University of Wyoming in Laramie (and it's only her third year there). This year, she didn't want to live in the dorm; her best friend's brother and his best friend were renting a house and needed a third person. So they invited my daughter, who accepted. These two guys are, not surprisingly, hunters. They got an elk last weekend, and my daughter is upset that they've left the head on the front porch for a couple of days. In their defense, I pointed out to her that she hasn't had to buy any meat at all this year, and the meat she's had has doubtless been splendid. She did admit that it has been. She makes homemade bread for these guys all the time, thanks to the bread machine Mom got her from Amazon.com for $32. So, a couple of weeks back, she had made burger rolls and the guys made elk burgers. She brought out the rolls, lovingly adorned with lettuce and tomato, and the guys looked at them and said, "What is this? We don't eat that green shit." At least, with 4 big brothers, she was not caught unawares, and laughed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lemon Chicken

While searching for a new and exciting (or at least different) recipe for chicken last night, I stumbled upon Lemon Chicken in Craig Claiborne's cookbook. I changed the sauce somewhat, because my husband won't eat any meat (except steak) without sauce or gravy, I followed the recipe "pretty much". The recipe calls for the meat to be browned in a pan, then covered and simmered for 15 to 20 minutes, but I don't do pan meat - too much work.


3 lbs. chicken
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp marjoram
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the chicken in oil over high heat for a few minutes. Lower the heat, add scallions and lemon juice, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in parsley and marjoram and serve.

What I did:

Cut the chicken into thin (1/4" thick) slices. Replace the oil with 1 stick butter. Melt butter in broiler pan; place chicken in pan and flip to coat in butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and broil for 6 to 7 minutes on each side. After the first broiling, pour most of the pan juices into a sauce pan. Add 1 cup cream to pan juices. Whisk 1/4 cup flour in with 1/2 cup water, then whisk into the cream/pan juice mix. Add scallions and marjoram, and cook until thickened. Just before it's finished, add the parsley. Pour the remainder of the chicken pan juices into the sauce pan, whisk together, add salt & pepper to taste, then pour about half back over the chicken. Put the remainder in a gravy boat, and serve with white rice.

This was too tart. Next time, I'd cut the lemon juice to 2 tbsp. Other than that, this was a good Monday night experiment.

Note for Lori: I use sea salt or kosher salt in place of regular table salt. It has at least 1/4 less sodium, and is less "salty". I've noticed that you aren't a big fan of salt, nor am I. Michael was a salt fanatic when I met him, but he's learned the joys of other seasonings, and now is quite happy with very little salt.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Miscellania

I think I just made up a word there. Oh well, no matter.

The cold weather finally inspired me to put in the hours of sewing needed to finish the red burnout velvet dressing gown I cut out a few weeks back. I finished it this afternoon, and of course, had to try it on. Naturally, I didn't want to take it off and get dressed again after determining that it's perfect, but that's the way life goes. It also goes without saying that this fabric is washable. I don't have much of anything that goes to the dry cleaners, and certainly not anything which is other than holiday wear.

I also cut out the dress from the eggplant colored fabric. Time will tell if I picked out the right design, but I think it'll work well. That's probably next week's project, if I don't get sucked into something else, like Halloween costumes, or the 6 throw pillows I keep forgetting about to match the drapes I made last year for my front room, or the million other things that go with a big family and big house.

In 6th grade Calvert, the kids are studying the history of sculpture.
Their art projects are based upon this study. The first was a scarab, and this is Ryan's. I promised Paula's twins a picture, and here it is. The ovencraft clay is great stuff, and the Pebeo glaze gives it a nice shine. Of course, both can be baked in the home oven, otherwise it wouldn't work for homeschool projects.

Now, off to create some interesting dinner or other!

Saturday's Project

I'm a girly girl. I always wear skirts or dresses, never spend more than one hour out of bed without my hair and makeup done, love high heeled shoes and pretty ballerina flats, and get very strange looks in the winter when I venture out in my full length microsuede cloak with the faux fur lining, of course with the dress and pretty shoes or boots underneath. I also love formal window treatments and furniture. So it's no surprise that I always wanted a regal looking four poster bed with canopy. We didn't have one in our previous 3 houses, for assorted reasons (including a sloped ceiling in one), and couldn't get one here, again, because of a sloped ceiling. So, 17 years after arriving, I decided to make my bedroom regal looking, even if I can't have a real four poster bed. I bought this burgundy bedspread and drapes when we moved in, because I love the color. I bought a window scarf in the same color about 6 or 7 years ago, without any real purpose in mind, and about 10 yards of burgundy sheer fabric about 4 years ago, again, with no purpose in mind. A few months ago, I bought antique brass finished drapery holdback thingys, and a couple of years ago, I had purchased mirrored wall sconces which hold candles, because they were on clearance at 1/4 price, and pretty, then put them in the attic. So, I dreamed up this look:
I did have to put casings in the top of the sheer fabric and hems at the bottom, and stitch in place a small ribbon strip to hold the sheer against the wall where the slope ends, so I guess it's a sewing project, but mostly I used my electric stapler and my husband's cordless driver drill (and you should've heard him howl!). A satisfying Saturday, indeed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Autumn Has Arrived!

The warm weather has been sticking around for an abnormally long time. I'm not complaining; I don't much care for the cold weather, and the boys have had a lovely time during extended summer. Tuesday it poured off and on all afternoon, and I thought surely autumn had arrived, but it was nice again on Wednesday. Thursday the sky opened up, and we had 3" of rain. Friday was no prize, either, until about 5PM. I went out and took this picture around 6, as the sun was getting ready to set; I liked the streaks of sun on the lawn. Now, we're just waiting for the leaves to turn colors, which should start happening after a couple of cold nights. More pictures of the backyard to come, especially for my Calvert friend Paula in Oregon, when the leaves start to turn.
I'm a tea drinker, and the cooler weather has caused me to start drinking some flavored teas. They don't necessarily have a strong flavor, but the aromas which fill the kitchen are wonderful. The hot cinnamon spice tea from Harney & Sons smells like "atomic fireballs", and has a somewhat spicy flavor. I always liked fireballs as a child. Nowadays, if I want to eat a fireball, I need to break it with a hammer so I won't break my teeth, so this tea stops me from being tempted. The other tea, which came from alltea.com, is apple spice tea. Again, only a subtle flavor, but it smells like fall, almost like cooking apples. Funny how a couple of 50 degree days changes your mindset. Time to move the long sleeved clothes to the front of the closet!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Things I Need To Do Soon

1. Finish wallpapering my family room. I started in the spring, then decided I'd wait until some of the big boys got home to move the bookcases for me. Well, they came, spent the summer, and left, and still I have one wall unfinished. I'm going to do it the weekend before Thanksgiving, when the first son is home (because I have nothing else to do so close to the holiday).

2. Get to Calvert Test 40 by Nov. 2. Yeah, right, pretty ambitious, but doable.

3. Make a dress from this fabric for my birthday (or some time?): No idea for style yet. It's sort of creased or pleated, with a small number of sequins on it. If I don't like it, my second daughter will. She's a sparkly sort of girl.
4. Make a dress for Thanksgiving from this fabric. Maybe a princess seamed dress with a deep, tapered flounce at the bottom?

Chicken in A Bag and Flu Shots

Yesterday was the flu shot clinic at a local supermarket. So I dragged my husband, kicking, screaming and trying to procrastinate ("Can't we just go next week?") out the door. Sunny when we left here, pouring 3.6 miles and 8 minutes later, of course. We both tend to end up sick for a couple of days after the flu shot, so I planned to roast a chicken - relatively effortless, after all. I found this recipe for Chicken in a Bag in a Craig Claiborne cookbook. It was excellent!


One Oven Stuffer Roaster
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large paper bag

Stir everything except the chicken and the bag together in a measuring cup and let it sit for at least a half hour. After it has sat, rub the chicken with the olive oil mix, place in a large brown bag, put the bag in a roasting pan and roast at 325 for 2 to 3 hours, depending upon the size of the bird. The bag can be removed for the last half hour of cooking to further brown the chicken.

Marjie's Disclaimers: (1) I didn't use the cumin. I don't know what it is, and have a tendency not to trust spices I don't know. (2) I was out of garlic, so used garlic powder. Worked well. (3) I don't have paper bags in my house, because I have a fear of insect eggs in the glue in the bottoms of the bags. I have a cute little enamel roasting pan (probably 7x10) with a cover, and my chicken fit tightly in there, so I used that. It worked very, very well. Everyone raved about this chicken.

I didn't take a picture of this chicken, but I did take a picture of the Portuguese White Bread I made to go with it. It's a bread machine recipe, but I only use the bread machine as a mixer, then turn the dough into pans for the final rise and baking.


1-1/3 cups water
6 tsp. yeast
4 cups flour
4 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces

Put in bread machine to mix, or mix with the mixer. Let rise 1/2 hour, punch down, and split into 2 loaf pans. Let rise again until doubled in size, bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Very soft bread; makes great sandwiches, too!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Columbus Day Cake

Yesterday, the little boys did their first Calvert School test for the year; coincidentally, it was also Columbus Day (which begs the question, what happened to Viking Day, celebrating Leif Erikson's discovery of Vinland?). I came up with this cake idea. I used mix for a half sized cake, and baked it in an oval shaped casserole dish with sloped sides. Frosted with mint-chocolate frosting, as described in my Peppermint Patty cake entry, it looks somewhat boat-like. The boys made a paper sail, which their sister labelled, and we put it on a wooden skewer, set upright in the cake. A platter covered in blue tissue paper made a better ocean than the plain platter would have made, and everyone thought they had a pretty festive dessert.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Apple Cobbler and Baked Apples

So, here are the three boys with their apples last night. They came from 3 different trees; I believe they brought Macintosh, Red Delicious and Gala apples. After they ate a couple, I used all of the rest.

First up was French Apple Cobbler, from the McCalls Cookbook published around 1960. The topping is thin and somewhat crunchy, so you get a lot of the fruit taste, and less bready flavor, such as is often found in southern cobbler. "Cheat Sheet": If you don't have time to cut up the fruit, etc., use canned pie filling and just put the topping on it before baking. No one will call you on it; if you use, say, cherry or blueberry filling, they'll never know..


5 cups apples, peeled (or not, as I prefer) & sliced
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. butter, softened

Combine everything except apples in a big bowl. Add apples to coat. Put into greased baking pan.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1 egg

Cut butter into dry ingredients; add egg and stir together. Drop by spoonsful on top of apples. Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes, or until filling bubbles and crust is golden.

This recipe came from Pierre Franey's 60 Minute Gourmet cookbook.


3 large apples, sliced
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp confectioners sugar

Brush apples slices with butter; top with confectioner's sugar. Bake at 400 degrees 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. If desired, run under broiler to brown them up.

Welcome to fall!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Yesterday afternoon, the little guys went out to play. We have some very old (70+ years) apple trees in our backyard, and the guys found some nice apples on one of the trees, within their reach. Being boys, and always hungry, they picked and ate them. Later, my 11 year old asked, "Mom, why do our apples taste so much better than the ones in the store?" This, of course, launched a discussion along the lines of is this why Dad always says chickens today taste like cardboard, and not like chicken. I tried, maybe successfully, to explain so-called "heirloom plants" to my boys, and even went so far as to point out that when our old lilac trees are in bloom, the whole place smells like flowers. I'm still distraught that my peach trees (there were only 2) were killed by the deer last winter, and I believe my plum tree is dead, also. But, by far, my favorite apple tree is the golden delicious tree which has one limb, about 1/4 of the tree, of a red variety. It's a reminder that 80 years ago, there were great gardeners everywhere, including, evidently, one working here who could graft trees together. Besides that, it looks really cool when the fruit has color. This afternoon, they climbed into the treehouse, and one of the boys rigged the pole clipper so they could get to the apples out of reach from them. Here's the little guy with one of his treasures. Looks like baked apples or cobbler tonight.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

This Made Me Laugh

I avoid the grocery store like the plague. This started as a defense mechanism; with 4 teenaged sons, you've gotta get WAAAYYY more food than the stores generally have without making a federal production of it. Yes, I've tried to get the supermarket to special order me cases of Cheerios, and you'd think I wanted them to fetch the moon. So, I'm the only non-restaurant person I know who knows how many eggs are in a case (15 dozen), how much flour in a case (40 to 100 pounds, depending upon the packaging), etc. With my last order, I asked for 3 small containers of baking powder. Patty called me back, and said they only had large ones; could I use one instead for less than the price of 3 small boxes? Of course, I replied; the cool weather is coming, and I'll be baking even more. So, this is what I got, compared to the normal sized one from the supermarket. It made me giggle. I guess I'm set for Thanksgiving and Christmas baking, no matter how many people show up!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Side Dishes

While it's fun to contemplate new foods, fancy main dishes and the like, too often we are cooking "same stuff, different day". In these cases, the side dishes make all of the difference.

This one is Penne in Alfredo Sauce. I've always loved Fettucini Alfredo, and I don't know where I came upon the information to make Alfredo sauce. It's deceptively simple to do. First, cook your pasta; then pour it into the colander to strain. Put the pot lid on the colander to keep it hot. Return the pan to the stove. Melt one stick of butter, add a cup of heavy cream, 2 eggs and freshly ground pepper to taste. Pour the pasta back in, stir in 1/2 cup parmesan, and add milk to thin up the alfredo sauce to the desired consistency. Stir for about a minute and serve. The heat from the other ingredients cooks the eggs.
Years ago, I got tired of paying big bucks for Rice-A-Roni and similar products, and came up with this alternative. Saute 1 minced onion and one shredded carrot in 1/2 stick butter; add 2 cups rice, 4 cups water and 4 chicken bouillon cubes. After about 5 minutes, add 1 diced tomato. 2 to 3 minutes before the rice is finished, add 1 tbsp dried or fresh parsley (cooking for too long takes away the pretty green color), and serve. To serve with beef, use beef bouillon cubes instead of chicken bouillon cubes, and add 2 tbsp tomato paste. My second daughter dubbed this "Party Rice" when she was 8; when I asked her why, she responded that it looks "like a party in the house!"

Another thing we love is Pizza tomatoes. Quarter tomatoes and arrange in a baking dish. For the topping, mix 1/2 stick melted butter, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup parmesan, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp oregano. They do sort of taste like pizza.
Plan on at least 1/2 tomato per person.