Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring has Sprung

I think spring is finally upon us. I am sure we will still see the occasional spring snowfall, but the worst is behind us. I am looking forward to getting the gardens going, get walking and enjoying the sunshine, and BBQ'ing...lots of it!

I had a great time last weekend at the scrapbooking weekend. I got 12 pages mostly finished. They just need titles and a few extra embellishments. I need to come up with an idea for a card for ladies night on Wednesday but my creativity is running on empty. I spent it all last weekend!

This weekend, Lee is home. I bought him tickets to see Billy Talent for his birthday. The concert was Friday night. Cancer Bats weren't that great and alexisonfire were just OK. I don't really understand the whole screaming instead of singing. Against Me was pretty good. And Billy Talent was awesome! We saw Billy Talent 5 or 6 years ago at a Warped Tour. It was 35 degrees, no shade and $3.50 bottles of water. We got trampled, elbowed, and stomped on. Lee had to pull me out of the crowd backwards and we missed half of Billy Talent's half hour show. So this was to make up for that and we had a great time.

Yesterday, I made a boiled cabbage dinner and flaky dessert. I had never made flaky dessert before, but I had heard of it from my friend Gola. It is supposed to be similar to the Vachon Flakie cakes, and it is close. It was nice and light, and a cinch to make. I didn't get a good picture, but this gives you an idea.

Flaky Dessert

  • 1 box vanilla instant pudding, 4 serving size
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1L Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 cup jam or jelly
  • 1 sleeve soda crackers, unsalted

Mix pudding and milk. Fold in 1/2 tub of Cool Whip. Place a single layer of soda crackers on the bottom of and 8x8 pan. Spread 1/2 of pudding/Cool Whip mixture on crackers. Place another single layer of crackers and add another layer of pudding mix. Stir jam or jelly until smooth, and spread on top. Spread remaining Cool Whip on top and cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

A little tip about the jam. I bought Smuckers Strawberry jam in a squeeze bottle and just squeezed it on. It is much easier than trying to spread it on the pudding. If you are going to used jam or jelly in a jar, try microwaving for 10 seconds or so then stir. It will be easier to spread when slightly warmed.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Go Canada Go!

I don't know of many Canadians who aren't watching the gold medal game today. There is 3 minutes left in the 3rd period as I write. My friend Heddy was out and about town this afternoon and apparently it is a ghost town out there. Everyone is hunkered down to see who will come out on top.

Before the game started, I made some cookies. Another keeper from Nanny's book. I had to go to the store for oatmeal in the middle of making them, but they turned out good! Nanny's recipe called for raisins, but I subbed chocolate chips.

Dad's Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or chocolate chips)

Cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and mix. Add in dry ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. (Mine were done at 9 minutes) Be careful not to overbake, they burn quickly!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Night Chili

I am so glad it's Friday. I get to sleep in tomorrow. I love the Olympics, but, I am ready to get back to regular TV. But not before Canada captures the gold in Men's Hockey!

How about Women's Team Canada, eh?? How empowering for all woman, especially Canadian women and girls who play competitive hockey! I don't feel it's about who wins the most medals, but more about pride in our athletes, our country, and our people. What a sense of accomplishment Olympic athletes must feel!

Not much going on with us here in the prairies. I am hoping to prep for next weekend tomorrow. I am going to a scrapbooking weekend, and I trying to be somewhat prepared. Should be good times though.

Being Friday, and having a craving for chili, I put one together for dinner tonight. I think it turned out pretty good. I am even eating it from the bowl I got from the Handicraft Guild's Chili Bowl Supper.

Friday Night Chili

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 can tomato sauce (398mL)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (398mL)
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained (398mL)
  • 1 can Aylmer Accents tomatoes with Chili seasonings (540mL)
  • 1 cup sweet corn, frozen or canned
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbs molasses
  • 1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar

Add beef, 1 tsp salt and pepper to a large saucepan. Brown beef and drain. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Simmer on low heat for one hour.

I don't know if Aylmer tomatoes or chili seasoned tomatoes are available in the US, just as we can't get Rotel in Canada. If not, you could used diced tomatoes, you just may need to add a bit more chili powder and garlic. I tasted the tomatoes out of the can and chili and garlic were the predominant flavors, but celery, bell pepper and onion are also listed on the can.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I received a special delivery on Friday!

Aren't they purdy?? I have the best husband ever!

I was planning on being Wonder Woman in the kitchen today, but I woke up this morning with a killer headache. I maxed out on my ibuprofen intake for the day, and it only numbed the pain for a few hours. Long enough for me to whip up a cake.

I decided on another recipe from Nanny's cookbook. Her friend Joan's Chocolate Oatmeal Cake. I hadn't made it before, but I recall eating it as a kid when Joan would come to Nanny's for a visit. If raw eggs don't bother you, lick the beater. You can thank me later.

Joan's Chocolate Oatmeal Cake

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbs cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix oatmeal and water in a mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl). Allow to sit until cooled.

Once it is cooled, beat in margarine/butter, brown sugar, and eggs. Sift in flour, baking powder and cocoa and beat. Add vanilla. Mix baking soda with a teaspoon of hot water in a small bowl and add in.

Pour batter in a greased 8x8 pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Don't overbake!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nanny Ruth's Hamburger Soup

There is a cafe not far from my house that serves hamburger soup every Monday at lunch. I often stop in to enjoy some. My love for hamburger soup began in high school, at the high school cafeteria believe it or not. Those lunch ladies made a mean pot of hamburger soup!

When I graduated high school, my grandmother gave me a hope chest and a recipe book with her tried and true recipes. Hamburger soup was among the select dishes. And for some reason, I have never tried to make it myself! I am not sure if I just missed the recipe in the book or what happened. What happened tonight was a pot of delicious soup!

Nanny Ruth's Hamburger Soup
1 1/2 lb ground beef (I used lean)
1 medium onion, diced
1 can tomatoes (I used 19oz can of diced tomatoes with italian spice. It was in the pantry)
3 cans consomme (I used 2, picked up a can of broth by accident)
4 carrots, chopped fine
2 cups water (I used three cans of beef broth instead)
1 bay leaf
8 tablespoons barley (I used pot barley)
1 cup cabbage, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 2 hours.
I browned my ground beef, then added my remaining ingredients.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Salsa, baby!

Thought I should make some munchies in case I decide to stay home tonight. UFC is tonight, and I am undecided if I should stay home or head to Boston Pizza. So just in case, I made Pioneer Woman's Restaurant Style Salsa. Ooohhh, is it ever good! I am not a big fan of chunky salsa, so this works just perfect for me. Good for those who are partaking in Game Day tomorrow. It makes ALOT! It filled my blender to the top.

PW's Restaurant Style Salsa

1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies) (No Rotel in Canada, use Aylmer Accents with Spicy Red Pepper. In the tomato aisle at the store.)
¼ cups Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced (I used 2)
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
¼ teaspoons Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt (I used a whole teaspoon)
¼ teaspoons Ground Cumin
½ cups Cilantro (more To Taste!) (Safeway didn't have fresh, so I picked up a jar of the Litehouse Freeze Dried Cilantro. Worked great and no chopping involved!)
½ whole Lime Juice
Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like—I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mmm Mmm Good!

Last weekend and again tonight, I made Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta. Move over East Side Mario, there's a new girl in town! I love ESM's Pasta Amatriciana or however you say/spell it, you know what I mean. I don't usually try pasta at home as I find it most times bland. This pasta kicks it up three or four notches. It is excellent leftover too. The recipe is below, with my comments!

PW's Cajun Chicken Pasta

3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
1 pound Fettuccine
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced (I diced my peppers and onion and used green and yellow, red were sold out)
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
½ whole Large Red Onion, Sliced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
½ cups White Wine (I didn't have, so I just replaced with more broth)
1 cup Heavy Cream (whipping cream to Canadians)
Cayenne Pepper To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Salt To Taste
Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste
Do all the prep work before starting. All the chopping, measure out the liquids, get the pasta pot boiling and such. Once you get going with this, it moves pretty quickly as you are cooking over high heat.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!
Al dente is important here. No one likes mushy pasta, and even mushier leftovers! I get the pasta water boiling as I am heating the frying pan to start the chicken. When the chicken is cooked, I add the pasta. If I think the pasta is going to be done first, I will cook to very al dente and turn off the heat and allow it sit in the hot water for a few minutes till I am ready to use. It will finish cooking and not be all stuck together.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.
Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.

Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. (I added my garlic after a minute or two of the veggies being in there. I was afraid it would burn and burnt garlic is gross with a capital G.)
Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan. (Put them on the plate with the chicken)

With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy!

Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.

Top with chopped fresh parsley and chow down! (Safeway was out of fresh parsley too.)
I forgot to mention that when I halved the recipe, it filled my 12 inch skillet. So if you are doing a full recipe, but sure to use something large enough to hold it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Project 365 - II

I missed a couple days. I thought this project would be a great idea, but somedays, it is hard to find something to take a picture of. I get up, go to work, come home, make supper (sometimes), relax, go to bed, repeat. Not too exciting 'round here most days. I am hoping as time goes on, I will get more creative with the pictures.

January 22nd - I was on my way to Tina's for dinner after work and it was frosty and foggy that day. The frost started to collect on my rear view mirror, so I pulled over to get a picture. Not sure what is more neat about this picture. The frost or the flat, foggy prairie.

January 25th - My scrapbook room. It is kind of a mess here, but I was working away on Emma's birthday invitations.

January 27th - Dad's home! Daisy ignores me when Lee is home.

January 28th - I have seen some beautiful sunrises and sunsets in my 9 years living here. I caught this one Thursday morning.

January 29th - Furbabies in the kitchen. Enough said.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Going Greek

I discovered at an Epicure party that I absolutely am in love with feta cheese. I always thought it was just plain stinky. I buy the dry pack feta or the flavored fetas and they don't smell at all!

I am heading out to a potluck at Christin's tonight so I whipped up a new recipe I found on TK for Greek Pasta Salad. It has to sit for 24 hours so I am not sure how it tastes today, but right after making it I thought it was pretty good. A nice change from my usual creamy pasta salad.

sharoneason's Greek Pasta Salad from TK

½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
4 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoons Ground Pepper
1 teaspoon Dill Weed
2 teaspoons Cavender's Greek Seasoning
1 box(es) (16 Oz. Box) Curly Pasta (Campanelle) (16oz is approx. 4 cups, I used fusilli)
1 whole Green Pepper, Chopped (I left this out, I am not fussy on raw GP)
1 bunch(es) Green Onions With Tops Chopped (I left this out too, Christin doesn't like onions)
½ pounds Feta Cheese Crumbled Fine
15-½ ounces, weight Can Sliced Black Olives (I didn't use quite as much)
1 whole Ripe Tomato Chopped

Dressing: mix olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt, ground pepper, dill weed and Greek seasoning in a small bowl and set aside.

Boil the pasta, drain and cool.

Toss the pasta with the green pepper, onions, feta cheese and black olives. Pour on dressing and mix throughly. Chill for 24 hours.

Before serving, toss well and top with the chopped tomato.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First Round of Pictures!

Here are the first of my Project 365 pictures!

January 17, 2010 - It was really nice outside, so I opened the window for Daisy and Sika. Daisy got there first, and Sika is impatiently waiting her turn.

January 18, 2010 - I was on my way to Tina's for dinner after work. In the field across from the new arena, there is an iron cowgirl sillouette. Almost looks like the real deal.

January 19, 2010 - Lounging in the new recliner, with the heated blanket I got for Christmas. Sika loves the heated blanket and is up in my lap as soon as I sit down.

January 20, 2009 - New greek pasta sald recipe! We are having a potluck at Christin's tomorrow night. So keep your eye out for some baby pics!! I will post the recipe tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Project 365

On the weekend, I was reading through the blogs I check in on every now and again. When I was reading Grumpy's HoneyBunch, I see she has started Project 365.

In Project 365, you take a photo a day for the whole year. I am a bit late in finding out about it, but I am going to get started. I will post my photos here once a week. If I can stick to it, I plan to reward myself with a little treat. I see a DSLR in my future!

So stay tuned!

Here is the link Grumpy's Honeybunch had for more info.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Potato Soup for the Soul

Happy New Year!!

Last night I decided to try something I enjoy in restaurants but never make at home.

Baked Potato Soup!

It turned out great! I halved Calamity Anne's recipe, but didn't halve the bacon. Can never have too much bacon in potato soup! It is very hearty, very filling soup. So don't grab your largest soup bowl and fill it almost to the top.
Calamity Anne's Baked Potato Soup

4 Large Baking Potatoes
2/3 Cup (11 Tablespoons) Butter Or Margarine
2/3 Cup All-purpose Flour
6 Cups Milk (I used whole milk, but would use my good ole skim milk next time. Whatever you have on hand is fine)
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
4 Green Onions, Chopped And Divided
12 Slices Bacon, Cooked, Crumbled, And Divided
1-1/4 Cups (5 Ounces) Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Divided
1 (8-ounce) Carton Sour Cream
Chicken Bouillon (optional)
Wash potatoes and prick several times with a fork; bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until done. Let cool. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; then scoop out pulp, and set aside. Discard skins.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. (I also added a tablespoon of the bacon fat for flavor)
Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons green onions, 1/2 cup bacon, and 1 cup cheese.
Cook until thoroughly heated; stir in sour cream.
Add extra milk, if necessary, for desired thickness. I found it to be quite thick, but I liked it that way and didn't add any extra milk. I think my leftovers will be thicker, so when I reheat it, I will add extra milk at that time.
Add little bit of chicken bouillon for extra flavoring. Serve with remaining onion, bacon, and cheese.