Saturday, December 13, 2014

For Leigh and Lee, I love you, don't ever forget it!

Hey All,

OK, so its Saturday, and today was the big meat run for the month and I feel broke as shit.  $0.50 for fritter chicken, at 20 lbs, still feels like rape....Did I ever mention that spending money on groceries makes me want to throw up?

So the truth is, I haven't been raped and I'm not sorry.  I just really hate the "big meat" trips to the market.  It makes me feel dirty for spending so much.  Beef costs a helluva lot, chicken, not much better, and pork, is actually on sale, but by the time I made it to the store with pork on sale I was worn out!

In usual fashion, let's revisit some recipes.....

Bourbon chicken....this devil made a chicken and a sauce that was delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that Husbear nuked some edamame to enjoy while we steamed vegetables.  I had a moment of genius where I realized that the reason my crock pot Chinese had been turning out like drek, was because I was crocking the vegetables too.....Moral of the story, dont' do it!  Steam the vegetables in the microwave and dredge them in the sauce.  In the case of the bourbon chicken, I added the cornstarch slurry and let it set for 1.5 hours.....then threw the steamed veggies in and pulled them out with a slotted spoon.....YUMMO!

Now for why I'm writing this.  This week has been hell on our marriage....Husbear got hit, on his bicycle, no major damage, thank GOD, but we're still on a witch hunt!.....I've been working hard, but the reality that I'm losing my support teams is hitting like a ton of bricks!

Shopping today, as mentioned, was not the usual $50/week.....its because of these trips that it's OK, but damn....I hate spending $493 on food, even if it goes in the freezer for 2 months.

Now for the recipe for Rangoon Dip....Leigh (my Husbear) and Lee (a friend's ex) both think its worthy of publication.  Its a pintrest thingy.....normally, pinterest makes me kind a crazy, but this one, just screamed, "Make it!".

1/2 pound lump crab (imitation crab works, but don't over cook)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan reality, about 2 oz solid....My how grinding works and save a fortune!
3 Tblsp, green onion
2 Tblsp, Worchestershire sauce
2 Tblsp lemon juice, or juice of 2 limes, as I did tonight
1 teasp, hot sauce....siracha is my favorite
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. Old Bay spice....this one can be made from your pantry.  Google that shit....I'm tired and crabby!

Mix the mess together....the original recipe says 350°F for 20 min...bullcrap!  Shred some mozzarella over the top and broil on high until it gets a crust.....

Fry wonton skins on the highest setting of your deep frier....the oil must be hot....drip them off on paper towels and put them in a brown paper bag...the should be great tomorrow....

Ugh, tired, sad, challenged....I won't take a break from this, but yeah, life, much like gloss, rhymes with hair...

Good night,


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Standby....a theme for a week

Hey All,

First let me say thank you to all my viewers.  I've topped 4000 all time views, and have been averaging about 8 hits a day.  THANK YOU!  Interestingly, in the past week, China has taken the lead for origination of hits.  I remember back when I got my first European hits, I was thrilled.  Now I'm slowly starting to fill in the map of the world.  I think its pretty cool to know that my writing and cooking have reached around the globe.

So let's recap last week:

On Monday, I was going to use the last pork steak to make a pork chow mien.  I got all the shopping done, pulled the pork out of the fridge, and it smelled uniquely of rotten almonds.  So, yeah, um, no, pork chow mien didn't happen.  Instead, we used leftover turkey and made turkey club sandwiches.

The chickens, sans one very sick hen that is in isolation, have been laying again, so I decided to make a quiche.  Quiche is surprisingly easy.  Its pretty much 6 eggs, vegetables that will cook well, and a pastry shell.  The swiss chard has been continuing to grow well into this very warm winter, so I used that, a bit of onion, leftover shredded cheese, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of thyme, and a sprinkle of rosemary. I also had some deli ham that I picked up on a free promotion, so I layered that into the bottom.  I sprinkled some leftover shredded Parmesan over the top.  Because the chard was so much, the Parmesan sat on top of the leaves and created a nice frico effect.  It was tasty! 

We also had some leftover pie dough, so Husbear rolled it out.  We make a pretty good team when it comes to pastry.  I can't make and roll it very well, and he doesn't do well with rolling and fluting the edges.  This isn't some of my best work, but on a weeknight, I'm more interested in my food tasting great than looking nice.  If pie crust isn't readily available, I use a pat in pan recipe, similar to this one.  Pat in pan crusts aren't flaky and delicious like the one's Husbear makes, but they are entirely functional for quiche.

Wednesday had Husbear running, so we did a chicken ranch from Papa Murphy's.  I'm really glad we've picked this one up again.  It makes for a nice easy meal and the quality is far superior to the delivery guys.

I don't remember what we had on Thursday....and Friday was a handful of martini's that left me sound asleep.

I've also been playing with sourdough.  I started the starter the week before Thanksgiving.  I've been feeding it regularly, making breads of many varieties throughout the weeks.  Breadmaking has required patience and a much more relaxed approach than normal.  The good news, things have been turning out great.  I've been using quick dough type recipes of the generic type:  1 cup hot tap water, 2 Tblsp starter, 3 cups water, 1/2 tsp. salt.  For regular bread, I add 1 egg, 1/4 cup oil, and 1 Tblsp sugar.  For sweet breads, I add 3 Tblsp. sugar, 6 Tblsp melted butter, 1/4 cup powdered milk.

The hardest part has been getting things to rise.  I'm slowly learning that sourdough does things on its own time and requires just the right amount of heat.  I've been putting the dough in the oven with the light on overnight, then punching down, shaping, and letting rise another 2 to 4 hours.

This morning, we had cinnamon rolls.  I haven't made these in years, and they were delicious!  The filling was 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teasp. cinnamon.  Most recipes I found included a bit of flour in the filling mix, but I didn't use it.  A tip when cutting, use a piece of thread to pinch the roll rather than trying to cut with a knife.  That way you don't lose the shape.

Over the top, 8oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, softened and creamed together.  1/2 tsp vanilla mixed in, then 1 cup of powdered sugar.  I really like the extra butter in this recipe as it negates the need for a slab of butter over the roll.  Here's what it turned out like:

The week ahead has me using some old favorites:  Anaheim shrimp scampi (avocados were $0.79/ea), quiche (because eggs are plentiful right now!), and turkey tetrazinni (the last of the leftover turkey).  Also, I'll be trying Spend with Pennies - Bourbon Chicken this week.

Also, a big reminder to be watching your grocer's apps and ads.  This is the time of year that I find they are often in a "giving" mood and you can stock a pantry with ease.  This past week, I picked up 4lb bags of sugar for $0.99 each (limit 4).  That was a huge saver, as typically you can't find bags of sugar for under $1.50.  Other steals this week on niceties:  $1.99 for 16 oz of mixed greens, I can usually do better on lettuce, but its been expensive this season, $1.29 for a bag of 3 scones, $1.37 for a bag of 6 bagels, $0.75 for a tub of pumpkin spice cream cheese spread, $0.43 for a bag of peas, carrots, and broccoli, and $0.21/pint for milk.  I'm sure the price on the milk doesn't figure out in the end, but a gallon of milk is always too much for us, so $0.40 for milk for cooking vs. $2.50 for too much that goes bad, works quite nicely in my budget.

I'm also happy to report that the tiffin is forcing me to make great and healthy lunches.  This past week, I had a salad with every meal which has left me feeling much better in the afternoon and evenings. It has also made lunch a much more enjoyable affair....the days of plastic containers full of leftovers, hastily thrown into my day sack are over.  Now I am eating meals filled with fresh fruits and veggies and reasonable sized portions of high-fat foods.  Even better, my budget is staying intact!

I should talk about the sick chicken, since I mentioned her.  The hens recently started laying again.  I'm slowly catching on that they have a good period every year that they do not lay and then it resumes like normal.  One of them began acting funny, staying away from the flock, just laying around, not doing much of anything.  I watched her for a few days, and finally took action when she was laying on her side not moving much at all.  A look over her and her belly was red and swollen.  I have seen egg bound chickens and broody chickens, but nothing like this.  A quick consult with a vet friend and I learned its likely something to do with the resumption of laying.  It would stand to reason that something is quite wrong with her girl parts, whether she isn't passing the egg properly, or if she has something else going on causing the improperly formed egg to pass into the abdominal cavity.  Either way, she's got one heck of an infection.  The prognosis isn't super good, but I figure we owe it to her to give recovery a shot.  The first couple days, I managed to force some antibiotics into her, then she fought me too much...the past two, she's been consuming the liquid, but very little.  Husbear bathed her and cleaned her isolation pen last night and she's acting really sick today.  The course of antibiotics is complete on Thursday, at that time we'll have to decide if she's healthy enough to return to the flock or if we need to make end of life arrangements including a necropsy to determine if the rest of the flock has any risk of getting sick.

I hope you all are enjoying the winter months, staying warm and healthy.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

We've Made It to Winter

Hey All,

Wow, the last few weeks leading up to the holidays have flown by.  Winter is officially here, we've only had bits of snow, but I'm definitely in hibearnation mode.  The joints are a bit achy, the thought of going out in the cold makes me shiver, and I can't seem to drink enough hot beverages.

OK, that's a really dramatic take on winter, but that's often how I feel about it.  When I was younger, I loved the snow and all the great  things it brought.  These days, I see walks that need shoveled, difficult driving, the inversion that Salt Lake has become infamous for, and far too much time indoors in dry air.  The gardens, if they haven't already, are rapidly dying and I am relegated to the markets for food.....

So yes, energy levels have been low and stress has unnecessarily built up.  The good news, this holiday has me relaxed and back on track.  2 days of mostly sleeping and not doing anything with a splash of company thrown in, a day of mostly laziness but with dim sum at Hong Kong Tea House, a nice soak and sauna, and today, a bit of shopping that has me energized to keep making our home a place of wonderful food.

So let's dig in.  This time around, I'm only going to talk about recipes for which I have pictures and unless I deviated wildly from the recipe, I'll leave only links.

Chicken Korma, comes to us from a college friend.  Our history is really something, a couple of really good fights, but an enduring friendship that has stood the test of time.  I'm lucky to have a great friend who also shares a love for wholesome meals with her family.

My dish isn't quite as pretty as the picture in the link, but the flavor was spot on.  I think I just cooked it a bit too long.  Despite my cooking prowess, I'm often one to leave the crockpot going for way too long and making some delicious sludge.

 Moroccan Pot Roast with Dried Cherry Couscous, was another of those recipes that randomly flew by on Facebook and I had to hunt it down.  This meal was delicious!   My only complaint was that the flavors became a bit bitter when eaten as leftovers.  This recipe also calls out for Ras el Hanout, as I talked about earlier, a properly stocked spice cabinet can make just about any one of these exotic sounding spice's an easy recipe from

Finally, in the "new" category this round, is a potato soup that kinda came out of nowhere.  The boys went out on a goodwill mission to Laramie, Wyoming.  Its one heck of a drive and our first real weather of the season was kicking in.  With it being cold, I had absolutely no desire to leave the house, but I knew they'd be hungry when they got back.  I figured a comforting bowl of soup with croutons and bread would fit the bill.

I cut up 5 potatoes and put them in the crock pot with 4 cups of water, 2 tomato and chicken bullion cubes, some powdered onion (I normally use fresh, but I didn't have one in the pantry), and garlic.  I turned it on high and let that cook for several hours until the potatoes were boiled and I could mash it all up a bit.  At that point, I threw in some celery and baby carrots, a sprinkle of thyme, and let that cook on low until they were about an hour out.  When they were about an hour out, I added some cheese curds and mozzarella balls that were leftover from the symphony.  While all this was going on, I decided to give breadmaking a shot.  It wasn't perfect, but it still tasted good.  We managed to get food in us and get them calmed down after a harrowing journey just in time to go out to the club and have the DJs no show.  I can't say they no-showed;  the show was supposed to start at 9:00pm, we left the club at 11:30pm, and through the modern luxury of Facebook, I learned the DJ showed about know just in time for last call.  A disappointing evening, but I did have a nice day of solitude in my kitchen.

I'm also excited to announce that I finally got a tiffin.  It dawned on me that metal won't work in the microwave for warm dishes, so I'm on the hunt for a perfect sized plate to slip in there.  In the interim, I have a shallow bowl that will work just lovely.  The dual compartment also leaves me thinking I'll eat a bit more roughage this winter.....suddenly, a beet salad for a work lunch doesn't seem so impossible.

Its also cooler weather, so that means tea.  I love a good strong cup or two of medium roast coffee in the morning, but coffee is not an all day thing for me.  I think part of this is my continued battle with insomnia, which seems to get worse during the winter months.  I also don't care for cocoa throughout to the a nice treat here and there, I enjoy it, but its just too rich, heavy, and sweet for an all day sip.  So along with the tiffin, I've been keeping my eye open for mugs with built in infusers....  I've had two gripes with the one's I've seen:  a) plastic...tea is meant to be enjoyed with ritual from ceramic, I even shun glass when it comes to tea, b) price tag - I'd be OK with $20 for a good ceramic one, but for plastic with a metal strainer....yeah, um, NO!  Today, while I was cruising Global Supermarket for tea, I decided to have a look at their kitchen supplies.....lo' and behold, I found my mug, a nice porcelain one for Husbear, and my tiffin....they also have a steamer set that I'm eyeing to start doing at home dimsum for easy weekend brunches.

I hope you all are keeping warm this winter.  I've managed to warm myself up and keep my head screwed on....


Sunday, November 9, 2014

I'm back!

Hey All,

As you saw, we were down with this delightful little cold that has been going around. There is nothing quite like a mucus filled illness to turn grown men into cranky babies. Food was up and down during that time. I will say, I have relearned the joy of Papa Murphy's Pizza. It used to one of those things we ate a lot of in college. A few days ago, Paul brought one over as a quick fix. I think we cooked it right, as the crust was that perfect spongy crunchy that I like in pizza and the flavors were great!

Shopping has been dismal, as I plain flat haven't had the energy to shop.  That should change this week.

In amongst, though, I did get some cooking done. Albeit things were a bit more complicated during another busy and hectic work week than I like. The good news, the crazy with work is likely behind me. Now, I am faced with the task of cleaning up documents and implementing lessons learned. Its actually an enjoyable part of the job, as it usually doesn't fail a deadline or leave anyone hanging with important things.

So first let's recap from where I left off. With the past couple of weeks being what they were, these are more the highlights than anything else.

A creamy cauliflower soup (Thanks for the idea, Lisa!) was great during one of the first cold days of the season. I don't have any pictures, and it needs some tweaking for the crockpot, but it ended up being great. Couple that with a good loaf of bread from Stone Ground Bakery, which is just around the corner, and it was a very satisfying hearty meal.

The curried chicken salad was one that fed us for a suprising number of days. I visited lots of recipes on the web and concluded that its pretty much like any other chicken salad, but with the addition of curry powder. I did half and half to taste of Vindaloo curry from Market Spice and the stuff from the supermarket.  I added the usual culprits of chives, raisins, almonds, and halved cherry tomatoes.  I also used half and half sour cream and may for the base.  I think the mayo is a must here as it adds a bit of sweetness that cultured dairy on its own does not.

The chorizo and peppers was a bust.  If I were to do it again, I'd opt for a fajita.  Something about a chili type thing on spaghetti didn't work for me.

Somewhere along the line, I found the dregs of a bag of chicken wings.  So I decided to make wings and "rippin" chicken.  The Popeye's ads have been tormenting us, as we both love their chicken, but unfortunately the nearest one that doesn't require a boarding pass is some 30 miles away. I also still had the peppers from the chorizo and peppers, so I diced a couple of those up in a pot with 50/50 sugar and vinegar, garlic, sliced ginger, a shot of Shriracha, and a bit of cornstarch to make a sauce:

I cut the chicken like this:

 I dredged it in my secret blend of 1 cup flour, 1 Tblsp. cornstarch, and some salt.  After the chicken was dredged, I threw the flour mixture over the wings and shook to coat.  Then off to the deep fryer....

That's all that was left of the poor sure tasted good!

Up next was a find from Recipe Girl.  It isn't kind to say, as I do like how she cooks, but she is mostly facebook fodder to inspire my own cooking.  This Lemon Chicken Parmesan, in particular struck my fancy.  The way the parmesan, lemon, and past come together, and the richness of the breaded chicken made for a fantastic meal.  I made this one ahead, having everything in the baking dish ready to be finished.  I did a few things a bit differently, the pasta, butter, lemon zest, and parmesan all got mixed in the baking dish.  I had pre-breaded chicken breast fillets (which I paid less than I would have for chicken without the breading, mind frugal sense hasn't gone completely out the window!), so I just deep fried those and generously sprinkled with lemon juice.  I will add the lemon slices are an absolute presents nicely, and if you cook the dish covered and then brown the cheese under the broiler, the whole dish gets perfumed with lemon.  It was delicious!  Here's a picture, I even did a bit with the plate to make it look nice :)

Last but not least was this Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa.  Carl joined us for dinner this night.  Along side was plenty of local beer and lots of great conversations.  Read this recipe a few times before you make it.  If you do it right, you'll only dirty an extra pan to make the quinoa.  I didn't read it a few times and ended up destroying the kitchen with the prep.  Again, I prepped this ahead, had it ready to go in the oven and then broiled it off at the end.  I should also mention that cajun spice is really easy to make for a fraction of the price.  Once again, comes to the rescue with this Cajun Spice Recipe.

This is how the dish looked on the plate.  The picture in the article does it perfect justice for how it came out of the oven:

So now for the week ahead:

Chili!  The weather is turning colder, so its a perfect time for chili.  I adapted this White Chili Recipe from Pat and Gina Neely for the crock pot.  I didn't have the peppers and didn't feel like going to the store, so I substituted some roasted hatch chilis I had in the freezer.  I also used the ground turkey I picked up on sale instead of chicken.  I also did half canned black beans and half peruano beans.  I stayed true to the other seasoning and I'm glad I did.  Its in the crock pot now for tomorrow and it tastes and smells delicious.

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes.....not much to say about this one.  Its easy to prepare and great cold weather comfort food.

Veg 1 and broccoli. This is another staple in our house and I've written about it here.  Start a pot of rice, a quick toss in the pan, and dinner!

Spaghetti and clams.  This is one that husbear makes and I love it.

Pot roast.  This Morrocan Pot Roast came across my facebook feed and it sounded good.  I also just happened to score on couscous the other week.  I'm going to substitute dried cranberries for the cherries, but I'm sure it will be good.  This is one we'll just throw in the crock pot and enjoy.

I hope you all are healthy and well.  If you haven't already done so, get your flu shot to ensure a healthy winter season!

Lotsa Love,


Monday, October 27, 2014

Sick as hell....but whatever, I need a Tiffin!

Hey All,

I am sick as hell and got given the run around by our current narcotics legislation in Utah.  I went to the doctor at 7am, since I was already up and attempting to go to work, and this ear pressure told me I better get to the doctor, I went for the 3rd time in a week.  I'm now the proud owner of a hydrocodone  and Augmentin prescription....I had them phoned in, oh, that's right, because of the "crack down" on prescription drug use, I have to present the prescription in person to get hydrocodone....oh well at the least it gave me an excuse to go shopping and take Smith's (a Kroger product) for 28% of retail!  I know pretty measly, considering what those diva's do on TV, but still not bad for just getting started.....

I've often been skeptical of "e-coupons"....but guess what, they work! and on top of your "Valued shopper" card too boot!  I had one for $1.50 off Laughing Cow cheese....and yes, I love those lil' devils as a special treat....with $0.50 already off because of my club card, I paid just $1.46 for my favorite lunch treat.  Throw in a $.16 packet of crackers and leftover dinner protein and I just made a pretty nice lunch for less than $1.  I also scored big with $1 off ground Turkey (brought it to $0.99/lb for 2 lbs), $0.60 off chilis (brought them to $0.09/a can), and $0.50 off club brand cheese (it was still $4.19 for the 1/4lb. of parmesan, but still a steal).

And, since I've been saving so much money by shopping wisely, its time to talk Tiffins!

You don't know tiffins?  Tiffins are stylish, hearty lunchboxes, like my Grandfather, my father, or myself, would have carried into the know, hearty, in case you dropped a tree on it, but stylish, because,'s me....and hearty because I could usually figure out how to fall the tree on top of lunch....  Because we worked in colder climes, it usually came disguised as a cooler with a thermos on top, to keep the coffee warm...apparently we didn't give a crap if our food was cold, but our coffee damned well better be hot.  It turns out its also part of a green food movement called Green Tiffin

The concept is neat to me, a well prepared meal at your office for cheaps....just let me pick up the container at the end of the day and refill it for you....  Have you tried such a thing?  Does it appeal to you?   I'm curious....would office mates be in on a "dine 'o round" for lunch at work?  Just a few of the ideas that come to mind...."Mystery Monday", "Take Your Luck Tuesday" but it has to be homecooked and properly preserved, not weeks' old rotting....

Autumn days in Utah remind me of Summer days in Montana working the timber with my Gramps.  It was a hard detail, but I didn't mind, as long as I got paid.....I had better prospects in science, so did my Husband.  I'd like to say it was worth it, but I will say the timber was less stress....and I didn't have to worry about my equipment killing me

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekly recap....we survived!

Hey All,

Greetings from the backside of Decompression travels.  Its been a wild ride.  I made it to one of the planned decompressions and given the events surrounding missing one, and ill health on the part of Husbear, we may be done for the year.  I also dropped a ladder on my right foot on Tuesday, and it bruised like a sonufagun.  Needless to say, we're both a bit gimpy right now, but that hasn't stopped us from good food!

So I'll start with the recap of the past week.  I haven't done shopping yet this week, instead, I went out for beers with my beloved crew from work.

The prep didn't get done on Friday, as planned, but we managed to pull it out and eat well with minimal fuss this week.

Monday was the return from the travels, so we just ordered in a pizza.  Meats on thin crust was very nice.

Tuesday:  Flatbread Margherita

I found a package of sandwich thins in the freezer, so rather than go through the pain of making the flatbread, we used those instead.

The hardest part of this prep was the chicken.  We thawed out some chicken thighs, sliced thin, fried it up with onions, oregano, thyme, and salt.

After that, it was literally layering the basil, tomatoes, chicken, and halved mozzarella balls onto them.  I gave them each a squirt of balsamic vinegar on top, bringing a bit more of a buschetta type flavor to them.

I broiled that on lo broil, to get a good crisp on the bread until the cheese was bubbly and the exposed edges of the bread.

Here's what it turned out like.  It ended up making quite a few, and they have been a great lunch treat this week.

 While those were cooking we prepared the meat and tatzeki for the BeefTeki on Wednesday.  Unfortunately my camera ate the picture.  I did something different with the tatzeki and added the salted and sugared onions (about 50/50, let it set til the onions wilt) to it.  It made for a great sauce that has also been a delicious dip on corn chips.

I also cheated on the BeefTeki (see This Entry), I found a package of pita bread in the freezer, so we did that instead of the flatbread.  I should note, I don't feel too guilty about either, I typically get the bread on sale for $0.89/package and keep it in the freezer for weeks like these.

Thursday was a rough one.  I was informed about 30 minutes before quitting time that two of our biggest performance measures for 2014 have been modified for the 4th quarter.  I'm proud as hell of what myself and our team have been able to accomplish this year.  We came into the year struggling to meet acceptance and turn-around rates.  It took a ton of hard work and way-outside-the-box thinking by every single member of the team, but by March we were kicking the snot out of what we thought was an unattainable goal.  In a nutshell, acceptance rates have been increased an additional 33%, and turn around times have been decreased 37.5%.  Fair to say, my unethical douchebaggery radar was going crazy and I really wanted to cry.  I'm proud of myself for challenging it politely during the staff meeting and having a very angry conversation with my boss without losing my mind.  Admittedly, he was unimpressed when I told him, "You want to know where my motivation is right now?  FUCK YOU! That's where!" and flipped him the bird.  So yes, yesterday was a late dinner after much processing.  Dinner was worth the wait, though.  Yes, this is also a favorite dish that I save for special occasions....or when I'm stressed out.

Walnut Shrimp

Shredded Cabbage
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup Walnuts
A pot of rice (I like Jasmine for this, as it soaks up the sauce and makes it milky)
1 lb. Raw Shrimp, peeled, deviened
1/2 cup flour
3 Tblsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tblsp. Honey

I start a pot of rice at this point, unless you have some ready made in the fridge, then just reheat it.

Heat the oven to 180°F, or the lowest setting if your's won't go that low.

Heat a deep fryer to the chicken setting (typically 375°F).

I didn't have walnuts handy, so we didn't do this and had a honey glazed shrimp, but it was still delicious.  If you have the walnuts, bring the sugar and water to a boil, add the walnuts and boil together for 3-5 minutes.  Drain and set the walnuts aside.

Place the bed of cabbage on a baking sheet.  Place it in the oven while you prepare the rest.

Mix the flour and cornstarch in a large bowl with a lid.  Pat the shrimp dry with a kitchen or paper towel.  Add the shrimp to the bowl, shake to coat.  You will have leftover flour mixture, this is normal.  Toss the shrimp in the deep fryer and fry until done.....5-8 minutes.

While the shrimp are frying, mix together the mayo and honey.  If you have it, juice of half a lemon adds a nice kick.

Pull the shrimp from the fryer and let drain.  Remove the cabbage from the oven and pour the shrimp over.  The cabbage will have wilted perfectly to that earthy sweet that makes this dish stellar!

Pour the mayo/honey mixture over the top.

Here's what last nights looked like.  Oh and don't worry that there isn't much salt.  The natural salt in the shrimp is perfect.

I usually have a couple of minutes left while the rice finishes, so I just pop it back in the oven so the cabbage gets sweeter and the mayo/honey glaze runs all over and coats everything.

Serve with rice for a delightful meal!

I skip the trouble of whipping egg whites for the batter.  Its a pain and I prefer the crispier shrimp that don't require hand dipping.  If you like the big puffy battered shrimp, whip two egg whites to stiff peaks, fold in the flour and cornstarch and hand dip the shrimp.  Personally, I find it a time suck and painful process.

Tonight we're supposed to do steak and corn on the cob, and tomorrow will be the chorizo and peppers.

Some thoughts on the week ahead:

The days are cooling down and I found some recipes for Salisbury loaded with mushrooms, which Husbear loves, so I'm pretty sure it will happen.

Cauliflower is on sale.  I think I'll make cauliflower salad.  Creamy cauliflower soup was also recommended.  I'll give the weather forecast a look and see if it will be a good idea.

Also, lettuce is on sale, so I may look into the curry chicken salad.

I'll likely write more as plans develop.

Lotsa Love,


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

GrownUp SpaghettiOs after The Anniversary at SeaCompression

Hey All,

I've been slightly MIA, but well.  More than anything, I've been traveling.  I often forget how busy a jam packed week before a trip really screws with household planning.  There have also been some recent tragedies, but, out of respect for many of my readers, I won't rehash that.  Those of you who are in the know, THANK YOU for being there!  Without your love and support, this would have been A LOT more difficult!

Last week ended up being lots of dining out.....and my budge reflects it.  But, I keep reminding myself, its that time of year and its OK to let my hair down.

There is little to report from last week that isn't holy depressing.  The happy stuff started on Friday when we departed Salt Lake City for Seattle, first class to celebrate our Anniversary at SeaCompression.  Being our first anniversary and all, we decided to do it in style.  Up first was my first-ever first-class flight on Alaska Airlines.  I have loved Alaska for years, their regional carrier used to be my preferred path out of Montana.  In the past year, they have opened up tons of markets in Salt Lake City;  every chance I got I thanked them and congratulated them on their success in Salt Lake City.  I am thrilled to say I am now a card carrying member of their mileage program and will likely continue to fly them when a first-class ticket is in order.

The flight up was pleasant, no alcohol service until 10K feet, but that was soon rectified.  The meal outbound was OK.  It was a toasted turkey and cheese on ciabatta and a broccoli slaw.  The broccoli slaw was a reminder that I really should do that more often when I have broccoli stems instead of feeding them to the dogs.  It was perfectly dressed with a more Mediterranean twist than I am used to with slaw, but it was quite tasty.

Seattle greeted us with the usual fun and frivolity and a very charming accommodation.  If you ever need a place to stay in Seattle and last minute prices have you gagging, try A Bed & Breakfast Inn Seattle.  The rate was well within budget, and despite a smallish sleeping area, everything else was perfect.  The meals were tasty and the staff friendly;  I couldn't have asked for more!

Also in Seattle, I got better acquainted (oh who am I kidding, I feel like they are best friends for life), with Ranger Torchwood, and company, shout to Ranger Flourless Cake too.  We met at the Berlin social at Burning Man and instantly rubbed off on one another.  Here's a picture of us before we created a spectacle of ourselves on one of the dance stages.

I'd love to share more pictures from SeaCompression, but let's be honest, you just have to be there.  Just ask my Mom who was heartbroken that SeaCompression was early this year and she couldn't get away from her job to come.

Seattle brought its usual culinary delights.  One of me favorites, not to be missed, is Odd Fellow's.  The mussels there are not to be missed.  Not quite as good as the canal mussels I had in Vancouver, WA, but a very close 3rd, with Bambara's being #2.  Another amazing find was the hole in the wall, Pike St. Fish Fry.  Traditional cod fish 'n chips with malt vinegar and curry ketchup made this bear very happy!  Oh and I have to say, I actually had good seafood on this trip to Seattle.  Its ironic that I've never had that spectacular of seafood in Seattle in all the times I've visited.

Then, in a flash, it was time to come home.  We were able to enjoy the hospitality of Alaska's Board Room....lunch was a salad and curry red lentil soup.  This is a soup I must make in the upcoming winter months.  It was a nice bite, soon to be followed by Alaska's award winning in-flight service.  Granted, I sent a rather poor review of my check-in experience as I couldn't find the first class check in until well after I'd done the check-in of the unwashed masses, but their in-flight service made up for that minor inconvienence.

The meal was a "snack" of chicken salad.....  I must say, I'd never thought to make a curried chicken salad.  This meal has inspired me to give it my own attempt, I even bought turmeric at the market today:

I must add, they are doing something right.  The solitary cherry tomato was a highlight of the dish.  I often find tomatoes that don't come from my garden to be tasteless, this one was sweet and popped in my mouth.....the glass of chardonnay (and the two before and the three after) was icing on the cake.

Now that I'm home and we've had the obligatory crap pizza meal, I got my poop in a group and made a meal.  Granted, this one is not quite as nice on the pocketbook, or as visually pleasing, but it turned out great.  I call it Grownup SpaghettiOs....and it only dirtied 3 dishes plus plates for 3.

Some time ago, I scored a heck of a deal on premade pesto and tampanade.  I think I paid $0.50 for the containers and threw them in the freezer.  A bit ago, whole wheat cheese tortellini was on sale, I can't remember, but I think it was $2.99 a container.  It takes 2 containers to feed us, so we're into it $6.50 now.  I also scored on frozen green beans at $0.38/lb today....I think I prepared a pound.

At any rate, here's the result:

The little packet of cheese and herbs was saved from the pizza the other night.  Yeah, I'm cheap like that, but damn those things come in handy sometimes!  Yes, that's also a glass of wine.  I've found that when I'm feeling like I do after a day like today, a couple glasses of wine help me lose the day, sleep well, and not have stomach upset in the morning.....not to mention I'll likely drink 32oz of water before bed.

Today's shopping also brought great ideas for next week.  Husbear is off on Friday and has promised to help with the prep for next week.  I'm happy about this, I think we're catching on that a little bit of preparation makes for a lot less hectic week.  Without further ado, here's the menu for next week along with prep:

Meal 1:  Chorizo and peppers.  Usually I do an Italian sausage and peppers, but I was pretty sure we were out of Italian sausage and chorizo was cheap on sale ($1.58 for 18 oz).  We'll slice the onions, tomatoes, and peppers and have them in the fridge so all we have to do is fry the mess.

Meal 2:  Beefteki.  I've written about this one before and its a favorite (see April 6, 2014 entry).  I have leftover greek yogurt in the fridge and cucumbers were $0.10 ea, so why not!  I had to hunt to find a cucumber that hadn't been frozen and was wilty, but the hunt was worth it.  We'll mix the beef, herbs, and onion and have that ready to go.  The tatzeki will be made ahead as well as the flatbread (see May 30th entry).

Meal 3:  Steak and Corn on the Cob.  OK, this one doesn't have much prep, except maybe dry rubbing and sealing the steaks.  I paid a bit more than I like to for corn, $0.39, but the ears were nice and I know they are local.

Meal 4:  Walnut Shrimp.  Cabbage wasn't super cheap, but I've been craving this and at $0.59/lb I couldn't say no and mean it.  This is a personal favorite of mine and really easy to make if you cheat on the breading....I'll have to write this one up when I make it.  I always serve the shrimp on a bed of shredded cabbage....the cabbage barely wilts when you throw the hot shrimp and sauce on top and is a just perfect sweet and savory.  Granted, this is purple cabbage so the whole mess will turn out a weird green/purple color, but whatever.

Meal 5:  Flatbread Chicken Margherittha.  An easy take on the classic Margherittha pizza.  Since I've only enjoyed a few of the tomatoes, and most have gone in the freezer, we'll be doing this.  Also mozzarella, while fun to make, was on sale for $1.49 for 8oz in water.  Make the flabread ahead.  Soak the chicken in garlic, salt, and oregano and grill it.  Put together and throw it under the broiler for a bit and viola!

I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the Autumn.  And let me reiterate, no more freaking tragedies....I'm getting kind of tire of it.

Lotsa Love,