Busy Nights Real Food
Monday, October 31, 2005
  My Big Fat Greek Burger
Happy Halloween!! I am almost out of candy so the porch light will soon be extinguished. The number of Trick or Treaters that go door to door seems to be decreasing in recent years. Is that just in my neighborhood. We passed the candy bowl around before we run out. Though I am not big on the decorations, my pumpkin was destroyed by the "wildlife", and I am not creative enough to come up with good costumes, I love to see the kids with all their fun costumes.

Well on to dinner. Have you ever had a recipe or dish that you successfully make time and time again? Well I used to make a mean hummus. I would whip it up on a weekly basis. Then one day something happened. I made my hummus just like always and it wasn't any good. I checked and hadn't forgotten any ingredients, nothing had gone bad, everything was just the same as always, except the taste. I have tried the recipe time and time again and still it doesn't seem to turn out quite right. So after many a wasted garbanzo I have resorted to the boxed variety. But it really is good...really, I swear. Dress it up with some extra olive oil and you've got what we lovingly call "hoo-moo". Maybe I can get a recipe I have success with again, we can only hope.

Well dinner tonight was so good. We had Greek-Style Burgers with Feta Aioli from Cooking Light. Oh...my...God were these tasty. I may have been able to live on the aioli alone. It was just the right amount of spicy. The burgers were enormous because we decided to only make 3 instead of the 5 they said in the recipe. To say the least we've got some leftovers. I want to just make a few little changes, but this will be a definite repeater.
I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween and don't forget to brush your teeth after all that "candy sampling" you may be doing.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
  Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU
Well, Saturday was Homecoming at the University of Kansas and we were in attendance. We were taking on our archrival, the Missouri Tigers. Well, if you know anything about anything here in KS you know that if you are a Jayhawk fan, the true sports season starts with tip off in Allen Fieldhouse. No, really our football games are fun, we just have not had a really strong tradition on the football field the last few years. So when our Jayhawks managed to pull out a victory over the leaders in our confrence (and the team we hate the most), it made for a great Saturday. I am pretty sure I would be sued for posting pics from the game (and I might have need to go in to get them) so we'll just show you how we spent our 8 hours in a college town. Sorry about the lack of variety here, but hey, its Homecoming.

  Another year older and no closer to growing up
Just a note with these pics, if you haven't had party favors at your own birthday for a while, you might want to start. It made for some really fun pictures.

Thanks to you fools in the pic who joined me for a great night, I will be sending your individual shots soon.
  Weekend Dog Blogging
Well, its a bit of a late entry, but Gidget really wanted to join in the WBD hosted by Sweetnicks. She has been awfully busy lately so had to rely on mom here for her beauty routine rather than her trip to the doggy salon. Too say the least, she was less than pleased with my skills.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
  Pictures on the way
Well, its been a busy weekend so far and I will have some fun pictures to show you all when I get some time. So keep checking back to see my weekend of birthday fun.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
  Who needs a birthday cake when you've got Mexican Lasagna?
Well, I actually had this as my last meal as a 26 year old. This little ditty from good ole Ray Ray is actually one of our favorites. It looks like a big pile of mess, but it tastes just great and can be doctored up any way you want. We used ground turkey instead of chicken (though we often use ground beef). I used hot taco sauce rather than the medium, because I wanted to go out of this year in life with a kick. I served it with my now standard Spanish Rice (we have this like every other week) and a green salad with my own Avocado Ranch. I just blend up some ranch dressing (choose your favorite) and some avocado and a little chili powder. It is the perfect taste with my Mexican flavored meals.
Mexican Lasagna by Rachel Ray

Well on this, the 1st day of my 27th year, I am not cooking at all. I plan to relax, shop and then go eat some yummy, yummy Cajun food. I can't wait. Well, we are going to have some fun tonight and hopefully I will be up for posting some pictures of our party tomorrow. And since I believe that my birthday should be treated as a holiday, feel free to take off work and do something nice for yourself.
Gidget is excited for WDB this weekend, so we will be back for that this weekend, between celebrating and homecoming. Have a great one.
Monday, October 24, 2005
  A week in Funkbobito's kitchen
Well, most weeks I make the menu, but this week it was all Funkbobito. He got to choose what we had and even made dinner tonight. But first we'll show you Sunday's dinner. We had grilled cheese, always one of my favorites (we tried the Velveeta slices and boy do they get all melty). We served this with Creamy Tomato-Balsamic Soup from the October issue of Cooking Light. This has been the soup to make over on the Cooking Light Bulletin Board, so we had to give it a try. The flavors melded together really nicely and it was so easy to make. This is a definite repeater in our house.
Tonight was "Barbecues", one of Funkbobito's favorites. As you can see it is basically a sloppy joe, but kicked up a bit. It was really tasty and it was even better since he cooked it. Served with some baked beans and a nice little salad, I was pleasantly full when all was said and done.
Well, only one other night of cooking this week, Wednesday. We are making a dish from one of our favorite, overexposed, quick cooking Food TV stars. Then the rest of the week will be celebration time (really a holiday of sorts). So tune in to find out what all we make, and what in the world we are celebrating.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
  Confessions of a food blogger
Well any time I try to claim to be a foodie, this list of my little confessions always runs through my head and reminds me that I am a new cook, but far from a foodie.
  1. I will never stop making Kraft Mac and Cheese in the blue box. Even though I am trying to find a good homemade recipe, I will never totally abandon my roots on this one.
  2. I hate making food that keeps me in the kitchen for hours on end. I like to know I made something, but I don't need to stand in front of my stove for 5 hours to get that feeling.
  3. After a night out with my friends nothing in this world sounds better to me than Taco Bell.
  4. I still eat McDonald's.
  5. I can't make a cheese sauce without the little bumps and separating.
  6. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am constantly defeated by the potato.
  7. I always have cream of whatever soup on hand because I can't figure out what in the world you would make to replace it.
  8. One of my favorite snacks is Cheez-Its.
  9. Some times the full fat version of things taste weird to me (like sour cream).
  10. I am addicted to buying shredded cheese. I always have at least 3 bags in my fridge.
  11. I only have one decent knife.
  12. My blender was so cheap that it smells like its burning when you use it.
  13. I get mad at how expensive fresh veggies cost so will often buy frozen (and on the rare occasion, canned)
  14. On nights I am tired and stressed I usually just want a frozen pizza for dinner (and not even the good ones, but the ones that are like 10 for $10. I only eat one, but you know the pizzas I'm talking about.)
  15. I rarely use my cookbooks.
  16. I love rice crispy treats.
  17. I buy my spices at the grocery store (and I rarely buy fresh herbs because I can't use them before they go bad).
  18. I ate so much salmon one night (close to a pound) just to avoid leftovers, that I have not been able to eat it again, almost 3 years later.
  19. I am a pretty pathetic baker. I have been known to buy the cookies you just break apart and bake when I had to bring treats for something.
  20. I hate chopping more than anything in this world, really I do.
  21. I broke my box grater so now I have no way to grate anything.

Well, hopefully you faithful readers (and you new ones too) won't desert me now that I have come clean. And feel free to share your own confessions here as well. Its a time to open up and empty out those skeletons in the food closet. I know we all have some (I know there are some secret Wonder bread lovers are out there).

Friday, October 21, 2005
  And the winner of the week...
Fettuccine and Tofu with Finger-Licking Peanut Sauce (CL).

We loved this and will make it many more times. I actually subbed pork for the tofu, but will try the tofu eventually. This was paired up with some edamame in the pod (I could seriously live on this, it's my favorite). I will make this peanut sauce for other recipes as well. it was fantastic. No more cooking this weekend (or at least none planned), but hopefully some fun stuff to share anyhow.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
  Shrimp and Chicken and Pumpkin, Oh My!!
Funny how your computer can be working just great one day, and then the next day its not. That is what happened here. My internet security decided earlier this week that Blogger was not a site I should be spending this much time at, apparently. But all is fixed now and we are ready to rock and roll.

I have made lots of new stuff this week. On Tuesday I tried Creole Baked Shrimp from Cooking Light's Super fast Suppers. It is way too easy to be light and one I will make again. I will probably cut back on the Worcestershire a bit because it gave too much of a beefy taste to the dish. I often forget when making quick meals how long the sides I have planned. Like the rice I planned with this. It takes 25 minutes, the shrimp takes like 10. So we decided that rice is an overrated side dish and that a baguette was much better. (I will think ahead next time and have the rice.) So this dinner turned out a success and I can't wait to play with it a bit and figure out how I want the sauce to taste.
Well Wednesday I decided to try something a little fancier and it was a bit of a let down. I will get to the chicken I made in a second, but I need to share with you all the plight of a potato in my household.
I fancy myself a budding little cook. However the spud had eluded me from day one. Everyone assures me that they are the easiest ingredient to work with. Well thanks for making me feel like a moron, but I can not cook with potatoes. Funkbobito is the king of mashed potatoes because mine come out grainy and dry. I have just recently learned to make a respectable baked potato. And half the time it still has some undercooked parts in the middle. I can roast potatoes, I will claim that one, but that's only because I can cook the living daylights out of them with little interaction (that is where our problem usually starts). Well, last night I decided I would try to make twice baked potatoes. Everyone assured me that these were about as easy as any side dish you could make. Oh and I can't forget the lovely tip I got to do the 1st cook of the potatoes in the microwave. Well, once again the potato and I did not see eye to eye (sorry bad pun). I microwaved as everyone told me to and guess what, it wasn't done in the middle (if you guessed that before finishing the sentence, give yourself a few brownie points). So I cook some more, and some more, and some more and they never really got soft in the middle. So I decide I could get it to work. Well, no, I go to scoop out the middles and the potatoes just break into big chunks, taking the skin with them. After a few choice words about the stickin' potato curse I possess, they meet their fate in the trash and I find a bag of mashed potatoes in the cabinet (they really aren't that bad. Its really sad that I know that).
So our potato fiasco was accompanied by Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette by Giada. Well, what to say about this chicken. It was chicken-y. If I ever have a craving for chicken skin this will be the recipe I go to because the skin was fabulous. But the flavor from the balsamic just didn't penetrate the chicken as I would have liked. Oh well. Maybe roasted chicken parts aren't my thing. I am always disappointed by the lack of rich flavor. It looked impressive, but I will not make it again (well once I finish my leftovers).
Well, Joe over at Culinary in the Dessert made these Harvest Pumpkin Bars last week and I have had them on my list. These were a keeper. Sorry about their sorry looking appearance. The icing came out a little thin and then my overheated work place (85 degrees at 6am) caused some sliding. Despite that they tasted great. Very moist and a very yummy, but subtle pumpkin-y flavor. I will whip these up again.
Well another new recipe tonight and hope that it turns out. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
  A little preview
Well, I have been dealing with some computer issues the last few days, so here is just a preview of what I made Tuesday. More updates are on the way.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
  Monochromatic Monday
Well, before I get to Monday's meal, I will tell you all about my pumpkin fiasco.

I was invited to a pumpkin carving party on Sunday. For starters, you should know that I am about as un-artistic as one person can be, so I knew this would be a very interesting jack-o-lantern. So after spending the weekend watching football all weekend I thought a football player would be quite appropriate. So I drew my design on my brand new pumpkin, cut off the top and got all the good out of the middle. I love toasted pumpkin seeds, but didn't have the foresight to save the ones I was flinging about the back yard. So I carve my little football helmet, leaving eyes, a nose, a mouth, even out little Chiefs arrowhead on the side. I was pleasantly surprised with my success. So on to the fiasco part, I bring it home and set it on the front porch. It was too dark to take a picture so I was going to wait till the next morning. So early Monday morning I walk out with my camera to find that the eyes of my pumpkin are gone and a few areas are bigger than I left them the night before. Apparently, my Halloween decoration has become a snack bar for the small neighborhood wildlife. So alas there will be no pictures of my wonderful pumpkin, but just know he is resting in peace, still being nibbled at day by day (damn ground squirrels).

So onward and upward. For dinner Monday I did a recipe I have made once before. Mustard-Maple Pork Tenderloin with caramelized Apples (CL). Well I did make a few changes. First, I used pork chops, instead of the tenderloin. I also nixed the caramelized apples and made some homemade applesauce. My best friend gave me a tip to roast the apples to speed up the whole thing and it turned out great. We sassed it up a bit with some brown sugar and cinnamon. Finished off the plate with some cheddar grits (is it bad that I want these ever day?) and we had a delicious, albeit very neutral colored, dinner.
I have lots of new recipes on my menu this week so I am getting excited to try some new stuff. Tune in to hopefully get some pictures and more adventures.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
  Warm wishes from the couch
Well, I have spent the majority of the day sitting right here on my couch (god bless the person that invented the wireless card for laptops). Funkbobito and I have both had crazy schedules this week so we were both looking forward to a nice relaxing day. And that we have had. I think we have left the our couch about 3 times all day and I am loving this life.

Tonight we had simple grilled steaks, roasted red potatoes, and some peas (sounds a bit Donna Reed I know). Anyways, we are heading out to meet up with friends after our Jayhawks finish this pitiful game. Don't get me started on my alma mater's football team...

Anyways I have not done much cooking the last few days. Thursday we were both too tired to cook anything so we went out. Last night we went to a dinner party and I actually made something. I planned a picture but the funny thing about Italian feasts, a lot of wine leads to guests who are unwilling to wait for the little blogger to take some artistic picture. So I decided to snap a pic of our hostess enjoying my Chocolate Eclair Cake. It is a totally non-foodie kind of recipe but one of the best desserts ever. It was gone in no time.
Well tomorrow I have no big cooking plans, but I am planning the Pumpkin Bars Joe had on his site over at Culinary in the Desert. So hopefully I can make those and a few other new recipes this week. And I may have to try for another loaf of bread some time soon. Well, I guess I am just starting a new barley (and hops) based diet until then.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
  Happy Dishwasher Day
Well today I got a new dishwasher. Well, I actually bought it on Saturday, but it came today. The old one was a pain since it didn't actually get anything clean. But of course in my life nothing can be too easy in my house. My house was built over 50 years ago, which isn't super old, but old enough to cause all kinds of problems.

So what to do with new dishwasher (besides doing the 3 days worth of dishes that I had put off)? Well you have to make a dinner that can make a lot of dirty dishes. And I was successful (and the food tasted good).

We started with sauteed chicken breasts, thinly sliced. A little garlic and olive oil on the bread, some sauteed red pepper and mushrooms. And of course, what is a sandwich with out some yummy cheese? We chose herb havarti (ohhh, so good). Wrapped it all up with foil and let it cook till it was nice and melty.

I served a spinach salad with apples, red onion, pecans, Parmesan and balsamic vinaigrette. The dinner was a smashing success (except that I have to go load the dishwasher now).
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
  A trip down south
Well its been a long week already. I worked till 10:30 last night and went back in at 6 this morning. Funkbobito worked was stuck at work till 3:30 last night and had to be back at 9 this morning (ah the life of retail and IT). So we were both ready for some down home comfort food. Even before I really learned how to cook, I learned how to make Biscuits and Gravy. My Mississippi born grandma taught my mom and she taught me. And if I do say so myself, I make a pretty respectable batch. I didn't feel like having to clean my grandma's old cast iron skillet so made it in the nonstick which is never quite as good. Oh well, it still hit the spot. Well since I am back in at 6 tomorrow I am heading to bed.
Monday, October 10, 2005
  Finally back in the kitchen
Well they say the best laid plans will always go to waste (or something of that sort) and so went all my plans for cooking this past week. I did get about 3 nights in, but then we ran into an unforseen event, leftovers. So Thursday's menu got axed so we could get through some of the leftovers. While they all tasted fine, I just hate leftovers so it was an overall letdown meal for me. The rest of the weekend was packed full with a baby shower, a wedding and a baptism (luckily all different people ;)) So finally last night I got to make Thursdays meal and it turned out pretty good.

We had Bean and Roasted Veggie Tosadas, Spanish rice and nacho cheese dip. It was all great and had lots of spice to it.
Well, since I was running around all weekend, I have little say. Hopefully I will get some good new stuff in this week and some more exciting tales to share (other than leftovers).
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
  It feels like fall in my kitchen
Well, I took another whack at making bread again today, and had slightly better luck than the 1st time. Do you see that crust? Do you see that nice chewy bread? It turned out great. However I am still trying for that nice dome on the top. It may be because I had to let them do their second rise in the fridge because I had a meeting and didn't want them to sit out for like 2 hours. Anyways, I am getting more comfortable with bread baking and hope to make it more regularly this fall and winter. Well what better to make on our first fall evening (its like 50 degrees outside right now) than some chicken noodle soup. This is the first time I have made it from scratch and it really turned out great (watch out Campbell's, I'm replacing you one pot of soup at a time). It was a chop and drop kind of soup, and tasted great. And of course we had to make some grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches with my fresh bread. Doesn't it look perfect (thanks funkbobito for being my grilled sandwich master)?
So I will be eating leftover meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, chicken noodle soup and bread for the next few days. But we are actually going meat free tomorrow night so tune in to see our feast.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
  A "hot" night and a guest poster
Well, I made a true rookie mistake tonight (who would have thunk that the metal meat thermometer would be hot after sitting in an oven for almost an hour). As a result I am letting my favorite guinea pig, and future hubby do a guest post. So I now introduce funkbobito...

Well, Punky gets the purple heart tonight; I get the dish washing merit badge. Not too bad of a trade for some good eats. Tonight was a staple with a twist. We delved into the wonderful world of meatloaf. Did you know that you can add some zip to this family favorite, simply by absent-mindedly adding seasoned bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs (FYI). Very good all the same.

Accompanying the loaf of meat, we had a very good scalloped potato recipe from cooking light. Now, scalloped potatoes are just plain good, but when you add a double dose of Gruyere how can it not be wonderful?

You may have read on the internet somewhere this week that new words have been added to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Peanut Butter Milkshake with Chocolate Syrup and Cinnamon Graham Crackers happened to make this years cut. It means damn good dessert. Now, I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so dessert has never scared me. This glass of cold and creamy goodness had me ogling like Homer....I knew that it was the "light" version right off the bat (as I had to make the milkshakes due to Gimpy, er, Punky), but I wasn't scared. I put the first scoop of ice cream right where it belonged - on the kitchen floor. The 5 second rule gets into a gray area when you deal with food that melts at room temperature. Once the blender stopped smoking and started working, life was good.

Thanks for letting me lose my blog virginity tonight. I never claim(ed) to be a writer. I'm not very good at it in fact. I think I have ADD. Punky thinks, at most, that I am a little OCD. I don't think I'm clean enough. Wanna ride bikes?
Sunday, October 02, 2005
  WDB # 3
Well, its time for Weekend Dog Blogging #3 with Sweetnicks. So this weeks entry shows a new and old take on the weekend.

Well this is actually not my dog to show off, but really how could I resist? This is Lilo and she's the new wiener dog puppy one of the guys in our wedding party bought. I know, I know, it doesn't really seem like a guys dog (I mean she is all of 4 pounds). He actually bought her for a friend's little girl and then they decided they couldn't accept it. So here is his act of friendship. She is a little spitfire. We are good buddies and love to play together, until of course her puppy playing leaves yet another welt on my arm (with a 17 year old dog you kind of forget about the puppy biting thing).

And as any proud momma, I must post a pic of my old gal (they say contrast is good in any collection of art, contrast with a theme). Anyways. This is her Christmas morning, dealing with mom practicing with the digital camera I had just opened. As you may be able to tell from the squinting, she could still kind of see last Christmas. I don't know, I think this picture is too funny.

Have great weekend.


Just a mom, sharing our life on this little blog.

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