May 28, 2013

Trying to Move Forward?

It has been a really weird week around, weirder than usual.  Because of the holiday week end I just didn't get around to planning my menu and posting it over at Organizing Junkie's blog for MPM this week.  There are a little over a hundred that did post, so will spend this evening looking them over.

Last week's menu plan was followed about 50%, so not a total failure.  There were a few days that it just didn't work out to fix what was planned, and one night hubby took me out for a date.  Saturday the hubby went and played with some of his buddies so Miss Zebra and I amused our selves.  We stopped by the library so she could pick up a book, she came home with four.  Of course, since I was there, I picked up ten books and bought a stack of old magazines from the Library Friends room.  I was extremely pleased to have found a quilt magazine that had the very quilt I want to work on next in it.  I had tried to find that particular edition of the publication just for that quilt but it was out of print already.  Now I got it for .50 cents, so will have the detailed instructions.  Also grabbed up several Cooking Light magazines.  I was looking through the library shelves at some cookbooks, realized that several of those books are ones that I have been looking at on Amazon to purchase.  You see, cookbooks and quilt books are something that I am never sure of about purchasing because I never know if there are any projects that I would like to do, or recipes that I will make.  Since they were right there in front of me, I could actually read them page by page, I checked them out to bring home and look over.  I have this kind of rule, if I find more recipes that I like than I am willing to copy down, I buy the book.  Huge surprise of the bunch so far, The Red Hat Society Cookbook.  I bet there are at least 200 recipes in that thing I want to try.  I have ordered the cookbook.

Last night I tried the recipe for Squash, Corn Bread, Green Chile Bake.
This is all you need to make it.  Ignore anything behind the milk.  I believe it would be copyright infringement if I were to post the recipe, so I won't, but I will tell you it is one of the best things I have eaten in a long time and there wasn't much left.  The ingredients are: yellow squash, cornbread stuffing mix, diced tomatoes with green chile, onion, milk, egg and cheese.  You need a casserole dish and a sauce pan. I only had a can of stewed tomatoes with green chile so I pulled out my new Pampered Chef cutter that looks like a big pair of scissors but with double blades.  I put it right in the bowl of tomatoes, cut and cut and with in literally minutes, like about 2, I had diced tomatoes.

The results.
So delicious.  Although, I made a mistake and ended up adding too much liquid.  Now, I like a really moist mushy kind of dressing, more so than most around here, but had I made it correctly I think it would have set a little better and had a more defined texture.  I will be making it again, the family really like it, it was easy and quick, so will find out if my mistake made a lot of difference.  Did you notice that the casserole dish is blue instead of clear like the photo above?  You have to prepare the stuffing while the squash cooks. I cooked it in the microwave as I always do.  I am lazy about dirtying dishes so I just mixed it all in that same bowl instead adding it all together in a second dish.

Also, from that same cookbook, I made Kahlua Baked Beans.
There wasn't much of it left over either.  Now I didn't really care for them, but then I don't like coffee flavors or smell at all.  That being said, there was literally like three spoons of the stuff left and this makes a huge amount, and I halved the recipe.

On the menu last night was steak, baked potato, 7 layer salad, the squash casserole and the beans.  I made bread pudding for dessert, sent most of it home with my daughter-in-law.  More about the pudding later.  I also made a crazy good recipe that has been floating around on Facebook.  When I first saw the recipe, I knew that it would be perfect for using my Pampered Chef Brownie Pan.  Gosh, I am starting to sound like a commercial or something.  At any rate, here it is.  Beware, definitely not healthy.
 Take purchased chocolate chip cookie dough, the little squares, press each square into the bottom of each section of the pan. Smooth it out to cover the entire bottom to the edges.  Then place a peanut butter cup upside down in each section.  Cover each of those sections with brownie batter.  Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 18 minutes.
I think my brownie mix was little too thick, but it worked out fine.  The recipe said nothing about greased pan, and I know that you usually don't need to grease a baking pan for cookies, but...since this was a brand new pan, and thinking of the peanut butter cup, and knowing that I always light grease a pan when making brownies, I lightly sprayed the pan with butter flavored cooking oil before I started.  They came out of the pan perfectly.
Naturally, since it was the first time I had ever made this recipe, I braved it...made the sacrifice...bit the big one and tested out the chocochip peanutbutter cup brownie, myself.  Yes...I did! It was a big risk, but I did it for my family.

One more little commercial.  The Pampered Chef has a beautiful glass trifle bowl.  It comes with a nice glass pedestal that it can sit on and a plastic cover.  I love that the pedestal is a separate piece to make it easier to put the tall bowl itself in the fridge.  I know that a lovely trifle or other layered type of dessert will truly look lovely in it, but there are other dishes that be showcased in the glass dish.

So, I started with lettuce, then spinach, hard boiled egg, avocado, bacon bits, tomatoes, green onion, English peas, grated cheese and then the dressing.  So...maybe it is a 9 layer salad technically, but it must of been good because my hubby really liked it, took the time to tell me he liked it and how well I did making it.  There was so much of it, that over half of it is still left over.  I told him that I was glad he liked it...we would be having it again the next day.  Which will be tonight.

Finally, for my bread pudding experience.  This is how it all started.  My aunt, lived on the farm all of her life.  Grew up on a farm, married a farmer, even when he retired from farming they still lived in their little farm house.  When ever my kids were smaller, especially my oldest two, they would ride along with my dad occasionally when he would go check on them.  Aunt Lola would most always make bread pudding for dessert.  And she made the best I have ever tasted.  No raisins or nuts, no gourmet flavorings, she was what you would call a home style country cook.  Old time cooking, most of her dishes were recipes learned from her mother, or what she cooked during the depression.  I have tried so many recipes, and some have been very close, but just not quite it.  So, I started really thinking about it.  Of course I was not in the loop, so to speak, to receive any of her recipes.  I am adopted so to that part of the family I am not really family.  I won't even begin to go in to that whole story.  I am pretty sure that the person that did go through her household things probably threw them in the trash because they weren't worth any money...even though I would have gladly bought them.   Back to the point...I started thinking about the recipe in a little different way.  Knowing what I knew about her, I started working on finding a recipe that was based on ingredients she would have had, probably on hand since they lived out of town a ways and she didn't like to drive.  Taking all that in to consideration I look for recipes that have what I would call "normal country" ingredients.  I am sure she had real butter and heavy cream, she always had thick sliced bread, lots of spices and fresh eggs.  I went to the farmer's market over the week end and found a vendor that was selling guinea eggs, remembered that Aunt Lola always had a lot of guineas.  In fact when I was young I got to go look for their eggs...for some strange reason I always though it was the best of times when I could find those eggs in the old out house.  At any rate, I bought some.  I used them in the bread pudding recipe from last night.  It was recipe I found in a collection online of depression era recipes.    I had TOTALLY forgotten how hard those buggers are to crack open.  I didn't get a photo of the dish, and while everyone said how good it was, I was disappointed in it.  Before I put the sauce on it, it was really dry and crispy.  Then I added the sauce and it became a soggy mess.  It tasted like icing soaked cinnamon rolls actually, which isn't a bad thing, just not the flavor I was after.  I think that bread pudding really needs to have some soak time, for the egg mixture to soak in to all the bread pieces.  Oh well, try again and again.

Finally, we used to have a tan, non-descript house, looked like all the others on the block, and in town actually. 

As you see, kind of ordinary. 

But now, hubby has repainted the whole outside of the house, the trim, and the garage door and front door.

Isn't it just lovely?  I am going to find a big metal Texas star to hang over the garage and a chilerista to hang out front some where.  A chilerista is a string of red chile peppers, hung up to dry as a means of preserving.  Growing up in New Mexico, I developed a fondness for native American or southwest style décor.  Have never really developed in to anything, but am thinking it is time to change that a bit.  Wait until you see the yard art I am going to make.  Not really in keeping with the southwest theme, but oh so whimsical.

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment, and stop back by often.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Dianna,
    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog to visit, so of course I had to come over and visit you. I really enjoyed your blog, and I just love that Squash and Green Chili recipe. Hope you have a great weekend and hope to see you again soon!
    Miz Helen