Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I did not miss Monday Night Brights, I was looking....

At a different hutch for the dining room. The one we have is nice, but too small. And with space being a premium it is easier to change out the furniture than change out the house! The owner is moving to Alaska and does not want to take it with her. The two pieces were not made at the same time. The bottom section is much older, it belonged to her mother for many years. The top part was made by her uncle, as a gift. And also for more storage room.

I have a fondness for handcrafted, history laden furniture. This will fit right in.

Honey will pick it up tomorrow, along with help from the son and his truck. It will sit in the garage for a couple of days, only because I need to clean it, and empty the other one. But I am looking forward to storing dishes in this and using it every day. When I have it in the house, of course I will show it off!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Today's Sunday Cafe

The final menu, as usual is a bit different than the one planned days before. There are reasons for this, such as......

I did not have an ingredient, or I was too lazy to do it, or at the last minute; it just did not sound good.
Corn Moussaka, I had not made this in years. It is good, I especially enjoy the baked cheese topping.

(Not pictured)

Honey mustard curried chicken thighs over Quinoa, I had not tried or cooked Quinoa before. I like it, and will cook it again.

Tossed Salad with caper Vinaigrette

Buttered green beans

Sweet potato pie, this was on a lark. I had a couple of roasted sweet potatoes in the fridge. Who knew it would be the favorite dessert?

Rich chocolate pudding cups


Yes those are carrots, getting ready to be turned into....


Carrot pie. I might look like pumpkin, but it is lighter in spice and texture. I found the recipe in Family Circle (I believe) magazine, about 20 years ago.

I decided to have a colorful fruit plate, when I got to the produce section. I made a simple drizzle sauce out of vanilla yogurt, brown sugar and some cinnamon.

I was feeling a bit lazy today, so no bread or biscuits. I also did not make the spicy meat patties. That will have to wait for another post.

Everyone had a nice visit, Honey had to work, so he joined us on his meal break. The first load of dishes are in the washer now, and there is more on the counter waiting!

I need to package up the leftovers, and get ready for the start of the work week.

I hope you had a nice weekend, and as always; thanks for taking the time to stop by.

M

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I went looking last night

At previous posts and what did I see?

Some funny stuff, because I did not know what to do or even what I wanted to do. I am sure that each blogger looks back and thinks, oh my gosh I did that? But what is out there in the great blog sphere is out there, for better or worse! My goal was to choose some recipes that I have made for years, enjoy and need to update with a photo.

I decided upon, Curried hens, Corn moussaka, Patio Chicken, Spicy beef patties and Carrot pie.

Sunday Cafe menu:

Grilled spicy beef patties
toasted buns, I would like to make homemade sandwich buns

Curried hens
toasted almond couscous

Patio Chicken

Corn moussaka

Tossed greens with dressing, I would like to search out another delicious homemade dressing

Green beans

Carrot Pie

and something I have not made in ages, Bread Pudding

I have found we eat much better throughout the week if I cook up extra on the weekends. If I don't we eat what we find when we come home and are working different shifts. This has been a lot of canned chili or hash for Honey and another bowl of cereal for me. Not good, and I have not been cooking.

The week is ending, Honey got so much done; I am so pleased! I get to spend time with our Granddaughter tonight. We are going to do some "chores", feed the birds, mend a hook on her pants, water the berries. Then we will have dinner together and I will need to get her home. Then Friday is right around the night, I am looking forward to the weekend, it has been a busy week.

Have a great day, thanks for stopping by!

M

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bright update!

I love this shelf. I really like eclectic things, and this shelf surely is it.

I found it on Craigslist and we hauled it home. Honey made some modification because it was too large on the bottom. Originally this was a merchandising rack in a tropical fish store. The bottom of the shelf was a huge open bin. I loved it the way I found it, but our little house is not as large as the fish store and we could not fit it in the door without the modification.

When the kitchen is complete, this will be moved to the spare bedroom that is a wonderland of cookbooks, grandchildren toys and my computer. It will hold my cookbooks. Until then, it will serve us well as our temporary pantry. I am please to get this done tonight.


Top view.

Bottom view.

The whole shelf.

Have a great day tomorrow, and again; thanks for stopping by.

M

Monday night brights

I came home hot, tired and thirsty. We had lovely weather today in the low 80's. But the temperature was in the mid 50's just a day or so ago. We have a couple of these surprise days every year. They are nice, but most folks are not use the them and are caught by surprise each time. I was, my office was an oven! I am glad to be home.

The first round of "playing in the mud"! Honey got a lot done before He had to go to work, even mowed the back yard. First mowing of the year, you know what that means? It almost BBQ season!

The feeder to the far left has a place on each end for a suet block. The squirrels love the suet blocks, maybe more than the birds.

A lone, out of place Jacob's ladder. When Honey was sifting rocks from the beds, this must of come along too! I will pull this one, there is a large patch of Jacob's ladder almost in bloom, just to the east of this one.

Chives in the Potager ready to harvest. I have a difficult time with herbs, but so far this plant and I get along.

The blue berries are in bloom! I want to add more bushes, you cannot have too many.

And finally organizing the kitchen on the large wooden book shelf. It is not completely done yet, I was hoping to get this done tonight. We shall see.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The wall

This is the living room side of the new wall.

The kitchen side.

This is the support that the previous short wall was nailed to, it must come out; so sheet rock can be patched.
2X4 is gone, ready for sheet rock.

Insulation on the furniture.

Fitting in the patch.

Patch completed. There is a bit of work to do in the attic, and of course smooth out the insulation. But for now, it is shower time.

Tomorrow Honey will mud the seams, before he goes to work.

See you tomorrow for Monday Night Brights.

M

A new wall


This week end has gone quickly, as we each had a list of additional things to get done. Additional to spending any amount of time together. When we each have the weekend off together, we usually spend a day of it together. The weekends where we each are off, come around about every 6 weeks.

But this weekend was different. On Saturday Honey had to go to the rental and make a repair of the bathroom floor. He had asked his brother to meet him there and they could get the job done together. Then they grabbed some lunch and got caught up on what has been happening. It was good for the help and the get-together! While Honey was gone, I got the laundry caught up and made a plum crisp.

Today I have weekend manager duty. When I get back, I need to get the hoses set in the back yard. The berries and rhubarb will need watering, and I prefer a drip hose to keep water costs down. While I am gone, Honey will sheet rock the new kitchen wall.

I am looking forward to having the kitchen back in the kitchen. With the wall in process, most of the kitchen is in the garage. Everything will need washing (sanding dust) and organizing on the temporary shelf. There has been only mild stabs at cooking. Eggs. Toast. Precooked food reheated in the microwave. A bowl of cereal. However........

Next Sunday is Cafe. That means time is short, and I need to get busy. I am thinking that I will cook some of the things I have posted previously and update those posts with photos. That serves a two fold purpose, we can enjoy those dishes again and I can update at the same time.

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by.

M

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The new kitchen wall!

The old flooring pattern from when the house was built. Oh my!

The old wall is out, and the new wall is studded. Sheet rock and mud this weekend. The solid wood sheet seen behind the studs is....

This large free standing shelf unit, we will use temporarily until the new cabinet is built.

With the new wall, we can have the dining room table turned crosswise in the room. There is now room to add all the leaves and chairs for Sunday cafe.

Honey had Monday and Tuesday off, He got a lot done, more than I would of ever imagined. He had wanted to have the sheet rock in before I came home last night, but like all projects some things came about that were an unknown, until they showed up!

We have revised our idea to use the cabinet in the hall as the starting point. Honey says that he can duplicate the cabinet style on the new cabinet he will build. Fine with me, just more storage space, I love that.

I cooked up some things on Sunday and we have been eating them during this time. But last night Honey had stopped what he was doing to make burritos. So I not only came home to a new wall, but dinner was done. What a guy, maybe I will keep him!

Hope your day is great, and thanks for taking the time to stop by.

M

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday night brights

This cat is not mine, not mine in the true sense of the word. But He is mine, in that He comes around to eat a meal when He needs and/or wants. Sometimes He is skin and bones, sometimes fairly well rounded like Easter Sunday. I call him "Big Orange" I know not real interesting, but He simply showed up after I bought the house, and well He was hungry. I was happy to see Him again, doing well.
Easter egg hunt, in the rain.

Easter roses, thanks Honey.

The raspberries and marionberries, secured up on a fence. I am hoping they will catch more sunlight.
And the walls came tumbling down! Honey had been busy taking down the wall, so it can be built the way we need it to be.


Hope your week is great, thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Sunday


Personally I love any reason to cook a meal for family or friends, and Easter brunch is great fun. The kids will stop by during the morning and we will have a brunch. Honey has to go to work at 11:00 am so most everything except the clean up will be done. We have a gift bag for the granddaughter and we will have a wonderful meal. Since it is a brunch, it can be a combination of breakfast and lunch.

I plan on serving:

Homemade granola with vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit
Cinnamon roll muffins, (I will post a blog with this later in the week)
Scalloped potatoes and sausage
Frittata with tomatoes and cheese
Coffee
Juices
Toast and homemade rhubarb and red grapefruit preserves.

We will have an Easter egg hunt in the back yard. I don't dye eggs anymore. I fill plastic eggs with coins for the college saving bank that the granddaughter has at home. It is still fun and there is no sugar overdose!

I worked a bit in the Potager this morning. I strung up the berries. Removed the mulch and raked some of the fallen debris that has fallen throughout winter. This 3 day stretch has not been busy or productive, except for not being at work. And that has merit, actually time away from busy is needed by all; so I will go with that.

I did purchase a couple of things for the house, a reed diffuser and candle to freshen up the living room and a new dry wipe board for the refrigerator; to keep track of groceries needed, etc.

We are changing a wall that separates the kitchen from the living room, and of course when I say "we" I mean Honey. I am excited, but like a kid that has waited too long, I am a bit impatient. We are set in our ways however, and we work with cash and as time allows. But I would say by the next Sunday Cafe (May) it will be completed!

I like to be "green" as much as is possible. I am not sure I like that word as it is now known, but it has a universal understanding. I have always been green, was taught green and lived green my whole life. How this ties into the kitchen is that, there is a "linen closet" cabinet in the hallway. The cabinetry matches the kitchen, actually the entire house has the same cabinetry. We* are going to remove that cabinet from the hallway and use it as part of the new pantry being built in the kitchen. Honey will add on to it and create open cubicles and shelves. I can not wait!

Once the wall is built and the pantry is built, there will be separation between the kitchen and the living room. Sorry, but for me; happiness is not looking into the kitchen from the living room after dinner while you relax. I want separate rooms, but I have touched on this before. Of course when you change one thing, you must fix or change what was use to make the change, and we will. The plan is to finish out that hole in the hallway that was a linen closet, and make it into a closet of shelves. That will add more storage back to the house and make what we have more usable. Usable is the idea, since small is the reality. I like having just enough, but because it is just enough, it really must be well organizedl.

I hope your Easter Sunday is full of family, friends and happiness.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

* Any time you see the word We, simply substitute Honey!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Granola, with a softer crunch


As luck would have it, yesterday my office was without the internet and company server. It was payroll day with no way to print checks, as the file had not been sent the evening before. Yikes! But all is well that ends well, I drove to the company office and picked up the payroll checks; it is fairly close (30 miles). The system was restored at 4pm, I continued to stay and get the essentials done. And with all that.........

I am glad to be home today! I want to get some things done in the kitchen. As I wander around and through blog neighborhoods I notice things that I want to try or adapt. Maybe that is my favorite part of being a blogger, the inspiration to make new things or simply to keep cooking! Some days are just harder than others to get a good meal on the table.

Today however I want to play in the kitchen. Honey loves biscuits that is why I keep the homemade baking mix in the cupboard. But I ran across a "cinnamon roll muffin" and wanted to play around with making overnight cinnamon roll muffins. We will see how that goes!

I also want to make a batch of granola. I wanted a granola that was a bit different. And by different I mean tooth pleasing. Frequently granola is hard, hard as in not enjoyable to eat. Hard as in breaking the food in your mouth instead of simply chewing and enjoying. Hard as in, pour your milk; go get dressed and make the bed and then come back to eat.

Granola my way
325 degree oven

2 c regular oats
2 c regular oats - pulsed in the food processor
1/2 c regular oats - ground into oat flour

1/4 c flax seeds - ground
1/2 c pumpkin seeds
1/2 c walnut pieces
1/2 c sliced almonds
1 c coconut

Place the oats into a large bowl, add the seeds and nuts mixing well.

3 T oil
water
1/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla
dash of salt

Add the oil to a measuring cup, add water to make 1/2 of fluid. Combine the water mixture and the sugar, heat to boiling (I used a microwave), stir to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla and salt. Stir again. Evenly pour over oats and stir to combine.

Evenly spread on a jelly roll pan. Bake 20 minutes, stir corners into center and bottom to top. Bake 10 minutes more, again stir as directed. Turn oven off, let sit in oven 20 minutes to finish cooking and dry.

Sprinkle over the top of the finished granola, 1 c dried fruit. I used cranberries and raisins. Stir to combine, and let mixture come to room temperature before packaging up.

Makes about 10 cup.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

Thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I get a 3 day weekend (and basic ramblings)

I am going to take Friday off from work. It will also be a paid day as well, so of course that makes it even sweeter. One of our benefits at work is a paid day off for your birthday, mine now long gone; is why I get this Friday off with pay. I am excited. Of course that means a bit more work each day until Friday so nothing is left behind that needs done, but that is OK, I work in a time sensitive business.

Our town is in bloom. All of the flowering plum trees are in full bloom, purple azaleas, all the early blooms. I love driving along and noticing the colors, makes for a more enjoyable ride. The last couple of days the temperature has spiked, this is common for Vancouver; but short term! We will be back to normal this weekend, and have our lazy spring. I like the weather here, always have.

We are going to go look at kitchen cabinets this Friday. Fun and yes I am pushing to get the kitchen updated!

I have changed the day that Granddaughter comes to visit, Mondays did not work out for me or for her parents. We had talked about Thursdays, but the more I think about it; I am thinking Fridays. I started my week with picking her up for the evening, this way I can end my week with picking her up. Also that guarantees I get out on time!

I have started cooking larger amounts of things so that we can eat them later in the week, we have been eating better also. Nothing exciting enough to share here, but I am cooking; just thought I would throw that in there!

Oh and Honey was promoted at work. Promoted is a strong word because there was not a pay increase, however He is the official Plumbing Pro at his store. The good news and upside to the promotion is that with the new "responsibilities" there will be less closing shifts.

Have a great day, and thanks for taking the time to stop by.

M

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why Monday Night Brights?

Monday's seem to be known for a list of negative things.

It is back to work after a weekend, and because you have been gone a couple of days there is always more to do than time to do it; and that usually leads to additional problems. Has anyone ever asked you on a Wednesday "are you having another Monday?" See, it is almost universal.

The "Pollyanna" in me wanted in some small way turn that around and make Monday a positive way to show the week in review. And from there......Monday Night Brights was hatched.

Can you believe this? I think I see ice cube trays. It took a long time to thaw, but the actual clean
up went well.
What do you do with lemons that are not pretty anymore? Make juice cubes, each cube is the juice of 1/2 lemon. Handy to have in the freezer ready to go.


No reason not to organize the fridge too. We seem to have lots of condiments.

I could not resist. I am so excited about the rhubarb. It is time to get the hoses in use.

This is a small red maple tree. I have put all the bird houses in that one tree, when the tree is leafed out, it is fun to keep tabs of the bird activity.

The Marion berries are leafing out, the raspberries will be next.

Our new food pyramid. I like the layers, each item can ripen and not be squished by something bigger.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday's plans, and then what really happened

I had wanted to make this cake for Honey.

In addition I always have a running list of chores and other such things that I want and/or need to get done. I keep a running list, that way I can accommodate any change or opportunity that might happen. It is not in the category of rocket science or anything like that, just stuff.

Like reorganize the refrigerator, restock the bathroom cabinets, run to Costco, lay around, drink a glass of wine in the backyard while the sun shines and kids are playing at the playground and making happy noise, feed the squirrels, laugh, fold a load of laundry, make the bed. See, just ordinary stuff. But I have learned that the ordinary stuff is so important, it rests the mind and prepares us for returning to work on Monday.

But back to the cake. When I went to the cupboard it was bare of baking cocoa. And really I did not want that single item to be the reason that I did not bake a cake for Honey. So I went to Costco. Found some great stuff, but no baking cocoa. Came back home, Honey was home for his meal break, we had the left over chicken from last night, chatted about his day, He made fun of the cat (again!) and then we talked about the cake. This is where we differ.

There is a baking cupboard where we keep baking supplies, including some cake and other baking mixes. Those are for Honey, he likes to bake and enjoys using the Cake Doctor books. He said I should "Just use a cake mix, they are better anyway; I have never had a scratch cake that was as good as a mix cake". Well now, I have no finish for this sentence, except to say that I did use a cake mix. It is in the oven now, and He will enjoy it. I will probably eat a slice of it, but it will primarily be eaten by Honey and of course Monday's special guest will want a piece.

So the list is still running, I know it will still be there the next time I have a day off. Until then I hope your weekend went well, had a nice mix of accomplishments and fun.

Oh and thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Looks can be deceiving


Upon first sight, this might convey a well fed household. Or possibly even an organized kitchen, but any first thought you might have would most likely be incorrect. What you see is a over filled, bloated, disorganized cross-top freezer that cannot function as it was engineered to do.

And I will go ahead and say it, this is not the first time this poor freezer has been treated this way by me.

OK, there, I said it.

I have been putting off this chore, because I would rather cook, or actually when I am tired, I would rather just sit around.

But I can put if off no more.

Because my lack of getting this done is not good for the machine. There is no air circulation, and without that; the moisture freezes in the freezer instead of draining down to the drain pan to evaporate. So the machine cycles more and, I gotta get this corrected.

Fortunately for me, I made plans to meet a friend for lunch today. I have not seen her in a long time, we each have made many changes (professionally) and it will be fun to get together. I am not one to do this type of casual afternoon, so maybe that is why my need to get the freezer emptied this morning, came about. Fun guilt? No but, listen to this.........................

While I am eating and chatting, I can be thawing! Yeah that's it, multi-tasking while I eat.

But seriously, that poor freezer holds the unknown. I keep saying that I won't do this (again) and then before I know it, I am right back where I started, right before I said, I won't do this again.

So here is my plan, empty the contents into the chest freezer in the garage, placing all unusual and/or suspect items to the side to be decided upon later. Turn the cross-top freezer off, and leave the door open. When I return from lunch, there should be water to wipe up, then a quick scrub with some baking soda water, dry the surfaces; then I can organize the short term food in the kitchen freezer. Things like vegetables, juice and individual servings of soup.

Oh and this will be great, there will be a spot for ice cube trays. I have not had a spot for ice cube trays in such a long time, where are they by the way?

See life is good!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No cooking here tonight! No cooking here tonight!


OK, I am tired. I just closed the payroll period and I had 109 hours!

Tonight's dinner is leftovers or anything else I can find. Honey is on the late shift, so this will be just fine. He never knows when He will get a meal break and we have almost given up on eating together during this shift.

But remember those fingerling potatoes that I was going to oven roast and toss with pesto?

You forgot, how could you?

Well I didn't that is up next. Yum, I have never eaten a blue potato before.

Have a quiet evening, and thanks for stopping by,

M

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Banana Bread or The trouble with bananas

I know they look harmless, but those bananas are bossy. At this point in their lives, they have reached an aged status that refuses to take no for an answer. They treat everyone the same, in other words they are bossy and bold to everyone.

How do I know?

There are frequent photos on foodgwaker about the "world best banana bread" or "finally a banana muffin to die for" or "banana cake like you have never had before, it is the best". There are others of course, but I think I have proven my point.

Overripe bananas scream at you! Things like:

Cook with me. Bake with me, and do it now. Take care of me, don't be wasteful. I thought you were frugal, already.

Frankly when they start sounding like somebody's Mother, it is time to do something.

Banana bread use to be my go to recipe. After all with eating machines in the house, it does not matter if they really and truly want banana bread, if banana bread is on the counter; it will be eaten. But now that it is just Honey and me, what to do; what will I do? Personally I get tired of banana bread before the loaf is gone. And yes, I have been told you can freeze banana bread. But I think it dries out, and then not only am I tired of it, it is not really worth eating.

But I have hit upon an idea that may prove successful for others like myself that have fairly jaded opinions about banana bread. Oh and for those that think plain banana bread is, well plain.
Make 3 way banana bread.

Or you could actually call it another name that sounds more involved, like:

3 Sisters banana bread (to honor the 3 sisters mountains in Oregon)
Triple play banana bread (for those baseball fans out there)
Have it your way banana bread (for the TV junkie in your life)

but I think we will stick with...............

3 Way Banana bread

350 degree oven

1 c whole wheat flour
1 c all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl stirring well to mix, and set aside.

1/3 c oil
1/3 c white sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 c milk
1 c (3 bananas) mashed banana

In a large bowl, beat the eggs add sugars and beat again. Add rest of the ingredients, stir well. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir just until moistened, do not overmix.

Divide mixture into 3, to each portion add in one of the following. These are just suggestions.

zest of one orange
6 apricot halves, minced
spoon mixture into mini loaf pan, over the top sprinkle
1/4 c slivered almonds


6 maraschino cherries, quartered and drained on toweling
1/4 c chocolate chips
spoon mixture into mini loaf pan, over the top sprinkle
1/4 c chopped walnuts (I used almonds in the above loaf)


2 T dried cranberries
2 T raisins
1/4 c chocolate chips
spoon mixture into mini loaf pan, over the top sprinkle
1/4 c broken pecan pieces (I did not add nuts to this one above)

Or any combination you think your family will like. This is a good time to try something new.

Bake 38 -45 minutes

Let rest in pans 5-10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.

Makes 3 mini loaves.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

Thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M