Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dinner Diaries: Recycling

I really do love to cook dinner. Baking is more of a science (I will have a cookie story for you soon) but with savory dinners, oh, one can be creative and adaptive.

I would love to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my repertoire, but I have a couple meat-n-potatoes guys so...  

I've had quite a spell of using leftovers or, as I call it, recycling.

I always take advantage of what's on sale. Really cheap pork steaks made Pork Swiss Steak. Leftovers saved for the weekend taco trifecta (my fancy name for a choice of 3 taco fillings). 

The most boring dinner, but they all love chicken, rice and broccoli. Chicken left over for the taco trifecta and also chicken tortilla soup. Three meals from one 99¢ /lb. chicken!

London broil. Pasta recycled from the pork dinner, and the leftover steak pays it forward to the tacos.

No photos, but after the tacos there was still pork and London broil left! So they recycled themselves into a not-shepherd's pie. What would you call that, a cow/swine-herd's pie? I was a bit skeptical about mixing pork and beef together but I was encouraged to do so, and the results were tasty. 

Lamb Chop. Green beans don't need no stinkin' casserole, just the onions! (Potatoes later recycled into breakfast burritos.)

Recycled those green beans into a ni├žoise style potato salad. Spinach and strawberry salad made up on the spot, along with pan fried salmon. 

The leftover salmon will turn into Ina Garten's salmon cakes

So, what have you done with your leftovers recently?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blueberry Pie Day

Today is Blueberry Pie Day. I remember a couple of very fine blueberry pies.

But I just don't want to make one today.  I'll wait until the weekend when ERNEST GETS BACK!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Apricot Shmapricot

Don't these look disgusting? I've had unsulfered apricots before but not like this. These were almost black and smelled burnt. I was going to put them in Meredith's granola but I don't want to ruin the delicious morsels of oaty goodness. Time for a trip to the store. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

All Eyes Upon Me

I feel sure they want something. 

Homer undoubtedly wants food. 

Fifi has discovered that there is an outside and she wants to go there. Since she has been an indoor cat all her life and is the scaredy-est cat in the world, there's no way that's going to be allowed. But she has made two escapes when the door has not been closed securely, fortunately cornering herself in the garage. She is lured back in the house by the rattling of the kitty treat container.


Friday, April 24, 2015

This is the Ham that Never Ends

I purchased a fancy ham for Easter. The pig was raised in a local walnut orchard, butchered at a university, and smoked at a nearby charcuterie. While expensive, it was delicious. And I had a ton of leftovers!

There was no bone. Well, I'm glad I didn't pay for a bone at that price. I managed to make some ham and bean soup without a bone. Claudia has a delicious recipe for white bean and ham soup. Lately I have been making the Hambeens 15-bean soup, which I have discovered that 75% of the family likes better than split pea soup. The 25% that likes split pea better has been off at college, so no problem there.

Some ham found its way into a pasta dish.

There were lots of meals of ham 'n' eggs and ham sandwiches and ham snacks. 

And you know that Homer likes ham. It might be his second favorite food, next to bacon.

Finally I was down to just a few handfuls, and they went into a quiche.

But wait, it's not quite over. Because there is leftover soup and quiche in the freezer now.

Thank you Mr. Local Pig, for the song ham that never ends.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Knit Wits

M-I-L and I are knitting away.

Handy likes to perform quality control and tell us if we've missed a stitch.

I am in charge of finishing and embellishments.

I put too much fringe on her scarf and had to take some off!

This boy has sure grown up. I call him The Padawan now. He desperately needed this new hat, so his mom could wash his old one!

We've got to get cracking. Only 8 months until Christmas!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Oblivious Sentinel

Tiny was on yard duty. And doing a damn fine job, in her opinion.

Until her butt back was turned.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Do I Want?

I've got a birthday coming up next month, the big 5-5. Handy asked me what I wanted. Besides not cooking going out to dinner, I couldn't really think of anything. I have enough stuff, I said. He is aware of my feeble attempts to declutter.

He was delighted with himself because he thought of the perfect thing that wouldn't take up any space. He would have my car detailed. Isn't that more of a him thing than a me thing?

I'm not too fussy, I mean I have been happy with new toilets (and here too) but we don't need any more of those.

He did accomplish a small home improvement task for me this weekend. Something that has been bugging me for years. Replace the moldy caulking around the sink. I have asked for this off and on with no response, but finally a piece of it came loose. No, I did not yank on it to make it worse. Much.

It's so beautiful now! I told him it could be an early birthday present. 

Hmmm...the house needs painting.  I wonder... 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Missed Call

It looks like I missed the call from Jesus. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Mom's Gotta Do...

...what a mom's gotta do.

Celebrate the birthday without the boy. 

He managed all right. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Life in Cakes, or Happy Birthday Ernest

Since Ernest won't be home for his birthday, I won't be making a cake. This makes me a little misty. I promise there will be a belated cake when he is back in May.

To tide me over, here are his birthday cakes back to before there were digital cameras number one.




16 The cake is not a lie.

15 (Three cakes! How lucky!)





10 Another three cake year! Well, two and a pie. Those candles got a workout.

9 The year of the Magic Show.

8 The masterpiece for the family party.

And for the big outdoor party, Looney Tunes.

7  I copied this cake from the Birthday Express Catalog.

6 The infamous Harry Potter cake.

5 Scooby-Doo

4 Nananana Batman!

3 Curious George celebrates #3.

2 A pretty cake for #2. Yes you can touch the frosting.

1 Not so fancy, but it was only the first birthday.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

(Too) Hot and (Not) Sour Soup

I was craving Hot and Sour soup so I picked up a container at a local restaurant. As I was trying to pour it in a bowl, I splashed my finger. Yowtch! I dropped the container like a hot potato and was lucky it landed upright.

After seeing to my finger, I thought, "Damn! That soup seemed extra hot." So I took its temperature.

195°! OMG! And that was after the journey home and the finger cooling.  Does it have to be that hot? No. 

Here's our food safety lesson for the day. 

(Guidelines from

Heat to 165°, hold at 135°

But what about 195°?

Pretty much instantly. I was very lucky. 

The funny thing is, when the soup had cooled enough to eat it, it wasn't even sour. I had to add some vinegar and soy sauce. 

If you're eating soup today, please be careful!