Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe #67: trailerhood party

(27 recipes to go.)
Jamie's mom called a few days ago with an amusing idea; a Surprise Trailer Trash Lawn Ornament Party in celebration of Jamie's new trailer! How we managed to keep this a secret all week is beyond me, cause we really got to laughing at our plans. Guests not only dressed the part with mullets & leopard prints, but also brought various lawn ornament gifts. Cause really, a person just can't have too many pink flamingos! Among the cheese whiz, pork rinds, jello salad, & spam hor d'oeurves, I made the cookbook's Montana Mud Pie -jazzed up with gummy worms & a tiny bathroom set topper, of course. Oh and, Travis made sure to bring some pickled pigs feet, oysters, & vienna sausages too. What a comical party this turned out to be!
~Rating of Montana Mud Pie: 8 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "If you've ever grilled spam, you might be a redneck." -Jeff Foxworthy
~Music while cooking: Blue Collar Comedy Tour

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recipe #66: date night

(28 recipes to go.)
Succulent sushi at NaRa Restaurant last night. Hilarious comedians (Owen Benjamin & Lukas Seely) at Asian Nites Casino. And Chico's FLAMING ORANGES in our living room!
The cookbook describes this creative treat as whimsy & wild, and Travis would like to add DANGEROUS to this description. We lit the rum-covered oranges on fire, as instructed, and he was quite fearful the house would burn down! It didn't, obviously. But the whole reason of warming this flashy indulgence is to slightly melt the chocolate & creamsicle concoction on the inside. Its divine.
A little side note on these dang oranges... I had such a blonde moment. The recipe calls for cream of tartar, and I used TARTAR SAUCE! You know, the kind you dip fish in. Don't laugh. Okay, laugh. That's pretty classic. (Yes, I ended up redoing that part.)
And in other food-related news... Congrats to our dear friends Brad & Andi opening their restaurant, The Burger Dive, this week. Mmm, mmm. Gourmet burgers & fresh-cut fries. It is finger-lickin' good!
~Rating of Flaming Oranges: 8 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." -Irish Proverb
~Music while cooking: Jay-Z's Hard Knock Life. (Dancing in the kitchen with Travis' mullet wig CRACKED US UP!!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Recipe #65: busy beaver

(29 recipes to go.)
I tried to balance my productivity & relaxation this weekend... A lil GIRL TIME, some ME TIME, oh and a whole lotta WORK. I know, I know. Work isn't the best way to spend my days off. But nearly finishing a huge project does bring some peace of mind. To help motivate my brain, I baked a lil somethin'-somethin' to nibble on at my desk; Fennel Breadsticks! Chico is well-known for these goodies. We had them when dining at Chico's Restaurant last winter. And they went well with today's creation simmering on the stove; Ripley Soup. It was supposed to be a rainy day, so soup was intended as the perfect accompanyment to a cozy afternoon of cheering for those beloved Vikes.
They lost.
And the sun shined all day long. Doesn't anything ever go as planned? :)
Travis was out elk hunting with his dad, and even though they were unsuccessful, this comforting dish cheerfully welcomed him home with a savory scent & taste. The beautiful carnations he surprised me with a few days ago also added to the kitchen aroma. (They're pictured here, nestled between my lucky bamboo plant & the gorgeous fall arrangement from Cristin.) Our house has a delicious smell of fresh-cut flowers & a thick hearty broth lingering in the air! The soup is really appetizing, our cooks at work make it often. I highly recommend this on an upcoming chilly day. Alas, crisp Autumn weather is right around the corner...
Ripley Soup
In a big pot on the stove, stir in cut-up onion, celery, carrots, two 32 oz chicken broth, parsley, salt, pepper, ground meat (don't brown before, just sprinkle it in while boiling), dumplings (1 c flour, 2 eggs, salt- just crumble it in like the meat), and broken-up spaghetti.
Rating of Fennel Breadsticks: 6 stars (out of 10) from Travis. 7.5 stars from me.
Quote of the day: "The discipline to do what you don't want to do but know you should do, leads to creating greatness within." -Author Unknown
Music while cooking: Erykah Badu's Live.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Recipe #64: Football season has begun!

(30 recipes to go.)
Well, my Fantasy Football isn't off to a great start... But a day of hanging out on the couch, after a quick hike, was well received! We've had such an active social calendar lately, so today was an appreciative day of unwinding. Yesterday's agenda held the second party I hosted this week, as Paige, Laura, & I very excitedly threw Cristin's nautical-themed baby shower! From the swedish fish dangling on mini fishing poles to the ocean-like punch to the HUGE display of food & ADORABLE cake, each swashbuckling detail came together very well. Aye Aye Captain! The festivities were a joyful success!!
This afternoon, amidst chilling in the livingroom & snuggling with my kitties, I made the cookbook's Lemon Pudding Cake With Dried Cherry Compote. Really, really super sweet. But good in small portions. I'm snacking on some right now and about to catch MTV's Video Music Awards, which is bound to be entertaining. Glad I'm getting a little R & R before starting the work-week... Its gonna be a hectic one!
~Rating of Lemon Pudding Cake With Dried Cherry Compote: 6 stars (out of 10).
~Quote of the day: "Friends are like bras: Close to your heart and there for support." -Author Unknown.
~Music while cooking: Jacksonville Jaguars beating the Denver Broncos.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recipe #63: Bunco

(31 recipes to go.)
My casa hosted this month's BUNCO. And as requested, below are the recipes I whipped up for the dozen dice-tossing, fun-loving ladies. In addition, I made Chico's Raspberry Chocolate Decadence Truffle Torte for dessert. Yeah, its as rich as it sounds. Definately a sliver of a piece is all ya need, cause its almost like eating a hunk of fudge. Took the leftovers to my parents' house the next day (for the NFL season kickoff, where my beloved Vikes lost to the Saints in an excrutiating rematch of last season's championship game- that devastation is remembered in Recipe #1). And my mom certainly agreed, this torte is incredibly RICH!
Taco Soup (Delicious recipe from the cooks at work.)
Brown 2 lb ground beef, drain fat. Stir in 1 can (15 oz) corn, 1 can (15 oz) black beans, 1 can (15 oz) undrained ranch-style beans, 1 can (10 oz) undrained tomatoes & green chilies, 1/2 c uncooked rice, 2 pkg taco seasoning, 1 tbsp cilantro, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, & 4 c water (or tomato juice). Bring to boil, reduce heat & simmer for atleast 15 min. Top each serving with tortilla chips, fritos, cheese, and/or sour cream in a bowl. Or, spoon over lettuce for a great taco salad.
Mexican Chicken Bites
Thaw puff pastry sheets at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 24 (2 1/2") muffin-pan cups. Combine 2 c cooked shredded chicken, 2 c shreeded monterey jack cheese, 1/4 c canned green chilies, 2 tsp chili powder, & 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 9”x12” rectangle. Cut into 12 (3”) squares. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet. Spoon 1 tbsp chicken mixture into center of each square. Brush edges of square with egg. Fold edges to center on top of filling and twist tightly to seal. Fan out corners. Place in muffin-pan cups. Brush with egg. BAKE for 20 min. or until golden. Makes 24.
Dijon Caesar Chicken
Stir 2 1/2 c cubed cooked chicken, 1 c grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half, 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, & 1/3 c Caesar dressing. Place on a bed of lettuce.
Pudding Strawberries (Recipe from friend Laura.)
Hallow out strawberries. Fill with a mixture of vanilla pudding, whipped cream, vanilla extract, & cream cheese.
Cream Puffs
Thaw from box purchased in frozen food section of Walmart. -Ha!
~Rating of Raspberry Chocolate Decdence Truffle Torte: 0 stars (out of 10) from Travis. He thought it tasted like burnt x-lax. 6 stars from me.
~Quote of the day: "Girls just wanna have fun." -Cindi Lauper.
~Music while cooking: Abba Gold, & Charlie's Angels Soundtrack.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Recipe # 62: flower power & elbow grease

(32 recipes to go.)
Triple dog dare ya to find a speck of dust after my total fall cleaning mode this sunny-then rainy- then chilly 3-day weekend. I washed curtains, shampooed carpets, raked leaves, scrubbed everything, mowed the lawns, even finished up some painting projects. Such a maniac! Also had a delicious & funny lunch with Ma & Pa while playing live keno at Alpine Casino, as Travis is gone archery hunting with friends & family. And I thoroughly enjoyed Venture Theater's FANTASTIC hippie production of the Hair Musical with Jamie & Paige! Total peace, love, & grooviness!!
Still humming The Age of Aquarius, my Chico recipe this week was the tasty & simple Capri Sandwiches. Brenda & some bunco gals tasted the herb focaccia bread it was made of, and seemed to enjoy the hint of Italian Seasoning in it. The sandwiches went with me on a lil hike at Phipp's Park as well. I've nearly forgotten how steep of a climb that is! Glad I packed a little backpack with me, cause it was great to gulp some water & nibble the sammies while taking in the view. Now I'm off to work more on the never-ending yard & house projects. I'm on such a roll with my productivity, and haven't even had any caffeine!! I saved Travis a sandwich to sample, and sure hope he brings home an antelope; I need one for a Chico recipe!
~Rating of Capri Sandwiches: 7 stars (out of 10). Scrumptious with the roma tomatoes & mazarella cheese.
~Quote of the day: "If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means, paint, & that voice will be silenced." -Vincent Van Gogh
~Music while cooking & cleaning: Cyndi Thomson's My World, Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits, & Kenny Chesney's Greatest Hits.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recipe #61: Eat Pray Love

(33 recipes to go.)
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'll be honest, I didn't care for this book when I read it. In fact, I sent it away in a book-trade chain letter thing. I did, however, love the whole premise; self-discovery, a journey around the world, searching for inspiration, realizing dreams, & finding oneself. But... I found the author's writing style to just draaaag on & on! Which is why, when I heard the movie was coming out, I was excited. I just knew it had to be better than the novel! And it definately was!! True pleasure of EATing in Italy, the power of PRAYer in India, and unexpectedly finding the inner peace and balance of true LOVE in Indonesia. Perfect girls' night; Brenda & I munched on popcorn & M&Ms while viewing it. Of course afterwards I was completely craving spaghetti after all those indulgent Italy scenes. But since the cookbook doesn't offer pasta dishes, I went with the India portion of the story for my Eat Pray Love meal. Using recipes I got while living in southern India during college, accompanied by Chico's Artichoke With Curry Aioli, dinner was intended to convince my husband that spices can be good! (In addition, I joined my parents for Crow Fair on the Crow Indian Reservation a few days ago, so I've been completely immersed in spiritual cultures this week. Love it!)
Here's the delicious, authentic Indian recipes. It was fun to make these while dressed in my Indian sari! (During our last Indian meal- recipe #13-, I wore my salwar kameez.) And FYI, since silverware was seldom used while I lived in Cochin, Kerala, the dough mixture (pudi) was used to scoop up the potato dish (aloo subji). Give it a try. Travis did, and actually enjoyed the meal & experience (minus the curry)!
Aloo Subji
Boil 4 medium-sized potatoes. Peel them after boiled, cut into sections. For the curry, heat oil. Fry cut onions & mustard seeds. Add potatoes, salt, tumeric powder, & some water. Stir & simmer.
Use 3-4 cups flour (wheat or white) to make dough with water, milk & little (very little) oil. Set dough aside for 1-2 hours. Make into small balls (about size of 50 cent pieces). Use flour if sticky, and roll into flat circles with rolling pin. Heat oil in pan and fry dough in oil.
Ginger Chicken
Heat oil in wok-like pan. Fry 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp garlic, & 2 cut-up onions. Add tomatoes, fry a little more. Add whole cut-up chicken, 1 tsp tumeric, & a pinch of salt. Fry for 5 more min. Add 2 c water & 1 tbsp pepper powder. Simmer 'til most water evaporates.
~Rating of Artichokes With Curry Aioli: 4 stars (out of 10). Travis just really doesn't like curry.
~Quotes of the day: "Once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it." -Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love.
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." -Gandhi.
"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones- the ones at home." -Mother Teresa.
"After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual 'food' out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps." -Miss Piggy.
~Music while cooking: India Solitudes; Inner Peace Through Music & Nature Sounds.