Monday, August 27, 2007

Potato Pancakes

This makes a great side dish, and is also a good breakfast food!

4 cups peeled, grated potatoes (about 2 large)
3 eggs
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon chopped dried chives (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
black pepper to taste

Heat a non-stick griddle to medium low (about 250 degrees). Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Spray griddle with non-stick cooking spray, and then spoon potato mixture onto the griddle, forming fairly flat patties. Cook 8 - 10 minutes on each side, until the potatoes are cooked through and the patties are nicely browned.

Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saving Seeds

Today was another garden harvest day. I'm a little disappointed that things are going so slowly this year, but I suppose our weird, unsummer-like weather has something to do with that. That, and the giant artichoke sucking the life out of the soil. I mean, our jalapeno plant, which we normally get 20+ jalapenos from by the end of August, is just now starting to flower!

I let some of our yellow beans go too long before harvest, so I was inspired to try saving seeds. I picked the soft bendy ones, shucked them, and the seeds are now out on a tray in the garage to dry. I've never done this before, so we'll see how it goes. I also picked a bunch of the dried pea pods and saved those. I know you can't save hybrid seeds. Luckily neither of these are. I'm also going to try saving some tomato seeds. Two summers ago I planted some heirloom tomatoes that have been coming back on their own ever since. I'm going to try saving some of those seeds so I can actually plant them where I want them next summer!

Anybody else save seeds?

I am a peanut butter and jelly sandwich...

Messy? Nah, not me! ;-)

You Are a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

You life your life in a free form, artistic style.
You are incredibly creative and at times, quite messy.
Deep down, you are a kid at heart. And you aren't afraid to express it.

Your best friend: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Club Sandwich

Friday, August 24, 2007

Testing 1..2..3..

just testing my blogarithm signup form...

Please return to your regularly scheduled lives!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Creamy chicken pasta

Made this up as I went along for dinner tonight. Turned out it was pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can sliced mushrooms
1/2 can artichoke quarters, chopped
1 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces cream cheese (neufchatel works fine), cubed
1 1/2 cups rotini pasta (I like brown rice pasta)

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, boil the chicken breasts in lightly salted water until cooked through. Remove chicken from pan, cool, and dice.

Dump water out of pan, return to heat, and add olive oil, onions, and garlic. Saute until onions are transluscent, about five minutes. Add mushrooms, artichokes, soup, milk, and herbs; salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cream cheese; cook and stir over medium heat until cheese is melted. Add chicken, and bring just to a boil. Stir in dry pasta; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 17 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Add more milk if necessary as it cooks.

Note: Normally, I like to keep boiled, shredded chicken in my freezer, ready to go. This would be an excellent substitute for the chicken breasts and would make preparation that much quicker.

What an odd day!

I don't know what came over me yesterday. It started out like any other Sunday - get up, drink coffee, cruise the forums. And then, without warning, I was the spirit of Little Suzy Homemaker.

First, Hubby and I made breakfast together. Then...

I cooked.
I baked.
I cleaned.
I took out the garbage. . . AND replaced the garbage bag!
I mended.
I sewed.
I grocery shopped. . . and I put the food away.
I did four loads of laundry. . . and I put the clothes away.
And I worked on a volunteer project for a friend's auction.

And then Hubby and I made dinner together.

Seriously, it was strange. I went on a mad baking spree, making two kinds of quick bread (see other post) and some granola. I made up a batch of bean, cheese and rice squares for my lunches this week. And I did the dishes when I was done.

I fixed a couple of skirts that have needed mending for weeks. I replaced a broken button on one of hubby's shirts, and a pair of his shorts with a ripped-out belt loop.

I finished the computer room curtains, a project that has been sitting in my sewing pile for three years. When we bought our house, I had a misguided fit of creativity and told Hubby I'd make the curtains for the computer room and bedroom. We've had blankets on our windows ever since. Yes, it only involved 12 seams (11 actually because I cheated on the last hem), but I could just never quite talk myself into finishing them. Well, they're not perfect, but they're on the window!

And then hubby and I made dinner together - grilled chicken nachos with homemade pico de gallo, made with tomatoes and onions right out of our garden, and jalapenos out of the freezer from last year's garden. Supplemented with fresh garlic, lime juice, salt and cilantro (which normally would be out of our garden but this year our plant didn't produce). Good stuff!

What a bizarre day. And now it's Monday, back to work. Here's to a great week!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Baking day

It's been a while since I've spent a day in the kitchen. We didn't have any plans today, and hubby didn't want to work on the yard, so I thought I'd have a baking day. Hubby is now getting on board (slowly, but surely) with the healthy eating thing, so I'm revamping some recipes to see if I can get something that's tasty without being over the top in fat and calories. First, I made a batch of zucchini bread (see next post), and then I whipped up a pan of banana pumpkin bread, substituting Splenda for the sugar, 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the white flour, and throwing in an extra banana because I had three dead ones in the pantry. Good stuff all around.

Hubby's been on a big granola kick lately, so I also whipped up a batch of honey granola with almonds and hazelnuts. Not sure how it's going to be, though, as I used Smart Balance instead of butter or stick margarine and it came out of the oven a little soft. Hopefully when it cools it will crisp up!

I haven't figured out yet what to make for dinner, but it's been nice spending some quality time in the kitchen!

Almost healthy zucchini bread

I made this with pattypan squash (it's what happens to be growing in our garden) instead of zucchini. if you do this, scoop out the seeds before you shred it - they're bigger, more like pumpkin seeds, and definitely don't add anything good to the bread! You could also use yellow summer squash.

3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup Splenda for baking (or you can use white sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
3 cups grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour two 8x4 loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, applesauce, brown sugar, Splenda, and vanilla. Stir in baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Stir in flours and oatmeal. Finally stir in zucchini, stirring just to combine.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bye bye, Angie...

My parents had to put their dog down yesterday. Silly me, I knew it was coming (Mom warned me on Sunday), and yet I *still* checked my home email from work and sat at my desk crying for about an hour when I got the news. You'd think I would know better.

They got Angie when I was in college, so she wasn't one of my childhood dogs. But, she was definitely one of the family. They found her at the pound when, the story goes, they went in looking for a short-haired dog. Then, they ran across Angie, who danced and pranced and generally tried harder than all the other dogs in the place to get them to take her with them. In spite of the fact that she was a long haired shepherd/collie mix, they couldn't resist and she went home that day. And dad's been cleaning up mountains of hair on a regular basis ever since.

She was a sweet dog, who wanted to be an only dog. Mom and Dad had four other dogs during their time with Angie, and she was never so happy as when she was the only one. She wanted all the love, all to herself. But, no matter what, she was a good, loving, mellow, happy dog. And we'll all miss her.

So goodbye Angie, and we'll see you at the Rainbow Bridge...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

So tired of being responsible...

Hubby and I are struggling lately with a serious case of the "wants". We want...

- a flat screen TV
- make that TWO flat screen TVs, one for the bedroom and one for the living room
- a woodstove with a nice hearth pad and a mantle on the wall
- a fully landscaped front yard
- a new car
- an up to date kitchen
- hardwood floors throughout our house
- a new couch (one that doesn't make my butt go to sleep in five minutes)

and the list goes on and on. Lately we find ourselves drooling over ads, stopping into stores, and whining about being responsible adults.

Don't get me wrong, I'm GLAD we're responsible adults. We worked hard to get out of debt, bought a house that was within our budget, and keep on top of our credit cards. We have a budget and, for the most part, we stick to it (I'm still working on that pesky food thing). It would just be so much EASIER to just say screw it, rack up a bunch of debt, and just make payments.

But nooooooooooooooooooo, responsible adults we must be. Saving our money, budgeting, buying one thing at a time as we have the dough.

*sigh*...responsibility. So hard...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I know there's a caption here somewhere...

...I just am too tired to think of a funny one! Today we had Twinstravaganza, celebrating the birthdays of three sets of twins, all born in the first ten days of August - hubby and his sister, their aunt and uncle, and these little cuties, our nephews, who just turned one...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Baked Beans

This is one of those recipes that I make just often enough to completely forget how I do it in between times! I got up this morning to make these for a potluck at work, and couldn't for the life of me remember what I put in them. I'm sure the fact that it was 5:30 a.m. and I hadn't had coffee yet had nothing to do with it!

I think I've got it now, though, so here you go - I'm writing it down so I don't forget again!

2 28-ounce cans Bush's Original Baked Beans, drained
1 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup molasses
scant 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup

Mix all ingredients together, pour in a 9x12 pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Or...pour into a crockpot and cook on low for four to six hours.