Searching For Creativity

Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

A little more than a year ago I made half of my “100 Things to Do Before I Die” list inspired by Mighty Girl. A lot of exciting things have been happening to her lately because of her list (and she’s actually trying to DO the things on her list!).  I dropped the ball on my list right after I wrote it.  I didn’t even get past writing number 50. Maybe my list is something I’ll have to make as I realize things that I even want to accomplish.

For now I’ll content myself with doing small updates here and there on the things I have managed to get done despite myself.

#28 Cook a meal with the veggies from my own garden.

Maybe I should be nice to myself and give credit for #11. Have a successful veggie garden as well, but I’m not quite ready yet.  I expect more.  🙂

Here is B right after hP2200012-1elping me pick some carrots from our garden.  He got enthusiastic about them, and actually tried eating them even though I can rarely get him too.  I was a little excited myself.  Too bad I could only get him to give me a fake smile. P2210017

I threw in yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, green pepper, basil, and onion (not from the garden) in with the carrots.  Eventually came up with:

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A vegetable penne alfredo dish.  With homemade baguette on the side of course.  Delicious.

Outside: P6210003A little bit of harvesting has been going on.  I’ve been getting this many berries and sugar snap peas every other day for a couple weeks now.  Nice.  The lettuces have been slow to get big this year, but I’ve still been harvesting lots of little leaves.  Want to have a pic of the garden too, but haven’t gotten around to it.

In My Kitchen:  I have cakes and cupcakes up next for the family luau on Saturday evening.  Probably make one tomorrow and one Saturday, but we’ll see.  I’ll be sure to post pics.  I have done well at not baking extra stuff for C’s sake (I even made the sacrifice of eating up the leftovers from his parties).  Of course I still have two of his cupcake brownies in the freezer…

I am wearing: PJ’s.  It’s almost midnight.

Latest Creative Endeavor: Lots going on in this department lately.  That’s all I’m going to say for now…

I am going:  to run errands tomorrow and go to yoga.  I’m running around a lot more lately, because B has swim lessons 2x a week.  I’ve been TRYING to get in more exercise while I’m at the Y too.   Then Tuesday I had to hang out all afternoon at G’s house after we took refuge from the torrential rainfal after leaving swimlessons.

Can’t Wait For:  our girls trip to the Lake of the Ozarks next weekend!  Just Mom, Gma, Ginny, and I.  Lots of relaxation!  And probably some knitting too.

Family News:  my mother and father in law will be visiting before I leave for my mini vaca.  B is very excited, since I let it slip that they are coming today.  I usually wait as long as I can since he has no sense of weeks yet.

Current Read:  I’m in between books right now.  Well, at least fiction books, which is what I like to talk about. 🙂  I’ve really got the itch to re-read old favorites right now though (Pride and Prejudice and the Song of Ice and Fire Series).

I am hoping:  To have some exciting news in the next week or so.  Probably not what you are thinking. 😉

I am hearing:  C’s snores.

Around the house:  Trying to keep my head above water while my head is somewhere else.

Simple Pleasures:  Uninterrupted time on the computer.  I should be in bed though.

Plans for the Weekend:   Luau and working on the house (hopefully).

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There was a lot going on in my kitchen over the weekend, thanks to C having his birthday.  These pics are from the family party we had for him on Sunday evening.  In the mixing bowl is the spicy sweet and sour chicken, eggrolls from Sams, then two different kinds of long life noodles.  One with Buckwheat and one with lo mein pasta.  Plus, I made egg drop soup.  All of it turned out good considering I’ve hardly made any chinese before (mostly just stir fries).

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To top off the evening– Banana Bomb!!  Layers: banana cake, chocolate swirl icecream, pistachio almond, chocolate banana ganache, vanilla, semisweet chocolate, and almonds!  Yum!  This came from one of my Martha Stewart magazines.  I was browsing through some that a friend gave me, and I knew I had to make this for C!  Glad I did too.

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There has been a LOT of baking going on here this week!  The chocolate cookies above are heaven– Ultimate Chocolate Dipped Cookies.  They are very messy though.  The chocolate ganache that they’re dipped in  doesn’t really harden.  Then you have your basic sugar cookie recipe from Martha with Royal icing or just powdered sugar.  Great recipe because she has several different ways to use the one base recipe.

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In this pic you can see two other ways I used that basic recipe– the orange spritz I did with cookie cutters instead of a cookie press (which I don’t have); they are the ones drizzled in chocolate behind the candles.  I also did my own thing with the snowball cookies (instead of what Martha suggests): I just put in pecans that I put through the food processor and made really fine.  They were excellent!  The big bowl in the pic contains meatballs– just your basic recipe from kraftfoods.com.

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And here’s my snowman.  As you can see– these pics were not taken before people started eating. 🙂  The poor guy is missing an eye.  The top ball was cream cheese with pimentos, olives, pecans, and green onions, which is a family recipe.  For the bottom of the snowman I used this recipe that is supposed to be shaped like a football. hehe.

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Then there’s the cashew toffee that had a slightly burnt taste (oops!).  Recipe from my favorite cookbook (you know the one).

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And lastly: homemade Chocolate Eggnog!  From the latest Martha Stewart Living. Absolutely wonderful!  My first time to make eggnog!  Easy!  Definitely recommend it!

We’re all really busy right now during the holidays.  Save yourself some time, and use these menus from cookinglight that are complete with 30 item or less shopping lists!  I’ve used almost all the meals from the first three weeks, and just printed out the shopping list for week four!

Fall is here, and last week I really wanted some good seasonal food.  So, I had family over on Friday nigth, and went to town. 🙂

First of all I’ve really been needing an excuse to make these Caramel Apple Cupcakes.  Filled with cream cheese icing, and then covered in caramel.  They were as yummy as they sound. 4.5 stars

Pork Tenderloin with Pumpkin-Seed Sauce was the main dish.  I don’t think the sauce turned out quite right, but it did still taste delicious.  3.5 stars for that recipe.

Rigatoni with Pumpkin and Bacon on the side was really, surprisingly good.  I wanted to try a pumpkin recipe that wasn’t sweet, and this was a good one.  If you’ll notice that I got all these recipes from different sources, then you’ll know that I did my research. 🙂  This one gets 4 stars.

The last recipe (so far) I did yesterday.  I now have a lot of pumpkin to use up (even though I froze some as baby food for L).  Pumpkin muffins. More like cupcakes when I was done with them:

I did use 1/2 cup less sugar than the recipe called for, but then I iced them with the filling from the apple cupcakes that I had left over.  I also left out the raisins–eck. Sorry it’s not a great pic.  Starting to wonder why I haven’t gotten a better digital camera. 🙂

I made this recipe a while ago, but didn’t post the recipe.  A friend requested it, so I thought I might as well post it while I was typing it out anyway.  Now I’m really wanting to eat it again!!

Applebees Tequila Lime Chicken

1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese blend
Marinade (see below)
2 cups crumbled tortilla chips
pico de gallo (see below)
4 chicken breasts
Ranch Dressing
Salsa

1. Make mexi-ranch dressing by combining 1/3 pico de gallo 1/3 salsa and 1/3 Ranch dressing
2. Heat grill.  When hot, cook chicken (already marinated) about 5 minutes on each side, or until done.  (I don’t always grill this– usually I just use the stove).
3.  Preheat broiler.  Arrange cooked chicken on a baking pan. Spread layer of mexi-ranch over each piece of chicken, followed by 1/4 cup of shredded cheese blend.  Broil chicken 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese melts.
4. Make a bed of crumbled tortillas on each plate (about 1/2 cup on each).  Slide chicken breast onto the chips on each plate and serve with your choice of rice, pico de gallo, and/or salsa.

Marinade: (the recipe is for 4 chicken breasts, but there’s enough marinade to do twice that in my opinion)
1 cup water
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp mesquite liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground giner
1/4 tsp tequila
Prepare marinade by combing ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add the chicken to the bowl, cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours.  (I usually use gallon sized ziploc bags instead of a bowl)  Be sure you don’t marinade the chicken longer than 4 hours or the citric acid in the lime juice may toughen the chicken.

Pico De Gallo:
3 medium Tomatoes
2 jalapenos (fresh or pickled) for spicy (depending on the jalapeno really)
1/2 medium (about1/2 cup) red onion
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 Tbls white vinegar
1 Tbls olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Chop it all up and combine.  I don’t have a recipe for this that has measurements, so I just guessed how much of everything I usually put it.  Be sure put less or more of something according to your own taste.


About Me…

A stay-at-home mother of 3 trying to balance homeschooling, gardening, baking, and crafting besides all the day-to-day upkeep of house and family (and still keep my sanity).
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