Saturday, May 30, 2009

We're Moving!

I'm moving my blog from Blogger to Wordpress.

Blogger is blocked at work, which makes it hard to share recipes with my co-workers, or check on my blog on my lunch we're moving!

Please note the new address, and head on over! You may see a variety of changes to the layout on the new wordpress blog over the next few weeks, but please be patient....I'm working out the kinks!

New Blog Address:

See ya over there!

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel Week 5

Week 5 contained just enough changes to give us hope, but not enough to actually get anywhere near finishing our bathroom.
This week our electrical was finished, including all new switches, outlets, light fixtures, heater, and exhaust fan. Hurrah!

Also this week, our flooring was put in. I like it (I originally wanted a stark black-and-white tile, but realized if I ever got sick of the current color scheme, such flooring would be a hindrance and not an asset, so we went with something a little more flexible) but it's a little more 'red' than 'gold'

Oh well. It's still a thousand times nicer than what we had.

Unfortunately, we had a call from the contractor on Thursday morning, explaining that when they went to stain our vanity with the color we'd chosen -- the wooden panels peeled back!!!


So the contractor was having it fixed and/or a new one built by the guy who built the first one. The only thing anybody can figure out is the stain and these new "environmentally friendly" glues that are used didn't jive so well.

I don't really care what happened, as long as it doesn't happen again. Ever. Ya know?
So now we're on hold until Monday. We'll see what Monday brings!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Menu Mondays

I'm currently working on moving my blog over to Wordpress -- any advice or tips?
Blogger is blocked at my workplace, which makes it a pain to give co-workers recipes. Wordpress, however, is not blocked, so I'm thinking of switching camps....

Monday: Hopefully the cinnamon bun cake for my co-workers tomorrow; maybe soft pretzels. Steak, broccoli and pasta for dinner -- DH was away all weekend, so we're not doing anything for the holiday
Tuesday: Crockpot French Dip sandwiches, chips, salad
Wednesday: cheddar brauts on the grill, baked beans
Thursday: Crockpot French Dip leftovers
Friday: marinated grilled chicken, green beans, wild rice medley

Friday, May 22, 2009

Old-School Stuffed Peppers

I don't know why, but I've had a hankering for stuffed peppers lately.

What makes this odd, is that I HATE -- venhemently hate -- peppers. Most of my aggression is towards green peppers (which I think taste like toxic green clumps of dirt) but still.
Peppers are not my thing.
Nonetheless, I was hungry for them. So, I took out an ancient family recipe card, and made some changes, and came up with stuffed peppers.
They were deeeeeeeeelicious.

Old-School Stuffed Peppers
(Makes 8 medium-sized peppers full)

8 medium-sized peppers (I used all red, since my farmer's market had them)
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or ground turkey (your pick)
1/2 cup minced onion
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (white or brown; your pick)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (your pick on type) -- optional

- Cut the tops of the peppers off, remove all the membranes and seeds. You can stuff these peppers whole, but I like to cut them in half and stuff each pepper half. Cut them however you'd prefer to do it.
- Cook the peppers in enough boiling water to cover them for 5 minutes, then drain
- Cook the ground meat and onion in a large skillet for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, until meat is browned and cooked through. Drain the meat and onion combination and return to the skillet
- Stir in the rice, salt, garlic and 1 can of the tomato sauce, cook until warmed through
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F
- Stuff pepper halves (or whole peppers if you go that route) and place in a casserole dish, stuffing-side up.
- If you have leftover filling, go ahead and spread that over the stuffed peppers
- Pour the remaining can of tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers
- Cover and bake for 45 minutes; uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until peppers are tender
- Sprinkle with cheese (optional); serve.

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel, Weeks 3 & 4

Week 3 of our bathroom remodel (yes, that's right. The job they told us would be 3-4 days, has come to this point) was really not newsworthy.

Tallying it up later, I concluded that I only actually had contractors in my house for 6 hours, the entire week 3. SIX HOURS. That's not even a full day of work.

We complained to the contractor -- who got attitude and told us "he was trying to finish it".

bull. pucky. BULLPUCKY!!! If you were trying to finish it -- you'd have guys here for more than 6 hours in a week.

Unfortunately, said contractor is still holding most of our stuff for the bathroom firing them isn't really an option.

Week 4 actually made some progress (noted in the images below). I got a painted ceiling, painted walls, and beadboard put up.

Note there is no:
- flooring
- vanity, vanity top, sink, or faucets
- outlets
- lights
- shower head
- toilet
- baseboard or chair rail
- also note that my stupid-expensive-bathtub is FULL of construction supplies. nice. real nice.

Contractor claims his guys will be back on Wednesday of week 5, to install flooring. What I'd like to know is why we can't install lighting, chair rail, and shower heads while we're waiting on the flooring to arrive. :P

This is easily going to be a 6 week project, if not longer. *sigh*

I miss my bathroom, guys.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Mondays

Not much to report this week...

Sunday: Cinnamon Bun Cake for work
Monday: steak, broccoli/cauliflower mixture, pasta
Tuesday: spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, homemade bread
Wednesday: stuffed peppers, old school style
Thursday: whiskey glazed pork chops, green beans and baked potatoes
Friday: stuffed pepper leftovers

Friday, May 15, 2009

Weeknight Paella

This was tasty! We have leftovers, and I anticipate that after it has been sitting overnight, it'll be even better!

I doubled the recipe below, because I had a full pound of shrimp and chorizo.

Weeknight Paella

2/3 cups yellow rice (Goya)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound chorizo, sliced
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas
- Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat
- Add rice and cook until it begins to toast, about 1-2 minutes
- Add shallot and garlic and continue to saute until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute
- Add shrimp, chorizo, and broth
- Cover pan tightly and reduce heat to medium-low
- Cook for 18 minutes
- Remove lid, add parsley and peas and cook until heated through
- Continue cooking uncovered until all liquid is absorbed.

Cinnamon Bun Cake

This is heavenly. Seriously. I basically ate it for breakfast and dessert all week! Oops?

I originally made it for my co-workers, but once DH tested it on wasn't allowed to leave the house. LOL

I'll be making this one again -- both for my co-workers as originally planned, and for DH's co-workers (at his request)
Cinnamon Bun Cake

1 yellow cake mix
3/4 C oil
1/2 C brown sugar
4 eggs
8 oz. sour cream

Cinnamon Swirl:
1 C brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts (I left out)

1 C powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp softened butter

- Heat oven to 325 degrees F
- For the batter mix the cake mix, oil, brown sugar, eggs, and sour cream together with an electric mixer
- In a separate bowl make the cinnamon swirl by mixing the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans or walnuts
- Grease and flour a 9 x 13 cake pan and pour half of the cake mix into the baking pan
- Sprinkle half of the cinnamon, sugar, and nut mixture over the batter
- Pour the rest of the cake batter into the pan
- Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon nut mixture over the batter
- Run a knife through the cake mix to swirl the cinnamon--be careful not to touch the bottom of the pan with the knife
- Bake for 45 minutes
- When the cake is removed from the oven, blend the softened butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together until smooth
- Drizzle over the cake while still warm

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's a Ziploc Meal

Ziploc isn't a sponsor for me or anything, but after the meal I made Friday night, they could've been! I used the zip-top bags to save me some dishes in the end. I love doing that on Fridays, especially, because it means I get to relax after dinner!

Baked Cornflake Chicken Fingers and Roasted Potatoes

Chicken Fingers
1-1.5 lbs. chicken tenders, or boneless skinless breasts cut into tenders (My pack of tenders had 10 in it)
1 cup flour
seasoning you like (I use garlic salt, onion powder and black pepper)
1/2 stick melted butter
4-5 cups crushed cornflakes (make sure you crush them to oblivion -- they'll stick better)

- Mix flour and seasonings in a zip top bag and add chicken pieces; toss to coat
- Put cornflakes in a zip top bag and crush completely with a rolling pin or meat mallet. If you have a food processor, that would be awesome too
- Place melted butter in a shallow dish for dipping
- Place crushed cornflakes in another shallow dish (I use pie plates for both)
- Shake excess flour off of tenders, and dip in butter to coat, then dip in cornflakes, pressing to make sure they stick to the chicken
- Place on a foil-lined baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray
- Bake chicken at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes
- Serve

Roasted Potatoes
4-6 baking potatoes
2 tsp olive oil
garlic powder
onion powder
black pepper

- Thinly slice the potatoes (about 1/4" thick) and place in a zip top bag
- Add olive oil and seasonings; toss to coat potatoes
- Spread potatoes out on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray
- Cook at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes
- Remove from oven; can eat as is, or sprinkle cheddar cheese over them and let it melt

Menu Mondays

Alas, still no bathroom.

This makes me NEVER want to do my kitchen!

I had some leftover meats in the freezer, so we're using those up this week

Sunday: stuffed french toast with strawberries for breakfast, loaf of bread for the week, baked oatmeal for my breakfast for the week,and a cinnamon bun cake I was originally taking to work, but DH has claimed for himself
Monday: steak, broccoli/cauliflower mix, pasta
Tuesday: pork ribs, wild rice, green beans
Wednesday: chicken thighs on the grill (haven't decided on a recipe), baked potatoes and veggies
Thursday: spaghetti and salad
Friday: weeknight paella

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries

Last Friday, DH showed me an ad for a restaurant on the other side of town and said it was a shame we had to go over there to get delicious stuffed french toast (they were advertising it).

I told him we didn't; we could have it at home! We had homemade bread leftover, so I picked up some cream cheese and strawberries.

Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries

For strawberries:
1 qt. strawberries, sliced
2-4 tbsp sugar

- Mix sugar and strawberries and place in the fridge. I like to do this the night before, so there is plenty of delicious strawberry juice for on the french toast

For the french toast:
4-6 slices of bread (can make more if you have more people to feed)
5-6 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
sprinkling of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla

- Mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla together and place in a shallow dish(like a pie plate)
- Heat your griddle or skillet for medium heat
- Soak your slices of bread; taking care to leave them in long enough that they're completely saturated
- Cook each slice as your space permits (obviously a griddle cooks more at once than a skillet!)

The important stuffing part:
1 8oz block of cream cheese, room temperature (low fat is fine. it's what i used)

- Gently blend the cream cheese so that it is light and fluffy and easier to spread
- As your toast slices come off the griddle/skillet, slather one piece with cream cheese, and sandwich it with another piece of french toast
- Drizzle strawberry juice and strawberries over top
- If you're not ravenous by this point, you can add powdered sugar or whipped cream, but we didn't make it that far!

I'd say each person only needs one of these sandwiches. I couldn't even finish mine!

Pistachio Salad really doesn't photograph well. Especially at 9pm at night as leftovers.

This is definately an old-timey recipe, but it's a nice, light-feeling dessert on a hot night.
I love it, and I don't even LIKE actual pistachios!

Pistachio Salad
(No recipe?)

1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1-3.4 oz. box instant pistachio pudding
1- 8 or 9 oz. (I can't remember which it is?) Cool Whip
1 cup mini marshmallows

- Mix pistachio pudding mix with pineapple and juices in bowl
- Add marshmallows and cool whip; stir until completely blended; spoon into a container to store in fridge
- Refrigerate until set; about 3 hours; serve.
- Makes approx. a 9"x9" pan of salad

Broccoli Slaw

I made this slaw to take to work with me for lunch. I halved the recipe since it was just for me, but below is the full recipe.

It was very tasty, and really brought back memories because of the ramen noodles! (I ate a lot of ramen in college. I think most people do?)

This is best day-of and next day. After that the noodles start to lose their crunch and it isn't quite as good.

Broccoli Slaw

2 bags (3-ounce) Ramen Noodle Soup in Oriental (other flavors will work, too)
3/4 stick butter
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 bags (12-ounce) bags broccoli cole slaw (in the bagged salad section of the grocery store)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Chopped green onions, for garnish

Dressing Mix:
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown or white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ramen noodle seasoning packet

- Put the ramen noodles in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin while melting butter in a large skillet over low/medium heat.
- Add the crushed noodles and slivered almonds to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally (keep temperature at low/medium heat).
- Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Place the shredded broccoli into bowl and toss with the noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds. - Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
- Garnish with chopped green onions.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel Week 2

Because I now realize that daily updates aren't an achieveable goal, I've moved to weekly.
Mostly because I go full days without a contractor in my house.

This week we accomplished the following. It should be noted for posterity that we've completed week two and are still A LONG WAY from a finished bathroom.

Next time, I'll write a timeline for work into the contract. Seriously. I'll accept input from the contractor on what's reasonable, but this is a basic bathroom remodel that should've been done a week ago.

1. The guys put my faucet and drain, etc in for my tub. They didn't put my showerhead in. I've no idea why. I also have plumbing sticking up through the flooring for my sink now.

2. They put lu-on? Something? Down on my floor to even it out and create a nice base for my new flooring. Except for some reason (lazy? weren't told to? can't think for themselves?) they put it over my rotten flooring by my toilet. Nice guys. Nice. This meant they showed up another day this week to fix it. At 7:20 a.m. WTF? But at least it's done right now.

In all honesty, those are the ONLY things that got done this week, but a few other gems stood out...

3. Contractor calls DH and tells him we need to pick out stain for our vanity. WHY? I have PICTURES of what I want! He's seen them! Why on earth can't the man building the vanity do this? Exasperated, and not trusting my contractor to do it, I go to Lowes and pick out stain. Just get the freaking thing done.

4. Contractor calls Friday at 3:45pm and says he can have the guys come out and do the first coat of mud on the drywall this afternoon if we hustle. Since we did not provide the contractor with a key, I fly out of my office 45 minutes before closing time, speed to get home to let them in. I get home, let them in, and in 5 minutes, they're walking out, explaining to me and the contractor that they don't have any mixed mud (WTF?) left for today, so they probably can't do it. why did I have to come home and let them in?

Pictures on our meager progress below.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Menu Mondays

Pretty simple menu this week. Really, really hoping my bathroom is completed by the end of this week.

Sunday: making several things for the week ahead: white bread, spaghetti sauce, broccoli slaw, pistachio salad, and funfetti cookies (for work)
Monday: steak on the grill, broccoli/cauliflower, and pasta
Tuesday: smothered pork chops, rice, broccoli slaw or veggies
Wednesday: spaghetti and salad
Thursday: grilled pork chops (any good recipes??), wild rice and veggies
Friday: baked chicken fingers, garlic-parm fries, and salad

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel Days 3-5

Day 3: Incredibly-late plumber finally gets here, hooks up my basement shower (hurrah for showering!!!), and caps off the plumbing in the under-construction bathroom. And...that's it. no demo guys come back, and the electrician can't do anything until demo is complete. Nice.

Day 4: was not a good day, kids. Contractor remembers only half of our specifics, and gives the workers only half of said specifics. This results in DH coming home at lunch and having to correct all the mess-ups and missed details. This also results in DH getting flustered and telling the electrician, yes, put ALL OF THE OUTLETS RIGHT BESIDE THE SINK. I, of course, raise holy hell and protest this. I also discover, via DH, they tried to install an insanely cheap exhaust fan (we bought a stupid-expensive one in advance...that detail obviously got lost), and tried to put my electrical outlets so they'd be right under my vanity mirror. Except we don't have a vanity/top yet, so how the heck did they know where to put them? Exactly.

By the end of the day, all issues are resolved, and DH and I are beginning to wonder if we should start playing project manager every morning, since it appears that nobody else is.

Day 5: We're back in action. Electrician comes back (grumbling, mind you, but dammit I want my outlets moved away from my sink!), fixed outlets, and guys get my surround and tub installed, along with all my new ceiling and most of my new drywall. This, of course, is already Friday, Day 5 of the project that "should take 3-4 days". Pictures below.

Oh, and for those who knew I wanted to take the pink toilet outside in the yard and beat on it a la "Office Space" style, no -- I didn't get the chance. They carted it away. Good riddance!

Below are the precious outlets I had to fight tooth and nail for.