Monday, June 30, 2008

OMG, I've been Tagged!!

Wow, my blog is less than a month old and here I am being Tagged, I feel so loved, really! :o)

I have been tagged by Natashya from Living in the kitchen with Puppies

-so here are the meme rules.

Tag Rules:
# Link to the person who tagged you.
# Post the rules on the blog.
# Write six random things about yourself.
# Tag six people at the end of your post.
# Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
# Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

……..and here are 6 random things about myself.

  1. I have 2 turtles, Flipper and Scooter, they live in a 65 gallon aquarium in my living room.
  2. I can wiggle my ears
  3. I absolutely HATE cilantro, I can't stand the way it tastes or smells, it makes me physically sick.
  4. I taught my son to cook when he was about 8 (this is how you make pasta, this is how you make eggs, lol), he's 12 now and is a big help in the kitchen.
  5. I Love lobster and shrimp, but have been allergic since P. was born.
  6. I have been friends with my best friend since the 6th grade.

I tag -
Tanya - from Take The Cannoli
Bunny from Bunny’s warm oven
Kelly from Oven Ready
Michelle from Big Black Dog
Rachel from Fairycake Heaven
Amelia from Diary from the Last Frontier

This tag is in the sense of fun, silliness and camaraderie. If you are too busy or tired to play we will all fully understand. If not, I look forward to hearing from you. Have a fantabulous day!

Friday, June 27, 2008

There's just something about Strawberries...

Strawberries, sugar and white balsamic vinegar with a few Chiffonade basil leaves.. there's just nothing like it.. when I first saw this recipe in I think it was gourmet, had to be in 2000 or 2002 way back when, lol.. I was skeptical.. BUT I had to try it... I had just been introduced to the Union Square green market and the many different herbs, many that the chefs in school told me were impossible to find or so expensive that they couldn't get them for our classes.. herbs and spices that I was able to find at the market and create dishes on my own.. oh, that place.. there's nothing like it :)

So, back to the strawberries..

if you look on the internet recipes upon recipes will tell you not to leave them for more than 30 minutes, but when I made these the other night and then left them to chill.. and fell asleep and forgot all about them until the next night.. well.. lemme tell ya, Syrupy deliciousness.. the strawberries remained intact, not mushy or 'cooked' but I believe that the trick is in the WHITE balsamic, not the sticky black modena balsamic that we are accustomed to. White balsamic is well, pretty much like white wine colored with a sweet end and not quite vinegar-y at all.. just blissful. I didn't measure as much as I kind of just eyeballed it all, I wasn't sure P. was going to like it, so I stuck small to start with,
10 fresh strawberries , hulled
a generous sprinkle of vanilla sugar
1 1/2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
5 basil leaves, chiffonade

I tossed it all together in a glass bowl, covered it and tossed it in the fridge.. for about 24 hours.. OH MY.. wow, not pungent, not sweet.. just delightful. The strawberries stayed their beautiful red in contrast to the basil and the translucent red of the syrup ..

I really have to get a camera soon.. and I will make this again..

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I made a really great dinner tonight, unable to take pics though because *ahem* Someone accidentally dropped my camera yesterday on the last day of school.. I'm not naming names here, but I was due to get a new camera anyway, and I really should have Months ago, but when my last camera was stolen from my bag on the bus in November (and I was SO mad, I had just bought it in March, 2007) I got a little jaded and figured my old (2002 model) camera would be fine for now, no new babies or weddings this summer, so I thought I'd be fine.. and then I started Blogging.. so I kinda Need one now smilie It's gotta wait a few weeks though.. first things first (like Bills and rent, lol)

Anyway, Back to Dinner..

I made this great salad with Grilled chicken that was marinated for a good 24 hours in Stubbs chicken marinade (OMG that stuff is So good! I thank my best friend Patty for turning me onto this stuff) half an avocado, and this totally Kick ass Cumin Lime dressing that I mixed up one day when I was starving and out of the bottled stuff..

Cumin Lime Dressing
Juice from half a lime
1/4 cup Mayo
1-2 Tbs. Canola oil (depending on how you like your dressing)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze the juice from the lime into a small bowl, add Mayo and oil and mix with a wire whisk until smooth, add cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and you're ready to go.

I tossed up my salad with some romaine hearts, shredded carrots and a handful of shredded red cabbage, sliced up chicken, cubed avocado and about 2/3's of the dressing and it was So dang good Smiley chef

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Greek Rice Salad

I had this great grocery store in my old neighborhood that made the best rice salad. The first time I saw it I was a little confused, Rice salad? But the girl behind the counter convinced me that it was delicious, just try it.. so i did and I fell in love.. The rice salad there was very "American" with corn and beans and whatnot.. Mine is very Greek.

I started with 2 cups of Carolina Jasmine rice

Cooked to fluffy perfection and seasoned with Lemon Pepper

about a dozen oregano leaves (plucked from the plant on my porch)

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 cucumber, seeded & diced

a handful of sliced black olives (no kalamata on hand, P. doesn't like them much anyway)

1/4 cup or so Feta cheese

Makes a really great side dish to some Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki sauce

Recipe: (My own creation)

Greek Rice salad

3 cups Carolina Jasmine rice
1/4 cup Canola oil (I like canola because it really has no distinct flavor)
2 cloves minced garlic
1Tbs fresh oregano chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 Tbs Lemon Pepper (or to taste) (you can use lemon juice too, but I had no lemons on hand)
1 English cucumber or 1 cucumber, seeded
1/4 cup black or Kalamata olives
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook rice according to package directions
add lemon Pepper, oregano, garlic and oil to hot rice and stir to combine
Remove from pot and into a mixing bowl
refrigerate 20-30 minutes
add cucumber, olives and Feta.
Refrigerate until ready to serve

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yes, I shall confess. I've been a slacker at the blog thing for the past week or so. It's been 80+degrees in NY the past week and I do not have a/c, yup, you heard me right, no a/c. I have fans in my little apartment that seem to do not much more than blow the hot air around, but my windows aren't big enough to put in an air conditioner and I just can't fathom spending $300+ on a portable a/c that would most likely only cool my bedroom. So needless to say there has been very little cooking done, at least nothing Blog- worthy, lol. Hamburgers and chicken on the GF grill, pasta salads, one night it was Tuna sandwiches and salad, tonight P. had the other half of my lunch that was delivered by a local restaurant and since my buddy at work only eats chicken (I will never understand how the girl can live on Chicken alone, she doesn't know what she's missing in the world, talk about your picky eaters, sheesh!) We find ourselves ordering in from the same place all the time, she sticks with her 2 menu choices and I check out what's new on the specials menu. Today it was 1/2 a chicken with rice and salad, it was really good. I'm good at only eating half my lunch though and I bring the rest home for P. I'm not really trying to lose weight, but eat smarter :) so P. had that and I had a slice of leftover Pizza. I'm just not motivated this week, fathers day is a huge bummer for me Dad's been gone for 16 years (crap, it's really hard to put that down) harder even is that mom's been gone 13 years tomorrow (and she never got to know my little Peanut) My birthday is Sunday... God only knows what's going on since my life is up in the air all the time and plans, if any are always made at the very last minute, so among all the people in my life who knows who is going to jump in first with an idea.

Alright, enough about me.. I'm getting depressed, sheesh. Maybe I'll bake some brownies for the last full day of School on Friday.. then my baby will be officially out of elementary school (and OMG!) a 7th Grader next year (I still do NOT think I'm old enough for all this) Brownies are always good.. if I make, I will Blog them for sure!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Not your everyday garden...

But it's my little Potted garden on my little porch. I'm a renter so I don't have use of the yard (at least not planting wise) so for the past few years I've had a little potted garden, it all started with some basil and last year I failed miserably at trying to grow tomatoes, but this year I was so determined that I was going to succeed I went all out.. this year it all started with a tiny strawberry kit that I got for $1 at Target. I got home and was so excited, I soaked my little peat pellet and sowed my seeds in the teeny pot and a week later I saw little plants growing and I was so proud! I have 5 little strawberry plants that just today were moved to a bigger pot and moved outside and off the top of my oven under the 'plant light' since that is the only place they were safe. I'm usually bad, with a big black thumb and I can't get anything to grow.. but if it's in plain sight I'm gonna make sure it's watered, so that's where all my little babies stayed until it was warm enough to go outside.

I bought my basil and Oregano plants at home depot towards the end of April and Mother's day weekend I bought myself a cherry tomato plant (determined to grow tomatoes this year), oregano and rosemary all potted on my porch and growing great. my basil plant is being picked at almost every night to be added to dinner and is blooming and growing like I never imagined! My tomato plant has 5 little green tomatoes and 16 buds I counted earlier today. I'm so proud of myself!

To add to the jungle I have a dozen sunflowers from a buzzy kit that I got at CVS one day when I was feeling ambitious, those to my absolute amazement had sprouted in a record 4 days and are just started to sprout flowers. I have been reading about the plight of the Bees lately so I'm really happy to have plants and herbs growing that will help them (as deathly afraid of them as I may be) Bees are such an important part of the ecosystem and we all benefit from them in many different ways, so I'm just trying to do my part to help them out while also providing flavor, color and pizazz to my dinner every night.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sweet Ricotta with almonds and Macerated Strawberries

When I was grocery shopping the other day I was lucky enough to get my hands on 2 packs of really good looking strawberries and all day P.'s been on my case.. "Mooooooom, are you going to make something with those strawberries?" because I gave him strict instructions to not touch them until I said it was okay. The boy likes to eat and 99% of the time anything in the fridge is up for grabs.. I'm scared to see what it's going to be like when he hits the teenage years, at least I've got a few months of him being 12 left, lol.

Back to the topic here.. It was a Blazing 93° here today in NY and I was itching to make something sweet and creamy but not ice cream.. ahh.. the strawberries and, what was that in the back of the fridge but a container of Ricotta that hasn't even been opened yet.. well.. here we go..

I hulled the strawberries and put them in a bowl with 1Tbs of Vanilla sugar and put them in the fridge to hang out.

Then I ground up about 1/4 cup of almonds with 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar in my food processor and added them to 2 cups of ricotta that was mixed with 1/4 cup of confectionery sugar, beat it on high with my mixer until light and fluffy.

I dished up the sweetened ricotta and then put the strawberries in the food processor for a quick chop and Dished up P.'s first and then did mine a little more carefully so I could put up a pic for y'all

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Packaging is downsizing, yet prices continue to rise

Alright guys.. I was really in for a shocker when I got my Peapod order and saw the new containers of Edy's , who have dropped the size of their containers down from 1.75 to 1.5 quarts (but, unfortunately the price was no different, even on sale it was $2.50 each or "buy 1 get 1 free") Now, you may think, oh it's just down a little bit.. but look at the difference in size...

That's a good inch and a half smaller, one bowl less or 2 scoops of ice cream. I don't see anything good about this, maybe if they were making them smaller and lowering the price a bit, yea, but the way I see it what's next? The price of milk is finally getting lower, when I was paying $4.59 I had to tell P. to kinda slow down, because we go through 2 sometimes 3 gallons a week (and you try to tell a growing boy he can't drink so much milk, lol) I paid $3.66 today.. not great, but, better than $4.59. Eggs are close to $4 a dozen and I don't even buy bread anymore, easier (and yummier) to make it myself. I'm a 'frugal shopper' I don't go grocery shopping without a list and I've always got coupons, better yet if I have coupons and it's on sale and I Always make my list around what's on sale.

My point here is just be wary of 'supermarket shrinkage' It may seem insignificant to some, but it really adds up... my next gadget is going to be an ice cream maker, I used to have one but it broke during my move... I have an awesome ice cream "cookbook" and I've found tons more online.. I know I can definitely make more than 1.75 quarts of ice cream for less than $2.50.

K, I'm stepping off my soapbox now..

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

10 things.....

Last night as I was checking out what was new at TasteSpotters I noticed a unique post.. Mayo vs. Miracle whip.. it intrigued me so I clicked over and Sarah at The District Domestic Posted "Calling all Food Snobs" and asked us to post the 10 things you will never find in our kitchen..
My list:
1. Miracle whip (just gross, and why do they call it dressing?)
2. Mac & cheese in a box
3. cheese in a can (wrong on so many levels)
4. Frosting in a can
5. cake mix in a box
6. Sweet & low or equal
7. canned ham
8. Cilantro (the smell makes me physically Ill)
9. Imitation Vanilla
10. V8 Anything…. yuck!

So it got me to wonder...
What are yours?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Well, it's not mac & cheese...

Well, on my way home all I could think of was that yummy mac & cheese that I saw on TasteSpotting and saved to my favorites, dreaming of some gooey mac & cheese while I sat on the bus on my way home, went and picked P. up at school and low and behold it was about 90° in my apartment, too hot to put the oven on, the turtle tank was calling my name anyway ( I really should have done it Saturday... but anyway..) I opened up the fridge to see what I had going on in there and there was a pound of sausage that was going to either be cooked or find it's way into the trash tomorrow.. so I fired up the good old George Foreman Grill and cooked those up... P. didn't want just plain macaroni though, grr! Fine! So he had the 2 hot dogs that were in there waiting for the same doom as the sausage.. so it turned out to be a kinda clean out the fridge and eat whatever dinner tonight.. I will make Pasta e Fagioli tomorrow night. I will make a quick run to the grocery store by work at lunchtime to get some cannellini beans, and a few other things I need to grab to make goodies for the big 6th Grade Picnic on Friday afternoon. P. wants Ham & swiss sandwiches, so I will grab the ham and swiss, yeast to make more of those yummy rolls and who knows what else. This is a very ethnic grocery store, so ya never know what I will come home with smiley boodschappen doen Maybe I'll make some brownies for him to share with his friends too.. Mmmm, I shoulda made brownies today, they would have put me into a better mood for sure animated smiley

Monday, what a Drag...

I'm at work.. I work 9-5 in a law office and seriously I'm just so bored with it.. I'm just not stimulated at all anymore. Maybe it's just because it's Monday and it's absolutely Gorgeous outside.. but I'm just not feeling it today, the phones are barely ringing and there's not much going on.. Grr.. I need to go home and cook something that will make me happy.. I just hope it's not 112ยบ in my apartment. I have a Slammin' Recipe for Mac & Cheese that P. is dying for me to make.. I could go for some gooey home made mac & cheese tonight.. hmm.. lets see what the future holds.

Back to work now.....

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Well, turns out I have to make dinner after all...

Took P. to a street fair today, hoping for some good (cheap) food and some funky jewelry or at least a good find, but NO.. what we got were $5 shish kebabs that were dry and unflavored (Freaking $5 for one chicken-on-a-stick!) and pop caps (ya know those little bombs you throw at the ground and they pop) I was More than pissed. Last year we came home from this same street fair happy and toting our yummy Gyros, a funky pair of earrings and some random toy that lasted 2 days before it was trash.. but we had fun.. this year it was way less than fun Photobucket

So.. now that I'm home, it's about 80 degrees in my apartment and I don't really want to cook since I was so hoping for some yummy Greek food today.. Luckily I had chicken in the fridge that is now marinating in Ziplock bags and I'm gonna just fire up the good old George Foreman Grill and make salad of some sort... grr!!