Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Portuguese Kale Soup

Some days are soup days, you just want warmth and comfort and a full belly with little effort.  Sunday was that day for me.  It was in the low 30's when I got up and I woke up knowing I was going to make soup.  I had picked up Chorizo at the store on Saturday with this soup in mind.  It's so incredibly good that between The Kid and myself, the entire pot of soup was gone by the end of the day.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb chorizo sausage 
1 quart chicken broth
1 large onion, roughly diced
4 large potatoes, cubed
1 bunch kale, stemmed washed & chopped (abt. 1 lb.)
fresh ground black pepper
salt (optional)

    Cut sausage into bite sized pieces.

    Heat oil in a heavy soup pot; saute the sausage& onion just until the fat is rendered, about 3 to 5 minutes.

    Drain on paper towels.
Add other ingredients except kale

Bring to boil and simmer 10 minutes.

Add kale and simmer about 8 minutes until tender.

Taste for seasoning- depending on how spicy your sausage is, add salt and pepper to taste.

Granting wishes and baking Christmas cookies

I’m asking for a little help from my friends here.

'Tis the Season of holiday baking and giving, why not reach out and help grant the wishes of strangers in need of some holiday help.

I always make the same Christmas cookies and this year I’ve taken it upon myself to grant a few wishes at Wish Upon a Hero and help some people out with Christmas baking and mailing cookies and Christmas cards to help make their holiday a little brighter.

What I’m asking for here is if any of you would be willing to share a few cookie recipes with me by email @ inthekitchenwithme@gmail.com. I’ll pick a few and then post them up here along with pictures of the boxes that I’m going to send.

Thanks guys, it's very much appreciated.

Things I've learned this week

I am, in fact the lowest paid employee in my office.. although I've been there 6 years my file clerk who has been there for 3, brings home nearly $100 more than I do weekly.  What does that mean, you ask? It means that it's total bullshit and the first chance I get I'll be telling these people goodbye. I asked my boss for a raise in May and he acted like it was a big deal.. well, it looks like other people got the raises they deserved and I got bullshit, so they can shove it.

Bitter? No.  Utterly and completely pissed off, yes.  I'm not here to play games and I've been trying to move out of my apartment for 2 years now and can't because of the bullshit pay I make here.

Reynolds non stick foil is some seriously awesome stuff, the best I've ever used.

You never forget how to care for a newborn.

There is no rule that you have to be nice to your co-workers every day, esp when you work with an office like mine where 90% of the ladies are in their own clique.

You can't choose your family, even though you might wish you could.

Some people are chronic procrastinators and no matter how hard you try, you can't change them.

There are never enough leftovers of what you really like.

It really hurts to be under appreciated.

One of the best things in life is knowing you're doing a huge favor for someone.

Holidays aren't the same without my best friend.

Monday, November 22, 2010

OMG, Thanksgiving is this week! Cranberry sauce should not come from a can

I'm not ready.

Seriously.. this is insane.

Who's idea was it for time to fly bye this year? Not mine, that's for sure.


OK.. so Thanksgiving.
I'm having dinner with my aunt this year.. time with my family.. should be interesting to say the least.

I've been told to come early to help cook.. because if I don't nobody will be eating before 6.

I'm making fresh cranberry sauce, because I do not and will not eat that crap that comes in a can.

This recipe has very few ingredients and it's fairly easy to put together.. I've been making this since The Kid was just a little peanut and he's never had the stuff from a can.

Ruby Red Relish

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries, rinsed and picked through (because stems are not tasty)
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon orange zest

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat bring sugar and water to a boil. Add cranberries, apples, cinnamon and allspice.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cranberries pop - about 8 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in orange peel.
4. This can be made up to 3 days in advance and stays in the refrigerator up to 7 days in a tightly sealed container. (but it never lasts that long, lol).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Flip Off's 11/19/10

Is it Friday yet?


Finally!  I'm just gonna flip this whole Damn week off and give the rundown.

Big, hugs and a huge Thank you to MommaKiss for being the grateful host to the Friday Flip off’s.

This week started with me in a bad mood...  My boss is a cheap fuck tightwad and to be honest with y'all.. I'm getting a little seriously tired of making so much less than everyone who works here... I've been here almost 6 years and I should be bringing home a lot more than I do. I’m actively looking for another job but right now I figure to just wait until the new year because I really need my week off at the end of December.. I work all damn year just to have that week off.

I hate my apartment.. (shocking, right?) The detest for this Godforsaken place gets worse daily.  Between the TV blasting until 11:30PM and the wake up noise at 5:30 it should be enough.. But no.. it’s the constant humming noise that comes through my bedroom ceiling as soon as these people are home and goes on for hours. I have no idea what it is, but it’s continuous. You hear it turn on, you hear it running and you feel a sense of peace wash over you when it turns off. Sometimes to just have it turn right back on again and then you feel it back in your bones again. I can’t even describe the sound... maybe something like an amp turned on all the way to Ten left speaker side down on the floor over your head.. Something to that effect.

I haven’t had a full night’s sleep all week & I don’t know what’s really bothering me but it’s starting to piss me off.. I can’t get to sleep until well after 11 because of the noise upstairs and then I’m fighting to fall asleep.. When I finally do it’s for maybe 2-3 hours and I’m up before the sun. I've needed massive amounts of concealer under my eyes so I don't look like the walking dead.. Bless MAC for making industrial strength concealer.

Thanksgiving is next week..? WTF? How? 2010 has been a whirlwind of a year that's gone bye way too damn fast.  I'll be off Wednesday baking pies for my family.. I haven't had Thanksgiving with my family in a long time.. it's gonna be interesting, lol.

Now, don't be a punk and get the code and link up with the rest of us Flippers

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sometimes it's the simple things...

Yesterday I was having a bad day.. I was hating my job & hating my apartment (so what else is new there) and blaming one on the other (My boss is a tightwad and I have no hopes of a better salary here so for now I'm stuck in my apartment because I don't make enough to move into a better place).

I miss my best friend like Crazy.. we haven't even spoken in a month and it doesn't help that she's in Africa with a 6 hour time difference.

To top it all off, I had the most disgusting lunch and my stomach was in knots by the time I got home.

When I walked in I sat on my bed to talk to The Kid while he was on the computer playing his game online with his dorky friends, when my phone beeped that I got a text...

It was The Guy

And in an instant my day got better.

Sometimes all it takes is a reminder that you're loved and cared about to make things better..

I'm a fairly simple girl.. it doesn't take much...

In the words of Andy Wood
♪"Love is all good people need, and music sets the sick ones free, without love no one ever grows no one will ever sing"♫

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cooking on a Budget, day 7

Almost forgot to post this...

This is a very simple recipe, easy to throw together and have in around half an hour...

Pasta e Fagiole

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Flip Off's 11/12/10

It's Friday again already? Some days I don't know if I'm coming or going.

Thanks to MommaKiss for hosting the Flippage

First off: Flip off to my EX-hairdryer.. yes you lasted almost 5 years.. but it was really unnecessary of you to start to smoke and crap out when I was only 1/4 through blowing my hair out on Sunday night, at 10:00.  Monday was a hair tied up day (even though it was cold as hell and I really wanted my hair down). On the upside, the Awesome, albeit Pink hairdryer that I got on sale for $10 marked down from $35 is freaking awesome & makes my hair all shiny

To the Bitch across the street who's "perfect at everything" kid's in my kid's class, flip off.  Just because I'm a young single mom and you're not doesn't make you better than me, so quit looking down at me whenever you see me.

2010, Flip off.. Really, I've been more broke this year than I have been in a long time, I just can't seem to make ends meet at the end of the month and it's making me crazy.  It's not even like I'm going nuts buying stuff, because I'm not... so this week I haven't bought anything except a new hairdryer.  I haven't used the debit card except to get groceries last night (another $25 week) and Gas this morning.  I try to save, but I gotta keep taking it back out.. so I've surrendered and had to stop my automatic transfer.. at least until next month when I better get my shit together.

Christmas commercials.. Flip the hell off.. they didn't even wait for Halloween to be over this year and wtf is up with the commercials ratting parents out as Santa? That seriously pisses me off.. Just announce that y'all have layaway without the fanfare. Christmas is for Kids to believe in Miracles, not a reminder that us parents are broke and have to put shit on layaway.  I haven't even started Christmas shopping.. I have a sick day somewhere between now and 12/22 that will be dedicated to that shit Task.

Speaking of Christmas Flip off pine needles from the tree from last year, which turns out was the driest tree ever! I'm still vacuuming up needles that pop up in odd places like the middle of the kitchen and in the crevices in between the stairs.  I live in the driest basement ever.. EVER.  I'm most likely succumbing to getting a fake tree this year, I really don't want to and it makes me hate this apartment even more, but I really have no choice... unless I get a really small potted tree but then there's still the issue with the pine needles.

Ugh.. One more.. Flip off this goddamn sore throat that decided to sneak up on me last night.. feels like I swallowed a lit match and a handful of pine needles. Yay, I'm sick just in time for the weekend when I was supposed to see my cousin & her baby.. FML.

Now, don't be a punkass and get the code and link up with the rest of us flippers:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cooking on a Budget, day 6

I learned a valuable lesson last night, well.. this morning actually.  Don't put rice in the crock pot overnight because in the morning you will have a pot of mush.  In my own defense the mush turned out to taste good, but it looked... well...like mush.

Que sera sera though.. right?

Last night after dinner I took the leftover tomato sauce and dumped it into the crock pot along with the last 3 pieces of chicken, a teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1/3 cup white cooking wine, turned the crock pot Onto High and let it cook until 10, took the bones out because by now the chicken was soft and perfect.

Now, here is where I made the big mistake.

I added 2 cups of water and a cup of rice, then I turned the crock pot down to warm.  I gave it a good stir, put the lid on and went to bed.

The smart thing to do would have been to just cook the rice separately and stir it in at the end, but Apparently I'm a jackass.

This morning when I got up... it was a pot of mush.  It tasted awesome though.  But instead of leaving this to sit any longer in the fridge I packed it up in 2 plastic containers for myself and The Kid to have for lunch.. and surrendered the rest to sit in the fridge and hopefully if I get some Mozzarella cheese I can make something better with it (I'm in no place to be throwing perfectly good food out at this point).

Lesson learned = no more rice in the crock pot.. at least not for hours on end.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooking on a budget, day 5: Sicilian Fish Stew with Tomato and Parsley

Parent Teacher conferences were today, so I left work at 3 for my scheduled appointments with The Kid's teachers (and all went well, thankfully).  I was home by 4 which was awesome since 1. I skipped lunch and was starving and 2 I had a little extra time to work on a good dinner.

I had the 2nd pack of Tilapia that I had bought on Saturday and that had to be used today.  I got a little tired of always having the fish the same way, so I did a little searching online and then tweaked a recipe that had the ingredients that I had at home and it came out really, really good.

I got this recipe from Epicurious

Sicilian Fish Stew with Tomato and Parsley

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped tomato ( about 1 medium)
1 1/3 cups cold water
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 pounds mixed fish fillets (such as sea bass, shark, orange roughy, cod and snapper), cut into 2-inch pieces

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add parsley and stir 2 minutes. Add tomato and cook 2 minutes longer. Add 1 1/3 cups cold water and dry white wine and simmer until fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season stew to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Cooking on a Budget, day 4

I was unbelievably happy when I realized that I had venison in my fridge late on Sunday night.  One of my co-workers gave it to me from her hubby, he's a hunter and they're the only two in the house who will eat it so he's nice enough to share a little with me.

Not many people like venison, but it's something I ate every so often growing up and thankfully the kid likes it too.

Last night when I got home from work I took 2 venison steaks out of the freezer and let them thaw out in the fridge for a few hours.  Before I went to bed I cut the partially thawed steaks into cubes, seasoned them with salt and pepper and let them sit in the bowl for a while as I cubed up a few medium sized red potatoes, 2 carrots, one celery stalk, 1/4 of a large white onion and half a Roma tomato. I tossed the veggies onto the bottom of the crock pot and the meat went on top, cover on and cooked it overnight (about 6 hours)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cooking on a budget, day 3

This recipe is, well.. it's an experiment.  The Pizzeria by my office makes a chicken club pizza.. this is loosely based on that.

It's sort of a crock pot chicken club.

1/4 onion, chopped
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
4 slices turkey bacon, chopped
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1 Roma tomato, chopped

In a pan over medium heat add bacon and heat for 1-2 minutes, add onion and a pinch of salt.  Sautee until the bacon is just a little bit crispy and the onions are translucent.

Line the crock pot with a crock pot liner (if you don't have any an oven bag will do).  I always line my crock pot because cleaning that dang thing is a royal pain.

Bacon & Onion first on the bottom
ranch dressing
1 tsp Dry Italian seasoning
1 Roma tomato
Pinch of salt (to taste)

Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours
Add tomato in the last 1/2 hour

Serve with a salad or a side of veggies.

Now, it may not be pretty but it's pretty damn good.

Vanilla Coke

It’s a very rare occasion that you’ll find me drinking soda.  I don’t really like it, there’s too much sugar (and diet soda = Poison) the carbonation burns my throat, but for some wicked reason (pms) I’ve been craving vanilla coke for the past few days.

Now, the only place I can get Vanilla coke is at the Walgreens by my office, or surrender to the 12 pack at Stop & Shop (and that’s not gonna happen) So I did the next best thing..

I bought a bottle of Caffeine free coke and added ½ tsp of home made vanilla extract

Served in a glass over ice it was perfect.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cooking on a budget, day 2

This morning when I got up and started my coffee I also started the tomato sauce, I like it cook it for a few hours on low heat to get that same flavor like my grandma's sauce.  This isn't grandma's recipe.. but it tastes pretty damn close.

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can water
1 clove garlic, minced
4-5 fresh basil leaves
1 tbs olive oil

In a large pot over very low heat sautee the garlic in the oil just long enough for the oil to get flavor 2-3 minutes, don't brown the garlic.

Pour in the tomatoes and stir, add 1/2 can water
add basil leaves

cover and let cook over low heat 1 hour, stirring every so often so the bottom doesn't burn
add the next 1/2 can of water and let cook for an hour or so longer, either until you're ready to eat or can't stand how good it smells and have to eat, lol.

For lunch I just boiled up some pasta and fixed a salad and we were good.

For dinner I went and made up a batch of meatballs with the ground beef that I bought yesterday (that I didn't realize was only good until today)  I made 12 small meatballs, Spaghetti and another salad.

Now we have leftovers for the kid to eat tomorrow when he comes home from school and enough for me to take for lunch tomorrow too.

Cooking on a budget.. 6 days $25

To say I'm broke this week is an understatement.. it's going to be one of those weeks.

I went to the grocery store yesterday with one thing in mind...get what's needed to make 5 dinners with enough for leftovers so kid won't starve after school and I can bring in lunch.

Luckily I have a freezer full of frozen veggies, so that's one thing that was already ticked off the list when I got to the store.

What I bought was:
5 28 oz cans of Hunts Crushed tomatoes (on sale for 5 for $4)
1 package turkey bacon (on sale for $1.99)
4 different kinds of pasta (@$.79/each)
1 family size pack of chicken thighs (6 pieces @$5.69)
1 loaf whole wheat bread ($1.99)
2 packages of Tilapia, 3 pieces each (@$2.75 each)
1 can cannelini beans (@1.50)
1 package ground beef (@.3.49)

The only thing I anticipate having to get this week is milk.

Last night I made one of the packages of Tilapia, coated in seasoned flour (red pepper flakes, a few shakes of old bay, pinch of salt, pinch of cumin, pinch of black pepper) and pan sauteed served with a side of broccoli sauteed with 1 tsp minced fresh garlic, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and a pinch of sea salt.

Right now I have a pot of tomato sauce on the stove and I might make a batch of small meatballs later.

I'll be posting the dinner recipes every night for the rest of the week.. this is going to be an adventure.  Thankfully my kid isn't a picky eater.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Flip Off's 11/5/10

Happy Friday!!! Jeebus Friday took forever to get here.. between 2 days of morning detention and then The Kid's realization that he actually LIKES to get to school that early but then he was sick and then... well, then it was back to being there semi-on timeish, but not late. It's a start in the right direction at least.

Ok, well.. lets get this show on the road and start flipping off.. which, actually I have two giant flips and a mini flip this week.. so here goes..

Fuck You to my stupid asshole landlord  Big Empire State building sized flippin' fingers to my jerk asshole fucktard inconsiderate piece of crap landlord.. for leaving me this on Monday night. (Cell camera pic, didn't trust myself with the good camera for this one)

 That is only part of the mess too, the wall next to it from floor to ceiling and the whole 2 feet width of it my Entire kitchen floor (off white ceramic tiles) and the other side of that door and the wall too.  I had a piece of carpeting at the other side of that door that was so full of soot I had to toss it, as well as the mat I had on the floor in the kitchen by the sink.

This guy finally decided to turn the heat on Monday, ya know since it was like 30° on Sunday night it was the least he could so I don't get sick and die and not be able to pay my rent. asshole 

He didn't call, or knock on the door on Sunday or anything to just let me know that he was going into my apartment (which by law he's supposed to give me 24 hours notice) nothing.. the only way I knew he was down here (aside from the fucking mess he left me) was that the heat was on.  Had there not been soot marks, a shitty attempt at trying to clean the godforsaken mess up and boot tracks all over my off white kitchen floor I'd have never known he was even in here..but no. and the fucker never called me to apologize for the mess or anything, not one word.

When the kid got home on Monday he called me and said yes, the heat was on and OMG Mom, you're not going to believe the mess.  I didn't think it was going to be a tenth as bad as it really was..

When I got home Kid says to me "mom, don't be mad" and I was like, ok.. whatever it can't be that bad.. and holyshit I almost passed out!  after working 10 hours on Monday that was what I had to clean up.. for almost an hour.... scrubbing with Mrs.Meyers Clean day* diluted wasn't going to do it so I poured it full strength on a rag and to my surprise it worked.. you have no idea how happy I was that it did, because my next guess was gonna be to use bleach..  I scrubbed and rinsed and scrubbed some more and then attacked the floor.

The only thing I was happy about when I was done aside from the floor and the wall being clean (the door is now a very pale shade of gray) is that Mrs. Meyers Clean day smells freaking amazing.  So it didnt' smell like I was cleaning.. it just smelled... clean.

I need out of this apartment.. I need a second job to afford another apartment too.. why the hell is NY so damn expensive?

  Please send me some good luck wishes so I can get the hell outta this place by at least March, otherwise I may have a breakdown. I've had enough with these people and their blatant disrespect.

Flip off Daylight savings... I know I've been doing this every week but really.. is the time change even necessary anymore? It's just an inconvenience and that "extra hour" of sleep on Sunday is Bullshit.  I get up the same damn time anyway so what does it matter?

To my boss.. Flip off.  I've been coming in at 8 since school started and you compensate me with $50 for the Overtime? Really?  I feel so unappreciated in my office y'all have no idea.  I'm the receptionist, legal assistant, in house IT person and billing department. I'm the one who orders the office supplies, I'm the the only one who knows how to add postage to the postage meter (despite the detailed instructions on the wall), and the one who knows what file belongs to which attorney along with a gazillion other duties yet I get crapped on when it comes down to pay.  I am the lowest paid employee here, next to the file clerk who, at times makes more than I do.

 I've been here going on 6 years and I'm still making less than what most people start at nowadays. My boss knows my situation, he knows I don't get diddlysquat from the kid's "sperm donor" so rent, bills, clothes, stuff for school and anything my kid needs or I need has to be provided by me and only me, he knows I've been looking for an apartment for almost 2 years and can't find a place I can afford on my salary yet when I asked for a raise (the first in 3 years) I got a measly $25 extra a week, that's not even enough to fill my gas tank.

I've started to look for another job... and I think if I get one and I was offered fair compensation to stay.. I would stay because I genuinely do like it here, I just can't go on living paycheck to paycheck like this.

I did not receive any kind of compensation for mentioning Mrs. Meyers or directing y'all to their site.  I had purchased the cleaner one day on a whim when I ran out of Method cleaner and I really liked the fresh scent. It cleans amazingly well and leaves no chemical odor at all.  I can't use Chemically smelling cleaners because The Kid gets really sick.  After using aerosol carpet cleaner just once, I wound up rushing him to the Dr because he couldn't breathe and she thought he had asthma, after a shot of steroids, an inhaler and albuterol for a week, it was some scary shit that I never want to go through again.  Poor kid barely was able to make it from the car to the Dr's office without having to stop to catch his breath.  Since then I've been very careful with what I use to clean my house and I never, ever use aerosol anything.

Now.. get together with all the other moms & dads.  Flip someone off today and don't forget to Link up, it's not that hard and this way Everyone shares in the flippin'

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Foodie Blogroll & Marx Foods: Iron Foodie Contest!

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me:
MarxFoods.com -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll

Why do you want to compete in this challenge? 
 I feel my foodie skills slacking, with the lack of counterspace and lack of even a kitchen table in my tiny apartment I need to be challenged a little bit again

Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?
The Swedish Chef of course!  He always uses the most unique ingredients, although his accent is a little hard to follow I’m sure I’d do fine.

What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking? Roasted Potatoes

Sum your childhood up in one meal.
Pasta, home made meatballs, freshly grated cheese, salad and fresh Italian bread

The one mainstream food you can’t stand? 
Sushi.  My kid loves it, I want nothing to do with it.