Snowy Weekend Eating

Thank you to all of you who have followed me or who are reading and commenting – I enjoy your commentary!

Friday was indeed a snow day, we ended up with about 17 inches at our house by Ken’s estimate. I made us cheeseburger soup, which is a good “cold day” soup for dinner.

Recipe here: (This blog, A Year of Slow Cooking, has some excellent recipes. Also some not-so-excellent ones, which she details as well. I enjoy hearing about when somebody else’s family doesn’t like what they made…)

My adjustments: more chicken broth and a little more milk because I like a lot of broth. I did not increase the Velveeta because there was enough in there already. I did not put in the red pepper because no way Ken would eat that. I put in a little cayenne, chili powder, and oregano, just to give it some seasoning. Ken thought it was “spicy.” He also recommended the following improvements: more meat and needs bacon. See what I am working with here, folks? You can also make this recipe just on the stove top, without a slow cooker.

Saturday I went to the Sewing Expo with my friend Cathy, we met a friend of hers from her work there and oh we had a lovely time. I decided my next project for my Color Theory class will be “Still Life with Newt,” in the primary color triad, and started collecting fabrics. I want to make a large vase with a blue print fabric, and I think I found one or two that will work. I also found several other useful things. That is a whole ‘nother post.

I wore my SDSU Jackrabbits pullover, and talked people from North Dakota, Madison, SD, Sturgis, SD, and a guy who played baseball for a semester at SDSU before he totally tore his knee up playing on the cold hard ground. People from SD will usually talk to you when they see you wearing a Jackrabbits shirt – SD is one big small town. I love it.

I was wiped out after that so we had Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake, they make an excellent thin crust.

Waffles from a new recipe for breakfast, batter was too thin, I had to add a cup of flour, so I don’t recommend it. It got good reviews on my Facebook Foodie group, so I don’t know what is up. Maybe the altitude?

Lunch Sunday was Runzas. I will put the recipe at the bottom, it is long and has many of my personal notes as to how I do it differently. Ken asked if he could try to set a new record for number of Runzas consumed at one sitting, and I discouraged him from that. My Aunt Connie also made Runzas today, and my Uncle Norman said they need more filling and less bread (I can hear my Dad, his brother, saying the EXACT same thing, about other recipes – he would probably not even eat this one because of the cabbage and onions.) And he dipped his in ketchup, which is interesting, I could see mustard maybe….The recipe below also includes a cheese option, which is JUST WRONG.

Dinner:Spicy Sweet Bacon Chicken Breasts – I make these with boneless chicken breasts, usually cut in half or thirds. I base my cooking time on my meat thermometer, usually about 20-25 min. I might have been a little wild with the Cajun seasoning, because Ken also declared these to be spicy.

Runza or Bierock (Polish or German) (Also called, charmingly, in some place in Colorado, Kraut Burgers)

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 c. cabbage, chopped

2 Tablespoons butter

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 pound frozen broad dough, thawed and raised

8 oz cheese – Jack , Cheddar, muenster, or mozarrella, sliced (Personally I consider putting cheese in runzas an abomination, but to each his own.)

Crumble and brown the ground beef in a heavy skillet. Add onions to meat and cook until they are transparent. Drain off the fat. In a separate (bigger) (I use a dutch oven) sauté cabbage in butter until just wilted. Add cabbage to the beef mixture, season with salt and pepper. (This is good enough to eat right now.)

Cut the bread dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece in a very thin rectangle, about 6 by 7 inches (this is a huge pain.) Place about 3 Tablespoons of mean mixture on each rectangle. Add a slice of cheese, if you are so incluned. Fold the dough over the meat, pinch edges together. Seal it up well, you don’t want escapees. Place on a cookie sheet, let rise 40 to 60 minutes (or until they are good and puffy). Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 18 minutes or until browned.

Glenda’s variations: Make your own bread dough (using Speedy Dough recipe_. This is going to make more runzas, so if you have more than a pound of hamburger around, use it. I had a spare ½ pound hanging out in the freezer so I threw it in. Chop about the whole head of cabbage. Don’t chop too fine, you don’t want cole slaw here. Using the food processor makes it too small. Use 4 T. of butter, or as much as you need for the cabbage you have. With the home made dough, I pull off a piece bigger than a golf ball and smaller than a tennis ball. I flatten it out (using one of those smaller light weight disposable cutting boards works well, then the dough peels off of it) into a circle about 5” across. I put about 1/3 cup filling. This time I made a recipe that would make 2 loaves of bread, and I had filling left. So I am still working on that. I will make rolls for Christmas tomorrow, so may only make half into rolls, and use the rest to make runzas. This is a time consuming recipe and labor intensive, but I did get 18 runzas so far, and more to come. They are great frozen and then warmed up for breakfast.

Notes: The ones called Kraut burgers sometimes, but not always, actually have sour kraut in them in addition to the cabbage.

Ancient History in The Quilting Department

While I was looking for the stamps that I bought last year for Christmas letters (they may, in fact, not exist, we may have used them over the year), (I ran out of gumption on the letters and not everybody got one), I did discover a pile of pictures of projects from the pre-digital-camera age.

Of course that means the colors are quite funky in some of these, but you can get the idea.

This is the cross stitch quilt for my oldest niece, this close up turned out well but the picture of the whole quilt is really dark. I hand quilted this one.

Sorry for the quality there but you can see what the whole thing looks like.

This is my oldest niece’s pieced quilt – this is made from the same colors and fabrics as the quilt I made for her parents as their wedding quilt. (I have not found the pictures of that yet.) I tied this one, not being skilled at quilting yet.

I think this is my oldest niece’s crocheted blanket – it might be the 2nd oldest’s instead, I didn’t label these well, and this was 11 years ago now, I don’t remember. Pink center w/white edging, you can’t see the color very well in this one.

This one shows the color a little more.

Pieced quilt for my 2nd oldest niece. I was learning a little more, moving into triangles.

I machine quilted this one, and used a cotton batt so it would shrink up and look more old fashioned.

Again, not a very good pic, this one is a little better.

I think I hand quilted this one too. Obviously we need to get pics of these again (we don’t live very close to these nieces) with the digital camera.

Tentacles and Nautili and Enchilada Casserole

I realized sometime last week that I had two weekends in which to get my project for color class done AND get the house ready for my Mom to visit (hopefully) in the first week in February, as I will be on business travel one of the remaining weekends in January.

So I got busy on Saturday and bought some more fabric, needed some blue-green and some red-orange. February’s project is an analgous quilt – a run of colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, but only including ONE primary color. My color run is red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green. I am using one of the designs I developed in the Quick Design class I took last week, but with different colors.

For some reason I could not get motivated to actually get to cutting things out on Saturday, but I got all my fabrics organized, and then cut pieces and got them ready to fuse/applique. Various parts of the wall hanging went through several iterations as I went along.

I am going to email it to my teacher and see if she has any suggestions on the binding. So next weekend I just have to get it all fused down (the small things are fused down to the larger pieces already) and quilt it.

This is the first piece that I have come up with in my own head and designed on my own. I am not sure it is art but I like it.

I was gone a few nights this last week for work so I made one of Ken’s favorites: Enchilada Casserole. This may rightfully be called Burrito Casserole, but I made this up at least 15 years ago and that is what we have always called it.

It gets a little spattery in the oven.

Enchilada Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
½ c. water
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can refried beans
5-6 tortillas (soft taco size works well but if you have bigger ones, you can rip them up)
As much shredded cheese as you think won’t give you a heart attack (between 1 cup (4 oz) shredded and 2 cups (8oz) shredded

Brown the ground beef. Drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning and the water, re-heat until most of the water has boiled off. In a straight sided casserole dish (or wing it, whatever) start layering like lasagna: meat, tortilla, beans, ench. Sauce, tortilla, meat, cheese, until you run out of ingredients. Make sure you have some sauce for the very top. Save some cheese to put on after it has mostly baked to melt on top.

Bake 45 minutes at 350°. Put more cheese on top, put back in oven until cheese melts. Let sit a few minutes before serving, as the refried beans are like molten lava.

Serve w/tortilla chips if desired.

You can use as hot as enchilada sauce as you want, or add shrimp to the meat, or add jalapenos. Ken likes it like this. It is even better as leftovers.

BBQ Yak on a Bun and Robot Pancakes

You only think that jobs requiring a great deal of travel are exotic and exciting until you have one. Then you realize that, regardless of the destination, you spend the majority of time in airports and hotel rooms, conference rooms, meetings and trade shows, and very rarely get to appreciate your surroundings. Sometimes you are able to get out and explore and enjoy the area you have traveled to, but not often.

Most likely, if you are traveling more than 30 days a year for business, things like this will happen to you:

You will check into a room and then reject it and request a different room. Maybe because it is dirty. Or maybe because the bathroom sink has been torn off the wall and is in the bathtub.

You will be given the key card to a room, you will enter the room, and it will already be occupied. Or, someone will be given a key to your room and will enter it. This is why you always put the security lock on.

You will be awakened in the middle of the night by a drunk pounding on the door, possibly saying (or yelling) something like “Ethel, forgive me.” Very rarely is it a drunk woman. Women apparently take out their drunken frustrations in other ways.

You will pay a hotel bill with your personal debit card accidentally, which will cause you to write “personal” across your debit card in black Sharpie. Immediately after you do that, you will receive a new business credit card which looks nothing like your debit card.

Security will call you (wrong number) at 3:00 a.m., to ask you about the fight with the woman in your room. They will not apologize when you tell them that was not your room. They will just hang up.

Someone will pull the fire alarm in the middle of the night. Pray this happens in California or Florida, not Chicago or Grand Forks in the winter.

You will stay at a hotel which requires to to leave your ID at the front desk to obtain an iron and ironing board.

Usually in the Dakotas or Nebraska: The “list of dos and do-nots” in your room will include instructions about not cleaning your fish, pheasants, or other deceased game animals in the room. Despite this instruction, their is evidence that previous occupants have done so.

You only order water to drink on airplanes because it is less sticky when you or someone else dumps it on your lap.

You will lose your cell phone or some other object which is important to you on the plane.

You will grab a carton of milk at the breakfast buffet and take a big swig before you discover it is past its prime.

You will call your boss “Dad” in front of two board members, mortifying him and amusing the board members to no end.

You will almost miss your flight and will have to run through the airport like OJ Simpson in his commercial days, and will be the last one on the plane. This only happens on flights where there are witnesses, such as your board members or co-workers.

The more boring and bland a destination, the more often you will travel there.

My job involves going out for meetings in the country, often in farm fields or outbuildings. Sometimes those days start out really early and end really late. Sometimes you don’t see an indoor bathroom for hours (not a problem for the men, but I don’t enjoy “going behind a pickup.”)  Sometimes it is 110 degrees and you are out in the sun for several hours at a time. Sometimes you eat BBQ beef on a bun for 4 out of 6 possible lunches/dinners in 3 days. I don’t mind bBBQ beef on a bun, but sometimes a little more variety is nice. BBQ yak on a bun doesn’t count as “variety.”

Now, admittedly, not all business travel is stressful. Sometimes you get to travel with someone you are really compatible with, and you go in early and tour the sights, and eat amazing food. Sometimes you get to see friends and family you haven’t seen in years in conjunction with a business trip. Those are the ones that make it all worth while. And the other ones give you good stories to share with your friends who are in the same traveling boat.

And sometimes you see random things that just make your day, such as the Pancake Making Machine at my Holiday Inn Express this morning, which I found totally amusing. And yes, I did use my fancy work camera to take pictures. My board member wasn’t even embarrassed. He has traveled with me before.

Look, it is like a desktop printer for pancakes!

Waiting for my miraculous pancake.

Oooooh, here it comes! Plate positioning error, must move closer.

One pancake is not enough. Especially when a robot is making them for you!

Now, these weren’t the best pancakes in the world, but they were certainly fresh. And weren’t we all convinced this was the way we were going to be eating by 2010 – punch the instructions into the machine, and it would produce the desired food item? Well, this one only produces pancakes, but it is a start.

This weekend’s cooking adventures

While I wanted to work almost full-time on the quilt, I also wanted to make some meals so we would have leftovers for lunches for the week.

This is one of those recipes that I am kind of surprised Ken likes. I don’t think he grew up eating anything like this. This is from Quilters in the Kitchen, published by the Colorado Quilting Council, in 2001.

Shoyu Chicken by Helen Paul, Rye, Colo. With modifications by Glenderella

3 large chicken breasts, cut in chunks
½ cup water
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
¼ tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed (G. uses the garlic press, and doesn’t stop with 2 cloves)

(I usually double the sauce recipe, because we like lots of sauce with our rice)

Stir sauce ingredients together in deep pot, I use a dutch oven. Add chicken breast chunks. (You could use thighs or bone in pieces as well). Cook on medium. Stir occasionally, cook until chicken is tender. If you use breast chunks, this will be 20 minutes or so. Look out, this loves to boil over and it makes a big mess on your stove. Serve over rice. Makes about 6 servings, depending on the size of your chicken pieces.

This does have a lot of sugar, but it is really good. My dad would not eat this with a 10 foot pole, but I still think I will submit it to my aunt for the family cookbook. Other people in the family might be adventurous.

I make my rice in a rice cooker. I don’t usually believe in one-purpose appliances, but rice is harder to cook here in the high altitudes of Colorado, and rice cookers do it SO WELL. Plus, I got Roger Ebert’s cookbook (link) and it gives instructions for cooking other stuff besides rice. It also does the Lipton and Rice-a-Roni boxed rice side dishes quite well.

The following recipe changes a bit every time I make it. I very rarely make a recipe the same way twice, but I will try to do my best for the sake of sharing the recipe.

 Easy Stuffed Shells

1 jar pasta sauce, whatever kind you like (or you can make some homemade if you have time, or use some if you have some frozen)
As many garlic cloves as your family will stand
4 oz Italian sausage (sweet if you are in my family, hot if you like that) (can also use more meat if you want, but it is nice to have a bit just for flavoring)
16 oz small curd cottage cheese
15 oz ricotta cheese (lowfat OK)
16 oz mozzarella cheese, divided in half and shredded
1 egg, beaten
1 T. dry parsley
1 T. dry basil
12 oz package jumbo shells

Cook the shells as instructed on package, but subtract about 2 minutes from the cooking time because they will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want them to get too mushy. Brown the Italian sausage, crush the garlic (I use a garlic press) and add with about 30 seconds to go. Stir in the pasta sauce and remove from heat. Drain the cooked shells and let them cook a bit.

While they are cooling, mix together the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and 8 oz shredded mozzarella. Add the beaten egg, parsley, and basil. If you have someone who is really fussy, you can leave out the parsley and basil. Some people in my family view green things in their food with great suspicion.

When the shells have cooled, stuff each one with a HEAPING tablespoon of the cheese mixture. I pretty much put in as much as will fit. When I was done, I had about 9 shells left over. If that is a big deal to you, put less in each shell. Lay these out in a 9 by 13 baking pan or whatever casserole you have that works. Spread the sauce mixture over the top of the shells. Bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes, add remaining mozzarella cheese to the top and bake until it starts to brown, about 15 more minutes.

Not for the lactose intolerant. Or the cholesterol-impaired, but oh is it good. Also makes excellent leftovers. I think I have even frozen these and had them turn out fine. You can go “light” on one of the cheese, using a skim milk or low fat version, but going light or no-fat on all of them is just asking for trouble.

And now for the promised Christmas recipe. We grew up with this at most family gatherings, it was what Aunt Connie traditionally brought. When we started talking about it the day before Christmas Eve, I knew we would have to make it, it was nostalgia, it was tradition, and I like it.

Aunt Connie’s Scalloped Corn (for bigger crowds, double, triple or quadruple- a double recipe served 15 people at Christmas Eve pretty well)

1 can creamed corn
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 cup finely crushed cracker crumbs (we use saltines)
¼ cup onions, chopped very finely (use less if you want my dad to eat this)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or put in crock pot (the small roaster ones work best, with the metal removable cooking pan), about 3 hours. If cooking in slow cooker/crock pot, take lid off for a while so steam escapes.

Add to jazz it up if you aren’t feeding picky people: more onion, celery, paprika, pimento, green pepper, Worcestershire sauce, shredded cheese. (Probably not all of these at once….) Sorry, no picture of this one. Maybe later!

And because SOMEONE says “more cat pictures.”. . .  These pictures are from 2008, when we still had Simon and Misty (both deceased now) but we had Leo too. We had a new toy, that attaches to the door and runs on batteries. We don’t get this out too often but it does keep them busy for a while when we do get it out. MaryAnne will play with it, Leo will watch it like a TV.

Approach with caution.

Show it who is boss. Break it if possible.

Show some vague interest.

Let Simon do it first and see if he gets killed.

I just set it up and MaryAnne is giving it heck.

Big Family, Small House, Lots of Love and Laughing

I suggested to my Mom that while we were up in SD, it would be great to have a get-together so I could see some of the assorted relatives, since the “big” Christmas doings were going to be held the following Tuesday, after we had gone home, but when there were actual KIDS there.

Nice of me to invite people over to her house and ask her to cook for them, huh? But at least I knew I would be there to help.

By the time things settled in and the roll dough was stirred up, the ham was in the roaster, and the cranberry salad was in the refrigerator, we had 15 people in total attending. The rest of the menu included my Aunt Connie’s Scalloped Corn (recipe to follow, someday, it is out in the car in my knitting bag and it is COLD out there) (you have to have plenty of gravy for my family, gravy is a food group to us), mashed potatoes and gravy (pork gravy from a mix, but I added a lot of ham juice, a little milk, and then some corn starch to thicken, and it was good), sweet potatoes, relish tray, Aunt Trish’s raspberry salad, and Aunt Eileen’s brownies. No one had any room for the brownies after lunch so Ken and I mostly got to eat them for the next day and a half, and that was no problem, because they were awesome.

My parents’ house (where I grew up) is small, it is a 12′ wide trailer with an addition. So you can get about 10 people around the table in the kitchen.

And then there were 5 people at the kids’ table in the addition living room (built on to the trailer house.) The youngest person at the kids’ table was 26. The oldest person, was, well… we just won’t discuss that. He could have been at the grown up table but the Broncos game was on in this room and he pulled rank on me.

You know you are from a big family when you are 42 and you are still sitting at the kids’ table.

This is by NO MEANS the largest crowd we have had in this house, at least this time there was no one sitting on the bed in the bedroom with TV trays. Big family, small house, lots of love and laughing, we make it work.

And I decided we should have a buffet table to facilitate dishing up.

Sorry, picture is a little crooked. And I forgot and took the picture AFTER everyone had dished up, but there was really no stopping us once we got started.

Aunt Eileen announced that in all of her spare time (she has about as much spare time as I do) she is putting together a family cookbook, and she would like as many digital pictures of recipes as possible, so that means more food pictures and more recipes for this blog too.

My mom’s rolls are infamous, they are what gets grabbed 1st if anyone has the chance. My cousins were into them on the kids’ table because we put them out on plates rather than on the buffet table. Very difficult to resist fresh, hot bread for very long.

So here is the recipe:

Speedy Roll Dough

Measure 6 1/2 cups flour.

Combine 2 cups warm water, 1/3 cup sugar, and 2 Pkg Dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp). Stir until dissolved. Add 3 tsp salt and 2 c. of the flour. Beat 2 minutes with electric mixer (or stand mixer). Add 2 eggs and 1/3 cup shortening. Beat 1 minute. Work in remaining flour (by hand or with dough hook). Do not add all flour if it gets too stiff, or add more if it is too sticky. Cover and let rest in bowl 20 minutes. Shape and let rise 40-45 minutes, until approximately doubled in size. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Makes two 9 x 13 pans cinnamon rolls, 1 cookie sheet ranch rolls (shape into golf ball size rolls), or 3 loaf pans Holland rolls. (Mom also calls these side-by-side rolls, you make a cylinder of dough about as long as your hand is wide, and about an inch in diameter, when you pop them out of the loaf pan, they separate nicely.) Could be made into any other shape you desire, for that matter.

I will post pics of this recipe someday, but I don’t make that many rolls very often……I can’t even find a picture of “Holland Rolls” that look like hers, so I really need to take one.

Health food makes me sick (Calvin Trillin)

So, what have you been eating lately? Need some dinner/lunch ideas? Or suggestions on where I like to dine in the Greater Denver area?

Having convinced my husband that I was crazy when I started reading food blogs many years ago and consequently started taking pictures of my own food, well, I should do something with those pictures, shouldn’t I?

Now he is pretty much trained not to dig in before I get done with the camera.

I have a new comfort food as of this fall, matzo ball soup. I first tried this at the Bagel Deli in South Denver, well, I guess this is the ONLY matzo ball soup I have ever had. The diner was featured on “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives” and Guy Fieri’s taste in restaurants seems to run about the same as mine (I like places with Character). So of course I had to try it. The first time I was there, I had the Guy Fieri sampler, which had small sizes of the three dishes he featured on the show – matzo ball soup, kishka (kind of like stuffing), and a brisket knish (pastry filled with brisket). They were all good but my favorite was the matzo ball soup. I love most soup, period. So the next time I was there (and I used to work close to the Deli, but now I rarely get to that side of town, except for when I am going to IKEA, and then I am torn about whether I should eat at IKEA or the Deli, and the Deli has won so far.

Look at those balls, those are some happy balls. And delicious.

I also had the prake, or stuffed cabbage. Also excellent. Although after those matzo balls, I didn’t have much room, so I didn’t fully do it justice.

Sorry, I had already started into it before I remembered to take a picture. Stuffed cabbage is not something Ken is going to eat any day soon, so I enjoy this when I am out and about.I fully intend to make some matzo ball soup, and I have matzo meal, but I haven’t had time yet.

Now for some home cooking, I have been reading And Immovable Feast and he makes sliders often. And he often tops them with very different toppings. I thought, hey, there is a clever way to try many different toppings without making huge burgers. And Ken will pretty much happily eat whatever I cook, as long as it is not scary to him (see stuffed cabbage) (and probably matzo balls too) but he will eat hamburgers, guaranteed.

These are Ken’s sliders – cheese and bacon bits, and cheese. I just used nice soft dinner rolls for the buns (and toasted of course, OF COURSE).

Now, looking at this picture, you would think that Ken got the better deal, because my onions braised in balsamic got just a little over done. But they were still tasty. And my other one just had cheese. It is really hard to get braised onions quite right here, I think it is the altitude. When you make something like red cabbage or french onion soup, you have to cook it and cook it and cook it, and keep adding liquid, something to do with the altitude, apparently.

This next one is a good way to use leftover steak. We had this often as kids growing up, which seems strange now because my Mom says my Dad doesn’t care for rice, so they probably don’t have it as often as we do. I think Ken likes it because it reminds him of Chinese food fried rice. I think this is slightly more healthy.

Leftover Fried Rice

2 cups Minute Rice
3 T butter
1 can Campbells Beef Consumme (I have not tried this w/plain beef broth, so I don’t know if it would work)
Leftover cut up steak, cut into a moderate dice (about the size of your fingertip)
1/2 can of water
1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas

Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Brown the rice in the butter. Add the can of beef consumme and the 1/2 can of water. Add the leftover steak, and peas. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas are cooked and soup is absorbed by rice.

Ken will happily eat this as leftovers for lunch, too, and I generally will let him, I have been eating it longer than he has.

This last weekend we ate at Toluca, a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant here in Westminster. Seriously, I am not sure this is the kind of place I would have ventured into without a recommendation, but the recommendation came from Denver on a Spit (, and he said they had excellent al pastor tacos, so I had to try it. They have a judo/karate school to one side of them, and a dog groomer on the other side, and their parking lot is in need of some resurfacing, but MMMMMMMMMM the food. We have been there three times now, since this summer. I always have the al pastor, and Ken always has the Tacos Duros (hardshell tacos). The first time he didn’t think they were very spicy, but the 2nd and 3rd times, he was sweating a little. Not enough that he didn’t order them again. They bring you regular salsa, and then a green salsa (much spicier) and a dark red salsa (maybe some chipotle? I can’t tell, unusual taste) which is also very spicy. I eat those, and Ken stays away from them.

Tacos duros.

The three salsas (and not small servings, either)

And my al pastor, mmmmmmmm fresh pineapple and porky goodness.

And finally, a recipe that my sister in law got us started on, and that Ken loves.

Baked Club Sandwich Rounds

1 lb. bacon (you can use less bacon than this….)
1 (11-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crusty French Loaf
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz. thinly sliced cooked deli turkey
2 oz. thinly sliced cooked deli ham

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel; crumble.
2. Unroll dough. Sprinkle cheese over dough. Top with turkey, ham and bacon. Starting with long side, roll up dough (Like cinnamon rolls); press edges to seal. Make 3 to 4 slits in top of loaf. Place on sprayed cookie sheet.
3. Bake at 350°F. for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into 1-inch diagonal slices.

You will see when you open the tube of french bread, it is actually a sheet of dough rolled up, so you can unroll it into a flat sheet again, carefully. If the can decides to pop open prematurely and then gives you difficulty, you may not be able to unroll. Flatten as best as you can. (guess how I know this.)

(Glenda brushes the rolled out loaf with pesto if she has it)

Kristyn: Once the loaf is unrolled, I put a tablespoon or so of Italian dressing on it and brush it all over, then add the cheese and meat and bacon.

At this point, it looks like a dish I made for some 4-H cook-off that my brother used to refer to as “The Worm” but really, this is quite good.



In Which Yet Another Appliance Attempts to Take a Dive

Well, an eventful-enough weekend. Woke up to snow, snow, and more snow again Saturday morning.  And MaryAnne, sitting on the window sill, looking out at it, licking the window, how festive. The newspaper in its plastic orange wrapper was barely poking out of the snow. And I, with my fabulous razor-like memory and organization, had left my snow boots at work. Eventually I put on DH’s snow boots and trekked outside to retrieve said paper, so I could continue my a.m. tradition of Diet Coke and newspaper, the breakfast of champions.

About enough snow, already, OK?

I needed to go out to the store to get additional potatoes and some other things for Thanksgiving Part II, but I wasn’t about to go out until the snow settled down a bit. So I worked on cutting out pants for DN 12 (birthday pants about 2 months late)  (with the help of the cats, of course),

Leo, helping. Big time.

sewed a little on my color class project (taking a quilting class based all on color theory), sorted clothes for DH to wash, looked out at the snow and complained, and did some family phone calling that needed to be done. Made beefy harvest soup for me for lunch and Oriental Beef and Noodle Toss for DH (a recipe which he inexplicably likes, I sometimes hit on the oddest things that he actually enjoys. Unfortunately, I do not enjoy it much (not spicy enough)).(Recipe I have scanned in from a cookbook and saved to the computer in an effort to narrow down the cookbook collection.)

So that was a kitchen disaster, making two things at once with multiple ingredients, stuff all over the place, but that is kind of the way I cook. Thinking about things, I came to the conclusion that I needed to cook the turkey that night, because Sunday we were going to be going to a Christmas party, and I didn’t want all that hassle and clean up and being exhausted and too full before the party. So, when the snow quit (about another 6 inches, thank you very much, 2nd snow storm in 3 days), I struck out to the store, which was busy with everybody else who had the same idea.

Of course, just going to the store has to be eventful, so I locked myself out of the house. I had run back upstairs to grab my reusable bags, but did not grab the keys off the hook like I meant to. I shook my coat to see if the keys were in it, and the zipper jingled, so I thought I was good. When I got to the car, I discovered I was NOT good. In a combination of events that only seems to happen in my entertaining life, the husband had announced that he was going to take a LONG hot shower after shoveling the walk/driveway. So of course, him getting in the shower coincided with me locking myself out of the house. Oh hey, I have a brilliant idea, I will go to our neighbors across the street who have a spare key. Well, none of them are home, except for Lucy the cocker spaniel, who looked a good deal like she would enjoy giving me a good ankle bite, but she wasn’t going to get any key for me.

So I stood on our porch, peering in the door window, hoping to see some sign of DH emerging from the bathroom, and pounded on the door/rang the doorbell approximately every 60 seconds. I am sure the cats were freaking out, because they always panic and hide when the doorbell rings.

After about 10 minutes of this (fortunately I was dressed warmly, and the sun had come out and it wasn’t CURRENTLY snowing), our neighbor did come home and I retreived the spare key, zipped into the house for my key, yelled to DH that I had been locked out, and headed off to the store. Fortunately, I only had 4 things I wanted to get, and I managed to remember all of them. Unfortunately I forgot to even think about getting that throat anaesthetic spray to deaden my sore throat, but I seem to be getting over the evil cold/sinus thing slowly.

Stopped at Starbucks to get hot cocoa for DH and I because I am such a nice wife, but what I really needed at this point was a shot of Baileys or Jagermeister in mine.

By the time I got home, it was time to get the turkey started if I wanted that to get done, so I wrestled it out of the bag. I have a nice roasting pan but if I use that for the turkey, I can’t fit any other pans in the oven, so I stuff the 12 pound turkey into a 9 X 13 cake pan. It fits nicely. I do remember to remove the neck and giblets, because I have plans for the giblets. I throw the neck in the pan to roast along w/the turkey, it will get boiled along w/the carcass to make broth.

Later I peeled the potatoes and got them boiling, blenderized the raw giblets for the stuffing (that is the way my Grandma used to make it, I am trying to re-create it, it is a different taste but it grows on you.) I wonder if she always used the gizzard, that doesn’t seem to blenderize very well. Mmmmm, delicious giblet smoothy. (Not really, I didn’t taste it, I was trying to not even smell it….) With a couple of eggs, added to the usual bread crumbs, onions, celery, and seasoning, this is the traditional family recipe. Potatoes get mashed, along with cream cheese and I show great restraint and only use 1/2 stick of butter. There is butter in the stuffing too, and I basted the bird with butter, so I tried to be frugal in the mashed potatoes.

So I am whomping up the potatoes in the KitchenAid stand mixer, and they are about done, but then I start to hear really bad noises from the trusty KitchenAid, like the beater is whacking into the side of the bowl. I stop and look and think *(&()*&*&^(* this will be the 3rd kitchen appliance to die in a month, bloody hell, and try to adjust it. Still whomping. Oh well, figure it out later. So when DH goes to dish up his potatoes, he gets a big chunk of white metal on his plate, the cover to the place where the attachments can go on the front of the mixer has fallen off and that is what is making the noise, thank goodness. Now I just need a new Crock Pot (handle disintegrated) and food processor (broke the lid). Although I am going to try to order a new food processor lid, their website says “not available online, please call us,” I consider that to be a really bad sign. As in, we don’t have parts for that bloody thing, it is so old (about 10 years old, I think…) go buy a new one.

The adventurous part of the turkey was getting it from one pan into another so I could easily get the pan juices to make gravy. I have a baster, and could have retrieved the juices w/that, but it isn’t really that functional, I have had it forever, maybe there is a better design out there now……So I grabbed my nice new tongs from IKEA a few weeks ago, and my giant grilling tongs, and I manhandled that baby over. No disaster, surprisingly. The only treat the cats got was when I dropped the basting brush onto the (relatively clean, before that) floor and spattered butter and herbs everywhere.

The proper tools for turkey transfer.

Altogether a good meal, although I accidentally opened up creamed corn instead of regular. Didn’t get around to making sweet potato casserole, can make that some other weekend, or scalloped corn, but DH won’t eat either of those anyway, so I will make them some weekend and take them for breakfast at work all week.

I knew I wanted to get up Sunday morning and clean up the kitchen (did you think I cleaned it up Sunday night after dinner? Ha ha ha ha ha.) So I did that, alternating cleaning with reading the paper. Made a new ranch chicken recipe in the mangled crock pot for lunch, didn’t want to eat too heavy as we were going to a Christmas party this afternoon and I knew there would be good appetizer-y food there. Ran out to look for new jeans and found a fleece top that will be good to wear this winter if it is going to snow 3 times every &*^(&*^^%$^ week, and my throat spray that I forgot the day before. And I did a little sewing, and we (mostly DH) watched the Broncos, and I tried to nap, and MaryAnne work me up, scratching on the carpet, playing with a hair elastic, I have no idea where she got that. Little brat. Scritch scritch scritch scritch, on the carpet, and she has been digging up the carpet by the bedroom door so I assumed that was what she was doing, and I stomped up to check, and NO, she had the hair elastic, and we don’t really need for her to be eating that. And then she demonstrated to me how she can jump up ALL the way on TOP of the entertainment center, I didn’t want to know that….

We went to the Christmas party, and it was lovely, but I really think I did too much this weekend and I probably should have spent more time trying to recover from being sick so I am OK at our work convention this week, I may be paying the price by Thursday. And the weekend ended like it began, snowing like crazy, oh the joy.