Saturday, July 25, 2009

Grilling out

No, we didn't grill the cat, but here is an updated photo of Tofu.I think I'm in like. We had a simple dinner on Friday night as we were heading to the races at our local track. They had trucked in dirt for dirt track racing. Don't know that I'm a fan since I got pelted with big pieces of clay/dirt. I think the one left a rather large mark on my chest. Ouch!
I picked up some nice, thick bone in pork chops and then went out and picked some veggies from the garden. We marinaded the pork chops in my favorite Lawry's marinade and put those on the grill with some Idaho bakers that I had partially cooked in the microwave. I made a foil packet for the veggies and threw in some zucchini, peas, green beans and a couple different peppers. I drizzled some EVOO over them, sprinkled on some Tuscan herb mix and some Lemon Pepper and put that on the grill for about 8 minutes. We were out the door in no time.
Here is my new car! It is a 2005 Dodge Magnum, which is a station wagon, but not what your Momma use to drive! I am super excited. The Dude was concerned since I test drove one about 5 years ago and wanted one then. I haven't driven one since and he thought that the view might be a little hard to get used to after the Caddy-the windows are a lot shorter. I sat in it when he brought it home and loved it. I have to wait a little while to drive it as he has to fix the rear end. It was a repairable he found on-line so he got it cheap. It only has 29000 miles on it. As you can tell, very excited!
I have to go shave my hubby now-he bought a clipper to shave his own head-saving $8 over a haircut you know, and he can't get around his ears or the back of his neck. Things I don't do for the man I love........

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fresh Blueberry Pie

How many of you, besides Bob have tried to type a post with a cat on your lap? How about a kitten who is possessed by magic jumping beans? He is licking my fingers as I just ate a piece of pizza. Silly Tofu!
I made a blueberry pie from scratch this past weekend as a part of my dessert trio for work. As I had mentioned in the last post, I have made many blueberry pies for Dude, as it is his favorite. I have never made one from fresh blueberries. I found a really pretty looking pie in Food Network magazine, but it called for 7 cups of blueberries, and cooking some of them, etc. Not enough time. Found one in my old Betty Crocker cookbook and one in a church cookbook. I kind of winged it with a little from this one, a little from that one, etc. I'm guessing on the measurements, other than the amount of blueberries, sugar and tapioca, as those I measured.
Fresh Blueberry Pie
dough for a 2 crust pie
2 pints blueberries, washed, stemmed and picked over for bad ones
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup instant tapioca
2-3 TBSP pure maple syrup
approximately 1/2 cup water
grated lemon peel from one lemon
juice from one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
raw sugar
heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients except pie crust dough. Mix with spatula to incorporate all ingredients. Stir several times over the next 20 minutes so tapioca will soften. Roll dough into bottom of pie plate. Fill with the filling, then cover with top crust. Crimp crusts together and vent top crust. Brush the crust with the cream and sprinkle with the raw (Turbanino sugar). Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. I cover the rim of my pie with a pie crust protector. If you don't have one, make a ring out of tin foil and cover edges so they don't get burnt. Remove protector after 30 minutes. Depending on the day and your oven, it will take 35 to 45 minutes to get crust golden brown and the fruit filling bubbly.

I didn't get a photo of it cut as I basically took it out of oven and put it in the carrier and left for work, so here is the pan after the savages at work got through with the pie!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gobble the Cobbler

Three days of baking. Today it is blueberry pie. I have made many blueberry pies for Dude over the years, but this time I made one from scratch with fresh blueberries. I love the smell of it in the oven! To bad I don't like fruit pie. Or maybe that is a good thing? Today it is all about the cobbler. I have never made peach anything. Dude likes to eat a peach fresh with cream poured over the top, but I thought since the peaches smelled so good I would try cobbler. It turned out pretty good. The only thing the boys said would make it better would be ice cream, but we don't have access to a freezer at work. Sorry boys.
Peach Cobbler from Simply Recipes (who adapted it from Sunsets magazine)
4 pounds fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced 1/2 inch thick slices
1 cup sugar; divided into 2/3 cup and 1/3 cup
1/2 cup quick cooking tapioca (instant)
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1-1/2 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2/3 cup whipping cream
In a large bowl, mix peaches, 2/3 cup sugar and the tapioca, lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla. Let stand at least 15 minutes or up to 30 to softened tapioca, stirring several times.
In another bowl, combine flour with remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the baking powder and the nutmeg. With fingers or a pastry blender, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cream and just stir until dough holds together. In buttered, shallow 2-1/2 or 3 qt. dish, spread fruit in bottom. Using hands, crumble dough over top of fruit. Bake at 350 degrees F until fruit mixture is bubbly and the topping is golden brown, about 55 to 60 minutes.

I just (like in the middle of writing this) got a phone call from a guy I went to school with (25 years ago!) who lives about 10 miles from me. He wants to get together for dinner and catch up. A blast from the past! I will have to bake something for dessert..........

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Zucchini Bars

I made these bars for the first time last year and sent them to work with the Dude. He came back with an empty pan and many compliments. This time I brought them since I now work the same shift. Came home with an empty pan and the boys must have said thank you 100 times. It warmed the cockles of my heart. They are super simple and trust me, people will thank you for them.

Zucchini Bars

2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini, drained of water
1 small carrot, shredded
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup softened butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, softened

Beat sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Beat in flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla. Beat 1-2 minutes until well mixed. Fold in zucchini, carrot, oats and nuts. Pour into a buttered jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. Beat frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over bars once they have cooled.

I did cheat this time however. I used canned cream cheese frosting so the bars could sit on the table instead of having to hoof it back and forth to the fridge every break. I did get compliments on the frosting, so Betty Crocker-thank you!
Off to get ready for work. Have peach cobbler in oven right now to bring to work tonight. Those boys are getting really spoiled!

Friday, July 17, 2009

A meatloaf redeux

While shopping the other morning after work, we saw that the butcher was in at 6:30 stocking the meat case. Dude walked over to the counter and found some smoked sausage and I saw he had fresh ground chuck. Since Hermit Crab has her wisdom teeth pulled last week, she hasn't had "real" food so I thought I would make some meatloaf for her. I tweaked what I usually do tonight because I was feeling plucky. Or something.

Meatloaf Re-mix
1 pound ground beef
1 cup stuffing mix mixed with 1/2 cup beef broth, let stand 15 minutes
1 shallot, zested on microplane
2 slices Prosciutto, finely chopped up
spices of your choosing-I used a hamburger spice and a Penzey's salt blend
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choosing

Crumble beef into a bowl. After the stuffing has rehydrated, dump on top of beef. Zest the shallot on top. Toss in Prosciutto and cheese. Work gently with your hands. Form into an oval shape and place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Let stand to firm.
I made this tonight (this morning) so she can have some tomorrow for lunch and we can bring some to work tomorrow. It always tastes better the next day!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day with Mom

I spent a nice day with my Mom today. Her birthday was on the 2nd, so I went and picked her up and brought her to the craft store and let her do some shopping on me for her gift and then took her to lunch. Hmmm. Eating out with my Mom can raise some issues. I wanted to take her to the Bungalow which has good food but she said it was too fancy and too expensive. No Mom, it isn't fancy and I wanted some good food. Again she said no and said "Let's go to Wendy's". Are you kidding me? Wendy's? Um, no. I also said no to Culver's and Applebee's. I finally told her that I wanted to go to the sport's bar. Not that I'm a fan of sports bars, but wanted a decent meal if I couldn't have the meal I had planned on. I had an awesome Cuban sandwich (sans the pickles-I don't do pickles). It had a nice mound of bbq shredded pork on top of some nice, thick sliced ham and melty Swiss. All squished and melty yumness. Mom had a overdone hockey puck of a hamburger. She is afraid if it isn't cooked to 300 degrees internally she will get e.coli. And she is on the verge of diabetes. And she complains if anything costs over a buck ninety five. I try to explain that she doesn't live in 1982 anymore so please don't complain about prices because it ruins my lunch. I was treating so stop being a killjoy. Ahem. I don't have photos since my camera phone app still isn't transferring on-line, but just picture a sandwich that was about 3 inches thick after being flattened and fried on the flat top. It was sooooo good.

I'm waiting for Hermit Crab to be done in my kitchen so I can make my zucchini bars and some meatloaf.

I think I need a cocktail while I wait......

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ah the joys of summer

It is such a nice night in Minnesota, I have to head back outside. Busy, busy here. Been making trips to Target and Kohl's getting Hermit Crab outfitted for college. Been busy playing with the cat we are not suppose to have-as he is sitting on my lap trying to type for me. Busy in the garden with the produce starting to come in. Busy working overtime trying to pay for the first part of this post! We bought a new car that should be here next week, having a major closet cleaning event and dealing with a family member who was just diagnosed with cancer. It sounds like they got it in time so we are thankful that our prayers were answered but know that she has a long road in front of her. So there hasn't been a lot of cooking here. I did make rhubarb bars for Josh when he was back at work but realized that I didn't take pictures before we left. They looked like hell, but everyone said they were good. I have zucchini bars on tap for tomorrow night, so will definitately post those. Going on a day trip with our friends who have a boat, and am so looking forward to snacking, drinking and laughing all day with Dave and Roxanne. Just finished my tossed salad and glass of Gurwertztraminer. Think I will go pick some fresh peas and green beans to bring to my Mom when I go to Wisconsin to see her tomorrow.

Peace out my blogginb buddies!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Look, twice in one day! After spending 4 hours running around for my swollen, zombie-like child I came home and putzed in the garden. Apparently I didn't inform my family who didn't go with to the lake that I needed them to water while I was gone for about 56 hours. Half my plants are dead and my peas look pathetic. Sigh. But I did get a few veggies out of the garden-some peas, a couple zucchini and a pepper.
One of our co-workers is in North Carolina training people at our new plant. He just called and requested I bring dessert in tomorrow as he is home for a few days and picking up shifts at our plant. He asked for rhubarb-I'm hoping the rhubarb I picked and put in the crisper is still good. If not, he said that zucchini bars would be okay. I have to head to the kitchen after this.

My tomato plants have gone wild! This is 6 plants that I planted about 2-1/2 feet apart in a zig zag pattern. They are over 3 feet tall. I have never grown tomato plants that tall. I'm concerned with them being so big that they won't get enough sunlight to develop. I guess we will see.

I did make a cocktail tonight, which I have spoken of in the past. It is called a Flirtini and it is Dude and my favorite summer drink. We first had them about a year and a half ago at one of our favorite restaurants. They are uber expensive at the restaurant so we asked the waitress what was in them and then I futzed with it at home until I got it to where we wanted it.


1 oz raspberry vodka
1-1/2 oz cranberry juice
1-1/2 oz pineapple juice
1 wedge of lime from a quartered lime
1 oz champagne or sparkling wine

Fill a martini glass (or glass of your choice) with ice cubes. In a cocktail shaker, add ice to top. Add vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and the juice from the lime wedge. Shake for 10 seconds. Using the strainer top, pour into the martini glass. Drop in 5 to 7 raspberries. Stir then float the champagne on top. Delish! I didn't have any raspberries tonight, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it's slightly sweet/tart taste!

Here is my clematis the had some regrowth. I didn't think it would bloom again until next year. I just planted it in June and the bloom that was on it when I purchased it only lasted a few weeks. When I was leaving on Saturday for the lake I saw another bloom on it. My mother-in-law has a huge one in her garden. I hope mine will some day look like hers. I also have wild pansies growing in my rock garden in the front of the house. When we re-bricked the lower half of our house, we planted some hostas, bleeding hearts and another bush I can't think of now. We bought new rock that matched the new bricks. About 4 years ago we noticed a couple of pansies growing in the rocks. We thought maybe a bird had dropped a seed or something. Nope. Each year we get random pansies in the rocks. This year I counted 34 of the little plants out there. About 10 have bloomed already. Strangest thing.

Just a quick note

to say hi and hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I have been so sporadic lately. It has been so busy here. I worked all but one day last week and then was able to take Hermit Crab up to the lake to visit my husband's parents. His line was only down for the 4th of July and couldn't get anyone to cover his spot so he couldn't go and Drama Queen has Tofu to take care and he doesn't ride very well. I wasn't going to spend 3 hours in the car with a meowing cat, so just the two of us went up. Very nice and relaxing-except for the neighbors who shot off fireworks until all hours of the morning, then the phone rang and the SIL's dogs were barking. Not much sleep was had by myself or my daughter. Today Hermit Crab had her wisdom teeth pulled, so I am on my way to town to get her some movies, deposit her paycheck and pick up her pain medication. I might need to nap myself this afternoon! I have more overtime this week-to pay for all the equipment and 'natural fiber' clothes we had to buy for her college orientation-a 5 day camping trip to introduce students to one another before classes start so they will know some people on the first day. Great. And then we had to pay for her surgery up front. Holy cow-have you had wisdom teeth pulled lately? $2000 for about 90 minutes at the office, and only 20 minutes of that was actual extraction-the other time was sedating her, waking her up, giving her ice packs and replacing her gauze packs. I think there will be more overtime in the next few weeks I will need to pick up. We'll be living on spaghetti and mac and cheese for the next couple of weeks!

I hope everyone is having a good summer and when time permits I'll be back with some more recipes. I had two great ones from the weekend at the lake, but didn't have my camera (what?!) at the lake with me (total relaxation and someone else cooked) and my phone has issues transferring pictures, so I will need to make these dishes again and post.