Monday, August 31, 2009

We made it to College Town, here is what we ate....

The town is beautiful. It sits right on the lake and the college is only about 7 blocks from it. It is a very small college, only 800 students. Small suits Hermit Crab. She is quiet and shy and doesn't like to call attention to herself. Hopefully she will come out of her shell. We came up a day early as we have to check in at 8:00 in the morning. There are several cars in the parking lot that look like they are transporting students! They grabbed the camera from me so I couldn't take photos
Enjoying a nice glass of Riesling before dinner

Dude had a smoked pork loin sandwich with Stout glazed onions and apple butter

Ally had a Teriyaki marinated chicken breast sandwich with Swiss cheese and fresh fruit

I had the same sandwich only with Cheddar and sweet potato fries-oh my gravy-awesome!

The restaurant
Seriously? How funny! Donna-any comments?
I bought this bottle, just for the name!
Tomorrow will be a bad day for me. I know she will do great as she is so excited to be here. Me, not as excited.......

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our State Fair is a great State Fair

I took my girls to the State Fair on Friday. We spent a nice day bonding and getting ready to sent Hermit Crab to college tomorrow (deep breath). We ate food, they rode rides and we saw Jason Aldean in concert (another deep breath) for the second time this year. It was Drama Queen's first time as she was not old enough to go to the casino where he performed this spring. We had an awesome day!

Drama Queen, me, Hermit Crab

Waiting for Jason to come on stage

DQ and HC on the Tilt-O-Whirl. It was invented here
in Minnesota!

Singing with Jason. Guy in white shirt kept
hitting on my 15 year old daughter. Didn't believe
I was her Mom.

Spudsters on a Stick-Croquettes! Yum!

At the concert

Mr. Hot McHottie, Jason Aldean

Pig Lickers-chocolate dipped bacon!

Taking a break from walking and eating

Cheese Curds

We also had a Pot Roast Sundae, which was mashed spuds, corn and shredded roast beef in a bowl, some miniature cinnamon caramel rolls, some shave Hawaiian ice, a corn dog, a shredded pork sandwich and some Sweet Martha's chocolate chip cookies. Our tummies were full of food and our hearts were full of love for Jason!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Apparently we don't love her

and only want her gone. This was the last outburst from the Hermit Crab when we were 'encouraging' to pack her crap so we can load the darn car and get her on her way! The drama, the screaming, the door slamming. Can we say I'm thinking I won't cry as much as I thought I would when we leave her after the attitude the last few days? Holy Moly Rocky!

We went camping this past weekend at a nice place about 3 hours away. I love cooking out over the fire as it just tastes so much better. I had said that a few weeks ago I made a foil packet with onions, taters and chicken. So good!
Chicken Hobo Dinners
Boneless, skinless chicken-we used breasts and thighs
1 medium potato, in a thin dice (per person)
1 jumbo onion, thinly sliced
bacon slices (one per person)
vegetable oil
salt and pepper
Tear off a strip of foil approximately 24 inches long. Fold in half with shiny side in. Place several onion slices on bottom of foil. Top with potatoes, then bacon. Sprinkle about 1 to 2 TBSP of oil over top. Top with a piece of chicken. Season with salt and pepper. At home, I used some other seasonings to perk it up, but camping all I had was salt and pepper. Take 2 TBSP butter and cut into 4 pieces and stick around chicken and spuds. Fold up long ends and roll down to food. Crimp short edges. Leave a little room so you can shake the packets while on the fire. Place over hot coal. Shake frequently so it doesn't burn. We did ours on a grill that we stick on the outside of fire ring and can swing over the fire. Check after 30 minutes to see how the potatoes and chicken are doing. They took about 40 minutes total for the spuds to be tender and the chicken cooked all the way through. The onion gets all golden and sweet and practically disappears into the potatoes. They were so good! The next night we did them with hamburgers, but made the spuds in their own package so we could start them sooner so as to make sure they were cooked through. If you have never made Hobo dinners, I highly suggest it. Clean up is a breeze and the packets are full of smoky deliciousness.
Off to see if the Crab is speaking to us yet. I won't miss the drama. And her little sister Drama Queen is all excited since Dude said she can fix up Hermit Crab's room and bathroom and move downstairs. This could be interesting.......

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

C'est Magnifique

Forget that I butchered the French Language. Today I attempted a Julia Child recipe. The Dude and I went to see the movie last night and it was so good. I wasn't sure how they were going to meld the two stories together, but it worked. Now, I say I attempted a recipe. I used hers and changed it up a little, because of personal tastes, lack of an ingredient I forgot to write down, and we were so hungry we wanted to eat now. It wasn't hard, although on the website it was listed as 'Difficult', but it did take time.

JC Beef Bourguignon, my way

3 pounds of bottom sirloin, cut into 3 inch pieces
5 slices bacon, cut into 2 inches pieces
1 jumbo onion, in half and then in thick slices
3 carrots
3 cups red wine, I couldn't find Burgundy so used Pinot
3 cups beef broth
salt and pepper
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper

Render bacon in Dutch oven. Remove bacon from pan. Blot beef dry and brown in bacon fat. Do in batches so as to not crowd pan. Remove last of meat to plate. Add a pat or two of butter and saute onions. Remove onions and put beef back in pan. Sprinkle with flour mixture and stir to coat. Let fry to form a slight crust. Add onions back in, then rest of ingredients. Stir to make sure meat is covered with cooking liquid. Cover pot and roast in a 350 degree F. oven for 2-1,2 hours.
The original recipe also calls for pearl onions (I forgot at store) and mushrooms (no one will eat but hubs) and to reduce the liquid (we were starving at 7:45 PM). There was a loaf of crusty bread that we ripped apart with our hands and buttered. Also, since the kids apparently need more starch, I baked some spuds instead of boiling some small potatoes (again, didn't pick any up). It was so good. Lots of slurping and Dude had seconds and now I have nothing to take to work for lunch tomorrow. Sad face.
While I don't know that I will attempt more of her recipes, it was fun to try and I was excited that it turned out so well and everyone ate it-no complaints!
Bon Appetite!

The countdown is on

In 13 days we leave to bring Hermit Crab to school. She is nowhere close to ready. There are piles and piles of clothes, blankets, towels and various other stuff that she needs to bring with-and we are not sure how to fit it all in the car! I have finally convinced Dude we need to bring two cars up. Oh, have I mentioned we have not heard from the student loan people yet? Two weeks and nothing. The form only asked for our names, birthdates and SSN numbers. I used to work in the loan business-we should have had some contact by now!

Dude and I had a nice date night last night. Dinner out followed by going to see "Julie & Julia". I really enjoyed it; it was funny and touching. And I so couldn't boil a lobster or bone a duck.

Time to get the youngest up for work......

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fresh Salsa

While weeding and plucking some fresh veggies the other day, I had a handful of yellow tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, an Anaheim pepper and an onion. Hmmmm, how about a fresh salsa for Dude's lunch?

This has to be the most simple thing to throw together. And I made it up as I went. I have a recipe I use in the winter for canned ingredients, so I used the same premise to make the fresh version.

Fresh Salsa
1 yellow tomato
5 cherry tomatoes
1 pepper, your choice
1 small onion (pearl onion sized)
olive oil
fresh lemon juice

Dice up the yellow tomato. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Seed and dice the pepper. Dice onion into small pieces. Place all ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle about 1 to 2 TBSP olive oil over top. Squeeze half a lemon over the top. Toss with your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

I made a small amount just for Dude to take to work with him. He ate it as a salad with his steak. He said it was mild and refreshing; not hot like the normal salsa I make.

After a day of no sleep after working last night, I'm on my way to be to watch "House Hunters" and go to sleep. Need to find a cheesecake recipe I can make in a cake pan for work. I had a request........

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Popcorn Salad

I must confess. I don't like salads. Let me clarify. I like mixed lettuce in a bowl with cheese, croutons, bacon, nuts, chicken and some dressing. I do not like potato salad, fruit salad, pasta salad. To me, it is how I normally eat a type of food that it should be presented in. Potatoes should be warm, pasta should be warm, fruit shouldn't be covered in a creamy sauce. Have you noticed how odd I am? At our niece's graduation party 6 or 7 years ago, my Mother-in-law brought a salad that she learned during the winter when they go to Florida. They lived in an RV park and there was a community center on premise and they would have monthly dinners. Another woman had brought this salad and Joannie enjoyed it very much and asked for the recipe. She brought this to the grad party and asked me to try it. Hmmm. She asked nicely, so I did. Oh.My.Gosh. I could make this once a week and never get sick of it. This makes about 20 servings, but one day I brought it to work and 8 of us ate the whole bowl!

Popcorn Salad
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups finely chopped celery
2 small cans water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 jar Baco Bits
1 to 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
12 cups popped popcorn

Mix sugar, vinegar and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Add the celery, chestnuts, onions, bacon bits and 3/4 cup cheese. Refrigerate until time to serve. Right before serving, stir in the popcorn and top with rest of cheese.

Notes: I use Old Dutch Gourmet popcorn as I don't have to fish out old maids and it is very tender. Also, you could use real bacon; however, it won't have crunch like the Bacos and the crunch is key. The acids in the vinegar and the mayo will break down the popcorn, that is why you should stir it in right before serving. It still tastes good later, but the popcorn won't be in whole puffy pieces anymore. But then, I eat it all the first day, so there are rarely leftovers!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Think Pink-not!

Wow, I guess it has been quite awhile since I have posted last. This summer is just flying by and I must admit that I haven't cooked as much as I should or as much as the family would like. So many things going on that I can't seem to concentrate like I would like.

I had a fun night last night and had a small "Non-reunion/reunion" with a few classmates at a bar up in the Twin Cities. It was fun as most of the people that were there were not the people I hung out with in school. I come from a larger school-over 400 in my class-but I knew a lot of people, or knew of them, as I was on the yearbook staff and we covered everything from sports to music, arts to clubs, so I was at least familar with many of them. As adults, we seem to have much more in common than we did 25 years ago when we convened on one high school from 3 different junior high schools. All of those fears and prejudices were not there anymore, it was just a bunch of 40-somethings talking about work, the economy, kids, music and life. It was great.

Tonight I am just reviewing a wine. Not usually my norm, but have occasionally reviewed some. I found this bottle at a liquor store out of town while I was shopping in the 'bigger' cities. I love a nice rose, but this was way too sweet. I love a sweet wine, but this one hurt my teeth! I thought it would be fun for a picnic in it's nice aluminum bottle with screw top lid, but I really didn't enjoy it. I tried to dilute it with several ice cubes in my glass and that didn't help much. Thankfully it was only around ten bucks, so I wasn't out much money. I did pick up two new wines today that I will post later on.

I have a few food posts ready to go, or will have after tomorrow. I am having movie night with a couple of my girlfriends from the bank and am excited to see them as it has been several months, other than Hermit Crab's grad party. Coming up will be a brownie recipe, popcorn salad, and we are camping in two weeks so it will be chicken and spud hobo dinners. We had some the other night at home on the grill, but the photos were so vanilla, that I will wait until camping and take some more. Hopefully they will show up better.

Off to clean-yuck. Much rather crawl in bed with "House Hunters" and some chocolate!