Category: My Kitchen (page 3 of 4)

Middle of the Night Stuff

I woke up at 3:30am –being pregnant –this is happening a lot, I sleep a few hours and then … (of course, normal times I, often enough, awake during the night, being an NT, a Night Owl, INTP, with my mind going a mile a minute, but being pregnant for so long now, it’s a bit different.)

Sometimes I just go to the bathroom then try to actually sleep again, or read, or just think. This time my mind stirred before I was even out of bed to go to the bathroom. (I often actually awake sometime after 1am, so glad to see I got a bit more sleep this time!)

I had taken a roast out of the freezer on Saturday, to put in the crockpot that night, with some water, on LOW to have for Sunday dinner (today). I put the roast in the fridge in the AM, and promptly forgot about it.

I was recalling that at 3:30am, along with the fact of knowing that the crock pot wasn’t ready to “just throw in a roast”. I wished it was so, but knew that the dishwasher didn’t get everything out of it last time, and I needed to scrub it a tad to ready it. I had meant to do that beforehand, a few days ago when it was first discovered, actually, but I never did get to it. So here I am now, I’ve gotten that scrubbed out, and the roast is nestled in water on LOW in the crock pot. I’m on the couch roving around the ‘net and now it’s more than an hour ago that I awoke and got out of bed.

I do try to soak my pancake/waffle batter ahead of time, Nourishing Traditions methodology. I meant to do that earlier on Saturday and it totally slipped my mind as well. And so, I busied myself after the roast with getting some Spelt and Yogurt together in a bowl for Sunday morning waffles. It won’t be a 12-24 hour soak, at least it’ll be a few to a few more hours than none though. πŸ™‚

I usually make my pancake/waffle batters with Kamut flour, but I had some spelt ground up, and no Kamut here in the middle of the night, so I used the spelt, which is a-ok, I just usually prefer Kamut for batters, and I wasn’t about to get out my grinder at 3-something AM.

Well it’s a new month once again. Happy April! I have no “April Fool” to use and usually don’t. I do appreciate a clever version from others, but find myself too serious to actually wish to fool anyone else (though maybe I was moreso free to do that when I was much younger.) I despise the versions of “April Fool” which are emotionally hurtful, and THOSE are the type that most people utilize, which is probably why I just do nothing for these last many years.

With the new month comes 2 more Audible.com credits for me — I don’t always use them up first thing, but sometimes I do. I’ve, a couple of times in past,  forgotten about them until it was just a day late and lost my precious credits. Lesson learned, but sometimes it feels down to the wire. So this brings to mind that I will have availability of 2 new audiobooks sometime today, and is there anything I want, or do I need to rack my brain to come up with something. The latter is what I have been like the last few months. I troll the site and look and search and wonder aloud and ask DH for suggestions, and finally just get something else πŸ˜‰

Which reminds me that I have so many audiobooks that I haven’t listened to yet, and wonder at why it’s so hard, I love the idea and don’t use them for me much. I did try to listen to something when we were in FL in February, but I’m so visually oriented it’s hard to “listen” to something atimes, even if you WANT to.

Like even putting music on, headphones or through speakers. I listen, but then miss “intelligently heard” this or that from what I played. Spoken audio is easier for me to listen to through speakers than headphones. Via headphones I drift miles away and continue hearing the audio, but not really. Sometimes I sure can multi-plex my thoughts and listening all together, but not always. I find it pleasant to sit down, shut my eyes with headphones on, and that’s not too useful for audiobooks you want to actually listen to, since I’d then drift to some semblance of nap-nap-ness, that works better with well loved music instead.

I say all this because I’ve been contemplating putting my audiobook player (My little Sansa M230 is devoted to audiobooks only, and I have two others for my two eldest children, who actually DO listen to audiobooks I put on theirs, ah, to be young and technologically advanced … I dreamed of having my own taperecorder from when I was very young, and never got one,  and to listen to a “book” meant to listen to a Vinyl LP of stories. πŸ™‚ Not very mobile. Not something I could do in my room, it was dedicated to the record player in the family area. And we had no literature on LP, just stories from some Christian company, I can recall something about a Raindrop named April, and visually I have memory of those things, vivid images from my childhood, things conjured up in my mind while listening to Vinyl LP stories. πŸ™‚

My mind is the same basically, only clogged up with adult responsibilities that make leisure listening so difficult to attain. It’s not just that, it IS precisely wired into those like me, and my family of P’s, that our audible-ness isn’t our strongest ability, and “in one ear and out the other” is a phrase that means a lot to us, we “Hear” but don’t always “HEAR” … we “See” and do usually “SEE” though. πŸ™‚ To “See and  Hear” at once is to “SEE and HEAR” absolutely. :LOL:

To be young and not bogged down brings about a more leisure ability to put on headphones and listen to literature read, and look at the images in your mind and not drift away as much as adult-me is prone to (with so many other things floating around my head at the same time.) So that’s my thinking on listening to audio in bed, if I bring my audiobook player up there, I’ll listen some, and who knows where I’ll leave off and stop listening, and then have to re-charge the battery, and re-listen to find the spot I have some sort of re-call to and hope that I can stay “actively listening” and gain some time with the audiobook for real. I have long been a book reader, and the idea of audiobooks is great, and I love the accessibility to great classics via audio, but it’s just so much easier to say “I’ll read it” than “I’ll listen to it.” But I don’t have all the books on paper that I have as audio, so I can’t “just read” them. Oh, I could go on and on, but maybe I should just grab that little blue and white device and give it a try. It’s nearly 5:30am now, time sure flies when you are making a blog post about too much, here and there and everywhere. Perhaps a trial of focus is worthy after such. :rolleyes:

New Meals inspired by Food TV (food)

I was watching Food TV yesterday, and Paula Dean’s show was on. It caught my undivided attention because she was using recipes for crockpots and slow cooking, particularly the first recipe, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese for the crockpot … which is something that she said they use in their restaurant (in Savannah, GA) a lot.

I immediately got up and started making it once she had put it together on the show. (I did go to the website and print out the recipe for my binder as well.)

It was an easy thing to make, but I made it more complicated due to “making most everything from scratch” being my main methodology in the kitchen.

The recipe called for a can of condensed Cheddar Cheese soup. I don’t use condensed soups most of the time …

So I put 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pan, and added couple Tablespoons of arrowroot powder, stirred it well, then added 2 cups of milk and stirred and heated until it started to thicken, then added shredded cheddar — in essence I “made a simple cheese soup” and in that was included some of the ingredients from the recipe.

The recipe is good, it has a couple of differences from mainstream recipes for such a dish: sour cream and eggs. It’s a true casserole, not just “mac and cheese” — and a good dish to serve with dinner. It’s really quick to put together, and just needs to be in the crockpot for 3 hours on “low” — yes you need to cook the pasta a bit before putting it into the sauce in the crockpot, but just “7 minutes”. I used Kamut pasta (elbow macaroni made by Eden Organics that I obtain at Whole Foods Market.)

On the same show Paula made “Swiss Steak” and it’s moreso a normal recipe I guess, but I’ve never made it that way. I used “cubed steaks” just one way generally — pound them flatter with flour, and brown in oil and butter on each side in a skillet (cast iron being best,) and then let all the meat cook a bit longer on a low heat. Before cooking them I often carmelize a very large sweet onion in the very skillet the meat will cook in, and then hold the onions in a dish, and when the meat it done put the meat on a platter with a foil tent covering it, put the onions back into the skillet, stir to loosen up and warm up, then put in a cup of sour cream with 1 tsp. of salt, stir to warm, not boil. That is a lovely carmelized onion beef sour cream sauce to use with the meal. On top of the meat, or dipping the meat, or mixed with rice, etc.

Paula used cubed steaks, seasoned them, put flour on them (but no pounding) and brown them in a cast iron dutch oven, then pulled them out, put in green bell pepper slices, onion slices, and garlic … canned tomatoes, and eventually put the steaks back in and added water and cooked on a low heat for a while.

I decided to do that, so I went to the website and printed the Swiss Steak recipe and put it in my binder, sent DH to the meat store to get some cubed steaks since we didn’t have any (but I meant to have some in the house the last time we got meat) and made that for dinner along with the mac and cheese.

Oooh, it was so good! I used Red Bell Peppers, don’t like green, and prefer the Red for their vitamin content anyhow. The Swiss Steak was a great hit for the whole family, but I most particularly loved it and said I’d make this at least twice a month, and maybe never make that other cubed steak dish I make again. (It’s good, but I’m really tired of it, KWIM?)

—-
Last week I saw another show, which gave me an idea to make my usual asian inspired dish, red peppers and onions and tamari sauce , etc. and usually has noodles in it, and beef …

This time I marinated chicken breasts in lime juice, tamari sauce, and toasted sesame oi, grilled those on the stove with my cast iron grill pan. Then I let them “rest”; and in my cast iron big skillet I put: Red Bell Pepper strips, green scallions, garlic finely diced, snow peas, water chesnuts, toasted sesame seeds, tamari sauce, toasted sesame oil, and fresh pineapple chunks. Stir fried them not adding it all at once, but in that basic order as needed time for each thing, then add left-over marinade, and at the end applied Arrowroot powder dissolved in water (3 tbsp. Arrowroot and enough water) to the stir fry, mixed it well, and cooked until thickened.

I served it like this: White basatmi rice with strips of chicken placed atop, and finished with a good amount of stir fry and sauce on each plate.

It was really good, and next time I’ll use MORE pineapple — it’s fresh pineapple that I cut myself, BTW.

Grinding Meat (food)

I made spaghetti for dinner last evening. I didn’t make fresh Kamut pasta, my preference –what I haven’t done much in the past, but am trying to get going regularly now, but I did use Spelt pasta, bought at Whole Foods, a VitaSpelt product (Purity). It’s a dry boxed pasta, Angel Hair being my favorite type to use.

I did make meatballs how I prefer though. Last time at Whole Foods we got a little over a pound of Bison cubes. So I had fresh Bison and ground that up and added my favorite things and rolled it up into small balls, and then put those meatballs into my large cast-iron skillet that was heated with (First Cold Pressed) Extra Virgin Olive Oil at least a quarter inch deep. I turned the meatballs frequently to brown them on all sides, then added more of the EVOO and freshly diced onions, then later freshly diced garlic. When all that was soft I added tomato products, I use canned tomatoes (Muir Glen) and also something from Bionature to make my sauce. Then basil, oregano, parsley –at this point all dried herbs. Near the end I add sea salt to taste, and sometimes some cheese, like last night I used some leftover Romano (I grate it myself, it’s a sheeps milk variety, super tasty!)

I made some rolls to go with a garlic/olive oil dip (which I also made.)

The meatballs were so good, I am sure as long as I can freshly grind my meats again, and hopefully have Bison usually, I’ll have no qualms at making meatballs for spaghetti again. Last nights were so much better than the ones I used to make, back in the day. Many reasons for that, no doubt, but I view the freshly ground meat as the biggest cause for betterment. I wish to grind any “ground meat” needs from now on. I’ve wanted to, and it’s just a matter of getting the right cuts of meat to allow me to do it this way. DH is the one who goes to the meat store nearby to get things, we get most of our meat there, some at Whole Foods, and he likes getting ground meat, seeing as it’s cheaper and something useable for quick meals.

I don’t like having it though, it’s a stop-age thing to me, in using ground meat effectively and happily. I make blah things with it since it’s a lump of cold stuff, often frozen by the time I use it (since ground meat needs to be used right away or frozen.) Cubes of meat can be frozen and easily partially defrosted in order to grind the meat. This sort of thing is so much easier for me and floods the creativeness in me with energy.

It takes time to grind meat, but not that much, but it’s not a negative thing, that “extra time it takes to grind” … it’s actually more than positive and absolutely fuel for the kitchen to become a lovely place to make something grand, different, better, nicer. To be happy making something creative.

Having a meat grinder is the best thing since sliced bread.

Another thing that is ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ is whole loaves of bread made at home, and sliced manually with my 9-inch Classic WΓƒΕ“STHOF bread knife. πŸ™‚

St. Patty eats (food)

Tomorrow is “St. Patty Day” …

I have Irish in my family tree (many, many years ago); and I had a beloved Aunt who was married to my blood-uncle — she was 100% Irish (as far as I know) but born (I think) in the USA, and raised in the USA.

I like having the American Tradition of “Corned Beef” for dinner on March 17th. I don’t do anything else for sure. Long ago I didn’t wear “green” on the “day” claiming I didn’t have to wear green clothing or accesories due to having “green eyes” –so “Don’t Pinch Me” was my motto — “I have Irish in me, and my eyes are green, don’t pinch me.”

So then, tomorrow I’ll put the natural ‘not-cured’ “corned beef” into the crock pot and decide what else to make with it. It was the only piece of corned beef left in the store the day we were there (Whole Foods) and it’s not as big as I would have liked it to be. (2.26 lbs. is too small for a family of 5, when you are talking good Corned Beef!) We’ll have to just be happy with less. FWIW

I haven’t made biscuits in a very long time (some years) and I’ve an appetite for some good ‘white spelt buttery buscuits’

I have two pie crusts in the refrigerator and want to come up with a dessert. I also have the stuff to make a cheese cake. I do have two cans of cherries that I bought when I was hungry for a cherry pie, but didn’t make one after all then. I really was looking for them weeks before and the store didn’t have but one can of what I wanted. It’s a cherry in cans that isn’t “sweetened” it’s just canned cherries. So I add what I want to make them good and wholesome. So I’m thinking a cherry pie, or I also have lemons and love “Lemon Meriange Pie” and haven’t made one in some years, maybe I’ll make one of those. Or a cheese cake. I love good old plain New York Cheese cake. Homemade of any of the above are great, way better than anything from a store. Amen.

Meatloaf (food)

I’m making a meatloaf for dinner, in the crock pot. I haven’t made many “meatloaf” dishes in the past few years, used to make them more in the past. I think I’ve done one in the crock pot before, but not more than that, usually prefering the oven … but today I am trying it in the crock pot again.

IF it turns out well, perhaps I’ll take a photo and post it.

Now then, I do like a good meatloaf, the way I like it. I like a simple “barbecue sauce” on top, made with ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and vinegar. Inside I use different herbs, fresh finely diced onion, and breadcrumbs (often fresh breadcrumbs), some ketchup, an egg, and whatever else I think of adding at the time.

Today I had 1 pound of natural ground chuck, and I had vacuum-sealed bison cubes in the freezer, so I defrosted the bison in the sink real fast, and put it through my Kitchen Aid Stand meat grinder attachment, then mixed the two meats together and added the rest of the stuff in. It’s bigger than a 2-lb meatloaf, and if it holds together well the leftovers will make nice sandwhiches, which reminds me, I need to get a loaf of bread going in the bread machine. πŸ™‚

Kitchen change — Dishwasher!

We are still in the middle of our “kitchen re-do” … with nothing much going on except for adding a window where the French Doors used to be, and getting ready to put in sliding doors on the other end of the kitchen, our to-be-new-access-to-out-back.

I’ve wanted a dishwasher for awhile, not having one since we ripped the old one out, it leaked from day one and I dis-liked it more than I can say. It was a Kenmore cheapy, installed by the builder. Anyhow, things were hard, hand washing dishes, with our kitchen reduced in functionality in other ways, not just the dishwasher.

We moved things around more in 2006 a couple of times and it’s a bad arrangement at best, but better than being the wrongly laid out one that was installed when the house was built in 1997. I’m pregnant, 19 weeks, and it was a mute point in the first tri-mester, but since about 12 weeks and further, it’s been harder on me to have this kitchen and all that is in it and all that isn’t in it.

Not long after we took the dishwasher out, seems so long ago, I mentioned to DH that I’d like to get a decent portable dishwasher. It was a discounted idea due to cost, so I let that idea go for a bit. Recently I started talking about it again, and DH was willing to consider it and we were able to do something about it.

We spent this week thinking about it and looking at a couple of stores, then getting online and researching it more thoroughly. I wanted a black dishwasher, but we couldn’t find a good model available anywhere. And not just that, the white on white version didn’t seem to be available anywhere either.

A Best Buy store had one as display, and said they didn’t have any we could “pick up” anywhere, new. But he was willing to sell us the demo unit. He said over the phone it was the white version of the model we were looking for, and was in good condition, had everything and was new, really. DH went to the store and they gave him the run-around … it had a big dent in the side and was missing documentation and the coupling thing that screws onto the faucet, needed to couple the hose unit to the faucet. They came down to $375 for it, so he walked out.

After getting home again we looked online some more and then he called a different Best Buy and lo and behold, THEY were able to work with us, and had no problem telling us to come in, pay for it, and go to the wharehouse and pick up a new one. :rolleyes:

So now we have a nice dishwasher in our not very nice kitchen. It is big, standard size, freestanding, and will be something we can bring away with us when we move. πŸ™‚ Also, I’ll have two dishwashers to work with, when we get the kitchen finished there will be one installed. THAT is the functionality I’ve always wished for.

Our model is GSC3400, White on White. It’s working wonderfully thus far. It’s not noisy, the noise it makes is quite soft, it’s just much louder when it empties the dirty water, since it’s being dumped into the sink, seeing as it’s a portable hook-up situation. Compared to my past, the old dishwasher was very, very noisy, and any dishwasher in an apartment I’ve been in was very, very noisy too.

Since we have a dishwasher now, my hubby had to get Cascade for it, and went to Costco this afternoon after an appointment. While there he called me to make sure he got the right thing, and I had him look at the French White Corning Ware set which I’ve had my eye on for a while.

He found it and agreed to purchase it for me, my thinking being we needed it and now it makes sense to get it since the dishwasher will make it a dream to use the cookware.

We had the same stuff since getting married, having received some as presents and also filling in with our own purchasing of it that first year. It didn’t survive the years, most of it breaking in the last 5 years, with only one small casserole  and one quiche pan left, a numerous glass lids left, with nothing to fit them

This new set is full of good sizes and shapes, and some little things that I never had, and the design is updated from what we had from 1992. For one, there are plastic lids for some of the casseroles, and that’s useful. Another is rammikins, I have always had two with lovely painting of fruit inside, not Corning Ware, and I cherish them and hated to use them as I have all these years. Now I have others and will be able to add to the group so I can have enough for desserts, and to use with my cooking –to have things pre-done and ready to put things together, in a very nice way.

Vanilla and Violets

Violets

We were at Harry’s the other day and I was looking through the plants outside the store, lingering and looking deeper than usual since Frankie was on the cellphone and I figured I’d just look for something to get, even though he doesn’t usually *let* me. I don’t usually press him to get a plant, you know how it is when you want something but are used to things being too tight to get frilly-froo-froo.

So it goes, I stumbled onto African Violets in the corner, and they were inexpensive. I grew up with them around me, my mother usually had a few, at least, on a windowsill in my childhood. They are so very Victorian too, so I bit the bullet, put three in the cart.

I haven’t had an interior plant for several years. I used to have household plants in Florida. I was good with them there. I like tropical greenage, and that hasn’t done so well for me in GA in the homes we’ve been in (all of two, mind you!)

The last inside plant I had was a hanging-something over the sink, a fern of some sort. It was lovely for a long while, over a year, then it went from green and healthy to whited out dried out in a zap-who-knows-how-long-a-time-zap, but it was zippety zap fast. So I left it there for longer than it was there green, in that dried dead state. It looked really cool, that’s why I left it there. A dead plant was my only household plant, the last one I had.

Because we have such a crazy household of people and are in the middle of re-doing everything for the last … bit of time, I haven’t had another plant. I do love plants and consider myself a plant person, gardener, and it’s discocerting everytime I realize that I haven’t really been a “good” version of what I consider myself to be, in fact find that I usually am a non-existant practitioner of said thing most every occasion that there is to discover these disconcerting sorts of things. Ah, the way of the life for the ever eratic eclectic one (me.)

I have my African Violets in the bathroom on the windowsill. That’s an East-SouthEast facing window, not the best for it, not the worst, alright considering the sun is not in Summer session now. It’s a transitional space for them, for now πŸ˜‰

I need to get some African Violet food since I have none, of course, seeing as I haven’t had any plants of any sort for so long, and no AV’s at all. I think I’ll devise a bottom watering system for the plants, and then also I need a delicate little watering can for top watering every once in awhile. (Never get water on African Violet leaves!)

I’m not sure where I can put these delicate little flowery plants, but I have to devise some good place for them. They need light, but it doesn’t have to be direct and shouldn’t be much direct in any case. They can also live under regular lamp light, so I’ve read, but I don’t want to do that. The problem with plants on windowsills is “cats”, as wells as window blinds.

Vanilla

I bought 2 vanilla beans that day at Harry’s as well. Frank got me some 108+ Proof straight barrel bourbon for them … I put it together today, homemade vanilla extract, it’s in a closet, dark, warm, not hot, not cold.

I looked all over the web for ideas of what to do. So many sites say you have to have such and such type of bean, or else it’s not good. I have no idea what kind mine are, Harry’s only sells it as “vanilla bean: 2” in a clear plastic box. The pictures I saw here and there online look like the ones I have, nice bourbon vanilla beans. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. They don’t have the “vanillin” white powdery look on them, but they were long, 8 inches, curved at the top, and plump and super fragrant.

I split the beans, but didn’t separate them. I stuffed them into the bottle of bourbon and capped it and put it in the closet after a good shaking.

I’ve read that you should have a bean per cup of alcohol. Or 2 per 3/4 cup. Or 12 per … on and on it goes.

I have a 750ml container of bourbon, with 2 vanilla beans installed. It’ll do. I’ve read that others say it’s alright to do that. But no one really gourmet-like seemed to like the idea of that. They mostly are in the “a few weeks in the mix” type to make vanilla. The longer steepers said it’s great vanilla, and they are the ones that use less bean to alcohol amount. We shall see what happens. I’m open to putting in some more vanilla beans later. But not 12!

The two v-beans I got were $3.99. Not a bad price for vanilla beans, but to get 10 more … uh, yeah. So this country girl will be pleased to see what a good 750ml of straight barrel Wild Turkey Rare Breed turns out to be like with 2 beans now, maybe adding 2 more in a few weeks, for good measure. December is the date I’m shooting for. I’ll take some off the top before that maybe. I’m not opposed to experimentation all along the way.

I’ve long wished to try making my own vanilla. It’s very expensive to buy good stuff, and expensive to make your own, so if I can make an expensive-ish bourbon into decent vanilla, I’m ahead of the game the rest of the game-length.

I’ve read people say that homemade is better than storebought. Others say homemade is nice and fun, but not the best by far.

It’s one of those objective subjects, isn’t it? No, I’d say it’s very subjective. And so I subject myself to experimentation for my own subjective view to be formed. πŸ™‚

Older Meal made once again

Frank let me get a new crock pot last week. I had three, and something went wrong with each one, and the last time I used one was some months ago already.

Costco had a certain one in stock, a decent price, but it was fluffy-boo-coo to me. I didn’t want it. It was all white, the base and the crock itself. It came with a Little Dipper, was 6qts in size, nice. But the top of it rose up above the top of the base quite a bit, with an embossed floral foo-foo design. πŸ™

We went to Target later to look at the Breadmachine I liked, and got that, and I said, “Look at this Frank,” and he did. It was a 5 1/2 Qt. White crock pot with a Little Dipper, but it was just a regular crock pot otherwise, no foo-foo-ness. It was white, totally different for me who always had black and stainless steel/black varieties. It was also much less money than the foo-foo Costco version. So we got it. πŸ™‚

I meant to use it earlier, but didn’t until today. I was happy to use it, I made a meal we used to love in the crock pot. I made it on top-of-the-stove a few times, but hadn’t made it since, I’m not sure when.

It’s “Smothered Chicken” a recipe I got from Vickilynn Haycrafts e-list a long time ago.

VICKILYNN’S FAMOUS SMOTHERED CHICKEN BREASTS
(c) Copyright 2001 Vickilynn Haycraft

Serves 6

1) Place in crockpot and cook on HIGH for about 3 hours:

3-4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 TB soy sauce (lower sodium)
1/4 cup dried chives
4-8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup water

2) At the end of 3 hours, prepare sauce and pour over chicken in
crockpot:

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 heaping tablespoons whole wheat flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups milk – rice , soy or dairy (I use whole goat milk)
1 TB soy sauce
2 heaping tablespoons meatless chicken broth powder without MSG
salt and pepper to taste

To make sauce:
In a saucepan, melt butter mixed with oil. Add minced garlic and
saute briefly. Whisk in flour and cook until smooth and browned.
Add milk and cook over medium-high heat, whisking continuously
until thick and bubbly. Add broth powder, salt and pepper if
desired, and soy sauce. Let cook until thickened, and pour over
chicken in crockpot.

Cook chicken and sauce on HIGH for 1 hour, then check the
chicken for doneness. If not cooked through, continue to simmer
on LOW until done. Taste sauce and correct seasonings before
serving.

TIP:You can use a meat thermometer to be certain that boneless
white meat chicken breasts are cooked to an internal temperature
of 170 degrees.

The sauce is not super-thick, but rich, creamy and saucy. You
can thicken further if desired.

Serve sauce over mashed potatoes, rice and veggies and serve
lots of fresh whole grain bread to sop it up! Yummy!
Enjoy!

Here it is, how I make it:

VICKILYNN’S FAMOUS SMOTHERED CHICKEN BREASTS
(c) Copyright 2001 Vickilynn Haycraft

NO MUSHROOMS variation by Marysue

Serves 6

1) Place in crockpot and cook on HIGH for about 3 hours:

3-4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 cloves garlic, minced(or more)
3 TB Organic Tamari Wheat-Free Soy Sauce
1 large sweet onion, maui or vidalia, chopped

2/3 cup water

2) At the end of 3 hours, prepare sauce and pour over chicken in
crockpot:

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 heaping tablespoons flour (can substitute Arrow Root Powder mixed with water for the butter/oil/flour mixture, not sure the amount, I just do it without measuring. )
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups milk (whole dairy, I use raw)
1 TB Organic Tamari Wheat-Free Soy Sauce
1 1/2 TB Chicken Base (gooey paste)

To make sauce:
In a saucepan, melt butter mixed with oil. Add minced garlic and
saute briefly. Whisk in flour and cook until smooth and browned.
Add milk and cook over medium-high heat, whisking continuously
until thick and bubbly. Add broth powder, salt and pepper if
desired, and soy sauce. Let cook until thickened, and pour over
chicken in crockpot.

Cook chicken and sauce on HIGH for 1 hour, then check the
chicken for doneness. If not cooked through, continue to simmer
on LOW until done. Taste sauce and correct seasonings before
serving.

—————————

I made Basatmi rice to go with it tonight, and green beans. Everyone had plenty and it’s so very richly filling.

It’s a treat, not something to make very often, it’s so very flavorful and so easy to make, but easy to overdo it if you don’t watch it, and then get really sick of it as a meal. πŸ™‚

The crock pot was a different sort of experience for me tonight. There was brown residue from the meal cooking high up the sides. It was very noticeable since the crock is so white. I was able to fairly easily wash that off, and find that it’s inspiring to do so only because it’s a white crock, I was compelled to clean it, not let it soak overnight. πŸ™‚ So it’s already put away. I’m very proud of myself, in a good way only, of course. Patting myself on the back. πŸ™‚

Breadmachines

Frank got me a new breadmachine this weekend. My “old one” died long ago. I haven’t had a breadmachine for that whole time, therefore, since the old one died. I’ve always made bread by hand, the old-fashioned way, but like having a breadmachine on hand for use when I would rather not make more of a mess, or would like to have a loaf made up, or dough, for something different.

My grain grinder died last autumn/winter, and so since then I’ve had to resort to only making unbleached flour bread. Not my favorite for overall everyday bread. I do like rolls with unbleached flour, and pizza crust, french bread, etc., it’s just the way of it for me. I do miss my spelt and kamut and prairie gold freshly ground flours though πŸ™ I loved a fresh loaf of whole grain bread, slathered with yummy european-style butter.

Since the grain grinder died I have made bread less often, since I don’t like making white bread so much. Plus the kitchen is in transitional mode, so it is a help to have a breadmachine again. I can’t always buy good bread … Harry’s carries better versions of bread, but we can’t get there when we run out of bread suddenly, and it’s pricey bread too. So now I’ll just be sure to have this breadmachine going to get at least a loaf for sandwiches that doesn’t have any soy flour, or other icky ingredients (as the stuff at Publix is), and have it done easily.

It’ll free me up to moreso desire to make specialty things again, and re-create my old cultures for bread. Since I don’t have to knead, it’s a better option for me now. Since I tend to make too much bread if I do it by hand, I’ll be making just a loaf as I need it now with this machine.

It’s a SS Breadman Pro. It seems very nice, it sure sounds nicer than my old Oster machine, and has many more options. Looks nicer too.

I’m partway through the first bread making with it. The dough is warm and smells so good. It’s been awhile since I’ve made a warm dough. I usually have used a culture and slow-rise naturally, so it’s back to old machine mode … but it’s alright, I’ll phase in my natural processes with the machine sooner than later.

A couple of photos of the current process:

The photos are a bit blurry, I didn’t use a flash and so … they are that, as well as a bit more golden than reality shows.

I don’t mind using a breadmachine. It’s something that is a help, and it’s not a bad thing for a self-pronounced home bread-maker artisan woman. It’s a second body for me. It’s an extension of me and will only do what I tell it to do, in a way that I would do it. It’s no “microwave” … doing things that I couldn’t and wouldn’t do to food … that’s another story but I wanted to bring it up as a comparison to something that is used in the kitchen as an aide and is in more kitchens than a bread machine is. It’s overused, and I don’t trust using it since it cooks differently from traditional heating methods. It changes the structure of food. We’ve gotten along fine without a microwave for a few or more years now. A breadmachine though is a tool, like toaster-oven-mixer combination. That’s all. It’s a dedicated machine to mixing dough, kneading dough, and rising and baking dough. You can stop the machine at any point and do something else with the mixture. It’s purely a helpful machine for the home baker.

Upgrades to Computer and House

Consensus of the computer situation led us to just get a new motherboard and processor.

From what I read it’s probably the processor that died. Not for sure though. So it’s on to a new build of computer for me πŸ™‚

The Athlon processor world has changed dramatically over the last few years. Our now “old” processor is an Athlon XP 2100+ … at Fry’s, where we get most of our computer stuff now that they are in the shopping area we do go to often enough, they don’t have the XP series of processor. On pricewatch.com that processor series is still available in online stores, and I’m sure it’s available elsewhere, but I came to the conclusion earlier today looking on pricewatch that we didn’t want to go with a Socket A processor necessarily.

Sempron has replaced Athlon XP … they are afordable. They run on a 400mhz bus. I didn’t like them much by looking at them. I wanted something good. The Athlon 64 series is more a multitasking processor series.

So we ended up going to Fry’s and looking at their stock and looking at their ads on products and putting 2 and 2 together came up with 5. πŸ™‚ We did upgrade to a board that runs an 800mhz bus, but it’s still Abit and we got a three year warranty with Fry’s on it, extra, so we could deal with them directly if it goes fritzy on us.

Fry’s was running a deal in their ad for that board and the Athlon 64 3000 (OEM) processor for less than buying them seperately.

Now I have to put it all together and make the hardware all play nice with each other. I am hoping the PSU will be good enough. If not, it’s back to Fry’s in the next few weeks, or online, to buy a different PSU. The one we have is a Vigor 500W, made by MGE company. It’s not that it’s bad, just don’t know if it’s superbly good enough for THIS new board.

The memory we got recently should work great in this board. It can run at full speed with this better processor.

So it goes down to this: Already, before, we wanted to upgrade the video card still and get a new hard drive to add to the system, and a DVD burner.

Now it’s back to square one, no new video card even πŸ™ But eventually we’ll get one. I’m left with either the old processor dead or the old motherboard dead. Whichever one it is, depends on what we’ll do.

We’ll get a cheap case and get that board running right, and find another Socket A processor to put in it, run the old stick of memory that was cheapy and made it not run right, if we get a new PSU then the one I have currently can go on that board. If it’s the board that is the trouble then we can get that fixed via Abit for fairly cheap, not having to worry about turnaround time if we have another system running.

So what this all means is we’ll be trying to get two desktops running, that old board to be a backup system in case of problems with bigger desktop. It’ll be a testing ground too, and a place for spare parts to hang out. It’s a good board, NF7-S … just that the processor isn’t as highly powered in the Socket A series. So we have a new better board in that arena and I am biting my lip awaiting the time to get going on it, it’ll have to wait until Monday.

I’m up in the middle of the night typing this. I awoke after just a little bit of sleep and can’t get back to sleep. I watched some TV, watched HGTV “reDesign” which is one I’ve seen before, but I didn’t mind re-watching it tonight/this morning since it’s one that I really liked what Kenneth Brown did, custom wall builtins, drawers to hold vinyl records in that. An eastern beach sort of theme. It’s not disimilar to what we want to do in our “dining room” just with different color scheme, to get builtins flanking the fireplace, which will hold dishes, TV, audio, books, other kitchen stuff, and more.

Next on HGTV was “design on a dime” and they did a makeover of a large kitchen for a family that used it alot, using a “tuscan” theme, and did a lot of furniture building … it fit into the theme of what we are trying to accomplish here as well, just not “tuscan” but “country, french country, arts and crafts movement”-ish.

Before all that was a “designer finals” episode which I had never seen before. It was a studen designer doing a room as a “jazz lounge” theme for a couple with a love of Jazz music, two dogs that love the bay window in the room, and they also needed it to have a desk and computer. The student designer really did a great job, and it was inspiring to me. I felt like getting up and painting and sawing and … all that.

So I eventually did get up. I hung a picture in the hall. There was a little wreath there and other hanging things under it from something that used to be there. I have a large poster in ornate frame of a Monet painting. It used to hang in our bedroom and had been sitting on top of something in there since we moved furniture around and didn’t have that space for it available anymore. I looked at it, and thought about it and got up and put it in the hall. It fits. I’ll rehang it on Monday a bit higher though. It’s inspiration to me on how to do that upstairs hallway. Light blues and creams. πŸ™‚ It’ll brighten the space up considerably. Hurray for that!

So my mind is racing around with many ideas tonight and I just can’t sleep. So I sit here at Frank’s laptop on the dining room table, a glass of Sweet Tea by my side, and three of the cats lounging around on the table with me.

Yeah, the cats are on our table. Can’t really keep them off. I shoo them off if it’s clean and if we are working on it with food and all that. It’s hard to keep them off it though. Cat’s go where they want to when you aren’t around anyhow. So that’s that. They love the table. So do I. πŸ™‚

Speaking of the table, I made a list of all our furniture that I love and want to keep. It wasn’t very large. I wanted to see what pieces we had that are valuable to us. This table and chairs are one of the big things. We got them from Costco online some time ago, Italian made Scandinavian Pine. Not fancy, just simplistically beautiful. Thick ladderback chairs and thick farmhouse legs on the table. It’s bigger than the other tables we’ve had for eating on. It’s not expandable. I’d like one that is, but I also know how to marry other tables into the setting when need be, so it’s not crucial. I don’t have plans to replace this table, and don’t want to even do it. It could be a nice island in another kitchen someday though. πŸ™‚

Hot dog days and meals

Yesterday was so hot. It got to 90 degrees in the house. I had seen weather info earlier that forecast 89 for a high in Atlanta. I don’t know why it got so hot in the house though, it wasn’t THAT hot outside. I guess it’s partially my ankle injury, I didn’t go around checking fans direction of air pull, windows to open or close, blinds to go up or down, open or close slats, etc.

Usually I try to get things all flipped back and forth depending on sun position, so back of the house is pushing out in morning, but pulling in the evening. Front of the house pulls in morning and pushes in afternoon. Pulls means takes air into house. Push means takes air out of the house.

It’s not a precise method though, sometimes it’s better to close off the front of the house all day instead. I think that might be what went wrong yesterday. It did get cloudy/stormy during the afternoon, but it never rained.

Anyway, it just does get very hot some days, inside is hard to control with the fans we have. It’s not always so bad, just parts of the day. Some days are worse on a whole, but not every day, mostly not even two days in a row, just afternoons.

So yesterday was that hotty one and I didn’t get a clear mind to cook dinner until after 8pm, it was really closer to 9 when I got going. This is something that is not new for me. Last year the very hot days were like that. It’s just that for me my mind turns to mush and I can’t function if it’s that hot, and the evening cools down after dark eventually and my mind comes back online. People don’t like it. But that’s where understanding comes in and helping me is better than fussing at me for it. πŸ™‚

I came up with a version of somethings I make, that was different enough to be it’s own thing.

I used German Sweet Sausage, which is a natural non-cured product we got at Harry’s (Whole Foods Market) in the cooler where prepackaged things from other companies are kept.

I sliced that into angled rounds, and then each of those into halves.

I used:

several small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced.
1/2 a large Vidalia onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large Red Bell Pepper cut into 1/4-inch wide, long strips, then cut in half lenth-wise

I stir fried that until the potatoes were nearly done.

Then I added:

1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen)
two handfuls of long, thin green beans (fresh)
Soy Sauce, a few dashes
A couple dashes of Tabasco Sauce
Sea Salt to taste
Extra water as needed to make the sauce less thick, to aide cooking.
Added the German Sweet Sausage then too.

When the beans were done, still a bit crispy, the meal was ready, I put freshly grated fresh queso cheese ontop.

It was very good. I didn’t used to do much with veggy stir fry’s a few years ago even, but last year started doing some things and this year just chuck things into the pan when the time calls for such.

I have some other renditions that are more Japanese Stir Fry sorts of meals. I use rice or japanese noodles, chicken, or beef, and sugar snap peas, water chesnuts, more soy sauce, and onions, red bell peppers, etc.

These things I made up. It’s a reinvention of the wheel, yes, I didn’t create them as unique things, I know that they aren’t anything new precisely, just that I did what is natural to me to put them together without a recipe. Any recipe would have things in it I would leave out or change or add different things in, so it is that mine are unique in a way anyhow, but I am not claiming some great new recipes here. πŸ™‚

I’m just glad to share what I’ve done more of and I am proud of it since I’m such a picky person about veggies. I started this all the other year when I started making a crock pot “pepper steak” recipe. I did it to get good Vit C peppers instead of the green peppers, so I used Red Bell Peppers and liked them as soft as the crock pot made them. I forced myself to make it on the stove and make them less soft last year, and that got me into actually liking the crisp crunch of peppers more and more and leading me into better stir fry additions.

I used to make “fried rice” which was heavy work for me. I didn’t have lots and lots of veggies in it. It is something I don’t make anymore, I just dislike how much rice I have to stir in and it wears my arm out and makes the meal icky for me. Too much of a chore.

So for me this different way of cooking allows me to have an easy way to make something that is so much better, and it can have rice or noodles or no carbs at all. Lots of veggies nicely crisp done.

I don’t use a regular Soy Sauce either. I now use Tamari, which is a wheat free soy sauce. It tastes so much better, IMO. Soy is something I only use if it’s in small quantities, as soy sauce is, and is fermented, brewed or something, as soy sauce is.

Basically this all is just an introduction to a different kind of oriental cooking that I have liked, and I’ll probably get going into researching some other japanese recipes for real one of these days. πŸ™‚

Now I’m hungry for something crispy japanesey good. Hmph. It’s still morning.

The Kitchen: We have the fridge

The fridge I had written about not too long ago, but I took those words out of the posts before it came, was brought over a couple of days ago finally.

It’s nice. Nicer than our regular fridge, so it’s now our primary refrigerator. It’s a side-by-side, probably 25 cubic feet space inside. It has an ice maker, and ice and water through the freeser door … but that stuff isn’t hooked up yet. The fridge is in a temperary spot, and wil not be hooked up to water until the kitchen stuff is moved that needs to go, then we can do the plumbing that we need to do.

The color of it is white, and it’s just like our other fridge in that way, it’s that bumpy white finish. The housing for the ice/water on the door is discolored, and a bit cracked on one corner, but that’s rather “normal” in wear … plastic stuff like that goes ugly eventually in different ways, looking bad. The door could be replaced, for $400+ … ha ha ha. No way we NEED to do that. It’s not as clear whether or not we could replace just the housing for that area … but it’s fine the way it is, over all.

We also took out more of that wall we are removing. Piece by piece, slowly “just in case”, but it’s rather mostly sure that it’s not a load bearing wall. It’s just part of this whole remodel, slow and some here, some there, and by and by it’ll all get done. The cabinets I painted before may be far along now to be sanded and repainted now. That will be tested this coming week. Once I get that done it’ll be that the upper cabinets there will also be painted, and we can get things measured out and hang those there and get some electric done and a few other things moved too.

The wall by the steps that hugs the one end of the kitchen is a partial wall, and it’s loose … it moves too easily. We were going to make it a full height wall … so seeing how it really is it will be needed to be torn out and replaced totally. No big deal really.

So things are moving along. Slow, but moving. We have electric that we have to do, then plumbing … then it’ll really be moving … plumbing is the biggy … the thing that means we’ll have to move the sink, or get the bar sink and that inner L counter built and installed … or some configuration so that we have water and a sink to wash with there.

Right now we have nice opening in the wall though, we have two ways to go into the kitchen, so when I am at the stove I don’t have to have people going past me … everything isn’t in place as it’ll be later, but this set up is more like it than not … I’ll have the stove there abouts, and there will be that other way of coming in and out of the kitchen area down near the door to the garage. It’s coming together and even though it’s all in chaos, it’s so much nicer than when we had vinyl flooring and everything in it’s place and a little tiny living room with carpet right next to it with that wall between.

We have a dining/living space now with a large opening to the kitchen, no large wall between. It’s like there is more space now, and we will have more when it’s further along. It’s all about how things are in a room. What place they sit in means a lot. I don’t do that chinese FS stuff, but what I do know about it seems to have “common sense” in some of it. Flow and light and air, they say the energy flows or doesn’t based on what’s placed where, how the room is built, etc.

Our front door opened and right there the house went right back to the french doors, it felt like everything went right out of the house, right away. We took those French Doors out and a board is there now. That’s the place where our kitchen is moving to, it feels so much better. There is no “right out the door” feeling there now. It’s cosy. That’s just one of the things that I felt interesting to mention, it’s just regular “how space feels” that you can figure out without mystical religious symbolism πŸ˜‰

I have to download pictures off the camera tomorrow, then I’ll take some pictures of the new fridge and get them up here.

Cabinet Hardware etc

I hung the doors on the painted yucky cabinets. It looks nice, the color is great, just up close it’s too ridgy, and a few spots got mussed up in the hanging anyhow, so it’s best that I have to re-do some of it in the first place.

The cabinets originally had the doors hung differently. They are four doors, and were hung with the opening side facing in this order:

Right, Right, Left, Left

The upper cabinets that originally were above them are the same, but the doors are taller and have the catherdral routing in them. The lower cabinets that I’ve been working on have smaller doors and they have a plain routing around the door, in both upper and lower it’s an inch or inch-and-a-half inside from the edge. Both upper and lower were hung in that order.

I didn’t like it. Some years ago I changed the upper doors to face this way:

Right, Left, Right, Left

That made more visual and usage sense to me.

I hadn’t changed the bottom ones, or if I had I can’t recall … I took the doors off the lower cabinets so long ago now it seems, and I really don’t know since I painted the face of the cabinet then too. In the paint you can see the outline and holes of the old hinge positions. I saw none in the middle where there would have been some if I had changed the positions before. I can see that I wouldn’t have changed them back when I did the others since they are lower doors … not as noticeable and all that. In the place the cabinet sits now they are more prominent and that makes it noticeable that they hang a certain way or a different way. I saw immediately when I went to hang them that they truly belonged Right, Left, Right, Left. I only have two drawer fronts finished and with those two drawers installed, one can see the beauty that is beginning to show. The old countertop sits on the cabinet … just sits there, not installed anymore. It looks ugly now. It doesn’t go with the butter yellow cabinets and weathered wrought iron hardware!

I’ll get the other two drawers done today and then take a photo of the outside of the cabinet section at least. Ignore the junk on top of the counter if I post the picture here, where I most likely will do so.

I have to also put all the stuff inside so that we can get the other side of the kitchen cleared up. We’ll be taking the upper cabinets down too maybe and moving them to sit atop the counter of the lower cabinets for now. We have that new/old fridge coming tomorrow, so HAVE to make room πŸ™‚

I’m ok with the re-do of the paint on the cabinets I’ve done so far. I have the right stuff for the re-do now, just need to do a few go-overs in a couple of grits of sandpaper and then a new coat of paint with the little cute rollers, but not for 7- 10 days. It’s just a wait to do it, and then I can fix all the little things that I have to and want to. πŸ™‚

With the upper cabinets down on the counter top it’ll make it easier to work on them too (rather than have them on the floor).

So I have to go to work and move all that stuff now! Pictures here later!

Painting the cabinets saga drags on

I’m very much not pleased with how the painting turned out on my cabinet door and drawer fronts, face of cabinets too. In actuality the “painted by brush” look that I was going for turned into a very-too-much thing, and now I have to sand that down and reapply with a little smooth roller to hone down the ridges.

I’m not trying to get a super smooth look. Just a “painted” look without deep ridges. So I’m bummed a bit about it. Dh just got home with a new little roller for me and the paint store dude said what I feared … I have to wait 7-10 days for Latex paint to sand it. It’ll just gum up before that. Tell me how I know THAT! πŸ™‚

I knew it and tried to affect some icky things that happened to a drawer front. Somehow deep depressions were made in it, finger print gookies … I didn’t do that … so I am not accusing just saying, it’s a mess to look at, and sandpaper just squishes it around gooky gummy like.

So I need to just leave it all alone and install the hardware and then wait a week or more. THEN I can take the hardware off and start the fix.

Oh well, that’s life.

I know that Latex paint takes time to cure. It’s dry to the touch fast, but don’t you dare try to wash it –soapy water and rag or sponge or whatever, no scrubbing the first month of it’s painted life! For Sanding, as the paint store guy said, it takes 7-10 days of curing before it’s doable. I hope that’s true. It’s a long wait, but not as long as a 30-day wait as it might have been said. So it’s good news/bad news. Not so bad. Just slooowwww. At least I’m on slow-mode already. I’ve been busy, but taking it all sloowwww. πŸ™‚ On the slow-track to getting the kitchen done.

But I do need to get the lower cabinet re-filled for now and the door and drawer fronts on and all put together. The cats are ripping opened bags of noodles, raisins, etc. lately during the night. That’s the stuff that belongs in the lower cabinet as it was being used before the moving. It’s not entirely stuff that should be there, just the stuff that was there. Rearranging cabinets and usage and such is taking that slow-mode approach, and it’s only livable since I live in chaos anyhow, and it’s not so terrible. It’s just confusion of a mild degree and a circus to outsiders. It’s normal to me πŸ™‚

Anyhow, this changes how I’ll paint the other cabinets. Practice makes perfect!

Kitchen Update

I’m finishing painting the doors and drawers for the lower cabinets that I’ve gotten painted so far. I’ll put the drawer pulls and knobs on later tonight or tomorrow, depending on how many coats of paint I need to do. Once that is all done I’ll take some pictures to put on this weblog in a post. πŸ™‚

Forget the whole fridge thing. I deleted it. It’s not happening after all. Who cares. I don’t.

I’ve been busy and off-line

Off-line, but not by choice. Our DSL was down since last Thursday until late this morning. It’s still not working well, it works but drops off occasionally. While we were without DSL we were totally without it. We had no signal at all. We had phone service though. We complained and complained to our provider and they were running around with phone service problems, they said, and our DSL was on the backburner.

All it took, as we thought, was something at the switch was needing to be replaced. Simple and just took a person to go there and do it. But then we are at the same place as before … we are up and running, and dead in the water for connecting to sites or emails at times, but then up and running again a bit later, never knowing if it’s there to connect to or not, but the green light is on the box just fine.

It’s frustrating since we can’t load something just because we want too … it’s supposted to be there, the DSL signal, but it’s not always. Hopefully “they” will get that fixed sooner than later. We did get a new modem out of this though, since the Tech was here and the signal was dropping and since they have a new model they use for new customers. It’s a router/modem, but we have our own router. So we use that as a bridge to our router. The new modem is nicer though, how it looks and sits, it’s more stable in housing.

Since that has all been happening I haven’t been online, of course. I’m very “out of it” and have some issues on my sites to take care of and blah, blah, blah, no matter, I just haven’t been online so it’s kind of wierd to be writing something on a blog again. πŸ˜‰

I’ve gotten some more done, but not all, in the painting and remodeling we are doing. I’m taking it slow. Hardware I ordered came fast, but I ordered the wrong type of hinge by mistake, so now we have to wait for that new one to be sent out and return the others for our money back. It’s great looking stuff though!

Frank’s dad was here last week and we did another project … took the French Doors out. Now I have no door in the kitchen to the backyard or deck. Sad, but more good than bad. It’s not as hot on sunny days since there is no glass there. No drafts on cold days either. All better, mostly. The inside isn’t finished yet. We will have the sink in that area, but more so on the edge of that, so putting framing for a window in there wasn’t in the works. We have to measure and make the right plans for that and then we can put in the window framing once the upper cabinets are gone from where they are now on that wall, then drywall and THEN I can paint the walls.

We got paint for the walls, a light blue. We picked that based on what countertop we will probably use. It’s a motled stone-like look, with grays light and dark and little blue flecks, the blue pops out when next to the paint color we picked out. It goes nicely with the butter yellow cabinet paint too.

We decided to go with a slide in stove-probably too. Fridgedair makes one that is really nice and it’s a compromise to what I want in the kitchen. All in one unit, the oven is smaller, but it’s convection, and it has a warming draw on the bottom. To do a cooktop and wall ovens, we could not have afforded all of that. So this makes a compormise since I wanted the cooktop and wall oven, double wall ovens really, with convection, but the cooktop was what I wanted for using on either side of the counter-L that it’d be on … slide-ins have the controls on the front at an angle down away from the top. Cooktops have the controls on the top of the cooking surface, so they are accessible from any direction really. A warming drawer is something that I’d like too, cheapest ones of that are over $400, but usually more. So this model of slide-in has most of itl. It’s around $1000, pricey, but that’s it, it’s packed with stuff. Worth it. Just not the “top” that I’d like in total, but it has the smooth top and bridge to make burners connect if want, and a “keep warm” area there too, and expandable burner too.

It’ll be some time before we get that, so I don’t know how long that will be. We will be doing the counters later too, just moving what we have around and get the “stuff” done piece by piece.

So I’m busy moving stuff around too, like I have my little table with my laptop out of the kitchen now, and in the “dinning room/living room”. That gives us more space to move stuff around in the kitchen. But first, it’s filter out all the junk that collects around were I have my “desk” πŸ™‚

I am putting the new hardware on the doors and drawers, have to drill new holes for the drawer pulls. That’s fun stuff. Another power tool thing πŸ˜‰

Painting for that stuff should get done tomorrow. Once the hinges arrive, I’ll put them on and take some pictures and load them on this weblog.

Painting the Kitchen Cabinets

We got some paint the other day, for my kitchen cabinets. The lower cabinets that were by the garage door are now at the other end of the kitchen, what was meant as the “eat in kitchen/dinning room” area originally when the house was built in 1997 (not by us, but by the builder, we just bought the house after it was being built already).

The cabinet section is free standing, and won’t be installed until we do a few more things. But I can get it ready and that has begun. For no reason we got Glidden paint, just that we were in a store that had paint and a color we liked and that was the brand on the color chart … it’s very much like the Corian color that I have liked when I’ve looked at samples … that is “Butter Cream” … Glidden color is “Vanilla Cream”. It’s butter colored. I checked that out. Slice into the butter I have, and that slice is the same color. A very nice soft creamy yellow.

I have done most of the painting on the piece of cabinet, but have one or two more coats to do to the outside part, and I also need to do the doors and drawer fronts. I have painted the inside of the cabinets too, that is some job! But what I want. I cannot imagine anyone else doing this unless they were doing it for themselves. I wanted nice smooth insides, since it’s all lumber type cabinet, not the stuff that companies like KraftMaid, etc. make. This is rustic real made on side basic cabinetry. We hope to make some more of it to fill out the design we’ve come up with. It will be easier painting those from the start, before being put all together. πŸ™‚

The cabinets we have were White Paint, with White knobs. I’ve picked out a style for new hardware, and it’s something I have to order online, as no store seems to have it, and it’s all special order and at high prices. Online I have found it for much less. It’s a simple style of hinges, drawer pulls, and knobs, a weathered wrought iron look. I wasn’t sure of what to do before I moved my “bakers rack” into the kitchen from our dinning area (what used to be the living room). We had space due to taking the upper cabinet section out where the stove originally was. That space on the floor was vacated by the Fridge, which was there after the stove was there. We moved that fridge to the other end of the kitchen, then just last week moved it to a whole ‘nother spot. Doing that baker rack move, I realized how much I love that piece, and that’s when it hit me, it’s the wood and metal. The metal is right. It’s dark banged up looking wrought iron … ah, same as on my Foley-Martens Butcher Block rolling Island’s hardware, and the coffee table we have that has wicker baskets and that similar banged up wrought iron edges and I love Art’s and Craft style … dark knobs and hinges. I started to look online after not seeing anything in HD that I liked at all. Most there is light and shiny.

I found it online when looking at a manufacturer that HD’s website said they had product from. That manufacturer has lots of styles and I found the stuff I liked, and then had to search online for good pricing. I found a few places and should be placing an order (or orders) tomorrow for enough to deck out this one piece of cabinet to start with.

It’ll look great on the Vanilla Cream cabinets, hopefully. All will be changed to be like that sooner than later, and then new counter tops … I’m not sure what, but something dark. Cheap as can be, of course, so it can’t be stone, or corian-like stuff. Must be something cheaper. πŸ™ But that’s alright.

So I’m busy getting paint in my hair. I’m happy painting cabinets, it’s fun. It’s lots of fun. πŸ˜†

The wall in here need to be painted before long, and they are yellow and so sooner than later for this is a must. It clashes with the Vanilla Cream. So that’s something else to make a decision on, wall color. Think, think, think. I do better visually. I just go into the store and look at paint colors on the little cards. The right thing hits me right between the eyes every time, so that’s what I have to do. πŸ™‚

Valentine’s Dinner

It’s Valentine’s Day night. It’s dark out and getting foggy. I was going to make an alfredo sauce to go with chicken breasts but couldn’t figure out what I wanted to really do. So I ended up just grating a bunch of parmesean and putting butter and cream in a pan, heating that and putting in the cheese, heating it, then thinking it too thin grating more cheese, then more … then just putting the chicken, once browned in Olive Oil in a frying pan, putting that into a big low and wide casserole dish, and pouring the sauce over it and putting it into the oven. I have no idea how this will turn out.

I have “heart” pasta to make to go with the sauce. Hopefully it’ll be fine. The pasta we got at Cost Plus World Market. It’s pink and white. Some hearts white, some hearts pink. I saw it in January and for 1.99 it was well worth it. So it’s the night to use it and I am deflated about using it. Not sure how the sauce is going to be. πŸ™

I sprinkled some granulated garlic over the chicken breasts while they browned in the pan. So there will be a garlicy taste in the sauce.

I wanted to make bread last week. I had the sponge going, really not a sponge, but my “Pseudo Sourdough Culture”. I’ve kept it out on the counter since creating because it’s just not that warm in the kitchen and I have no room in the fridge, and I’ll have culture ready whenever I want it, a bit faster than the fridge would serve it up to me, that is.

So I didn’t get bread made on Friday. I had the culture all ready to be used. I didn’t make bread on Saturday, culture going even better. I kept the culture going these days, adding more flour to it, but just not getting it made into dough. So Sunday, I kept it going again. Didn’t make bread, it was Sunday, couldn’t do it that day.

So today, Monday. I wanted to make the bread dough. Just never got around to it. It’s been cloudy the last few days, so it’s tougher for me to get things done the longer it’s not sunny. Today I took a nap in the early afternoon too, so that put the bread on the backburner again.

I wish not though. I surely wish I had fresh bread to go with dinner tonight.

πŸ™

I used to make a parmesean noodle side dish, it was always really good. The sauce I made tonight was supposed to resemble that noodle sauce, but I don’t have the recipe book anymore. It got ruined through some freak child accident/violent treatment of something. :rolleyes:

So I put too much cream in the sauce pan, I am sure of that. I put a ton of parmesean in, but not nearly enough to go with the cream πŸ˜‰ If the sauce gets thicker in the oven with the chicken … good. It should, but I hope it’ll be a nice texture when I take it out to serve it.

I have a ton of cookbooks. I have one huge Chicken cookbook –dedicated to chicken recipes, glossy pages, tons of photos– not one interesting “cream sauce” type of chicken recipe in that book. :veryshocked:

Not one recipe for a real alfredo sauce in my any of my books either. It’s not that I couldn’t find one online, I just didn’t like the ones I saw … I had one in my head from before and what I put together is just a weirdo thing, out of proportion, I could’nt control myself, just dumping the cream I had in jars into the pan. πŸ™‚ Well it’s an experimental creation and we’ll see how well it turns out. Frank says my “experiments” are always good.

So it’s in the oven, I just put foil over the top, it was browning on top, the cream sauce, that is. It’s ending up that we’ll be eating later than I had wanted to. That’s just the way it goes sometimes (a lot more often than not, actually πŸ˜‰ )

So this is a family dinner, not a sweethearts dinner. We have nothing smooshy going on this year. Just the smooshy heart pasta, that’ll be it. πŸ˜‰

Sunday

Frank got home on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately I cut my thumb trying to open a new bottle of Balsalmic Vinegar that morning, I couldn’t get the metal top to budge and had to use a knife to pry the edges up to break the “seal”. I was so very careful, all for naught.

Ouch! it was pretty deep on my right-hand thumb, and so from that point on the dishes I’d planned on doing before Frank got home weren’t able to be done.

It still, 2-days later, is trying to pull together. It opens up easily at will. It’s not a “stitches” situation, just a nice deep slice that is taking time to knit together, since it’s on my hands that are frequently used for many things πŸ˜‰ It is healing from underneath, it’s not quite as deep as it once was. It’s probably a 1/4″ deep now.

So thankfully though this happened the day Frank was slated to arrive home, so that some dishes could be washed more easily as we needed them, worst case. [Frank is a good dish washer. I prefer plates and pans, he doesn’t mind the cups and silverware as much as me, I like the pans, he doesn’t like the pans. πŸ™‚ ] It does figure that I needed to be sure and do something dastardly before Frank was home though, eh? :rolleyes:

It was nice making dinner for that day, since Frank would be there for it too. πŸ™‚ I made a roast, marinated it in Balsalmic Vinegar and Tamari sauce, granulated garlic, and dried herbs: basil, and parsley, and salt; in the fridge for a couple of hours, then roasted for an hour and a half. I let it rest 15 minutes, then sliced it thin. I made gravy with the left over juices from the roast, and beef base, water, butter, flour (a rouge base). Then I put the sliced beef into the gravy and kept it nice and warm/hot.

I served that over homemade bread slices on each individual plate. We had baby carrots gently cooked with some orange juice too. The other thing we had is something we got at Costco, Rosemary Garlic Olive Oil potatoes. They are a frozen product, potato wedges, skin still on, and coated with the titled products. You just put them in the oven on a baking sheet and heat in a hot oven for 25 minutes or so, stirring once or twice during baking time. They are really tasty, and easy to make, and made with basically good ingredients, nothing bad, except for some added “sugar” as is normally added to frozen products. I mean though, they were made with some kind of olive oil coating, not another sort of horrible oil. πŸ™‚ It’s the first time we made that.

[We don’t eat many potatoes any more. We used to do more, and I cut way back, that sure makes a difference in how I feel after meals. I also had some arthritic feelings in my right wrist, that first started feeling like a sprain sort of, then got worse and then after three weeks sort of dulled down, then my left wrist started feeling like that. Once I cut out potatoes –I did not serve any for a few weeks– guess what? Major part of that wrist pain is gone, and usually it doesn’t bother me at all now. I’d long ago read via EatRight4YourBloodtype that “nightshade” plants are not good for O’s and actually very bad possibly. We ate a lot of potatoes, really super German affection for them. πŸ™ Potatoes are in the “nightshade” family. Besides that though, I know and have known for a long time, potatoes aren’t filled with nutrition at all.]

We went to church for the evening service then. That was nice, out of the house for the first time in so many days for us! It’s good to go to church, in any case. We are mid-point into Isaiah.

Exploding things

What a night πŸ™

Tired me began searching for “what to do with chicken breasts” for dinner, with no Daddy here to cook for, just me and the children. I thought of Chicken Parmesan, but I didn’t have any bread crumbs to use at the time … I could have MADE them, but that was more trouble that I wanted.

So I thought of this and that, having to use that Chicken since I had defrosted it yesterday. I looked at a lot of recipes for inspiration here, and finally was inspired to just make the Chicken Parmesan, but differently.

So I put the Chicken Beasts in a big pan with Olive Oil, and browned them nicely on both sides. Sprinkled granulated Garlic over one side of each piece of Chicken Breast, and then a few pinches of Sea Salt over it all.

In another pan I put in a can of diced tomatoes and some finely chopped onion, and heated that up, adding basal, and Sea Salt too.

Then I decided to put that tomato mixer in with the chicken. I combined them and let that cook some more. I took angle hair pasta and put it in hot water in a pan with some tomato paste.

I planned on putting the chicken on a plate and setting that aside, and adding the tomato sauce with partially cooked angle hair in the bottom of a 9×13 glass Pyrex dish. Then on top of that the diced tomato mixer. Then the chicken on top of that.

I got that far.

I was about to pick it all up to put it in the oven for about 15 min. when @#!—BAM—!#@ it exploded all over the place. Glass was everywhere. The tomato sauce all over the stove, all over my dress,and dripping onto the floor. Glass had popped so far. It was clods of glass, with a few shards and slivers. Mostly “safety glass” like though.

That was the WORST thing that has happened this year so far. Worst non-death thing to happen in a long time too, I think.

Of course, it’s just me standing there with no help but my 8 and 6 year olds. 4 year old causing more trouble … it was horrid.

So they are all crying since I said it was all ruined. We were hungry and getting ready to have a nice dinner together. I was tired in the first place, but still plugging along to get it on the table.

What happened?

The pyrec dish was on the stove, I put it on the burner that the pasta had been cooking on. No big deal, it’s stove top friendly. So then I noticed that it was on “7” and I turned it off. I was only planning on plopping the Chicken in and then going to put it all in the oven …

It was more than the dish could take. I will say that it’s an electric yucky stove we have … not a smooth top. So the setting that the burner is on stays that hot for a long time after it’s turned off. Gas or smooth top stove isn’t quite like that. One of them types would have saved our dinner tonight! πŸ™

So instead of eating dinner, I had a huge mess to clean up. Ugh. It was bad, bad, bad, Stove it all clean now though πŸ˜‰ Not my way of getting it that way, not favorite, I mean.

There was some left-over pizza in the fridge that the children then ate. I just had some fresh Mozzarella sliced thin with sea salt on top and into a warm oven for a minute or so to ‘loosen up’.

I put too much sea salt on it though. Blech.

So nothing has gone right with food for me today.

I leave my morning story for the end.

I got out a frozen English Muffin for part of my breakfast. I let it sit till I could easily pry it apart, then put it in the toaster. I toast things funny. I put things down three or four times, turn them around between “downs” and put them in other slots, etc. Here and there, and let them sit awhile between “toastings” too, if I feel like it.

So today, I go back to the toaster. My English Muffin is not there. Hmmm. Ah. Kitty took it. Really. Urgh.

So take 2.

Um forget that.

Take 3 … I got this one toasted and SAVED. I put butter on it. Yum. Then I open up a pack of Cream Cheese, slap some on without really looking: then I looked. Yucky! It was a pack that must have been in the back of the fridge in it’s last week or so, it must have frozen. It was falling apart, grainy, tasted alright, but texture, ugh.

I tried to eat the English Muffin then, but couldn’t. I couldn’t stand the graininess of the Cream Cheese.

Boo Hoo. Poor me. πŸ˜₯

So that was that this morning. Then I build wet fires all day long. Then the Dinner Horror Hour … I’m done for.

Horrible day, horrible, horrible, horrible. If only I could cry. But I can’t, too tired.

I woke up last night/this morning at 4:30 with a screaming migraine on the right side of my head. I was so sick and only half went back to sleep really weird sometime after 6am, for about an hour. So I didn’t get a great start out to the day in the first place. Meds I took (just Excedrin and a Tums) knocked the migraine out when I did that “nap” Thanks be to God for HIS hand in it! But still, I was drained to begin with. Bed time here I come! But I am still hungry.

Too bad this is the kind of stuff that happens when Daddy is away. KWIM?

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