Archive for January, 2011

Canning My Way to Sanity

I have had one heck of a week. Work is crazy, clients are expecting the best (and why not that is what they pay for), family is wondering what’s for dinner. And all I really want to do is pick up the phone and veg for a while with my Radhika. Rad I will make that phone call soon… the family is louder than my wish to hangout on the phone! HA-HA!

I am super busy, trying to do it all.  There really are not enough hours in the day, but one thing I always make time for is cooking.  I think in a past life I was a June Cleaver lady, very domestic, and that is coming out more and more as I get older.  I want my daughter to have all the skills I was shown by my mom, Aunt Frank and grandmothers.  The only real difference is that I am doing it at night and on the weekends and with Ozzy Osbourne or AC-DC blasting in the background!

So Saturday I decided to can some applesauce. I had WAY too many apples leftover from my making of apple butter last weekend so they were calling my name. Five cans done and ready for the pantry. There is nothing better than the sound of popping lids when you have canned. It is music to my ears!

Yes I know I am only showing you 4 jars… one went immediately into the fridge so no need to can it.  And it was gone in less than 24 hours!

You may not think you can can as it is too hard too scary.  I am here to tell you that it is the easiest thing in the world and it is inexpensive!  Again, mom, Aunt Frank and grandmothers all canned and they had the basics for tools.

My tools are from Ace Hardware (love this place for all kinds of things!).  This set was maybe $12, 2 flats of jars (pints and quarts) was maybe $14 and that was it!  I have a huge stock pot already so no need to purchase.  The jars can be used a jillion times over so it is really economical.

I found a great website www.pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm as a refresher for me.  While I have been in the kitchen for all this canning fun as a kid, I can’t remember all the fine points!  So I started there.  Check it out for yourself and give it a whirl!  You will be happy you did.

Love,

Candis aka West

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A not so great day at work, a friend and a sweet and spicy sandwich

Had one (or more like five) of those days at work where you feel like fleeing the building like it is on fire!? I know the feeling. UGH!

Having gone through not-so-great days at work for the past few days, I emailed Candis today and said in an oh-so-dramatic fashion, “I think the sky is falling!!” or something to that effect. She immediately wrote back and said “Chin up girl. Get over yourself”. Well, she put it nicely, but I am so grateful for a friend like her. The ones who aren’t enablers. The ones who hold an intervention when you so badly need one! All of us need friends, true friends who have got your back and are not afraid to be honest. Lindsay Lohan…you listening..get yourself a Candis..STAT!!

So after Candis emailed me, I made it through the rest of day, knowing it will all work out..eventually. I just need to continue to do my job as best as I can.

I got home, kissed and hugs my babies and then made them an awesome dinner!

I made Roasted Pineapple Habanero spiced Pork, Onions and peppers sandwich on a homemade honey wheat roll. Yep, I said homemade roll and yes, on a weeknight! The recipe I used, was that easy and so worth every minute. Enjoy the picture. We enjoyed the sandwiches on behalf of you guys!

Hope y’all had a good day!

Good night.

Love,

Radhika.

 

 

 

Pancake meets Dosa

My fun assignment for today was making dosa. I was the dosa half of “Pancake meets Dosa”. I was all excited to start early, take pictures along the way and make it a step-by-step recipe. No such luck! Work, dear work, has a way of spoiling the fun. I did not let work zap all of the fun, but it definitely took its hefty share. In work’s defense though, work never called itself “fun”. Neither is its tag line “Where friends are made!”.

I have to tell you though, as part of growing, learning and improving myself every day of my life, I am trying to learn to take these ups, downs and curve balls in stride and not let it ruin my whole day (which I would have previously!) Do I hear you mumble..”drama queen!!”!?

Having said that, I made dosa. Dosa is one of my favorite eats, morning or noon. Notice, I never said “night”. Because that would be weird, plain weird I tell you! Or would it!? Hmmm….maybe dosa should join the dinner table as well!

Dosa is the savory Eastern half of West’s pancakes. It’s origins can be found in South India. A dosa a day keeps the doctor away! Trust me on this.

There are various types of dosas. they can be made from lentils, rice, semolina, pulses etc etc. I made mine from semolina today. It is a quick and easy recipe and lucky for me, my family’s favorite.

You may wonder why I am not delving into the recipe with this post. Like I said before I ended up having to work, work, work and that meant very little time to cook. So I tossed measurements to the side, recipe to the side, pictures to the side and ended up making the dosa with a pinch of this and a dash of that. I served the dosa with chicken curry. Luckily for me, the family LOVED it. My husband loved it so much, he has asked me to make dosa my daily assignment.

I have such a problem with measurements, knowing how much of what I am adding or what I am adding. And yet, I keep wondering why I cannot make progress on my cookbook.

P.S: I will post a pic tomorrow. Time to shut down the laptop and get ready for the week.

Happy work week y’all!

Monday update: Pic added. Hope all had a good Monday!

Love,

East.

Here we are a new year…

My friends inspire me… they push me, motivate me, make me think. Friends define us maybe more than our family does. “You can’t choose your family but you do choose your friends.” Not sure who said that but it really does ring home with me.

Radhika and I met less than a year ago online. Friends of friends from way back connecting through Facebook. I swore I would NEVER get involved with FB. One very close friend of mind had been pushing me to get on it for a while and I finally bit. Reconnecting with people from my past, choosing to become friends again with people I knew when I was young and finding out that we all have grown so much was great. And the icing on the cake has been meeting my long-lost friend Radhika.

Radhika and I had never met, not in this lifetime anyway. We were instantly bonded through food and a love to create meals and memories for our families and friends. She pushed me into blogging with her… I say that with gratitude in my words because if my friends didn’t push me I would have less joy in my life!

Our first topic was to be pancakes… my family LOVES breakfast for dinner as well as breakfast for breakfast. I suppose that we would love breakfast for lunch but I think that is actually called brunch. Rad is going to give you a GREAT recipe for Dosa, a lovely Indian “bread/pancake” that she has made for me on my visits. They are lovely and handmade. A real art to it. I hope she will post a video of the process as she looks very zen while cooking them.

I make pancakes like most American born American’s… via a box. I was raised on that great staple called Bisquick. The box that launched a thousand meals. I dabbled with other mixes; fancy ones from William Sonoma, some southern box I picked up on a drive to Florida and a new actual favorite from Trader Joes that is a whole grain mix.

How you top your pancakes is what is most interesting to me. As a kid I slathered on lots of strawberry preserves on mine. I hated the pancakes getting soggy with the syrup. Still to this day I am not so fond of a soggy syrup soaked pancake. My lovely husband spent a fortune on some 100% pure maples syrup for me for a birthday gift. I smiled and said thanks, but all the time thinking “yikes, this stuff is really thin and will certainly soke a pancake quicker that anything!”.

Today I am a fruit topping girl with a tiny bit of syrup. Maddy (my daughter and the light of my life) loves powdered sugar only on hers. French toast too… fruit and powdered sugar or just powdered sugar. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

East Meets West.

Radhika (East):
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