Archive for the ‘General’ Category

A Well Labeled Freezer

It has been one heck of a week… Husband has run off to stay a week with my parents in Florida.  He abandons me and Maddy for a week to 10 days every February to play with my folks.  I know most people think it is totally weird that he would vacation at his in-laws; but if you knew them you would understand!  They are totally laid back fun people and I joke with Jim that he gets along so well as he is practically their age!  Had to add that jab!

Well while Jim has been away I managed to get a flu bug that totally knocked me on my butt.  I had to cancel a business trip to “the city of brotherly love”, as Maddy and I call Philadelphia, and I spent a solid 24 hours in bed.  Between a the help from neighbors and friends, I am back among the living and itching to make something. 

I managed 2 loaves of bread this morning, one wheat and one cinnamon wheat (see recipe under baking “in need of an intervention”).  They are so yummy.  Maddy much prefers my bread to store-bought so I guess I will be baking a couple of loaves each Saturday for the next 12 years or so!  I like it better too so I guess that is OK!

I could not get my mind around what I wanted to eat/cook so I decided to go to my freezer and see what I could find for dinner.  I love to cook and freeze things so I have them for a night that I don’t want to take the time to do too much for dinner but feel like I have.  Here’s the list of things I have in my freezer almost all the time:

  • Meatballs– Oh the things you can do with them; pasta dishes, sandwiches, mushroom sauce over noodles, sliced on a pizza, barbecue sauce ’em, just a ton of quick easy meals.
  • Chili– when do you ever make chili and not have left-overs?  I always keep 2 bowls in the fridge for the next day’s lunch then the rest goes into the freezer for a cold night!
  • Stuffed Shells– These are simply the easiest things to make and you can hide lots of good veggies among the ricotta and your kids will not mind at all!
  • Spaghetti Sauce– with meat, without good stuff for a quick dinner.
  • Bread– before bread goes bad we freeze it sliced so it can be pulled out for garlic bread or pizza bread on quick notice.
  • Soup– I currently have beef barley and chicken vegetable in my freezer. 

Beef barley was what I had my mouth all set for tonight.  Maddy was at My Connie’s house playing with her best friend Emma.  I was alone and hungry… soup… oh a nice steamy bowl of soup.  That was going to hit my spot!  I started going through my Ziploc containers trying to locate my beef barley soup. 

Here’s the issue… most everything I freeze has a tomato base to it, it all looks quite similar when frozen!  Things really don’t smell that much when they are frozen either, so opening and smelling was not going well. 

I found what I thought was beef barley soup and tossed it into the microwave.  I was going to cut a nice slice of fresh bread and settle into my crochet project and veg.  As the microwave turned and my frozen soup was thawing I noticed the smell of spaghetti sauce.  AUGH… I pulled the wrong container!  I was now thawing sauce with turkey sausage!  Time for Plan B: garlic bread topped with mozzarella and meat sauce!

Tomorrow I am going to buy a label maker!!!

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Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Happy Valentine’s day to all! Flowers, candy, romance, dinners, wine…what is not to like about it!?

Ashok, my amazing husband and I have never celebrated Valentine’s day. We have been married for 14 years now and have not celebrated Valentine’s day once. We are not big on this day, is all.

I think it is awesome that people celebrate this day with their significant other. Make an effort to show each other what they mean to each other.

We should all do that as often as we can. Show our loved ones and tell our loved ones what they mean to us.

As far my better half and myself, every day with him is like Valentine’s day for me. I do not say this often enough or let him know how often enough much I appreciate what he does for me. But for me, it is all about the little things in life. When I am tired, he takes great care of the kids so that I can rest. He leaves me notes reminding me of things he knows I will forget. I mean, there are so many things that he does for me that I couldn’t fit into one blog post. I hope in turn I do half as much for him.

And guess what!? He brings me chocolate and roses every year on Valentine’s day! So not needed, but hey! a girl never says no to chocolates or roses!

Happy Valentine’s day all! However you celebrate it, I hope you have an amazing time!

Much love,

Radhika aka East.

Another Westie

Hello!  My name is Dee and my two lovely friends Candis and Radhika have allowed me to blog with them.  Let me tell you about myself.  I have two kids and a husband whom my world revolves around, I love to cook and bake, I like to play video games,  I like to read fantasy novels, I really like Guiness when it’s cold out and a good dry red wine any time of the year.  I am a girl who is always trying something new and since I have a bit of an obsessive personality, I get easily distracted so if you notice I have not posted in a while, it’s because something else has grabbed my attention.  But, no worries, I will always be back!  I am actually hoping that blogging with friends will inspire me to post more often.  I currently have my own personal blog that I have not posted to in six months…eek!

Anyhoo, let’s see, what have I missed?  Ah, pancakes!  I like my pancakes with syrup, fruit, powdered sugar, whatever I am in the mood for that morning or evening as pancakes are a hit any time of the day.  This is my absolute favorite recipe for pancakes adapted from Allrecipes.com.

Fluffy Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Servings – 4  – Please note:  I always double this recipe.  The leftovers are always good to serve the kiddo’s during the week (if there are any leftovers).

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

East Meets West.

Radhika (East):
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