Walkabout The Snow Day

Snow DateDepending on your line of work (teachers) and your age (still in grade school) you will see a ton of snow days in Kentucky. I don’t get many snow days as I am not a teacher nor am I in school. Snow Days in the South are a big joke to people up North who get snow in feet not inches. Down here, it would be insane to send a standard yellow school bus down curvy country roads that haven’t seen salt trucks ever. We got several inches of snow and several inches of ice overnight and I got a snow day! Sometimes it is good to live on back roads. It took most of the day for the road crews in our area to get the main parkways and interstates clear. We’re still waiting for our main highway to be cleared today (day two).

On our snow day we made a big pot of chicken and dumplings and sipped on hot coffee through the morning.

Veggies in broth

This photo of the chicken stock and the onions, celery and carrots was too beautiful not to share. Isn’t food just BEAUTIFUL! You can tell why my weight loss is so slow going. Hah!

Chicken n' dumplings

I painted my nails blue while we watched tons of episodes of Bones, Leverage and Rules of Engagement. I also caught up on some reading–glorious, glorious reading.

messy blue

In the afternoon, I donned three shirts, two pants, a sweater, hat and insulated overalls. I hadn’t ventured out of the house much because I hate being cold, but given the proper preparation I love it! I romped in just about every snow drift on the farm to show how impressively deep the snow had gotten–Several feet.

I attempted to  throw a snowball at Kit but quickly realized it was much to powdery for any real fun. A snowman would have been out of the question.  However, I had a grand time romping in drifts, making a snow angel, spying tracks of and seeing some actual wildlife.
We brought the camera: 

driftone

One foot on top of snow and the other sunk to what I assume was the ground.

makesnowangel

I remember making dozens of snow angels as a kid until I got the perfect one. Then my brothers usually walked through it.

Drifttwo by fence

Sunken into a drift that built up by the neighbor’s fence row. My knee is below the snow line.

snow angel poseHad to pose by my not-so-perfect snow angel.

geeseonpond

We wanted to see the half frozen pond and had to stop in short to keep from scaring off the pair of moose enjoying the pond. Okay, moose is a weird inside joke and it is what we call Canadian geese. If I explained it you would just think I am more crazy and less funny.

sillysnowfaces

The obligatory Snow Day Selfie! I hope you guys got to stay home with your loved ones. And if you didn’t get to yesterday, then make a point to spend a day with the people who make you smile soon!

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Greek Valentine’s Date in Review

You may recall my blog about my Greek Valentine’s Day expectations. I shot a little high considering my super lazy attitude from last week. However, we still ate very well and had a lot of fun.
I tried to get pictures of everything, but had been running flat out since 6:30A and was a determined just to get supper done at a reasonable time.

hummuspeppersI made the mistake of laying around on the couch on my day off which left us with having to make the pita bread the evening of our date. We threw everything together in the bread machine to save time and while that was mixing and rising I got to work on the other parts of the meal. Kit had gotten the steak marinating early so we didn’t have to worry about that at least.

Pictured above is the garlic and lime hummus that I made. It looks like boatloads of hummus but we killed it after supper and some for lunch the next day. I cut up two big bell peppers for dipping. Notice the three tiny crackers….I forgot to buy crackers as an alternative dipper. Oh well!
After grinding up the chick peas and spices in the super teenie tiny food processor, Kit washed it and I prepped the next thing to blend up.

The tzatziki was easy to make, there were just several semi-tedious steps. I bought plain yogurt and set it up over a bowl in a sieve with a little bit of cheese cloth. It probably would have been find in the sieve alone, but I didn’t want to lose any deliciousness. After the yogurt was set to draining, I peeled, scraped out the watery seedy center of the cucumbers and cut them in pieces. I placed those pieces in a colander, salted them and left them alone to drain.

pita

Once the bread machine finished the pita dough we got them prepped for the oven. I doubt I will follow the bread machine recipe again. Out of the eight pita circles we baked we only got three that came out of the oven puffed up and perfect for making pocket sandwiches. We had plenty for supper and don’t you worry, we are eating our very flat pita bread with our meals. They act as lovely food shovels with scrambled eggs, just so you know.

veggiestation

 

Sadly, I couldn’t find the dill weed in our cabinets and had to substitute thyme into the tzatziki, but I thought it was delish anyway. After I blended up the tzatziki and put it in the fridge to chill I set about to chopping veggies and Kit cooked the steak on the Foreman Grill. I found feta cheese on sale–yessss–, chopped up some more cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives and opened up the bag salad I bought at the store.

sweet tater fries

We were hungry mungries at this point but since the hummus had distracted our appetites we decided to go ahead and make the sweet potato fries. They turned out quite yummy, but as always there will be changes to the recipe next time we try it. gyro closeLike I said, because I had been running wide open all day I decided against making the lemon brownies and the suddenly salad that night. Although I still can’t wait to try those recipes, we were super duper stuffed like ticks after we finished our steak gyros.

gyro2

 

Of course during our food coma we enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I hadn’t seen it in a while and had forgotten how much I loved the movie. There are some hysterical points in that romantic comedy. All in all, a successful evening.

Did you Valentine’s Day live up to your plans and expectations?

 

Valentine’s Day Greek Date-Night

We came up with a themed date night for our Valentine’s Day by a sort of happy accident. We started off by saying how much we wanted to make this or that. Then we realized that all those things went together in a way.
All of the photos belong to the original bloggers. Please click the hyper-linked text to find their amazing recipes they shared with the world.

The important stuff—What are we eating!?

We have had gyros before and my Sister in Law (SiL) swears that if I can make naan then I can make my own pita bread. I’m not going to use the more traditional lamb because of the cost. Instead we are going to use some beef steaks I found on sale.

Our appetizer will be relatively simple. I’m planning on doing hummus and sweet bell peppers for dipping. Maybe some carrots if we have them on hand too, but I don’t want to overeat before we get to the main event. There will be plenty of food. If you’ve never made hummus before then don’t worry. It is much like guacamole. There are some essentials and after you get them dumped in the bowl you fix it to your taste. A can of chick peas, lemon juice, salt, garlic and pepper. You’re pretty much in business if you have those things.

To alleviate crunch time stress I am going to make the pita bread the pita day before. Allow them to cool, cut them into halves to create the pockets and put them in zipper bags until our supper the next night.
Here is the recipe for pita bread that I will be following. Looks simple, right?

I will also likely make the tzatziki sauce the day before. As with most

tzatziki infographic

sauces, I feel like it will be more tasty after sitting over night anyway. Tzatziki sauce is basically cucumbers pureed, yogurt and some herbs/spices. It is awesome! Of course if you hate yogurt and cucumber then stay away. Here is the recipe I will be following for Tzatziki sauce. I will however point out that I will not be allowing the yogurt to drain for 2 hours. 30 minutes will suffice.  Check out this cute little infographic on how-to make tzatziki or click the link above for word directions.

gyro

The gyro recipe will more or less follow the one found on Tide and Thyme (again). I figure as long as I add some lemon and thyme and other Greek-ish spices that the meat will be just fine. For veggie stuffing in my gyros I am planning: Olives, spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Sidedishes: The sides will be relatively simple since they are not the main and delectable main stage player that the gyros will be. We are going to make up a box of Suddenly Salad. Yeah, I realize that is silly with all the homemade things surrounding it, but I really enjoy those pasta salads and the lack of work they entail. The second side dish is going to be homemade sweet potato fries. I haven’t completely nailed down a favorite recipe but I’ve been scrounging on Pinterest for one that speaks to me. I kinda want to do an olive oil, salt and rosemary topping for them and I definitely want to cut this fairly thin so I get a good crispy fry. Oh, I should clarify that by “fries” I mean that I bake them on a cookie sheet.

The final thing on our menu for the evening is less Greek, but much more realistic and easy. I decided the most important thing was the gyros

lemon brownies

and I don’t want to spend hours slaving over the dessert too. I have been wanting to make these Lemon Brownies for ages! I love lemon desserts, chocolate desserts or chocolate and fruit desserts. Yeah…I kinda have a sweet tooth. This recipe is of the mix and dump persuasion so I think it will fit our evening the best.

My mom suggested this last part and I figured, why not dive in?!
Mom owns a copy of My Big Fat Greek Wedding  so we’re going to greekweddingwatch that as we eat our gyros, salad and fries. I hope that we’ll be full as ticks by the end of the evening. Seeing as the hubbster doesn’t drink wine or champagne I’m not sure what specialty drinks we might have. He will probably stick with his sweet tea or diet coke. I might get a small bottle of something special just for me. And you know that once you remove the cork is spoils if you don’t finish it in one night. 

Questions for my Readers:

Is a themed Valentine’s date too cheesy for you?
I’ve got a lot riding on if all these recipes turn out right. Would you try a new recipe on a special night?
Are you
, like us, trying to avoid going out on the 14th at all costs? I gave up trying to battle the crowds years ago. Staying in are where it is at!

Supper: Pot Pie & Eggnog Cookies

stove recipe  boxSeveral years ago, my mother in law gave to me and my husband a cute box of recipes belonging to Kit’s Aunt.
I have browsed through it but never took the time to pull out a recipe and collect up the ingredients. There are some from magazines and some from memories long ago. Getting into the season of epic cooking, I took another look through the recipe box and have decided to try and pull one or two recipes out a month and give them a whirl. I would love to do one each week, but knowing me, I will fail at it if I make promises.

open recipe boxIsn’t that recipe box just darling?

So, what have I chosen for my first tester recipe? Eggnog cookies. I never knew such a thing existed, but I’m excited to try it. The chicken pot pie is a recipe that I found online. Apparently, I never wrote down the recipe that I used for last year’s pies. I have a stellar crust recipe and I know the veggies and chicken are just keep throwing it in until you run out of room. However, broths and gravies always make me a little nervous. Seasoning and consistency mostly. The recipe I chose to follow is one I found through Pinterest and the source is Instructables. I love that website and had no idea they had Instructable recipes. I can’t vouch for the recipe as a whole, but if you use recipes as a guideline then it will be perfect for you too. Here is the link to the chicken pot pie Instructable recipe.
I plan on adding broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, squash and whatever other veggie I can find to the pot pie. I plan on serving the pot pie with fresh spinach salad. A nice crunch to go with all that chickeny goodness.eggnog cookies recipe card

Apparently Eggnog Cookies are just a Google search away. How have I never heard of them before? I’m kinda pumped because from the recipe it looks as like an amped up, more flavorful version of sugar cookies.
I can tell ya right now, that I will be increasing the amount of cinnamon. Much like garlic, they don’t list enough on recipes.

Hubbster and I had the great debate trying to decide if we wanted to try Eggnog cookies or Oatmeal cake. Oatmeal cake looks dead easy so it will be on the menu sometime soon. This aunt loved her cakes and pies, that is most of the contents of the recipe box. There are some savory recipes, some sides and several pickle recipes that we will have to try next summer too.

Have you ever made eggnog cookies before?
Do you have a go-to recipe for pot pie or do you mix up the veggies each time?

Pumpkin Quinoa Soup–The Results

Let me start by saying–my hubbster is picky and I haven’t had anyone else over to the house to be on my side about this soup. I loved it!
If you’re a picky eater or not fond of weird foods then perhaps continue your google searching because you may not like this recipe. My hubbster might have liked it if I had included chunks of ham or chicken. However, as the recipe is below, Kit had no seconds nor leftovers.

You may recall that I posted a blog talking about how I make up recipes and end up a trial Franken-recipe once I get to the kitchen. Here is what I changed once I actually got into the kitchen to cook this soup.

Ingredients
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 TBSP garlic to taste (I never measure this)
2 TBSP olive oil (never measure)
2 TBSP curry powder (you can continually taste and add more/less as you cook because soups are wonderfully forgiving)
salt and pepper
A couple of shakes of red pepper flakes
3 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped
3 small/medium sized yellow squash, washed and chopped

2 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1 can pure pumpkin (15 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 cup uncooked quinoa

Toppings–Grated cheese. I tried both cheddar and mozz.

Directions
Saute onions, garlic and spices in olive oil until translucent. Then add carrots and squash. Cover and allow to cook on low medium until veggies are a bit more tender–Remember you don’t want them super mushy because you want some texture to the soup.
Add broth, coconut milk, pumpkin, diced tomatoes and quinoa. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat the low and cook until quinoa pops open and liquid is absorbed. It took perhaps 30 minutes to make sure the quinoa was popped open and delicious.

What did it taste like?
It was awesome! The pumpkin was prominent and the coconut milk made it creamy and comforting. The curry powder did NOT make this soup hot but added a little kick and more complexity to the soup itself. I thought the veggies gave it just enough goodness to munch on.
If you please, you could reduce the quinoa amount at 1/3 of a cup and chicken broth by 1 cup. You would end up with about the same amount of broth/fluids.

The Process of Making a Recipe

People are constantly begging for my secret, Where on earth do you find these amazing recipes, Kat! Or, Gee, your cooking is the greatest, Mrs. Clark.
Honestly, no one says that, but in my head that is what it translates to when people compliment my cooking.

So here is that process I have to making a recipe. My methods are not unique, but do typically yield good results. It begins with me finding an ingredient, hearing people talk about or getting exposed to a food via media and it the gears start turning.

I have been thinking about pumpkin soup all summer because I have tons of cans of pumpkin in my cabinet and a co-worker mentioned that he really loves making pumpkin soup. Especially as the weather has gotten colder.

I started searching the Internetz for recipes that sounded good to me and almost immediately, had an unhappy realization. Almost all of the soup recipes I found had quite a bit of broth. Kit prefers a chunky soup, so I knew that a watery soups would mean I would have to eat the whole pot.

After pinning a few recipes I liked I started thinking and ultimately chose quinoa. It is filled with good proteins, has a good texture and soaks up liquids quite well. Quinoa and savory pumpkin sounds amazing to me. I also like the idea that I could adapt a recipe to having vegetable broth and make it for my veggie-saurus brother.

The trickiest thing about soups are that if you want a certain result of liquid you have to start with the right amount of liquid. Or suffer the cycle of doom where you keep adding things until it gives or you give….And end up with double the amount of soup you intended.

Under closer inspection of the recipes I found some similarities and pulled all the ingredients I knew we would love. I pulled ingredients from this Coconut Curry Pumpkin soup recipe I found on all recipes and a crock pot Chicken Quinoa-Pumpkin soup that I found on a personal blog.

That’s basically the process. The next step, of course, is making it on a night that I will not burst into tears if I have to order a pizza and dump it out. However, that isn’t so hard because I usually enjoy trying a new recipe.

crock-pot-chicken-quinoa-pumpkin-soup

Here is the Pumpkin Quinoa soup recipe that I came up with:
Warning: I have not tried this yet, but am looking forward to it mid-week. I will post an update to let you know what changes I made to the recipe below.

Ingredients
1 sweet onion, chopped2 TBSP garlic to taste (I never measure this)
2 TBSP olive oil (never measure)
1 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1 can pure pumpkin (15 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa

Toppings–Sour cream, or grated cheese (parm) and chopped fresh spinach.

Optional–potatoes, carrots, celery, cooked chicken.

Directions
Saute onions, garlic and spices in olive oil until translucent.
Add broth, coconut milk, pumpkin, diced tomatoes and quinoa. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat the low and cook until quinoa pops open and liquid is absorbed.

Because I haven’t used this recipe before I’m not sure if three or two cups of chicken broth is more appropriate. I think for most people that three cups would be fine, but knowing that we like thicker or stew-like soups we should probably go for less. I already have a feel too, that I will want more pumpkin.

I’m really debating if I want more stuff in my soup. I usually have carrots and celery on hand to fill out a soup, if necessary. Chicken would be good, but it shouldn’t be a main player in the soup. I feel like the chicken would try to steal the show, when really, it is more about the creamy pumpkin soup.

After actually trying the recipe, Kit and I will sit down with our bowls or plates and eat for about five minutes before we start the deconstruction. What spices did you use? Are the flavors mellowed together? If you could change one thing to make this better, what would you do? And so on. We don’t place blame on the cook if the food isn’t perfect, but rather, figure out if we should try it again, tweak it, or keep it exactly the same. I love, love, love this part of our relationship. Not only can we cook and hang out in the kitchen together, but we make a game out of the recipes. Perhaps, like a friendly panel of judges on Iron Chef.

What process do you use when you’re trying to find new recipes to add to your regulars?

Do you ever follow the recipe exactly as you found it?

Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken {Recipe Revealed!!}

spicythaiprogressMy SiL made this for me when I went to visit her down in Illinoise and I finally got brave enough to try it myself. I will link to my pin of the original recipe and below is my version of the recipe.

Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken

Ingredients:

2-4 chicken breasts (depending on size)
Salt, garlic powder and curry powder to taste
1/2 box of angel hair or linguine
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of dried red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon of sesame seeds
1 whole sweet onion, diced
1 medium sized green pepper, diced
4 carrots peeled and grated
6 Tablespoons honey
6 Tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Grill or cook chicken with desired spices (I sprinkled mine with salt, garlic and curry powder). Allow to cool and chop up the chicken. Add to pot last along with the noodles.
Start boiling pasta, follow box directions for cooking and drain to prevent overcooking.
In a medium sized pot, cook oil, red pepper, sesame seeds. Once you chop up the onion and peppers throw those in as well. Continue to cook on medium heat ntil desired tenderness is reached.
Peel and grate carrots and add to pot once veggies are cooked.
Whisk together honey and soy sauce then add to pot and allow to simmer together for a few minutes.
Add drained pasta & cooked chicken to pot of sauce and veggies. Combine well until all the noodles are covered in sauce. thaispicenoodlesThe best thing you can do is let it sit overnight. You might even consider making a whole box of pasta just so you have the delectable leftovers the next day. spicy thai noodlesThis is the darling recipe card that the original blogger made for her readers. You will notice that I omitted several things. I didn’t feel a need for the toppings so I left them out. I also reduced the amount of oil and added sesame seeds to olive oil because I didn’t have any sesame oil. You might even consider playing with this recipe some more and add even more veggies or add tofu instead of chicken if you fancy that.

I love, love, love this recipe.
Hubbster got one bite of the leftovers, because I refused to share more.

~Kat~