Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random Journal Entry: Feb 26 09

Today was a beautiful day. It was a little bit chilly still but semi overcast-which is my FAVORITE (Strange, I know.) The network crashed at work and for about three hours we all sat around incessantly rebooting our PCs, skimming the newspapers, talking about food, creating a lottery pool and discussing what we would do with the winnings, and listening to ridiculous stories from Johnny D, our honorary window-licker and the source of much entertainment around the office.

Well after 3 hours we were all burnt out and restless and starving from all the food talk so we departed the office and went our separate ways. I headed over to Lowe's just to price some items for the garden and walked out with 60 paver bricks to use for the herb wheel garden. I scored a nice price-21 cents a piece!

Heading back to the office I saw the DQ sign yelling my name and said to hell with it and picked up a small choco cherry blizzard. Yum I haven't had DQ in awhile. I almost always get a small blizzard, but whatever is in their ice cream never allows me to finish it. I get about half way done and its overkill and time to stop. Every time. Not complaining though-my wide load butt surely doesn't need the whole thing.

I managed to clean out my car this afternoon too and do the windows. The fingerprint art work on them was horrendous.

Picked up Red from school later in the afternoon and we spent about an hour hand turning and raking the dirt in a 8x10 plot next to the house. I was going to start on the opposite side of the house-but this side has virtually no grass growing in this section so it won't require the use of a tiller. that will save me a little bit of money. We have so much rock in our soil its ridiculous-I would hardly call it soil...its pretty much clay and rocks.

I decided we need to get a chain saw and cut down some of the smaller trees right in that area too since there are a couple that are uncomfortably close to the house. I'll have to try and get Tracy to work on that next weekend. It will reduce the shade hours in that section of the yard too-which will be good for the garden.

There's tons of rain in the forecast this weekend so I won't be able to apply my grass and weed killer around the garden plot. I'll probably just get out there and keep working the soil. I need to go ahead an build the the border with some landscaping timbers. I'm guessing I will have to dig a small trench of sorts so that the timbers will settle and rest in the ground.

I got in a quick workout with the bag tonight. Its always best to listen to something hardcore and angry when working the bag-either that or super high energy techno. It just makes the workout that much better.

Red and I spent the rest of the evening making salmon patties and mac and cheese and salad and drawing pictures and practicing writing letters. He showed me (wink, wink) how to make a rainbow and informed me that I need more practice making rainbows because I don't use enough colors on my rainbows.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pork with Apples and Pierogies: Memories of Home

We all have a favorite (or favorites in my case) comfort food. Its usually something that reminds us of being a kid and takes us back to our Mom's or Grandmom's kitchen. For me comfort foods tend to be creamy or cheesy and full of carbs. Pierogies are definitely on my list. They are big in Northeastern Ohio, where I grew up. There are alot of Eastern European roots in that area and pierogies can be found at tons of mom and pop restaurants.

I've yet to find them down here except for a variety sold in the frozen section at the grocery store.

I pulled out some boneless pork chops the other night and saw the pierogies in there and figured they 'd go well together. I started searching for a recipe online and came across one that included both pierogies and chops. There was also apple and onion so I knew it was going to be a winner.
I adjusted it a bit. The recipe called for bone in chops-I used boneless chops that I cut into strips and I added a bit of parsley for some color. I also used olive oil instead of butter. They were delicious and I really think I could have eaten the pieorgies alone without the pork. Simple delicious comfort food.

Pork Chops N Pierogies

8 frozen potato and onion pierogies
2 (3/4 inch) thick bone-in pork loin chops
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 medium sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 Golden Delicious apple, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Cook pierogies according to package directions. ***I like to saute/stir fry my pierogies rather than boil them***

Meanwhile, sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a large skillet, cook chops in 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until juices run clear; remove and keep warm.

In the same skillet, saute onion in remaining butter for 3 minutes. Add apple; saute until almost tender.

Stir in the sugar, vinegar, and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add pork chops and pierogies to skillet; stir to coat.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Friday's Happy Clips and Garden Snips

Friday Happy Clips...

Gots-ta love Pre-schooler artwork! I have binders full of artwork from the first 4 years of this child's life. The hardest part is deciding what to keep and what to toss. I just want to keep every little scribbled on paper he makes. This one is a definite keeper and makes me giggle. Its called "Dog Chasing Cat"-I have to wonder about the blank look on the striped dogs face. He doesn't seem too terribly excited about "chasing" this 6 legged cat. The cat looks thoroughly annoyed. Maybe I'll mat and frame this one, it makes me giggle every time I look at it.

And the silly little artist who created this fabulous work of art-well, we can not forget him. He was full of happiness this week. This, after Satan himself invaded and took over his little body over the weekend. HOLY 4 YEAR OLD ATTITUDE! I was on the verge of entering the land of "Mommie Dearest"with this child this weekend. It WERE NOT purrty folks, not purrty at all. Alas, my happy silly and angelically behaved little boy is back and has rebuked the devilish ways of yester-weekend.

Garden Snips...

Here's the garden plan for this year:

One 5 ft in diameter circular sectioned herb garden (IF I can find FREE or next to nothing bricks) IE, an Herb Wheel.

One 8x10 foot vegetable garden.

"Salad Bowl" window box










Tomatoes-three varieties including one yellow tomato





Yellow Squash and Zucchini

Pole Beans


Red leaf lettuce

Bibb Lettuce

Dandelion Greens

Supplies Needed:

Mid turn tiller (RENT $35)

Twine (already have on hand)


landscaping timbers, 2x?? ($20)

Stakes ($10)

Plastic fencing roll ($10)

Organic Topsoil-probably about a yard and a half ($35)

Mulch ($20)

Trellis of some sort ($10)

Zip ties (already have on hand)

Irrigation drip style hose ($10)

Starter pod trays (already have on hand)


I can't wait to get started, I'll probably start marking off and digging up the plots outside and plant the seeds indoors in the starter trays this weekend. I have to pick up a few more seed packets and some herb plants over the next few weeks.

I might fore go building the rain barrel-just depends on what the cost is going to be for the supplies to actually make one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Morning Morsels of Marvelousness




Scones. I love scones-they've become my new favorite baked good. Sweet or savory, scones=love. They are the perfect little accompaniment to a steamy hot mug o' ______ (Fill in the blank please)...seriously.

Coffee + scone=YES. Tea+scone=YES. Soup+scone=YES, YES, YES!

I'm partial to the S'bucks cinnamon chip and pumpkin scones but damn(!) in this economy? I'll be making my own, thanks! Which, by the way, is sinfully easy to do. The key to a good scone is cold, cold ,cold! Bowls, beaters, cream, or butter-whatever-it needs to be very cold...and don't overwork the dough. That's simple enough, right? Really-I am not a skilled baker-I suck at baking because I'm so sloppy and impatient. Baking is mathematical and precise in nature-cooking is throw it in there and tweak it like this, tweak it like that...I want to be a good baker though-so I work at it. Scones are perfect for me-they are so easy and quick to throw together, and the end result is always perfect bites of light flavorful goodness. They are so simply perfect they make people who don't know any better think they have to be difficult to make.

I have yet to make a savory scone at home-but I will be trying a recipe out soon. I just purchased a little scone cast iron pan to make the process even easier. YAY!

Anyway-these babies are yummy! I threw them together last night on a whim. I've been obsessing over making a new scone this week, so I looked in the pantry and saw some leftover toffee chips. Hmmm...googling I a went.

I came across THIS lovely recipe at

I did tweak it a bit-so here is the recipe for the version I made:


3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs plus ¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup chopped Heath or Skor bars (or use toffee bits)
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

2 Tbs (¼ stick) unsalted butter, melted
granulated or coarse white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in toffee bits.
3. In a large, chilled mixing bowl (chill bowl and beaters in freezer for 15 minutes- or in fridge for an hour), whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into dry ingredients; combine well. It will be sticky.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead gently until a soft dough forms; about 2 minutes. Form dough into 2 balls. Pat each ball out into a circle. Place each on a cookie sheet, and cut pie-like into 8 wedges. Pull each wedge out a little bit to create about 1-inch space between each wedge.

5. For topping: Brush scones with melted butter. Sprinkle each scone with a bit of granulated or coarse white sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Yield: 16 small scones or 12 big ones

Dead Batteries and Thai Peanut Noodles

Make these noodles! If you are a visual person like me, seeing a picture of the recipe you are about to try is an important factor in deciding whether or not to make it. I love pretty, colorful food. I eat with my eyes as well as my mouth. so, that being said I totally suck for not having a final product picture to provide with this fantastical peanutty pasta-y recipe-the camera yelled, "CHANGE THE BATTERIES" at me just as I snapped the completed dish's pic. DOH! I thought there might be a slight chance that it saved that final snapshot-but no, it did not.

Ah well, trust me-this is good stuff. I was able to snap a few pics during the preparation so maybe that will help you food voyeurs out just a little bit.

Thai Peanut Noodles from

8-10 oz. linguine or flat rice noodles
8 green onions
3 small garlic cloves
1 T. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 medium carrots
1/2 large red bell pepper
2 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter (I used crunchy peanut butter)
1/4 c. soy sauce
3 t. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4-1/2 t. red pepper (optional)
1/2 c. mung bean sprouts
1/3 c. chopped peanuts (I used plain, unsalted)

Whisk together honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and red pepper and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Julienne the green onions, carrots, and bell pepper; and mince the garlic. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the carrots, saute for a minute or two, then add the garlic, bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute until crisp tender.

Add the liquid ingredients and heat through, stirring gently.

Then add the pasta and toss until coated.
Garnish with the chopped peanuts and bean sprouts...and eat. MMMMM.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Hello, my name is slackadasical. I'm BAAAAAACCKKK!

Meh-wow, it has been a ridonkulously long time since I blogged. I'm not sure what happened-but I do tend to have a personality reminiscent of the latest Katy Perry song. You know how it goes, "You're hot then your cold, you're yes then your no. You're in then your out, you're up then your down..." That's me. I often times dive head first into things-full throttle-balls to the wall-can't get enough and then over time I get bored, stagnant and really just completely over whatever the latest passion is and I dump it off in some corner only to collect dust until the next time something sparks my interest in it again.

I've still been cooking just not really feeling inspired by anything as of late. I haven't really crafted much in the last couple of months either. I did make some fantastic ornaments at Christmas time and I hope to work a few arts and craft fairs later on this year and possibly sell some of them.

So I think I'm stepping out of my cooking rut and back into the recipe test kitchen again. Spring is near and it will be planting season again as well. I really hope I can find a way to get a large garden working this year. the drought and extreme heat really made it difficult to sustain the plants last year late into the summer. I've collected a few more books this year though so I'm hoping I will be off to a better start and can find ways to keep things going even if we do suffer yet another dry summer here in Georgia.

I am obsessed with planting dandelion greens and some radicchio this year to throw into fresh soring mix salads. I also want to plant squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, beans and some herbs.

I'm big into ginger and nutty flavors, Asian fusion style foods and oh yes...baking.

Over the next few weeks I've got a few things I need to accomplish to get rolling in the growing fooding and loving year of 2009.

1. Open up the gardening books and sketch out a plan and schedule of planting.
2. Make a rain barrel
3. Rent a tiller
4. Price soil, seeds and tools.

1. Cabinet organization (It gives me kitchen zen)
2. Get a few new gadgets and tools
3. Re-stock the freezer and pantry

Loving (and living)
1. Reorganize the house (I'm so much nicer when things are organized and uncluttered)
2. Keep working on the basement
3. Get some things up and sold on Craigslist
4. Finish the bedroom sanctuary
5. Make STUFF-all kinds of stuff-just keep making it