Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pantry Raid

My pantry can become a little overrun with dry goods on occasion.  I do so love my glass jars full of pasta, beans, rice, and other handy, non-spoiling items.  The time comes, naturally, when I need to do a little inventory and clean out. 

Here's a list of stuff I need to make use of:

  • Cornmeal - I really should make cornbread from scratch, but often wind up using Jiffy brand mix.  Shame on me.
  • Pearled barley - Used in beef stew in wintertime, but needs other applications, too.
  • Couscous - I'm sure there's something interesting I could do with this.
  • Rye flour - Purchased with the intent of making rye bread, which never happened.
  • Wheat bran - Purchased for whole wheat bread recipes.  Still searching for a perfect recipe combo of flavor and texture.
  • Tricolor spiral pasta - Used for pasta salad, needs other uses.
  • Ditalini pasta - Used for pasta e fagioli soup, needs other uses.
  • Canned beets - Purchased originally for including in smoothies.  I love beets, but nobody else in the house will eat them.
  • Brown rice - Bought with the intent to eat more healthily.  We love rice in this house, but the brown just doesn't do it for us.  Maybe there's some interesting method of preparation that could change that.
  • Black eyed peas - Bought for making cowboy caviar, have some left over in the freezer.  Again, I like them- nobody else is a fan.
  • Lentils - I occasionally use them to make soup for myself, but would love to make them for the family without receiving grimaces.
  • Split peas - See above.
  • Self-rising flour - Purchased for a particular recipe that called for a couple of cups.  Not sure what to do with the rest.
  • Bulgur wheat - Used to make tabouli.  Not sure what else you can do with it.
  • Pinto beans - Need to eat more pintos.  Love them.
  • Chickpeas - Used for hummus, which is well-received.  Something makes me think you can make blondies with these.  I'll have to look into that.
  • Orzo - I make a Greek orzo side dish with Cavender's Greek seasoning, minced onion, and chopped green olives.  I'd like to do other things with it.
  • Navy beans - Every time I cook navy beans, there's something to the taste that I'm not fond of.  Am I doing something wrong?

If anyone has any suggestions for an item, holler at me!  I'd love some ideas. the Pinterest!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Remembrances of dinners past

Let's catch up on some of the things I've been cooking during my bloggy absence, shall we?

Beef kefta patties with tzatziki and cucumber, basmati rice with green onion, steamed green beans, whole wheat pita

Sweet cherry jam

Pork tenderloin, rice, cucumber tomato salad with feta and balsamic vinegar

Fried potatoes with Heinz 57 sauce, bratwurst with kraut and mustard on a homemade pretzel roll

Twice-baked potato and meatloaf

Baked potato soup, sauteed mushrooms, steak

New Year's Eve feast of crab cake, shrimp scampi over rice, sauteed asparagus

Roasted chicken, fingerling potatoes, carrots, asparagus

Blackberry cobbler with French vanilla ice cream

Banana walnut cupcakes with brown sugar rum buttercream

Pork chop, asparagus, corn on the cob

Twice-baked potatoes, shrimp scampi, peel-and-eat shrimp

Potato corn chowder

Grilled pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli

Chocolate cake with fondant flowers

Third place in my kid's school chili contest!

Bread is life.

Pot roast and veggies

My kid's April Fools Day lunch

Sheet cake with fondant roses

Cake for my cousin's wife's birthday

Sheet cake with stained glass design

Blueberry jam from local berries

Grilled spatchcocked chicken

One day of canning- strawberry jam, blueberry jam, peach butter

Chicken Alfredo with mushrooms

Cucumber tomato salad with balsamic vinegar, fresh corn, grilled Italian sausage with sauteed orange bell pepper and red onions

First Day of School Lunch

It's been a really, really, REALLY long time since I've updated this blog.

I'm not sorry. 

I mean, I wish it hadn't been neglected, but I've finally come to the realization that I don't owe this blog to anyone else.  It's supposed to be something I enjoy, and if I'm not enjoying it, then what's the point?

Anyway, now that I'm here, let's move on, shall we?

Today was my daughter's first day of school as a first grader.  Holy crap!  How did that happen?  *sobs uncontrollably*


Moving on again.

When she started kindergarten last year, I began packing her lunch most days, because let's be honest...public school cafeteria food is fucking gross.  In an attempt to encourage her to eat more of what I was sending, I devised a plan for both of us to get what we wanted.  She wanted appetizing morsels for lunch, and I wanted her to eat healthy, homemade food.  Surprisingly, it can be difficult for those things to coincide, but with a little teamwork, we came up with an effective plan.

A few times during the last school year, and again right before this school year began, my daughter and I sat down together at my computer and looked at a few food blogs and Flickr photo albums featuring other people's school lunches.  The websites I chose were ones I had looked at previously, so I knew that the food depicted was in line with the way we eat at home- homemade, healthy, very little packaging.

As we browsed through dozens of photos, she pointed out things in the pictures that she thought looked appetizing, and I made a list.  I wrote down about a page and a half's worth of specific items, generalities, and combos of things that she deemed worthy of midday mastication (that's a fancy word for "chewing," you sick bastard).

This year, she proclaimed that she wanted sushi for her first school lunch of the year- sushi with shrimp.  And strawberries.  And hummus and pretzels. 

OK then.  It's a weird combo, but who am I to complain about such choices?  They're pretty damn good ones.

And so, yesterday we went to buy some pre-made sushi from our local grocery store.  It ain't fancy, but SHE'S SIX.  They were unfortunately out of shrimp varieties that didn't have spicy sauce, so she settled for a California roll.

The control freak cook in me normally would've balked at sending something pre-made for her lunch, but I'm calmed by the inclusion of hummus, which I not only made myself, but cooked dried chickpeas for.

So here it is.  My first post in however many, many months, and my kiddo's first lunch of first grade. 

Also, I'm learning to sew with a machine, so I made her some cloth napkins last weekend to match her new lunch box. 

 Thanks for stopping by.