Saturday, September 27, 2008

Family Illnesses

OK, well I've told you all about Len and I having colds, that's the least of what I've been dealing with lately.

My cousin is currently in the hospital battling for her life. She has breast cancer, it's metastisized to her chest wall, the base of her spine and her liver. So, they decided her treatment would start with chemo to get the metastisized cancers shrunk and then they'd go in and remove what they could, do a mastectomy and then do radiation and chemo to get rid of whatever they needed to. Well, they got the first chemo treatment done and before she could get back in for her second treatment (it should have been last Friday), she got admitted to the hospital again because of a build up of fluid in her lungs. So, last Thursday she got admitted, put into ICU so that they could monitor her, by Saturday morning, she's been intubated and she has an infection in her blood. I can't go to see her or her children, she has 8 aged 17-36 because of this cold - I can't risk passing any germs to anyone and have her get sicker. My Mom has told me that she's doing a little better, she was off the ventilator for about 2 hours today, but she got agitated so they sedated her and put the forced oxygen back on. She's responding to the nurses when they talk to her. Well, we are just waiting to see how things pan out from here. She has to get over this infection. They've started her on dialysis, her kidneys are having to work too hard to get rid of the fluid to let her body fight the infection. The hardest thing for this family is that they just lost their father, my cousin's husband, in February to Colon Cancer. They are doing a Colon Cancer walk tomorrow.

Then, I find out from another cousin earlier this week that she found a lump in her breast. She lost her mother to breast cancer in 1997 when she was pregnant with her second child. She's going to see the surgeon for a consult for a biopsy on Tuesday so we'll know what we're facing then. She's not worrying too much at this point, but her father is very concerned. And she has 4 boys between the ages of 4 and 13 at home and her husband travels a lot. She's also out in Indiana where we can't really help her a whole lot. I'm going to make her a prayer shawl so that I can do something, anything to help.

I hate feeling helpless and for the past 2 years as my family has been dealing with illnesses and death (we lost a cousin last March to lung cancer, an aunt in April to old age, then a cousin this February to colon cancer), that's all I've been feeling. Though I know they are in Heaven with Jesus Christ and our family, it doesn't really make it easier.

We did get some good news, though this was from my father's side, the rest is from my mother's side. One of my cousins just had a new little boy the beginning of this month, her 4th child, 2nd son.

I could really use some more happy news from anyone, especially some from my mother's side of the family.

So, if anyone actually reads my blog, please keep my cousin, her children and her doctors in your prayers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Crockpot Potato & Corn Chowder

I haven't cooked a whole lot this week because I now have my son's cold. I did however make this yummy soup.
Here are the ingredients:

2 1/4 c chopped onions
3 cans of vegetable broth (or one box and one can)
2 lbs potatoes (it sounds like a ton but it's about 6 medium, 10 or so small)
7 c frozen corn
2 1/4 tsp thyme
2 c milk
I know they add a lot of flavor, but man did my eyes burn after chopping all those onions.

Saute the onions over medium heat in a little bit of oil (I used Olive Oil, not extra virgin) until brown. Put onions in crock pot.

Deglaze the pan with vegetable broth (bring the broth to a boil and scrape the yummy brown bits off the bottom). Add this and the rest of the broth to the crock pot.

OK, this is the first time I ever made or ate a chowder (there aren't too many commercial vegetarian chowders out there), so I chopped the potatoes a little big, you really are supposed to chop these into pieces abour 1/2" big so basically bite size or a little smaller.

Add the potatoes to the crock pot, cover and cook on low for about 8 hours on low.

1 hour before serving, add corn, thyme and milk to crock pot, add salt and pepper to taste (I added this to my bowl instead of the crock, I try not to uses salt & pepper in cooking) and cook on high for said 1 hour.

This is the soup done in the pot.

Here's my dinner.

Verdict: Yummy, buttery taste the first night, the spice comes through a bit more as it sits, good as leftovers too. Oh, and this is supposed to serve 6, but I really think it would serve more than that, I had a ton leftover.

I would definitely recommend this soup!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Garlic Parmesan Bread

This is a wonderfully moist Bread Machine bread.
Your ingredients are for a 1-1/2 lb loaf:

1 c water
2-1/2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1Tbsp Honey
2/3 c grated Parmesan cheese (fresh is better but I didn't have any).

3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp garlic powder (can add more, but too much will be bitter)
3 c bread flour
1-1/2 tsp yeast

This is what the dough looks like all mixed together:

And 3 hours later, you have warm, homemade bread.

Yes, that's a little banana bread on the right, when I said I was making bread, my son started doing the banana bread chant "yay, banana bread" repeated over and over until I dug out a box of banana bread mix, which is a necessity in my house just in case I don't have over ripened fruit laying around since banana bread and chicken nuggets are the only 2 food groups my son believes there are.
The bread was very yummy the honey just adds a little bit of sweetness.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

20 Things I like about Autumn

The Inspired Room is hosting a 20 things you Treasure About Fall Link list thing. Meghan called it a link party. Well this is my first time doing one of these, so hopefully I'll do this right. And, since it's about one of my favorite seasons, it should be easy.

  1. Changing Colors
  2. The sweet smell of decaying leaves.
  3. The cooler weather.
  4. Pumpkin picking.
  5. Apple Cider.
  6. Fresh Picked Apples.
  7. The sound of crunching leaves.
  8. My Birthday.
  9. Halloween.
  10. The start of Hockey Season.
  11. Light-weight jackets.
  12. Knitting.
  13. Mums.
  14. Hayrides.
  15. Opening up the windows.
  16. Apple Crisp.
  17. Homemade soup.
  18. Spiced Wafers and Pumpkin Dip.
  19. Comfy Pajamas and slippers.
  20. Planting bulbs for spring.

So, think about it and post your list too. Let's enjoy the brilliant colors fall brings.

Yummy Pizza

I made this wonderful pizza, I got the recipe several years ago online somewhere, you make the dough in the bread machine on the dough cycle. It's a garlic pizza crust. Anyway, I made this a week ago this past Thursday. Keep in mind I haven't cooked a lot with my son keeping me running this past week with being sick. I didn't take a lot of pictures b/c this was a last minute idea and I needed to get everything going in the machine so we could eat.

Here's what you need:

1-1/3 c tepid water (90 degrees)
1/3 c oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
4 cups flour
2/3 tsp. salt
1-1/3 Tbsp Sugar
1-1/3 Tbsp yeast

Put ingredients in your bread machine in order and run on dough cycle.

This is the dough in the machine before it rose.

Oil a pan (I made 6-9" personal pizzas). This will make 12 small personal snack-size pizzas, 6 9" pizzas and 2 full size pizzas. Use your finger tips to press out dough. Let it rise a bit and top according to your taste. Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.

And they come out like this:

The Verdict: Yummy! Even my hubby who doesn't eat carbs ate one.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

I made this last Wednesday.

I absolutely love this crock pot recipe. Here are the ingredients:

1/2 can enchilada sauce, 1 c salsa, garlic powder, cumin, 2 cans black beans, 6-10 corn tortillas, 2 c mexican cheese. Cut the tortillas into triangles (for layering) - this step can be skipped if you use a crockpot that is the same size as the tortilla.

Mix together enchilada sauce, salsa, cumin & garlic powder and warm it until it bubbles.

Drain & Rinse your Black Beans.

Spray crockpot. Put enchilada mix on bottom just to cover, layer tortillas, black beans, cheese, then repeat. Top with remaining cheese.

Cook on low 6-8 hours. This is it done.

On a plate. It is yummy.

Definitely something to try.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sick boy

OK, I know I haven't posted in forever, but I really have a good excuse, though they all are anyway. My wonderfully precocious 4 year old started preschool last Monday (9/8) and come Wednesday when he went on his own, well I had to talk to his teacher when I went to pick him up b/c he didn't want to do anything he was supposed to, all he wanted to do was play, oh and eat his snack. Friday he did better, Monday he did well until snack time - it was a birthday and the Mom brought in ice cream. Not a big deal you say, well that's because your child doesn't projectile vomit after eating anything with milk. He's lactose intolerant. Anyway, apparently he wouldn't accept a substitute and the teachers wouldn't give him the ice cream so he had a melt down (and what kid wouldn't) and the rest of the day was bad. So we were all prepared for today to be a really good day until....

The sore throat started at dinner time.....

The cough that kept us up all night and finally...

The fever he's now running!!!!


They told me it would happen, but I didn't expect it a week into school. Anyway I do have some pictures of what I made last week, a layered black bean enchilada in the crockpot and pizzas, and I will post them. Maybe tonight, but it depends on when he goes to sleep since he decided to fall asleep for a nap around 5:15 and just woke up at 7.

Off to play nursemaid and decide what I am going to cook tomorrow, because I am going to cook...and blog!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Baking with the kiddo

So, today after running around getting the little guy set up for soccer, by the way, it isn't as easy as it sounds, it took me an hour of running from the front to the back of the store and going to the bathroom twice (4 year-old bladders are very small), anyway after that we made Chocolate chip cookies, the regular Toll House recipe.

Here are the ingredients: Flour (I use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 unbleached, baking soda, salt, vanilla, white and brown sugar, butter, eggs, and of course chocolate chips.

The first thing you do is cream together the 2 sticks of softened butter, 3/4 cups each of regular and brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 eggs.

Gratuitous shot of my adorable helper.

Then you add the 2-1/4 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt.

Finally, you add 2 cups of chocolate chips, though if you are 4 some of them wind up on the counter, the floor, etc.

And now it's time to check out the batter.

Yum! Don't you love that face.

This would be the batter in my mixing bowl.

Drop the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. I love my Pampered Chef cookie scoop for this, it's the medium size, but I think they only have 2 sizes now.

Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes, let them cool and taste.

The verdict, of course was yummy. I don't think there's ever been a bad batch of Toll House cookies.

My Friday Adventure and what's kept me from here

Friday I made Mac and Cheese, you know the good stuff, the stuff that you make the sauce, bake it in the oven and it's full of gooey goodness.

Well, here are my ingredients

Whole wheat elbow noodles (cavatappi is good too), 3 Tbsp each butter and flour, 4 c soy milk, about a pound of cheese, now I usually use extra sharp cheddar, swiss, and some parmesan or provolone but I didn't have any so I used the Mexican shredded and parmesan that I had on hand.

The first thing you do is put water on for the noodles, you can actually put them in too, but I have a 4 yo who didn't want to leave his friend's house so I started the cheese sauce while the water was boiling.

For the sauce, the first thing is to make a roux, if you don't know what that is, you just melt the butter and flour together until it comes to a boil, you can let it cook until it's brown for a gumbo, but for something light like mac & cheese you just let it go until it starts to smell nutty.

I forgot to take a picture of the roux before I added the milk so this is what it looks like when I first put it in the pan. Next, you add the milk and bring it up to temperature, or if you're like me and realized you needed to switch burners for the water for the noodles, you turn the burner back on and hope for the best. Once the milk starts to bubble you add your cheese.

Once that melts, hopefully your noodles are cooked and you pour it over top of the noodles in a casserole dish, I think mine is 3 qts.

You bake it for about 20-25 minutes and ...

The verdict as usual was yummy for all, though the cheesy flavor was a little lacking since I used milder cheeses.

So, you may ask, if I did this on Friday why am I posting today, Tuesday? Well, my son started preschool yesterday and our preschool didn't tell you what you needed, but they sent out this cute little book that tells about a little girl starting school there, and in it she needs to bring a smock and a change of clothes, so I decided to pull out my sewing machine (which I have been itching to do) and make this...

This is what it looks like on...

So on Saturday and Sunday everyone had to fend for themselves, well we had leftover mac and cheese and nuggets (none for me) and yesterday we went to Chuck E Cheese after school and the little guy had nuggets, the big guy had a wrap, and I couldn't tell you what I had, I just went to bed at 9:00 and am still exhausted today, but that may have to do with having to run around Dick's today to get a soccer setup for this Saturday. I did bake some chocolate chip cookies today and will post that tonight.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My first Post

Well, I decided to write about my cooking adventures, well not so much adventures as well, just my cooking. I decided that I need to cook, not reheat something every day. I have a 4 yo little boy at home, I'll come up with something to call him on this blog later, and a wonderful hubby who well, works too much. Anyway, I love to bake, cooking, I'll try, but baking I love so, my first thing I baked was a recipe for chocolate chip muffins. I got the recipe from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas, it's "Basic Muffins, Seven Ways". Per my 4 yo's request I made chocolate chip. I promise to actually make some things that I can post the recipe for, but since this one is copywritten, I can't.

Anyway I will post the ingredients, just not the amounts.

So these are my ingredients, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, SoyMilk, Vanilla Yogurt, Ground Flaxseed, Baking Soda & Powder, sugar, corn oil (it called for safflower oil, but I don't have any), and mini chocolate chips.

This is the batter all mixed in the bowl, yes I know I have all my tools around it still. I'm not the neatest of cooks.

This is the batter in my nice Wilton silicone muffin cups. I used my cookie dropper, it looks like an ice cream scoop to put the muffin batter in the cups. And, yes I cleaned off the stove top for this one (more because I couldn't fit it on the stove if I didn't than anything).

And here they are all done.

Verdict: Good. Not too sweet, though I'm not a chocolate chip muffin fan, the mini chips go throughout the muffins. I haven't had a verdict from the little one, he keeps telling me they still have to cool off. Now to decide what I'll cook tomorrow....