Friday, February 27, 2009

Money and Recipes

Would you be interested in seeing me break down a monthly grocery budget and shopping list and/or list the "price per meal" here? It's something I've thought might be interesting/helpful to my readers - but I'm not going to take the time to get it blog-ready if no one else wants to see it. :)

Speaking of monthly menus and such - I was flipping through some of my old cookbooks (see picture) and found a few new recipes that I'll be trying. (A number from my French cookbook - I'm excited!)

However, in my Italian cookbook I found one that I most certainly will NOT be trying:

eek! (If you click you can see a larger image - or - I'll just tell you what the first ingredient is: brains. "Yes, Mr. Butcher of my suburban grocery store, I would like 1/2 lb of brains please. Preferably smart ones. If you have ever cooked brains I DON'T want to know about it.)

It reminded me a bit of the bone marrow incident in Julie and Julia a funny true story about a woman who cooks her way through a cookbook one year. (And, my google search for the Amazon link just revealed that they're releasing the film version of this in August! I hope it's good. The book was fun :) )

My recipe hunt did turn up some interesting options though. I made fried rice for the first time and rescued a not-so-great chicken recipe by mixing the chicken into the fried rice. The fried rice came from my "Cooking On Wheels" cookbook which makes me smile because it's geared for the RV wife of 1970.

There is also a recipe called "Chicken Marengo" which just sounds fun. I think I'll need to invite people over and serve it with a rose between my teeth and a little flip of my leg when I arrive at the table with the platter. I love that this particular recipe book (the French one you see pictured) has stories about how the recipes were created. If any of them turn out any good I'll share the story along with the recipe. There is also a Tamale Casserole and a Lemon Souffle lined up for me this month. (Pending approval of my "I need to buy a car" grocery budget. You may end up with "31 ways to make Salmon Patties" as reading material.)

Let me know if you'd be interested in the pricing thing! Only tell me if you really care so I don't go to the trouble for no good reason!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


One of my favorite comics has a series going on "having guests" at the moment. I found these two worth sharing here.

Why I don't use Guest Soaps

Guess Which One I Am

Hope they made you smile :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cranberry Bread

I found this recipe online last fall during Cranberry season. I just got around to making it though with some of the cranberries that I stored in my freezer when they were available.


2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 egg
3 T. melted butte
r1/2 c. orange juice
grated orange rind
2 T. hot water
1 c. raw cranberries
1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Quarter cranberries. Sift together dry ingredients. Combine egg, butter, OJ, hot water and orange rind. Mix in dry ingredients and fold in cranberries (and nuts, if using). Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 325F for 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool (wrapped up) in refrigerator for 24 hours before cutting.

I doubled the recipe and I didn't have an orange rind to grind and used Orange-Pineapple juice rather than just OJ - but it turned out SO YUMMY.

Oh, and I totally ignored the "cool for 24 hours" rule and it was still GREAT!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drizzle Icing

I posted a few months ago about my Grandmother's Chocolate Layer Cake and it's messy, but amazing, chocolate icing. A bit after I made that last cake I saw the idea of icing it on top of a wire rack so the icing could drip off without messing up the serving platter.

I made another of these cakes as a joint Birthday cake for my parents. (Mom was December 31st and Dad was January 26th) The new icing method was wonderful! (Though I think I'm still making my icing a bit too thin to begin with. Less milk!)

First - I don't think I've shown off my Christmas present here:

Isn't she pretty? :)

Anywho - on with the cake!
See how lovely that works? The leftover icing is caught in a jelly roll pan. At the end I slid the wire rack ot the other side of the pan and re-used some of the dripped icing. It worked so well! You do need to wait until the icing is COMPLETELY dry before you move it to the cake plate.

The birthday people admiring their cake. (You can see that I did not wait until the icing was completely cool by the chocolate smudges around the cake.. oh well!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sewing Space

After re-organizing my guest room a bit I have a dedicated place to sew. (All sewing tools were formerly in the corner of the dining room and moved to the table when I needed to sew something.) So here is where I now sew:

It's cozy and has good light. I like it :) To the right there is a bookshelf that holds my sewing box and such.

These pillows should not be in my room! I made them for a friend of mine who is currently living in Singapore. I need to take them by the place her mom works so she can add them to her next package. If you see this, Jenn - I will get these to you! I'm going to put them next to my door so that I'll remember to carry them to the car for me! However, I took the picture because I love this fabric. I kind of wish they matched my living room so I could make some more!

This is my most recent project. It's an old fleece blanket that my mother's cats adopted as theirs. I turned it into a pillowcase for a standard bed pillow that they will use as a cat bed. I also made a couple using an old blue fleece blanket that the cats also adopted. Very simple. (And environmentally friendly! Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eating Cheap: Salmon Patties

I've been trying to save more money lately which has forced me to get a bit creative with food if I still want to eat something that tastes "adult." The other week a friend of mine made Salmon patties for dinner and shared with me. They were good! I decided to grab some packaged salmon on my latest grocery store run so that I could have "salmon patties" as a pantry staple.

I don't remember exactly what my friend put in her patties - but here's what went into mine:

Salmon (obviously), an egg, bread crumbs, Tabasco, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and lemon juice.

I browned the onions in olive oil first and then added the garlic to the pan for about 30 seconds.

Afterwards I mixed all the ingredients together. I put the bread crumbs in last and just added enough until it looked like it would form patties. Everything else is to taste. I like flavor - so I went heavy on Tabasco, lemon, and pepper.

Then you brown the patties on each side in olive oil. I like to "flatten" out my patties as they cook so they're more of a salmon pancake - but I like things crispy - if you want it fluffy - don't smoosh yours :)

Then I served it up with some Saffron Rice and some sliced tomatoes. It was yum! (and cheap)

And there's another serving in my fridge for lunch tomorrow!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A brief commercial break

I have added yet another blog to my list of blogs. I'm starting to think this stems from some narcissistic belief that the world cares about every odd facet of my life.

Anyway. If you would like to feed my narcissism - please visit and watch me sweat and ache my way to becoming the runner I've always thought I'd love to be.

I do have some ideas churning in my head for some actual domestic posts - sorry for the dry month!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


And here are the answers to the questions you asked:

from April:

What are some helpful tips you have that aren't ordinary? (i.e., you can't find it in a book...perhaps something your mother or grandmother taught you, etc)

Hmm. . .I can't really think of anything. I do tend to bake with all my "cold" ingredients at room temperature and I think that helps the texture and flavor.

Why don't you introduce us to some of the blogs you link to on the side of this blog? An intro and a mini review for each would be great "filler" when you haven't blogged in a while but have nothing to show. Since there are so many, if you spread them out, they could last quite a while.

I actually really like that idea! I'll work on doing that and I'll spread some reviews in between my other posts! Thanks. :)

from Igina: (welcome, lurker!)

What is your favorite thing to cook or bake?

Cook: I really love everything involved in Thanksgiving Dinner - especially the turkey. I like the prolonged process and the attention it requires. Makes me feel like I'm really doing something ;-)

But now that you mention it, what is your favorite spice?

If I'm making meal food - I've really loved cumin lately.

If I'm making baked goods - I love nutmeg.

from Korey

Where do you get inspiration for your decorating (other than Blue Print which I also loved)?

There is no place in particular. I read blogs and websites about decorating. I pay attention to the interiors of buildings in movies and television shows. When waiting in offices or buildings or other people's homes I'm often viewing everything around me with a critical eye - both appreciating the good and thinking of better ways to do things. Design is very tactile for me - I can see an idea that I like but until I have the materials in my hands in the right space - its' hard for me to really know what it should look like.

from Mom

aren't you glad i photographed [your Christmas presents] so you could remember

of course!

I think your favorite Christmas gift was "Kirsten", but maybe not....what is it? there's lots of years to think about...and when you decide what your favorite Christmas gift is/was, answer the question of "why".

Kirsten would probably be it. (American Girl doll for those of you not in the know. ;-) ). I just thought she was cool and she was something I wanted for a while. Though - the Kitchen Aid mixer from this past Christmas is a close second!

And, hello to my other lurkery friend, Jenn who commented but did not question! :)

Hopefully I'll have some recipe or design thing for you soon. I've been domestically uninspired lately.