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  1. Giving the Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender a Whirl

    August 4, 2015 by Barb

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    Most of the smaller appliances in my kitchen were wedding gifts. I love when I use them because I remember the excitement of that time and the fun of being a newlywed.

    The problem is that I’ve been married almost 17 years. I am happy that I have been married for so many years (to a great guy, might I add). The problem is that everything is breaking down at the same time.

    My blender has been my biggest heartbreak. It started having issues a couple of years ago and one of my hubby’s coworkers fixed it up for me. (His name is Bob and he is awesome!) Unfortunately, all good things must end. My blender pretty much twirls and makes a lot of noise. (This also is reminiscent of newlywed days but not blog appropriate banter.)

    I started shopping for a new one and must say I was intrigued by some of the new models that claim they are powerful but their price tags were intimidating. (Actually the price tags were making me nauseous.)

    Luckily, Hamilton Beach came to my rescue and offered to let me give their new Hamilton Beach Wave~Action® Blender a whirl. Challenge Accepted!!!!IMG_0143

    Besides being a very attractive blender (attractive like my husband’s coworker who can fix anything), it isn’t huge.   It has a 48-ounce glass (GLASS not plastic!!!) jar but the base isn’t cumbersome so it won’t take up a lot of counter or cabinet real estate.

    The other cool thing about the lid is that it has a flip up pour spout! Given I am very clumsy, I like that the spout gives me some control. (Plus the lid really stays on and doesn’t fly off when you are pouring.)

    The 4 function buttons (Mix, Puree, Dice/Chop,Grind) literally spell out which button will give you the optimal desired outcome. (Example: Puree/Smoothie/Icy Drink)

    The big claim that Hamilton Beach makes with the Wave Action Blender is that it forces the food down into the blades so everything is blended thoroughly and smoothly.

    So I gave my new blender a challenge…gazpacho! I love homemade gazpacho but my other blender required me to peel and seed my veggies.IMG_0144

    All I did today was rough chop my tomatoes, cucumber and red pepper and toss them in the container. I will admit that I crammed too much in on my first go. Luckily, they give you this neat scooper and I was able to pull a little out and fix my jam. (Ooooo, jam. I bet I could blend berries and make a jam.)

    When my first batch was pureed, I just kept adding my other ingredients. The liquid from the first batch seemed to keep stuff moving along. When something seemed stuck, I just hit “pulse” a couple of times and it loosened up immediately. (My other blender sometimes needed to be banged on the counter. It was quirky.)

    After I let my gazpacho chill in the fridge, I gave it a good taste test. There were no visible or tasteable (is that a word?) tomato skins or seeds! My pepper and cucumber were invisible. It was incredibly velvety and luscious.

    So I would give Hamilton Beach Wave~Action® Blender a thumb’s up! (Plus, it is affordable so you can actually afford ingredients to blend!)

    Thanks Hamilton Beach for giving me the opportunity to try another great product! If you would like to give this blender a twirl, Hamilton Beach has offered me an extra so I am doing a giveaway on my Facebook Page and a winner will be picked on August 14, 2015.

    Summer Gazpacho

    Ingredients

    2 pounds fresh tomatoes (Mine were Purple Majesty and Roma)

    1 red pepper, stem removed

    1 cucumber, I removed the seeds because they were HUGE

    1 chunk of stale baguette, no crust, broken into pieces

    3 cloves garlic

    3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

    3 Tbsp olive oil (the good stuff)

    Salt and pepper

    Optional Garnish: Dice up one additional roma tomato and half of a cucumber and toss with a little red wine vinegar.

    Directions

    In a good blender, puree half of the tomatoes.

    Once you have a good liquid base, add your remaining ingredients.

    Puree until you reach desired consistency. (Don’t over season at this point because after it chills, it will taste completely different.)

    Chill for at least an hour. Taste for seasoning.

    Spoon into bowls and garnish with a scoop of the diced tomato and cucumber. (It really adds a nice textural effect so don’t skip it.) I also gave it a drizzle of olive oil infused with basil because I have a lot of basil!

     

     

     

     

     

     


  2. Who Wants To Claim My Tikka Masala

    July 28, 2015 by Barb

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    We are always in a process of learning. We can be listening to the radio, reading a book or even while watching TV; our brains love to absorb something new. (They are like the sponges you buy in a warehouse store!)

    I try to keep my brain happy and give it new information every day. Usually I will hear one thing I don’t know and then try to find more data. (By data, I mean “facts” on the Internet!)

    So the other week I made Chicken Tikka Masala and thought it would be great to write a blog on Indian food and start delving into a different flavor profile on the continent of Asia. This is where my brain starts making weird noises by asking a lot of questions.

    My brain and I get into a heated discussion about how all Indian food is Asian but not all Asian food is Indian. (Somewhere during this conversation, I named my brain, Bob. It makes for a better argument when you can say, “Bob, I don’t think you are right. It adds a personal touch, don’t you think?)

    Bob thinks it is funny that I had to look at a map to confirm that India was in Asia. He knows I’m geographically challenged but he still likes to make fun of me. (Bob can be an ass.)

    The history of Indian food is really amazing because their use of spices is so unique. (Unique to a girl who didn’t grow up eating anything close to Indian food so bear with me.)

    The spices are very aromatic and the recipes seem to make lots of interesting blends.  (Obviously there is more research to be done!)

    Bob just started asking question after question like what spices and how do they blend them?  He is driving me nuts.  I’m trying to find information but there is just too much out there for me to figure it out in one post.

    I shut Bob up for awhile (I drank a milkshake really fast and froze him out), I explored the spices I would need to make Chicken Tikka Masala. The big stand out “new to me” spice was Garam Masala.

    Garam Masala is a well-crafted spice blend of Black peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cloves, brown cardamom, nutmeg, green cardamom and bay leaf. (I’m sure different regions have different variations.) It has kind of a spicy aromatic flair to it.

    The interesting thing that came up as I was doing all my reading (yes, this will finally get interesting), the Tikka Masala dish I was making is considered Britain’s National Dish!!!! How the heck did Britain get into this???? (Bob is laughing because he is trying to remind me that India was part of the British Empire in the 1800’s. Dang him!)

    I was really hoping to find a nice story but no, there was more bickering in my brain. Apparently, the story goes that some British guy was in an Indian restaurant and wanted a sauce for his chicken. The chef improvised and came up a creamy tomato sauce. Oh wait, the restaurant was in SCOTLAND!!! (Stop laughing, Bob. You know I am confused have some more milkshake.)

    So who gets credit? I guess Scotland tried to have it officially designated as a dish of Scottish origin. (I guess the guy who made that motion got laughed at and it never was passed.) My official vote is that India gets credit. The spices are their concoction.  Ta-dah, it is now on the Internet so it is now true!

    Given I am not an Indian food expert (Noooo, you don’t say), the recipe I made the other night is probably a little more British than Indian. I’m just learning but I do know this recipe tasted delicious so maybe I did something right. (Yes Bob, we are done with this post. Go take a nap.)

    Chicken Tikka Maybe Masala

    Ingredients

    2 tsp of paprika (I used a good Hungarian)

    2 tsp of garlic, minced

    1 tsp of Garam Masala (most grocery stores carry it)

    ¼-1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper

    1 pound chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into cubes

    1 onion, chopped

    Juice from ½ a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

    1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you can find them)

    1/3 cup yogurt, plain (If you don’t have yogurt in the house heavy cream with 1 Tbsp of corn starch will work too)

    Olive Oil

    Directions

    In a large nonstick pan, heat up some olive oil over medium heat. (You could use butter too.)

    Add chicken in batches. You want to brown it and fully cook it.

    Remove from pan and keep warm.

    In the same pan, add a smidge more butter or oil and add the onions. (Lower your heat a little. You want them cooked but not browned.)

    When the onions start to get tender, add the chicken back to the pan.

    Add your spices (except red pepper) and cook another minute.

    Add your lemon juice (it should deglaze your pan)

    Stir in tomatoes.

    Stir in the yogurt.

    Taste for spice. Add your red pepper flakes if you want it spicier.

    Simmer until it has slightly thickened (about 5-10 minutes)

    I really think this recipe is a good baby step towards learning about a new group of food. The tomato sauce makes it familiar and aromatic spices help wake up your brain! (That is if you want your brain awake!)


  3. A Piñata, Patience and Pound Cake

    July 22, 2015 by Barb

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    I have not written a post for over a week. I have to admit, I haven’t written because I’ve been kind of angry.

    I don’t feel well….again. It is rare that I have a pity party that lasts more than a day but this one I’ve had trouble shaking. Just as my energy started to become a little stronger, something due to my Crohn’s Disease has hit me and knocked me on my butt. (And if you have seen my butt you will know there isn’t much padding for me to land on.)

    This little setback has made me furious. I have cancelled dates with friends that I don’t get to see often. I don’t have the sturdiness to push a grocery cart. I can’t play in a playground with my nieces and nephews. I couldn’t go to the Green City Market BBQ. I can’t be there for my husband on the days he wants to do go to a movie, out to dinner or watch his band perform.  And yes, there are days I don’t even have the strength to stand up in the shower.  (These are the days where my husband is happy he doesn’t have to sit next to me during a movie!)

    Only a handful of people know how poorly I have been feeling. Those are the people who truly understand and don’t need explanation. They are the people who get that I don’t want much but to be left alone. The people who truly have my heart know me well enough to listen when I need to talk and avoid asking questions when I’m just trying to forget how bad the last couple of weeks have been for me. These are the people in my life who give me a reason to wake up and keep fighting. (These are the people I’ll never be able to repay with words but only with my love and friendship.)

    This is the part of living with a chronic illness that makes me furious. I feel like good health is like a piñata. I keep giving it a good whack and nothing happens. It just swings in front of me and taunts me with those googly eyes. (Any decent piñata has to have googly eyes.)

    As my piñata swirls and twirls, I get to the point where I just want to tear it to pieces and scream. I want to yell at it and say “Hey Good Health piñata, why do you hate me?” (If you go to a party and yell at a piñata, odds are people aren’t going to invite you back….. especially if you are an adult….at a kid’s party.)

    I feel like I have gotten to the point where I want to tear the piñata down and just pound his googly little face in. I want to pound it to smithereens and ask it to stop goading me into thinking I can one day be normal. It is a piñata fury that ends with pieces of tissue paper flying, cardboard shredded and a googly eye conspicuously stuck to the front of my shirt.

    When I actually bust into the piñata, it isn’t filled with Good Health like I had thought. It is filled with patience, strength and courage, which is what living with a chronic illness really requires. It helps me realize that I need to continue doing what I’ve done for years and I will beat another Crohn’s disease mishap.

    This pounding has made me feel better. (It is hard to stay in a bad mood when you have googly eye stuck to your shirt.) I know this stumbling block is just another one to get over. I will struggle but I will climb it and get better. I will knock the tissue paper out of my hair and recycle the cardboard. (I’ll keep the googly eye because each time I say that word it makes me smile.)

    Meanwhile, I will get my rest, regroup and eat cake….pound cake! (Because that is one of the advantages of Crohn’s…I CAN have my cake AND eat it too.)

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    Pound Cake

    (This was scribbled on a card in my recipe box. I probably copied it from somewhere when I was 20. So if it looks familiar, let me know so I can start giving proper credit.)

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup (not leveled) granulated sugar (I know I cut this down from 1 cup because my mom makes me cut down my sugar or I’ll destroy a piñata.)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 5 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Lightly butter and flour a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan.

    Using your electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together.

    In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until very light and fluffy. (Scrape down the sides at least once.)

    Add vanilla, and then gradually add eggs, beating well and scraping down bowl as needed.

    Add the salt and slowly add the flour. (Lower the speed of your mixer so it doesn’t create a dust cloud.)

    Transfer batter to pan and bake in the center of the oven for about 60 minutes. When you test it, there should be crumbs attached to the cake tester not goopy batter.

    Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 1 hour.

    Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack before slicing.

    I chopped up my cake (I was still feeling a little destructive) and served it with blueberries, some mint and the custardy cream from my frutta de sol recipe found here.)

     

     

     

     


  4. Red Gold Summer Grilling Giveaway

    July 12, 2015 by Barb

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    My tomatoes are not doing well this year. They are getting too much rain. So instead of having my usual bounty of July tomatoes, I have very tall green plants. The only thing red in my garden right now is my watering can!

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    So when Red Gold Tomatoes and Laura’s Lean Beef (Laura’s Lean Beef is Kentucky based company that produces lean, hormone-free natural beef) asked me to participate in their Summer Grilling Giveaway, I was happy to have a project with some good tomatoes. (Red Gold Tomatoes are my favorite next to my own!)

    Besides coming up with some delicious recipes for the grill, Red Gold is doing a Big Green Egg Giveaway on Facebook. From June 24 until August 24, they will be giving away one Big Green Egg a WEEK!!!!! A WEEK!!!! (The Big Green Egg is my dream grill!)

    I perused Red Gold’s summer recipes and truly had a hard time narrowing it down. They had recipes for Grilled Steak with Chimichuri, Spicy Tomato Burger and a Grilled Cheesesteak Pizza. Did someone say cheesesteak AND pizza???? Just the thought of that got me drooling.

    Apparently Mother Nature does not care if I want to grill my pizza or eat cheesesteak because she made it rain the day I was making the recipe. (Real Grill masters grill in the rain. Girls with frizzy hair, do not.) Mother Nature was in cahoots with the Grocery Store gods because not only were they out of Laura’s Lean Beef Sirloin Steaks but they also were out of the fresh pizza dough. (Yes, I could have made my own dough but I wanted something quick.)

    I’m not the kind of grill girl who gives up that easily. I can take the awesome ingredients from Red Gold Tomatoes and Laura’s Lean Beef and make an awesome dinner using their recipe as an inspiration.

    MY version turned into a Not So Philly Cheeseburger Naan Pizza. Thank you Red Gold for including me in this promotion. I hope that one of my friends or neighbors wins the contest so they let me play with their new egg! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!IMG_9987

    Not So Philly Cheeseburger Naan Pizzas

    Ingredients

    Olive Oil

    3 jarred roasted red peppers, diced up

    ½ onion, diced

    1 can of Red Gold Diced Tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved AND a couple of Tablespoons set aside for a topping

    ½ tsp oregano

    16 ounces Laura’s Lean Ground Beef

    4 pieces of Naan (It can be found in the deli area of the store.)

    1 can of Red Gold Tomato Paste

    2 cups of Cheddar Cheese

    1 cup Provolone Cheese

    Fresh Basil

    Directions

    Heat oven to 400. (If you have a pizza stone use it!)

    In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook Onions until soft. Mix in the roasted red peppers, oregano and the drained tomatoes. (Did you remember to leave a couple of Tablespoons out of the pan? If not, dig some out quickly.) : )

    Heat the mixture up for just a few minutes. Remove the mixture to a separate bowl. In the same pan, brown your ground beef.

    So remember the liquid from the canned tomatoes? Well mix that up with the can of tomato paste. (This is your pizza sauce.)

    Assemble the pizzas. Smear some of your freshly made pizza sauce on the naan. Sprinkle on the ground beef. Top with the peppers and onions. Sprinkle with Cheese.

    Bake for about 15 minutes. I topped mine with the reserved tomatoes and some basil. (Did you know basil loves the rain? I put it on everything these days!)

    When it dries out, I will make these again…on my grill.

     


  5. Know Your Food, Support Your Farmers

    July 8, 2015 by Barb

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    Most of my reader’s know that I rarely if ever write up a post BEFORE an event happens. I usually like to write from my personal experience and go from there. (Let’s face it…I’m a story teller not a reporter.)

    So after I wrote the piece about Chef Sarah Stegner earlier this week, I felt I really wanted to promote the Green City Market BBQ that is being thrown next week, July 16, 2015. (Click here for ticket information.)

    Unless you live under a rock, you know this year in the Midwest the weather has been unusually wet and cold. It is making the year hard on our farmers. Too much water can cause fruits and veggies to split and rot. The flooding can wipe out entire fields. Yields are compromised because zone temperatures are far below normal. A high wind gust can break corn stalks in a single blow. It is horrible.

    With that said, I more than ever want to not only support Green City Market with their biggest fundraiser of the year but support all of our farmers.

    You see, Farmer’s Markets aren’t about “retail sales,” they are about enriching relationships with the people who grow our food AND the people who care about HOW food is grown.

    I love Green City Market in Chicago because they are the first Farmer’s Market to require that all of their vendors/farmers are Green Certified. What this means to you is that the food you are buying is USDA Certified Organic, the animals are humanely raised and handled, certified naturally grown, grass-fed, and operates with sustainability in mind.

    These are the farmers who take pride in their land, their food and animals.  The not only want the best for their customers, they want the best for the environment.

    So have I lit a little fire under your hinny? Do you need more of a reason to attend the Green City BBQ? How about the fact that over 100 of Chicago’s top restaurants will be providing tasting portions at this shindig with produce and meat sourced from Green City Market Farmers!!?? Plus there will be booze! You know I’m not a drinker but if you want to taste some hooch from Midwest brewers, wineries and distilleries, this will be fun experience for you too! (Just remember to drink responsibly and have a designated driver!)

    The list of restaurants can be found here. I will be posting after the event so I can’t wait to share what the chefs created from all of the great local resources.

    Now if you can’t make it to BBQ, all that I ask is that you visit whatever local market is in your area. Get to know who is growing your food, become a true community and support them.


  6. Prairie Grass Cafe & Chef Sarah Stegner

    July 6, 2015 by Barb

    IMG_9912Ooooo.   Aaaaahhhh. OOOOooo. Aaaaah. Did you make a lot of those sounds this weekend as you watched fireworks? I love Ooooo and Aaaaahhh moments. They are moments that not only light up your eyes but they light up your heart.

    I had an Ooooo/Aaahhhh moment last week that had nothing to do with fireworks but it is one of those days that I won’t forget because it lit up my world.

    I spend considerable time reading about chefs. I like to read everything from where they started to where they are today. (I sound like a stalker but I’m not….really…I’m not!)

    One chef that I have been mesmerized with was Chef Sarah Stegner, Co-owner/chef of Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd.; Northbrook, IL). From James Beard awards to co-founding Green City Market in Chicago (the BEST farmer’s market…EVER), she has been a positive force in the restaurant industry for years. She is like a sparkler. She may not be the loudest firework but she shows her love of food by respecting her ingredients so they all sparkle and shine.

    Chef Stegner has found a way to create menus that highlight the best the Midwest can offer and she does it by supporting local farms, dairies and Green City Market. (If you haven’t discovered Green City Market yet, check out their info here. Better yet, get tickets for the Annual Chef BBQ on July 16. Taste tidbits sourced from Green City’s farms cooked by 100 of Chicago’s best chefs.)

    With all that said, I did have the joy of meeting Chef Stegner AND eating at Prairie Grass Café last week. I have to confess, I was star struck. I had all these questions I wanted to ask her about cooking seasonally, teaching kids to eat healthy and mentoring others.

    I think all I got out of my mouth was “I’m a big fan” with a couple of insane giggles. (I was Oooooing and Aaaahing in my head!)

    Chef Stegner started us (my friend, Laura) off with asparagus soup. (The asparagus was sourced from Mick Klug Farms). The soup was simply prepared with asparagus, chicken stock and a little cream. FABULOUS! It was so light and fresh tasting. You could taste the distinct woodiness of the asparagus but it was cooked in a way that it was silky and smooth.

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    Next, Laura and I shared two lunch items. When we looked at the menu both of us instantly wanted the Balsamic Glazed River Valley Ranch Portobello mushroom and gruyere crepe. It was like those fireworks that don’t have a lot of color but make a HUGE boom! Both of us just looked up and said “This is outstanding!” Besides the fact that the crepe was so delicate, the mushrooms were cooked so that every nuance of flavor was outstanding. Mix that was the nuttiness of a good Gruyere and you have a perfect crepe.

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    I think this crepe also emphasized that you don’t need to cover things in sauces or creams. Just use a couple excellent ingredients and you have an awesome dish. (Our crepe was served with a nice little organic mixed green salad. I liked how the pepper flavor of the arugula complimented the crepe.)

    We also shared a “North Country” ham and white cheddar sandwich with black mission fig jam! Actually I should scream BLACK MISSION FIG JAM!!! The sweetness of the jam paired with the salty ham on the buttery bread made this a not a sandwich but a sandWISH because this is the ham sandwich dreams are made from!

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    Even though our bellys were full, we couldn’t leave without dessert and cappuccinos. Laura enjoyed the double chocolate cake. She said that the cake part was incredibly light and the frosting was delicious. It was fudgey but not too rich.

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    I had Mom’s Seasonal Pie. It was a strawberry pie with a super fluffy creamy inside with fresh glazed strawberries on top. (I’m still trying to figure out how the strawberries didn’t sink into the filling. It was like they were levitating!) The crust was the flakiest crust I’ve ever eaten. (Flakey in a good way.) This pie was like that perfect finale that lights up the sky. Amazing.IMG_9898

    I will keep my fingers crossed that I get to meet up with Chef Stegner again. This time I hope I can form some words and talk to her about the joys of cooking fresh, local and simple food and thank her again.

    Meeting chefs that I admire like Chef Stegner is one of the true gifts I get from writing Felt Like a Foodie. She reminded me that by using proper techniques and the freshest ingredients, you can make even a casual meal feel like a fine dining experience.

    Prairie Grass Cafe currently serves lunch Monday – Friday, Brunch on the weekend and dinner every night. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (847) 205-4433 or visit www.prairiegrasscafe.com.

    Chef Sarah Stegner

     

     

     

     


  7. Time to Ketchup

    July 3, 2015 by Barb

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    Helllllooo July! I can’t believe you are here are here already. I haven’t had a chance to picnic or go to the beach. I haven’t gotten one tomato out of the garden and I’ve only worn shorts a couple of times. My patio furniture is still in storage and my hammock is all rolled up. I feel like this summer has been flying by and I for some reason I just can’t catch up.

    Speaking of ketchup (I also haven’t had time to figure out a better segue)….did you see the big news? I never thought I’d live to see it happen but Summer of 2015 will forever be remembered as the year I saw some of the best marriage news ever.

    Yep, you guessed it….the marriage of Red Gold Ketchup and The Original Huy Fong Sriracha (you know the rooster sauce). It is best thing to EVER happen to condiments.

    Red Gold ketchup is my favorite ketchup to begin with because it is nice and thick. I also want to say tomato-y. You can actually taste the tomatoes in it! Add the spicy, garlic goodness of Sriracha and you will make your hamburger say HELLOOOO! (Actually if your hamburger starts talking to you, you need to run and run fast!)IMG_9913

    Are you asking yourself “What do I put this magical ketchup on?” Well, the obvious things like fries and burgers. (Not on hot dogs….ketchup does not belong on hot dogs!)

    But this is also the ketchup you want when you make cocktail sauce for your shrimp or use it on your cocktail meatballs. And if you are a meatloaf lover, this is the ketchup you want to smear on the top! You can even concoct up a sauce for chicken wings! (Here is a great recipe that Red Gold developed.)

    I know what you are saying “I can mix up my own Sriracha/ketchup.” Yes, you can BUT what I like about this Sriracha ketchup is that that flavors have had time to get to know each other. This time together, bonding makes it truly a better marriage of flavors.  (The bottles are just starting to roll out so make sure you talk to your favorite grocery store about ordering Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce Ketchup!)

    We have company coming in for the holiday weekend. A lot of things aren’t going to get done but that is okay. Our time with friends takes priorities. My time to catch up will have to be put on the back burner. (And some burgers will be put on the grill with some Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce ketchup!)

     

     

     

     

     


  8. Rainy Days and Mondays….

    June 29, 2015 by Barb

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    “Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old

    Sometimes I’d like to quit

    Nothin’ ever seems to fit

    Hangin’ around

    Nothin’ to do but frown

    Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”

    I have never felt more like singing this song by The Carpenters than today.

    The day started like a usual workday for us. He gets up early, gets ready while I try to catch a couple more Z’s. Hubby always kisses me good-bye and tells me to have a nice day. I mabble (mumble and babble at the same time) things about the time, blanket hogging and does my hair look sexy. (I have the best bedhead.)

    This morning I heard rain. Sigh. Not rain. Not on a Monday. Hubby confirmed it WAS rain, kissed my head and walked out the door. (Hmmm, he only kissed my head so my hair must not have looked as sexy I thought.)

    I heard the door shut and the pitter-patter of the rain on our roof. Sigh. I went back to sleep. I woke up an hour later, rolled out of bed and took a glance in the mirror. (Okay, the hair only deserved a forehead kiss.)

    As I opened up the blinds, the gloominess just smacked me in the face. The rain and lack of sun just kind of says today is yucky.

    But it just isn’t the weather; it is the “Monday-blues.” As much as I make fun of my hubby on Felt Like a Foodie, I miss him so much on Mondays.

    I’m not saying that our weekends are so awesome that I don’t want them to end. I mean there are some weekends that he makes every minute seem like an hour so it FEELS like our weekends last forever.

    I am just saying that I really enjoy his company. He makes me laugh all the time so on Monday I go through smile withdrawal. I feel so frowny and blue. I keep myself busy but find myself looking at the clocks literally counting the hours until he comes home. (This is another time where every minute feels like and hour.)

    Some Mondays, I am lucky. He comes home for lunch. (He thinks coming home for lunch means he is getting lucky. Seriously?? On a Monday?! I’m in a bad mood!)

    So back to today….I got up and got that phone call….he isn’t coming home for lunch. Sigh. Add that to the Monday blues and rain and I was ready to go over the edge. (In his defense, he has a lot going on at work so I am sure he was blue too.)

    I did what every good housewife does….you make a good lunch for yourself and say, “Screw him”. (But not literally “screw him” because once again….it is Monday and he isn’t home.)

    My lunch really wasn’t “good” as in healthy but “good” as in comforting like a husband who you not only love but you like a lot…and miss on Mondays.

    Crispy Baked Ravioli

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup Italian dry bread crumbs

    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (this is where that green bottle of cheese is great!)

    1/4 cup sour cream (Random thought…I wonder how yogurt would work?)

    1/4 cup milk

    12 refrigerated ravioli (use whatever you like)

    1/2 cup pizza sauce, warmed

    Directions

    Heat oven to 375°F.

    Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in bowl.

    Combine sour cream and milk in bowl.

    Dip ravioli in sour cream mixture, then in breadcrumb mixture to coat evenly.

    Place ravioli on nonstick baking sheet or on parchment paper.  Make sure they are spaced apart.

    Bake 6 minutes, flip. Continue baking another 6-8 minutes. They should look brown and crispy.

    Don’t skip the sour cream. It really gets the crumbs to stick.

    These can be doubled or tripled up but when you cook them you need to leave some space on the pan so they crisp up. Too many on a pan will make it soggy, like a rainy Monday and no one wants that!


  9. Ty Cobb Salad?

    June 25, 2015 by Barb

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    My husband and I did something the other day that we haven’t done for a loooooong time. It is stereotypically something guys want to do more than girls but this time I was pushing for it. The interesting thing is that he only wanted to do it if we had another couple involved.

    Since I am a good sport, I said yes. If this was the only way he was going to do this…the more the merrier! I couldn’t wait to see the bases again and to see who would get the first homerun!

    Are you like this too? Do you like professional ball games? (One of these days I’m really going to just write something scandalous! )

    For whatever reason, I like going to games more than my husband.  Maybe this is my freaky side coming out.

    We ended up at Miller Park in Milwaukee and saw a Brewers and Nationals game. (I was born a Cubs fan so I only wear a Cubs shirt no matter who is playing!) There were tailgaters galore, typical ballpark food and excited fans everywhere. (A shout out to the nice tailgaters who gave me a bottle of water. I love Midwestern hospitality.)

    Miller Park was pretty neat because it has a “lid” that covers the park on rainy days. Brilliant, if you ask me. Our day was rainy so it was nice not to sit outside on a muggy day in a plastic sheet.

    As I sat in the stands, I really got into all the ballpark hoopla. I looked at all the food vendors, laughed at the guy juggling Cracker Jacks and enjoyed a nice bag of roasty nuts. (I may have to blog on those later.)

    When we got to our seats, I was thrilled to hear the organ music, smiled at the music they played to introduce each player and sang the National Anthem with my hand over my heart.

    As I looked around the ballpark, I started noticing the retired numbers hanging from the rooftops. Not being a Brewers fan, I wasn’t familiar with the names or the numbers.

    I did know that the 42 banner was for Jackie Robinson. (And truthfully, that only rang home because I saw the movie on HBO.)

    So I started to think about baseball names I know. (This was my point of already being distracted at the game. The seats are usually hard so I get squirmy and my mind wanders.)

    I started rattling off player’s names in my head….Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandburg, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb…..Ty Cobb…..Cobb Salad….Was the salad named after him? (No, it wasn’t but that is how my wheels turn!)

    Next thing I know, I was dreaming about a Cobb Salad. (The ballpark fare was really not my thing.) My brain couldn’t wait to eat a salad.

    I did come home and read about the origins of the salad. In 1937, a restaurateur named Robert Cobb made it using leftovers one night. Ta-Dah. Not really as exciting as if it was named after Ty Cobb. If you want some scandal, read his bio sometime.  It is a lot juicer than my blogposts!  (Plus his salad would have to have a lot more layers, some spice and peaches!)

    Cobb Salad (makes about 4 salads)

    Based on a recipe I found  in Gourmet Magazine

    Dressing Ingredients/Directions

    3 Tbsp Blackberry balsamic vinegar (I didn’t have red wine)

    1 Tbsp lemon juice

    1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

    1 tsp minced garlic

    Sprinkle of salt

    Grind of pepper

    ¼ cup GOOD olive oil

    Whisk everything but the olive oil. Drizzle in the olive oil until it is emulsified. Taste. You may want more salt/pepper/acid.

    Salad Ingredients

    1 pound grilled chicken, chopped

    1 ripe avocado, diced

    6 cups of favorite greens (I used an assortment of lettuce from my garden)

    ½ pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled (If you are a bacon nibbler, you better make the whole pound so you can sneak a piece or three.)

    2 roma tomatoes, diced

    ½ cup blue cheese (You can also use Gorgonzola or Roquefort. You just need something blueish.)

    3 hard-boiled eggs

    Extras…chopped chives, fresh dill, radish (because they are in the garden), fried shallots if you want some crunch

    Directions

    Toss the greens with just a little of the dressing. People can always add more.

    In individual bowls, spread out the greens. Starting from one side, just start making rows of the different ingredients. I try not to put the same colors next to each other.

    Sprinkle with your fresh herbs and serve with extra dressing.

    This is what ballparks need to be serving! : )

    After it was all said and done, my husband was right. Doing it with another couple was more fun! (But this only applies to baseball games and big salads!!!!)IMG_1407


  10. Take a Dip in My Garden

    June 19, 2015 by Barb

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    I’ve been growing a vegetable garden for the last few years. It has been fun walking around the house to grab a tomato or a zucchini. (I didn’t venture much further than those items.)

    This year I wanted to expand the garden and grow everything from seed. (Previous years, I bought little plants.) It was a great project to start indoors during my surgery recovery. (And watching a seed grow while on pain meds IS very entertaining!)

    I kept planting seeds (radishes, carrots, lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, squash) thinking maybe only a few of them would grow. I was wrong. Almost every little pod I planted grew a cute little plant. (They were adorable!!!!!)

    My gardening confidence was not strong as I transplanted these beauties into my outside garden. (Did you know you are supposed to thin out your growing seedlings? I didn’t do that either.)  I just kept planting more because I knew that they wouldn’t all survive.   (Next year I need to plant some confidence!)

    For the most part, everything did okay.  (Surprise!)   As the days passed, I could physically see them adjust to their new surroundings. The stems looked thicker, the leaves were a fabulous shade of green and it was like they were speaking to me. (I would blame my pain meds for the talking plants but unfortunately I wasn’t on any at this time.)

    And then we had this monsoon season hit us!! My plants survived the winds and never ending rain and grew and grew and grew. Great, right?

    My garden looks like someone spiked it with steroids! My tomato plants are full of flowers and my squash garden is blossoming. And the lettuce….oh…the lettuce. For the record, next time someone says lettuce is bunny food, they are wrong. The bunnies aren’t touching my lettuce but the green beans are a goner!

    The other item that flourished was my radish crop. I didn’t think I planted that many. I just wanted a few here and there for salads. Nope. I’ve got the mother of all radish crops. (Now I’m trying to remember if my mom planted radishes?)IMG_9747

    My fresh radishes were crisp and delightfully peppery. I didn’t want to waste any so I had to put on my listening ears for options. (Speaking of ears, I didn’t grow corn. I wish I would have.)

    Luckily, the Food Swap the other week had a brilliant guest who brought some radish dip. Mmmmm, it was tasty. Toni (the brilliant food swapper) was nice enough to share the recipe link that inspired her to make a dip. (I don’t think she used the recipe as written but I liked her flavor profile.)

    So I headed out to the fields (otherwise known as the back of the house) and picked a big handful of French radishes. I cleaned them up (and myself) and used the recipe to guide me into a sandwich spread. (Because I had some awesome little buns from food swap that were begging to be a sandwich.)

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    The bombardment of peppery notes of radish turned an ordinary turkey sandwich into extraordinary! (It also helped that the buns were awesome, the lettuce was garden fresh and I had just pickled the onion.)

    Be prepared for more posts from the garden adventures! I am so glad that I started my garden from seed but next year I will have to think about yields a little bit more. (And remember to label better….I currently have a mystery squash garden and I have no clue what tomatoes I planted!)

    Turkey Sandwich with Radish Spread

    Radish Spread Ingredients and Directions

    8 ounces softened cream cheese

    1 Tbsp Fresh Dill

    1 Tbsp Fresh celery leaf

    1/8 tsp espelette

    1 cup shredded French radish (This was about 6 of my radishes)

    Mix Together and let flavors sit together in fridge for at least an hour

    Ingredients For Sandwich

    4 fresh rolls

    ½ pound of turkey breast

    1 cucumber, thinly sliced

    Pickled onion

    Sprinkles of fresh dill

    Directions for sandwich

    Turn on broiler.

    Cut open your buns…um, like a sandwich.

    Spread your buns with radish mixture.IMG_9809

    Broil for about 2-3 minutes, until the cheese gets a little brown in spots

    Remove from oven.

    Divide turkey meat evenly over each sandwich.

    Add slices of cucumber and pieces of pickled onion.

    Sprinkle with dill.

    Eat in the garden as you talk to the bunnies and things that grow.