Friday, November 26, 2010

100 Things Project, Pots and Pans

In an attempt to create a little more space in our house, I have decided to embark on a modified version of the 100 things project.

I'm actually pretty close to having 100 things picked out. Some of them are stupid, or not really blog worthy, so I might not hit exactly 100 on the blog, but at the end I will show a picture and there will be 100 things in there.

Today we discuss pots and pans.

At least 5 years ago, I was discussing with a friend the amount of kitchen stuff I had accumulated. Somehow that friend mis-understood me and thought I was telling her I didn't have many kitchen items, because low and behold at Christmas she gave me an entire set of pots and pans.*...

I thanked my friend and put the whole box in my closet to be used when my other pans wore out. Then I moved it with me to one new apartment, then I moved it with me down to Texas, and put it back on the shelf in the closet where it belonged. We've lived in Texas for 3 years now, and I'm telling you that box of brand new pots and pans was still in the original box in the closet of our house. About the time I started plans for this project, I realized, why on earth am I still holding on to these and not using them. So I finally decided to get ride of our current set of pots and pans, which are still good, but could be better utilized by someone who needs them, and I can use my new pots and pans... that are 5 years old....

You will also find in this box a heart shaped pan used to make a cake, and then because I didn't have any other baking dishes for a long time *this might be where the friend got confused*continued to use for everything. It's not dirty, it's rusty. A chopper that I used because the smell of garlic stays on my hands for days. Except all the pieces got stuck up in the blades, and I ended up using my hands to get them out therefore getting the garlic smell on my hands. We'll count this as items 5-15.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kitchen Gadgets

There aren't really a lot of kitchen gadgets I feel like I can't live without. We have a bunch of them and most often I end up just using a knife to do the job.

However I have owned a kitchen scale for years now, it was probably one of the first kitchen items I purchased on my own, and think it is so useful. I would say I use it every day. It has a really nice feature that allows me to change the weight using a little dial to get it back to zero. This is really nice because I can place an empty container on there, zero it out, and then put my ingredient on and know I am getting an accurate weight without the container.

In the last two days I've used my scale at least three times. The first was to weigh out hamburger, it drives me crazy that there are no 1lb packages of hamburger but, every recipe calls for just one pound. I know I could just use the whole package but I believe that feeds into the obesity problems we have. But I digress. The second was to weigh out pumpkin puree, and I can't remember the third, but the point is I use it a lot.

My current scale is this tall contraption with a tiny base that makes it kind of wobbly to put larger items on. I see on the cooking shows they make digital ones, that are low to the counter and have a nice wide surface to work with. I can't find a reason (read am too cheap) to purchase a replacement, but think those are probably more useful, and take up less space.

What kitchen gadgets do you feel you can't live without?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Half Marathon Attempt number.... Oh I lost count

I have attempted to run longer races before, which I've chronicled, here, here, and here. I didn't have a lot of success before with the full marathon training, so I decided to try a half marathon, but by then I was pretty banged up and had to give up. I tried again this fall, but it was just too hot and I couldn't seem to get the motivation to get up and run when it was cool.

But I've been back at it for a few weeks, I'm up to about 4 miles pretty comfortably, so I'm going for it again. Today was the first official day of training, and what a first run it was.

Jake is out of town for today and tomorrow so I have to figure out how to exercise the dogs as well as myself. So I decided I'd take the dogs with me. Again which I've chronicled before here. Thankfully there was no falling down, but here are a few highlights.

Lucy pulled me for the first half mile. Then she completely pooped out and for the next 2.5 miles Bentley pulled me, and I pulled Lucy. At one point she LAID DOWN. in a puddle. I've been running on and off with them, but I guess it's been more on than off.

Thankfully we finished the run, I can say for now at least, the first day was a success, not speedy, but a success. We'll see how the rest goes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Delectable Delights- Pesto Spaghetti Pie

There is nothing fancy about this next meal, it's just a good hearty dish for cold/cooler weather.
I found a basic recipe for spaghetti pie online which we've made several times. But the other night, I decided to make a few changes and it turned out really great. I have given measurements below, but I often make this dish when I have leftover noodles, or sauce. It's one of those dishes that is super forgiving if you don't have exactly the right amounts.

Pesto Spaghetti Pie

Pie Shell:

6oz of spaghetti
2tbsp butter
1 well beaten egg
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup mozzarella or provolone cheese

1 lb ground beef
1/2 c to 3/4 c chopped onion
1 garlic clove minced
1 to 2 tbls olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 to 1 tsp italian seasoning
Spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup jarred or fresh pesto

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix butter, parmesan and egg into hot spaghetti noodles. Form spaghetti into a "crust" into a 10" pie plate.

*Note* it's not as important to use a pie plate as it is to make sure you have a big enough pan. We don't have a 10" pie plate so we use an 8x8 glass dish. If you try to use a smaller pie plate, everything will spill out.
Brown onions in a small amount of olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add meat and brown. With a slotted spoon remove meat and onion mixture, and put in a bowl. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning to the pan and saute for about 1-2 minutes. (I've recently started adding the dry spices to the oil to saute and it really seems to add a lot of flavor). Add onion and beef back into the pan and add spaghetti sauce, I use about a half of a regular size jar.
Pour pesto sauce over spaghetti crust, then spread the cottage cheese. Top with meat sauce, then add shredded or sliced cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Let stand a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jobs Jobs Jobs

I'm not fallin down on the job here, I'm just trying not to fall down on my real job, you know, the one that pays money.

Part of my new job is to teach/organize classes, and my first serious of classes started last week, so I'm trying to keep everything straight. I went for trying to figure out ways to actually get the required hours in each week, to working more than the required hours.

I tell you what, if I had to choose the later is a much more fulfilling option.

I have plenty of new material for the 100 things project, and I'm going to be guest posting on Eat this Fort Worth again, so I'll be sure to link to that.

Plus I've started running again in attempts to complete a half marathon on January 29th. I've been trying to decide how much to post about that, because really, how many of my little pet projects do you want to hear about?

So, I'll be doing some writing over the weekend and plan to have to witty posts you've come to expect from me next week.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An appearance

It's been a very long time since the blogs namesake Ms. Lucy made an appearance

And not to be outdone, the Regal Beagle himself.

Monday, November 8, 2010

100 Things Project, The Great clothing Debate

In an attempt to create a little more space in our house, I have decided to embark on a modified version of the 100 things project.

Today I'll tackle the great clothing debate. I regularly go through my clothes but inevitably there is a time when I see an outfit I like and think I used to have this really cute dress that was a lot like that. I bet I could recreate that outfit if I still had it.

Case in point, I just got new cowboy boots for my birthday. Right after I got them I saw a women with a really cute dress that she had paired with tights and cowboy boots and thought, I used to have this really cute dress that would have been perfect to recreate that outfit, but alas I had given it away, and of course if I had asked that women where she got here dress, she would have said.... Oh I picked this up at a thrift store like 7 years ago.

Ok this isn't a post about fashion, it's a post about getting rid of things. I am once again going through my closet and having the great clothing debate. I think this time, I'll just throw the things that are worn out, a la need to go in the trash, or things that I just never really wore because the didn't fit right, or hurt to wear (read 4 inch heals).

I'm counting these as items, 2,3, and 4.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why didn't things settle down

A week ago, I had a post outlining some of things that happened over the summer and this fall. I mentioned I'd had a part time job, got another one, and then left my first part time job, but that things didn't settle down.

The main reason is that the company my husband works for was acquired by Facebook and he has decided to take some time off to determine what his next move is. It's an interesting time around the Good household. It's the first time ever that I'm working, even part time, and Jake is not. Jake has always worked from home, so there were times when I would accidentally interupt him because I wanted to share something with him, or had a question, or whatever. Additionally Jake always used to wonder why I felt like I had to DO something when I wasn't working. Clean the house, or run errands, or something to feel productive. I think he often wondered why it was hard for me to relax and enjoy my time off.

It's kinda fun to see him on the other side now. He accidentally interrupts me at work, and is feeling like he needs to be doing something, like working on a side project, or something, and appears to be having trouble relaxing and enjoying his time off.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What I've been up too Jessica Got Married

In August, we made the drive to Iowa to celebrate my sister in law's wedding. We were happy to leave the 100+ Texas heat for a few days to go celebrate with our family. Both Jake and I were a part of the wedding, so it was fun to get all dressed up.

Jessica and her husband Andrew had their ceremony in an open air hall overlooking the Mississippi River. My father in law, had the marquee of the local Theater set up so everyone was able to wish Jessica and Andrew the best for their marriage.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Delectable Delights- Spring rolls

It hardly seems fair to call this a recipe, it's so easy, but we made these the other night and it was so good.
There are a lot of ingredients for spring rolls, so the chopping can take a long time, but otherwise we made the actual preparation of the rolls part of the dinner.

Basically just get a bunch of stuff you like together.

Here are some items to get you started

lettuce, typically bib lettuce, but I think romaine would work too
cabbage, I bought red cabbage to add a little color
meat (chicken, shrimp, crab) precooked
green onion
rice noodles
rice paper skins
(the last two can most likely be found at any grocery store, they can for sure be found at fancy grocery stores such as Central Market, Lunds, Whole Foods) I also sure you could buy them at an Asian food market.
Based on some rolls I'd had with a friend I also added scrambled egg to our list

soak the rice noodles in hot hot water. I find the directions on the packages to always be misleading because they just tell you to put it in the hottest tap water you can get and soak for 10 minutes. I have never had a variety of rice noodle be soft in hot tap water in ten minutes.
I've started taking boiling water and putting that over the noodles and soaking them for at least 20 minutes. The good thing is you could do this ahead if you wanted because the noodles should be cold for the rolls anyway. Once they are done, take a scissors and snip into little pieces, no need to be precise here.


Chop/Shred all ingredients

If you have some people who like one thing better than the other you can keep everything separate, otherwise you can just throw the cabbage, carrot, cilantro and maybe cucumber all in one bowl.

Like I said we make the preparation part of the meal, just think taco night.

Place all of your ingredients on the table, get a shallow pie plate or similar style bowl with water.
Soak the rice paper skins for about 30 seconds then put it on your plate.

Add ingredients like you would to a burrito or wrap, and wrap.

We used a peanut dipping sauce, but you can use whatever you want.


Monday, November 1, 2010

100 things project, The magazines

Oh just go ahead and admit it, we've all got a stack of magazines laying around that we have good intentions to do "something" with.

Maybe some of you are crafty, and plan to use them for a project...someday.

For me it's recipes. Thankfully I only get two magazines, but both are cooking magazines. I have been saving magazines for years, because someday I'll get around to making that recipe I saw for Asian chicken. Meanwhile I've made two different Asian chicken recipes from cookbooks I have, or recipes I've found online.

This is one of our purchases to add storage space. I think it needs some work. The
worst part is, there are books behind the books, but I digress

This is just one of the shelves of magazines, oh and a coding for fun book, because who doesn't like to just code, for fun.

I don't have much control over the Make magazines, but the others. I'm taking them on. I like my two subscribtions, but it's become clear to me that with my continuous subscription, and the internet, and cookbooks, I'll never get through them all, so they are getting recycled. From now on, my plan is to tear out the recipe page I think I might like to try and stick only that page in the drawer. Maybe I'll have better success this way, and a few more delectable delights to share. For now the magazines count as item number 1, but if I get desperate around item 90, that might change.