Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Thrifting Adventures

Me and Lucy went thrifting again yesterday. I can't help it - it's too much fun.

$4
*Glass saucepan. I am looking for stainless steel but haven't found one to my liking yet. America's Test Kitchen told me to get cast iron so I'm looking for that too but I bet those take forever to heat a can of Spaghettios. I remember my mom has some glass ones that seemed to work well. I swear my non-stick pans taste like soap.

$1
*Dora cup. Guy has a similar cup (with trucks, not Dora) and it seemed fair to get Lucy one too.
*Rectangle bowls. I love Pampered Chefs Simple Additions dishware and although these are not them they look a lot like them and looked perfect for serving something like olives.

$0.50
*Christmas Little Critter book. Needs no explanation. Little Critter is the best.
*Dolls. I'm making the kids little bags of goodies for our upcoming road trip and I thought these would be good for Lucy. She might be too old for them but they are cute and new and made with awesomeness by Under the Nile. So I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

RIP: Golden Hen

We lost our very first chicken today from natural causes. Don't know why she died but I found her today around 2PM in a corner of the chicken house. I poked at her for awhile before pronouncing her dead. As I was moving her I kept expecting her to just go crazy and claw out my eyes but unfortunately she remained dead. The other chickens attacked me while moving the hen - a first. I guess they hadn't had the memorial yet. It was an open trash bag service so they kind of needed the body.

Daring Baker: Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Sunita has the recipe posted on her blog.

SWISS ROLLS
First time making swiss rolls! My rolls seemed too thin or just overcooked. They kind of crunched when I rolled them up.
The filing was super easy and delicious! (Lucy agrees!!)


ICE CREAM
Difficult by hand. I burnt up the hand mixer trying to churn the stuff. So I only have the stand mixer now but that's okay. I hadn't touched the hand mixer in years. I made vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Have I mentioned you can buy whipping cream by the half gallon at Costco? Because I needed it for this stuff.
CAKE
To make the cake I made a shell with swiss roll slices then added the vanilla ice cream, some homemade fudge, and then the chocolate ice cream. I tried to turn the cake out too early. That made a huge mess and lost a lot of my chocolate ice cream. What's a Daring Adventure without a screw up? Well besides destroying the hand mixer. Guy approved and that's all that matters

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thrifting Fun

Guy won a preschool gift certificate and today was his 4th day. He gets so excited to go and before he leaves he tells all his friends "bye-bye". I might eventually start paying for this! Eeeek! Anyway, since it's a 1/2 hour drive to his school from the house the Luce-ster Lobster (aka Lucy) accompanies me around town for 3 hours of errands.

Today we spent all that time thrifting. I know! It was totally the best! Until I made Lucy put that Amy Grant cassette tape back....that was not cool.

Anyway I know nobody cares what I buy with my husband's money. But this is what I'm interested in. Plus I like to look back on this stuff and see what I'm still using. You got to be picky about what you bring into your home or you'll be wading through bendy straws and McDonalds toys before you know it.

*Stainless Steel Measuring Cups & Spoons $5. I have been eyeballing a set by King Arthur that retail for $49.50. These didn't come with as many and I don't think the quality is as high. For a 90% discount I think it's a bargain and it should keep me away from spending $50 on a set.
*Two colorful Melamine plates $2. I always look for kids plates and usually the quality is awful but today I found these. Yay!
*Mommy Clothes $10. The shirt is from Macy's (my guess- $20 new) and the jeans are from White House Black Market (my guess- $80 new). I love finding expensive clothes for cheap. Cheap clothes are always cheap.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daring Cook: Nut Butters

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

I chose to make Almond Butter and use it for Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce.

I absolutely loved this recipe! And making the Almond Butter was incredible. I want to start making my own peanut butter now.

I made the Almond Butter in my food processor. It's just Almonds. Watching the consistency change is awesome. It goes from whole, to chopped, to chunky, and then all the sudden it just goes smooth like butter! It's really just amazing.


Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
4 (6 oz / 170 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt to taste

Spice Blend:
1.5 tablespoons (20 ml) garam masala seasoning (I did the best with what I had on hand)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper

Sauce:
4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter
1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce/425 g) can tomato sauce
⅓ cup (80 ml) almond butter
⅓ cup (80 ml) milk
½ to ¾ cup (120 to 180 ml) chicken broth or water, more as needed (I used water)

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken. If desired, pound chicken to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness to promote even cooking. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside on clean plate and keep warm.
  2. Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine. Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce. Return to simmer. Add broth (or water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.
  4. Remove onion from sauce and discard. Transfer sliced chicken to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until chicken is heated through.
Sauce w/out chicken

Served with penne!
I loved this. My hubby wasn't a fan but who cares about him? Gosh, it was good.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Little Chores

Guy gets the eggs everyday. He'll remind me too - "Eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs..." And I'll send him in there to wrestle through bees and chickens. If a chicken is sitting on the eggs he'll let me know - "Chi-en! Chi-en! Chi-en!" And then I'll have to go pick up the chicken and he'll giggle and grab the eggs. Then he'll take off running for the house. Once inside he'll wait for me to get the wooden egg bowl down. After he puts them in, he will rearrange all the eggs in a way that works for him. He is the egg master.

Lucy helps me hang clothes on the line and take them off by transporting the clothes from me to the basket and vice versa. If I try to do it without her she'll run over to me and totally take charge. Sometimes I step on her because she'll be standing behind me, eyeballing my work, while she holds a sock that needs to be hung. She is the master of the laundry. In fact she helped me make laundry soap the other day. I was filling up my gallon jugs with the lumpy soap and after I would put it in the funnel, Lucy would poke all the soap down with a chop stick. I was amazed how helpful she was...at 13 months. She takes laundry very seriously.

It's nice to have such enthusiastic folks helping with chores.