Thursday, January 27, 2011

He said, she said

He said the split pea and ham soup was great. She said, dis-guis-ing! I'm not a ham person and the mushy peas did nothing for me. I mean, look at that picture. It does not look appetizing.

Still M. happily ate it for either lunch or dinner every day this week. So I guess it turned out ok, despite my trouble with the ham bone. Let's call this one a draw.

I had a few other wins and failures this week. To recap:

Carrots and Rutabaga -- a win for sure! This dish was so unique and tasty. Love it!

For the Steeler game, I made Chili and cornbread. I added cumin, oregano, garlic powder and extra chili powder to the chili spice things up a bit. M. and his parents loved it! So either this was another win, or my in-laws are too nice to me.

M's split pea and ham soup. You've already heard all about that.

We ate leftovers and I made M. fruit & pecan granola bars for his ice fishing trip this weekend. I've made them before and I followed the recipe exactly. They looked beautiful when I took them out of the oven, but for whatever reason I couldn't separate the stupid things from the foil (and yes, I greased the foil). There were chunks of granola bars and bits of foil everywhere. Such a sticky mess. And sadly, a failure.

I made broccoli and carrot stir fry. This was delightful. Win!

I also made my famous carrot soup for M to take on his trip (since I botched up the cereal bars). The soup turned out ok, but I dropped the immersion blender mid use. Result = orange all over me and my kitchen. Oh and as the blender fell out of the pot, it hit the soy sauce that was sitting on the counter, knocking it to the floor, where it shattered and spilled everywhere. Fail!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What the -bleep- is a ham bone?

If you recall, M. and I have soup night every week. You may also remember M’s favorite soup is split pea and ham. I’m not big on ham, so it’s not something I’ve ever had a desire to eat.

But being the good wife that I am, I decided I’ll give it a whirl. I went to the grocery store on Saturday to get the supplies. On the list: a ham bone. I headed to the meat section. Beef. Chicken. Pork. Lamb. Bacon. Sausage. Fish. More chicken. Chicken. Chicken. Ham! Finally! Boneless. Boneless. Boneless. Sliced ham with bone. Where are the darn ham bones!?

I rummaged around that section for 20 minutes and saw no sign of anything that said “ham bone.” So I picked up the slice of ham (with a bone in the middle) and decided it will have to do.

Next item on the list: split peas. Crap, forgot to get those when I was in the produce section, so I went back. Snow peas, snap peas. Where in the world are the split peas?! Then it clicked – maybe split peas aren’t fresh, perhaps they’re canned. Over to the canned goods aisle. Still nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

I’m still not sure how I noticed it, but eventually I discovered split peas come in a bag like rice. Who knew?

I’m planning to make the soup tonight. Let’s hope cooking it goes better than shopping for it. And for the record – I’m still not exactly clear on the definition of a ham bone. Nor do I know where you can buy one.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Lieu of Pasta Night

Spaghetti squash. My Italian side knows squash can never replace pasta -- especially not now that I'm into making homemade pasta. But if you're still clinging to your lose weight, eat healthier, cook more New Year's Resolutions, give spaghetti squash a try.

I've eaten it many times, but last night was my first attempt at making it. My mom always bakes it. Well, I took the easy way out and microwaved it. Let me tell you, M. wasn't home to see me toss it in the microwave and he said it was cooked to perfection -- soft, but not overcooked.

I poked it with a knife all over (like you do for a baked potato). Then I cooked it on high for about 9 minutes. Flipped it over and cooked it on high for another 9 minutes. At that point it wasn't quite soft enough, so I rotated it just a bit and gave it another 3 minutes. That did the trick.

Next just slice it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and then use a fork to scrape the insides into a bowl. That's all there is to it.

After that you can sauce-it-up however you please. Just do a little searching, there are so many recipes out there that look amazing. I can wait to try a few. But last night, I didn't want to make an extra trip to the store, so I used what I had on hand.
  • EVOO (of course)
  • Garlic
  • Sauteed onions
  • Spices (lots of them)
Then I saw this recipe on my Epicurious app, which gave me the idea to toast some almonds and pecans.

Speaking of apps, I've had the iPhone for a few months now, but this is the first time I actually used my Epicurious app. Do any of you use apps for cooking? If so what do you recommend?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What is everybody watching this January?

I work out at in my parents' basement before work, so I NEED to keep material on their DVR to motivate me to get out of bed at 6 am every morning.

Currently scheduled to record:
I've started watching My Strange Addiction, but it's not as great as I thought it would be. And -- I'll admit -- when the pickings are really slim, I record Keeping up with the Kardashians. They're actually not bad to watch while working out.

It may seem like a lot, but some of those shows are reserved for watching at night with M. Plus, you burn through shows fast when you're watching an episode of something every morning while rocking the elliptical.

So tell me. What are your favorite shows? Guilty pleasures encouraged!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What's the opposite of hoarding?

Sometimes I think watching TLC makes me a better person. I watched the Half-Ton Dad special last weekend and immediately put down the cookie I was about to consume. I also recently caught part of a Hoarding: Buried Alive marathon and it seriously. Freaks. Me. Out. On the plus side, it motivates me to do a big house clean out several times a year.

I think it's officially safe to say, we're definitely not hoarders in our house. In fact, at the rate we're going, we might just find ourselves in a bare house some day.

We had an unusually warm day on New Year's Eve. It climbed into the 60s. In Pittsburgh. In late December. It was the perfect day to open up the windows and air out the house one last time before winter really sets in.

I really do hate cleaning up Christmas. But I also can't stand to see Christmas decorations much past New Year's. This year, the warm weather helped lift my spirits as we tossed out the tree and packed up the Santas (though I was singing It's the least wonderful time of the year the entire time).

It was a job well done. The house is clean and without clutter. Plus I even organized behind the scenes. I love having organized cabinets, drawers, shelves, storage areas. The perfect way to start off 2011.

My first organizing and cleaning tips of the new year:
  • Start organizing one thing and finish it completely before tackling another area.
  • If your vacuum has a brush that attaches to the hose, use it to dust. Works like a charm.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wedding Planning 101

A few days before Christmas one of my very best friends got engaged to her perfect prince charming. They're such a great match for each other and I couldn't be more excited! Congratulations to the Dining Diva and Tim! May you have a lifetime of love and happiness together. xo!

While I was planning my own wedding last year, the Dining Diva kept encouraging me to post the details on my blog. However, spare time was hard to come by and I definitely dropped the blogging ball.

So in 2011 I'm going to reflect back on our wedding from time to time and share a few details with all of you current brides-to-be. Hopefully it will help inspire ideas for your big days.

My Number 1 piece of advice -- never lose site of the reason for such an extravagant party. Even the strongest couples will encounter tense situations along the way. It's inevitable. But always remember, no wedding detail is more important than the fact that you're about to marry the love of your life.

Wives -- what's your number one piece of advice for brides-to-be?