Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Cooking with the Pilot

December 6, 2016

Wandering into the kitchen one morning last weekend, my hockey-playing, pilot husband, who is an exterminator and has a degree in Biblical studies, was vigorously chopping some food source in a frying pan on the stove. I mention his hobbies, schooling and his occupations to point out that he has no formal, or informal for that matter, training in the culinary arts. NONE! He is widely renown for his burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. So his attempt at cooking amused me initially. As I began to ascertain the situation at hand, I became highly amused…. blog-worthy-amused!

On impulse at Costco, my sweet husband, the provider for our family, purchased a skid of hashbrowns. Just look at how crispy-fried those salty morsels appear! He was probably salivating in the super store. Gluten free and 100% REAL potatoes. How could he go wrong?

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Kindly I explained that the objective of hashbrown cooking is to leave them alone so they can get brown and crunchy. Smashing them to smithereens won’t get the desired results. Previously I had cooked two boxes of said Costco bulk purchase, so I was quite well-informed on the procedure.

Peering into the pan, something didn’t seem right. The limp potato strips looked dry (and smashed.) Kindly I inquired, “Did you read the directions?” It was an honest question. As soon as my question was delivered, my 13-year-old daughter, who has been trained in our kitchen by my capable side, started laughing and pointed at her dad the I-told-you-so-finger-of-doom. Seems she already mentioned reading the directions to him. That’s my girl!

Rick, Mr. Master Chef, (term used very sarcastically) opened the little carton of goodness and dumped the freeze-dried potatoes in the hot frying pan. He realized something was off. His spidey senses alerted him to the need for butter. In went a dollop of creamy yellow goodness. Butter is the answer to SO MANY cooking situations.

THEN he proceeded to read the directions. And I’ll admit, the instructions for this delicacy are unusual. 1. Open carton and add hot water to the fill line. 2. Close carton and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain well.

Uh oh.

Things were off to a poor start. The pan he had chosen was obviously too small if water was to be added, so he switched to a larger pan. (The only reason I know this is because I discovered a small frying pan in the sink with the remains of burnt freeze-dried potatoes stuck to its non-nonstick bottom.) It was too late to add water to the carton full of spuds, so he added water to the frying pan full of crunchy strips and butter. It said HOT water, so the stove burner was turned to HIGH, obviously. Just like whipping up a grilled cheese sandwich to quality blackness.

Disclaimer: my daughter filled me in on this whole process after the fact so this is all hearsay.

Okay, thinking he was good, he went back to the directions. 3. Preheat a large, non-stick skillet and 2 TBSP. oil over medium-high heat. So, FAIL on the non-stick part. Next oil was poured over the soggy white, limp, smashed potato strips. Doesn’t this make you want to have some???

This is when I wandered in… to witness the mutilation of the oily, half-saturated delicacy. Kindly I probed to see what oil he used. There are four oils in my cupboard: coconut, olive, sesame and vegetable. He had a 75% chance of success. Again, my daughter who loves home-ec informed me in a Dad-is-so-busted tone, “He used butter from your bowl. The one you measured to make cookies.” Ooooh, there are several things that could make this mama go all kinds of crazy on you. Using my softened butter that is measured in a bowl for baking is one of them. And she knew he knew better! That’s my girl. Again the finger-of-doom was pointed at the perpetrator.

It’s doubtful if he ever did read 4. Fry on one side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Kindly I offered to show him how to divide the pan of scrumptiousness into thirds and flip them to golden brown perfection.

Surprisingly, they tasted okay.

The moral of the story is: When at first you don’t succeed, fry fry again.

Or: Touch mama’s measured butter and die a slow death of much pain. (Kindly I let him live.)

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Leg Cramposaurus

November 27, 2016

This is a continuing saga from the Golden birthday post of yesterday.

The night of the party, I assumed I would sleep well after cooking 27 million street tacos, three large pans of creamy chicken enchiladas and cutting 75 pieces of chocolate cake. But no. Realization hit… more like burned… that this agony may be more than a muscle cramp in my thigh. There was no possible sleeping position that didn’t produce pain. For three nights I sat in my green birthday chair in my room praying to fall into unconsciousness.

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One of those three nights, I had forgotten my earplugs and once again I assumed I would be able to sleep without them because that was a less pain-filled decision then walking across the room to get the earplugs. Wrong again. I love earplugs. The end.

Still, on Monday, DAY #4, I assumed the pain would eventually go away. Nada. On Tuesday morning, firmly poised in my green birthday chair after a fitful night of cat naps, I phoned the doctor’s office for an immediate appointment.

My son delivered me to the physician’s office at 9:00 a.m. As you may have anticipated, I was not looking my best with possibly 15 hours of sleep in four days. In my experience, the worse you look going to the doctor, the better your chances are of getting action and results. The nurse practitioner acted like this was so ordinary… a thigh cramp… no big deal… “It’s your sciatic nerve. We will give you pain meds and also steroids to reduce the swelling.” Again, I assumed I would be down and out for a few more day.

Two minimal hours later, I was singing the praises of modern medicine and was relatively pain free for the first time in five days. I love meds. The end.

The end of my expressions of love. Not the end of the story.

Two days later, at the family Thanksgiving dinner table, someone suggested that we go around the table and spew forth our thankfulness. I started. I yelled, “I am thankful for drugs!” And it was true from the depths of my being. My soul sang of unquenchable passion for pain medication. My new love.

I assumed I was home free in the pain area. Then the inevitable struck… the other result of taking pain medication…. my belly and bowels full of three days of food not wanting to leave me without a painful, tear-filled fight. I cursed the meds I had previously been in love with just shy of two days ago. I cursed modern medicine. How come they can’t invent non-constipating pain pills??? What’s so hard about that? No pun intended. I cursed the non-plush toilet paper. I cursed the cold, hard toilet seat.

My son-in-law is in med school currently and was visiting for Thanksgiving, so quite naturally I inquired why pain medicine also causes bowel issues. My youngest son chimed in, “Are you asking for a friend?” Mr. Med School explained the corresponding effects and I replied, “I’ll let her know.”

Like the clouds parting after a storm, glee hit my soul when I remembered stool softeners. (I apologize if you are eating, or were eating while reading.) (I probably should have put a gross-out, middle-aged warning on this post.) (Sorry!) To my sheer delight I found a jar of expired stool softeners in the medicine cabinet. Glory be! I believe I heard angels singing as I tossed back three of those little red and white glistening darlings.

You guessed it. The next morning I was singing the praises of modern medicine again. Call me fickle, or delusional, or temperamental, or easily swayed, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it. True love. Pain free true love.

I assume I am not the only one on Earth to have gone through these conflicting emotions with modern medicine. My sincerest hope is that this post will allow a pain-free existence to someone else on the planet currently cursing modern medicine, and rough toilet paper and chilly toilet seats.

 

THE Bun Recipe…. you’re welcome!

November 27, 2014

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This recipe was given to me about 20 years ago by my across-the-back-alley neighbor in Spruce Grove, Alberta… Coral.  She’s a rock star! I make them every Thanksgiving and most Christmases and some Easters. They are dangerously delicious. Ask my son Keeve who ate at least ten before Thanksgiving dinner! True story!

Coral and Linda’s Buns (They used to just be called Coral’s buns……)

4 c. flour
2 T. fast rising yeast
1 t. salt
Mix together dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl: 1/3 c. oil
½ c. sugar
2 eggs
3 c. very warm water.
Beat wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients.
By hand, mix in 3-4 more cups of flour.
Let rise 15 min.
Punch down.
Let rise 15 min.
Punch down
Let rise 20 min.
Shape into buns the size of a golf ball.
Let rise 30-60 min.
Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes.
Makes 48 3” buns.

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Our New Life

January 17, 2013

Since the adoption of our little Colombian princess we have had six people living in our home.  It has all gone rather smoothly… even admirably, in my humble opinion.  However, I was not quite ready for the change it would bring to our family when our 19-year-old left for college.  Her 14-year-old brother moved into her room possibly within three nanoseconds of her father and I driving out of the driveway.  Not only did he take over her bedroom, but surprisingly, he started using the items she left behind… like her little yellow ballet-slippers with bows on top… and her fuzzy hot pink bathrobe.

keeve pink robe

If that wasn’t enough, the kid who seldom cooks got all inspired and yesterday morning all of us awoke to the pleasing aroma of waffles and bacon.  I sauntered down the stairs to find a delicacy that gave my stomach an uneasy feeling…. bacon AND chocolate waffles.  What?  Dirty dishes were scattered about the counters and there was a stack of waffles awaiting their victims.  Surprisingly, they were quite agreeable.  Upon further inquiry, he spilled the beans that he discovered the recipe in a magazine at the chiropractor’s office… and had been dreaming of making them ever since.

If you asked me two weeks ago if my 14-year-old son would be wearing a hot pink robe and cooking bacon and chocolate waffles… I would have laughed in your face.  Today…. I’m not laughing.  I’m still licking my lips.

Looky Here….

October 11, 2012

Two blogs in a row.  Remarkable, I know.

Wee morning hour reading is brought on by…

My lack of tiredness and inability to get shut eye.

The snoring giant yonder lies…

I climb out of bed with heartfelt sighs.

Not because of the noise am I still awake.

Too many thoughts in this brain to take.

There’s a sleeping bag zipper to be repaired,

Highlights needed to not be gray haired.

Pounds to be lost, and scriptures studied.

Meals to be thought up from a mind too muddied.

Stories in my soul crying out to be written.

Waiting hands, orphans and hearts to be smitten.

The darkness prevents watercolor escape.

Gresham ended tonight closing the drape.

Not often is my night’s journey cut short.

Even lesser is poetry used for sport.

Prayers for all my readers near and afar.

May God bless you and free you from this memoir.

Another Trick of the Trade!

June 27, 2010

This is why the women in the olden days had quilting bees!  So they could learn the tricks of the trade from each other.  Remember when I learned about the parchment paper on the cookie sheets?!?  Well, this new fangled device (the white tube in the upper right of the picture) is a pineapple peeler, corer, slicer and dicer.  OK, maybe not a dicer.  My sister whipped it out and had the pineapple cut into spiral rings in about three minutes.  Yes, the skin stays intact and hollowed out!  You simply twist the tube into the top of the pineapple (after the top and bottom are sliced off) and voila!  She bought it at the grocery store next to the pineapples for $10.  Very handy and slick.  Add it to your Christmas list, ladies.

Egg McMuffins

January 7, 2010

Last month, I awoke early one fine day and made my dear husband and myself Egg McMuffins… almost just like McDonalds.  English muffins, an egg, a cheese slice and 1.5 pieces of bacon broken up to fit in the muffin.  I’ve made these for years, but for some strange reason, my two boys never wanted them, or can’t remember them, have never had them, or some other strange reason.  The very same day last month when I awoke early and made the English muffins both boys viewed the delicacy and requested said muffins.  It was like the window of heaven opened and the ambrosia was discovered! 

Since that momentous day, I’ve made approximately 57 Egg McMuffins, but who’s counting?  Yesterday both boys had two for breakfast and then late in the afternoon, #1 son was found in the kitchen making his own Egg McMuffin!  It’s as if they are protein deficient or something.  My boys usually aren’t the picky type, but #1 son requested REAL sliced cheddar cheese instead of the cheap-o American sliced cheese on his Egg McMuffin.  I’m only too happy to slice REAL cheddar cheese, after all, I’m the mother.

Yesterday,the same exact day #1 son was found in the kitchen making his own Egg McMuffin, I took a trip to Costco and bought eggs, cheese and the grand-poo-bah size package of Thomas’ English Muffins, to ensure a plentiful supply.  I’m ready for another week.

My only beef with Thomas’ is the massive collection of little grainy thingees on the bottom of the muffins.  They feel like cornmeal or Cream of Wheat, but they aren’t.  They’re smaller and more annoying.  The little grains ALWAYS end up on the counter and the floor no matter how careful I am.  I even brush them off into the sink, but they magically appear on the floor.  Yes, Thomas’ are the original nooks and crannies, but I’m starting to favor the Walmart no-name stacked English muffins.

(This post is in no way associated with or in partnership or advertising cahoots with McDonalds or Ronald McDonald or the Hamburgler.)

A Swedish Tribute

November 19, 2009

Grandma Nikander’s Swedish Pancakes have been one of my favorite delicacies since the late ’60s.  Naively, I assumed it was a secret family recipe brought across the pond by scarf-donning ancestors, handed down and down and down to my Grandma in Eastern Oregon.  It probably was handed down, but I learned later in life that other people call them crepes… and eat them for every meal of the day…. and they aren’t very secret.  I vaguely remember visiting my Grandma in her later years, when she was no longer able to make her Swedish pancakes.  I thought the world had come to an end.  Little did I know that I would be standing over the stove flipping them for another 70 years.

My youngest son requests these drool-producing paper-thin pancakes at least once a week.  They are also a family favorite of the next generation, and to no surprise….. they are mouth-wateringly delicious.  They are a tad on the sweet side, yet airy and light…. I prefer them slathered in melted butter and sprinkled in powdered sugar.  We leave them rolled up…. always.  My boys pour maple syrup on them, but my daughter follows my powdery taste for sugary goodness.

I’ll even share the secret Swedish Pancake recipe!

In a blender mix: 3 eggs (without shells), 2 cups of milk, 2 Tbsp Sugar, dash salt, and 1 cup of flour.  I have used whole wheat flour, but honestly, they taste better with the white not-as-good-for-you-bleached-flour. 

Heat a non-stick frying pan to med-high heat.  I use #6.  Butter the pan before each pancake.  My soup ladle measures out the perfect amount of batter to cover the bottom of the pan.  I have to pick up the pan and swirl it to get a perfect circle.  When the surface of the batter is no longer shiny, flip the pancake.  When lightly browned, roll up and serve…. quick.

A perfect pancake for Thanksgiving morning.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Manicotti Morning

March 28, 2009

manicotti

You know the days.  You wake up dreaming of some such delicious entree.  I bought all the ingredients for Spinach Manicotti yesterday.  I must be low on iron or strength or something else that spinach is stocked full of.  Yesterday was Spinach Stromboli day.  Oooh that was a good one.  Not Rick’s fave, but I loved it.  I knew he would be excited about the manicotti because it’s basically lasagna in rolls.  Well, I’m not quite sure what exactly happened to make the manicotti shells malfunction, but they did.  Only one in ten came out of the boiling water intact as a tubular noodle.  What in the world?  So…. the manicotti turned into spinach lasagna with flattened out manicotti noodles.  Brother.  15 minutes 52 second until it’s out of the oven.

My Holiday Planner

November 17, 2008

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Aaahhhh.  Organization at its BEST!  Now don’t go thinking I’m taking credit for this fabulous planner idea.  I attended a conference and took a class on building a website.  The gal that taught the course has a website ALL about organizational tips for the holidays.  Well, this is right up my alley, baby.  Not only did I make myself a binder/planner, I gave them as gifts last year too.  Scrapbooking + organizing = priceless.  Here’s Kris Ann’s website: http://christmasorganizing.com/

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The book is pure organizational genius.  It starts with monthly calendar pages and moves through every area of holidaying: gifts, decorating, letters, cleaning, favorites, where you hid stuff for next Christmas, etc.  Of course I decorated mine in wintry blues… my favorite colors that remind me of cold Canadian nights in the snow. 

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Last year was my first chance using the planner for the months of November and December and it was the first year in 20 years of marriage that we shipped Christmas gifts to the Canadian relatives ON TIME!  No extra postage because of procrastinating!  Wooo Hooo!

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The Deep Cleaning page strikes fear in the hearts of my children.  But, boy howdy, does the house look better during Jesus’ birthday.  It lists every cleaning job possible and then every single room and hallway in the house.  Sweet sanitary music to my ears.  You only do one or two rooms per week and it doesn’t even seem that bad, especially when an energetic mother and her three willing assistants attack the room simultaneously.  Ten to fifteen minutes per room… and the disgusting horizontal blinds even shine.

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The meal and baking planning sheets were a Godsend come grocery shopping time.  You just can’t put a price on the value of preparing ahead.  It also adds peace of mind to the season that can be so stressful. I used a plain white binder and slid in the cutesy covers with silver glitter.

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For those industrious fellow crafters and planners, here is the complete list of tabs: calendar, planner (weekly countdown of to-do lists), Thanksgiving (meal plans and recipes), cleaning, cards (sent/received lists and copies of past family letters), budget, decorating (magazine pictures, ideas from websites, lists of per-room decorations), gifts (planner with immediate family, extended family, friends, Wish lists, Gift Wrap Center, Gift Closet Stocking Stuffers, After Christmas Purchases and where I put them), food (meal plans, Baking planner, recipes), crafts (gifts to make, magazine ideas), wardrobe (A slot for each family members’ outfits: Sunday, Family Photo and Casual), Shopping Lists, and extras (lists of Christmas Favorite movies, books, music and Traveling checklists).

Join me in Christmas bliss.  :o)