Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beef Enchiladas with Brown Sauce

Maybe this is new to you, maybe its not.  But when I first had these enchiladas with brown sauce- not red, not green, but brown- I fell in love.  I have to credit my step-mother, Linda, for this recipe.  I don't know where she got it, but she taught me how to make this sauce and it has become my family's favorite.  It's a bit of a process, as enchiladas tend to be, but if you've never made enchiladas before, I encourage you to try it!  By the way, I hope you don't mind getting your hands dirty.  Or the counter tops... your stove...wear an apron.  There will be a mess.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beer Battered Fish - so easy your husband could do it!

I say 'husband' with great intention. 

In my 7 years, 3 months, and 20 days of marriage, I've become aware of a strange phenomenon.  Maybe you've picked up on this, too...

A boyfriend can do anything.  Especially if its a new boyfriend.  A new boyfriend can cook you dinner, fix your flat, paint your toenails, and recite Shakespeare. But as the relationship progresses and becomes more comfortable, men start to degenerate.  They begin to lose their superhero powers.  For example, a long-term boyfriend can suddenly no longer remember the name of "your song."  Should you become engaged, a fiance can no longer retrieve his own beer.  Once you're married, a newlywed husband suddenly loses his ability to operate a washer/dryer.  And as the marriage goes into longevity, husbands seem to lose a whole slew of super powers, like seeing a pair of black socks in a drawer full of white ones, or remembering that groceries need to be placed in pantries and refrigerators rather than being left on counter tops.  And cooking?  Fuggedaboutit! That's far too complex a task for the common husband to tackle!  After all, each of their limbs has limited mobility upon crossing the threshold of the front door.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Turkey Pot Pie

I don't know about you but I had Thanksgiving leftovers for a week.  That's usually about how long it takes for us to either eat all that turkey and ham or just get sick to death of it.  I decided that the last bit of turkey was getting a little dry just hanging out in my fridge, so I needed a recipe that would add a little moisture and FINALLY use it all up, dang it!

 I hate to throw away perfectly good food.  Seems like such an irresponsible thing to do considering the time and money that went into acquiring it in the first place.  Also, I hate the idea of being so wasteful.  Those infomercials of starving children in third world countries did a real job on me when I was growing up.  Not to mention the fact that if one of those commercials came on TV while my mother was in the room she would instantly become someone else.  She got sad, stopped eating (if there was food nearby), and proceeded to make me feel deeply guilty for having so many toys, clothes, shoes, a bed, ducted heating and AC, clean water, clean fingernails, a father...   not on purpose, though.  I could just see it in her eyes.  She never actually said anything.  I guess one of the traits she passed on to me was a deep sense of empathy.  Or a guilty conscience? 

Wow!  Are you totally depressed now?!?  Sorry.  Really.  I guess, in some twisted way, part of what gets me in the holiday spirit is to reflect on how much worse life could be.  It really serves to remind me how good I have it.  And then I get to remembering how self-serving I've been all year and start making plans about how to divide my fortune amongst the needy.  I start purging my closets and my kids' toys.  I vow to use every morsel of food in my pantry before I will allow myself to go grocery shopping again.

And then about five minutes into it, I get over myself, thank God for his blessings, and start feeling happy again!  Whew!  No wonder the holidays are so stressful - its such and emotional roller coaster!

Now, let's eat!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Spicy

Hello.  My name is Heather and I have a problem.

I'm a spice-aholic. 

Would you believe that's not even all of them?

And would you believe that only two of those jars are doubles?  Its true.  I own two jars of basil and two jars of ground cloves. 

The rest are completely different, individual, non repetitive herbs and spices.

Why?  Because like I said, I'm a spice-aholic.  During this time of year all the spices go on sale.  Some are even buy one get one free!  How can I pass that up?  Some people have shoe addictions, others have jewelry addictions....I have spice additions.  What can I say?  I like flavor.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Bread!!

Because you asked, and because I'm a people are the step-by-step instructions to make your own turkey....bread.

Start with a ball of bread dough.  Any kind you like.  We love french bread so most (OK all) of my bread creations are made from french bread dough.  I love, LOVE, LOOOOVE my breadmaker, so I always throw the ingredients into the breadmaker and put it on the 'dough' setting.  It does the work for me so I can go shopping for coordinating outfits for our upcoming family portrait.  And then grocery shopping.  In two hours!  Because I got to go ALONE!!  Normally I would have milked this opportunity for as many hours as I could before recieving the inevitable text from my husband.... "ETA?" 
But I had bread dough to come home to.  And I was already 45 minutes late...Ya, I was shocked, too. 
Back to the bread.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Make Your Own "Hostess Cupcakes"

You remember those, right?  All chocolatey and delicious on the outside.  Gooey and creamy on the inside.  These cupcakes are part of my childhood.  And I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume you've got your own personal experiences with these babies. Cause this is America, after all.  Home of the Fat Kids, Land of the Brave. 
Now, I do my best to avoid impulse gas station cupcakes so cleverly placed at fingertip's reach near the checkout counter.  I really do.  And I tell my kids that they should quickly learn to expect the word 'NO.' to answer their snack requests while standing in line to make a purchase...uh, anywhere.  But, I must admit.  I, myself, have a difficult time blocking these cupcakes from my periferral vision.  Because I never look them in the eye.  I can't.  Its too dangerous. 
But.  The other day, while I was at Walmart, I caved.  I bought two packages of the vile beasts.  That's four cupcakes.  FOUR. 
I was good, though.  I only ate one.  I fed the rest to my family.  Then I decided I needed more.  But I couldn't succomb to the idea of going back for six more cupcakes.  I mean, who eats ten cupcakes in one day?  I told myself, "I do not need fourteen cupcakes." 
So I baked a bunch of them myself. 
And now you can, too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce - aka "Meat's Ball"

I know, I know.  Why bother when its so easy to crack open a jar of Ragu?  I'll tell you why.  Because its TOTALLY worth it and its a super-cinch!

But before we begin, I must apologize here.  I didn't take any pictures to accompany this recipe.  Partly because I was in a hurry to throw it together since I literally ran through the door to the stove after a grueling gymnastics session (in which I was not a participant, obviously, but my youngest and I watch my oldest through the glass and then she proceeds to imitate her sister's moves in my lap), and partly because I initially had no intention of posting the recipe here.  But I've since changed my mind because of the sheer wonderfulness, awesomenessdeliciousness MAGNIFICANCE of what came to be in that skillet!  And the best part is, it was fast and made from stuff I always have around.    

So, as a friendly guesture to you all for having botched the picture recipe, I've chosen to substitute pictures with a lively story.  I hope you'll indulge me. 
I've entitled this recipe "Meat's Ball"
Let us begin. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Struesel

I woke up with a cold today :(  My kids dragged me out of bed at 7:27 asking for breakfast...I guess they deserve to eat.  So I poured them some cereal and thought about the tasks of the day...

there was laundry....................nah

oh, and my kitchen needs to be mopped!........................nah

the toilets are looking pretty bad.............................definately not.

So what am I willing to spend my limited energy on?  Then Julia says, "Mommy, what kind of muffins can you make?"

Without thinking too hard about it, I respond, "Pumpkin."  Well, then.  I guess its settled.  I'm making muffins.