Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie

Since we have become people that rarely eat red meat, Tim doesn't really like fish & I seem to forget that pork outside of bacon actually exists, we eat a LOT of chicken. Just about every night that we eat meat, it is chicken. Making sure there is some variety is imperative to keeping our tastebuds from rising against us in revolt.

As it has begun to get colder I decided it was about time for some chicken pot pie. First I boiled 3 chicken breasts with bay leaves.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wreath Renewal

The wreath on our front door has seen better days. It used to be a pretty green color but has now faded away into more of a light Smurf blue.

Since structurally it's still pretty solid I decided I would just spray paint it to give it new life.

I started out by laying it on the ground of the lot next door so I didn't end up with a funky colored lawn or driveway and used a yellow for the base. I didn't want it to be solid as I still wanted a hint of the greenish/blue peeking through.

Here is how it looked after the first coat.

Next up, a deep red/burgundy color. I layered it in so the yellow and blue/green still also showed.

Here are the results of that quick spray.

Next up, an orange. I wanted more of a deep orange but settled as it wasn't available. I sprayed it on and again let all of the other colors peek back through.

Here is the result of that quick spray.

Finally, I wanted something just to take the brightness of the colors down a bit so I sprayed a quick coat of a beige I already had.

Here she is in all of her glory.

I let it dry for about 10 minutes, threaded the ribbon back through and placed it back on the door as good as new!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fast & Easy

Each year our HOA has an annual meeting to discuss everything from the previous year, express concerns & vote in the Advisory Board for the next year. This year Tim's yearly colonoscopy (it was clean!) landed on the same day which allowed for me to be home taking care of him most of the day. He was back to his normal self by dinnertime which was also the same time as the meeting. I thought it would be nice to go a little early & take dinner with us, a little picnic if you will. I ran a little short on time so I don't have pictures of the final food but you can use your imagination right? :)

First up was Broccoli Salad, one of my favorites! First I mixed a cup of mayonnaise, 5 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar & a tablespoon of sugar.

I then added in some cooked bacon (about 1/2 a cup but you can add as little/much as you want) along with some finely shredded cheddar (again, about 1/2 a cup but you can add as little/much as you want).


 Next up I chopped a head of broccoli & half of a purple onion to add in.

Everything was stirred together & placed in the fridge for a minimum of an hour.

Next up, Ham Delights. I found these poppy seed rolls at Trader Joe's & thought they would be perfect (although traditionally I've always made them with Hawaiian Sweet Rolls).

I mixed up 1/2 a cup of butter with a few tablespoons of mustard (to taste), some Worchestershire (to taste) and about a tablespoon and a half of poppy seeds.

I then spread the mixture onto both sides of the cut rolls.

Piled on the ham & cheese (whatever kinds you like) & baked in a 350 oven for about 10-15 minutes. Basically until the cheese melts & the mixture on the buns does too.

Finally I made some homemade Fresca. This was incredibly easy & I have no idea where I got the idea. First I zested an orange, a lemon & a lime.

Next I boiled one cup of sugar into one cup of water in order to make a simple syrup. I added the zests after all of the sugar had dissolved.

Finally I took the zested fruit, added in another orange & lemon & juiced all into the cooled simple syrup. Finally added in some ice & Ginger Ale & it was good to go!

At this point we were no longer going to be early so I threw everything into a bag & we rushed to the meeting but got to enjoy our fantastic supper during it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


This is by far the worst meal I have ever created. I don't know what my problem was but I was completely off this night. 

Here it is in all of its glory, what's that your asking? What is that sauce? Well funny story...those are actually mashed potatoes. See where we're starting to go with this?

Everything started out normally, I just got a fry basket for our cookware & decided to use it. I quartered some red potatoes & started boiling them.

Once they were fork-tender I put them into the blender.

I added in some frozen garlic cubes. Trader Joe's sells them & they are fabulous.

I also added in salt, pepper, sour cream & milk (way too much milk) which left me with soup. I tried to thicken it up with cornstarch but that gave it more of the consistency of glue. The flavor was good but I couldn't get past the consistency.

Onto failure number 2. Next up, oversteamed green beans. Whenever I steam vegetables I always use this fabulous little silicone insert & typically have great results.

This time not so much, wilted & oversteamed vegetables are pretty disgusting & don't do a lot for you nutritionally as most of the nutrients have been cooked out.

Next up, a semi-success. Tim doesn't eat fish, he's convinced that he won't like it so I decided to work on changing his opinion. I spoke with the guys behind the counter at Whole Foods that suggested Dover Sole Fillets as they are a mild fish. 

I started out by mixing Panko crumbs with grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper & paprika. 

I also mixed up 3 eggs with some milk added in salt & pepper again. 

I dipped the fillets into the egg mixture then covered them with the panko mixture followed by placing them into a hot cast iron skillet with some olive oil until they were nice & brown.

Throughout this entire post you may be asking yourself what is the burnt hockey puck looking thing on the plate? Well, that was the biggest failure of them all. There were extra panko crumbs which had become a bit like a dough with the egg mixture.

I had the brilliant idea of frying them up as well. I really can't tell you just how terrible they really were. Tim told me they were pretty good with ketchup but I have the feeling he may have been stretching the truth a bit.

So there you have it, my biggest failure in cooking thus far. I'm sure I'll have many more in the years to come but hopefully none will taste this bad again!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shower Upgrade

This is a little "upgrade" I did awhile ago for us. When Tim is on chemo he can't get his injection site wet so having a handheld sprayer is a must but I'm not a huge fan of them, no particular reason why, I'm just not a fan...

We had some money leftover on a Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card where I found this little beauty. It was the perfect compromise for both his needs & my wants, the best part is how easy it was to install.

Here are all of the parts all laid out in their glory.

Here is the old leaky showerhead

First I removed it & saw the tape was good to go so I didn't have to wrap anymore which is great because I am terrible at that task.

I then screwed on the base portion

Next I screwed on the hose, then figured out I screwed it onto the wrong part so I unscrewed it & moved it to the correct position.

Finally I screwed both showerheads on & they were good to go!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chipotle Night, Part 2

Continuing on from yesterday, time for all of the sides...

First up, the Corn Salsa. This was incredible easy, all I had to do was take a bag of Trader Joe's frozen corn, squeeze a lime on it and mix it with a jalapeno pepper (we aren't big fans of hot so I didn't use much) before letting it sit overnight & it was ready to go the next night. It could have been much better had I remembered to put the red onion in it.

Next up, the Cilantro Lime Rice. I pulled this recipe from Pinterest as well. First I rinsed off the rice and let it soak for about ten minutes.

While it soaked I heated up a teaspoon of olive oil with a teaspoon of sugar.

Once it was all nice & toasty I added in the drained rice and made sure it was all coated with the oil before squeezing the juice of a lime onto it.

I then added water and some salt, covered the pan and let it cook for about 15 minutes before adding some chopped cilantro.

Next up I set out the pork, rice, corn salsa, regular tomato salsa, the sauce leftover from the pork, tortillas, cheese, sour cream & the pickled onions I spoke about here before we all got to work on that feast. Needless to say there were not any leftovers that night!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chipotle Night, Part 1

Everyone has their personal favorite whether it is Moe's, Qdoba, Salsarita's or Chipotle. For me, Chipotle is the hands-down winner. All of their food just tastes so fresh & delicious. A few weeks ago we had a friend over for dinner & I made all of the fixings for a Chipotle night (thank you Pinterest).

Before I left for work I followed this recipe except for deciding to put it in a crock-pot so everything could be good to go when I got home. I placed a 3 lb pork butt into the crock-pot & sprinkled it with salt.

I then quartered an orange and squeezed it over the pork & placed those quarters into the crock-pot, I also quartered and onion & placed that in as well with 4 cloves of garlic, a few bay leaves & a cinnamon stick. I turned the crock-pot to High and headed to work for the next 8 hours.

When I came home, this is what I found.

I pulled out the meat, strained out the juice and pulled out the orange slices, bay leaves and cinnamon stick leaving only the onions & garlic cloves.

I then pureed the onions and garlic with a little bit of the liquid, combined that back with the rest of the liquid and brought it up to a boil.

I cooked this down to be about half the original amount and put it off to the side.

I then shredded the meat, after cooking it so slowly it just fell apart on me.

Next up, the side items....