Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meal Plan Redux

My meal plan is peppered with things you might have seen before on my meal plans, but they have never actually gotten made due to various reasons.  (Mostly life!  LOL)

Monday- This is a new recipe/food for me.  I have never been a big fan of hotdogs.... but everybody seems to love brats.  I found some and this recipe for Beer Brats on AR.  It seems like a pretty standard recipe.  I'll report back if we are brat fans or not!

Tuesday - You saw these Thai Noodles just last week on the meal plan.   But Wednesday turned out to be a crazy night in our world and my friend, "Gem" offered me posole!  She makes the best posole and since Mrs. S. had dental work anyway - I didn't want to make it and her not to enjoy it!  It was the point!  LOL

Wednesday - I found some leftover Southern Pulled Pork from a few weeks ago in the freezer.  I really liked that BBQ sauce a lot

Thursday -   I had this Red Lentil Curry on the meal plan awhile back but couldn't find the curry paste.  I finally found some and my prized red lentils are going to be so good!

Friday - Shelby aka Grumpy's Honeybunch is a tad bit obsessed with Steamy Kitchen Ground Beef with Bejing Sauce. I made it before and while it is VERY GOOD and I'm making it again (which does say a lot in my world), it is mostly because I have the black bean sauce that I want to use up!  LOL

Saturday - I had this groovy looking stuffed pork chop casserole on the meal plan a few weeks ago, but it never got made and looks to good to give up on!

Sunday - I was hanging out over on Eating Ect. (she has so many gorgeous pics and great ideas!) and saw this unique looking Braised BBQ Chicken recipe that starts on the grill and ends in the even.  All I can say is I can't wait to try this with those chicken thighs in my freezer!

Everybody have a great week!

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another Week - Another Meal Plan

Well, here are are - back into the swing.... almost literally as KK is in the thick of her middle school softball season!  The weather has gotten warmer (I have the watery eyes, drippy nose, and sneezes to prove it!).

Monday - It is softball game night!  What does the busy mom do???  Say it all together now..... CROCK POT!   I've made a few recipes from A Year of Slow Cooking and had good success - and wanted do an enchilada recipe.... and of course she came through!  She used the darn EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR A YEAR!  Best part is that it will be done when we roll in.... no muss, no fuss!

Tuesday - I am going to be starting up my Excel class at the high school again.  This leaves us a very short window to get dinner on the table.  I've tried a couple of times to just wait to have dinner until I get home, but that just doesn't work so well for me!  LOL A good teacher is not somebody who is grumpy 'cuz they are so hungry all they want to do is gnaw there arm off.  I found this yummy looking Artichoke Chicken Parmesan Orzo dish and immediately knew it was going on the meal plan.  No bookmarking needed!

Wednesday - Awhile ago Mrs. S. mentioned her love of Thai food to me, specifically she mentioned that these Thai Noodles looked particularly tasty. I'm gonna go ahead a make a double recipe so I can share with her for lunch on Thursday!  Let's see if she is reading my blog these days and knows this is on her horizon!  :)

Thursday - I really liked Hudson's Bake Tilapia, so I'm not going to search for something different this time.  The week is winding down and I know I'll want to keep it simple by Thursday!  

Friday - SS has informed that we have not had spaghetti and meatballs "for a long time".  So, if you have yet to try my favorite spaghetti sauce you need to do it!  Last time a made a big batch - I pureed the veggies before their saute, it made a great smoother sauce with a great texture.  I will do that from now on.  Don't forget the meatballs.  Just let 'em simmer in the sauce, gives a great taste to both the sauce and meatballs.

Saturday - I'm hopeful that our wonderful weather is going to hold out.  I scored some rib eye steaks for a great price - so I'm gonna fire up the grill! I know this recipe says it is for a london broil - but the rub is my absolute favorite on steaks of any kind!  

Sunday - If you have never made braised short ribs I have to insist that you do so ASAP!! They are so good - your whole house smells awesome.  I really love them with the mashed potatoes, more so than the polenta.  Except - I did have some wonderful polenta in Orlando at one of the meals and it was amazing..... it made me want to try again!

Everybody have a wonderful week!  And on a side note - even though I didn't win the Pillsbury Bake-off Contest, my entire experience was amazing.  A lot of that has to do with the out-pouring of love and support I received.  A giant thanks to anybody and everybody who was a part of that!  AND I was reminded in a big way this week, that things happen the way they are suppose too.  :)

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Friday, April 16, 2010

And the winner is..........

Sue Compton with her Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups!  I only talked to Sue briefly at the Bake-off when she was expressing concern as we were lined up for the Grand March that her ice cream would stay frozen correctly.  My guess is that it did just fine!

Congratulations to Sue!

My experience being a Pillsbury Bake-off Finalist..... well, it was simply amazing.  From the minute I found out until I was drowning my sorrow in the plethera of desserts offered for at the Awards Ceremony Dinner!  LOL

If have found a couple of other food bloggers who have wonderful photographs and recaps of the event from their point of view.

Carrots N Cake has quite a few posts about the event... worth looking at them at for some wonderful pictures of the event.  I'm including the link to the one that has me laughing and showing my dish to Ali Wentworth.(yes, that Ali Wentworth from OPRAH!).

Joy the Baker has a great post that includes a picture of my finished product (all the way on the bottom).  SO COOL!

In case you missed Oprah on Wednesday, here is the You Tube of the segment that aired.  Look to the left of the screen when they are talking to "Tony"..... that is me busily finishing my 3rd recipe! (I turned number 2 into the judges, but I'm all about feeding people and wanted to have a "sample" available!  LOL)

Here is a very interesting blog post from one of the judges.  I'm feeling very zen about their decision and I'm already anxiously awaiting the opening of the entry period for the 2012 Pillsbury Bake-off Contest!  :)

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Living La Vegan Loca? (Guest Post)

So, when this posts - I will be in the middle of all the wonderfulness in Orlando.  As a special treat, I asked my friend - Gina Ventola, if you she'd like to do a guest post on her experience in feeding her family vegan over Lent this year.  I hope you enjoy this and give her recipes a try!  xxoo Susie aka Hick Chick

Living La Vegan Loca?                                                                                 Gina Ventola
For the second year in a row, my husband and I gave up animal products for Lent.  That meant no meat, cheese, milk, butter, eggs, etc from Ash Wednesday to Easter.  You can imagine the impact on my carnivore, Atkins-devotee husband.  However, he chose to join me in this and I would like to share our experience with you.
This type of fast, sometimes known as the “Daniel Fast” originated in the Bible:
“…Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see."                       Daniel 1:12,13
Through the wonderful advancement of technology, we now have a lot more vegan options than in biblical times.  There are many good sources of plant-based protein.  My preferred choices are mushrooms, lentils, tofu and beans.  While we are on the subject of beans, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the “methane elevation syndrome” side effect.  Rinsing beans before using can dramatically reduce this. There are many cultures who enjoy a vegetarian/vegan diet.  For me, it never seemed like deprivation when eating different cuisines versus not having meat.  I love texture but let’s face it, beans are very soft.  If you have beans several nights in a row, it can get bland and boring.  To combat this, I developed some recipes to break up the monotony. Spices are a true friend to the vegetarian/vegan cook.  For my recipes, I always list spices “to taste”.  What may be tasty to me may be flaming hot to others so I recommend adding a little and then tasting.
To be honest, eating this way for an extended period of time would be very tiresome to me.  While I have tremendous respect for my vegetarian/vegan friends, it is definitely not a life choice for me.  However, I do enjoy vegetable-based meals and plan on incorporating them into my diet more often.
For the record, I am having steak and eggs for breakfast on Easter! Oh, did I mention that we also gave up sugar???
(This recipe was inspired by a “skillet” dish made popular at a chain restaurant)
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. water
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
1/3 c. parsley, chopped finely (optional)
3 T. olive oil, divided
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
cumin, to taste
chili powder, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, salt, parsley and 2 T. of olive oil.  Once fully coated, pour the contents onto a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. 
While the potatoes are roasting, preheat a skillet on medium heat.  Once pan is heated, add remaining 1 T. of olive oil.  Add onions, garlic and salt and stir gently.  Once onions are softened, add black beans, chili powder, cumin and water.  Add more water, if needed to give a little more moisture.  Reduce to simmer while potatoes finish.  Once the potatoes are slightly brown on top, remove from oven.  When serving, keep the potatoes and beans separate until plated then serve black beans over potatoes.
Serves 2 – 4 people
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
½ jar salsa
1 ½ c. brown rice, prepared
Combine in skillet, heat then serve
Serves 2 – 4 people
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, shredded
1 lb. button mushrooms, cleaned
2 c. tomato sauce
½ red wine
1 T. olive oil
Oregano, to taste
Basil, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Preheat a large sauce pan on medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion, garlic and salt.  Once onion is softened, add celery and carrots.  Place mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until they have the appearance of hamburger.  (Be careful not to over-pulse or you will have mushroom soup).  Add mushrooms into saucepan along with red wine.  Once the red wine has almost evaporated, add tomato sauce, oregano, basic, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil then reduce to simmer.  Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve with your favorite pasta – ours is linguine.
Serves 2 – 4 people

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hours Away!

We are less than 90 hours away from the 44th Pillsbury Bake-off Contest!  So many exciting things have happened to me over the last 7 months since I found out I was a finalist - I thought it I'd round up all the things one more time for my loyal following.  (I have an exciting guest post lined up for when I'm gone next week, so be sure and stay tuned for that!!)

It all started a year ago... on an innocent day when I happened along a post by HoneyB (you know HoneyB from Grumpy's Honeybunch fame!) about the Pillsbury Bake-off Contest.  I thought... hmmmmm... could I make up a recipe of my very own?  Could I do that?  So, I made a plan. I had an idea........ I got a sinus infection, and never got my my idea made.  But I thought.... what the heck and sent my burger idea off to Pillsbury anyway. 

Months went by - and I never really gave my  recipe much thought at all.  The Chickies and I had a wonderful summer.  And then... on the first day of September I had a phone call that changed it all...... I was a Bake-off Contest Finalist!  

First I got this wonderful little article in my local paper!  Then a bigger, local-ish paper ran an article.  I thought, WOW!  my 15 minutes is so cool!  THEN - this little piece ran on the FRONT PAGE OF THE LA TIMES.  Followed by the Seattle Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Tri-City Herald, and The Yakima Herald. 

There were a few radio interviews..... which were super fun and then we graduated to TV!  We had the fun times at KHQ  followed by the entertaining interview with KEPR-TV and Jordan's Adventures.

My adventure is going to be wrapping up soon with the actual Bake-off Contest at The Hilton Bonnet Creek.  We have received news that instead of announcing the winner at the Bake-off Contest, they will whisk away the 4-category winners to Chicago where the winner will be announced LIVE on Oprah's show Wednesday, April 14, 2010.  Set your DVR's NOW!  

Thank you for all your support and enthusiasm that you've shown me throughout this adventure.  Be sure to be my fan on Facebook (Hick Chick WA) where I will posting updates throughout the trip.  

Don't forget to check in for my guest, Miss Gina, who is going to tell us about her adventures in going vegan for Lent.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

TV Debut!

I was on the KHQ-6 Saturday morning news with another Pillsbury Bake-off Finalist Joan Cossette.  It was great FUN, if not a little nerve-wracking for two minutes of time!  LOL  Here are few photos of the fun:

Here I was standing outside the studio waiting for the security to let us in.... we had to push a little button and wait for them to answer.  It was all very "James Bond".  Okay... not really - but you couldn't just open the door and go in!

Here is Joan and I in front of the giant orange wall in the KHQ-6 studios.  It was a very large orange wall!  Joan is the sweetest thing ever, even she did make me feel kinda short!  bwahahahahah

 I had to frantically assemble my recipe for the interview.... I washed the lettuce, sliced the tomatoes, and heated up the pre-made patties & red-onions in my hotel room!  That was something!

Caramelized Red Onion-Feta Burgers ready for their TV debut!

My "infamous" Chickies and I along with Joan and her cute, cute daughter!

 And here its.... the interview going LIVE!  I don't think they are going have a link of the actual interview, but it was so much fun!

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