Sep 13, 2010

Life will go on

So some of this pictures are from quite some time ago (and by quite some time, I mean like 2 weeks ago).

Let's jump back to August 25th. After going through the fridge and realizing there was nothing there, I opened the pantry and found that is was packed with tons of canned food (I don't know why I never look in there for dinner options). Thus, I made up my version of a 5 bean chili. It's very similar to my normal chili, but you just dump in whatever beans you have in the pantry at the time. I also added a small can of green chilies, which gave it a nice zing:
I actually prefer this to my normal meat chili since this seems to taste better and better as the days pass. With a normal meat chili, the beef (or turkey) seems to dry out and taste sort of bland a few days later.

Three days later, on August 28th. I defrosted the pre-seasoned pork tenderloin I picked up at Aldi's a week earlier. It was a meat and potatoes kind of day,  so I made my homemade mashed potatoes using smart balance butter and my homemade chicken stock instead of normal butter and cream. I also like to leave the skins on (after a good washing) since you get a little more added fiber. And what goes better with mashed potatoes then corn:
 The pork was very juicy, but it took a lot longer to cook then the package had directed. Of course my potatoes are awesome, but I love potatoes in general.

Sunday, August 29th, baking day. I have made the past 3 Sundays (with the exception of last Sunday since I was in NY) baking day. Baking day consists of 1 or 2 loaves of bread and a batch or two of cookies. Since I had messed up the previous week and forgot the cinnamon in my cinnamon raisin bread, I decided to redeem my self using this recipe. Bread in the oven:
Out of the oven:
And sliced:

Now my swirl wasn't as nice as the one on the recipes web-page, but it worked. It was very good. The only issue we had was when we toasted the bread. Since it has that swirl running through it, it would fall apart at those spots in the toaster and while eating it. I think next time too I would like the cinnamon flavor to run throughout the entire loaf and not just in the center.
Also on baking day I made oatmeal lace cookies. I wanted to share with you how I get them so nice and flat and lace-like:
I smoosh them down with the bottom of a glass and some parchment paper. They cook much more evenly and they also get the small holes in them that make them appear more like lace. My finished batch:
Of course they were gone in 2 days.

Going back to the pantry, since I had not gone shopping yet, I discovered a hidden plethora of pasta in the back corner of one of the shelves. I don't know why I don't make more pasta since I have so much. I decided on this recipe for dinner. The presentation:
I unfortunately did not have fresh asparagus or fresh tomatoes, but drained and rinsed canned versions also worked wonderfully in a pinch. I bet it tastes a little fresher with the right ingredients.

For some reason I have no pictures from the week of the 29th other than the pasta before. Since I left in a hurry at the end of the week, I didn't really leave much in the way of easy food for Mike. One of the days I was in NY, I guess he got hungry enough and really wanted the spicy chicken cilantro sausages we had in the fridge. But we didn't have any buns or rolls, so he decided to make his own:
Looks good, right? Well when I got home from NY there was still some left so I was able to experience his cooking skills. He did a wonderful job making the buns and they were very good. I need to get him to cook more often!

After I returned home from NY, I had to work the two days right after, but yesterday, Sunday, was baking day again. I don't know what I was thinking, but I made a loaf of bread using some rye flour I got on sale at Whole Foods, but I didn't take any pictures! I tried a little slice yesterday and it was wonderful. It's going to be for Mike's sandwiches throughout the week.
From my pink plaid Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I made their basic chocolate chip cookie recipes expect I used only butter (no shortening) and used half semi-sweet chocolate pieces and half white chocolate pieces. That one recipe made a lot:
You can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies :)

And for dinner last night, in honor of Grandma Mary, I made a chicken with black beans and rice dish from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Now it's not the same black beans and rice that my Grandma used to make, but at least it has some of the same elements:
The recipe sounded good, but I think the way it was made caused the dish to loose it's luster. I think the rice should have been partially cooked before going into the oven and the chicken should have been covered by the tomatoes and black beans while cooking in the over to keep the chicken moist. Next time I will make those adjustments and let you know how it goes!

I think we are all caught up. I am very excited for tonight's dinner. Last week, the night before I left for NY, Mike and I went out to dinner at a local restaurant called Taqueria Monterrey. They had some amazing authentic tacos, one of them being a shrimp taco. So tonight I am going to try and make some shrimp tacos using corn tortillas, fresh avocados, and fresh tomatoes. Until then, please enjoy this photo of my Grandma and I, after her stroke, back in 2004:

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