Tuesday, January 30, 2007

On the Mend

Today I'm feeling much better, though I still don't want to eat anything spicier than milk and cereal. But at least I'm hungry! Now my husband's sick, only his symptoms are more like the flu. Poor guy - puts up with me for five days, then gets sick, too!

I've been busy in my free time (when I felt like it) updating my menus. You see, when I (finally) migrated to new blogger, my recipe menus/links didn't follow. That's okay - I didn't like the way they were all different sizes, and with the help of Sam on Food Blog S'cool I was able to get some that are all the same width. It's just taking time to move everything.

In the meantime: DON'T FORGET SOUP OR STEW THURSDAY #3. Sometime before Thursday night at 7:00 pm Pacific Standard Time, send me a note that you've made some soup, along with the url of your blog. Send it to cholmaneee at uia dot net.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Been Sick

There's a nasty gastrointestinal bug going around. I got it. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and now today. Wasted.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Soup or Stew Night #2

It's all my fault that this roundup is so small - I haven't posted since Sunday, and I should have put up some reminders. But it's not too late to jump in! As I write this it's only 6 pm PST, and I'll be online off and on until about 10 pm PST - giving you plenty of time to email me about some soup or stew you want to share.

My blogger friend Ulrike of Kuchenlatein made a very pretty, and most likely tasty, Cheddar Cheese Soup. Now Campbell's makes a cheddar cheese soup, but it's an unappetizing orange glop. Ulrike's soup has onions, and carrots, and celery, and bell peppers - a very great combination.

Sara of I Like to Cook sent in a recipe with a southwestern touch: Black Bean Soup. The "different" thing about this one is the chipotle pepper. I bet the smoky flavor is divine. I plan to try her recipe with some pinto beans. I have about two pounds I need to start using.

My contribution this week is some split pea soup. Way back in college I spent a semester chasing love in Phoenix. The love part didn't work out, but I have lots of fond memories and a few great recipes. I worked at a supermarket, and one of my customers, Michelle H., gave me this recipe. It's easy to make, and you can add more or less of the vegetables, and leave out the ham if you want to make it vegetarian.

Split Pea Soup

1 pound split peas
3 quarts water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped ham (optional)
1 cup half-&-half

Rinse peas in a colander. Combine all ingredients except half-&-half in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add half-&-half and heat through.

I thought I'd start trying to add fiber to my diet by cooking more legumes, which is why I made this soup. To go with it, I made cornbread muffins, but added two tablespoons of ground flaxseed to the batter. They were great! I think I'll try to add the flax to as many things as I can.

This is day 12 of my "Carb Lite" eating plan, and I'm so proud of myself. I have yet to go over my day's "allocation" of carbs, and have done a good job of keeping them spread out over the three meals and snacks. I took the advice given to me after Sunday's post and started eating more beans, and will continue to work on cutting the fat down. This weekend my husband and I are going to the California Teachers Association State Council meeting in Los Angeles, and I've been planning for eating out. On Saturday night we're going to LA Prime, a steak/seafood restaurant in the Westin Bonaventure (our hotel for the weekend), and I've already decided to have some grilled fish or shrimp. Tomorrow night I don't know where we'll eat, but I know I'll be "good," and enjoy the challenge of finding great-tasting food that's good for me.

If you want to be added to this roundup, feel free to email me at cholmaneee at uia dot net.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Yes, We Watched Football Today

Day 8 of "Carb Lite

But I also finished reading a good book, worked on my lesson for the girl I do home study with, played on the computer, and piddled around in the kitchen. So tonight we're enjoying some good TV (Without a Trace, 48 Hours Mystery, and Crossing Jordan). Tomorrow's a teacher work day, no students, so I plan to do some organizing in the office. My friend Patrick came Friday afternoon and put together two large bookcases, so I need to get all the mess off the tables and chairs and into the bookcases.

Dinner tonight was Chicken Paprika, served over whole wheat noodles, along with some German Cucumber Salad. As I finish the first 8 days of my self-imposed low-carb program, I guess I have to say I've done pretty well. On the good side I've managed to keep the carbs down, and except for two days, kept the calories down too. On the bad side, I've had too much fat and not enough fiber. Gotta work on that.

How do I add fiber without bumping up the carbs? Ideas?


Calories: 1892
Carbs: 179
Fat: 84
Fiber: 15
Protein: 107

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Day 7 of "Carb Lite"

While almost everyone I know got to sleep late this morning, I had to get up at 5:30 am. I had a meeting to go to in La Quinta, which is about an hour and a half's drive. But it was a good meeting - I learned a lot more about processing grievances, and heard updates about what's going on at the state and national levels of CTA and NEA. In addition, I got to talk to colleagues from other chapters that are also in crisis, and we're planning some joint activities. I was home in time to watch the U.S. men's soccer team defeat Denmark, and one of the goals was scored by a Los Angeles Chivas player, Jacob Bornstein. At halftime, we switched over to the Texas Tech-Kansas basketball game, in time to watch Tech upset the 5th-ranked Jayhawks. Way to go Tech! (my alma mater)

Dinner tonight was a pork chop dish that I copied down from either Cooking Light or Light and Tasty, along with a salad and a dish from Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. The whole dinner had only 44 carbs, so it was an easy day to keep the carb total under 200.

Pork Chops with Tangy Cherry Sauce
1/3 cup dried cranberries
½ cup apple juice, divided
2 boneless pork chops
½ teaspoon butter
½ teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
dash pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a small saucepan, bring cherries and 3 tablespoons of the juice to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook pork in butter and oil 3-4 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, bring the vinegar and remaining juice to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in cherry mixture; heat through. Return pork to pan; turn to coat.

Cauliflower with Bacon and Mushrooms

from Kalyn's Kitchen

4 slices pre-cooked bacon (or use regular bacon)
small head cauliflower, cut into small bite-size pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, cut in half, then into thick slices
½ red onion, diced into small pieces
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Cut bacon into small crosswise strips, then cook in large frying pan until quite crisp. Pour off most of bacon fat, but don't wipe out pan. Add cauliflower and mushrooms and cook over very high heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook about 2 minutes more, or until veggies seem nearly done and are starting to brown a bit. Add bacon and parsley and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add 1/4 cup water, then scrape pan to get browned bits off and cook until water has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Carb Lite Update

Calories: 1519
Carbs: 120
Fat: 75 grams
Fiber: 10 grams
Protein: 93 grams

Friday, January 19, 2007

Soup for dinner a day late

Since I couldn't make soup last night for my own event, I decided to use some beautiful tomatoes and make it tonight. I really like Campbell's Tomato Soup, so I thought I'd make my own. I had a recipe in my notebook from many years ago which I'd never used but sounded good.

This was great - though you could really taste the wine. I think I'll try this again, but next time I'll use chicken stock and then deide which one I like the best.

Cream of Tomato Soup
2 cups peeled, coarsely diced tomato (about 2 large)
2 T butter
1 T Splenda
2 T flour
1 t salt
dash pepper
1/4 t baking soda
1 c half & half
1/2 c dry white wine or chicken stock

Sauté tomatoes in butter about 3 minutes. Put in blender and whir until smooth. Sprinkle in flour, salt, and pepper, blending again for a few seconds. Put mixture into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add baking soda and half and half; cook until slightly thickened. Stir in wine or chicken broth and heat to simmering. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3.

Carb Lite Update

Calories: 1824
Carbs: 137
Fat: 114 grams
Fiber: 12 grams
Protein: 83 grams

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday Soup or Stew Night #1 - Roundup

I'm so thankful for the four ladies who responded to my first "event." I was hoping it would be something that would be interesting! The recipes all look delightful.

The first to respond with a recipe was Kathy, of Start Cooking . Kathy shows us in a video how to make Bean with Vegetable Soup . Two of the vegetables she uses are fennel bulbs and parsnips, neither of which I’ve eaten. Maybe someday I’ll have to try them!

Ulrike of Kuchenlatein writes her blog in two languages: German and English. This week’s recipe for Franzosische Kartoffelsuppe (French Potato Soup) . Ulrike, by the way, gave me the inspiration for this soup event!

Shreshtha of Welcome...Come cook with me recently started her blog, and it looks like it’s going to be a good one. She sent a recipe for Tuscan White Bean Soup. Since she likes recipes from all over the world, I look forward to learning some new things from her.

Sara from I Like to Cook created a very pretty bowl of Curried Cauliflower Soup . I know I need to expand my horizons and try using curry flavors more.

That's it! Thanks for participating. Next week, I'll be able to cook, too. I thought I would this week, but had to go to the Colton strike vote meeting. That was a great experience. It was held at the National Orange Show, in the huge "dome." They had about 900 of their members there, and I saw at least 11 of my members there showing their support. I sat up on stage with chapter presidents from Fontana, Redlands, Rialto, Ontario-Montclair, Riverside, and San Bernardino, and we were joined by three representatives from the Teamsters. Ken (Colton President) introduced us, then gave a great speech. The CTA staff for Colton, Karen, showed everyone the same presentation that they gave at the fact-finding hearing, which exposed the flaws in the Colton District's plea of poverty. Next, Colton's bargaining chair and elections chair spoke, and then everyone voted. There are two more days of voting, which will occur at the Colton office, and then we'll find out the results. Simply put, if they vote yes, they vote to allow the Executive Board to call a strike. If they vote no, then they're voting to accept the District's offer.

Update:The Colton teachers voted 92% to authorize a strike. I'll be following this with great interest.

Carb Lite Update
Today was day 4. I learned that at a restaurant I can order a hamburger minus the bun, and substitute a salad for the fries. So while I had a bit more fat than I wanted, there were very few carbs in my lunch. I made up for the fat calories with a healthy dinner. My friend Shan reminded me about Eggbeaters, which I will switch to (from whole eggs) after I pick some up at the store.

Calories: 1540
Carbs: 126
Fat: 87 (next time I'll get a chicken breast)
Fiber: 22.5
Protein: 82

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Work: Bad. Diet: Good.

Day 3 of "Carb Lite"

Work: We were certified today for fact-finding. This means that there will be no more mediation sessions, and we will be given a date to present our case to a panel. The panel will consist of a person we choose, a person the district chooses, and a neutral selected by PERB (Public Employees Relations Board). The district also gets to make its case as to why they don't think we deserve a raise.

The panel then makes a recommendation - it takes several months to do this - and we have to decide whether or not to accept the recommendation or strike.

In the meantime, I learned today the number is up to 10 at Yucaipa High of teachers who are probably leaving. Two of them are close friends. They all are dynamic, caring, talented teachers, and to lose them is a tragedy. Who knows how many teachers at other sites are leaving.

Colton, a district near us, has been in the same situation as us, already had fact-finding, and will be voting tomorrow whether to strike or not. Needless to say, we're watching events in Colton anxiously, as they definitely affect what goes on here and elsewhere in southern California. All indications are they'll strike. I'll be sure to let you know.


Foodwise, the day started out with a dilemma. I didn't have time to make breakfast at home, and knew that breakfast at the county Presidents' meeting would be fruit and muffins. All carbs. Wanting to get some protein, I tried to think of what I could gt on the way to San Bernardino that would be okay. I settled on an Egg McMuffin from McDonald's. Lunch was half of a ham sandwich, since I chose not to eat the potato salad, potato chips, and cookie that were served along with it. So, I splurged on dinner. I created this dish that ended up similar to the Spicy Apricot Pork I made in November. This one used some Hot Mango Chutney, dried apricots, and raisins. The sauce was wonderful, and I had it with some brown rice and leftover broccoli from last night.

Chicken Thighs with Mango Chutney Sauce
2 tsp olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
2 T chopped onion
2 T hot mango chutney
1 c chicken broth
2 T raisins
6 dried apricots, diced
1 T cornstarch
2 T water
Hot cooked rice

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper, and brown with the onions in the skillet. Stir chutney into broth and add with raisins and apricots to skillet. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove thighs. Stir cornstarch and water together, and add to liquid in skillet. Raise the heat, and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serve sauce over chicken and rice.

Carb Lite Update
Calories: 1810 (I just had to have a kiwi fruit and a banana after dinner)
Carbs: 188
Fat: 77.9 grams
Fiber: 16.9 grams
Protein: 99.6 grams


Reminder: Tomorrow night is the first "Soup or Stew Night." I won't be cooking, since I'll be at Colton's Strike Vote, but I'll be home in plenty of time to gather yur submissions for a roundup! Just try to get them to me by 7:00 pm PACIFIC time, either by commenting here on my blog or emailing to cholmaneee@uia dot net

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Good Chili from My Friend Patrick

Day 3 of "Carb Lite"

5 years ago I was still teaching 9th grade English, and my friend Patrick was our department chair that year. (He's now my vice-president!) On our mid-year teacher prep day, we had an all-day staff meeting in his room, and he fed us a pot of his chili. It was quite different from any chili I'd had before, since it had black beans, corn, and lots of cumin - three things that don't go in "normal" chili. I ate a big bowl, and begged him for the recipe. I make it now and then, whenever I have a craving - and today I had a craving. I worked out the nutritional numbers on my Diet Diary program, and learned it's an excellent dish for eating healthy. It's high in protein and fiber, and low in calories, fat, and carbs.

Note: I used two different kinds of chilies for this dish: Onza Rojas and New Mexico Chilies. I bought these at a Mexican grocery store, where I asked the owner for New Mexico chilies, which are mild, and something hotter than New Mexico chilies. He gave me the Onza Rojas. You could also try Chicostle, which are medium, chipotles, which are hot and smoky, or guajillos, which are medium. If you use chipotles, I recommend cutting back on the cumin. For great information on dried red chilies, go to Cook's Thesaurus: Dried Chilies.

Patrick's Chili
4-5 dried red chilies (try mixing hot and mild)
3 cups boiling water
1 pound beef round steak or sirloin, cut in 1/2" cubes
1 15-oz. can corn, drained
1 15-oz. can black beans, undrained
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons (really!) ground cumin

The night before: Place chilies in a 4-cup measuring cup (or similar bowl). Cover completely with boiling water. Use a small bowl of water to weight the chilies down and keep them submerged. Let sit overnight.

In the morning:Remove the stems from the chilies and place chilies in a blender. Add about 1/4 cup of the soaking water and blend into a thin paste. Add to crockpot with remaining ingredients. Stir. Cook on LOW 7-8 hours. Makes 10 cups. Serve with tortilla chips.

1 cup fills me up, but a soup bowl, which would be a normal serving, is about two cups.
Nutritional Information: 1 cup: 161 calories, 16.4 carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fat, 3.4 grams of fiber, and 16.2 grams of protein.

Carb Lite Update
Breakfast was the other half of yesterday's quesadilla. Another good day! I had a chicken breast for lunch today from the wonderful chicken restaurant that shares my building, and resisted the roll and honey. Instead of potatoes, I had baked beans.

Today's Totals:
Calories: 1,182
Carbs: 100.6
Fat: 58.6
Fiber: 10.3
Protein: 73.1

Monday, January 15, 2007

It's All in the Flavor

Day 2 of "Carb Lite"

Sure, I would love to have some potatoes, or some chocolate cake. But today's tastes were enough for now. I had some pork tenderloin I needed to separate and use/freeze (since they come in packages of two), and I wanted something simple. One of the places I go to for ideas is recipezaar. I found this recipe, posted by Jjortikka.

Jjortikka's Pork Tenderloin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon thyme
1 lb pork tenderloins
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix garlic, salt, pepper & thyme in small bowl. Rub mixture over tenderloin and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Heat olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. and brown pork on all sides, approximately 7 minute total. Remove from heat. Add enough water to come up to bottom edge of pork (about a half inch). Cover with foil and bake at 350F 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place tenderloin on a cutting board while you make the gravy. Bring water in skillet to a boil. In a small jar or bowl, mix 1 tablespoon flour with 2 tablespoons water; stir into water. Heat another couple of minutes until thickened. Serve over meat. Gravy could be served on mashed potatoes or rice, too.

A stop at the produce market today gave me some beautiful tomatoes, so I used two of them for our first side dish.

Parmesan Tomatoes
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 tsp butter, melted
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Broil 6 inches from heat 5 - 7 minutes or until golden brown.

These were so tasty. They literally melted in my mouth.

Also at the produce market, I found some broccoli that was on sale because it was just beginning to get soft. I figured, "Two pounds of broccoli for 79 cents. Looks like we're having broccoli tonight." Again, I went to recipezaar and found this simple and tasty recipe by Annacia. I'd never thought of using lemon with broccoli, but I've decided it's a great combination. I used toasted sliced almonds from Trader Joe's.

Broccoli with Lemon Almond Butter

1 head fresh broccoli, cut into florets
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup blanched slivered almonds
Steam or boil broccoli until tender, approximately 4 to 8 minutes.
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat, remove from heat.
Stir in lemon juice. lemon zest, and almonds.
Pour over hot broccoli, and serve.

Carb Lite Update
I think I got plenty to eat today, and did quite well as far as carbs go. Breakfast was half of a quesadilla, using a whole grain tortilla, eggs, cheese, and salsa. The other half will do for tomorrow's breakfast. Lunch was also a quesadilla - I found some great whole wheat, low carb, low fat flour tortillas made by La Tortilla Factory that taste much better than the gummy ones made by Mission. I used a slice of Swiss cheese, a slice of smoked turkey, and a smidgeon of sweet hot mustard. Since I have to have something crunchy with my sandwiches, I had baby carrots. "Dessert" was a kiwi fruit. I learned from a friend to just eat it with a spoon, scooping out the tasty fruit and leaving the skin.

I use a program called Diet Diary on my Treo to keep track of what I eat. You can find it at Calorie King. While they have books, web-based programs, and programs for computers, I really recommend one for your PDA or Treo so that you always have it with you and can input at any time. Based on recommendations from the American Diabetes Association, I set these targets:

Calories: Max of 1622 (actually, this one was set for me by the Diet Diary program, based on my weight and weight loss goal)
Carbs: Max of 200 (with a focus on keeping each meal under 65.)
Fat: Max of 50
Fiber: Min of 35
Protein: Min of 70

Today's Totals:

Calories: 1449
Carbs: 103
Fat: 71 (gotta cut back on the fat!)
Fiber: 23
Protein: 87

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Day 1 of "Carb Lite."

20 degrees, to be exact. This morning, when Don looked at the outside thermometer, it was 12. The morning before, 8. Now I know we live in the mountains, but this is southern California. It's not supposed to get this cold. At some point we're going to have to let the fire go out so we can clean out the fireplace. (Yes, we have central heat, and yes, we have electric heaters).

I have to report great success with the rest of my day after that wonderfully sinful breakfast. Lunch was a leftover frikadellen patty from last night, plus a little of last night's cole slaw. My mid-afternoon snack was a spoonful of chunky peanut butter, which I ate verrrrry slowly.

Dinner was Crispy Oven-Fried Fish, using some barracuda fillets Don caught out of Marina del Rey. I also had some of Kalyn’s sister's Broiled Zucchini Rounds with Cheese.

I'll come back later and let you know what I had for "dessert!"

A Last Hurrah, and then I Turn Over a New Leaf - AGAIN

I really need to do this. I need to stop eating so much sugar and starch, and do what's best for my body and my future. Why is it so damn hard?

My doctor told me a year and a half ago that I was "borderline diabetic." I was- and still am - overweight and out of shape. I started doing the low carb thing right away, and lost 20 pounds, and after a year, succeeded in getting my blood sugar down to where he wasn't worried about me any more, as long as I kept it up. But I haven't. I've lapsed. Badly. I started making desserts and breakfasts with real sugar again, I started eating potatoes again, and have just basically sucked at doing what's good for me. Well, not totally. But enough that when my friend S. sent me a link to an article about "curing" diabetes, and said that she and her husband were going to work on it together, I decided to stop fooling around and start getting serious about losing the weight and keeping the blood sugar down.

Kalyn can do it, and still eat well. So can I. So while I've enjoyed making the goodies, I will either stop making them, or I'll get serious about using Splenda. I like Splenda, so there's no excuse for me not to use it. (Yes, I know there are folks out there who are concerned about the chemical changes made to sugar to make it Splenda.) I will start using vegetables other than potatoes again, or I'll just have a taste of them when I cook some for my husband. I think that's my biggest challenge - not the main dishes, but the side dishes. I'll have no problems with dessert - pretty good willpower there - but trying to wrap my brain around eating vegetabes other than potatoes, noodles, and white rice, when all my life that's what I've eaten. Your suggestions are welcome. In the meantime, I'll be visiting some of these blogs over to the right and compiling great recipes to try.

Speaking of my husband, Don has no problems with his blood sugar. He just wants to lose weight, so he's promised to be very supportive of my re-dedication to lowering carbs. I mean, it should result in lowering calories, too - as long as I keep the fat levels down.

I told my friend that once I post about this on my blog, I'm committed. Don't you feel that way? Once you make something "public," it becomes almost embarrassing to fail. It becomes a challenge to succeed. And since I can still focus on cooking and eating, it will be fun!

So, here's the last hurrah: Baked French Toast. I've always wanted to make it, and I found several different recipes on different websites that I've adapted to make my own version. (Which, unfortunately, I 'll not make again, since there's so much SUGAR!) Maybe I'll experiment to come up with a low-sugar version. Surely, there's a way to do it. But I put this one together last night, and cooked it this morning, BEFORE I got the email from S. So that's my poor excuse for eating it this morning. But boy, was it good! And Don says he'll eat the leftovers. I have leftover Frikadellen and cole slaw which will make a wonderful low-carb lunch.

Baked French Toast
1 pound) (1 loaf French bread, cut diagonally in 1 inch slices
8 eggs
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup butter
1 ⅓ cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in the bottom. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, maple syrup, milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and maple syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture.
Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes. It puffs up nicely, and then settles later. Serve warm.

Wish me luck! Join me if you want.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Little Taste of Germany

I told you my husband was half German, right? Yes, I think I did. And I lived there three different times, as an Air Force daughter, an Air Force lieutenant, and an Air Force wife. So I cook a lot of German food. Don asked for frikadellen yesterday, after seeing something on TV that reminded him of them. When I was in high school, we ate frikadellen, but I really don't remember where we bought them. Dad liked them better than bratwurst, and talked nostalgically about them in the years before he died. Don says he ate them a lot as a kid, since his mother made them. When we were married, Christina and Egon, our German neighbors, made them any time they had a long distance road trip to visit relatives in East Germany. She said they were good cold.

Think large meatballs. Or seasoned hamburger patties. Don and Dad liked them on hamburger buns, like a sandwich. Some people make a creamy sauce and serve them over noodles. We had them tonight on buns.

2 slices of dry white bread
1 lb. lean ground beef (or use 1/2 lb. beef and 1/2 lb. pork)
one small onion, finely chopped
one egg
half a clove of garlic
one teaspoon salt
half a teaspoon pepper
one teaspoon paprika
half a teaspoon Sambal Oelek (Hot Chilli Paste)
one teaspoon Dijon mustard
one bunch of fresh parsley
one teaspoon oregano
a splash of Worcestershire sauce

Soak the dry white bread in water for 10 minutes. Then press it in your hands to get as much of the water out of the bread as you can .Mix all the ingredients together.

You can either form little meatballs or make hamburger-style patties which you can either pan-fry or barbecue.

To go with the frikadellen, I made cole slaw. I've used bottled cole slaw dressing in the past, but I prefer to make my cole slaw this way:

Simple Cole Slaw
1/2 med. head cabbage, shredded
1/4 c Splenda granular
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. bottled French dressing
1 Tbsp. celery seeds

Sprinkle cabbage with sugar and vinegar; mix well. Add mayonnaise, French dressing and celery seeds. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving; stir again.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Announcement: Join Me on Thursdays for Soup or Stew!

This idea of mine isn't really my idea at all. It started, for me, at Kuchenlatein, where Ulrike wrote about all the soups she cooks. She's got some GREAT recipes, and I plan to try some of them. Ulrike refered to this post on 101 cookbooks, where Heidi makes a suggestion to "Designate a soup night once a week. You could actually cook your way through fifty new soups in one year." Gee, I thought. Why hadn't I thought of something like that? Don loves soups and stews, and when I asked him what he thought about this idea, he thought it was great. So I picked Thursdays.

Why Thursdays? Well, I'm almost always home. School board meetings are Tuesdays, Rep Council and Exec Board are Wednesdays, and Mondays are...well, nothing. But Thursday mornings I can put meals in the crockpot if I want to, or I can plan on a meal for that night, so I went with that.

If you're interested in joining me, I would be glad to do a roundup. What fun! Just send a link to your post by 7:00 pm Pacific Time to cholmaneee@uiadotnet.

I'll start this week with some stew. I made this recipe for the first time TWENTY-SIX YEARS ago! There's a good story (in my opinion) behind it, so I'll try not to bore you: I was fresh out of college, a 2nd Lt. in the Air Force, stationed at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany. I had just started dating Don, who I met after a football game Labor Day weekend. (He played nose guard on the base team). I decided to invite him for dinner, and figured something basic, a meat-and-potatoes dish, would be a good idea. I also figured that I would have some really good leftovers. I threw this together, put it in the oven for 3 hours (which ISN'T too long), and proudly served it to him along with a salad and some green beans. He ate every bite. He asked for more, and I blithely said, "Help yourself." He finished it off! No leftovers for me! I knew that if I was going to be cooking for him again, I needed to revise my serving sizes upwards to feed a hungry football player. But I also learned that he loved my cooking, and it was the beginning of a wonderful relationship between a girl who liked to cook and a guy who liked to eat. Very seldom does he tell me he doesn't like something. When he does, it's something I usually don't like either. In more ways than one this has been a fabulous marriage.

Now on to the recipe:

Best Easy Stew
2 lbs. boneless pork loin, cubed (you can also use beef round or sirloin)
2 4-ounce cans mushrooms, drained
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
4-6 unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
8 oz. (half a bag) baby carrots
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Layer meat and mushrooms in a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with dry onion soup mix. In a large bowl, mix together the poatoes, carrots and soup, and spread add to dish. Cover tightly and bake at 300˚ for 3 hours.

You might think that the two soups would make this dish salty, but they don't.

Let's do this again next Thursday. A soup or a stew! Join me!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Two Old Favorites

I haven't made either of these in a long time; they've been in my cookbook for years. The first comes from the Pepperidge Farm folks inside the box of puff pastry. It's really a simple recipe - you just have to clear a spot on your counter somewhere to roll out the squares. That's the difficulty for me, since I'm such a slob. But I managed. This is a great oven recipe for cold nights when you want the oven to hep heat your house.

Chicken in Pastry
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 T butter
1 large square (half of a box) puff pastry, thawed
6 T garlic-herb cheese spread (Rondele, Alouette, for example), divided
egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 T water)

Brown breasts in butter until cooked through. Place in refrigerator at least 15 minutes to cool. Preheat oven to 425˚. Cut large square of pastry in quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll each one out to 9-10 inches square. Put 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture on a square and top with a cooked chicken breast. Brush egg wash around the edges of the pastry, and gather edges together to enclose the chicken. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet. Repeat with other 3 pieces. Brush tops with more egg wash. Bake 25 minutes or until pastry is golden. Serves 4.

I've written about El Mexicano before, the authentic Mexican restaurant up here in the mountains in our little town. They're open for breakfast on the weekends, and with some of the entrees you can get their potatoes instead of rice and beans. I've managed to duplicate their potatoes here at home:

Mexican Breakfast Potatoes
3 slices bacon
1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2-3 tablespoons chopped bell pepper, any color
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped tomato

Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon. Add potatoes to skillet. Cook over medium heat until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add butter to skillet, and let melt; add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Saute until tender. Stir in potatoes, bacon, salt and tomatoes. Heat through. Serve immediately. 4-6 servings.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Back Home Again!

We came home today; we stayed at Lake Mead for 11 wonderful days. I fixed great food - including a new recipe for cranberry salad - and we had a fabulous relaxing time. DH didn't get to fish as much as he wanted to because of several days of wind, but he did fish, and had some good catches. Below is our friend Gary and a channel catfish he caught on Sunday.

And this is what we did with it-Mmmm. Fresh catfish!

For details about the trip, along with lots of photos, visit my travel blog, Wanderlust. It'll take a couple of days to post it all, but I'm starting right now!