Wednesday, February 23, 2011

spicy salmon

Tonight, it was Salmon with lime and black bean and corn salad.  The salmon was just so so.  It needed more flavor added to it but the salad was fabulous.  It was onion, pepper, lime, cumin, cilantro and spinach and it was fabulous.  I could eat tons and tons of that.  I usually love salmon but this needed something else but I'm not sure what.  Perhaps there were so many flavors that the salmon got lost.  I ate a bite of salmon with a bite of the salad to try to pep it up but it still needed something more.  Maybe teryaki?  I don't know.

Last night's dinner was good but not great.  It was apple cider chicken.  It had carmelized onions with it that were delicious but it was just a bit too much vinegar for my taste.

Okay, one of the things I like to add to this is my own recipes just because maybe you'll read it if you get something more than just a review.  My son does not like salmon.  A lot of kids don't and he is no exception to this.  So, I made him a chicken breast on the George Forman.  I like to coat it with Ranch dressing before grilling it.  Because we were having kind of a Mexican flavored meal, I added about a half teaspoon of chili powder to the ranch dressing before coating the chicken.  It adds just a bit of southwest flavor and gives it a good flavor.  My friend, Audria, gave me that ranch idea years ago and it is so good on the grill.  Coat the chicken, throw it on the grill and I even add a wooden stick to the grill to get a wood-smoked taste.  It's one of our favorites with perogies and salad.  It's a very fast meal and so good.

Tomorrow night, I still don't know.  Maybe Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Have a great night,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ice storm

Well, as the title implies, we had an ice storm yesterday which knocked out our phone, cable and internet.  We're back up and running today and are privy to an absolutely beautiful show.  The trees look like they have been dipped in silver or are made of cut glass.  The sun was out, the sky was blue and the trees shone like angel's wings.  Gorgeous!

So, about cooking.  Saturday night, as I said before, we had Brandon's birthday party and we just had pizza.  Sunday night, I made Schnitzel.  Yes, there is a recipe for schnitzel in the Rachael Ray cookbook, which appears to be a type of fried chicken cutlet with nutmeg.  Who knew? I did not, however, have it with noodles even though I danced around my house singing "My Favorite Things" over and over again at the total embarrassment of my three teenage children! (After all, one of the joys of being a parent of teenage children is watching their eyes roll with embarrassment! I have to admit though, that my kids are so used to my antics that it takes more and more to get them to do it.)

I did not cook last night, Monday night, as I worked until 7:00 and my daughter had a game so my husband fed again!  Oh, well.  It just makes them appreciate Mommy more.  Even if she does dance around the kitchen singing the same song over and over again! They like pizza but they are not the pizza-all-the-time kind of kids so they probably would have preferred something else if I were home.  Tonight, my husband is away on business and I have no idea what to make.  Usually, this is our take night.  Ken is not gone very often but I do tend to lose my motivation to cook when he isn't here.  And, if it wasn't so cold out, I think I would be tempted.  But, my kids, like the pizza example, aren't really that normal when it comes to eating.  They don't really like McDonald's or Burger King or Wendy's.  And, since Taco Bell has grossed out everyone, they really don't want that either.  There's a KFC close but my daughter read that they mistreat their chickens so that's out too.  Chinese food is good but too far away.  So.  I have to go to Rachael Ray, which, honestly, is why I started this whole thing to begin with.  That and I like to write about nothing...  ;)

Okay, I'm off to peruse the cookbook.  I'm thinking chicken.  Mostly because we have chicken.

bonne nuit!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday morning

It's Saturday morning and I am finishing my second cup of coffee.  Ahhhhhh!  The sun is out but it's in the 30's - still cold but at least it looks warm.

We've had two Rachael Ray dinners but I haven't written about either one of them:
Thursday, my soon to be 16 year old daughters, born on the Ides of March (boy, is THAT a story!), made Chicken Francese.  Can I say how awesome it was that they made it?  It was very good.  The sauce didn't make much but it was enough for my husband and I - the kids don't like anything remotely sweet and were afraid the wine would sweeten it enough for them not to like it.  They liked the chicken, though.

Last night, I made pan roasted garlic and herb chicken.  Rachael suggested making a salad but I made smashed red-skinned potatoes instead.  And, made up a recipe as I went.  The recipe calls for browning the chicken in an oven-safe skillet and I don't have one of those, so I pre-heated a stone roasting pan and, after browning the chicken, I transferred it to the roaster.  Well, I couldn't let all those little bits go to waste in the bottom of the pan, so I added some butter and flour, let that cook a minute, and added a little sweet vermouth (I'm out of wine!  Tragedy!).  Then, I put some chicken broth and even a little half and half.  While this sauce was bubbling, I put in some green beans that we had grown, blanched and frozen last summer.  I added all the herbs that were used to marinade the chicken as well.  It was quite good.  My husband loved it!

Tonight, my son is having his birthday party...His birthday is January 23rd and it's February 19th.  Yeah, just a little late!  But, it always comes so quickly after Christmas, trying to set it up, get kids to come, etc. rarely works out.  Anyway, it's going to be pizza tonight.  I doubt I will cook anything today other than breakfast which is done and over with.

Okay, let me just tell you how to make the best scrambled eggs ever.  First off, you need a really good non-stick pan.  Warm the pan to medium heat and grease it with butter.  Take an egg or two in a bowl, add a sprinkle of salt, pepper and water and beat vigourously for a minute or so.  Put the eggs in the hot pan and constantly move them around.  It will take about 30 seconds to cook them.  The secret is to keep them moving by folding them in over themselves.  They are so tender and delicious!  I adapted this from a YouTube video of Julia Child making an omelette.  Don't let the egg brown.  If it browns, it's overdone.  Try it!

So, for breakfast, I made eggs, bacon (in the electric skillet and it comes out just perfect!) and pancakes.  I added chocolate chips to mine because I can.  So, two cups of coffee, chocolate chip pancakes, eggs, bacon...that is what I call a Saturday morning!!

Have a great rest of your day!
Bon Jour!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

not cooking

Well, I have not cooked for three days.  Valentine's Day, I worked until 7:30 and my daughters were gone with my husband to different activities and he had already fed them hamburgers by the time I arrived home.  Last night, I came home from class at 7:00 after working until 4, then I picked up the kids and went to class at 5:00, was exhausted and called Ken and asked him to bring home Chinese food.  Tonight, I cleaned up the kitchen and was planning on making chicken francese something or other when I was asked to help out a friend and left again and wasn't home until 8:45.  Frozen pizza tonight.  So, I haven't given up on this but life has interferred and messed with my grand plans.  Go figure.

I have some gossipy news.  If you have read my blog, which, so far, I don't think anyone has, but just in case, you will know that my daughter was dating someone who I thought was not really that great. He was kind of weird, a little on the chunky side and I witnessed him speak rudely to his parents - which is the kiss of death for me.  Well, my daughter has decided that he is a little weird and is planning on breaking up with him but hasn't done it yet because it's too close to Valentine's Day.  He bought her a box of Russell Stover candy.  Guys, do not EVER buy this for your girl friends unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she likes it.  It screams, "I spent absolutely no time thinking about this!"  As for my daughter, she doesn't like sweets.  No, no sweets.  Weird, I know, but she really does not eat candy, pop, ice cream, cake, cookies, fruit....anything sweet.  All three of my kids are like this.  I don't know why other than it made them sick when they were very young.  So, he bought her a box of candy....she doesn't like or eat candy....she's told him this several times....does not bode well for the boyfriend!  This is not why she is breaking up with him, mind you.  It's just the cherry on the cake.

Ken, my husband, gave me a Valentine card this morning.  I still haven't read it.  I'm not sentimental about Valentine's Day.  He tells me he loves me every morning when he brings me my coffee.  I don't need roses or candy...a dinner out would be nice but it's expensive.  Some day, we will eat out - when we don't have five people to feed each time.  A night out at the theater is always nice too but again, it's pricey. 

Tomorrow night, I have class again.  We just read something called, "Paul's Case."  It's about a boy who lives in a middle class neighborhood but dreams of living in the upper class and living the upper class lifestyle.  Wouldn't it be nice?  The thing with technology is that we see everything that is available.  It makes us want things we never would have thought about on our own and adds to the dissatisfaction of life.  I have a nice life but I want more.  I want my bills paid off.  I want to go out to eat and go to plays, operas, etc.  I want to dress ina dress and go out on the town, drink wine in dark, swanky corners, eat teeny portions from beautiful exotic shaped plates, sit straight-backed in chairs with my ankles crossed because that is how a lady sits... but it isn't a priority.  My children's education is a priority.  Keeping a roof over their heads, decent clothing and real food all come way before that other stuff.  Plus, we live near Lake Erie - wouldn't a boat be fabulous?  How about cruises, trips to Europe, Asia, Australia?  We can imagine all of this but the price makes it out of reach for most of us.  That adds to the stress of our daily lives, doesn't it?  We work so hard and there is so much pressure to acheive more, more, more. 

In another class, I have a Korean professor who spoke of Americans as always looking to the future.  Most other cultures focus on their traditions and their own cultures but Americans are still evolving and our culture is not set.  Sometimes, I think we just need to breathe.  Take in air all day long and realize that we are human beings, that we are safe for the moment and find comfort in that.

It's after 10:00.  Both daughters have corrections on English papers so it's off to proof reading for me.
Bonne nuit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

German food

On Friday night, we had a rivalry high school basketball game and we needed a quick dinner before we left.  So, I made Rachael's German Potato salad with Kielbasa.  It was good.  I especially liked the potato salad.  Having German roots, Germany's warm potato salad has been a staple at family gatherings for as long as I can remember but the family recipe was a bit too vinegary for my taste.  And, I have spoiled German food taste.

How does that happen?  How can anyone possible have spoiled German food tastes?  Can anyone actually be a Germanic food connoisseur?  Yes they can!  How you ask? Well, in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, there is a little place called German Village with square little brick houses, brick lined streets, a fudge house and, most importantly, Schmidt's Sausage Haus.  Oh, yeah, baby.  This place made sausage back in the 1800's but is now a German tavern with great beer, sauerkraut, German potato salad, and, oh yeah, sausage.  Almost kind you can think of, they make it.  My favorite is still the bratwurst but most of my family prefers the 'Bahama Mama' which is a spicy-hot sausage that can make a grown man sweat.  Top em with a little kraut, horseradish, spicy mustard and a side of the potato salad and you are good to go.

They often have live bands there too which, add some German beer, and you have got a germanic smile the rest of the  night.  Did I mention the waitresses dress like the St. Pauli Girl?  Now, not all of them are petite little frauleins - there are some definite fraus in the bunch but it's still fun.

And, as if this wasn't enough to make you call a cab the next time you are in downtown Columbus, Ohio, this should do the trick...cream puffs.  Cream puffs the size of a toddler's head filled with luscious, wait for it, cream!  So good and definitely big enough to share.  Everytime I go, though, there is a debate....cream puff or cherry tart?  You think I'm kidding about the debate?  Oh no, my friend, it takes some serious contemplating.  The cherry tarts are like mini cheesecakes and convinced me very early in my life that cream cheese was one of the best things on earth.  You could just get one of each if 1.) you have a very big appetite.2.) desserts are your thing and you just gotta or 3.) you have someone who is just as desperate as you to have both and is willing to share.

So, if you are ever in Columbus, ask about Schmidt's - everyone knows it.  Everyone loves it!  You have to go.  Now, back to Rachael's recipe.  Her German potato salad was more like Schmidt's which makes it a good thing because Schmidt's german potato salad really is a favorite of mine and if I can sneak closer to the recipe than my German family, haha, so much the better.

Okay, it's still Valentine's day weekend and it's pajama day at Edible's as we try to make up all those arrangements for love sick puppies, sweetheart grandma's and those desperate to stay out of the dog house.  And, we expect to take loads of phone calls from panicked boyfriends who are so afraid of that foretold doggie den, you can hear them sweating over the phone.  So I have to go shower, put on clean jammies and head off to work. where I will sample the chocolate covered banana.  Be jealous!

Bon Jour!

Valentine's Day weekend

Two days have passed since I have written.  It's Valentine's Day weekend and Edible Arrangements, my little part-time job, is crazy busy with people wanting to buy large, chocolate covered fruit bouquets for that someone special that they are trying desperately to impress.  Did that sound cynical?  Well, if it didn't, I must try harder.  Maybe it's because I have been married for almost 19 years and have 3 teenage kids.  Valentine's Day has meant to me over the last, let's say, 10 years that I have to rush around buying or making every kid in my kid's class a Valentine that I have to force my kid to sign, decorate, etc.  It's fun but it's exhausting too.

This year, my son decided he didn't want to do our traditional Valentine.  Which makes me a little sad but also relieved.  Every year, it seems anyway, we made chocolate chip cookies in the shape of a heart, baked them, wrapped them in cello and tied them with red and white ribbon with a cute little 'from' tag hanging down.  They were very cute!  Perhaps that's why the 13 year old boy said no, he'd rather give straight candy.  Maybe it was the 'straight' that really sent him over the edge.  Who knows.

So, how do you achieve a heart shaped chocolate chip cookie.  Well, it's not so hard.  Make up your favorite recipe as long as your cookies don't come out looking like pancakes, (If they do, add a couple tablespoons of flour)  take two small dough balls from the batch, roll one end so that the dough ball looks more like a club you see in cave man cartoons.  It should be pointy at one end and thick and rounded on the other.  Take the two cave-man clubs and put them on the cookie sheet.  Pinch the pointy ends together so that you have one cookie that looks like a V.  Bake as usual.  The cookie will spread into a heart shape.  The pointy end won't be extremely pointy but it will look like a heart just the same. 

I think this is a long enough post so I will move on to a new one.  As it's 6 am, I will say:

Bon Jour!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Asian Chicken

I made Asian Chicken tonight but I didn't quite do it the Rachael Ray way.  I added peanut butter, thai chili sauce and took out the red pepper.  It was very spicy but very good.

Another cold day in Ohio - right around that zero mark.  So ready for warm weather!  Maybe I should make some sort of Carribean thing.  Ah, warm ocean waters, blue sky, sun, sand - doesn't that sound wonderful! 

I think I will go to be dreaming about the ocean.

Bonne nuit!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Late night

It feels like it's after midnight and it's only 10:20.  Ever get that way?  Every noise knits your brows together and makes you feel absolutely nutty and cranky?  My husband just honked his nose.  Well, he blew his nose.  Same thing.  Ugh!

Anyway, once I write this, I'm off to bed.  My list has continued in this manner for the last hour.  Once I clean up the kitchen, I'm off to bed.  Darn it!  There's a load of laundry that has my son's pants in it that he'll need for tomorrow.  Once I fold that basket of laundry, I'm off to bed.  Darn it!  Daughter needs help proof-reading her essay.  Once I finish that, I'm off to bed.  Darn it!  I forgot to blog about Rachael Ray!  Once I do that...blah, blah, blah.  Nice mood, huh?

Well, let's talk about Rachael's recipe.  Tonight, I made French Onion Steak Croissants - oh, my dear God!  They were so good!  Now, I have preface this with I LOVE french dips - you know - steak with provolone on a hoagie with some au jus on the side - so good.  Anyway, this was a croissant with steak, onions and,  yes, I served it with au jus.  I changed the recipe a bit by using provolone instead of gruyere because gruyere is about $15 a pound and provolone is about $3 a pound. Yeah, we're on a budget here people!  And, the recipe called for chicken stock to de-glaze the onions but I used beef stock so I could have some extra to dip in.  Loved it!  My husband loved it too and my kids (not Ellen - my 'cows are cute' kid - she wasn't home) liked it too even though it had a lot of onions and they aren't big onion fans.  I served it with some steamed broccoli and we were good to go.  And, a perk:  once you slice the steak, you just can't help but nibble.  A piece for my son, a piece for my daughter, a piece for me and there was plenty left for the sandwiches.  I will definitely make this again.  I used London Broil and have to admit this is the first time I have ever bought that particular piece of meat.  I did use a meat mallet/tenderizer on it a bit because the recipe says to marinate the steak for a while and I thought that would help the process and I was afraid that it might be a little tough. It was tender and juicy and very satisfying in the way that beef, cheese, onions and a croissant would be satisfying.  It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?  It was ridiculous!  Ridiculously good!

Okay, I really do think I'm off to bed.  Yeah, right...

Bonne nuit!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

busy, busy, busy

Well, here I go adjusting again. Oiy. I didn't cook last night and I made myself a grilled cheese for dinner tonight. Why? Well, last night, I got home from work around 7:30 and my daughters were off in two different directions. Only my son was home and he had made some pasta. So, I poured some jarred sauce on it, baked some chicken nuggets, put some Parmesan cheese on...Voila - dinner.

Tonight, I got home at 7:05 and Audrey had to leave in 25 minutes for basketball practice with Ken, my husband so he put some burgers on the George Foreman and out the door they went.

I had class tonight and we were talking about modern literature. Today, we're in the post-modern era. (Wonder what comes after that??) In Modernism, they wrote about their disillusionment and discontentment about the way the world worked. For the first time, the lowest classes had a voice because they could read and write and they could talk about their struggles. It's an interesting to think that we go through our lives thinking that we can work hard, achieve more, become successful but it doesn't always work out that way, does it?

I don't think of myself as successful in a career. I have a marketing degree, was a retail manager for several years, worked as an ad rep for a radio station, moved back to my hometown, worked again in retail at a cookie store and then, I had twins. I would have paid two-thirds of my salary to day care so I stayed home instead. I worked part-time as a cookie store shift supervisor, ended up with my own store when my girls were two and got pregnant because I was so busy, I didn't have time to go to the pharmacy. Since then, I have had several part-time jobs but nothing that leads me into full time work. So, I started on a teaching degree. And, each year, the state of Ohio adds new requirements so that I will spend around $40,000 by the time I am done. That's more than a year's salary. I have wanted to work full time for quite awhile but nothing ever pans out. For example, I had two friends/acquaintances who offered to help me at a company that had a job that I would have been perfect for but the company was bought out by another company and the position was eliminated before they interviewed anyone for it. It's always something.
Right now, I am working three jobs and going to school and raising a family. So to say if you work hard, you will have success in a career isn't necessarily true. I'm proof of that. But, I also think it has a lot to do with stay at home moms. I have many friends who have had a very difficult time finding work. Now, I'm 43. Who wants to hire a 43 year old on an entry level job and put them on a career track? It just doesn't work, does it? So, what's a girl to do? Blog about it, I guess.

Tomorrow, I have some free time after class so I will go through the cookbook, plan out menus and go shopping so I have the ingredients. I don't want to do too many fish dishes because I will need those when Lent comes around...that's if I don't work the fish frys.

Well, off to study.
Bonne nuit!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Sunday!

I'm sitting here watching the Superbowl with probably 50 million other Americans doing the same thing. What do you think of Roethleisburger? Think he did all the things he's been accused of? Any thoughts on the commercials? I just have one comment - if I never see that Doritos commercial where the guy puts another guys Dorito fingers into his mouth, that will be okay with me. Yuck!

I am sort of rooting for Pittsburgh - they are a rival of the Cleveland Browns, but they're closer to Ohio than Green Bay... I don't know, guess I don't really care. But, if you are a Green Bay fan, this is really good news for you because my record for picking the winner of the SuperBowl is pretty slim. I was always a Dallas fan as a girl so if you are a sports fan, you know what that means. Yeah, I can't pick em. At least when it comes to this particular game. Ask me about the Buckeyes and I'm your girl!

So, what do you make for Superbowl Sunday? Well, I focused on the Sunday part and made Brick Roasted Chicken which features the old fashioned, skin on, bone in chicken breasts with an herb crust. The funny thing is that Ellen actually said, "Oh, there is a bone in here! Is there supposed to be?" What can I say? I've raised boneless, skinless chicken breast kids. Once we went to one of those dinners with the jousting show and where they serve half a chicken. My girls couldn't eat it because they said it looked like a dead chicken on their plates! Uh, well it is but so is that boneless, skinless slab of meat. My grandmother back in the day had to help cut the chicken's heads off, pluck them and gut them and my kids have trouble just eating pieces of chicken that don't look like a big nugget! We've come a long way, Baby!

The chicken was good. I didn't make the salad like Rachael suggested because it had capers and I don't much care for capers. I made my favorite salad instead which goes something like this - Spring mix is best but all we had was Romaine so that works, gorgonzola, dried cranberries, fresh pear, walnuts and a dressing of two prepared dressings mixed together in equal amounts - Paul Newmans light balsamic vinagrette and Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame dressing. The two balance the spicy/tart with a slightly sweet and gingery and balance the fruit with the cheese. It is so good!

Okay, it's 3rd quarter, Steelers have burned two time outs and is down 21-17. I think Green Bay has got it but they have a lot of their defensive players out with injuries so we will see. Good night! Have fun!
Bonne nuit!

Bus Ride

Last night, I did not cook. Here's why: Yesterday morning, Feb. 5th, Ellen and I left the house at 6:45 in the morning, drove to school to meet her cheerleading team to hop onto a bus and drive to Toledo for a cheerleading competition. On the way there, I fell asleep and when I awoke, it was snowing. We got lost but with the help of a cheerleader's GPS via her cell phone, we made it.

I spent the day watching cheerleaders go through their routines, do back handsprings, tucks, cartwheels, etc. and sometimes was forced to watch cheerleaders make grotesque faces called "spirit faces." If you've never seen this, oh my! The girls contort their faces to exaggerated smiles, 'Ooh' faces, winks, and such to the point that they look like they have some sort of disease that makes their faces into something like your mother warned you your face would freeze that way if you didn't stop making that expression. Seriously. The first time I saw this, I was so appalled that, without thinking, I literally said out loud, 'What's wrong with their faces?' and the lady in front of me said, "I know. They're trained to do that!" Oh, it is so ugly and it lowers the perception of IQ for all women kind. You just have to try to avert your eyes when you watch.

Anyway, our girls performed, did pretty well except they did drop one stunt but they made enough points to go to states. Then came the ride home. By this time, the snow was coming down heavily and there were six inches of snow on top of the bus. We started down the road, following another bus that was headed our way and at one point, I thought there was a white out because we couldn't see it. No. It was that the driver's window was so foggy that we couldn't see the bus that was 20 feet in front of us. So, the driver turns on this little fan and uses tissues to wipe it off. Why she needed us to say something before she did anything about it was a concern. But, we want to trust her, right? Well, then the window fogs up again and snow covers the out side of the window because the wiper is not working properly and she literally cannot see out the window and is still driving us! For 3 and a half hours, we drove like this, stopping twice so she can use a broom to know the snow off the front of the bus. It normally takes an hour and a half to get to Toledo and we more than doubled that time. Meanwhile, we are seeing cars spun out on the side of the road, cars are spinning out in front of us and we all are thinking we are going to die. I could see the headline now - "School Bus Careens Off Road, Killing Cheerleading Team. Oh, dear God, it was so scary. And, honestly, I think it was all our prayers that saved us.

So, we got home late, the girls had a game to cheer for so we all just stayed and I didn't get home until 10:30. It was a little late to make dinner. Such a long day. And we are so tired of the snow. Every day it snows. I need to move to Phoenix. I really, really do.

Okay, I will make a new post for tonight's dinner.
Bonne nuit

Friday, February 4, 2011

wrap something in bacon, it's bound to be better!

Just checking in tonight. It's late and I have an early morning as Ellen has a cheerleading competition tomorrow.
I made the bacon wrapped individual meatloaves with red skin mashed potatoes. Very good. I used ground pork instead of hamburger so that Ellen, my 'cow's are cute!' daughter could eat with us. It was fast, fairly easy and looked cool. I mean, c'mon, you can't go wrong wrapping something in bacon! Most of the bacon crisped nicely. If I had a little more time, I might have turned the loaves on their sides to crisp that little bit a bit more but it was good enough.

I subbed today and then worked in the fruit shop - 13 hour day. I'm tired. Going to bed now.

Bonne nuit!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bad day

Like the title clearly states, it was a bad day. It started off with an opportunity that I was hoping to get into and I found out that it wasn't going to happen. Then, I was called for subbing at the last possible minute so I had to run around like crazy, got in the car, I'm half way there...where is my I.D.? Husband took it out of the van because he thought I might need it and we were trading cars for the day - last week!! I had told him I didn't need and he didn't replace it right away and Voila! I'm half way to work without my i.d. Crud!

Even before that, though, the day started off with a bad dream that repeated itself and seems so true and just fits what I have been feeling lately. Aren't dreams amazing that way? So, I'm going to try to explain it and, honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, I swear a poem is the best way because it follows the thought process so here goes.

Eyes glued shut.
Can't open them.
Driving my car.
Going down the road.
My hands are gripping the wheel.
But I can't open my eyes!
Pulling, pulling my lids
They will not open!
But I'm driving!
Where am I going?
Expecting to crash
Any minute
Can't get my eyes open!

Yeah, wake up after having that same dream twice in one night and see if you don't feel a little out of sorts. And, it feels absolutely true. I'm in school, working on a teaching degree but the state of Ohio keeps adding on requirements and it's expensive. I'm subbing but haven't been getting the work that I need to pay for school. I'm painting but that keeps me from subbing and doesn't pay as much. I'm really not sure what is going to happen next and it feels like I could crash at any minute. If I do finish my degree, I have five years to spend another $15,000 on a Master's degree. At age 43, is this worth it? I love the kids, I love teaching them! Today, I taught, actually taught Algebra 2. Yeah. My specializations are Social Studies and English. Last year, I taught French as a long term sub. Yeah! French!! I had three years of it in high school! I had to re-teach it to myself and then teach it to my students! It was so hard but I loved it and loved them. Now, I don't know if financially I can follow through and I'm struggling with that. If I knew I could get a job right away - it is a question in Ohio, we have a surplus of teachers here. If I knew that we could swing it financially. If I could just open my eyes for crying out loud! Then, I would know what decision to make. I'll keep praying on it.

So what the heck does this have to do with Rachael Ray and the 365 day cookbook? I didn't cook tonight. I figured out that if I took one day off per week, that would still be over 300 recipes made. I will try to do it every night and hopefully, I won't take 52 days off over the year (way more than that 3 days I was allotting myself, right?) but tonight, I needed WonTon soup and some Chow Mei Fun and I needed not to cook.

Time for bed. I need this stinky day to be over!
Bonne nuit!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pretzel coated chicken

Tonight, my daughter made the meal which was so nice. It was a pretzel coated chicken with a cheddar mustard sauce. The sauce was so so - not great, not bad. But, the chicken was soooo good! Oh, so good. It was crunchy and crispy and fried in vegetable oil which means it was probably fattening but oh! delish. It made me think of Chick-fil-a's chicken nuggets which I love too.

And this was very good entre for such crappy weather. Ice, snow, cold, wind - we had it all today. The kids had another snow day (they had yesterday off as well) and I painted a basement with a friend of mine. I came home, realized I had to run out to Kohls to pay my bill and my daughter, Audrey, offered to make dinner tonight. Nice, huh? I had planned on a beef meal but Ellen, my 'cow's are cute!' daughter doesn't eat beef. She was supposed to have cheerleading practice tonight but the schools are closed so no practice which means she would skip her usual mac and cheese and eat dinner with us. I love that I didn't have to drive over and back - takes me an hour round trip. She's bummed though because regional competitition is this weekend and they need the practice!

Having high school kids who don't drive yet is one of the most time consuming things possible. An hour round trip here, an hour round trip there. Oiy. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time in my car than in my bed. Not good. They will be driving soon and then the worry will start. Life is a balancing act, isn't it? On one side, thank goodness they're driving because it means that I don't have to drive them here, there, everywhere. But, on the other, oh Dear God, please keep my baby safe! She's driving!! Can you feel my pain?

Okay, for tomorrow night....I have no idea. Tonight's dinner was what I planned for tomorrow night so I will have to shoot from the hip. I do love that there are all these ideas for dinners. What I will do at the end of this year when I have run through everything but the mushroom casserole, I don't know. But for now, I still have approximately 350 recipes to try. That'll hold me for a while.

Well, good night. Bonne nuit!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My favorite so far

Tonight was Spinach and Spicy Ham Pasta Bake and it was dee-lish-ous! Now, I didn't have spicy ham - I had left over spiral glazed ham that I had frozen after Christmas but take that ham, parmesan cheese, some onion, some garlic (I threw that in) spinach in a bechemel sauce with nutmeg and a hint of cayenne pepper over pasta! Oh, yeah, baby! Then, if that isn't enough, throw in some chunks of fresh mozzarella and a bread crumb topping! Rachael calls it a gut buster and I don't even want to know the calorie count but it was fabulous and perfect on a night like this.

This is the night, if you live in the Midwest and you are reading this later on, is the night of the big snow and ice storm. It's after 10:00 and the ice has been hitting the roof and the windows since before 6:00. My son's school is already canceled for tomorrow. Now, we just have to wait for the girls' school.

Today, they were off because of this crazy weather and we watched the obligatory movie for this time of year - Groundhog Day. Made some pizza and mac and cheese and sat and watched Bill Murray go through the same crappy day over and over until he finally gets the girl. Classic.

I have the rest of the week planned out for meals and went to the store tonight to stock up - who knows how long this ice will last. In this area, we can deal with snow pretty easily but ice is another story. Tomorrow, it will be bacon wrapped meatloaf. Sounds good for a crappy winter night, right?

Bonne nuit!