Friday, September 28, 2007

Dinner For One

Sometimes, when my hubby is away on a business trip, I like to feed the kids early then eat my dinner after they go to bed. It's my way of counteracting the stress of the day and also gives me something to look forward to, especially when the day is long and difficult! The other night, I had such a craving for vegetables. Go figure :) But I decided that I wanted a turkey burger and lots of fresh, crunchy veggies. There were some peppers left from my garden as well as tomatoes and lettuce so I made a salad. I piled more tomato and lettuce onto my burger and then covered the burger with condiments. It was very good and really hit the spot. I just needed a triple chocolate torte to top it off, but couldn't get my hands on a piece. Darn, could have been a perfect night too!

"A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety."
~Aesop, Fables

"I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once."
~Jennifer Yane

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Spinach Pie

Yum, Spinach Pie! Spinach is not the most popular ingredientespecially with kids. But this pie is a hit in our family. There is only a piece or two left when dinner is over. I have been making this recipe for a number of years now, and substituting ingredients is a breeze and always turns out great. I've used tomatoes instead of mushrooms, added cream, and left out the onions. Add or subtract ingredients depending on what you like. But leave the spinach in :)
A pie that would make Popeye proud!

Spinach Pie

8 oz. Egg Beater product

3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese

3/4 cup mozzarella, finely shredded

non stick cooking spray

1 tsp. dried parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

6 oz. slice mushrooms

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tsp. black pepper

12 oz. fresh spinach, chopped or 1 box frozen spinach, thawed

Dash of nutmeg and salt

1/4 cup finely chopped onions

1 pre-made pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix egg product, cottage cheese, mozzarella, and parsley. Line glass pie plate with crust.

In a large skillet, spray with cooking spray. Heat to medium heat and add the mushrooms, onions, lemon juice, pepper and salt. Saute until tender. Add the spinach, and nutmeg. Cover for two minutes. Remove cover and saute for another minute. Remove from heat and cool 3 minutes.

Combine all mixtures and pour into pie crust. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Egg and cheese mixture. I sometimes add cream and reduce the egg product for a different taste.
The finished product

"I Eats All Me Spinach, And Takes To The Finish, I'm Popeye The Sailor Man!Toot! Toot!"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Anniversary Quilt

Every once in a while, my husband surprises me. I mean, really surprises me.

We went out last night to celebrate our 18th anniversary (boy, just looking at that number makes me feel old!) When we got our favorite restaurant for dinner, he told me that he had a story to tell me after we were done, then he had a gift for me. Not a good thing to tell me before dinner. Being a very curious person by nature, I was distracted until after we left the restaurant. He found a place to park then told me the story. The story started in the early 1860's during the Civil War. He told me about how women would use the materials available to make quilts for the soldiers or sell them to make money to support their families. The women would develop different patterns and these would be copied by others until they became common, like the basket pattern. Many of the quilts made were able to be preserved. He said he was able to find one that was kept in one family and he bought it through an antique dealer. He then handed me my gift. I opened it to find this beautiful quilt. I was speechless!

The detail in the stitching was fascinating. My husband thinks a young girl maybe in her teens or early twenties made this quilt, based on what the antique dealer told him, as well as some of the imperfections in the quilt. Imagine where this quilt has been. Wouldn't it be wonderful if quilts could talk?

Just looking at this quilt just makes me want to hole up and quilt all day. Because of it's history, this quilt is something to be cherished and I plan on preserving it and passing it on to my kids someday.

To my husband: After 18 years, you can still amaze me. Thank you for a priceless memory. Here's to another 18.

"You're in the pretty flowered ones, the patterned ones, the plain.
You're in the ones I've sewn with joy and those I've sewn with pain.
And some are worn and faded and some still look brand new,
But each of my little patches holds a memory of you

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy 4th Birthday, My Little Man

To my little guy- Happy Birthday! You are so precious to me. You stole my heart the moment you were given to me by God. I am so glad you are here and that I get to see the world through your eyes. I love you.

A little boy is like the sun.
The warmth of his smile lights up your day.
He rises in the morning, foggy from sleep,
And as the sun's rays become stronger,
So your day becomes brighter with his presence.
He is like the last ray of sun in the evening,
Reaching out to grasp the day and hold onto it.
Bedtime comes too soon for little boys.

A little boy is like the rain.
His love is showered upon you in so many ways.
A bouquet of crushed Dandylions is presented to you like precious Roses.
A shiny rock becomes a jewel in your eyes because a little boy says,
"Isn't it beautiful Mommy?"
And two small arms encircling your neck
And a small voice whispering, "I love you",
Becomes a highlight in your day.

A little boy is like the earth.
Sometimes soft as the sugar sand at the beach.
Sometimes hard as soil untilled, belligerent
And bossy with a mind of his own.
A little boy is like the wind.
Boisterous and full of mischief as the wind before the rain.
Gentle, as the soft breath of a spring breeze.
Soft and warm as the wind wafted in summer
And tough and blustery as the stormy winds of winter.
Roll sun, wind, earth, and rain into one form and that form will be a boy.

A gift from God.

-Carol Bouche' Ottlinger (for her son in 1971)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Surviving Zombie Monday

Ok, it's Monday. And for me, Mondays are my zombie days (with a few exceptions here and there). Just getting through the day intact is a major victory and holds much promise that the rest of the week can be survived. Forget cooking or baking anything worth posting about today. But I did find a great quiz to test your ability to survive in case all the zombies decide to join and attack. I got a 48% chance of survival. Hope yours is better. Good Luck!

"I’ve come to the conclusion that Mondays last 50% longer than the other days."
-Turtle Dundee

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Low Fat Iced Peach Cake

I was looking for ways to use up more of my peaches from the farmer's market, and I came across this recipe. It sounded a bit different, but I was game. The end result was pretty good! I did subsitute a few ingredients, which I found out wasn't a good idea. I used Egg Beater's instead of the egg whites in the recipe. It made the cake too heavy. I also used fresh peaches instead of canned. I don't know if this mattered too much since both are pretty much the same once mixed. But all in all, the cake was still very good. Next time, I know not to mess with a great recipe!

Low Fat Iced Peach Cake
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups all-purpose
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
One 15 ounce can cling peaches, drained. Reserve 1/4 cup juice
3 egg whites
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray Bundt pan with non stick cooking spray. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle mixture in the bottom and sides of Bundt pan. Combine all cake ingredients, including reserved juice. Beat with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping down sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Pour into Bundt pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Frost with icing before serving.

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 tablespoon milk or orange juice
In a mixing bowl, combine ingredients. Add additional milk or juice, 1 tsp. at a time, until drizzling consistency.

"Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold."

-Judith Olney

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A September Mourning

"Can I see another's woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another's grief, and not seek for kind relief?"

-William Blake

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What's a "Yinz"?

Yesterday, I was out with my daughter and came across a new doll that talks Pittsburghese. And yes, they really do talk different here. Really different. When I first moved here from the South, I couldn't understand half of what they were saying. Someone said "yinz" and I thought they said "hens", which made no sense with what they were saying. I felt like a fish out of water trying to figure out what they were talking about. It's like learning a foreign language! Of course, they thought I spoke funny too :)
It's not only the words that are different, there is an accent that goes with it. I was never able to figure out the origin of this accent. And some people have it bad while others hardly have it at all. Now, I really enjoy poking fun at my husband who sometimes, depending on who he has been around, will sound pretty close to that "Yinzer" doll. I told him that if we ever get to move back South, he will have to lose that accent or risk scaring people :)

"I have traveled more than any one else, and I have noticed that even the angels speak English with an accent."
-Mark Twain

"Ah ain't the one with the accent, y'all are!"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Chocolate Buttercream Squares

I love trying new recipes and having them work out well. And this recipe did just that. They not only tasted wonderful, but they look like something you could get in a bakery. The contrasting white of the buttercream really highlights the chocolate coating on top. Try them...and let me know what you think!

Chocolate Buttercream Squares
Cookie Layer:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup nuts, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 8 inch pan. Cream butter, sugar, and egg. Add melted chocolate, flour, and nuts. Put in prepared pan and place in oven. Check after 10 minutes; it should be baked. Do not overbake! Cool.

Filling Layer:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Blend ingredients. Chill 10 minutes then spread over cookie layer.

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
Melt ingredients together and pour over filling. Chill in refrigerator. Cut into 24 small bars.
The base layer of the squares
The buttercream layer

The final result. Now I am hungry again....

"If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated."
-Author Unknown

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Salsa and Chips Anyone?

A neighbor of mine has a wonderful garden that I have to admit I am a bit jealous of. He only grows tomatoes, corn and pumpkins but somehow he does it without barely paying attention to them at all. And they all turn out wonderful. Sigh.....

Recently, he told me to take as many tomatoes as I wanted since he is moving and doesn't want them. Yes! But what to do with all those tomatoes I enthusiastically picked? Why, salsa of course! Now, I do cheat and use a packaged mix called Mrs. Wages, which I bought at the local Agway and Walmart. So all I had to do was blanch the tomatoes, chop them, and add the mix and 1/4 cup of vinegar. I put the salsa in last year's canning jars and put them in the fridge. My hubby took some jars to work to share and I have been giving some to my neighbors. I got some more tomatoes this week so I'm off to find another package of Mrs. Wages! Now, to find ways to use all that salsa....

“Salsa has now passed ketchup as America's favorite condiment. Isn't that amazing? You know it's bad when even our vegetables are starting to lose their jobs to Mexico.”
-Jay Leno