Two Dinners

Hello Friends! How are you all? How was your week? Mine was pretty good. Work has been busy and I have been busy taking Little Man to Boy Scout activities this week.

My self change has gone great this week! Today is the first day that I splurged a bit with a couple of pieces of Halloween candy as a bit of a Good Job reward. I am already feeling the benefits of going back to my healthy ways of eating.

Joanna, it is so true about going back to working out and how much just even a little bit of time away can change you and make you weaker! I am so glad that you will also be trying to improve yourself. I will cheer you on for sure, and I know together we can totally do this!!  Thank you for the well wishes for my wrist, I hope as well that I can move past this. I usually use circular needles but it seems like the big needles are hurting me. I thought about changing the style of my knitting so I am using my hands differently, but I tried that a couple of years ago and I was so clumsy. I use my hands a lot at work too, and then I come home wand want to spend my evenings knitting so that probably doesn’t help ;).

Today I am sharing another dinner with you. A new recipe I tried this week. Actually two but the other is from another blog I read so I will just share the link. The pictures are the best but I hope they give you a pretty good idea of how it all looks.

Yesterday I made chicken drumsticks with sweet potato coins. The sweet potatoes were so good, we all could have eaten a plate full of them.

The Recipe is from The Can’t Cookbook. I found it at 5 below for 5 dollars and it had some recipes in it that I thought made the book worth buying even though its supposed to be for newer cooks. It shows you how to cut onions and garlic and tips like that. It has great pictures in it so it really is a great beginner book. This was my third and fourth recipe from the book and we haven’t been disappointed.

So you marinate the drumstick overnight for best flavor. She had four sauce options. I chose the barbeque and the lemon and sage.

Barbeque

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Lemon and Sage

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I put them on a baking sheet.

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and popped them on the oven at 425F for about 35 minutes.

They go in together with the sweet potatoes that cook at the same temp and cook time. For those you take 3 medium size sweet potatoes and cut them into 1 1/2 inch slices and put them on a baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil over them.

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Then you are going to make a mixture of brown sugar, salt, cumin and black pepper.

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Pour that over the potatoes and give a good mix.

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Pop those in the oven with the drumsticks and when they are done they should look like this:

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And here it is plated up.

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Like I said earlier the potatoes were delicious!!! Best I have ever made and we kept munching on the extras. This was the first time I made drumsticks and they came out really good too. Little Man and Hubby really liked them and everyone agreed the Lemon and Sage one was delicious. My husband especially liked them, he said he could really taste the sage.  I am always hesitant to try new recipes because my husband can be very picky and unsure about new recipes. But this was a success!! Which of course makes me super happy.

Dinner tonight was Italian Wedding Soup from Jcasa.  I have been making it for over a year now and it is a well-loved dish in this house. It was perfect tonight in our super cold weather.

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I normally use smaller noodles but I forgot to get some so I used the smallest I had on hand. It’s very easy to make. I don’t use as many bread crumbs and cheese as she uses for her meatballs. I eyeball about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. If you so try this recipe try what you think sounds best for you. The main reason I used so little is because when I first made this I was at the peak of my diet and that was just too much in my mind to put in my meatballs and they taste great so I have never tried using the full amount.

We don’t have any big plans for the weekend. Tonight is camp out night for Little Man and I. We are going to watch the movie Eragon. Then we are sleeping in a fort in the living room. Tomorrow we are supposed to go for a nice walk at the marsh and then just relaxing around the house. Reading. Playing. I am hoping to start sewing on a project I want to make for my Oma for Christmas. Just playing it by ear, the weekends are usually not rushed or over planned, we do that enough all week. If we do manage to bundle up and head out for our walk, I will get some pictures of the marsh to share with you. So I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

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Dinner and some weekend stuff

Hello My Friends! How are you today? It was a typical Monday, I didn’t want to get up and out of bed this morning and it dragged in the normal Monday way. Day one of my changes that I wrote about yesterday was successful! I was a good girl when it came to my eating and my water intake so I am really that happy that I didn’t crash on day one! 🙂

On Friday I tried a new product and decided to share my whole dinner with you guys instead of just the product since it was part of my dinner anyway!

I have made this dish tons of times,It’s a basic meat and gravy dish, I don’t really have a name for it and the only thing I ever really change is what I serve it with. It could be rice, mashed potatoes or Spatzle (a German egg noodle). On Friday we went to a local market that carries quite a few European items and I came across something I haven’t had in a super long time.

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The best way to describe these is like a dumpling, my grandma of course makes these homemade but a girl has to get her fix somehow! I have gotten something like this before but the didn’t come in their own little dumpling sacks. In the other stuff I got you mixed the ingredients and then made your own balls and put them in boiling water but with these that’s basically all taken care of! you just toss them into a pot with cold water and salt.

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And bring them to a boil.

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You can see how they have already puffed up a little in their sacks. Then you turn down the heat and let them simmer for 15 minutes.

While those are cooking, we start the meat.

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This is turkey loin cut into 1/4 in slices or so and season with a seasoning that my grandma sends me from Germany. It’s from a well-known chef over there called Herr Schuhbeck. This is the steak and grill seasoning. Then you toss it in a pan over medium high heat.

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And cook until the turkey is cooked through, it doesn’t take long. Then we are going to add about 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste.

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Give it a good stir until the turkey is all covered with it and cooks for a minute in the pan. The we are going to add gravy. This is where I cheat and just use a powdered gravy.

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Add a splash of heavy cream or milk, whatever you have on hand and give it another stir.

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Once everything is warmed through and nice and thick, the meat and gravy is all done. Now back to the Knodel! This is how they look after the 15 minutes and you are supposed to run them under cold water.

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The you free them out of their little sacks and put the on the plate.

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Lol, I got a bit rough with the one on top but this is how they look all done.

And here is the final product…

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Yummy!! it was so good, and one Knodel would have been enough for me, they are very filling. I will be getting these again. Just a note, these are not something you really want to eat by themselves, they need some kind of sauce or my grandma has also put them in a chicken broth and made a soup. Also really good.  So, hope you liked that. If you want to see more, let me know.

Over the weekend, Little Man and I built a Fort in the living room and we really didn’t leave it much. We even slept in it at night.

We played some games.

Memory

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Labyrinth, this is one of my favorites.

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Also some Battleship and some Rauber Rudi.

I also got some reading done.

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That’s Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I am about 3/4 of the way through. It is a book for kids but its a quick read and sometimes you need that. I was at an activity at the library for Little Man and it was laying on the table by me, so i picked it up and started reading it and didn’t want to stop when it was time to go home, so the book came home with me. It’s about a sister and brother that go to spend a couple weeks with their grandfather and find out he is the caretaker of FableHaven, a sanctuary for mystical creatures. And of course when kids start sticking their noses into things, trouble starts. It’s part of a series, i am not sure how many books there are but I do want to read the others at some point…just making my list longer and longer.

If you remember in my first post back to blogland, I mentioned having to take a break from crafting, most of all knitting because of my wrists. It has been since the end of September and it’s like all i can think about but I am behaving!! I have been wearing my wrist guards at night and trying to watch what i do with my hands during the day. I am giving myself until December and then i will very slowly get back to working something. When i was working on Little Man’s socks my hands weren’t bothering me. It was when I went to a project with bigger needles that i started to feel the ache again. So we will see, wish me luck.

I better get off to bed. Have a great day!

A Day Off

Hi all! Thanks for the pumpkin love! I always look forward to carving the pumpkin every year, even though I groan about cleaning it out. Halloween was fun, Little Man got lots of candy and the rain held off until the last half hour. My husband’s umbrella was blown inside out twice much to my enjoyment. I couldn’t stop laughing, especially since his umbrella is so big and he had a hard time getting back the right way…Yes, I did just stand there and laugh instead of helping him and I am not ashamed to admit it.

We had the day off school and work today because of elections so Little Man and I went off gallivanting and did a bit of shopping. I found a new tea Joanna, and since you have shared yours a few times i thought I would share the one I picked up at TJ Maxx (TK Maxx for you).

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I had one after we got back and it was very good. I don’t add any sugar or honey, What about you fellow tea drinkers, do you put anything in your teas?

After shopping, Little Man and I then made some Apple Bread. It’s one of my favorites and it has been much too long since i have made it. While we were out we got some more Honey Crisp apples.

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Here is most of our supplies, there are two bags of flour because I wasn’t sure I had enough but in the end we just made it.

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Here is the end result. Yummy!!!!!

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We are down to almost one loaf already, but it’s not all in our bellies, I made a few baggies for some ladies I work with because we are always sharing new recipes or treats with each other.

After cleaning up, making dinner and then cleaning up some more, I went for a quick 15 minute walk around the neighborhood. It was so nice and peaceful and I didn’t have to worry about walking alone because I had this guy with me…

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Yep, that’s right, Batman is my own personal bodyguard. 🙂

Good Night my friends!

Sluggin Along

Elmo was very cute 🙂 I am glad we went.  All the friends were doing little skits about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Little Man had a good time but was bummed that Elmo never came to say Hi to him.  Every time some of the characters came off the stage to say Hi to the people in the first few rows you could see him looking over there longingly.  Made me want to go down and drag Elmo over to us 🙂

Here are some pictures-please excuse the occasional head and sound equipment.

Saturday we had some fun around the house and i made my favorite salad:

Taboulleh/Tabouli

Recipe from back of Arrowhead Mills box of bulgar wheat

1 cup bulgur wheat

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 1/2 tsp salt,optional

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup Olive Oil

Dash of garlic powder

2 tomatoes, diced, i like to use Roma- not as juicy

3 cups chopped parsley

4 green onions chopped

Pour boiling water over bulgar and salt. Cover bulgar for about 30 mins and let sit until water is absorbed. Stir next 3 ingredients into bulgar and chill for 2-3 hours. Add tomatoes, parsley and green onions and gently toss before serving on a bed of lettuce.

My salad is roughly based on this recipe.  I use the same amount of bulgar and water. I don’t add my salt until the end so i can do it to taste.  On Saturday when i made this Little Man and i were deep in play so i didn’t check on the bulgar until probably after 45 mins or maybe more. So by the time i checked it, it was cool enough for me so i didn’t do the step where you add the lemon juice, oil and salt and chill it for several hours-i have never done that. Not even with other recipes.  So i dumped my bulgar in a bowl and threw in the tomatoes, onions and parsley. For the parsley i just bought one bunch and used all the leaves, everybody likes different amounts of parsley so add what suits you.   I added the juice of about 1 1/2 lemons, a dash of olive oil for the taste and then maybe a tablespoon and a half of veggie oil, i just don’t like all that oil in my salad. Then i sprinkled salt and added much more then a dash of the garlic powder because i love garlic 🙂  It was sooo yummy-but next time i think i would add juice of  2 lemons again, just for the extra zip 🙂  i have also added yellow onion  or red onion before.  Colored peppers are good as well. You really can throw in whatever you like but i like the basic version.

Saturday night i started to get a bad sore throat and we all know what that means-Sickness.  I slept most of Sunday and Monday when i took Little Man to school i was feeling pretty good.  Come the evening i was wiped out and just wanted to sleep and it was like that as well yesterday.  Today it hit me even earlier and i ended up sleeping away the whole afternoon. I feel alright now but the way this cold has been treating me who knows how i will be later or tomorrow.

Little Man’s batman slippers have worn down on the bottom and a couple weeks ago i came across this tutorial online and knew i wanted my boy to have some. 

I made them last Thursday. They have a quilter’s flannel on the outside and leftover scraps of fleece on the inside.  I didn’t have enough of one color of fleece so the inside of one is orange and the other bright green.  He was ver excited by them and said “Oh, they are elf slippers” and then we had to play Santa and his helper elf.

I made very little progress on what goes with the mystery paw but i am close.  It has to be done by Saturday so i should have a post on that day.

Yesterday we had weather in the high 50’s it was wonderful and even though i was sick i still took my boy out for a walk and let him go to the playground for about 45 mins.  I think the fresh air did both of us some good and it was so nice to be outside.

Back to resting for me. Oh and thanks for the compliments on Hubby’s sushi he liked them very much 🙂

Joining the Masses

Ahem…someone in this house  has joined the knitting community and has knit a

Thorpe!

Little Man asked me to make him a hat with stripes and ear flaps and after hearing so much and seeing so many Thorpes i decided it would be perfect for Little Man.

He loves it!  And i love how it looks on him.  If you tie the strings up it pulls the ear flaps in very nicely and keep him super cozy and warm.  I will be making more, one for me and maybe next year for hubby.

Pattern: Thorpe

Made for: Little Man

Size: 20 inch/medium  it is a little big on Little Man but this way he will be able to use it next year as well

Dates: Jan 31-Feb 1, 2009, very quick knit 🙂

Yarns: Universal Yarn Classic Chunky in Flannel & Navy

Needles: 9

Notes: The first couple rows are a bit finicky, i actually found it easier to work on 3 Dps for 4 rows or so until i had enough sts to move to having 4 dps to work off of.

Pattern is well written and moves along quickly.  It is quite addicting-i already chose the yarn from my stash for mine but i haven’t started knitting it yet-i have some other things to finish first.

For the foodies out there here is a picture of Hubby’s first sushi that he made this weekend:

Well i am off to play with my guy and Tomorrow we are going to Elmo Grows Up 🙂 Hope you all have a great weekend-Hopefully after this weekend i will be able to reveal who the black and white paw belongs to.

Some Things

Omi’s arrived here well and we are enjoying our time together.  The past two days we have been out from morning until late afternoon and today she is with my mom so Little Man and I are enjoying just vegging out at home in robes and comfortable clothes.  I can already feel the colder weather making me lazy.

But it isn’t making Omi lazy-Here she is giving Little Man a piggy back ride.

I love that she can still do things like that, some great grandmas don’t or can’t.

Craft-wise i finished a friendship bracelet

and Started some socks.

 

This is the first clue from Through The Loops Mystery Sock by Kristin Kapur-Clues can be found here (Rav Link). The 2nd clue won’t go up until next wednesday so you can join without being behind if you want.  She is doing to versions of the sock, a simpler one and then one that has a small cable. Come Join the Fun.

And to end on a sweet note :)-Here is Little Man painting the cookies we made yesterday.

Have a great weekend!!

Success!

I have had some Strawberry Jam 2 mornings in a row 🙂 So Good!

This was my first time making Jam and i got nervous a few times.  I really did prepare for it well or use the best utensils i cold have. But let’s start at the beginning.

My grandma makes jam every year and the past couple years she has been telling me i should try but it just seemed way to hard.  Like everything had to be so exact and if it wasn’t you were screwed Lol. But this year i decided to try it. 

For about a week i have been looking at Mason Jars and the different brands and forms of pectins that they had at my local grocer.  i finally just decided on the regular Sure-Jell.  I got these mason jars mainly because i didnt want to get one of the packs of 20 i didn’t need that many.  I knew i might be cutting it  close with getting all the jam into them but i had some old jars at home from salsa and stuff and thats acutally just what my grandma uses so i figured if i had to i could use one of those and i would make sure i ate from that first.  I got three 2lb packages of strawberries becuase they were on sale and the Sure-Jell said i would need around 5 lbs to make 5 cups of crushed strawberries.

So I come home and started getting everything ready for making jam-cleaning the counter, getting a big pot to put the jars in because you have you “cook” them while you make you mixture.  It makes the glass hot and keep it from cracking when you put the hot jam mixture in and it sterlizes them as well.  The pot is covered with a lid but i took it off for the picture. I probably should have used a bigger pot but it worked for what i needed it to do.

 Then i realized i had forgotten lemons. So we went back to the store for lemons.

After we got back i started cutting the leafy tops off the strawberries and put them in a big glass bowl to mash. I used a potato masher because in the Sure-Jell directions they stated this preserved the strawberries natural pectins better than if you used a mixer.

This is after i already took out the 5 cups i needed:

and here are the 5 cups of crushed strawberries and 1/4 cup lemon juice in the pot i was cooking them in-if you do this USE A BIG POT, i learned later this was not big enough:

The i stirred in the Sure-Jell slowly and made sure it was mixed in well and put the pot on the stove to cook-you have to bring it to a rolling boil. You know how sometimes when you are cooking adn it is boiling and you stick your cooking spoon in to stir it an that slows or stops the boiling well when they say rolling boil they mean boil it to the point where if you stick a spoon in it still boils and it rises and foams and this is where i learned i should have used a bigger pot. But the damage was minimal i caught it in time and surprisingly just a tad of the mixtures went over the pot onto the stove-so yay

here is a shot of it cooking and you can see the foam on the top. The foam isnt a big deal you can spoon it off if you want. i did spon some of it off but its hard to get it all.  You can put a teaspoon of butter in at the beginning to deter the foam a little but i didn’t. i didnt think it would be a big deal and it wasn’t.

After it boils you take it off the heat and put in 7 cups of sugar!!!  and Bring it to a rolling boil again-You are supposed to let it boil for a couple mins but since i didnt use a big enough pot i had some trouble letting it boil that long because when its boiling it rises and i was close enough to the top of the pot as it was but i let it simmer and everything seemed fine. 

i then took the jars out of the pot one at a time so that they wouldn’t cool on the counter while i was filling another jar.

Filling the jars was also a bit of a messy bit becuase i just spooned it over into the jar. But slow and steady did the trick for the most part.

i realized at this point that my 4 jars wouldnt be enough so i pulled out a salsa jar and gave it a good rinse and put in the pot of cooking water to heat it up and sterilize it. and was able to put the rest of the mixture in that jar.

Now the Ball mason jars have to be put back into a pot of boiling water for 10 mins to seal them up.  I tried to put them back into the pot that i cooked the jars in when there were empty and it would have workd it the jars didnt need to be covered by about and inch of water so i tried to put as much water in and cover them and then put the lid on (dont ask why i just did) and as soon as i put the lid on tone of water overflowed onto my stove. Yes, yes deep inside i knew it would happen but i did it anyway becuase i didnt want to hunt down a bigger pot and really the next size up would have been a HUGE stock pot but in the end i had to go and get it anyway.  And the bell jars happily coked away in there.  Well again it tell you Rolling Boil but my water in the stock pot never came to a rolling boil and i let them cook much longer than the 10 mins it says hoping the water would start rolling. It didn’t and so i took my chances and just figured they really must be done by now. i let them sit the 5 mins and then took them out.   The old salsa jar i did not boil because it does not have that seal that the mason jars do. so i did what my grandma told me she does (she always uses old jars she has around the house) and put the lid on turned the jar upside down for a little while and then turned it back the right way and left it on the counter to cool with the other jars.

Sure-jell tells you it can take up to 24 hours for your stuff to fully set but whenever i walked by the jars i would pick them up to see if they were setting up yet. I also checked the lids to make sure when you pushed on them the didn’t move and happily all the lids were nice and hard, no up and down movement when i pushed on the middle of the lid-So they had sealed up perfectly even the old salsa jar.  That really was my biggest worry-it meant i would have to repeat the whole boiling of the jars.

anyway here is my Yield:

If you look at the top left one you will notice it is a bit lighter than the others. That is just because thats the first jar i filled and so it has some of the foam that you get at the top.

And here is the yummy-ness on my English Muffin yesterday:

It was all worth it. 

i will be making jam again for sure and i have learned a few things:

1) BIG POTS-you may think it will be big enough but use bigger

2) 7 cups was a lot of sugar but the jam is not like super sweet so don’t let that scare you. That being said i think i still may like to try the Sure-Jell that is No Sugar Needed just to compare.  My grandma is also sending me what she uses for her jam and i don’t think she uses as much sugar either-she buys some kind of sweetener packet.  But again the jam is not overly sweet so don’t let the amount scare you.

3) I used regular tongs-like ones you use for meat or cooking veggies and that worked fine for getting the empt jars but not so well at all when the jars were filled so i think next time i would get the special tongs you use to get the jars out of the hot water.  in the end i just dumped enough hot water out so that i could reach in with a pot holder and get the jars and that worked with no problems.

4) Don’t be scared-there was a few times where i couldn’t meet the exact times or didn’t get the rolling boil or something just didn’t go according to exact directions.  i had always heard making jam is so exact and i am not saying it isn’t but i messed up a few times and didn’t do things for the full length or boiled the jars longer but not at a rolling boil and in the end it still all worked out.  Obviously the true test will be over the next few months when i get another jar from the basement if they are still good, but i am not so worried about that anymore. And you know what if it didnt seal the first time then you just have to do the 10 minute boiling process over and that really isn’t so bad.

5) It is messy-or maybe i am just messy but have fun with it and

6) be patient-it takes awhile to get to the rolling boil, you think you are there but then you stick your spoon in and it slows down so youhave to wait a bit more.  it took until the next morning for my jam to be set so just let it hang out.

Now i am no expert and this was my first time making jam. Different things work for different people but remember if you do decide to make Jam let it be fun not stressful.

I was going to post the finished surprise i made for Little Man. i got it all done last night but since this has ended up being so long i will save it for tomorrow.

Have a Good Monday!

Oh and i am sorry for any mistakes i or the spell checker may have missed. i type fast and make lots of mistakes and usually i miss them or just dont care. I know that really bothers some people but i am not one of those people but i hope it doesn’t take away from being able to read the post-if it does-let me know i will try and make a better effort to not make such a mess 🙂

Oh and in case your wondering i used just under 4 lbs of strawberries so i still have lots leftover.