Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some Thoughts and Tonights Supper

There must be a certain amount of goof off time between arriving home from work and fixing supper so I read the head lines, check out facebook, check on my blog and every possible aspect attached to it and then..on to deciding what to make tonight.  I actually have been thinking about supper for many hours now.  My schedule at work doesn't always allow for time to eat (pay no attention to that comment if your work for my corporate office) so I am pretty much famished when I get home.  When you are the only manager in the building sitting down is close to impossible especially on a Saturday when everyone needs personal assistance.  I am all about customer service but some folks are just a bit much and need to be hand fed through their entire shopping experience.  I quess I must be hungry, I sound pretty grumpy which I actually don't feel.  I enjoy 99.9% of the customers who walk through the door.  Well so much for that self analysis!  Back to supper!

Many thoughts went through my head...I pretty much know what is in the freezer (alot) but what am I in the mood to make to the freezer I went and this is what greeted me.  I have a freezer packed with stuff.  I don't know whats in there!  It is a danger jone!  One wrong move and bam a broken toe due to a ill place frozen chicken!  So on the list of things to do next week is...straighten out the freezer and make a list of exactly what is in there! (The egg cartons on the top do not belong to me...I am afraid everything else is mine).

In the end we are having a squash casserole I am going to try out and then report to you on (I would do it tonight but my toolbar is still messed up and I don't feel like typing the entire recipe) and oven fried Talapia which is actually my own creation!  Of course the amounts are estimated and I usually only cook for two so...

Oven Fried Talapia

2 pcs Talapia
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/2 Italian breadcrumbs
a few shakes of Emriles seasoning
a little bit of olive oil

Pre heat oven to 350 (is there any other temperture?). Spray a baking dish with some non stick cooking spray.  Mix the breadcrumbs and seasoning in a dish.  Dry the fish place in the milk to moisten,  then gently cover with the breadcrumb mixture.  Place in baking dish and repeat.  Shake some olive oil on the fish and place in the oven.   Bake for about 20 minutes, I like to turn the broiler on for a few minutes to make crispy.  Serve and enjoy (I hope!).  I usually eat it with tartar sauce which is just mayonnaise and pickle relish.

A word from our sponsor "The dog needs a snack...give the dog a snack".

The Fox

We live in the country part of the city.  I know that makes absolutely no sense but there you have it!  The city of Charleston (like most of the low country) is surrounded by water and marsh.  When I first moved here I didn't fully understand the beauty of the marsh and what it contains.  The colors of the marsh change with the days and the seasons going from green to brown and sometimes both at the same time.  In the marsh live all types of wildlife from marine (oysters, shrimp and fish) to the type of fox pictured above.

Last week their was an eerie sound outside at about 7:30 pm.  It was a combination of a mating call and a cry of distress and it was outside our duplex.  Our next door neighbor was out with her flashlight and there it was in the darkness on the other side of our fence, the fox running all over the place making its call.  We had a fox under the storage shed a few years back and Michael suspected it had its kits under there.   If you went in to get something out would go the fox and it would run back towards the marsh only to return later. 

We have not heard the fox again until Bear (the great guardian of the household) woke us at 5:30 this morning carrying on.   Once we quieted him down, there it was, the eerie cry.  I had to think for a while whether to let him out or not (we do have a fenced yard) but he looked like he needed a potty break.  After he pee'd on the fence right by the house off he went on patrol only to return within seconds.  I do not know if he saw the fox and decided to return or got bored....he's not talking.  All is now quiet outside and Bear is asleep on his dog bed, his job done for now!

One humerous thing..while looking on line for pictures of grey foxes I kept getting pictures of Anderson Cooper...what's up with that?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I haven't written much about cooking lately even though I have been certainly doing enough of it.  Life seems to get in the way sometimes and I promise to write soon about healthy eatting (the pork chops certainly did not qualify).

I wrote last week about my computer virus and let me tell you it is a headache to try to put everything back together again.  I promise to be more diligent in the future when dealing with the cd's they send with the equipment we buy.  For the past week I have been looking for the disc that is here somewhere and trying to download off the Internet the software for the printer, now for those that are truly computer literate that may be easy but for me...not so easy.  Why do the directions stop at a certain point?  Do they just assume I know?  Guess what, I don't!  Another biggy is do not, I REPEAT, do not loose your office disk because....its expensive!  The last is do not try to open sensitive financial documents you have saved to your computer with Notepad....there appears to be absolutely no way to unencrypt the information after you do that. If there is...please let me know!

On the up side of all this, I downloaded Office Suite by Oracle today for free.  It does everything that the other program did and best of IT'S FREE!!!!  The only thing it will not do is open the one document I need because I moved it into Notepad.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Was Inspired!

One good thing about January and working retail is we get more time off.  The bad part of that is I wind up using up vacation and sick time to keep the income level fairly steady.  Today I came home at 9 am.  Hours needed to be cut and I am expensive (and frankly I just didn't feel like being on today).  We had put away almost all last nights truck so...home I came.

I talked to a friend a few weeks ago and we were discussing getting our homes organized this year.  She has a list that she found on-line that simplifies the whole thing...basically the key is don't get over whelmed which is easy to say but not always easy to do.  I had started with the linen closet a few weeks ago and gaze lovingly at my work every time I go in I wanted to re-organize and clean the kitchen cabinets.  Each day I have been off since then, I have considered doing this lovely task.  To be honest I haven't cleaned them since I moved in here which I now realize will be 7 years in just a few weeks.  The whole thing just seemed to be too much more than I really felt like tackling.  Besides, who is going to notice?  The husband...I don't think so.  Than I read JuJu's post today at Just A Bunch Of Stuff about having things that need to be done and just not having the motivation to do them.  That was enough for me...

The kitchen in the middle of cleaning

I have never figured out why you need to make a mess to clean but...what the heck.  To reward ourselves Bear and I took a drive down to the Battery and went for an hour long sometimes fast, sometimes very slow walk. You have to love January down here, it was 66 degrees and no wind.  It is weather like this that reminds me just how nice it is to live down south and not in my native New York. He met some new friends and got petted so he was happy.  We than went to one of my favorite places downtown The Vegetable Bin.  Where else in town can you come home with two over flowing bags of fruits and veggies for $19?  I promise to bring my camera next time so you can see what I am talking about. 

So now here I sit at the computer with the windows open, a glass of Tisdale Merlot (4.99 a bottle).  The birds are making a ruckus outside (I think every bird in West Ashley is in the trees near the house calling to their mate) and I am rewarded with....

A Bear who is sleeping sort of but still growling at the birds for keeping him awake!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Michaels Cast Iron Cookware

First a word from our sponser...
Bear and his beloved Squeaky Bone.  He never leaves home without it!

I am not the only one in the house that enjoys cooking.  Michael can rattle some pots and pans himself and came with his own pans (I think it was part of his dowry).  While I am a stainless steel kind of gal he on the other hand loves cast iron.  My previous marriage left me with a great fear of cast iron cookware and the proper cleaning technigue necessary for its care.  We had on old pan with the wood handle long gone that I believe I managed to destroy over our many years of marriage (at least what was left of it by the time we inherited it).  After that I stayed clear of Michael's pans as I did not want to ruin them too!  Over the years with patience and prodding, my beloved husband has taught me not to fear cast iron but instead embrace it.  I  now know the proper way to clean and season the pans after use and take great enjoyment in them.

I do believe he has pretty much a pan for every occassion from the smallest frying pan to a large dutch oven.  He even has a cornbread pan and one specifically for pancakes!

As you can see, I have not mastered the new camera yet...the old one had a feature that eliminated any fuzziness in the pictures due to the dog hitting me in the leg whilst attempting many shots.

The guilty party sitting nicely

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mmmmm Smothered Pork Chops

My eldest daughter will be so proud of me, I got one of the drives to work all on my own.  The benefit all of you have is that I was able to download the software for my new camera so, a big hello from Bear!

A few weeks ago I was rummaging around on the Internet trying to find something to make for supper (seems like I wind up doing the same thing most days).  I had pork chops, mushrooms (which really needed to be used) and onions.  I came upon this wonderous meal, whipped it up and we enjoyed it that night with some mashed potatoes and green beans.  Michael asked that it be added to our regular assortment and so we had it again last night (I came home and found the chops defrosting in the fridge)!  A novice could make this as it is so easy.

Smothered Pork Chops with Mushrooms
from Gourmet Magazine

2 lbs bone in pork shoulder chops
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1/2 pound fresh cremini mushrooms sliced (I used plain white mushrooms)
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 cup water

Pat chops dry and season with tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12 inch heavy skillet (preferably deep) over medium high heat until it shimmers.  Brown chops in 2 batches, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes total per batch.  Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and cook onion and mushrooms with rosemary and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes.

Return chops and any meat juices from plate to skillet. 

Add water and simmer, covered until chops are tender, about 30 minutes.

I bet you were expecting a picture of the finished product but....I forgot!  I promise to remember next time!  One important thing I realized last night was to check and make sure you have a cover that fits your frying pan before starting!

Friday, January 13, 2012

I had the Computer Flu

It is amazing how we have gotten used to having a computer at our beck and call.  Two weeks ago yesterday I came down with a terrible computer virus (or as our friend who fixed it put it...a real good one) so I have been existing without internet access for that whole long entire time!  At first we were both twitching, after all you must have it!  Slowly we started doing different things with our time like reading books and talking more.  Probably the most difficult thing for me was that most of my recipes are in a file on the computer so I had to suffer terribly and go back to the good old cookbooks.  I think Michael was some what relieved to be saved from what I found on Epicurious that day!

On another note, my beloved husband bought me a new camera for Christmas so soon you will be bored to death of pictures of Bear (as soon as I figure out how to download the software off line).