Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where the heck did the week go???

So, to pick up where we left off on Sunday, it was shepherds pie for dinner.  Turned out Michael and his golfing buddy decided to go to 5 Guys for burgers and brought me cold left over french fries (comment on that deleted).

This has turned out to be a rather hectic not very much cooking week.  Michael's uncle passed away on Monday so he is in New Jersey for the funeral with his sisters.  I so very much wanted to go but 1. Uncles in law do not qualify for bereavement leave and 2.  it would be too darn expensive to board the dog on top the cost of the trip.  So, here I sit with Bear wandering around the Internet and working (Bear is doing neither of those things by the way, he is just my supervisor).

We have had a lot of rain this week as a side effect of Hurricane Issac, I guess Tuesday was the worst and there were pictures of people kayaking in downtown.  We have a lot of flooding problems in this city probably because we are just at sea level and a good portion of the downtown is made of fill with no real sewage system.  Last night a whopper of a storm wandered in with the traditional lightening and thunder and some how, some part of that combination took down the power in the shopping center I work in.  All was calm other than the rain at about 8:30,  there were two other employees and three customers when BAM out went the lights.  Oh they played with us a couple of time coming back on and then there we were in total and complete darkness.  Let me tell you, those stores are big and scary in the dark, you don't know where anything is and I am terrified that I will trip over something.  The customers got themselves to the front and outside thanks to their cellphones (it's amazing how much light you can get from them), and than it was just us.  You don't want or need to know how I secured the cash other than to tell you it was pretty funny and challenging to do in the dark!  I guess the good part of the story is that I was home early! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Supper

So I am sitting here on a Sunday night after work trying to decide what to make for supper.  Michael is out playing golf with his friends and won't be home until after 7, I have some time and was thinking about roasting that chicken I got on sale the other day but than I remember that he told me on Friday that he is all chickened out.  I can understand that, sometimes you just need a change!  What would be great is something I can make ahead and then just warm up when he gets home (you never know with golf).  In the freezer there is shrimp, chicken  (on the no list for today at least), talapia, pork tenderloin (we just had some last night) and one lonely bag of chop meat.  Hmmmmmmmm what to make?

All these ideas go through my head!   I could make a pot of spaghetti sauce or a shepherds pie but frankly I don't really feel like cooking.  I'm tired and would much rather goof on on the Shamed Dogs site that Juju posted earlier today (even though I have already spent a bunch of time on it) so right now the chopped meat sits on the counter defrosting and I go from writing this blog to googling recipes that use about 1 pound of chop meat and hopefully produce leftovers that I can take for lunch tomorrow!  But I am thinking why do I start with the meat and than the side dishes?  Maybe I should start backwards, after all the meat doesn't have to be the king of the meal!  Perhaps that thought needs to wait for another day I don't feel energetic enough to follow through right now.

What will I decide to make?  Guess you will have to tune in tomorrow to find out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Even You Can Cook Fresh Beets!

Roasted Beets
I absolutely love eating beets!  To me they are one of the most delicious foods there is, they are sweet, not too soft and you can do a couple of fun things with them.  Making Harvard Beets with my Mom was how I discovered the amazing thing that cornstarch and water do together.  If you have never seen it you have to give it a try, its somewhere between a liquid and a solid, it will pour but if you try to stick a spoon in it the whole thing cracks!  Jen has a name for it but there is no way I could even come close to spelling it!

Well enough about the cornstarch, back to beets!  I have seen fresh beets in the store for years but have always been afraid to cook them so instead I would buy them canned.  As a matter of fact beets have been one of the very few things I buy in cans, when I can't get to the vegetable bin and for some of the veggies that just require too much work for even me I depend on frozen.  They still have their nutrients in them, are cost effective especially when on sale and have no added stuff.  It's the veggies and only the veggies!

A few months ago I finally got brave and bought some fresh beets when I was shopping, they sat in the fridge for quite a while (thankfully root vegetables do not have a very short shelf life) until I decided I had to do something with them! 

So there I was the beets and no idea how to cook them!!  Would my hands turn purple (if it is going to happen you know I would be the one with the purple hands) how do you get the skin off them?  How do you cut them....the questions went on and on.

Off to the Internet I went only to find out that you can either grill or roast beets with the skin on!!  How easy is that?  My first beet endeavor was on the grill.  I simply cut both ends off the beets, quartered them, threw them in some foil with a bit of olive oil, closed up the foil and threw them on the grill.  Now one thing I have to tell you is that the folks that say they cook in a half in hour can't tell time!  Those suckers were on the grill for closer to an hour and a half but boy did they taste good when they were done!

On one of my last trips downtown I once again bought beets, there were no smaller ones available so I got four rather largish ones.  Once again they sat in the fridge and yesterday I decided that they have to be cooked.  I decided to roast them since goodness knows its not hot enough here already and I must warm the house up more with the oven!  I followed the same directions as before but this time I didn't quarter them, into the 350 degree oven they went to roast for two hours. 

I am not sure what I will do with them next, they could just be sliced and warmed with some butter or pickled (which is not as tough as it sounds).  What ever I decide to do with them will have to happen tomorrow since if I do it today and leave for Michael with his chicken for tonight chances are he will not eat them. 

Bear had to have his picture taken when I took the camera out.  It was tough to get him to sit still for this one since there was not only the camera but food on the stove!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Doing Doga with the Dog!

It has been an exciting day at Casa de Fenwrick!  It started with an early morning mammogram and bone density test followed by picking up the husbands dry cleaning, a trip to one of my favorite places The Dollar Tree, and then off to Lowe's to get painting supplies for the extra bedroom.

Paint samples can be the most befuddling things!  You go to the store and there are literally thousands of little squares of color, you pick the color idea you have and leave with a bunch of paint swatches, you go home and try to figure out from this little piece of paper which is usually 1" by 1" what is going to look good on all the walls you are planning to paint. Rarely does the paint look the same on the walls as it does on the little card!  We are trying to match the paint in our bedroom and hallway, of course we painted it a few years back and threw out the can.  So here I am armed with a full array of what at Lowe's looked to be the right color only to find out that none of them were........

So after taking the husband to lunch at Taste of Thai off I went back to Lowe's with the swatch that appeared to be closest to the wall color.  The paint samples still called to me and I made a late minute substitution.  It looks like the right shade (I hope)!

Somewhere in there I checked my Face book page.  Having signed up for a contest I thought I would never win I was shocked, shocked I tell you to find out that a Colleen F had been one of the lucky winners for a Doga lesson at a place called Fit with Fido so.... Bear and I and my friend Linda and her much better behaved Golden Trooper are going to go do yoga together.  Now being Bears mother I know his behavior but their website says its a great class for busy dogs!  We will just have to see! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cleaning the House

Today is cleaning day and I was wondering whilst vacuuming up 25 dogs worth of fur which has come from just one  very furry golden retriever, what do people with no animals and no children need to clean?  We have successfully raised the kids and they are all out of the house so that leaves just one dog.

If we didn't have a dog we might not have to vacuum every day (actually we do it about every 3 days but could do it each and every day). 

If we didn't have a dog we could go out in public in black slacks without carrying the lint brush with us which has to be used after getting out of the car.

If we didn't have a dog we wouldn't leave a trail of fur while riding in the car with the windows open (its like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to find the way home)

If we didn't have a dog no one would cross their legs at an important meeting to find their socks covered in dog fur.

If we didn't have a dog there would not be dog fur in the dresser drawers (how it gets there we have no idea).

If we didn't have a dog there would be no dog toys strewn helter skelter all over the house waiting to be stepped on.

If we didn't have a dog we could go away overnight and not have to get someone to watch him.


If we didn't have a dog there would be no one to greet us when we come back from the mailbox wondering where we were all that time.

If we didn't have a dog we might forget that every day is a new celebration and that we should wake up excited to start the day.

If we didn't have a dog there would be no squeaky bone serenades.

If we didn't have a dog there would be no silken head to pet.

If we didn't have a dog there would be no early morning excursions  to the beach to run and leap around in the sand full of joy.

If we didn't have a dog there would much less laughter over his antics.

If we didn't have a dog there would be no one to stare at us or lay their head on us encouraging us to pet them.

If we didn't have a dog there would be no small woof and grrrrrrrrr to warn us that there is something  outside (well that is sometimes, most of the time there is nothing).

If we didn't have a dog the squirrels would take over the back yard.

So I will keep vacuuming up the dog fur, its a gift to remind us that he is always here for us, will never judge us and will always love us as much as we love him!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


You won't hear from me much this week.  Not because I don't love you but because I am working the dreaded overnights.  Many of you may already work this shift, I know Michael did when we started dating.  He was a nurse and worked the 7 pm to 7 am shift and I don't know how he did it.  It's not the working part that is tough, its the sleeping part that I am struggling with.  If the sun is up, so am I.  I was driving home at 5 this morning wide awake even though I have had a total of 5 hours of sleep in the past two days.  

I try sleeping on the couch with the TV on, no sleep.  TV off, no sleep.  In bed TV on in the other room, no sleep.  In bed TV off, no sleep.  Couple of glasses of wine, no sleep.  I keep looking at the clock and now I have to be at work in 6 hours and have slept for 3 hours today.  I think the stress of sleeping is what is keeping me awake.

Well, off to try to sleep..... 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bears Bread Sticks (Read all the way to the bottom)

I haven't done much posting lately about the main topic of this blog which believe it or not is cooking.   The funny thing is that we eat dinner at home just about every night and I did a whole lotta cooking while we had our house guest the past 5 weeks.  One would think with all that cooking I could have found something no matter how small to tell you that you simply must try.  There is nothing on here that we do not eat ourselves and you never ever ever hear about the misses, the food that doesn't quite turn out the way it is planned.   We all have them, those meals that we have such great hopes for and than BAM, time to order pizza!

While he was here, Spencer and I spent time together in the kitchen.  He likes to cook, doesn't like to clean up but hey neither do I (which is why the deal the hubby and I made while still dating works great, if you cook you don't do the dishes after the meal).  One of the thing we made twice during his visit was bread sticks, we found this great recipe on line for Almost Famous Bread sticks.  After a bit of tweaking for what we had in the house this is our version which we will call Not Really Almost Famous Bread sticks!

Not Really Almost Famous Bread sticks

1 package yeast
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons soft butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt

3 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used more)
2 cloves garlic minced

Put 1/4 cup warm water into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it.  Set aside until the yeast blossoms.  Add the flour, butter, sugar, salt and 1 1/4 cups warm water.  Mix until a slightly sticky dough forms and it pulls away from the side of the bowl.  (I add about 3 cups of flour and than mix, if the dough is not right I continue to add flour).  Depending on your flour and the humidity you may use more or less flour, do not panic!!

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 3 minutes.  It should be smooth and soft as a babies bottom.  Roll into a 2 foot long log than cut into 16 pieces.  Knead each one and than shape into about 6" long logs.  Put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a kitchen towel and allow to sit about 45 minutes or until doubled in size

With the oven heated to 400 degrees, brush the bread sticks with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter than sprinkle with the salt.  Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bread sticks are a light golden brown, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes so you don't burn your fingers than move  them to a cooling rack.  Mix the remaining 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter with the minced garlic.  Brush the bread sticks with the butter and garlic mixture and enjoy!

One final bit of advice...Keep the bread sticks where the dog cannot get them.  No matter how well behaved you may think your dog is, and you know I think mine is a saint, they can and will steal a bread stick, hide it in the side of their mouth away from you and steal off into the backyard with said bread stick.  Not that Bear would ever think of doing that (except yesterday when he did do that!).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fixing the Fridge (or not)

The refrigerator has been sort of leaking for a while (read a couple of years) and for some reason this morning I decided I could fix it myself.  After all Michael replaced the turn signal thingy last month with help from YouTube and there are instructions on how to put the liner back up in his 99 Jeep so there must be directions on how to stop the fridge from leaking!

Obviously not my fridge but could be my life!

Off to YouTube I went.............It looked easy enough and they got it done in minutes!

Step one unplug the fridge.....Done!

Step two empty out the freezer of death...Done!

Step three take the shelf out of the freezer with the bag of frozen soup stuck to it....Done (eventually after much playing with it)!

Step four take the back panel off the freezer....Can apparently only be done by someone with the right tools.  Instead clean the inside of the freezer, get the soup off the shelf thingy and put everything neatly back in the freezer.

Step five (looked very easy once again on YouTube) clean out the drain tube which should be located directly over the motor in the back bottom of the freezer....Apparently only if you live in England does it work like this.  Instead clean up under the fridge, plug it back in and place it carefully from whence it came.

Step six live with fridge that leaks...Done!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lawrence Welk?????

Joe Fenney

I was watching Lawrence Welk about an hour ago (I know pretty exciting) and the Irish tenor they have on the show sang a song which took me back to my life growing up.  Dad was an Irish tenor and had a beautiful voice, we grew up with him singing especially on holidays after he had a few cocktails.  Actually all of us sang and I think at one point we thought we would be the next Brady Bunch or Partridge Family.  I don't know about my brothers but I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket any more, somewhere along the line I just lost it.  I grew up with a black and white TV and realized tonight that I thought that the only color suit Lawrence ever wore was grey, boy was I surprised to find him in a rather natty green suit!

Anyway Joe Feeney (found his name after a little bit of research) sang the "Rose of Tralle" and suddenly I was transported back to my childhood and could hear my Dad singing the same song with the same sweet notes.  If you get a chance and enjoy that type of music (which I really do) just head to YouTube and you can get  more than your fill, just remember to bring your hankey with you!

ps  The house guest departed this morning and life is getting back to normal, we have a substantial amount less food here.  I really forgot how much growing kids eat!  I will miss Spencer as he became my cooking buddy and learned to do a bit around the kitchen while he was here.  He told me he is going to surprise his Mom with the bread sticks (I know I didn't tell you about them).  Michael is back from the very exciting Elks Summer Convention in beautiful downtown Union, South Carolina.

pss I realized after I read this that many of you have no idea who Lawrence Welk is.....I would have never thought of that had Spencer not just spent 5 weeks with us.  Guess you will need to Google it and be surprised!