Monday, December 12, 2011

More Soup and Excitement...

I'm making more soup! This time it has tons of veggies (Cabbage, Kale, Zucchini, Onion, Celery (plus leaves), Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, White Beans...) and lots of fresh and dried Italian type seasonings (Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Basil... etc) with Veggie Broth. This time I decided to venture out and add some meat (other than chicken...) - So, Jimmy Dean pork sausage was fried up and added -- It's been cooking for a while now and the taste test held great promise, so I'm excited for it to be done so we can try it out! It has a nice sweet taste, which is what was sounding good, but I wasn't sure how to accomplish it!

On another note, I'm getting super excited to head to Georgia in 11 days! (With the blessing of a super long layover in Seattle! Can't wait!) Can't wait to spend two glorious weeks off with everyone!!

I'm really loving this Christmas season this year! The weather has been cold for a few weeks now and it was raining nearly all day today - Makes cooking even more fun! Getting a fun package all ready to mail to my parents (Nope, I ain't tellin' you Mom! Not even on here! You'll just have to wait!) Christmas music is going and decorations are on the window... it's just so fun!

I have tons of crafty projects to keep me busy in the evenings all next week while my roommate is gone, so the posts will hopefully be coming to keep you updated! Should be fun! I'm intrigued to see how I do with them and how they turn out... :o)

Time to go see if the soup is ready to eat! I'm hungry!

Talk to you soon!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The soup was a success!!! Nice and hot and full of veggies. Even had leftovers for lunch today... I know that I've succeeded in my own book if I'm willing to eat leftovers!

We planted Snapdragons (a childhood favorite of mine), Asylum, these cute little button like daisies, Oregano and a Mum after cleaning out the planters. I intended to take pictures during the process but realized after the fact that I was apparently too busy to do so! So here are pictures of the finished product instead.

Also made some delicious chocolate chip cookies from scratch... Yum! I used Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate chips and the classic Nestle Toll House cookie recipe - it's simply the best one out there that I've seen. So now there is a piled hile plate on the kitchen counter - wonder how long those will last? Not long I'm sure.

 I've been enjoying playing Scrabble on Facebook - it's entertaining to see just how badly I can lose most of the time. Makes winning a game quite the accomplishment! Anyone up to a game?!

 Other than that I have a billion projects that I want to do but never seem to have to inspiration to do when I have the time to work on them. Why does it always seem to go that way? I have managed to complete one project recently though -- A modpodged tray... I really like it! I just used some of my piles and piles of scrapbooking paper that coordinated well with my dining room/kitchen colors. It turned out great!

I did learn that I have to make sure I completely glue the underside of the paper down before putting a layer on top... that is where bubbles come from - good to know. I'm currently using just the basic Modpodge brand - I did notice that there is one specifically for paper projects... but I wasn't positive what all I'd be using so I didn't get it. Anyone know if it makes that much of a difference? Or if another brand is better?

Talk to you guys soon - I'm off to play/workout on the Kinect!
Till then... Rest in Him.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A long awaited post thanks to some cabbage soup and creole seasoning...

It's been ages... but I'm back! I'm currently cooking cabbage soup and it inspired me to get back on here and try this again. I got too caught up on trying to share everything that I was trying and once I got behind I felt it useless to try and catch up - so here I am, starting fresh. Though I may go back and share a few things that have happened over time, we'll see - if nothing else I will share photos!
While making my soup I was trying to figure out what I could add that would give it some heat -- during the process I realized I need to go buy cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes just to have handy for times like this even though they rarely occur. My roommate has a favorite seasoning in the cabinet and I wasn't sure if it was spicy and she couldn't recall either so I tested a bit on my tongue. Guess what - Creole Seasoning is hot. Especially by itself!
I'll go ahead and share the recipe with you now and let you know later on if it's worth trying!
I sauteed about 1/2 med. head of cabbage, 1/2 onion, 5 cloves of garlic, 2 big leaves of kale. I added a diced white potato, 1 sliced small yellow squash, 1 sliced small zucchini, and a can of tomatoes with juice. I added some seasoning... I didn't measure any of it - just did what seemed "right." There was Italian Seasoning, Thyme, Basil (less of this than the others), quite a bit of ground pepper (before I figured out I had a spicy seasoning I could add) and then the Creole Seasoning (as much as you like to reach the heat you want) and Salt.
I sauteed that all together for a good 15-20 minutes and then added 2 quarts of boxed low sodium chicken broth. It's still simmering now - just waiting for the flavors to combine and the potatoes to get done! It smells amazing! Can't wait to try it!

My plan is to redo my tiny garden tomorrow with the little guy I nanny since the season are changing and most of the plants are done now. Also hope to make chocolate chip cookies with him - should be a fun day for us. I'll let you know how it goes and show you my new garden! Talk to you all then!
Till then - Rest in Him.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My little Apartment Garden...

Today I planted 4 small SunSugar Cherry Tomato plants, 2 Strawberry plants, Carrot seeds, and a transplanted Basil plant (to save it from a very active peppermint plant!) into a long planter to go outside our studio apartment door. I'm so excited to see how they do!

Also, I have a new favorite homemade salad dressing... Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar and Olive Oil. It's GREAT on Spinach with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and crumbled Goat Cheese.... it breaks down the cheese and makes it super creamy... Yum! I also got Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Triangoli... even though I boiled them to quickly and all the filling seeped out I sprinkled them with the Goat Cheese as well and folded the pasta 'shell' over the cheese - they tasted amazing! Who knew Goat Cheese was so good?!
 'Not I' said the Duck!

The round pot in back is the Peppermint and Sage

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! It's so nice not having mine all planned out.... Nice and relaxing! Though I do have to say that last weekend I went to San Diego and painted some coaster with my Niece at the Hobby Shop on base... So much fun! I'll show you pictures after I pick them up from her next month.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Carrots & Taxes

I think nearly every evening that I want to sit and write... and every evening disappears before I get a chance. So, here I am, for just a moment - saying hello to you all.

As far as food adventures go, I've come to find that I am very fond of Pesto! Something I never realized before, due to a bad batch perhaps many years ago. My friend made it for dinner the other night and served it with freshly toasted pine nuts and it was remarkable! Thank you Jennifer!!

Tonight I will be roasted three shades of carrots - purple, white & yellow... They have become a staple in this house... I love carrots! Not sure what I'll be serving alongside these colorful veggies... but I guess we shall see!
When I first bought a bulb of fennel a friend told me that I could make tea from the leaves. I have yet had a chance to do so - today I bought more fennel and got one with lots of 'fronds'... I've even looked up how to make said tea - I'm excited to finally try it!

I finished my taxes the other day! I couldn't believe they were done! I would have given up and put off day after day had it not been for Jennifer sitting nearby helping me make sense of it all - it's a completely different 'adventure' (??) when you are self-employed. This was my first time having to do taxes this route... thankfully when I started the job I didn't have a clue how much I needed to take out and over-estimated - yay!! So now I have a nice little bundle of 'savings' that needs it's future coursed out! (I'll keep you posted! Pardon the pun!) Oh, and another thing - write-off are amazing! :o)

Okay, well, I'm off to eat some lunch before the little guy I nanny wakes up and we head to MyGym - yet another grand adventure in my life a couple days a week!

Take care & Rest in Him...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cinnamon Cabbage Concoction...

I just have to share my little concoction that I just made - I was hungry, looked in the fridge and started grabbing and cutting and sauteing. This time it worked! The only way I can describe it to you will be to just give you the 'recipe'. 

Chop 1/3 of a head of cabbage (that was all I had left - use more if you like), 
begin sauteing it in some hot coconut oil over Medium-ish heat. 
Grate 1 large carrot, add it to the pan.
Slice 1 good sized bulb of fennel, add it to the pan as well. 
(If you want the fennel a softer texture you may want to add it first.)
Peel, core and chop one small apple (mine was fuji), add it to the pan.
Mince up around-about a Tbl of fresh sage leaves, add to pan.
Squeeze some juice from 1/2 a lemon into the pan. (I didn't use the whole half worth)
Add a couple Tbl of butter, turn up the heat to Med-High or High.
Add Salt & Pepper to taste.
Add a good sprinkle of Cinnamon.
Stir, brown a bit, until it's at the tenderness you enjoy...

It's a fun combination of flavors.

That said. I've had a great week off and a splendid weekend visiting Nieces and Nephews and a Great-Niece. Went on a mini-hike and saw a beautiful waterfall - pictures and details to come. Also managed to cook an amazing meal - more pictures and more details to come!
For now, I must wrap up and clean up the kitchen and go buy groceries!
Take care and thanks for reading... Feel free to comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Time to catch up...

Potato and Leek Soup with Creme Fraiche... Yum!
It's been so long - where to even start? Well, the potato soup turned out great - we loved it, definitely will be making in again! Since then I've gone to the Farmer's Market a couple times. Got some amazing Swiss Chard for $1 a bunch... they were so beautiful and inspiring! At the other Market I found some fresh bread, Liverwurst & Quark. I used to have Liverwurst sandwiches made on white bread with lots of yellow mustard and sliced onions all the time when I was little and thought I'd be reminiscent and try it again.... Let's just say that some things taste better when you're 8 years old apparently! Sadly, I think the rest of it will not be enjoyed - at least not by me. Maybe some animal at the All-You-Can-Eat-Dump?
 Anyways, on to the Quark.... Very odd - It's basically German cream cheese. I got the Vanilla bean flavor. If you've ever had it and have a recipe, I'd love to know it because it does not taste good on toast - homemade jelly doesn't even salvage it. The bitterness reigns. And I say 'Down with the bitter! All hail sweet!'
I also hit up Trader Joe's and found some Parmigiano Reggiano as well as Gruyere cheeses. The later became homemade Mac 'n Cheese along with some cheddar and lots of milk and penne pasta. That dinner was an adventure! It began so smoothly... Boiled the pasta, started on the sauce, kept it nice and creamy, melted the cheeses in, added the pasta... All while boiling and then simmering the syrup for my Lemongrass Lemonade. That's where the smooth became bumpy. Not nearly enough pasta for all that sauce - What could I have done wrong? It said 1/2 lb of pasta... surely I didn't eyeball 1/2 a bag that badly! Milk... 2 cups?Oops.... I put in 4. There were 4 Tbsp of butter after all... How to solve this one!!?? If I make more butter and flour roux then I have to add more milk, and 2 more cups of milk will defeat the purpose! So, I boiled the rest of the pasta and made more roux and only added 1 cup of milk and whisked like a crazy woman, cooked it a bit and poured in the previous sauce and pasta and stirred and hoped for the best! Topped with breadcrumbs and baked it came out quite tasty! I sautéed the Chard with bacon, garlic and lemon and served that with it alongside a nice refreshing glass of Sparkling Lemongrass Lemonade. Another fun adventure has been non-food related... With a phone call to my do-it-yourself audio friend and my own personal speaker installer (aka my electronic-savvy roommate), I picked out, purchased and helped install new speakers in my car! They sound amazing now - now more crackling, buzzing and vibrating while listening to horrible bass at even a very low level! Yay! Even managed to replace a burnt out brake light bulb in the process. Now, to get those back seats hooked back in place.... Have to get some assistance for that one!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I received my last cookbook in the mail! Harvest Eating. I've been looking through it this afternoon and getting re-excited about cooking again. A good thing. So tonight for dinner we will be having Leek and Potato Soup, Bowtie Pasta with Butternut Squash and, potentially, Kale Greens. All three are recipes from the new book. So, in a few, I'm off to the store to buy the handful of items that I need. I'm also going to get what I need to start a batch of Creme Fraiche - which is a cultured cream topping.... yum.
I did go to the Farmer's Market on Wednesday and find a few items that the other Market doesn't offer - Persian cucumbers (mmmm...), Lemongrass (to make Lemonade with Lemongrass) and several other items that I didn't get this time around, due to a full fridge, but plan to try out as soon as I can.
Talk to you again soon... perhaps after dinner. If it turns out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In light of gallimaufry...

Pretzel sticks dipped in honey mustard sauce. Amazing! I can hardly stop eating them to type. Yum. That said. Dinner was of a simple nature today after the nice soup kerfuffle. Yummy TJ's Chicken and some Lemon Pepper pasta with butter, boxed Au Gratin potatoes and my streak of creativity for the night: canned corn with sundried tomatoes. At least it tasted good and filled us up!
Besides the pretzels and honey mustard, I do have another newfound favorite snack: a block of soft havarti cheese and super crisp red grapes. You have to put the cheese in your mouth first, then the grape... So rich and delectable!

Went to the Reagan Library yesterday - it was a clear day with a beautiful view. Learned a lot that I never knew about Reagan. It's somewhere that my sister would've taken my nephew, nieces and I to many years ago...with us then dressing up in character and giving a report in the following days. Good times.

Another one of my cookbooks came in the mail today - haven't had a chance to look through it yet, but I'm excited to! Tomorrow should be a fun day - Headed to Mimi's in the morning, going to take along the little guy I nanny, then across the parking lot to another Farmer's Market that I didn't even realize existed. Should be fun...

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Where to start... How about the beginning of  yesterday, seems like a good place. Woke up to a sunny morning, encouraging me to head off to the Farmer's Market to get some butternut squash, more carrots and fennel. I went earlier this week to see if there was more selection since I had heard the farmers talking about running out of some things by 9am - let me put it this way, the produce I found this time was even more beautiful then last week!

Bringing it home the kitties, Liz (shown in this picture) & Daisy, showed great interest in what I bought - sniffing and playing with the leaves and, Liz especially, doing whatever she could to get to the produce - going as lar as to jump onto the counter to see though she knows full well that's not acceptable! Once I was home I began to plan the soup I wanted to create... Let me just say, some plans 'sound' sooooo much better then they taste...

But, before I get there I'll share some of the journey that made this realization realized. Around 2pm or so I started on the soup... I cut and roasted the butternut squash with a little butter - boy, that smelled wonderful! While that was roasting I chopped and prepped the other vegetables that I wanted to roast. My idea was puree all these veggies into a smooth and creamy soup... Well, about halfway through chopping them  I had a little light-bulb-moment and stopped and looked at my friend who was working on her computer at the breakfast bar - "We don't own a blender."  How could I forget we didn't have a blender!? After much laughter we decided to head to Target to find one after the vegetables where done cooking. We went to the mall and after checking several stores I decided on a food processor from Target which we then took home and I proceeded to blend all the veggies together.... And that's where the enjoyable experience ends and the disturbing concoction begins. Let's just say this, I tried to salvage the soup while heating it with butter and herbs and half 'n half... but even the sauteed pearl onions, cinnamon and parmesan cheese that we garnished it with didn't do much for what we dubbed "Gluten-Free Cream of Wheat Soup". Did you know that when you put enough different vegetables together they all basically cancel each other out and don't taste like anything in the end? They do. Also did you know that when the batch that has the cauliflower in it isn't pureed long enough it comes out the texture of a perfectly prepared bowl of Cream of Wheat cereal? It does. So yeah... I have put half of the "soup" in the fridge to see if I can do anything to salvage it. The other half, well, as it was so kindly put during dinner last night - has been disposed of the same way we do the kitty litter - tied up in a bag and thrown in the trash! After all, we didn't want to have to call the plumber! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cucumbers, Amazon & Rain...

The other day I went to Whole Foods for cucumbers and found pumpkin and sage ravioli... They were beautiful! The pasta was marbled with rich hues of yellow and red - all moist and plump, just calling to be sautéed with butter and fresh sage. So I did. Tonight for dinner. Only two perished in the process - but they've not done so in vain. The water they have flavored will go on to be soup tomorrow... 
Along with the ravioli I steamed some fresh carrots with some sautéed fennel then added butter and a tad of brown sugar just before they were done. Delicious, if I do say so myself. It was such fun to cook the meal! 

I love having new things to try! And, thus far, it's been as simple as my everyday ordinary meals I always made. (Though the fresh ravioli proved rather testy to separate from one another! You have any hints for future reference?)
For dessert I heated half 'n half with raw sugar and vanilla which I poured, warm, over fresh peaches... the peaches weren't the best, since it is February after all, but the cream made up for it...

I'm excited to go tomorrow to the farmer's market again - a bit earlier this week - to see what I can find... Hopefully they will be open in spite of the rain. I'd like to get some butternut and/or acorn squash and more carrots... who knows what else I'll find along the way!
Oh, I found the cookbooks on Amazon! All three for the price of one at the bookstore! I can't wait for them to show up... 
It's been a "Seattle-day" here today... it's wonderful! Gray. Cloudy. Misty. Rainy. My favorite. I'm excited to see what comes of the soup tomorrow. It's perfect timing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why 'gallimaufry'?

I began looking for a catchy title for my blog and came across this word and the definition just fit so perfectly to what I want to do here... "a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley". Then I looked at the origin... "a hash of various kinds of meats" - I'm sure I'll ramble on plenty about foods... "to rejoice, to make merry, to eat much, to open one's mouth wide." - I hope this will be a joyful and merry, confused medley of ramblings on food and life and adventures for you and for me. I'd love to hear from you. This is all new for me - a bit of an adventure on it's own! 

Today I went to Barnes & Noble to look at cookbooks... cookbooks with pictures... cookbooks that normally I would put back on the shelf and say 'I don't even know what those ingredients are!' and 'I'd never make that.' You know which ones I mean. This time I sought those out and sat at a table by the window and meandered my way through the recipes, being lured in by the unique tastes they boasted and the fancy plating used to show off the chef's skills. I founds three that I really want! But dutifully I came home without any to check and see if I can find them online cheaper. But before leaving empty-handed, I stopped and got myself a delicious decaf cinnamon dolce Frappachino for .65 cents (I love using up leftover giftcards!!), which I enjoyed all the way home - and even now!

You're probably wondering why I need these new enticing cookbooks... well, here's the thing: I'm tired of food. It's all been boring and the same old same old humdrum 'eat because I have to' meals. And I'm ready for a change! Thankfully my best friend & roommate is up for the adventure with me. So to start things off I went on Saturday to the local Farmer's Market and grabbed nearly everything that I've never had before: leeks, kale, rainbow swiss chard, shitake mushrooms, fennel, pink pomelo... along with a few 'normals': cauliflower, cabbage, carrots... and a favorite: asian pear.

So off we go... I look forward to having you along!