How Do You Find the Time?

"How do you find the time?"

I get asked that question a lot and I really don't know the answer. I know that I just do the thing that I get enjoyment from and the things that need to be done.

A single parent, a working professional, someone who loves to read, knit, craft and create, someone who is working really hard to create a good life for herself and her kids. I know I'm not the only one out there, and I enjoy reading the blogs of others, so I thought, "well, why not?" So here we go!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We were busy today!







I got up this morning to find out that school was cancelled today due to a hazardous material leak from a train about 5 miles from here. About 250 homes in our community were evacuated, but fortunately almost everyone is back home. We should have school tomorrow too. I was busy today though! I got some work things completed, which was really nice. I also cooked and crafted. My kids had some friends over too and I think everyone had a great time.

Here's what I cooked today:

Salmon Patties - lunch for all
A loaf of whole wheat bread
Turkey meatball soup
Chocolate chip cookies



Salmon Patties:

3 cups cooked brown rice
1 cooked fillet of salmon - ours was about 10 ounces
minced onion
minced bell pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 c lite mayonnaise
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 grated carrots

Flake the salmon and mix all ingredients together. Form into patties and cook in skillet on stove with a little bit of olive oil. I had to add the breadcrumbs to get it all to stick together. The teenagers in my house loved these! They were really yummy!


Turkey Meatball Soup

2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp Italian seasoning, divided
1 pound lean ground turkey
carrots, diced
onions, diced
celery - thinly sliced
garlic
Chicken Broth
1 cup pearl barley

mix the egg whites, bread crumbs, cheese, half the Italian seasoning and the turkey together. Form into meatballs and cook at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes or until no longer pink

Chop the veggies and put into sauce pan with a small amount of heated olive oil. Saute the veggies until they are fragrent, add garlic and cook until soft. Add chicken broth and seasonings to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Add pearl barley. Turn heat down and simmer for 30 0r so minutes.

I also added some sliced cabbage about 15 minutes before we ate and added the cooked meatballs at the same time. Yummy!

**I was out of eggs by this point so I used 4 Tbsp of ground flaxseed mixed with 1/4 cup water. This creates a thickener about the same consistency of eggs, plus it tastes good!



Whole Wheat Bread - from this website: http://wholewheatbreadrecipe.blogspot.com/

3 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 packet dry yeast

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of water ( at a temp. of 110 to 120 degrees F ) with the salt, the ho
ney, the yeast, the oil and the milk and stir until mix.

Step 2: Mix in the flour and stir until th
e dough starts pull away from the bowl.

Step 3: Place the dough on a lightly flour surface and knead the dough for 6 to 10 minutes or until the dough become sm
ooth.

Step 4: Place a small amount of oil in a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and flip the dough to cover the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise for approx. 1 hour , the dough should double in size. Note: This made take longer if the room is cold.

Step 5 : Take the dough out of th
e bowl and place on a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a 8 inches log and place into a lightly grease loaf pan.

Step 6 : Loosely cover the pan with lightly oil plastic wrap and let raise for 30 to 60 minutes until the dough raises approx.1 inch above the pan.

Step 7: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F place in center of oven and cook for about 40 minutes after 20 minutes loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil , test if the wheat bread is done by thumping the bottom of the bread it should sound hollow. Let brad cool on a rack then slice.


For this, I used my trusty Kitchenaid mixture. This was a really really easy bread recipe and it made a really nice loaf of bread. It will be great for lunch sandwiches.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is from the book, Cookies for Kids. I think that this is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever! Jacob helped me with these! (Actually he did most of the work)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6-oz package semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup chopped nuts

I also added about 1/4 cup of ground flax seeds (leftover from the meatballs)

Cream butter, shortening and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Bake in 375 oven for 8 - 10 minutes until golden.


Today I also took a great nap and started knitting a shawl with some homespun yarn. What a great day!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Two in One Day! Food this time

Wow, I just made a recipe from the most recent Cooking Light Magazine and it was yummy! Everyone enjoyed it and we will have this one again. Unfortunately, I did not take any photos, but it looked a lot like the photo on the Cooking Light Website. We had a spirited discussion as to whether I could use it and as long as I give credit to the website and photographer, I am going to use it. So, here it is:

Photo by: John Autry



Fingerling Potato-Leek Hash with Swiss Chard and Eggs

To trim Swiss chard, pull or cut the stems out of the leaves.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced leek (about 2 large)
  • 12 ounces fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise (about 4 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 cups thinly sliced trimmed Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Gruy√®re cheese

Preparation

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add leek; cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add potatoes and garlic; cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chard; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Using a spoon, push potato mixture aside to make 4 egg-size spaces. Crack 1 egg into each space; sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon paprika over eggs. Cover and cook 3 minutes; sprinkle cheese over potato mixture. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until egg yolks are lightly set.


Here's what I did differently - You know I can never follow a recipe *exactly*. I used russet potatoes, twice as much Swiss chard - be sure to wash this well, and used cheddar cheese instead of Gruyere because that's what I had, although I'll bet Gruyere would be yummy.

Maybe next time I'll remember to take a photo!

Planning Ahead

My parents were here this weekend. We had such a nice visit and enjoyed our time together. It was different in that this time both of the kids had things to do on Saturday, so I had time with just my mom and dad together. We had lunch at Hu Hot, which is a great Mongolian BBQ place in Colorado Springs. We did not need to cook dinner last night!

We also went to several antique malls, two of which I had not ever been to. At one of them, they were having a scavenger hunt. They had hidden a number of paper rabbits through the store and those that were lucky enough to find one got to pick something from their table. I found a bunny and selected this stool. Isn't it pretty?



So today I am getting ready for the week ahead at work. On Friday we have "Vocabulary Day." Students have been asked to come up with a vocabulary word that they want to share and design/decorate a shirt around that word. Adults in the building will also be participating. I looked for a word that collective refers to tools used for spinning and even asked on Ravelry, but did not get an answer, so I chose the word "Accoutrements" meaning "equipment with a purpose."

I used Wordle - www.wordle.com to help me design my shirt and this is the finished product. I am ready for Friday!






Front:


Back:

Monday, April 4, 2011

So what's for dinner?

Buffalo! Burgers, that is. My parents came through last week and my dad brought me a few packages of buffalo meat that a friend of his had given him. I've never had buffalo before but I have heard that it's a great meat, very lean and tasty! Yesterday, I took out a package of buffalo to thaw out. I knew that I wanted to find a recipe that would be very tasty and unique. After a bit of searching, this is what I came up with:

Buffalo Burger Recipe: from http://www.chow.com/recipes/18752-buffalo-burger

TIME/SERVINGS

Total: 30 minutes prep

Active: about 20-25 minutes cooking

Makes: 4 patties (about 1/3 lb. each)


INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs. of ground Buffalo
3 or 4 sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 med. onion, minced
2 Tbsp. of “Organic All Purpose” seasoning different herbs and spices in it.Or make up your
own blend.
Cheese-your choice of types and thicknesses
1/4 cup red wine
couple dashes of Lee & Perrins
1 lb. of 'shrooms, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Have a bowl big enough to hold the meat. Put the wine and Lee- & Perrins in the bowl.Chop the sun-dried tomatoes, and put that in with the liquid.

2. Put minced onions, half of the 'shrooms in hot oil, salt 'em a bit, and cook until until they
soften. When softened, put in garlic, seasonings and some fresh ground Black Pepper until
“aromatic”, about 15 seconds or so. Set them on paper towel to cool. When cooled (room temp or
so), put them in the liquid.

3. Put the Buffalo meat in the bowl and “massage” the liquids, sun-dried tomato, herbs and spices into it. When thoroughly integrated, make into patties. 1 1/2 lbs. will make 4 for me, but you might like yours bigger or smaller.

4. Pre-heat oven to 350. Have a middle rack.


Put patties on a hot, oiled skillet/griddle/grill and let them cook about 5 minutes and then flip
them (carefully of course). Make sure they are starting to brown (about 2 minutes) then put them in oven. With 4 burgers, it will take about 15 minutes (about 160 F). At 12-13 minutes, put the cheese on them, and back in the oven. Bring 'em out at 15 minutes or so, cover 'em and let 'em rest a couple of minutes while you get plates etc. ready.

1. Use remaining half-pound of 'shrooms for a gravy mix if you like, OR, put them under the cheese on top of the patties then back in the oven. Or, just use all of the 'shrooms for a gravy.

Here's what I did differently:
  • used soy sauce because I didn't have Lee and Perrins
  • Omitted the cheese
  • added additional sun-dried tomatoes
  • Made 8 patties with 24 oz of buffalo meat
I was really impressed with how lean this ground meat was. There was almost no visible fat in the meat and it did not put out a lot of grease when cooking.

I would not recommend cooking these on the grill unless you add some sort of binder to the meat mixture. It is very lean and while it held together in the saute pan and in the oven, I don't think it would over an open grill.

Yum! Photos below with and without a bun. The red is ketchup the Dan added to his plate. Topping the burger is a mix of mushrooms and onions sauteed together with a bit of red wine. I also sliced some potatoes on the mandoline and seasoned them with a little bit of olive oil, seasoning salt, fresh rosemary and sliced onions. I love my mandoline! Slicing the potatoes very thin allows them to cook quickly, a plus when you are in a hurry. I had some fruit for dessert. This is a keeper recipe! I'm glad I have a few more packages of buffalo!

Here's a mandoline. Mine has an insert to julienne vegetables if you wanted.