Monday, June 28, 2010

Making Do.

Sometimes the tastiest dinners are the result of desperation & creativity. I made the mistake of heading to Westbrook without a list today. We bought a hodegpodge of: 3 kinds of berries for snacking, a red pepper, a pound of mushrooms, lemon yogurt and very lean ground sirloin. My original menu plan was to make a whole wheat crust pizza with roasted chicken , peppers, onions, BBQ sauce and a little colby jack.
But mushrooms always remind me how much my family enjoys stroganoff, so stroganoff it was. Unfortunately, I was out of key ingredients (namely lean stew meat, egg noodles & sour cream!!) so we "improvised". The results were wonderful and C & E each had two servings.
Desperation Stroganoff
1 1/2 pounds lean ground sirloin
1 pound mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
2 large shallots, minced
2 cups beef broth/stock
2 Tbs. Worcestershire
1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry
2 oz. lowfat cream cheese (quarter of a brick)
1 stale baguette

Brown meat in large, heavy skillet. Remove from skillet and drain off excess grease. Add shallots to meat dripping and saute until soft; add mushrooms. Pour over wine, broth & Worcestershire. Let mushrooms cook down until liquid is reduced by about half. Remove a bit of liquid & add flour to make a loose slurry. Whisk into hot pan and cook sauce until thick. Add cream cheese and turn heat down or off. Stir until melted. Add beef back to pan. I sliced the baguette into VERY thin slices, placed in bottom of each serving bowl and pored sauce over to soften bread. Yum.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Couscous is often requested chez nous

Both the boys love a couscous recipe that I adapted. It is fairly simple with just a few ingredients. I buy French couscous in bulk and it is much less expensive and always fresh. We have been eating this often since our cilantro has been growing in one of the herb planters. It's wonderful to step onto the porch and pick a fresh bunch; makes your hands smell good, too.

Couscous with Carrot & Cilantro
3 cups water
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 medium carrots, chopped fine
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups couscous
salt & pepper
1.Boil water in large pot with carrots and 1 Tbs. oil. Remove from heat and stir in couscous. Let stand 5 minutes. Add cilantro, oil and fluff with fork. Season with sea salt. *You may use chicken stock and/or add a splash of white wine to water.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Making Jam

Our house smells wonderful albeit very fruity. T helped me make 4 different kinds of jam tonight: blueberry, strawberry, strawblueberry (??) and apricot (my favorite). The apricot is still cooking away but the rest of the jams are stacked in jars on the table.

There were some great sales on fruit today and we took advantage of 99 cent blueberries & strawberries. Will be buying more tomorrow for snacking.

We are so excited that Lisa and the boys will be arriving on Tuesday. It seems like their arrival always rings in the best part of our summer. T is especially looking forward to some sleepovers with James & Ben. Praying that they will have smooth travels and little jet lag.

E & T are dozing on the couches, in a coma from their nighttime snack. I poured warm strawblueberry jam over strawberry ice cream and placed a pile of chopped berries on top. As usual, C was clamoring on E's lap for a bite.

I will be staying home during Sunday school with C until E comes home to take the "2nd shift". We are praying the pneumonia goes away quickly; he detests the nebulizer treatments.

Off to check the jam, floss & moisturize.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Whatever is...

whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-
think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8)

I was listening to Fernando Ortega sing this verse as I wiped down the kitchen island. The day has flown by and I will admit that my thoughts haven't always been dwelling on the excellent or praiseworthy. Pride, impatience and laziness have crept in at times. So grateful for the many women in my life who are examples of the beauty that radiates when we are intentional about dwelling on the lovely things in this fading world.

Looking on etsy for a cute, sassy apron for Katie G's shower. Something I can have Mrs. W____ embroidered on the front.

Off to brew some iced tea for dinner tomorrow. E is an iced tea fanatic!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rainy Summer Days

We had yet another day of rain and clouds today. After a morning of cleaning & grocery shopping, it felt wonderful to take a nap with C. There's nothing quite like a solid nap while listening to the rain. T & C have a favorite book, My Very First Mother Goose with illustrations by Rosemary Wells. One of my favorite selections is:
Rain on the green grass,
And rain on the tree;
Rain on the roof tops,
But not on me.
There is a drawing of a little bunny tucked in his bed with the rain pouring outside his window.

Abuelita & Marissa came for dinner tonight. I had planned on making Enrique's favorite ribs recipe, but the unpredictable rain meant a new menu. Just made a fresh green salad with Romaine, tomatoes, avocados & Persian cucumbers. We ordered Dan's bbq double-decker pizza (our latest favorite-love Chicago pizza!). I made some mango iced tea and a summer pie. Simple vanilla cream cheese filling in a graham crust. I tossed some fresh peaches, cherries & blueberries in homemade strawberry jam and voila-quick, easy pie, no oven required.

C is fast asleep & T is getting his pajamas on so that we can read a story before bedtime.