Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Chicken Fried Steak and Weird Diets

When I was eighteen my best friend and I moved out together.
We got a cheap apartment in a sketchy area of a sketchy little sleepy town ten minutes north of our hometown.

We were the first of our friends to move out and have adult responsibilities, though with the perspective of age I look back at those years and shake my head at the idea that I was anything close to an actual adult at that point in my life.

That period of the post-high school version of playing house left me with some amazing memories, not the least of which involved our friends surfing our inflatable couch down the apartment stairs.
Our poor neighbors!

Anyway, one thing that our apartment was never, ever without was a package of chicken fried steak in the freezer.
No, not for me.  I can appreciate the flavor but I'm not really a meat-and-potatoes type.

But my best friend was.
Oh my gosh was she.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tropical Mango Salsa Scallops and a Terrible Picture

I'm just going to lead with the fact that this is one ugly picture.
I went back and forth and back and forth trying to decide whether I should post it, but in the end the fact that this is one *incredible* recipe won out and I decided to share it with you and trust that sometimes when there are amazing scallops to be eaten a girl just doesn't want to take the time to deal with lighting and such at the end of the day.

Priorities,  you know?

I love scallops SO much.  Sea scallops, specifically.
They're one of my favorite foods in the entire world and if they weren't prohibitively expensive to eat regularly I'd eat them pretty much all the time.

The other day I needed a scallop fix and I decided to go with something fruity.
I LOVE fruity salsas (remember that Pineapple Salsa I made over the summer?) and these Mango Salsa Scallops sounded right up my culinary alley.  I was definitely right.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs and Unhealthy Obsessions

I've mentioned before that I have a certain penchant for the less-than-gourmet inventory of a Chinese buffet.  I can't help it- load me up with a variety of dishes coated with several different thick, sweet, and savory sauces and I'm a happy girl.

I can't be trusted in the face of sesame chicken, orange chicken, General Tso's chicken, whatever chicken, or any of those fried tasty bites (I'm looking at you Crab Rangoon...)  with an *ahem* generous serving of sweet-and-sour sauce.
Seriously.  I have problems and I know it.  :-)

The other day I was craving something in that vein when I came across this recipe for Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs.  I already had all of the ingredients on hand (always a plus) and they seemed like the perfect topping for the fairly ridiculous amount of basmati rice I'd made the night before.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lemon Bars and Fellowship Halls

Do you know what I miss about the churches in which I grew up?
The fellowship hall after our service.

I grew up in two churches- first Methodist, then Baptist, then back to Methodist.
Both churches were super down with cookies and coffee after service and fairly regular post-church Sunday potlucks.
I really, really miss that.

It's something I struggle with as an introvert who constantly forces herself to fight against social anxieties.
Having a close-knit church family was something I took for granted.  I was surrounded by the most wonderful group of people, a surrogate family who loved me and stood beside me as I grew up.

An earthquake deemed it unusable in 2003.  It was torn down, the property sold- all of that history replaced by new development.
But the people?
My church family?
When I got divorced they emailed me.
When I was a single parent struggling I was supported.
I still get birthday and Christmas cards after all of these years away- and so do my children, despite never have even lived near those wonderful people.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Corn Chowder and Shocking Discoveries

My husband dropped a bombshell on me a few days ago- a big one.
Something truly shocking.

After over nine years together he decided to tell me something major he'd never shared before...
corn chowder is one of his favorite things in the world.

Can you believe it?
Nine years!  It's like I don't even know the man.

Seriously though, I have cooked more meals than I can possibly begin to tally over that time and not once has he thought to tell me how much he'd enjoy it if I'd just make some simple corn chowder.

You know I had to right that wrong immediately.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Quick Breads and Easy Gifts

I've baked a lot of bread in my life.
Loads of it.

It started in middle school and the trend has continued well into adulthood.
While I have made many types of bread over the years, I honestly don't make many quick breads.
The entire concept of working with yeast- that living, consuming, gas-producing, stuff- is just fun for me.

The one time of year I tend to get really into quick breads is over the holiday season.
Quick breads differ from yeast breads in that they typically use baking soda or baking powder as a leavening agent (the ingredient that causes them to rise) rather than yeast.  They can be sweet or savory (think cornbread or biscuits) but over the holidays I like to go a little nuts with the sweet varieties.  Not only are they delicious, but they're kind of perfect for giving as gifts.  Last year I found a great deal on a set of 50 mini loaf pans and baked mini loaves of that amazing, moist Eggnog Quick Bread I wrote about a few years ago.

It's seriously delicious, you should definitely try it.  Trust me.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year and Trying New Things

Happy New Year!

We had our fun early last night with rounds of Beanboozled and lots of laughter on a chilly evening.  My daughter's friend spent the night, and in true pre-teen fashion they huddled away together upstairs, laughter spilling from her room for hours.  My younger one stayed downstairs with us, an uncontainable ball of energy zooming around the house as he anticipated the coming of the new year.  Though I'd already made an early dinner, as the night wore on I decided to order a pizza for the kids and as it arrived we'd just bundled up and headed outside so they could (briefly) frolic in a short-lived flurry of snow.
The young pizza guy took in the joyful, frenetic scene and just laughed as I met him at his car.

It's about the little moments, though, right?