Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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It’s a New Recipe And…..

Urgh. Well, I guess we can’t win them all. I get lots of emails w/recipes, tips and ideas for entertaining and fun stuff. I bet you do too. Do you ever try any of the recipes in those emails or magazines? I still actually get real, live magazines in the mail! Yes, I know, so 1999 of me. Oh well, I like to see the pictures and fold down the corners. Yes, I use my laptop in the kitchen too, but I get much less upset over spilled broth on a magazine than my computer, I’m sure you can imagine.

Anywhoo, I got a new mag last week and in thumbing through, found several interesting ones that I wanted to torture my kids with try. One in particular sounded fabulous, Slow Cooker Meatball Stew. Hmmm, it’s cold out and my slow cooker is my bff, so, why not? My kids are always asking me why I don’t do spaghetti and meatballs. Well, because I don’t make meatballs, or buy them, that’s pretty much why. I’m not Italian (sigh) and I don’t know how, although I have tried and failed miserably, to make meatballs. Off the rails, anyway, this stew sounded great. I bought the ingredients and put it all together and let it go while I was working.

There’s just nothing like walking in the door after a long day working and getting a whiff of dinner, that will require not much more attention before putting it on the table. Yeah, that’s pretty much where it ended. The result was not quite as spectacular as it looked in print. So not what I was hoping for. The meatballs were nasty & mushy, and the sauce tasted like it came from a can of Chef Boyardee’s reject little brother. Underwhelming to say the least. And guess who let me hear all about it. Yep, the short ones.

Which leads me to the title of this post. I have a standard disclaimer that you may not have heard. Please feel free to use it when necessary.
Ready? Here goes:
“It’s a new recipe, if it sucks, it’s not my fault.”
There you go. I use it often, as I’m prone to trying out new stuff fairly frequently. Good luck! Have a great week! Now, to find the next great recipe. I’ll keep you posted!

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Penne Beef Florentine

I love this dish! My children even love it, which makes me like it that much more! And once again, it’s a meal in a pan, but hey, who can complain about that? Less dishes to clean, right?  I must apologize, I didn’t get any pics, we were starving and ate it  before I could get my camera out!

Penne Beef Florentine

1lb ground beef

1 pkg whole wheat penne (12oz)

3 cloves garlic pressed

1 pkg fresh spinach (2oz) chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cans tomato sauce (8oz)

1 can beef broth

1-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 C shredded mozzarella

What to do:

1. brown ground beef with garlic. drain.

2.cook pasta according to pkg directions in salted water. drain.

3. put tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, Worcestershire in with beef.

4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until sauce begins to thicken.

5. Add spinach and stir until spinach is wilted.

6. Toss beef/tomato mixture with pasta. Sprinkle cheese on top and cover until cheese is melted.

There you go, can’t get much easier than that! If you like your spinach pieces larger, you can just do a coarse chop, or even leave the pieces whole. We discovered last time that my son likes the spinach to be in tiny pieces. Ok with me! If that will help him eat it better, I’m all for it! Let me know what you think, it’s Italian-esque, without being typical Italian.

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I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…..

Well my friends, it’s happened. After two weeks of  cabin fever, I have come to the conclusion that eating things like chicken and dumplings, beef stew, pizza, and upside down German chocolate cake really aren’t the best way to continue fitting into my favorite jeans. Nope, it’s really not. it’s a great way to work up a shopping trip. But I don’t know a single person who wants to go shopping for that reason, including me! I used to be able to eat pretty much what I wanted, in moderation, and have no problems. I was at a stable weight for a long time. I’m not skinny, but I felt good about myself, and how I looked. Then it happened: I turned 40 and everything slowed down and started catching up with me. Boo.

Do you know how easy it is to grab a handful of pretzels and dunk them in the tub of frosting? Well, it’s apparently way too easy. So, once again, here I am. On a mission to shed my extra winter insulation before I am expected to put on shorts or *GASP* a swimsuit. Here’s what I”m doing, and I hope by putting this out there to my friends, it will help keep me accountable: I am keeping a log of everything I eat. I think if I’m actually keeping track it will be easier for me to feel bad about those pretzels with frosting! I am increasing my exercise, it’s much easier to go for a walk when the sidewalks are not covered in a sheet of ice or buried under 2 ft of snow, and the temperatures are warmer. Today was 71! I’ll take that every day of the year!  I am trying to be more conscious of what’s going in, how much is going in, and what I”m doing to need the calories.

Oh, and I”m cutting out my daily glass of vino. I know it’s not a ton of calories, but it affects the way your body burns calories or stores them. Your body cannot store the calories from alcohol (don’t ask me why, I can’t remember), but what happens is your body burns the calories from the alcohol first, and then stores whatever comes later that is not needed. And that is your physio lesson for the day. I hope you remember what we discussed, there will be a test at the end of this segment.

I will buy a new cookbook I saw that breaks down the calorie content of each recipe and that helps make keeping track easier.

Ok gang. Here we go. Wish me luck, you know it’s not easy and dammit, it was so much more fun putting that extra padding on my butt than it will be getting rid of it! I’ve got one day of about 1500 calories under my belt, but tomorrow will be a challenge, it will involve cooking dinner for the whole fam, not just my kiddos. I will think positively and visualize myself in my jeans.

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Ta DAAAAAAA……..

So tell me, what does your dream kitchen look like? I bet it has nothing to do with peeling/chipping paint, boring colors or outdated and ugly hardware, does it? Guess what! My dream kitchen didn’t include any of those either, but that was what I had.  And after much hinting, whining, and overall complaining about the state of  my kitchen, hubby finally caved!

It started at a home show….

Notice the worn paint and ugly hardware?

We found a company that refinishes cabinets for much less than it would cost to do what I wanted to do.  To be honest, I wanted to rip out the cabinets and start all over, but, well, since we are not movie star rich, we had them refinished and repaired. Then installed new hardware, whaddaya think?

Looks brand new!

 

Now the really BIG part. The countertops were a really boring, cream colored laminate. Everything in the kitchen sort of just blended together and was, yawn, dull.

My lovely, long counter. We have fantastic parties here!

And the drumroll please………

TOTALLY different!

It looks like a completely different place now! And that lonely door I showed you before, w/the peeling paint and bad hardware….

IDK if it comes thru but the colors of the backsplash and hardware are in the granite.

So….that was my Christmas present! Lucky I love cooking! I am a happy girl to spend my whole day in there cooking away! And now since it’s crazy cold and snowing outside, I suppose it’s time to get busy!

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I’m (no longer) dreaming, of a new kitchen…..

Wish I could do music notes on here and I would’ve put them in the title! I am so excited! My kitchen is finally done and when I get it cleaned up tonight, I’ll take some pics and share them with you. Right now it’s quite a mess, I’m expressing my inner Betty Crocker today and baking some pumpkin bread and then my husband’s requested cookies, and then, well, it’ll be dinner time.  Have I told you my thinking when it comes to baking? Just in case you missed it, or I forgot to tell, if you haven’t made a mess of the kitchen, you’re not doing it right! Needless to say, I would much rather share photos of my Christmas gift when it’s all clean and shiny!  So check back later tonight or tomorrow and you’ll see what it was and what it is now! Yay!

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Happy eat-til-you-can’t-see-day!

Hello my friends! I just wanted to post a note and tell you all to have a happy Thanksgiving. Even if you’re one of my UK/European friends, I hope you have a fabulous day. I am thankful for all of you who keep me going. You make me think about things that I hadn’t thought of for a while, give me a laugh, or a helpful tip and I thank you for it. 

I hope your day is blessed with good health, friends, family, and no accidents in the kitchen! Oh, ok, since I said that, I guess I”ll just have to share a story of a Thanksgiving we had about 13 years ago.

We were living in Dallas at the time and I was in college. I had classmates from all over the country and you know poor college students don’t have the funds to fly home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so they normally save their cash for the big one.

Two of my best friends were from New York and going home was out of the question. My husband is a retail manager, so going back home to Oklahoma for me was out of the question as well, that whole black Friday thing and all. So we decided we would have our own little Thanksgiving celebration, just the four of us. Great!

So, I got a ham and our friend Joey, was going to smoke a turkey. MMMM! Joey set up the smoker at the foot of the stairs to our apartment, got it all ready and was going to let it smoke over night. Joey, and his girlfriend Charlanne (one of my BFF’s) stayed in our guest room so Joey could tend the turkey early in the morning, and they wouldn’t have to worry about transporting it an hour away.

It was a great idea. The problem: at some time during the night, the sprinklers came on and put out the coals in the smoker, so when we woke up all excited about this delicious bird that was waiting for us, well, it was only cooked about halfway through. Blech, can you say food poisoning? My husband and Joey tasted some of the meat on the outside and said they thought it was fine, but me? Well, I said thanks but no thanks, I prefer to keep my insides right where they are and don’t care to spend the rest of the weekend praying to that porcelain god for forgiveness for being so daft as to think I could eat something like that!

The bird went straight to the dumpster outside, it was too big for my garbage can.

Guess what! It doesn’t end there. Nope, not quite. So Joey, oh I love Joey, he was just the greatest guy, insisted that we have sweet potatoes. I never liked them, the taste, texture, smell, everything about them repulsed me, but they are tradition for many people and who am I to buck a tradition like that  for such a good friend? Joey bought I think 4 of the biggest sweet potatoes he could find and prepared them in a foil loaf pan. Have you ever seen big sweet potatoes live and in person? those suckers can be heavy, a pound each at least! Joey made his gooey sweet potato creation with maple syrup and marshmallows on top and put it in the oven to bake. When the timer went off, I opened the oven and attempted to remove it from the oven. Did you notice I said attempted? Those foil loaf pans are not designed to accommodate that much weight and as I was taking it out of the oven, the sides buckled and created a spout for this hot, sticky, nasty mess to spill all over my legs (thank God I was wearing jeans) and the floor! Amazingly, I managed to get the pan to the counter before I spilled the whole damn thing and made a mad dash for the shower and jumped in clothes and all! All I could think of was burns from that sticky stuff! When i returned, in clean clothes, I found everyone standing there looking at the mess wide-eyed and in complete disbelief at what had happened. I’m sure I was quite a sight running from the kitchen to the bathroom as if I had something up my, well, you know what I mean. We cleaned up the mess and had a lovely dinner. But I must say, if I never liked sweet potatoes before, I absolutely detested them after!

We moved out of the apartment about a year later and I was still finding sticky spots on the under sides of drawers and cabinet doors! Sheesh, what a mess! I can honestly say, I have not had any other Thanksgiving fiascos quite like that since. Unless you count the time that my grandmother and great aunt were going to come to our house for the very first time and I turned up with strep two days before. But that wasn’t my fault, and they just went to my brother’s house.

Anyway, all that to say, I hope you don’t wear hot, sticky sweet potatoes, or have your bird only half done and get food poisoning!

I am thankful for all the blessings of my life, even the ones I don’t necessarily want!

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Fire extinguisher, anyone?

Whew! That is, me, I’ll be needing the fire extinguisher now! Sorry I’ve been MIA, once again. Life has been crazy busy. I’ve done two big volunteering projects at my children’s school.  And between soccer, being ill for a couple of weeks, and the every approaching holidays, I feel like I’m that proverbial duck. You know what I mean. You see it sitting calmly on the water, just gliding about, not getting anywhere very quickly. While under the water, those little feet are paddling like mad! that has been me. The house went straight to weed and it’s difficult to catch up. But I am nearly there! Thankfully, since next week is Thanksgiving, and we’re having it here! No worries though. It’s all family and they know I’m not the world’s best housekeeper!

I will say that I’ve got several recipes lined up in the queue to get posted. No time now, today is parents/grandparents day at school and I”m having lunch with my most precious son.

Oh, one more bit of exciting news. We are getting our kitchen done by the end of the month and I can’t wait! I wanted it finished before thanksgiving, but it didn’t work out. That’s fine, I’ll have it all finished by Christmas! And new windows, but that’s not nearly as glamorous as a kitchen reno. It will just keep us warmer, since the ones we have now are extremely drafty. BRRR

I promise I’ll get the recipes up this weekend! And most of them have pictures!

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On your marks, get set, COOK!

I know I’ve been kind of absent for a few weeks. Life has been wild and crazy, but this weekend I will have some time and I have about half a dozen recipes to post, and pictures of most!  So get your pots and pans ready because I’m going to have some really delicious and easy recipes coming your way in the next few days!

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Home Improvement, Part 1 (continued)

So we had the guys here ALL day yesterday, they spent most of the day cleaning the 11 years worth of grease and dirt off the cabinets, blech, and voila! they were actually white! They did some of the painting, but didn’t have time to paint everything, so lucky me, I have another day of being tied to the house to look forward to. Oh joy. But if it means I get something really amazing done in my kitchen, I’ll deal.

I will say, though, that I”m not totally there yet. I kept asking questions and the answer was ‘whatever we don’t do today, we’ll do Monday.’ Ok, well then, they’d better be ready on Monday, because I’m not paying for anything til I’m totally happy!

I did take before pictures and when it’s all done, I’ll share the results, and I really hope it looks wonderful!

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Garlic overload chicken

If you’ve been along for my ride into domestic goddessness, you’re familiar with my love of garlic. If you’re new to my world, garlic is a food group in my house!. This recipe totally takes into an all new direction! Basically, it is a chicken version of my thought ‘too much garlic is just right’! If you love roasted garlic and an easy recipe, this one is definitely for you! Just be sure you’re not eating it alone b/c you won’t be getting any lip action if  the only one indulging is you!

I just  thought of something, if you’re like my sister-in-law, who doesn’t like really powerful garlic flavor, but you do like the roasted garlic, this is a good recipe. Cooking the chicken in the same pan as the garlic, you get a bit of the garlic flavor, but it’s not like you’re eating raw garlic. The chicken is very juicy and flavorful.

Garlic Overload Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts flattened to 1/4″ to 1/2″ thickness and cut in half

1tbsp Italian seasoning

2tsp rosemary

1tsp salt

fresh ground black pepper

2 heads of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled

2tbsp olive oil

1 pkg chicken flavor Rice-a-Roni

In a large skillet heat the oil on medium  and add the whole garlic cloves, still in their paper shells. Cook over med heat for 5 to 8 minutes until the cloves are soft. (they may brown a bit, but don’t let them scorch.)

mix the seasonings, salt and pepper and sprinkle on top of the chicken, and don’t be shy with it!

Push the garlic to the sides of the skillet and put in  the chicken seasoned side up.

As chicken is cooking, prepare the rice according to package instructions.

Carefully turn the chicken after about 5 to 6 minutes and continue cooking on the other side on med/low heat, until chicken is done and juices are clear.

If the garlic looks like it’s getting overdone, take it out and put it in a bowl for later.

Serve the chicken over the rice and you can either squeeze the garlic over the chicken, or just put the cloves in a bowl (like we do) and eat it with the chicken. The garlic comes right out of the shell, it’s soft and nutty like roasted garlic. My 7 yo daughter can’t get enough of the garlic!

I have also served this with Rachael Ray’s  Garlic and Parmesan Orzo for a super duper dose of garlic! when I did, my friends down the street could smell it! You can’t get much easier than that! Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

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