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can’t get enough Matzo Brei

March 22nd, 2012

wet and heavy

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Went for a walk this morning — still some snow on the ground. Crazy for this time of year. Saw two gorgeous deer up the street, hiding in the forest. #iloveoregon.

This has been our favorite cold weather dish lately. So good, especially when we’re in a hurry for dinner, which is basically every night. This recipe calls for an insane amount of butter — we try to use half that much. try being the operative word.

“pre-” (“there is no such thing as pre-!!!”) diabetes and me and Paula Deen

January 23rd, 2012

Oh, Paula Deen, Paula Deen. Jamie and Bobbie… You get over here, too, please, so we can have a little chat.

The Op-Ed pieces are arriving, so here’s mine along with the rest of the flood. She has known for three years she has Type 2 diabetes, and the woman who shares her life, “Y’all, I have to tell ya…” didn’t tell us.

Then she makes a deal with a pharmaceutical company to rep for them, and her son gets his “low-cal” cooking show going and… there ya have it, y’all. Step right up and have a fried treat. Only in moderation. (cough, choke.) Here, try this:

Compose yourself
(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Fried Twinkies are just never a good idea. Not even on a dare. “Once you’ve had one, you’ll never go back.” For that matter, donuts instead of buns on a cheeseburger? Equally lousy idea. Cheeseburgers, just your standard cheeseburgers, are a lousy idea all by their lone. Having one once in awhile is OK. If by “once in awhile” you mean “maybe twice a year.” I still prefer mine the way I did when I was a kid — no cheese, no bacon, light on the condiments and lots of pickles, lettuce and tomatoes. Then I would eat about half the burger (one patty, not two or three or four) and feed the rest to the dog.

After we lost Good Dog Gus, the first time we went out for a burger I started to set mine aside for him like always. Steve asked, Who u gonna feed your burger to now? (He eats veggie burgers, as do the kids.) (OK, make that veggie nuggets for them, or just french fries and ketchup.)

I like her shows and her family’s cookbooks, but damn. I like them in a i am hypnotized by you gah, gah, gah way.

* It is possible to make greens without ham and bacon grease.
* Just eat a damn Twinkie if you want one — don’t fry it up.
* Ribs? Once a year, if that, gaaahhhhhh…

Anthony Bourdain called her “the worst, most dangerous person” in America. Yeah, obesity and diabetes and just generally livin’ large and congratulating ourselves for it truly are the worst problems in America, in my opinion. That kind of thinking leads you to health problems, a huge deficit and war. Deen retaliates by saying, “…not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills.”

You’re worried about the grocery bill? Stop eating meat and substitute beans and rice. Anytime I buy meat, fish or chicken at the store, I go into sticker shock and swear I’m never buying it again. Yesterday, for instance, I was craving salmon cakes. Ten dollars for two of them. And salmon grows here. It isn’t like I’m having it shipped in from Europe.

Why not have some beets, instead? They’re cheaper… and really pretty.

Beets me!
(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Costs? Budget? Don’t forget to budget in the health costs of cigarettes, sodapop, junk food and Pixie Sticks. Who can afford $500 a month for diabetes medicine? Get some exercise, eat right and try to rein that diabetes in if you can. It’s treatable, so much of the time. (No, I am not a medical professional, that’s my disclaimer, what do I know? But that’s what I’ve heard. The docs say that losing even 5 percent of your body weight can get your blood sugars under control. Also, people who are cutting back on or cutting out meat/dairy/eggs seem to be having luck combating diabetes.)

For those of you concerned about my innocent, growing children, “You must feed them meat!” Yeah… that. I would, you know. If they’d eat it. If they weren’t vegetarians. We do multi-vits and cook using cast-iron. Their calcium, protein, B12 and iron levels are just fine. We try to eat right and mostly do OK with it. We could do better.

I do feel a little defensive sometimes, when I hear the voices of critics, or my Dear Late Granny in my head. (I finally finished the recipes and story for her cookbook/memoir, by the way. Go me. It only took me… uh… six years? Lots of bacon, fear not. Feel free to omit it. Also lots of veggie recipes from Steve, me and our family and friends. And 100 dessert recipes. Gawd. I’ll post the link when we’re done editing and get it bound — probably a month or two down the road? #famouslastwords…)

Back to Bourdain… he seems to prefer street food in Vietnam to $650 bottles of wine. When he’s asked, Aren’t you worried about getting sick? He says, You’re more likely to get food poisoning from a buffet in America. True that.

You know what makes you sick? Eating a whole ton of greasy, fried everything. It makes your tummy sick, your skin sick, and it can make you bloated, fat and miserable. I can speak freely now cuz God love her, she’s gone, but I used to be one unhappy chick after I ate a big Sunday meal at Granny’s. Someone would scoop out three-fourths of the bacon grease from a pot of beans, and she would add in another two cups the next time she walked by.

My mom and dad cooked everything simply, without a lot of salt and hardly any grease. We joke that we’d have two or three baked pork chops on a plate, pass them around and around, and there would still be two left over. We didn’t have a lot of money and ate out only occasionally. My friends were all fast food and candy junkies. Doritos, frozen pizza, sodapop and deep-fried burritos left me grimacing. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, though, and liked to bake.

This, by the way, is not moderation:

cake pops

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

I have had a thyroid condition since I was 12 or 13. It alternates between hypo- and hyper- (cold/hot, down/up, sluggish/restless) so I never had to worry about my weight much until I hit my thirties. Even though I only gained 25 pounds with my first kid, I lost 50 after. Doesn’t that sound great? Nope. God, I was sick. The doctor had my thyroid dose racheted way too high, and between that and nursing my baby, I was dropping a pound a day. I used to joke, Want to lose a pound a day? Ask me how.

I almost bled to death and was exhausted. With our second baby, I gained 33 pounds, and took better care of myself, after. (Both kids were 10-pounders, but I didn’t get gestational diabetes. We grow ‘em big in our families.)

The sugar blues hit during the first pregnancy, once the morning sickness lifted (I was actually sick for most of both pregnancies, except for the first and ninth months). Mad, mad cravings like I’ve never had before. Pepsi, Orange Crush, ice cream, cookies, cake. Dreaming about sugar, baking more than I’ve ever baked in my life. Then we shifted into “kid diet”: mac and cheese, goldfish crackers, apple and grape juice, birthday cakes, Easter candy, Halloween candy… Next thing you know, I’m swooping down into sugar crashes, not eating enough vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and I’m comforting myself with white wine or vodka. (We bloggers have not done anyone any favors with our “Mama deserves a drinkie” mentality. We’re the new version of the drunk ’50s housewife, partying with her friends and waiting for the men to come home.)

I’ve put on too many pounds.

So I quit drinking last April — it was becoming a crutch, I was worried about diabetes, I didn’t want to set a bad example for my kids. Thyroid/diabetes issues seem to go hand-in-hand, all that hormonal/endocrine stuff ties together. I finally had the surgery I’d been putting off. Two years later, I work out almost every day (half hour yoga, plus an hour on the treadmill, water aerobics — when I make it there– and walks around our hilly neighborhood). I have loads of energy and don’t end up in the ER anymore for health complications (knock wood twice, good Lord).

Every time I have had my blood sugar levels measured, even when I’m feeling my crummiest, “oh you’re fine! and besides, there is no thing as being pre-diabetic… you’re either diabetic or not! and you’re not!” Afterwards, I used to celebrate by stopping by *$$$ for a 500-calorie fancy drink and a 500-calorie slice of poundcake (or gingerbread, scone or cooky). Then one day I read the calorie card they keep behind the counter and now I only go there once in awhile instead of constantly.

Smoking? I quit 26 years ago this coming June. I had smoked for 10 years. I’ll be 50 in two years. You do all that math.

We eat better now, we don’t eat out that often, and I’m trying (trying) to reach for a piece of fruit instead of a cooky.

Finally ripening
(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Oh yeah, and I’m hooked on those “House Hunters” shows now more than the food shows.

I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, and would be happy to ditch 5, 10, or 15 more. Grateful that it’s not a bigger number than that, but if it was? I’d deal with it. Look, I’m not telling you all this personal information to be all nyah-nyah — I’ve worked hard, and I’ve faced some pretty tough challenges with all of this health crap. You know when I reach for more snacks? At night, when I’m watching TV and mmmmm big steak mmmmmmm onion rings mmmmmmm ice cream sundaes.

As a society, we’re bombarded with this. I want to feel good, not crummy. That’s what motivates me. I want the same for Steve and the kids.

So Deens… I don’t think you’ve ever set a good example, foodwise, and I don’t think you’re helping much, now. Give some credit to those of us who are trying. C’mon… step right up.

Suzanne’s Candy Cane Cookies

December 22nd, 2011

Penguinos

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

another re-run… this one from Dec. 15, 2008.

happy winter, y’all.

wm

We had a snow day today — I got some Christmas cards made out, and went through some of the files, aka The Large Stacks of Paperwork Piled on the Dining Room Table. Yikes.

We made the Rainbow Walnut Cookies last night, without the candied ginger, fruit or nuts. They turned out great. “These are the best cookies you’ve ever made,” I was told by all three members of my family. High praise. Steve did homemade Phad Thai for us for dinner; for lunch we had a white bean and corn soup, with sliced jalapenos, onions, garlic and vegetable broth. So good and easy, too. The kids? Still in love with TV dinner ravioli and mac and cheese out of a box. Ah, what’s a mom to do? If they get sick of peanut butter sandwiches and pizza we’re really going to be in trouble.

No word yet on snow day for tomorrow — the weather seems to be calming somewhat, with more storms expected Wednesday and this weekend. As long as I’m in bed with the flannel sheets and enough movies to watch, I’m fine.

And now, from my girl Suzanne at Dear Reader

“It’s a lot of fun to make, the cookies look so impressive and they taste great. I love them!

If you mix up a batch, remember they “grow” in the oven, so don’t start with too big of a candy cane twist. Have fun and let me know if you try them–dunk one for me!”

Candy Cane Cookies

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten with 2 teaspoons vanilla

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the dry ingredients, blending well after each addition.

Put 1/2 of the dough in another bowl. Add red food coloring to one part of the dough to make the desired candy cane shade. Leave the other dough plain. Flatten each ball of dough, wrap snugly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until slightly firm. Don’t over chill!

Dust your hands and working surface with flour. Roll a one-inch ball of dough into a rope about 6 inches long. Take one red colored rope of dough, along with a plain piece of dough and cross over, to make a candy cane. (The first time you make these experiment with a couple before you bake them all. They can turn out too big if you use too much dough.)

Bake in a 350 degree oven on greased cookie sheets for 12-14 minutes. The cookie dough may be a little soft when it comes out of the oven. Let cool completely before you handle the cookies.

Tuesday round-up and Recipe Club

December 13th, 2011

Deer angel

(Photo by Steve Rawley.) (Everyone in our neighborhood went crazy with the big ornaments on their outdoor trees and shrubbery this year. Also those oversized, fake wrapped “presents.” Whoa. We put up a few lights. They looked nice. The end.)

* You ever send a note to a friend, then realize it was their work e-mail and pray like heck that it didn’t go into a general delivery mailbox? Because it was personal?

* Uh, no. That never ever happens. Whoops. (Edited to say: It all turned out okey-dokey. Thank the e-mail gods.)

* I usually don’t get all that into the holidays. I want to, but I hold back. Or I give up. They can be a let-down, and also expensive. A costly bummer, some years. Also, the kids and I often have differing opinions about how to make a holiday “successful.” I don’t want to give away any family secrets or anything, but their version? Much more expensive than mine.

* This year I kinda have the holiday spirit. Weird, right? Nice and weird. Did a little shopping yesterday, we’re figuring out menus for Christmas Eve and Day, and I’d like to do something special for New Year’s Eve, too.

* My girlfriend N signed me up for a recipe chain-mail. I’m not crazy about chain-mails, but you know I love recipes! I’ve done them in the past, without much luck. But this time? Score. (ps I’m sending around the Chocolate Volcano Cake for my recipe.) I’ll share them with the Internets, so you can play along at home:

Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber
2 or 3 green onions
mayonnaise
sweetener (I use Splenda) or sugar
vinegar

1st: put 2 tbsp mayo in a mixing bowl, add 1 or 2 tsp. of Splenda or sugar and mix up thoroughly
2nd: add about a tsp vinegar and blend well, then add another tsp of vinegar and again blend
3rd: slice cucumber very thinly and mix into sauce
4th: clean and cut 2 or 3 green onions (only just into the green part) add to the cucumbers and
refrigerate for an hour or so.

You now have a delicious, refreshing salad all ready to enjoy!

Fish Tacos and Cilantro Coleslaw

25 min | 5 min prep
4 tacos

* 4 frozen battered fish fillets
* 4 8-inch flour tortillas
* 1/4-1/3 head green cabbage
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 green onion, sliced or minced
* 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno or serrano chili , to taste
* 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed or 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bake fish fillets according to package directions.
2. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and place them in the oven to heat.
3. Or heat them at the last minute in a microwave in plastic wrap.
4. Shred or chop the cabbage.
5. In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage with all the remaining ingredients.
6. Cut each hot fish fillet into 6-8 pieces, then pile into a hot tortilla with lots of slaw.

and… last but certainly not least:

Mackinaw Island Fudge

All the way from Michigan! “It’s a good one,” according to the nice woman who e-ed this to me.

4 cups of sugar, 1 cup milk (whole works best), 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup butter, 1 & 1/2 cup mini marshmallows, 12 oz. chocolate stars candy (I use Brachs), 12 oz. chocolate chips, 12 oz unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix sugar, milk, and vanilla in a pan. Add butter and bring mixture to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add marshmallows. Then add chocolate a little at a time, stirring constantly so you get a smooth batter… add nuts if you wish… line a 9×13 glass pan with parchment paper for easy lifting… pour mixture onto paper… chill thoroughly…. cut into whatever size pieces you wish and enjoy!

And now, for the free advertising for Kroger. (Ralph’s, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, etc.) (Please see disclaimer.) They’ve re-worked their Private Selection line, and sent us coupons for free samples. It’s pretty good. We tried the Pizza Margherita. It was a little watery because they used cherry tomatoes, but other than that, good, with pesto and mozzarella balls. Crust was crispy, thin and tasty. If they work on the recipe a little more, they’ll nail it. We also gobbled up the appetizers — a spinach pesto puff, mushroom phyllo triangle and feta and sun-dried tomato phyllo roll. These were from the “Mediterranean-Inspired” hors d’oeuvres collection. OK, I like salty snacks, and these had just the right amount of flavor, salt, crunch and grease. They have a whole new line of desserts, too — blueberry peach panna cotta, pineapple upside down cake… yum.

Bon appetit!

– wm

some days are a little much, plus hey did i mention that My Book is in print?

December 7th, 2011

A stream runs through it

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

“That’s Not It” has been available on Kindle since October, and now you can purchase a genuine printed copy. Alternately, you can buy it on Amazon.

Please buy a copy, or multiple ones if you’re in a gift-giving mood, if it is in the budget. Send me an e-mail if you’d like a free bookmark to go with it. Include your address and I’ll mail it to you. Thanks for your support of this crazy-ass endeavor of mine. (PS I will be updating my author site soon, so bookmark it if you are so inclined.)

So. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I know I am. Aren’t some days just a little too frickin’ much? I was getting ready to start the holiday baking (casseroles, cookies, breads, and assorted everything). Thought I would start by cleaning the oven. Bad call. I broke the oven. (Let this be a lesson to you.) Now we’re in the middle of picking out a new one, and will be converting from electric to gas, only the ovens (ovens!!! finally getting the convection oven I’ve wanted my entire life) will be electric, and ps they don’t make the right kind of gas stove to fit into the drop-in slot the current stove is in and hello, carpenter, bye-bye, countertop and cabinet, we need more wiggle room.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know how Steve and I are: Why clean the bathroom when you can grow mushrooms in there instead? We do it nice cuz we do it frickin’ complicated. (That particular remodel took the contractors four fun-filled months.)

Today I need to:

* make cooky dough and freeze it, in anticipation of someday having a stove again
* work on my new book (ideas/dialogue that need to be written down before they go away)
* finish Granny’s memoir… still inputting recipes and kinda not into it
* clean the house
* work out
* update calendar
* help the kids with homework
* fix dinner (waffles? soup in the microwave? again? bake bread in breadmaker?)
* work on publicity for “That’s Not It” — reading? book signing? order copies to sell, finish press release, update author site, and the list goes on…
* avoid Facebook/Twitter/politics/the mayor of Portland
* figure out what to get Steve, the kids, and the rest of our family for Christmas
* finish mailing out holiday cards
* oh, right. buy more holiday cards

Honestly, all I want to do is climb into a hot bath and stay there ’til January. Please advise, dear readers: What do you do to rein in the schedule?

xo,

WM

edited on Thursday to say: I baked cinnamon swirl bread in the breadmaker — delicious with butter, and not as sweet as a cinnamon roll. (I can’t find the recipe online — it was from the cookbook that came with the machine. But it baked in the breadmaker — no turn out, extra rising, etc.)

I’m baking whole wheat bread right now. I mixed up and froze dough for Mexican Wedding Cakes and chocolate chip cookies (semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips — my secret ingredients) and Spritz are next. Tonight? Burritos in the microwave (not to be confused with microwave burritos, although we have some of those in the freezer ;) and… salad. Last night was waffles. Good thing I mainly survive on protein shakes (blender! also not broken!) and soup. The kids seem to be fine with pre-made mac and cheese, cereal, toast, peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars and… more waffles? Damn. Missing the oven. We can always send out for pizza. It’s not like we don’t do that once a week, anyway.

gratitude: day 11

November 11th, 2011

Feeling a little more grateful today, especially since Steve has the day off, too. I saw that it was 11:11, and, as always, yelled, It’s 11:11 make a wish!

Steve: It’s 11:11 on 11/11/11!

Woot. So that was a very cool moment for our entire family, as we are geekier than geeky.

Grateful today for: Steve (who understands me, even as I’m being a baby and accusing him of not understanding me). The kids. Our three crazy cats. Nutella Cake (thank you Debi and Gabriele, you hazelnutty kids you), the new Rosie O’Donnell show on OWN (Phyllis Diller at 94, Mrs. Brady tells all, Debi Mazar!!! and a funny, funny interview w/ Turtle from Entourage), the weather (not too rainy, for an Oregon fall).

And last but certainly not least — I’m grateful for the Occupy movements that are happening all over the world, including our very own Portland, Oregon. To those of you who are calling names, saying that Occupy is a pack of dirty hippies, “They should get jobs! Dirty hippies!” etc. Here is my question: Do you have a job? Because I don’t. Not one that pays, anyway.

I have been the following, since 1998: unemployed, underemployed, half-time employed, on contract, and/or temp, with no benefits, or with inadequate benefits that I paid through the nose for, with a disappearing 401k that was tiny to begin with.

1998 was almost 14 years ago.

Meanwhile there are a lot of people in this country taking advantage of a bad situation, and bankrolling. In the spirit of my daughter’s first-grade teacher, they’re keeping all the Crayolas stashed in the cupboard and telling you to go buy your own. What Crayolas? We have no Crayolas here, close the cupboard! You are a loser if you can’t afford your own.

At the same time, there are a whole lot of people worse off than my family, believe me. We’re fine. Steve has a job, our medical insurance is all right (thank God, because we have chronic asthma and thyroid issues over here — no medical insurance is not an option). I didn’t “work” for years because it put us in the red, every time I did. (Paying for daycare, aftercare, beforecare.) Now that the kids are almost ready to solo… guess who’s rusty? My advice to mommies now: Don’t quit your job. Go in the red, pay for daycare, juggle your sked w/ your partner, other moms, family, roommates, whatever it takes, but don’t get off that treadmill, little hamster. Cuz once you do? Good luck getting back on.

I’m so grateful for my two kids — I love them to infinity and beyond. I don’t want them to have to make these kinds of decisions, when they’re older and perhaps having families of their own. Whose career to sacrifice. Deciding who’s got the “more important” job. Whose work is “less critical” when it comes to sick days, school holidays, spring break, etc. I don’t want them to be constantly in the red.

You want to know a secret? I like to work. I find it satisfying. I like being part of a team. I like a schedule, and wearing grown-up clothes. I really adore getting that paycheck every week or every other week or every 30 days. Whenever it shows up is fine with me. I just want it to show up.

I would like it if our country somehow found it in ‘em to help pay for daycare, or subsidize it, or something, so we weren’t so desperate for a schedule, any schedule, and a fee schedule, along w/ it, that doesn’t kill us. I would like if the work of a teacher was valued in a monetary fashion. (I’ve also worked as a social worker, freelance writer/editor, and in a ton of clerical positions. Never the big bucks; once in awhile the “cool bucks” — but those don’t pay for groceries.)

I interviewed for several jobs this fall; didn’t get any offers. I actually had my hopes up for a job that was 1.5 hours a day (something, anything, to get my foot in the door). Didn’t get a call back. OK, that’s all right.

Saw the job posted again (it was actually three positions, all temp). They had reduced it to 1.2 hours per day. One point two. That’s what, an hour and 10 minutes a day? I can’t even count that low. (And it was clerical scale, so the hours weren’t the only thing low about it.) Didn’t get a call. So I remain “retired” and writing, hoping to sell some words, at least. It could happen.

Occupy, if you’re reading this? Thanks.

–nancy

gratitude: day 8

November 8th, 2011

Grateful for The Internets, because without them, I don’t know what we’d cook for dinner.

Vegetable soup, courtesy of Wil Wheaton.

Broiled cheddar, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.

what are you feeling grateful for today? anything? nothing? leave me a note if you’d like.

– nancy

Sonny’s World & Friday Recipe Club: Lucinda Scala Quinn

October 13th, 2011

It gets lonely being a housewife/stay-at-home writer/blogger chick. That’s why they invented soap operas and cooking shows.

My personal favorites are General Hospital (Lizzie is having a nervous breakdown, and it’s still Sonny’s Hospital) and Lucinda Scala Quinn. GH I have loved since age 12; Ms. Quinn is new to me. Recipes, anyone?

Chili-Lime Popcorn

Black Beans & Rice

Dark Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars

Pasta with Chickpea-Tomato Sauce

Recipe Club: Composed Ratatouille & Roasted Beets

August 22nd, 2011

Great dinner on a hot summer night.

mmmmmmmm Thursday Recipe Club mmmmmmm: Balsamic Reduction, Chana Sag (Garbanzo & Spinach), Brown Rice, Homemade Honey Wholewheat Bread and Cherry Pie

July 21st, 2011

Now that the cookbook is fully underway (and halfway written, thank you very much), I will be running some recipes by you, alright? Alright!

You can test them if they sound good. and please, if anything doesn’t work for you (or is just so delicious you have to shout about it) e-mail me or leave notes in comments. Oh, yes. I did delete a bunch of my notes today, by accident. That wasn’t so good. I am genius at outsmarting myself when I have more than three files up at the same time. Ouchie. But my ma can bail me out, I think. (It was photo captions. Shoot.)

* This is my sister’s recipe. I ran it a long time ago, but I did a little switch-up on it. It is quite good her way, or mine:

Curried Chickpeas and Kale

2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 cups chopped kale or 1 package frozen chopped spinach
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Combine all ingredients in your crockpot and let it cook on low 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

I had to fix it in a soup pot, because I have no idea where the crockpot is. I made up my own curry mix with the mortar and pestle: garam masala, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, ginger, sugar, coriander and… I think that’s it. Oh yeah. I actually found curry powder in the cupboard and threw that in, too. I thought I used twice as much in the spice mix as I should have, but it turned out to be fairly mild and the perfect amount. Curry is good that way. (Per Nan’s instructions: Mix spices into a paste with a little water; sprinkle over onions while they saute and stir like mad so they don’t burn. Mmm…)

We served it over brown rice, and I added fresh mozzarella to mine, which almost (almost) tasted like paneer. Mmmmmmmm… paneer… My sister knows how to make it from scratch — I’ll have to get her over her to show me how.

What else? I used a package of frozen spinach since we didn’t have kale. And since Steve for no good reason (or bad reason) doesn’t like kale. This saddens me, because I love kale and could eat it every day. Especially Kale Chips, oh yum.

* Next? I realized that my poor, deprived Wacky Girl has been without homemade bread for days now. So I made the one from the breadmaker recipe book and it will be ready at approximately 10 o’clock tonight. My girl likes homemade bread.

That makes me happy. (PS there is a good bread recipe on that link, if you are interested.)

If you are in need of more breadmaker recipes, there are about 8,000 online, fyi. (Here is the homemade pizza dough recipe my extended family is nuts about. Excellent good.)

* I still have not mastered my Dear Late Granny’s Pie Crust recipe, so I used this one, instead:

SUPER-EASY PIE CRUST, WITHOUT LARD

3 cups flour
1 cup veggie oil
1/2 cup orange juice

Stir together with fork.
Separate into two equally sized balls of dough.
Roll each ball of dough out between two pieces of wax paper.

The woman who shared it with me wrote “Easy, easy, yummy, yummy” at the end of the recipe, and she was right! I didn’t have any orange juice, so I used water. (You wouldn’t want the citrus if you were using this crust for a savory pie, either.)

I stirred together a can of cherries with some sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and cornstarch. It wasn’t enough filling, but I’ll double it next time. Also, I prefer metal cake/pie pans to glass, why didn’t I use one?

Trick from Granny: Sprinkle sugar on the top crust and it will make it crunchy-brown-sugary on top.

* I wanted to do a Caprese Salad (fresh Roma tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves), a la the Pioneer Woman, so I thought I’d try my hand at doing a Balsamic Reduction. Well, it started to boil too much, and then when I turned it down it wasn’t boiling enough, so… it didn’t reduce as much as I would have liked. But still, it reduced by about 2/3 so good enough. Also, I realized that Caprese Salad in no way complemented Chana Sag, brown rice or the macaroni and cheese out of a box that the kids were eating.

I just wanted a Caprese Salad.

So I’ll have one tomorrow night — since the reduction is in a jar in the fridge and ready to go.

Bon appetit!

WM

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