Sunday, October 12, 2008

Indian Butter Chicken

Last night Steve and I made some super yummy Indian butter chicken for dinner. For me the spices in this recipe are a perfect combo that left my mouth pleasantly warm, not too hot, just right. This recipe was originally from the Taste of Home cooking school, but I altered it a little to fit how we cook. I can't wait to make this for company!

Indian Butter Chicken

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped sweet onion
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh or powdered ginger
1 teaspoon chili powder - I use Penzy's medium chili powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-14.5 oz can of tomatoes, I used whole and smooshed them with my hands or you can use diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste (1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
2 pounds of chicken breast
1/3 cup heavy cream (or you can use half and half)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon of minced cilantro
Cooked rice if you want, I eat it alone, Steve likes rice

  • Cook chicken with 2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet on medium-high heat, if you want more flavor add some ginger, turmeric, and chili powder, just be adventurous and sprinkle some on! Set aside in bowl when cooked most of the way.
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add garlic and onions and cook until the onions are getting translucent. Add the ginger, chili powder, turmeric, and cinnamon and stir for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, stir until well combined.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, it will start to smell really good. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the chicken, sour cream, and cream (or half and half, use what you have) . Uncover and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and add the cilantro and serve!
I really believe that if you use fresh, good ingredients your food will taste even better. I think that the free-range, hormone free chicken really tastes so much better and works with the flavors well. I love Penzy's Spices, they are my favorite. Don't use old spices that have been sitting in your cupboard or ones that came with your spice rack years ago!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Low-Carb Pumpkin Ice Cream

I am doing the low-carb thing again. This recipe tastes like pumpkin pie filling. It really satisfies the ice cream craving. If you divide it into eight servings they have about 5 grams of carbs each.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

1-15 oz can of Pumpkin (21 g carbs)
1 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (10 g carbs)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 t0 1/2 cup Splenda (12 g carbs) depending on your sweet taste and sugar content of pumpkin
  • Combine all ingredients in blend and blend until smooth.
  • Churn mixture in electric ice cream maker for 25 minutes or until set. Put in freezer to harden if desired.

A year of Mister Sweaters

What a difference a year makes. A year ago Mr. Sweaters was a stray living on the edge in our neighborhood. The very first time I saw him he was chasing a mole in our backyard. Looking back on the pictures we took of him for a neighborhood flyer (we thought he might be lost) I just can't believe how unhealthy he looked. After a few months of feeding him on our porch we welcomed him into our home. It was not an easy adjustment at first for him and Chloe. Hissing and growling ensued, but after a few months they could stand each other. Now they sleep together. When we see them acting so close we always comment on how far they have come and how grateful we are that everything has worked out so well.

Our Handsome Boy

Saturday, September 27, 2008

mmm....pumpkin ginger cookies

I *think* this is an original recipe, I came up with it after tasting Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses. They were too sweet by themselves but I thought they would taste good with ginger, sort of my autumn interpretation of the classic Peanut Blossom recipe. I had a hard time finding the Pumpkin Spice kisses after hearing about them, I looked at Rite Aid and Giant with no luck. I eventually found them at good ole Target. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Ginger Blossoms


3/4 cup crisco
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups sifted flour (I use unbleached all purpose)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Extra sugar for rolling
Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, put unwrapped kisses in the freezer.
  • Cream crisco and sugar in a mixing bowl. I use the paddle for my KitchenAid since this a thicker batter. Add the egg and molasses and beat until mixed well.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add to sugar/crisco mixture while slowly mixing, keep mixing until well combined.
  • Form 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. I use my small PC scoop to get evenly sized cookies.
  • Place on cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
  • Put cookies on a wire rack to cool. Let cookies cool for a minute or so and then place a kiss on top of each cookie.
  • This recipes makes about 30 cookies.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our Laurel Highland Adventure

In an effort to escape life we journeyed to the Laurel Highlands a few hours to the west of York. We both just needed to get away and out of our usual routine. So we left Friday night to drive to the B&B, Glades Pike Inn, which is located outside of Somerset. Our room was large with one of the house's original fireplaces and a quirky four poster bed. The country decor totally reminded me of my parents house circa 1990, so I felt at home.

Saturday - We awoke to the smells of breakfast cooking and we really enjoyed eating breakfast with the other guests. The innkeeper, Janet, was very nice and helpful. She pointed some other guests to a local auction after we were discussing ebay over breakfast. Our fellow guest later told me she had a ball at the auction, she was from LA and they do not have auctions like that out there.

After breakfast we drove west on Route 31 to Kooser State Park, where we did a quick hike around the lake. We moved onwards to Ohiopyle where we parked and started exploring. We decided to give the local rail trail a try. We rented his and her pink and blue cruisers for the trail (for only $3 per hour!). After conquering two scary bridges we started down the trail. I am so glad we decided to do this because Steve had a really good time. As we were returning to town it started to drizzle, as it started to rain harder we decided to return the bikes and grab some lunch.

We headed to the Firefly Grill just down the street from where we rented our bikes. Lunch was surprisingly good. I had a California Wrap (turkey, guac, tomato, cumber = yum) and Steve had a pork bbq.

After lunch we headed to Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpieces. I had wanted to visit Fallingwater since I was in college. As we were walking down the trail to the house I was so excited to finally see it I thought I was going to start crying. It was everything I expected and more. I can't wait to go back and see it again so I can take in more. Every room is as the original family left it, gorgeous Tiffany lamps and stacks of books included along with all of the FLW-designed furniture and built-ins. We were surprised to see cork used in the bathrooms. The materials he used were so innovative for the time, I am in awe of his genius.

Next we headed to Kentuck Knob, another FLW house built 20 years or so after Fallingwater. It was interesting to see an Usonian home in comparison to Fallingwater. Seeing both of these homes made us really think and discuss what we want in our next home and where we want it to be. I really love high small windows on the public side of the Kentuck Knob and then big giant windows on the private side of the house. Hopefully we can incorporate some FLW design concepts into our next house.

After our busy day we decided to relax and go to the movies Saturday night. We headed to the movie theater not knowing what was playing. Luckily we arrived in time to see Burn After Reading. It made me laugh and scream and I think it gave me freaky dreams that night. I would totally recommend it.

Sunday - Being the creatures of habit that we are, after breakfast at the B&B we returned to Ohiopyle to rent the pink and blue bikes. This time we headed off in the opposite direction on the trail. It was hot outside but nice and cool in the woods. The trail follows the river for the most part, with rapids on onside and very pretty woods and small waterfalls on the other side. After biking about 9 miles we headed back to the Firefly Grill for lunch where we both had yummy Thai chicken wraps. After checking out the falls on the river we headed back home to our kitties. We are already planning our next trip back to the area. Next time we want to go on a white water rafting trip and do some more bike riding.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I chickened out..

A few Sundays ago I was reading the paper and found this blurb asking for entries for the newspaper:

"What's it like being married?

We'd like you married folks out there to tell us what you wish you knew about being hitched before you tied the knot.

That you can't avoid the in-laws? That you should have kept your bank accounts separate? Always having someone to take care of you when you're sick?

Whether it was a pleasant surprise or a test of the "for worse" portion of your vows, we'd like to know about it."

So I became very inspired and wrote something, but lost the courage to actually submit it. I thought I would post it on my blog (that is probably read by nobody) so it was not a completely wasted writing here are my thoughts on being married.

On May 6, 2005 I made vows, utter "I do", and married the love of my life. I knew I had found my soul mate and wanted to be with him forever, but looking back I had no idea that what we would undergo in the next two years would put these vows totest in ways I never imagined.

"In sickness and health"

We were making dinner, it was a Monday night in late September 2006. I can still remember it very clearly in my head. Steve was cooking hamburgers on the stove when the phone rang, I thought nothing of it and answered it. It was my doctor calling me with my pathology results from the previous week. She said the words adenocarcinoma, my mind races, carcinoma means cancer doesn't it? She goes on to tell me I have endometrial cancer, it appears to be in an early stage but I need to have a hysterectomy within the next month. Needless to say we did not eat the hamburgers.

Shortly after this I had a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which means my uterus and ovaries were removed. I was very lucky and the cancer was caught at its earliest state and it is very likely I am "cured". Through all of this my husband was there for me unfaltering and ever loving.

I have to say it is not as sad and tragic as it sounds. Before we were married we both agreed that we did not want to have children, not because we didn't want them but because there are already enough unwanted children in the world. Since then I have learned that deciding to not to have children and not being able to have children are not the same thing. I have to admit I have pangs of jealousy and sadness now that it seems that almost every married friend I have is either pregnant, recently gave birth, or is trying to get pregnant. But I remind myself that I have my husband and we can make a family of our own someday when we are ready, just not by traditional means.

"For better or worse"

I had thought that telling my husband that I had cancer was the worst thing I would ever have to tell him. I was very, very wrong. The following October I received a call from the minister of my in-law's church. My father-in-law had unexpectedly passed away and my mother-in-law was in shock and basically couldn't talk. I had to leave my office and go to my husband's office in the middle of the day and tell him his father was dead. Having lost my father years ago to cancer, I realized that once I told him this his life would be different forever. I had to shatter his world. It was my turn to be there for him and help him through all the feelings he was about the experience. Somehow we made it through the following hours and days.

Between these life-changing events we have lead a very happy life. Life goes on and we have leared to treasure our time together with each other and our families. What life has dealt us has made our relationship stronger and our l ove deeper and would would not be the same people without it. I never thought I would feel this way about someone and I can't imagine my life without him. Being married is amazing.

Monday, September 1, 2008

nice tiring day...

I truly enjoy my family of foodies. Today we spent the day cooking and eating (and napping) while the kids played video games all day.

Here is our menu:
Corn on the cob (courtesy of Roger)
Korean style short ribs
Potato salad ala Steve
Stuffed hot peppers (courtesy of John)
Hamburgers and hotdogs
Bean dip and homemade pico de gallo
Vanilla and chocolate ice cream

Stuffed Marinated Hot Red Cherry Peppers (stolen from Martha)

  • 14 hot red cherry peppers, cored and seeded, tops reserved
  • 4 ounces young pecorino or provolone cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 14 small sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Stuff each pepper with cheese and a sprig of marjoram. Transfer stuffed pepper and pepper tops to a glass loaf pan.
  2. Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over peppers. Let marinate at room temperature 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tops on peppers. Cook until cheese has melted and peppers are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

tempus fugit

At the beginning of the summer I started this with intentions of actually making progress. Summer has flown by, time spent in the field and dawdling at home. This last week I made a step towards saying goodbye to some of my hoard of things. Ebay is my friend. I am amazed that the proverb "one person's trash is another person's treasure" is so true. And why not profit from it? I am excitedly awaiting the end of my first batch of listings. So far some no takers on my random postal clerk glass that I was strangely attracted to, now what to do with if it doesn't sell?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

so many things

It is amazing how many things there are in the world. What gives one thing more value, monetary or personal, than another? Is the need for things, the want, something we are born with or something cultivated by society. I am on a quest to quell my inner want. My goal is to reduce things, stuff, in my life, and maybe reduce some of the physical me. I want to maintain or reduce, if something comes into my life, something must go.
You may wonder what about food. Food comes and goes naturally. I am more concerned with the material. My inner pack rat is cluttering my life and my mind. I am looking over the table before me and beyond the computer is a sea of yard sale finds covering a large eight-person table. I yearn for a clear table. Here I go.