Defeat Garden

Archive for the ‘Kid-approved’ Category

I’m not going to complain about the temperature outside – I got that all in yesterday 🙂 My gripe today is with the temperature inside – specially at work.  I swear in the mornings it no more than 70 degrees at work.  I have a hard time with the back-and-forth when I go outside and then come in to work.  For example, this morning when I got out of hubby’s car at work, the outside temperature was about 81.  Then I walked to the office building where I work (about a block) and I walk in and am immediately cold.  It was probably 72 (and I might be being a bit generous with that estimate).

So it’s more the back-and-forth that aggravates me.  Also, I do work in a building where many of my coworkers are older women (many of them are going through the *ahem* change of life), and they all seem to be perfectly comfortable in the mornings…maybe I just need to hurry up and get to that point in my life 🙂

Speaking of coworkers – one of mine upset me today, but then I talked to the man on the way home from work and he brought a little more perspective to me.  I work in an area where people call me and yell at me a lot – it’s kind of just part of the job.  This specific coworker didn’t exactly yell at me, but I was definitely reprimanded.  The man said “why is this is any different than how you would treat people on the phone who yell at you?”  That really made me think.  This is why I love this guy 🙂

The boy is on a survival kick over the last few months – he loves the Man Vs. Wild shows with Bear Grylls.  I actually bought him Bear’s autobiography to read over vacation (yes – my 8 year old reads at that level – love that kid!) and he read a section where Bear ran up and down mountains in training.  His thing this week has been to run around the house 52 times every day “for the exercise.”  He’ll be great in football this fall 🙂

Supper tonight is homemade hashbrowns (with peppers and onions for me and the man) and eggs.  I love those – and homemade hashbrowns are very easy to make! Bake a few potatoes (the best are the yellow ones) in the microwave, then cool them off in cold water.  Grate them with the large holes of a cheese grater and fry them in some butter, salt, and pepper.  As the man says, the secret ingredient is love.  Enjoy!

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Yum.  That is all I have to say right now!  We just finished supper, and it was delicious!

Interested?  Read on, my friends!

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This may not be the most appetizing name for a dish, but it’s what my Mom called it for years when I was growing up, so that’s what I’m sticking with!

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We’ve found a great restaurant nearby called The Black Crow (you can find their Facebook page here), and the man and I went there a few weeks ago on a date.  I had an amazing bacon-wrapped pork loin with chunky apples, sauerkraut, and some delicious whipped mashed sweet potatoes.  I’ve been thinking about trying to recreate it, but didn’t want to try because I was afraid I would ruin the memory!  I finally gave in this week and tried to recreate the main course:

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I know I don’t normally post twice in one day (especially after such a long time!) but this recipe was too good NOT to share!  I saw this recipe in one of the blogs I read (Two Peas and Their Pod) and had to try it because I had all sorts of rhubarb in my refrigerator just waiting to be used up.

It’s really simple and turned out so delicious!!!

I didn’t take a picture of the ingredients, but it’s pretty easy:

2 apples, peeled and chopped

2-4 sticks of rhubarb, chopped

1/2 cup sugar

Put ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat until they get mushy.  You can smash the pieces so they’re smaller, or leave them big, either way this is great!  It’s good warm, and just as good cold – a real winning recipe :o)

I told you I was going to make a souffle again 🙂  But of course, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly…

I used:

half a package of bacon, some onion and garlic scrapes

5 T butter

4 T flour

5 eggs, separated

nutmeg, salt and pepper

2 cups (or possibly more!) shredded cheddar cheese (but any kind would work well)

First, I cooked the bacon. When it was cooked, I took it out to drain and cooked the onion and garlic in the bacon grease.  Then I took them out of the pan and put them aside.

The boy buttered my souffle pan for me (I got it a few weeks ago and I’ve been waiting to use it!).

The girl wanted to help as well, so after I separated the eggs, I had her whisk the egg whites.  She is a whisking fiend!  She did an awesome job – you can’t even see her hand in this picture!  You can see the boy in the background helping by shredding the cheese, too.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

I melted 4 T of butter in the pan, then added the flour, one Tablespoon at a time.  It’s kind of fun to watch this part, the flour makes the  butter bubble up 🙂

After the flour and butter were combined, I added one cup of milk to the mixture and whisked it all together (with our OTHER whisk!) until it was thick.

Then take the mixture off of the heat and add ingredients in the following order:

egg yolks

a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper

cheese

any other add-ins you have (here is where I added my bacon and veggies)

Then, gently fold in the egg whites (which should come to a stiff peak before you fold them in…this part I didn’t do so well at – the girl had them at a stiff peak, but I was a little to vigorous in my folding 😦

But look at how beautiful her egg whites look!

Place the mixture into a souffle pan (if you don’t have one – like the first time we made souffle – you can use any other dish as well, preferably a short dish – last time I used a smallish round glass casserole and it worked out just fine!)

This is what mine looked like today.

Then place the dish into the oven and let it cook for about 50 minutes.

All of the advice I read on making a souffle said that the most important thing in making the souffle rise is that you CANNOT open the oven for the first 20 minutes.  Just don’t do it, I guess.  I didn’t think that I would have a problem with that since I normally don’t open the oven, but have you ever noticed that when somebody tells you not to do something, all of a sudden that’s the only thing you want to do?  🙂

Anyways, after NOT opening the oven for 50 minutes, this is how ours turned out today:

It’s pretty, if I do say so myself 🙂

I do think that it puffed up more the first time we made souffle, but I think I’ve figured out why, as well:

I didn’t have my oven pre-heated before everything was mixed together, so it had to sit for a few minutes.  I think the egg whites lost some of the air while the dish was just waiting.  What can I say, I wasn’t expecting help this morning 🙂

Also, be very gentle when you’re mixing the yolk/custardy part in with the whisked egg whites.  I wasn’t paying close enough attention to what I was doing today, until the girl asked me what the noise was when I was folding the mixtures together and then I realized – whoops! I wasn’t being gentle enough, so more of the air escaped than should have.  My fault!

Even though it didn’t puff up a lot this time, it still raised up, and the kids got a kick out of seeing how big it got.

I love this picture because you can see how delicious it is – there’s the “crust” on the sides/top/bottom that provides a little crunch, and you can also see how the middle is cooked through, yet slightly gooey – I love quiche this way, too 🙂

I read several blogs.  I love to read blogs about people’s lives, especially people who are passionate about the way they live or the way they do things.  I love to read blogs where people cook and post pictures and recipes.  My favorites are the ones where the people eat similar to the way I do.  I look at their food and drool.  (OK, maybe not always, but often enough!) And then I think, maybe I could do something like that!  Quite a few times I try and fail, but sometimes it works well.

I did not know how to cook 5 years ago when I met my husband.  OK, maybe I could cook a few things. But for the most part if you threw me in a kitchen with some random ingredients, I would have had no idea what to do.  I still sometimes feel like that girl when I read other blogs and watch other people in their kitchens – especially my mother-in-law 🙂

This recipe, though, has been talking to me for a while.  I keep looking at this recipe and thinking, “I really could do that one…really!”  And I’d come back to it again…and again.

That said, here’s the original post where I took my inspiration from:  Pretty in Primal.  She does some really cool stuff, check out the blog if you have time.

If I do say so myself, it looks pretty good 🙂

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