Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tourist in our town - Hope Outdoor Gallery

Scout and I love to bop around and visit various parks and whatnot for photography - well, he's the main one taking photos, I'm there as a hanger-on.  The Sunday that our campers got back in from Colorado we visited Grafitti Wall - otherwise known as Hope Outdoor Gallery.  We had driven by it a couple of times when we were downtown at Whole Earth Provisions, and I wanted to return just for pics and a chance to gawk at the street art. 
It felt like a billion degrees outside with the humidity.

Keeping Austin weird for sure!
You can read more about it here, and while you're there, sign up for the newsletter about all things Austin.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mealplan Monday #120 and a new bed

I penciled in a day for cleaning up Bubbie's room while he was at camp, and I got the brilliant idea that I would spray paint the metal bed so it wasn't white and crib-looking.  
 This is half of the bunk beds I bought in 1995.  I was expecting Scout and needed to have Firstborn and The Girl share a room.  They used it until we moved to Rustown, then Scout and Bubbie used it until The Girl moved to Waco.  It was well worth the $200.  I put half it on the curb for big trash day about a year day he will have an adult bed, but for now...
 Oh, dear.  See, this is what happens when you don't prep your shiny metal surface and prime it. The paint will start to fleck right off.  That won't work for any length of time on furniture.  I knew better...
Scout helped me rough up the finish and I went to Home Depot for the second time that morning to purchase more paint and some automotive primer.  grrr.
Monday - Coney Island dogs, rosemary fries
Tuesday - Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday - Moroccan garbanzo stew with kielbasa, garlic toast
Thursday - Cashew Cumin Chicken*, rice, peas
Friday - Sausage spinach bake, carrots (special request from The Girl)
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Stuffed Shells, salad
Dessert this week....hmmm...I'll think on it.
*This is one of those jarred sauces you find in the ethnic foods section - I love Indian food.
 By the middle of the afternoon, I had given it several coats of a flat black paint.  We had to work a little to straighten the metal slats - after years of use they had bowed a little, making the mattress sink in.  I didn't bother painting the very center of the slats.  They will never be seen.  It looks a little like wrought iron, now.  Less like a crib.  I even did away with the bed elevators; he no longer needed all that storage space and they make the bed a little rickety.  There was plenty of room for the Container Store baskets for magazines and such.  His filing crate went into the closet.
 I ordered him a new gray and black comforter (hopefully here soon), steam cleaned the carpets, and did some general straightening up.  There now is a little more space to expand the wall collage downward, too.
 I didn't change much else - Bubbie is rather particular about how his books are stacked and his doo dads arranged.
 So, I mostly dusted.  Washed his laundry.  Emptied trash.  The stuff he does for himself, but I wanted him to come home to a clean and neat room.
I even watered his bamboo!  
Welcome home, Bubbie.  Can't wait to see pics of camp!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Freezer Meals #10

Whew!  Another batch of meals for my newly cleaned out freezer.  I threatened everyone we'd live on salads, but it turns out, the crock pot is easier...and the weather has been so rainy and cloudy, you may as well get stuff done inside the house.  That's my theory anyway.
This time it took me quite a bit longer to assemble and clean up - but that's doing all of it from Step 1.  So I guess if you divide out 2 hours by 9 meals it comes out to a little over 13 minutes per meal - and time to relax when I get home instead of rushing to make dinner.  So, winning.
Shredded Pork for Tacos:  3-4 pound pork roast, 2 chopped onions, 2 T bacon fat, 4 serrano chilies, 3 smashed garlic cloves, S&P, 2 c. water. Freeze in gallon zip-loc.  Cook on low in crock pot 6-8 hours, skim fat, shred, serve in flour tortillas.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff:  2# lean cubed stew meat, 1 can Golden Mushroom soup, 1 small sliced onion, 1 T Worchestershire, 1/4 c. water.  Freeze in gallon zip loc.  Cook 6-8 hours on low, and stir in 4 oz. cream cheese just before serving. (I forgot to buy Golden Mushroom, so I used regular onion soup and some leftover gravy from another dinner.  Creative, no?)

Honey Garlic Chicken:  My peeps love this over rice

Taco Chili Crock - 1# cooked and drained ground beef, 1 medium chopped onion, 1 drained can of corn, 1 drained and rinsed can of black beans, 8 oz. tomato sauce, 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 small can diced green chilies, 1 package taco seasoning.  Freeze in a gallon zip loc.  Cook in crock on low for 6-8 hours.  NOTE:  I cook black beans from dry 'cause it's cheaper and I make my own taco seasoning 'cause ditto.

Apple Garlic Pork Roast:  Into the gallon zip loc goes four chopped Gala apples, 1/4 c. water, 2-3 smashed cloves of garlic, 2 t. chopped fresh parsley, S&P.  I will cook this from frozen 6-8 hours.  (I have never tried it, but it sounded good!  I may add a bit of sage to it)

Mediterranean Pork Chops - I love these.  I will serve them with mashed potatoes and a salad.  YUM.
Baked Stuffed Shells
24 jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente and cooled
1 lb. Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 bag frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. parmesan
1/2 # cubed provolone
1 26 oz jar sketti sauce (I love Newman's Own)

I combined the cooked sausage, tomato paste, a little water, some salt and pepper, the half bag of spinach and simmered it a little.  Then I removed it from the heat and stirred in the parmesan.  I poured a little sauce into two casserole dishes, filled the shells with the meat mixture, then set them on top of the sauce. I poured the rest of the sauce over, topped with cubed provolone, and covered with foil.  I will thaw, bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover for another 10-15. (This recipe would have been a tad different had I not forgotten to buy ricotta...oh, well)
The ninth meal was dinner that night.
Time to relax and read a book - here comes the weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Easy Summer supper: Italian Layer Bake

Oh, my yum...this was a great recipe so I really had to share!  Go here for the original - I made a few minor changes based on what I already had in my fridge.

Italian Layer Bake
2 tubes cresent rolls
8 oz each turkey and ham from the deli, sliced thin
8 oz sliced pepperoni or salami
8-10 slices provolone cheese
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
4 eggs
Italian seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Grease a 13x9x2 casserole dish.  Unroll one tube of rolls and use it for the bottom "crust" in the dish.  Layer on the meats and cheese, adding in the sliced peppers.  (I alternated all of it)  Beat two of the eggs with a little Italian seasoning and pour it all over.  Unroll the second tube of cresents and use it to form the top "crust".  Beat the two remaining eggs with a little Italian seasoning and pour it over the top. (Note:  I added a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the top of my casserole as well)  Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake 25 minutes more.  Let cool a bit, then slice and serve.

Isn't that pretty?
I served it with our favorite "salad" of late: grape tomatoes, red onion, olives...and this time I added cucumbers... with Good Seasons Italian dressing to marinate.
So much easier than making an oven sandwich and every bit of it disappeared!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mealplan Monday #119 and our smoker

 On July 4th, Hubby ran his smoker and we loaded it up with ribs and brisket.
 Baby back ribs are my favorite!
Isn't he festive in his red, white, and blue attire?
This week I am making good use of the leftover bounty in the freezer so I can give it a good cleaning and make some more freezer meals. 
Monday - Mac and Cheese with brisket and ribs, corn, rolls (freezer clean-out for all of that)
Tuesday - order pizza, salad (I've got Papa Johns points!)
Wednesday - Beanie Weinie, garlic toast (both already in the freezer)
Thursday - Taco Salads, Fruit Cocktail Cake (freezer clean-out of leftover grilled chicken, black beans, corn off the cob, and cake)
Friday - Baked Chicken Thighs a la Nonna*, broccoli cheese rice casserole
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Southwest Style Chicken crock pot, masheds, peas or salad
*recipe coming soon
 Cleaning that beast is a chore, so we only run it when we can load it up.  Usually once or twice in the summer and on Thanksgiving Day.
 Hubby likes to tinker with different types of woods and he always uses apple juice instead of water to keep it going.
A brisket is a thang of beauty, too.

Friday, July 11, 2014

5 thing Friday - Adult "tea", a sparkling girl, new bike, lazy breakfasts, bacon

Hubby brought home some Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka from the "pharmacy" as a treat for me.  I thought it would taste better than it did, for some reason.  So I was meh about it until I added it to Simply Limeaid.  
 With lots of ice it's perfect!  Very refreshing.  And great for hot afternoons when I want to pull all my hair out.
 The Girl spent a couple of nanoseconds with us on July 4th.  She lives here, yet I still miss her.  Mostly I see her coming and going.  She's usually exhausted, working two jobs, so we don't see her at meals or much else...according to Scout she goes directly to her room and sleeps when she's between shifts in the afternoons.  Poor girlie.
 Bubbie has ridden his bike into the ground, literally.  Last time he took it out, he returned with it in a couple of pieces.  So, I went 50/50 with him on a new one.  Got a great deal on one he tried and liked at Wal-Mart by ordering it on-line and getting free shipping to my door.  When they get back from camping, it will require minimal assembly and he'll be on the road again, just like Willie.
 Meanwhile, Scout is enjoying waffles, having the breakfast table all to himself, and casual dressing.  He has started his new gig at Macy's - I hope he can get more hours.
I'm trying to talk a friend into buying a bacon cooking tray for the microwave.  The bacon comes out as crispy as you like, and its easy to pour the fat off into a container to save - a little bacon fat goes a long way and adds yum to green beans or cabbage.  Plus, frying just makes an unholy mess, and takes longer.  Apparently, we do love our bacon around here!
Have a happy weekend,

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bourbon Baked Beans

These are the beans I make whenever I do the homemade version - I've had the recipe forever.  They come out super sweet and delish!
Hubby ran the smoker on July 4th so we had ribs and brisket to go with coleslaw, pasta salad, these great beans, and a banana cheesecake pie.  It was all fabulous!
Bourbon Baked Beans
4 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
3 cans pork and beans, undrained
1/2 c. brown sugar
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 c. bourbon (not pictured)
1/4 c. molasses
2 T mustard
2 T Worchestershire
1 t garlic powder
 Cut up the bacon and fry it up.  Set it aside and cook the onions in the bacon fat.
 I let them get a little soft, but you could carmelize them, if you want.  They're going to cook more later.
 Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer, stirring to combine, about 10 minutes.
Pour into an oven safe casserole dish, top with the reserved bacon, and bake uncovered at 325 about 2 hours.  Check them every now and then to make sure they're not getting dry and add a little water if you need to.
Gosh, those were good!  We served them for Scout's graduation cookout, too  Try them and see what you think!


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