Thursday, April 28, 2011

A departure

This is a departure from my normal posts, which are all about food.  This one is a bit more personal, in a whats happening in my life kind of way.  I'm trying to figure out if this blog will be only about food, and making food for events, and going to school trying to learn about food, or whether it can be all that, plus what's going on in my life.  I'm not talking the nitty gritty I need to vent, so this is a good place to do so, I have another blog for that, but that one is kept very apart from this one.  This one everyone that I know can see and knows about it.  The other one, I am hoping it is more or less private, it's my venting place, and being that, it is already being seen by people I don't want seeing it, because anyone in my actual personal life seeing it means that I have no place to vent about them, if I ever wanted to.  Anyhow, what I am saying is, should I let whomever might be reading in on what's going on in my life, or should I leave it all to the other blog?  In the end, I'm thinking I will post here with what is going on in my life, and of course the food stuff, it will become a public outpouring of my life, and the other will be what it always has been, a place to vent my frustrations.

So, that being said, this is going to be one of the posts that doesn't involve food.

I have something going wrong in my abdomen.  It is a pain that hurts like nothing I have experienced in a long time, except of course for when I had that problem that created the need for 4 surgeries last year, but I won't get into that here.  This pain, it is in the middle of my chest/stomach, right under my breast bone, and it feels like a rail road spike is being pounded in there.  So far they have done blood tests, they have done ultrasounds, they have done CT scans, and yesterday they did an endoscopy.  And they have found nothing.  I take morphine every day just to function, and it sucks.  After we get back from Disneyland, I am going to taper off the morphine and learn how to live with the pain until we figure out how to fix it, or even find out what it is.  My doctor is nice enough to let me go to Disneyland pain free though.

This post though, I want to talk about yesterday.  About my endoscopy.  I've had them before.  Lots, because I am a gastric bypass patient.  And for every one, I have been put to sleep, or at least done the whole twilight sleep thing, where you get some good drugs in your IV and the next thing you know you are being woken up and they are giivng you your results and sending you out the door.  That didn't happen this time.

They gave me the medicine.  It didn't work.  They gave me some more.  It worked a little, but I was still awake.  They didn't want to give anymore, and so I went through the procedure, awake.  I gagged and choked as they put the camera on its long tube down my throat.  I fought them, and it was not a pleasant experience.  My throat still hurts from it, when normally that doesn't last long.  When they brought me out to recover, I was a screaming, hysterical hyperventilating freak.  I was thrashing, and panting, and screaming, and I couldn't stop.  I've never lost it like this before in my entire life.  They said I was having a panic attack.  If this was a panic attack, then what I used to call panic attacks were nothing.  They made me breath into a paper bag, and they shot me up with Valium.  They yelled at me, and made me open my eyes, even though that freaked me out worse.  I have a bit of a thing about faces getting to close to mine, I freak out, so opening my eyes was not helping their cause.  Finally the drugs started to work, and they brought Bart in, which helped immensely.  Bart has always been my security blanket, and he knows exactly how to calm me down.  They told me that they found nothing, and sent me on my way.

I took a pain pill right away after this, and another a half hour later.  I was in so much pain, and my brain was still panicking.  I called to tell my mom about it and started crying.  Anytime I brought it up, I would start crying.  I couldn't get over it.  My brain, even today, still feels traumatized.  I have never had a melt down quite like this.  I couldn't control myself, and for someone who has to be in control always, this was hard for me.  I am still having trouble processing what happened, why I lost it that way.  Everyone in my life says its kind of a duh answer.  I was awake while they choked me with a tube with a camera on it.  And I panicked.  Plain as day.  I just still don't understand how I got so out of control.

And that's it, I wanted to get this out.  In writing.  And I wonder, how many others have freaked out this way, or am I alone?  Was I just a big baby wimp?  I feel like I was, but I have to remember, my body did its own thing.  I couldn't have controlled it if I could.  I went into major flight mode and there was nowhere to fly to.

I need to let it go.  Because I can't let it stay forefront in my mind.

I did come home and sleep for hours and hours.  Then I made dinner.  I made spaghetti.  And I  ruined the sauce.  Which is funny, because I use a canned sauce.  I make it my own however.  I made enough sauce to put some aside for another day as well, and because I hadn't mixed that portion with noodles, I was able to fix it.  How do I change canned spagetti sauce, that you buy for under a dollar into my own?  I add some garlic, so italian seasonings, and then my two special ingredients.  Sugar and cream cheese.  I like the cream cheese, it makes for a creamy, not so acidic tomato sauce.  And I grew up with a grandfather who made a sweet spaghetti sauce, so I like to add sugar too.  Everyone loves my sauce though.  Except for my son.  He went to bed hungry last night, because he refused to even take a bite of a noodle.  he was sure he would hate it.  I don't make separate meals, and  I didn't have bread and butter out because I had bread with garlic thyme butter and cheese on it out for people to eat.  He wouldn't touch that either.  he used to be such a good eater, ate everything.  I even bragged about what a good eater I had.  I think that's what happened.  So, while Ciera eats everything, I refuse to brag about it.  Though Aiden did want artichokes for dinner a couple of nights ago.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Shake your booty dinner

One of my kitchen secrets that i don't often admit to is that I love shake and bake.  And what is funny is I was thinking about commercials, and in my head, the shake and bake commercial got all messed up with the chicken tonight ads from ragu.  Anyhow, that's not here nor there, I still love shake and bake.

My favorite is the BBQ chicken, and I always add a cup of brown sugar and only use chicken legs, but it makes a meal my whole family loves.  We've used the regular chicken, and the original pork, which we actually like to use on small pork tenderloins.

One of the things I love about making shake and bake is my kids get involved.  They shake the heck out of the bag, and it all started with Ciera, when she had her turn at shaking, she starting singing shake your booty shake your booty, and she shook her little behind while she was shaking the bag.  So then we all shook it that way, and now when I make shake and bake we call it booty shaking chicken, or pork, or whatever we are making.  And they eat it better than plain chicken.

Tonight we had shake your booty BBQ chicken legs.

This is the chicken before baking it

This is after it's cooked and after we ate some of it  
I wish this had been one of the evenings where I had the kids shake it so I could get pictures of them shaking, but they were at a pool party when I had to make dinner.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Teriyaki Salmon

I went to a sushi place for lunch on Monday before I got my tattoo.  Bart and I each got a serving of california rolls, NOM, and we shared a teriyaki chicken bento box.  The chicken had the most amazing glaze on it, and I actually wish we hadn't shared, because I wanted more.  Well, I figured I would make it at home, and even though I didn't have any chicken, which if you read the last post, you know why, I figured salmon would be a good substitute.

So, I made the sauce, which will be available at the bottom of my post, and put together some rice and some noodles and veggies(frozen package of noodles and veggies for stir fry) and then I broiled the salmon.  The salmon would have been better had it been grilled or marinated, but it's a learning process, right?

I liked it alot, Bart did too.  Aiden wouldn't touch anything but the rice, and Ciera, well, she didn't eat much of anything.  I think that I will really enjoy this dish as a chicken dish on the bbq, so I will be trying it again.

This is the teriyaki sauce.  YUM!

Final plating. 
Ok, here's the recipe.

Teriyaki Sauce Recipe
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup cold water
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
*optional 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
(Feel free to use fresh garlic or ginger.)
It's ok to use full sodium soy sauce, just don't salt the meat you use.

In a medium pan add all the ingredients except half the water and the corn starch. In a small cup dissolve corn starch and water before adding to sauce pan. Cook sauce on medium heat for 5 minutes constantly stirring, or until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I got my mojo back!

So, I have been in a cooking slump.  It feels like it's been forever, but in reality it was about 2 days.  It started with me actually believing I could make an angel food cake.  I am making angel food cupcakes like a pro, they are so easy, and wonderful tasting, everything you want in an angel food cake.  So, I took that same recipe, and went and put it in an angel food cake pan.  Which I had to go buy, since I didn't own one.  I used to, but I was such a failure at making them that I sold it last year in a garage sale.  Well, needless to say, I didn't successfully make it.  So, I tried something else, I changed the recipe a bit, did more sifting, etc.  And failed.  At this point I had 24 egg yolks and no angel food cake.  I need an ice cream maker.  Any one got one they want to give me??  :)

So, angel food cakes, failure.  That day I had put chicken with salsa into the crock pot.  When I got home from getting my second tattoo recolored, i took the chicken out, shredded it for chicken fajitas and added this fresh salsa I had bought at the store a couple of days before when we made tacos.  It hadn't been open even 5 days, and had an expiration date of the 27th.  As I stirred it into the warm chicken, this smell came up to me.  It was the spoiled smell that veggies get when they go bad.  And it contaminated my entire batch of shredded chicken.  What was worse was I had cooked an entire bag, you know, the frozen ones you get at the store, the big ones?  Well, I cooked the whole thing.  I was planning to make chicken fajitas, then chicken fajita quesadillas, then chicken chili.  So, ruined.  3 meals, ruined all at once, with that.  So, I was still hungry for chicken fajitas, so Bart went to the store and bought the marinated, all ready to go with veggies and everything chicken fajita stuff at the butchers counter.  As it was cooking, I was doing Bart's taxes, since it was the final day, and they needed to get done.  Bart was on the computer, and spaced out that he was supposed to be watching them, until this horrible burnt smell filled the house.  Chicken fajita try 2, failure.  We gave up on dinner at that point, kind of.  We made burritos with the mexican rice I cooked up, plus refried beans and cheese.  Made pretty good burritos though.

Tuesday made croissant breakfast sandwiches, with eggs and cheese and sausage.  It was good, but I used processed cheese, like they do when you go through a drive through.  I bought the smooth melting cheese product, which was another mistake.  Talk about plastic.  I think it would have been awesome if I had used a different kind of cheese.  I ate half a sandwich.  Later that night I was making a shepards pie, like I did when I was younger, with tomato soup, green beans, corn and ground beef.  I tasted the mixture before making the mashed potatoes, and realized that you cannot use the roasted red pepper and tomato box of soup in this recipe.  You really do need to use a can of condensed cream of tomato soup.  If you use the box, then you have too much liquid.  And if you are stupid like me, you will add cornstarch, which ruins the texture, and boom, failed dinner again.

So, today I made chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes.  And they were awesome.  More than my other batches, this had the perfect texture.  It helps when you sit on them and don't let them overcook.  I was at the oven for the last 2 minutes of their baking, making sure that they came out right as they were done.  The frosting would have been better if I had left out half a cup of the powdered sugar, but it was still good.  I mixed the mini chocolate chips into the frosting, and this made for my only mistake today.  I couldn't find the tip I wanted for frosting the cupcakes, and the mini chips were not going to fit through any of the other tips I had.  So, I used a plastic bag with the tip out, and made do.  The frosting looked like strange poo, which isn't what you want frosting to look like, so I made sure to pat it a bit, taking out the definition of the shape.  I don't know if that made sense, just know that when I was done, the cupcakes didn't look like they had been pooped on.

Then I made dinner.  Dinner was AWESOME!!  Dinner was where I got my mojo back, bit time.  And, if you have read this all the way to this point, you get a recipe, YAY you.

I made beef filled crescent rolls.  I cooked a pound of hamburger with a can of diced green chilies, a tablespoon of garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons chili powder, and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning.  That is actually a me guessing, because I tasted the mix that we will get to in a minute, and added more of each until I got the flavor I wanted.  Once the hamburger was all cooked, I drained it and put it in a bowl with an 8 ounce package of cream cheese and 2 cups of shredded cheese, I used the pre-shredded mexican blend.
Yes, it looks nasty.  Bart was afraid to eat it, because it looked like dog food.  It was good though, really good.
I then took out 4 packages of crescent rolls and rolled them out.  On the base end of the triangle, I put a tablespoon of this beef mixture and then rolled it up.  I was very careful to try to seal it, because I was sure it was going to melt and leak and stuff, but it didn't, so just roll it up and don't be anal about it all sealing up.  It won't leak.  Then I baked it in a 350 oven for about 10-15 minutes, until they were golden brown.

I used my cookie scoop to put exactly the same amount of filling in each roll. 

This was my attempt at making sure the edges were sealed.  Didn't need to do this.

Same roll as the last picture, this time from the other side.  Once again, unnecessary effort.

They are cute little pockets.  Make sure the top part is like this.  It bakes up prettier.

This was a bit easier, though I actually did not realize that the one that is missing the filling was missing the filling until i took the picture.  The I was like, hrm, missed one.

They are really pretty when they come out.  Perfect little bites. 

You can see the beefy cheesy mixture in there.  It just settled in, and didn't spread or leak.  I was really really surprised

Then we ate them.  And they were awesome.  Everyone except Ciera ate them.  She ate bites here and there, but it was not her favorite thing.  She doesn't much care for bread, so I'm not really surprised.  This was a great dinner.  I want to try the same thing, except instead of chilies and taco and chili powder, I want to use mustard and pickle relish and try to make a cheeseburger roll bite.  Or use chicken and make a chicken melt.  i think that I can do a lot with this simple idea.  Got my mojo, YAY.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shepards Pie

I bought Shepard's Pie from Schwanns a couple of weeks ago, and since both my kids were sick yesterday, I figured it would make a good dinner, and it did.  however, I realized I could make a better, cheaper version.  My version uses boxed potatoes, just for convenience and ease, but of course, the real thing would be better.

So, I started by frying up a pound of hamburger with a teaspoon of garlic powder and a bit of fresh ground pepper and some salt.  Once it was fried up, I drained off the grease and added two packages of brown gravy mix and a cup of water.  I brought it to a simmer and then added it to a bowl where I had already put a package of frozen peas and carrots.  I mixed it all together and put it in a 13x9 casserole.  I then made a single box, or two bags, of instant garlic mashed potatoes.  I just made them per the instructions and then I smoothed them on top of the meat and veggies.  I had a small block of cheese in the fridge, so I grated that and put it on top.  It was maybe a half a cup of cheese.

Frozen veggies.  I love using these, I keep them around for everything, including using them to cool down the kids ramen noodles instead of ice.

This was right after I added the gravy packets and the water.  Do not add more than a cup of water if you are using frozen veggies, because the veggies will add more liquid.

I think this would have been better if I had added some onion and some extra garlic.  I also would have added some cream of tomato soup.  I have a recipe that I used to use that used it, and it was much better than this.

It fit perfectly in this casserole dish.

Yes, I use instant potatoes.  I actually use them alot.  They are convenient and easy.  They aren't that bad either.  Of course, I prefer real potatoes, but sometimes I don't have the time, and I don't have the potatoes.

I used both pouches, so the whole box.

If you plop the potatoes in spoonfuls all over the casserole, you can spread it out easier.

See, not much cheese.  I saw a recipe once that put cheese underneath the potatoes and on top.  That might have been good.  I think the amount I added was pointless, actually, it wasn't near enough.

I gave all of us too big of portions, but it scooped out really really well.  Maybe a good point on the cheese is that it held the potatoes together.

Aiden's plate.  He took one look at it and shuddered.  He has a big dislike for mashed potatoes, peas, and ground beef.  I couldn't even talk him into picking out the carrots.

This is Ciera's plate.  She insisted that it needed to be cut, she couldn't eat it if it wasn't cut up.  I tried to let her know it was mashed potatoes, but she didn't believe me.  Normally she is fearless in eating, but the ground beef turned her off too.  That and the stomach bug she had yesterday.  Her tummy is no longer angry with her, but she still isn't very hungry.

My plate.  I ate everything that wasn't under the potatoes, and one bite with the potatoes.  I thought it was a little bland, but would have eaten more had I been hungrier.

This was Bart's.  He thought it was too salty.  He ate all of it.  He would have like it with more garlic.  He is a garlic fiend.  He would like me to do a remake and see if I can beef up the flavor and bring down the salt.

I love having a picnic table for our table.  And I love using the red checked table cloth as our main tablecloth, it makes me think of summer.  The tang on the table is actually for our guinea pigs not the kids, its how they get their vitamin C.  We served dinner with milk, but those bottles of water are both Aiden's.  He has a habit of opening up too many water bottles, so we collect them and make him finish them.  These are the final two out of the five he started with.
Tomorrow  I am planning on making an angel food cake, and topping it like my great grandmother did, with coolwhip mixed with crushed pineapple.  I've wanted to do it all weekend, but life keeps getting ahead of me.  I have to make it tomorrow morning though, because I am going to use a couple of slices of it to pay my friend for watching my kids while I get one of my tattoos recolored.

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit, I got a bit tired of cooking after I did my cupcake tasting, and now I am getting back on the cooking wagon.  I had hoped to have pictures of the cupcakes I made, and I was going to do some filler posts about each kind of cupcake, but my friends has had some issues getting the pictures to me, but once she gets them to me, watch out.

I will also be making some cupcakes to send to Bart's cousin in Wisconsin as a house warming present.  I was going to make and send them this weekend, but with sick kids I didn't want to make what could be germy cupcakes.  Also, I had kids hanging on me, which doesn't help either.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Something sexy, something feminine

Feminine Beauty.  My friend Jasmine, who is the owner of Verity Images, is putting together a portfolio called Feminine Beauty.  She is taking pictures, mostly of women, but some of males who want to show their feminine side, and not photoshopping them.  She is showing women where they are their most comfortable, where they feel the most like them.  The pictures are feminine, they are sexy, and they show a real side of women, real curves, real poses, nothing faked.  I did a shoot with her while I was working on my cupcakes for the tasting, and while she was taking pictures of me for a portfolio for both of us of pictures of my cupcakes.

I am going to put up pictures from this photo shoot.  I was very well covered, though I was wearing nothing more than a big apron that was one that was worn upper abdomen, and a very sexy bra.  None of the pictures really show anything, but I wanted to warn you before you continued.  I will do several spaces before the pictures, so hopefully if you don't want to see it, you don't have to, though I don't know how to create jumps, so this is my paltry attempt at shielding your eyes.

If nothing else, for those of you looking, you get a pretty good idea of what I look like, haha.  I am making my normal bread at this time, which I turned into cheese rolls.















Sunday, April 3, 2011


I was craving meatloaf the other day, so I sent Bart to the store to get me some hamburger.  I don't remember what was going on that day, but we seemed kind of rushed, and Bart wasn't really around to help.  I finished mixing up the meatloaf mix, which for me contains bbq sauce, garlic powder, oatmeal, salt, pepper, chili sauce, ketchup, onion soup mix, and eggs.  Anyhow, I finished mixing it and then noticed that both my casserole pans were dirty.  I didn't want to wash them, so I looked around for what I could put meatloaf into.

I found a giant muffin tin that held 6 muffins.  I figured, why not, that way everyone will get their own individual cupcakes, I mean meatloafs.  Then, I knew I wanted mashed potatoes to go with it.  I didn't have real potatoes though, so I used a mix.  I also didn't have that much of the mix, and I knew Aiden hated potatoes, so I made a batch of mashed sweet potatoes, also a mix.  I looked at the texture of the potatoes, and it hit me.  I could frost my cupcakes.

So, I got my meatloafs out of the pan, well, actually I let Bart do it, which is why they didn't come out as great as they could have, and then I put the potatoes in the pastry bag and piped them onto one meatloaf.  I didn't do them all, since Aiden doesn't like potatoes, Ciera doesn't care, and well, I was burning my fingers.  I put some on top of my meatloaf too, but more of a sculpted top than a piped top.  Ciera mowed down the potatoes, she thought they were awesome, both varieties, but mostly the plain ones.  Aiden wouldn't eat anything, though he tried to pretend he liked the sweet potatoes.  Bart and I ate it up because it is one of our favorite meals.  Oh, and we had green beans on the side, as everyone will eat that.  So I guess Aiden ate green beans.

I love having the ability to do things like this for my family, and make dinner a fun time.  Last night I made homemade meatballs, and the kids were fascinated.  After dinner was cooked, as I put things on their plates, I sang on top of spaghetti, and then gave the warning I wanted to see no meatballs going out the door.  The kids laughed, and we had another good dinner.

Ok, I don't know how I was going to end this, as my brain just suddenly turned off.  Enjoy the pictures of the meatloaf cupcakes.

Aiden's frostingless meatloaf cupcake

Bart's frosted cupcake.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

No posts

Sorry I have taken a small hiatus here.  I have all kinds of posts with pictures coming soon.  I made half of the cupcakes for the wedding and did the tasting on Thursday, and had a photo shoot while I was making them, so when I have the pictures nd have stopped to breathe, I will post about it.  :)

I get to do it all again tomorrow, so I will have plenty of fodder, recipes, and pictures soon.

Today, today I did something that my best friend and my mom both hate me for.  We have hit a point in the month where we are almost out of food.  We go shopping pretty much once a month, and at the end of the month we eat what I call pantry staples.  So, I needed lunch, my kids got fruit cocktail and ramen noodles, which was actually what they begged me for, and I let them have on occasion, heck, I crave ramen noodles on occasion, but not this time.  This time I wanted something flavorful.  Ok, what I really wanted was a cheeseburger, but I can't have one, cheeseburger being my all time favorite food, and next weekend I am BBQing, just a heads up to those who live near by and want a good BBQ. 

Ok, I lost track, so back to my story.  Pantry meal.  I had a picture of partly used rottini, so I boiled it up.  I drained it and poured in maybe a cup of whipping cream that I have in the house for making the whipped cream for the whipped cream topping in some of my cupcakes.  I also keep this wonderful real bacon thats cooked, chopped and packaged in my freezer, so I tossed a handful of that into the pasta, added half a stick of butter, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and half a container of kraft parmesan cheese. Yes, the stuff int he green shaker.  Bart loves it and insists it be in the house at all times.  Then I ground some fresh pepper on it, cooked it to barely a boil, and dished it up.  It is awesome and tasty, and ok, it would have been better with cheese that wasn't out of the shaker, but for a pantry meal, it was a score.  My friends and family hate that I just toss things in a pan and assume it will work.

But it almost always does.