Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tacos. Your way.

Last night I cooked ground beef and added packets of taco seasoning.  I normally shy away from those seasoning packets but they’re definitely easy and my kids love the taste.  I was planning on taco salad so I fried up a bunch of corn tortillas into chips, and laid out all the toppings.  Sour cream, cheddar, avocado (59 cents for a huge one!), tomato, salsa.  As it turns out, the adult children wanted soft tacos, so they got out the flour tortillas.  The little one wanted meat, diced tomato and the homemade chips.  Hubby turned his into nachos by layering it all together and throwing it into the oven for 5 minutes.  And I had taco salad.  All the same type thing, but in varying forms and everybody was happy.  I also turned the prep into a 2 for 1 deal, while half the ground beef from that package was browning for the tacos I used the other half to make itty bitty meatballs, which I froze.  They will be a quick, easy addition to a crockpot vegetable soup some day in the future.
Remember the flannel robe I cut up for fabric?  Here are the pajama pants made from that, Drake slept in them last night and said he likes them, and Mimi is nice for making them for him.  What a sweet kid.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Macaroni and Squash

In the never-ending quest for recipes to feed my dairy-allergic people, I’m willing to try almost anything.  Some things work well, others, not so much.  One thing I’ve found that some of the non-allergic people enjoy, myself included, is a mac and cheese substitute made with butternut squash.  Pumpkin might work as well, or acorn squash, but I’ve always used butternut.  I cut and de-seed it first:

Then I roast it at 400 degrees til it’s nice and soft, this usually takes about 45 minutes.  Your mileage may vary.  Doesn’t this look yummy?!?!?!  Me, this squash, and a spoon.  That sounds like a fabulous idea.

Next stop, make a roux and thicken some chicken broth.  I use 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons flour per 1 cup of chicken broth.  For this recipe I used 3 cups broth, 1 pound of elbow macaroni, and half the squash.  I flavored the broth with garlic salt and a little bit of Italian seasoning.  I think poultry seasoning or sage might be good in this in place of the Italian seasoning but I haven’t tried it.  Once the chicken gravy is thickened I stir the mashed squash into it, and pour it over the cooked, drained noodles, then top with bread crumbs (totally optional but I always have a jar of homemade bread crumbs on hand).  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Enjoy.

I made a regular pan of mac and cheese to go with this, one of our household is no fan of squash.  He’d have eaten it if that’s all there was available but I was stocking up for the next few days since I was going out of town, and I wanted to leave plenty of leftovers in the fridge. 
I don’t know where this idea came from.  I might have invented it, or I might not, I honestly don’t remember.  I made this for the first time about a year ago, and everyone who tasted it loved it.  Even my hubby, which surprised me.  It’s good with salad, or peas.    
And here’s the little allergic boy, looking adorable.  Everybody say "Awwww!"

Friday, October 19, 2012

Busy, busy, busy.

Recently my mom gave me some stuff.  One item was a flannel robe that was torn.  I thought, Hmm, lots of good material there:

So I cut the back off and made a receiving blanket for the new baby: 

Then with the front, I cut out a pair of pajamas, but I haven’t sewed that yet so no pix.  The robe had pockets so I strategically placed my pattern to take advantage of them, the PJs will have deep patch pockets on the front with no extra effort from me at all.

I’ve spent a lot of time with doctors lately, and I’m really getting tired of it.  And really getting just plain tired.  We’re dealing with the fact that the medicine I take for psoriatic arthritis isn’t working as well as it should anymore, plus I’m  becoming allergic to it.  Lots if itching involved.  In addition, a recent routine exam found a problem that nobody seems to be able to figure out, so I’m being subjected to all sorts of probing and prodding and loss of dignity.  As if psoriatic arthritis alone isn’t enough to deal with, now this?  Gee, thanks. 

Being this busy and this tired makes it hard to maintain usual standards.  Tuesday Allen and I spent all day in Pensacola at various doctors appointments, we got home around 5:30.  I had taken a meal out of the freezer, and I’m pretty sure it’s the last one I had in there!  I need to start making meals I can double, then freeze half.  That night we had pork adobo, a family favorite.  I threw rice into the rice cooker, and steamed some carrots.  While I was standing there waiting for water to boil, I started rummaging thru the fridge and found a slightly mangy orange that had gotten shoved to the back and forgotten.  I zested and juiced half of it, then when the carrots were done I added the orange plus a little margarine (butter would have been so much better, but not for Drake), the last bit of brown sugar in the cabinet, and a squirt of honey.  Those carrots were SO GOOD.  I made a total pig of myself on them.  When Drake saw the orange he wanted it, so I cut off the bad spot (it was only skin deep), cut the segments out for him and added them to his plate.  I wasn’t aware he’s such an orange fan.  That’s good to know.           

Yesterday I had to leave work in the middle of the day, see a doctor, then return and work late to make sure I wasn’t falling behind.  I stopped at Sam’s to pick up my RX and grabbed a take-&-bake pizza for supper while I was there.  These are FAR better than delivery, for several reasons. Cheaper, definitely.  Plus I could rake the cheese off a small section so Drake could eat it.  I’m pretty sure you can’t order a pizza from a chain restaurant and ask for one wedge with no cheese on it.  And these pizzas taste really good, we had spinach salad with it and everybody was happy.  Especially Drake.  He kept saying “My wike pizza”.  Imagine how much he’d “wike” it if he could have cheese on it.

Ayla’s C section is scheduled for 2 months from today.  Only 2 more months til we meet our new grandson!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Free fish!!

Yesterday my oldest daughter was given several pounds of amberjack, someone she knows had caught it the day before, it was cleaned and filleted, ready to cook.  But he couldn’t keep all of it so he gave some to her, and last night she cooked it on the outdoor grill.  I don’t eat fish but everyone said it was delicious.  I know there was a LOT left over so they can eat that while I’m gone this weekend, I'll be at a Christian retreat with the ladies from my church.  My youngest is in town to celebrate her birthday, and she made onion potatoes on the grill to go with it.  These couldn’t be simpler, here’s the “recipe”:

Cut potatoes into cubes.  They can be peeled, or not, whatever you want.  Toss them with some cooking oil and a package or 2 of dry onion soup mix, you know, the kind you use to make onion dip.  Either bake in the oven or put them in a foil pouch and throw them on the grill til they’re tender.  If I do them on the grill I like to open the top of the foil near the end of the cooking time and let them crisp a little, but that isn’t necessary. 

They also threw on a few hamburgers for me.  I don’t think April eats fish either so she may have had a burger as well.    

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweaters and jumpers and ladybugs, oh my!

A while back, a website-friend posted a picture of some sweaters she had made.  Well, she’s British, she calls them jumpers.  Not important to the story.  What is important is this; it never occurred to me that you could embroider on a sweater, but here was the proof!
Armed with my newfound knowledge I decided to try it.  Here is the sweater I made for my granddaughter for Christmas:
It’s long because it’s meant to be worn as a dress.  Can’t you just see this with red tights and black boots?  I can.  Now I hope it gets cold enough this winter for her to wear it at least a few times!!  And I hope Polly will forgive me for shamelessly copying her original idea.   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We now return you to your regularly scheduled life…

This week has been crazy.  I left Friday after work to go spend the night at my parents’ house, and came home late Saturday night.  Sunday I had to fast and drink a bunch of nasty goo for a medical test on Monday.  Glad that’s over, no results yet.  Sunday, since I was avoiding food smells and therefore avoiding people who had to cook and eat, I spent some time sewing.  I don’t have a pic yet of what I sewed, but then it dawned on me, I didn’t post what I made the week before.

My philosophy is, never turn down a freebie.  It might not be what you want, but you can always pass it on to someone else, donate it, or use it for a different purpose.  That said, I was recently given 2 boxes of clothing.  In one box, most of the clothes fit and I liked them.  Two skirts, two pair of pants and a few shirts added to my work wardrobe, plus a few tees to be worn as PJs.  In the other box, not so much.  Most of it didn’t fit, those things that did fit didn’t look good on me, some were stained or torn.  But all is not lost!  I used one pair of pants as fabric to make a new pair for the kids.  They’re heather gray so either gender can wear them.  Drake will probably grow into them soon, and when he’s done Lyla can have them.  

When I finished that pair I remembered I had saved a pair of Allen’s sweat pants to use as fabric.  The elastic was shot and he was never going to wear them again.  I cut them down to make a pair of toddler sweatpants:
Notice how I carefully avoided the bleach spot.  Aren’t I clever.
Then I remembered some ribbon I had in my stash from a project a few years ago.  I’ve never done anything like this before but I decided to add the ribbon to the pants.  Due to my inexperience, the fabric rippled a little as I sewed on the ribbon.  OK, so it’s not perfect, but they can be worn as play clothes on a chilly day.  You cn'nt really tell here but the ribbon is yellow with pink dots.  Since the ribbon is a bit girly these will go straight to Lyla, although they might be too big for her this winter. 
I also made a dog toy.  I cut the legs of a pair of old jeans that were in the not-so-great box, here I’ve cut a long spiral strip:
And here, I tied knots in the strip:
So far Bug hasn‘t taken it upon himself to play with this on his own but he’s happy to tug-of-war with me if I start the game.