Sunday, March 13, 2016

Recipe Experiment: Crescent Pizza Pockets

So Foodie came over yesterday, and I had some crescent rolls in my fridge, so I asked if she wanted to make something with them, so we decided to make these Crescent Pizza Pockets. They turned out pretty great.

We made some minor adjustments to the recipe, and didn't exactly measure ingredient sizes, so they dribbled a bit, but they were still delicious.For the sauce, we used my current favorite flavor of Classico: Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic. We also used a cheese blend I get from the store with a bunch of Italian cheeses instead of just mozzarella. And on top of the cheese, we added a bit of oregano.

They turned out great, if a bit soft. I might lower the temperature for the next time I try them and cook them at least five minutes more.

all stuffed, one folded. You can see the oregano on the top of the cheese here.

Ready to be cooked. We had some issues with them splitting, but it was easy enough to pinch the splits together.

Finished. There were less dribbles than I expected for how overstuffed they were. You can see the parm on mine if you squint.

I still have another can of rolls. I might make something like this. I've got a thing of string cheese in my fridge at the moment, after all. We shall see.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Recipe Experiment - Hash Brown Cups

I've always been fascinated by the muffin-tin recipes I've seen out there on the web, but most of them employ things that I don't or won't eat (eggs). Last weekend, though, I decided to go looking to see what I could find. I happened upon a recipe that just sounded too good and simple not to try: Parmesan Hash Brown Cups. It turned out to be a little more labor intensive than I anticipated, but overall, it was well worth the effort.

Now I love Parmesan, and I'm so so with onions now, though they used to be on my least-favorite list, but I wanted to make this in a way that I loved, so I decided to switch out the green onions for bacon bits (I'm sure you could do this with fresh bacon, but I generally don't keep that in my fridge, while I always have bacon bits if I can help it. I use Hormel, so it's real bacon, just diced and crumbled). Since I was going with bacon, I also changed the cheese to cheddar instead, because they go better together than Parmesan would. I changed the measurement for the bacon to half a cup, because when I opened the package of Simply Potatoes, I was shocked at how much was in there. I wanted to make sure I had enough bacon scattered throughout the potatoes. It did seem the right amount when I ate them. I also added another tablespoon of oil, because it really didn't feel like enough to coat everything I had in the bowl. Now I'm less sure, because you do spray the cups with oil as well, so if you only want to go with the two, go for it.

My oven runs a little hot, but I went with her temperature, and put it in for an hour. By the end, even the tops were nice and golden, if still soft. I let it sit a little, then went in with a knife around the edges until they turned with the knife. I put a paper towel over the top and a regular baking tray over that, then flipped the lot, and voila, perfect little cups. Some were definitely smaller than others, but overall delicious. As she said, they are a bit chewy as opposed to crispy, but they're so good, it's well worth trying.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Recipe Experiment - Balsamic Chicken with Tomatoes

So it's been a while since I posted, but I finally made a recipe that I've been considering for a while. Balsamic Chicken. It turned out great, so I thought I'd share what I ended up with.

I started on All Recipes, where I found two possibilities: Braised Balsamic Chicken and Roasted Balsamic Chicken with Baby Tomatoes. I liked the ingredients for the first, but I preferred the cooking style of the second, so I combined them.

I marinaded it overnight, and it was a little frozen still when I cooked it, but not horribly. Turned out sweet and juicy, and was perfect.

Here's the recipe I ended up using:

Balsamic Chicken and Tomatoes

1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegrette
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Garlic
-- (I like it strong. I think the original called for one clove, so adjust accordingly depending on how much you like.)
2 teaspoons Oregano
-- (again, I love Oregano. If you prefer one of the other basic Italian seasonings, double that instead. Or just do 3 teaspoons of the general Italian seasonings.)
2 teaspoons Italian Seasonings
2 Chicken breasts (the recipe calls for 4 to 6, so if you use less, use half or a third of the can instead)
1 14.5 oz can of Tomatoes (I used one with garlic and seasonings in, but any chunked tomatoes will do)

Mix together vinegrette, oil, and spices. Place chicken in a container and pour over the mix, then store it in the fridge for at least four hours. Overnight is better.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put chicken in a high-lipped pan. (I poured in the juice from the bag as well, and braised the chicken once during the cooking process.)

Cook chicken for 30 minutes, braising once if you wish.

Add canned tomatoes over the top of the chicken. (The can I used was definitely too much for two, but probably would have been just about right for three.)

Cook for 10 more minutes.

Let cool and serve.

I had it with potatoes, but I think it would also work with rice or similar.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

NaNoWriMo Approcheth!

So I've spent the past weekend working on a long list of things to get ready for NaNoWriMo. Lots of random chores, a bit more cleaning up the house from the move, and getting ready for next weekend.

One of the things I realized I needed last time for my story, which I will be continuing for my 2014 NaNo, was a family tree for my Main Character. He's a spoiled brat of a Noble family in England, so he would probably always be bragging about them. Friday, I realized I could do it without doing a full family tree. After all, most families don't have stories about every member of their family. So I started a fic called "20 (or More) Important Members of the Bothwick Family." It's been interesting coming up with good periods in history to fit his family into. Still working on them, but I think that's my task for the week. Looking forward to coming up with more.

I have a nice long list of events that need to happen in the story. I made a list for each of my major players in the story and wove them together in a basic outline. We'll see how much more that will get me. I figure I'll have to redo it as I go, but then, I always do, so that doesn't worry me in the least.

The NaNoWriMo site has updated once more, and now it stores all of your former NaNos, and so I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the month making up covers for my old NaNos. Some I'm more happy with than others, but it's so great to see them all lined up like that. I can't believe I've been doing this for so long. I have a total of 8 former winning stories, though one is the story I will be attempting to finish this year--Catalyst. I hit 50k, but it was nowhere near done. It's possibly the longest thing I've ever done for NaNoWriMo. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it this time.

I've also been planning food for the next month. Every year, I make a giant pot of spaghetti sauce and freeze a bunch, so that's something I'll be doing next weekend. I've made up a list of the things I'll need, and I'll probably go shopping tomorrow to get it all. I've also been considering getting a large pizza delivered Friday or so. Might even make a pot of Peruvian Chicken Breasts and make tacos with them. Beyond that, I'm not sure what I'll do food-wise, but I'll probably go with frozen for the rest. Might see if anyone's willing to give me a trip to Grocery Outlet to see what I can find there. Time will tell.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recipe Experiment - Mummy Pizza Puffs

So my friend Foodie used to come over every weekend at my old place because we lived in the same complex. We can't do that as much any more now that I've moved, but she came over yesterday for our yearly watch of the two good Mummy movies (with Brendan Frasier and Rachel Weisz).

She'd found a recipe, so we decided to try it out. It's from Campbell's website, and they call them Campbell's Mummy Pizza Puffs. We made a few changes to the recipe for our own purposes, but they were absolutely delicious. She stopped at the store and got a different puff pastry dough brand: Aussie's Bakery. Their dough had no trans fat in it, so it's a far better choice if you can find it. For the sauce, we used my favorite brand: Classico. I highly recommend their sauces, as they're the best I've ever tasted. We used the fire-roasted tomato and garlic, which was perfect for pizza sauce. We sprinkled a bit of oregano over the top, though I really didn't taste it in the final product. We also added more of the olives inside the pizza, and she added some mushrooms to hers as well, with no variation in the cooking time.

I was happily reminded of an old frozen puff-pastry pizza Pepperidge Farms used to have, so if you remember those fondly, this will probably be something you'll enjoy. We think it would work well just as a simple crust, too, and then we could have made a possible total of fourteen, with all the extra crust we would have had. We'll definitely be making these again sometime.

Here's some shots of the pizzas once they were finished:
All cooked. Mine on the left, Foodie's on the right.

And all plated up.

Hello again - Giant Update Post of Doom

I fell out of using this blog for a while, but I'm back. Lots to share. The last year has been pretty crazy, but I'm still here, despite everything.

Got a new job last year in late January, and was officially hired on that June, so I've been gainfully employed now for more than a year and a half. Met a lot of great people, learned a lot about Unions and Pensions (which is what I work on), and starting to consider where I will try to move inside the company.

It's meant a lot more reading on the ride to and from work, as well as on breaks, which makes me very happy. I've missed the enjoyment of new books, but between one of my co-workers' suggestions for reading, and Goodreads, I've been finding all sorts of great books, both on Kindle and in paper form.

And because of my reading, I've started a new blog here on blogger. The blog is called A Slash Reader's Diary, and it deals specifically with reviews of stories that have a male/male pairing as the central focus, as that is one of my favorite genres. I've found it's hard to find books that are in the genres I like that also have that focus, so I wanted to provide a place where others could find the great books I've found.

I lost one of my kitties about a year and a few months ago. I still miss Sebastian a lot, but after a few months (right around this time last year), I got another black kitty whom I have named Nicky. He's not sure what to make of everything, but he's having great fun tormenting my poor Morgan, who doesn't know what to do with this kid who keeps getting in her face and doesn't kowtow to her every demand the way Sebastian did. He's more cuddly than Sebastian or even Morgan, as he loves to jump right up into my arms and snuggle for a few minutes. It's been a learning process for both of us, but we're definitely doing well.

Shortly after arriving last year, at the old apartment

Yesterday, settled in his favorite viewing spot at the new apartment
Morgan's having more issues than a new brother, though. Shortly after his arrival last year, I noticed her weight was dropping too much, so I took her to the vet. She has hypothyroid problems. For a time there, I was pretty sure I was going to lose her, but we got her on meds which seem to be helping a lot. So she gets her ears rubbed twice a day, and the kitties get wet food daily, something that was only a once or twice weekly treat before.

And, as you can see from the pictures with Nicky, I have moved. I moved in late July and early August, and it's been stressful and wonderful in turns. Some great things, some bad things, but I'm slowly getting settled. Nicky wasn't too sure about all the strangers coming to visit, but hopefully he'll start to relax around strangers, as I don't plan to stop having people over to my own place, now that I've started the habit. I think it's mostly leftover stress when they were trying to find him a home at the rescue agency. Takes him a little to warm up, but once he does, he loves you.

Had a few successes with connecting to distant family over the past year.

One of the Welsh branches of my tree contacted me, and showed me that they've set up an online version of the family tree. I need to add our family information to it, but it was great to see one of my guesses confirmed (That Gabriel Howel's wife was Gwen Evan), and to discover that they'd found one more generation before them.

The other discovery was an email from a distant relation I'd never heard of before. A few years ago, in a fit of desperation, I posted on GenForum about my great-great grandparent from a small town in Czudek in what is now southern Poland. The family were Jewish, and in the late 1800s through the 1940s, it was a very bad place to be a Jew. Unsurprisingly, I know very little about this family. Originally, only what I got from my grandfather, then from his papers, which gave me a bit more. So I wrote a note on the Forum hoping that someone who knew them or of one of their other descendants (at the time, I knew only two daughters, though I was fairly sure there were more children).

Then a few weeks ago, I got an email from someone who said she was their granddaughter. I know enough to be wary of that sort of claim, but the information she gave worked with what I had in a way that made it pretty clear to me that she was, indeed who she claimed to be. So now my great-grandmother's family is finally intact on my family tree. She had three brothers and two sisters, one of whom disappeared at the end of World War I, and one of whom was taken by the Nazis. All the others escaped to the US or Israel, and lived full lives in their new homes. Given that I'd always assumed that I had several on this branch who likely died because of the Nazis, I was glad to learn our losses were so few. And now I have a few new names to try and track down. Who knows what I might find now.

I think I'll stop there and do the other two things (NaNoWriMo and a new recipe) in a different post, but that's pretty much my life for the past two years.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Restaraunt Guide: Taki's Mad Greek

Went out to lunch with my mother today to a restaurant that I'd passed by a million times before, but never gone to: Taki's Mad Greek, on 15th just off 85th in Crown Hill, right across from the new Value Village store.

It's a pretty little place, and looks to be family run. The walls are painted with Greek murals, and there's a small bandstand in the back for the evening entertainment, despite the fact that the place is tiny.

The gentleman who was there when we arrived was very friendly, and we came a bit early, so it was pretty quiet. We both got the chicken souvlaki with Greek potatoes and a Caesar salad... And it was all delicious. The plate was enough for two meals, and the seasonings on all of it were just mouth-wateringly good. I'm definitely going to have to go back again as soon as I can.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New recipe - Tropical Island Chicken

*waves* Hi! I am still alive. Been busy with Christmas and a few less-fun things, but I'm doing a recipe, so I thought I'd share it today.

I started with this recipe at for Tropical Island Chicken.

My changes:
I always use breasts, as I'm not a fan of dark meat the way most people are.
Instead of onion powder, I used flakes, and instead of garlic salt I used garlic powder. There was plenty of other salt in the recipe, so I didn't bother to replace it.
I also had to replace the crushed pineapple because I realized I had none, so I used half of a citrus-flavoured Sobe, though hopefully if I like this, I'll be trying it again with actual pineapple. I also cut the amounts of the sauce recipe in half because of that, and I still worry that I ended up with too much.
Instead of the 30 minutes after saucing, I'm going to check it at 10, and another 10 after that, just to see how it looks. I might add more sauce then, too.

Should be interesting. We'll see if it works. Smells great in here right now. :) I'll let you know how it turns out.

ETA: Well, post-eating, it wasn't rich enough, and cooked a bit too long. I definitely think it would be much better with actual pineapple, so I might try it again. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recipe Experiments - Cheesy Bacon Breasts

Tried something new tonight. Turned out quite good.

I started with this base recipe: Kelsey's Cheesy Bacon Breasts.

My changes:
I'm not fond of mustard, and one of the comments below the main recipe suggested marinading the chicken in vinegar, so I decided to start by taking the oil and a teaspoon of mustard powder and adding it to about a half cup of apple cider vinegar, then putting that and the chicken in a baggie and setting it in the fridge for an hour.

Once I was done marinading it, I discarded the marinade and put the chicken in a pan in the oven and cooked it for ten minutes, flipped it, and cooked for ten more, then put barbeque sauce and bacon bits (instead of real bacon) on it and cooked for five more minutes before adding the cheese, and finished with another five minutes.

Was absolutely delicious and very filling. I definitely recommend it. Would be great with some asparagus or broccoli.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Update

So I've been doing my best to catch up on my tree now that November's over.

And I've also been posting an Advent Calendar this year for my ancestors, and I've done the first three posts, all on my dad's father's side of the family so far, but I've got a plan for how to space them out. I've had fun with them so far, and I'm learning more about what's missing from each as I write them up, and they're getting a bit longer with each person I write up. I am pleased to discover that, despite the fact that I'm starting with my great-great grandparents, I believe I have photos of all of the people I'm writing up, but three of them.

Follow Friday:
Just one post today.

Randy Seaver of Genea-musings discusses Standardizing Place Names in genealogy. Definitely a difficult subject, given that everyone has at least one ancestor who can trace their line back to an area that no longer exists or no longer has the same name as when our ancestor came from that location.
I have also been playing with a new toy today. I'm not sure what I think of it, yet, but if there was a software program that used the information taken from the questions at the site, I would definitely consider buying it. The site is called aka, and it is not your usual online genealogy site.

You create a (currently free) account, and fill in your name, then it begins to ask you questions. You can have several family groups on the site, and can invite friends and family to answer the questions as well. Some of the questions are a bit silly or otherwise jarring, like "what sex is this person" and "is this person still alive," but you can also make up your own questions, and therefore can configure it to what you need to learn about your family members.

From these questions, you create timelines and interrelationships between the people listed, not to mention a basic family tree, though the family tree part of the site isn't particularly great yet.

I've run across a few minor flaws in the programming, but the site is still very new, and I'm hoping that it will only improve from here on.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:
Randy Seaver's blog had a good fun post this past Saturday, and I can't resist it.

1) Think about the games that your whole family would play when you were a child.

2) Tell us about one (or more) of them - what was it called, what were the rules (as you remember them), who played the game, where did you play the game, who usually won?

3) Write your own blog post, or write a comment on this post, or write a Facebook comment or note.

There are six years between myself and my sister, so I spent a lot of time when she was young making up ways to distract and to entertain her. Quite a number of games come to mind, really.

When she was very small, we used to play hide and seek, but she was too young to understand that she had to wait, and she was definitely to young to count yet, so I would tell her to wait where she was, then run ahead an try to find a place to hid before she could run after me. We actually had quite a lot of fun with the game, and played it quite often.

We also inherited a number of games, most of which were missing pieces in varying amounts, meaning we often had to loot other games to play anything. Which led to the idea of combining them.

Our favorite, which we played a number of times, was Payday, which I got from someone for a Christmas or Birthday present one year, but was rather dull on its own, so we would combine it with the game of Life, and occasionally with the game Careers. We'd play a month of Payday, then start the game of Life using the money we'd gained in that first round rather than what we were supposed to start with according to Life. When we got to the choice of career path, we would use Careers if we chose to go onto the university track to determine our career, and only play a month of payday if we landed on a Payday to determine how much we got. It made for exceptionally long games, but it also gave variation to games that I think we would otherwise have grown bored of.

So many more games I could mention, though. Monopoly, which my sister says she got good at defensively because she was so much younger than I. Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, and Scattegories, all of which we played at family gatherings for several years in a row. My sister and I are extremely scary when it comes to Pictionary--there have been times when one or the other of us have drawn a single line--and the other guessed it. There was also Take Off, gotten to improve my sister's geography, and Mille Bornes, which had their day...

Really, we played a lot of games as kids. It's one thing I miss quite a bit, really.

Family Tree Calendar:
Just one event for this week.
Hans Knudsen and Christine Jensdatter married on December 2, 1854 in Vejle, Denmark.