Monday, July 30, 2012

Hot Summer Suppers

It's hot (no kidding, right?).  That means there's no way I'm running the oven.  I also only want to cook on the stove-top when it's absolutely necessary.

I keep looking for crock-pot recipes that are more summer appropriate.  Most summer recipes start with a big cut of meat and put it on sandwiches or something like that.  That's OK sometimes, but I like more one-dish meals and if I don't have that big cut of meat in my freezer it doesn't help me much.

This is what I came up with for this week.  How about you?  Please comment, as I can always use more suggestions. 

Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Buffalo Chicken= boneless skinless chicken breasts+ some of Buffalo sauce that's been hanging around the fridge for a while+ 3 or so hours on high in the crock-pot = very happy husband
- Romaine, tomatoes, red onion, carrots, red pepper, avocado (or whatever else is on hand)
- More Buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing
(I even forgot the shredded cheddar cheese and it was delicious!)

Hot dogs with sauerkraut, veggies on the side

Bean burritos
- Canned refried beans (nonfat)
- Tortillas
- Shredded cheddar 
- Toppings: Salsa, tomatoes, avocado, onion, etc. 
Put desired amount of beans on tortilla and sprinkle with cheese.  Fold together.  Cook on low to medium in a non-stick skillet until beans are hot, cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly browned.  This just takes a couple minutes.  This feels like cheating, but it's so good and so fast (faster than spaghetti).  It only uses one skillet.  This is something we made as kids, and it was even the requested meal at a couple of birthday parties that I can remember.  It's fairly healthy (yes, I know there's sodium in the beans...homemade refried beans are on my to-do list... maybe once I get some more freezer space) and it tastes good.  You're only leaning over the stove for a few minutes too!

Greek salad
- Romaine, tomatoes, carrots, red onion, red pepper, kalamata olives, feta cheese
- homemade Greek dressing: the recipe from the cookbook is about 1/4 red wine vinegar or lemon juice to 3/4 olive oil (I think next time I'll reduce the olive oil for a little more acidity), dried oregano and minced garlic

I don't think I'm making one this week, but another favorite cold meal is Pasta Salad:
- Cooked pasta (rotini, tri-colored, whatever is in the pantry)
- Mini or chopped pepperoni
- Diced and shredded vegetables: green/red peppers, shredded carrots, finely diced (or dried) onion, green olives, grape tomatoes (halved?), and whatever else sounds good
- Shredded cheese
- Oil and (red wine) vinegar dressing with Italian seasoning, pepper, salt, garlic powder
Let it sit in the fridge for at least a few hours to let the flavors meld, then eat for lunches and dinners.

The above, plus the leftover Buffalo chicken and beans for a couple lunches and maybe another meal, should about do the trick for the week.   

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Useless and not so useless information

I am continually being fooled by frozen broccoli.  I buy chopped- too small and more stems.  I buy spears- way too big.  What's correct?  Is it florets?

I refuse to pass bicyclists on or just before hills.  I don't care if you honk at me.  And I will say out loud (not yelling, mind you, just a normal voice) what an idiot you are when you honk (though I do not use poor language to do this).  Sorry folks, the opinion of random motorists is not worth a head-on collision.  Take a chill pill and enjoy the scenery for a minute.     

I think it's hilarious and a little awful when one of my friends answers a Facebook poll about "Yes, I want to remain on your friends list."  Um, did you look at who wrote that poll question?  Are you friends with them?  What about the 13, 456 other people who also answered the poll question?  Do you think they all know the original author?  Why are these polls still floating around?

I recently finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  I picked it up before we went on vacation based on a recommendation on Ungrind.  It is set shortly after World War II in Europe.  It is a light novel, but it touches on heavier subjects.  The story is told in the form of letters, which could bother some readers.  It didn't take me long to get into the story so that this didn't matter, and I was reading as I would read any other novel.  I enjoyed the characters and the way the authors formed them through what could be a difficult medium (letters).  The book is certainly a product of the 21st century in a few cultural aspects, but I do feel I can recommend it.  A discerning reader can enjoy it for what it is: an enjoyable, historical fiction (but not too heavy) novel.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Western Trip, part I: All Creatures Great and Small

We just returned from a trip out West a couple weeks ago.  We were away for 15 days.  We visited 5 national parks.  We took 4200 pictures.  I have been working on a post about the trip practically since we got back.  It is proving harder to write and longer than I expected.  I also wanted to include pictures, which means that we need to sort them out and match them up with the appropriate parts of the trip.   We're still working on that.  Since the post was getting so long I decided to break it up.  Here is part I.

My husband likes lists.  Thus we had several of them going during the trip.  One of them included our running tally of the animals we had seen while hiking, driving, walking throughout the trip. 

These included:




Angus cattle (ok, that's not so different from home)


A moose cow
Chipmunk or ground squirrel...not sure which

Bison (in the front yard of the Yellowstone Lake Inn, no less)

Bighorn sheep ewes and lambs


Black bear (this isn't the best picture, but we were driving by literally about 2 feet away and I had to be quick)

Pronghorn antelope

More elk (this was a herd of mamas and babies just hanging out in the field near the Roosevelt Arch as we drove out of to the pronghorns)

Mountain goats (in the road as we drove the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National Park)

Bighorn sheep

More goats (at Logan Pass in Glacier N.P.)
There were others as well: magpies, various water birds, ground squirrels, chipmunks, wood ducks (mama and babies) and I'm probably missing a few.  The variety of Creation is astounding, as we were reminded every time we turned around.  More pictures to follow.