Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday 21

1. no major flooding after a huge rainstorm.
2. The possibility of doing something impossible.
3. Blockette's piano fun time
4. Blockette entertaining herself while I am shopping.
5. The summer is starting to feel like it isn't moving at a snails pace.
6. Birthday month is near.
7. Getting both old man cats to play like they were kittens again.
8. Finding 2 movies at the library that were girly movies
9. Finding time to watch said movies when no there is no one around to comment on the fact that I am crying over a movie.
10. realizing Blockette doesn't need as many new clothes as I thought.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Turtle Burgers Two Ways

When it comes down to the bricks and sticks, I can't decide which one would be more gross to actually consume,
Low Carb Turtle Burger 1:


Triple heart attack (One burger = pound of beef +1/2 a pound of bacon+ three hotdogs)Turtle Burger 2:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pickle Chicken

Ever remember reading about something but you have no idea where you read it? Heh. That's pretty much the story of my life. So, somewhere, and I don't even know if it was on the Internet, I read about things to do with leftover pickle juice. Most of the suggestions seemed pretty weird. There was one that caught my eye, brining a chicken.

I didn't have a whole chicken, or enough pickle juice to brine a whole chicken. What I did have was 4 chicken breasts, and exactly enough pickle juice to brine aforementioned meat. So I dumped the meat and brine into a zip bag and let it marinate in the fridge for about 8 hrs.

Know what I forgot? A briny solution can cook meat. The edges of the meat had cooked!!! I was so afraid that they would be tough and rubbery after grilling. Luckily they were not. Brining a chicken does make the meat moist and tender. I will say that.

If you look at the picture below, you can see that the chicken has a slight yellowish green cast around the edges. Not very appetizing.

So what did the chicken taste like? Are you ready for this? It tasted just like a PICKLE! Very weird. We all like dill pickles so it wasn't horrible...just a bit unusual. We all dipped our chicken in Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce and the pickle-y taste was neutralized. Sweet Baby Ray's covers a lot of evils. Or was it...Sweet Baby Ray's is evil? One of the two.

The conclusion drawn from this experiment was that while the chicken was tender, it wasn't any more tender than any other marinaded chicken. If we are going to smother it in BBQ sauce why not just marinate it in BBQ sauce in the first place. If this chicken were to get a grade it would be a C. I won't be making it again

Monday, July 26, 2010

Grilled Citrus Tilapia

Here's another fish recipe courtesy of Fire and Flavor cedar grill planks. Num! Yeah I said "num" about fish. Mrblocko is making a convert out of me. So far, the fish we've made on the cedar planks does not taste fishy. It has a nice smokey earthy flavor that either eliminates or masks that fish flavor I dislike so much. I don't care either way. I'm eating more fish and that's all that matters in my book.

Aside from the smokey flavor from the planks, the fish has a fresh and citrus-y flavor from the lime and cilantro. Two more great flavors that helps hide the fish taste from your tongue.

This recipe is an all around winner. I served it with rice, black beans, grilled onions and salsa on the side. Blockette liked it so much she even ate her black beans. I think that's like getting 5 stars from Gordon Ramsey.

Grilled Citrus Fish from Fire and Flavor
3 T fresh Lime or Orange Juice (I used Lime)
1/4 c olive oil
3 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 T ground cumin
up to 1 1/2 lbs of fish (I used 3 small fillets of Tilapia cause I still think leftover fish is icky poo poo)
1 cedar grilling plank, soaked for at least an hour.

Preheat grill to medium low heat, about 350 F. While the grill is preheating, mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl along with salt and pepper to taste. Add fish and marinade to a plastic zip bag to marinate at room temp for about 10 min. Remove fish from bag and discard marinade. Place soaked plank on the grill and heat for 3 min. Flip the plank and place the fish on the heated side of the plank. Grill with the lid closed for 12-15 min.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thankful Thursday 20

1. Flashcards
2. Refunds
3. Finding the stingy bug hive while it was still smaller than a tennis ball.
4. Mrblocko is willing to remove bug houses.
5. Blockette was extremely good at a boring grown up meeting.
6. Blockette was extremely quiet when I had the beginnings of a migraine.
7. Getting my to do list done before it got insanely hot.
8. Blockette agreeing that it is too hot and humid to run around outside
9. Free ice cream.
10. Blockette didn't get a black eye/bloody nose when she walked into the divider/scanner thingie when we were leaving the library.
11. Mrblocko was able to remove the virus on my computer that was acting like an anti-virus program.
12. My aunt was not seriously injured in her car accident.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Degrassi = The Simpsons

Hi. My name is Mrsblocko, and I watch Degrassi. I started watching it back when I was in Jr High and it was called Degrassi Jr High and Degrassi High. Waaay back when the only place you could watch it in the U.S. was on PBS. Way before The N and Teen Nick. I'm not sure if rocks were invented yet.

Now I'm all grown up and, yes, I STILL watch Degrassi: The Next Generation. I could blame it all on my geekiness. They called the new Degrassi, "The Next Generation" after Star Trek: The Next Generation. How could I, Queen Geek that I am, not like something like that. Yes it is a teen soap opera. I'm coming clean and I don't care who knows that I watch a dumb show with a target audience for teens. Whew, that was liberating!

For those of you who are wondering, there is no need for you to feel sorry for Mrblocko. He just plugs in his lap top, slaps on his headphones and plays his computer game de jour. He gets to do something he likes, and so do I. It's a win win situation! yay!

Anywho... I'm bringing this up because season 10 started this week. This time around they are airing it like a telenovela...a new episode every night for 6 weeks. Score! Something to watch on the TV during the broadcast wasteland that is the end of the summer.

After I watched the season opener on Monday, I observed Degrassi and The Simpsons have some strange parallels. Here's what I mean:

The Simpsons:
Edna, A frustrated elementary school teacher falls in love with her boss, the principal, named Skinner. They have known each other for years. They have a whirlwind romance and it ends in disaster.

Degrassi: TNG:
Emma, a frustrated college student falls in love with her new boss, manager of the coffee shop, named Spinner. They have known each other for years. They get married while drunk and decide that they are in deed in love. (Talk about a whirlwind romance...will it end in disaster????)

Weirder still...Emma's step dad is now Degrassi High's new principal...his name??? Mr. Simpson.

Coincidence??? I think not.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cookie Dough Brownies

My sister-in-law turned 15 a few weeks ago. Ugh, that makes me feel old considering she was a little older than Blockette is now when we got married.

Anyhow, I guess as she is getting older more of her extended family is forgetting her birthday. We went out to visit her and I thought I should bring some sort of Birthday goodie. But what to bring??? I went through my recipes and everything I wanted to make was just not conducive to traveling over an hour in the hot hotness of the car, no matter how high the AC was cranked.

My first choice was to make Peabody's chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake, but warm cheesecake is icky icky poo poo. So I thought, why not make the cookie dough balls from that recipe and stick it in brownies?

The cookie dough was a pain in the butt. It was so humid that the balls did not want to retain their shape. They kept spreading and oozing into one another in hopes of making one giant cookie dough amoeba. I got them in the freezer as quick as I could, and rolled them again once they had congealed.

Be forewarned...the cookie dough recipe makes a lot. The cookie dough is evil! Evil I tells ya. I guess it is OK sort of evil though. I mean there is no egg in the recipe, so you can't gack from ookie bacteria or nuthin. No, you'll just die from the bliss of a sugar coma because you try to eat the whole batch in one sitting. MMMM sweet sweet cookie dough bliss.

Anyhow, I used my small cookie dough scooper to portion out the balls, then I cut them in half and placed them a top the brownie batter. (And why yes, I used a box mix cause I happen to like box mixes, especially when they are on sale and I have a coupon so there food elitists!)The brownies really puffed up around the cookie dough. I was surprised how much they had risen. Ultimately, I found myself wishing that there was a higher cookie dough to brownie ratio. If I make these again, I will stir some cookie dough balls into the batter and then put more cookie dough on the top for decoration. I'll also use mini chips in the cookie dough. Then the chocolate chips will be more evenly distributed throughout the whole cookie dough balls.

Chocolate chip cookie dough balls from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
½ cup chocolate chips

Using a stand mixer (or a bowl and beaters), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. With speed on low, slowly add flour, alternating with condensed milk, beating g well after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips. Shape balls into 1-inch balls and place into an air tight container. Store in freezer for at least 3 hours.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thankful Thursday 19

1. a moment of quiet time to myself
2. a nice trip to the store with Blockette
3. after dinner walks
4. time to read
5. surprise naps
6. I was the one who accidentally broke the CFL light bulb, not Blockette.
7. Not cutting my foot on broken light bulb glass cause I didn't have no foot covers on.
8. Rockin a serious sale at Old Navy. ( 3 shirts and a pair of shorts all for $12!!! Can I get a whoot whoot?)
9. Ice cubes
10. Finding time to sew.
11. Fans
12. Air conditioning
13. Did I say air conditioning.
14. Oh yeah, one more thing, air conditioning.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Harvest

Ever try to take a picture of a 4 year old holding something? A wriggly squirrelly 4 year old? You get 27 blurry pictures before everyone's patience wears out. At least in the photo below you can tell Blockette is holding a tomato and not a pink blob with a red blob in the middle.

Blockette was so excited about our first cherry tomato. Every time we went outside we had to check to see if the tomato was red enough to pick. When we decided it had ripened enough I asked her, "So, are you gonna eat it?"
Then I said, "But you grew it. You grew it yourself and you don't want to eat it?"
"Well yeah! I DO want to eat it!" Blockette exclaimed. Mrblocko cut the tiny cherry tomato in half so they could share in the bounty. I told Blockette to pop the whole piece in her mouth. She actually listened. At first, she made a funny face, but then when I asked her how it was she said, "I like it mommy. It was delicious."

I asked Mrblocko how it tasted. He shrugged and said, "Like a warm tomato."

Well yeah...I just picked it and it was hot out. Of course it was warm. When the other cherry tomatoes ripen I'll pick them earlier in the day and let them cool off in the fridge a bit before dinner.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Turkey Pesto Burgers

Pesto turkey burgers...first I have to say, "Duh." I forgot to take a picture of this burger. The camera was even sitting right there on the kitchen counter. Why must I be so hungry at mealtimes??? I get hungry and all I can think about is eating the food, not taking pictures of it. I really wonder how people with successful blogs do it. Do they have to make the dish more than once because they are too famished to remember to snap a pic?? Well, if I'm going to mess up and forget to take a photo of something is might as well have been this burger. Looking at it, it doesn't look different from any other meat patty.

I found the recipe on a blog called Oishii. In case you didn't know, oishii is Japanese for delicious. You'd better believe this Turkey Pesto burger was oishii...totemo oishii. I did have to make a slight variation know I always do. I used store bought pesto.

Hopefully you have recovered from your shock and horror of this dreadful admission. I did have every intention of making pesto from scratch. First, both of my Basil plants have not fared well. The purple one is dead dead dead. The regular basil is struggling and only has a few salvageable leaves. My uncle gave me several basil plants but they are all seedlings still. Hopefully, at least one of them will thrive enough for me to make at least one batch of pesto from scratch.

Anyhow, so I thought I'd just pick up a bunch of basil from the grocery store. Um no. They sell bunches of mint, parsley and cilantro. The basil is in a little clam shell plastic container. I would have needed to buy at least 6 of them. No way. The jar of premade pesto cost less than one package of basil. Insane!!!

This recipe was so super easy, esp since I used the store bought pesto. I just took four spoonfuls from my handy dandy jar of Classico Basil Pesto Sauce and mixed them up with a pound of ground turkey. That's it!

The original plan was make this before we went to go visit my mom in Minnesota ,but our leftovers stretched out a day longer than I expected. The ground turkey had already been sitting in the fridge for several days, and I thought it might exceed its life expectancy if it was left there too much longer. I had done something moronic and let chicken defrost on that same plate. Well, as you can imagine, the chicken got its salmonillariffic juices on the ground turkey wrapper, so refreezing the turkey was not really an option. So, I mixed up the burgers, formed them into individual patties and popped the patties in the freezer.

I took the burgers out the night before we were going to eat them. By the next day they were still partially frozen. Mrblocko said that he thought this was a good thing. The burgers were very moist when I shaped them. I think their slightly frozen state helped keep them from falling apart on the grill. Mrblocko thought that he might have over cooked them, but if he did, they were not dry in the least. The next time I make these, if I freeze them first, I'll be sure to give them a light coating of olive oil as they stuck a bit on the grill.

Pesto Turkey burgers from Oishii
2-3 cups of basil leaves, washed and dried*
a big handful of walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a skillet
1 clove of garlic
a handful of Parmesan cheese
juice of 1/2 a lime
about 1/4 cup of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb. ground turkey
hamburger buns of your choice
1 sweet white onion, sliced into thick rings
tomato slices

First, make the pesto: Combine the basil, mizuna (if using), walnuts, garlic, Parmesan, and lime juice in a food processor. Process until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil, until it reaches a good consistency. Season with salt & pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Pour pesto into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until use (Makes about 1 cup – more than needed for the burgers, but you can freeze it if you want).

Place the ground turkey in a large bowl. Season the top with salt & pepper. Add 3 or 4 heaping spoonfuls of pesto to the bowl. Mix with your hands until pesto is incorporated into the meat. Divide meat into 4-5 portions (depending on how thick you like your burgers), form patties, and place on a plate. Cover and chill while you prepare the grill.

Brush the tops and bottoms of the buns with olive oil and set aside. Brush onion slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grill onions until nice and charred, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Grill burgers about 4-5 minutes on each side. When the burgers are almost done, grill the tops and bottoms of the buns until golden and toasty.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Indian Chicken

I am not the number one fan of Indian food, so I have no idea why Simple Comfort Food's recipe for Indian Chicken caught my eye. The marinade is yogurt based, with lots of delicious spices to boot. Mrblocko was upset because the marinade was so thick it stuck to the grill. I have no idea what he was talking about. As you can see from the picture below, only a small part of the marinade came off of the chicken. Since I am the one who does the shopping and I really don't like dark meat, I used 4 large chicken breasts in place of the 6-8 chicken thighs the recipe called for. The recipe also calls for half of a thick sliced red onion. I used the whole hugemongous red onion.

The red onion really makes the dish. We really should have grilled up two large red onions. The chicken breasts were so large that we only ate two of them. We ate that whole grilled onion up though. If I had cooked up two red onions there would have been some to eat with the leftovers.

Oh, there was one more change I made to this recipe. I used Jasmine rice instead of Basmati. Jasmine is my favorite rice I rarely buy anything else. It's just so nutty and stinks up the house real perty-like.
What did Blockette think of this global dish? Well, Blockette was having a severe attitude problem at dinner which resulted in her going to bed without finishing her dinner. (Before you go flaming me about how I'm a horrible parent, sending my kid to bed without dinner...know that we ate dinner extremely late that night and it was almost her bed time anyway.)

We have a new rule in our house that if Blockette gets put to bed on account of her behavior she has to eat the rest of her dinner for breakfast. We started this after we realized she was intentionally misbehaving in order to get out of eating. I had wondered if this was the case or if she was just overtired. Apparently, she was just overtired because she ate her Indian Chicken and rice for breakfast with no problems at all and even asked if I could make it again. Yay!

Indian chicken from Simple comfort food
1 cup of plain yogurt
Juice of one lime
Lime, cut in quarters for plating, extra juice if needed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cloves of garlic, minced
small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
generous pinch of salt
generous pinch of pepper
6-8 boneless, skinless, organic chicken thighs
1/2 red onion, thick sliced
1/4 cup of olive oil
Basmati rice, cooked

Begin by mixing everything but the red onion and olive oil in a bowl. Add this mixture to a large ziplock bag, placing your chicken thighs in the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken (from the outside of the bag), seal, and place inside of the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, however the longer the better.

Get your grill started, and get it heated to a medium heat. As the grill is heating, remove the bag from the refrigerator and let the thighs take some of the chill off. To a small bowl, add the sliced onions, and pour the olive oil on top of the onions, gently coating them. Place your thighs on the grill. Don’t worry if cilantro gets on them because that is what you want. Grill your chicken thighs for about seven minutes on each side. Flip, and repeat for the other seven minutes. Add the onion slices to the grill, and cook for a few minutes, just until they become nice and tender.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thankful Thursday 18

1. time alone with mrblocko
2. all the silly things Blockette comes up with
3. Not killing each other after an insanely long car ride.
4. Less earwigs
5. No surprises
6. Planting the annuals my uncle gave me before I keeled over from the heat
7. Ceiling fans
8. time to read a good book...a grown up one
9. finding time to work on craft projects
10. mint oreos
11. a weekend at my mom's
12. Getting the annuals my uncle gave me in the ground before it started raining...again.
13. Finding out Blockette has morning kindergarden!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How Fortunate...

Mrblocko and I were fortunate enough to gave the opportunity to consume a meal sans munchkin this weekend. We went to a Chinese restaurant which provided us with the following chopsticks. The weird thing is, I've used this brand of bamboo chopsticks many many times before. I guess I never really paid much attention. In case you can't tell from the photo, it reads:

Welcome to Chinese Restaurant.
Please try your Nice Chinese Food With Chopsticks.
the traditional and typical of Chinese glonous history.
and cultural.

I never knew China had a glonous history. and cultural. I thought I was paying attention in all those Chinese History classes back in college. Maybe I fell asleep that day.

If that wasn't enough, I was then presented with a fortune cookie that held this little nugget of wisdom:
I don't know about you, but oversetimating ones capacities sounds like it might be painful.

Don't think Mrblocko missed out on all the fun. His fortune is a result of translating something from French to Latin to English to Chinese and back to English again. When you do all that you get: "I think and that is all that I am."

Wonder what Descartes would have to say about that.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudge Pie

I love desserts that don't require me to heat up the house with the oven in the summertime. This No Bake peanut butter pie definitely fits the bill. I wanted to make a nice dessert for Mrblocko for Father's Day weekend. (Yeah, I know that was weeks ago, but I'm slow in writing up these posts.) Not only was this pie great because It didn't require the oven, but it was quick and easy to put together. Oh, and it was delicious too! Can't beat that with a stick. I first saw a peanut butter pie recipe over at Pioneer Woman. Then I stumbled across one at Disney's Family Fun and Blisstree. They were all slightly different and I couldn't decide which one I thought was the best so I combined them all and came up with the following recipe:

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie
1 (6 oz) pre-made Graham cracker crust (or make your own)
1 (8 oz) package of softened cream cheese (I used neufachel)
1/2 c sugar (I used white but I think brown would give the pie a darker color)
1 c peanut butter (I used creamy)
1/2 c milk (I used skim)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 c (one 8 oz tub) cool whip (I used low fat)
1 (11.5 oz) jar hot fudge ice cream topping
10 Hershey's dark chocolate with peanut mini candy bars. chopped
peanuts for garnish

Heat your hot fudge topping so it is runny enough to stir. Let cool slightly. In the meantime, with an electric mixer, combine sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Then add peanut butter, milk, and vanilla. Blend until combined. By hand, gently fold in the cool whip, in 2 parts. Do not over mix or you will get a runny mess. Pour half of this mixture into your pie crust, level this out with a spatula. Then, carefully pour your hot fudge over the top of this. (I used about 3/4 of the container, because I wasn't sure if there was enough volume in the pan for the whole thing.) Carefully spread the fudge topping to the edges. Next, pour the remainder of the pie filling over the topping. Spread out to cover all the fudge. Top with chopped chocolate and peanuts. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve once the pie has set.

A word of caution, if you think your pie isn't setting up quick enough you can stick it in the freezer. However, if you leave it in there for too long it will be as hard as a rock and impossible to slice. You'll have to leave the pie on the counter and go run an errand to Home Depot or some such nonsense. By the time you get home your pie will be slice-able again. Hooray!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thankful Thursday 17

1. I was not home when Mrblocko found the Lord of the Rings-esque spider climbing up the Dining room curtains.
2. No fits at the grocery store.
3. Time to myself
4. Vacation Bible school for Blockette.
5. Mrblocko isn't afraid to squoosh bugs with his bare hands.
6. Cooler days and nights.
7. Mrblocko understands my irrational fear of bugs.
8. Blockette singing at the top of her lungs.