Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Will They Or Won’t They” – Done Right

S&A1With this week’s episode, The Locomotive Manipulation, The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler officially became one of my favorite couples ever.

I’ve been a fan of The Big Bang Theory from episode one, appreciating the quirky characters and silly humor supplied by producer Chuck Lorre, the amazing writing staff, and the hugely talented cast of actors. But it was the introduction of Mayim Bialik’s Amy Farrah Fowler as a romantic foil for the seemingly asexual Sheldon Cooper (played by the exquisite Jim Parsons) that really kicked the show up a notch, if you ask my opinion. The evolving relationship between these two characters has proven an absolute delight, and I would say it is one of the best examples ever of the will-they-or-won’t-they tease ever depicted on a TV program. Continue reading

Easy, Ugly Cube Steak Casserole

I chose another dish when I submitted my “Winter Warmer”, cold weather, stick-to-your-ribs recipe – but this one ran a close second. Its delicious, easy and filling, but man, is it ever ugly. I’ll provide the ingredients and directions, and you can decide the quantities. Continue reading

Do you know this product?

I hope someone here can help me locate another pair of the most remarkable pants. They’re workout gear, men’s, and they have the label “level 8″ stamped on them. I own one pair, want 20 more and can’t find them anywhere. The original pair was purchased on clearance at Ross for my son, who refused to wear them because he felt they were too girly. I decided to keep them for myself and now I wear them just about every time they come out of the laundry.

Why are they so special? First, they’re perfect leggings, extremely narrow legged with a band of rubber at the ankle that keeps them from riding up under boots. They’re reversible so you can wear them with either a matte or shiny side out. Best of all is the fit. Being menswear they’re very long in the leg, and being fitness wear they’re very stretchy and don’t bag at the knee by noon. They’re also much warmer than your typical legging or jegging.

Unfortunately, because of the reverse-ability, the manufacturer’s tag was made to be removed, which I wasted no time doing. “Level 8″ is the only clue I have to find more and internet searches have not been successful.

Do know this product? Any help would be vastly appreciated.

Winter Warmers – Chicken Roast

This delicious, easy chicken dish is made on the stovetop, similar to the traditional pot roast. You have control over quantity, so you can feed two or a holiday crowd.

Boneless Chicken Breasts (3-6 or even more. I use tenders)
Minced Garlic
Chicken Broth (bouillon OK)
Potatoes (chopped into pieces)
Onions (minced or fresh, chopped)
Carrots (peeled and cut. I use packaged baby carrots)
Vegetable oil
Water
Salt and Pepper
Bay leaf (optional)

Heat a couple of tablespoons vegetable oil in a dutch oven on medium. (I use a nonstick spray first)
Brown thawed breasts.
Add garlic and onion, salt and pepper to taste
Add carrots

Fill pot 1/2 way with chicken broth, add water if needed until carrots are just covered. Cook on high to boiling and then reduce heat to slow simmer. Cover and cook for 30 mins or until carrots are about halfway done.

Add potatoes and cook until all vegetables are tender and ready to eat, adding broth or water as needed.

I didn’t provide measurements because the amount needed is subjective. If you’re cooking two breasts, obviously the pot you use and the amount of vegetables will be much smaller than if you’re feeding a large group. That’s the great thing about this dish. I’ve cooked it in everything from a sauce pan to a huge stock pot, as needed. It can be dressed up when serving or dumped into one bowl.

However you treat it, this meal will stick to your ribs!

Winter Warmers: Ad Hoc Scalloped Potatoes

potato2A lot of my recipes are those I’ve sort of made up through goofing around in the kitchen, not really having the ingredients I’m supposed to have to make the recipe I’ve got in mind to cook. So what starts out to be something out of a cookbook turns out to be a variation on a theme. My scalloped potatoes is one of those recipes.

You can make this in a deep baking dish (which I usually do) or in a lasagna-type pan (which I’ve done when the baking dishes aren’t washed and I’m too lazy to wash one by hand).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Ingredients
6-8 potatoes washed and sliced into about 1/4″ pieces (I leave the skins on since I heard that skins are good for you, but you don’t have to)

large onion or a bunch of green onions cut into bite-sized pieces

ham slice cut into bite-sized pieces (I usually use ham and about a third of a summer sausage cut into bite-sized pieces because the summer sausage adds some of its own spice, but this isn’t absolutely needed)

dill or another spice either fresh or dried, to taste

2 cups milk (I’ve used whole, 2 percent, and skim at one time or another; all work)

1/4 cup flour

1/4 butter or margarine

non-stick spray like Pam Continue reading

Summer Recipes: Jean’s Random Dressings

Summer is salad season for me.  Period.  It’s been less salady this year than other years because we had one heat wave of unending discomfort for two weeks, and everything else has been sub 30, and mostly sub 25 C.  (Sorry for all the Americans out there, but I can’t do Fahrenheit.  I can’t.)

Anyway, when I do bring out my trusty chopped salad (= chop random veggies in the fridge and toss) I start experimenting with dressings.  I’m not too imaginative with the salad ingredients because I tend to be conservative in my grocery shopping (= cheap), except when it comes to cheese.  So the salad dressing is where I can shell out a bit more, because it goes a long way, and try different things.

Here are my three staple salad dressings, which I just dump over salads, and often other random dishes.  Everything I do is guesstimated, with a dash here and a pinch there, and I use dinner spoons to dollop things out.  BS = Big Spoon, and LS = Little Spoon.  (I’m low tech in the kitchen.  This is why I’m crap at baking.)  Hope you enjoy them!

– Jean AAR

Continue reading

In or Out?

olive-garden

I cook a lot, especially during the summer. Weekends find me doing breakfast (egg sandwiches, biscuits, gravy, bacon and eggs or some sort of casserole), lunch which can be anything from sandwiches to a full four course meal and dinner, which normally comes from the crock pot. I also customize a lot – adding mac and cheese to the menu to accommodate a fussy eater or cooking a quick pizza for the kids while my husband and I eat Thai food.

All that cooking means when I get the chance to eat out I am delighted. However, in a recent conversation with some new friends my husband talked about how he really didn’t enjoy eating out. He far preferred to eat at home, even when the at home meal was just sandwiches and a side. Part of that might be that he rarely cooks :-) But I do have several friends whose husbands also feel that way. For them the wholesomeness and simplicity of home fare wins out over polishing off their company manners and heading to a restaurant for fancier fare.

Even among my friends that do enjoy eating out there is some debate about what kind of meals should be eaten when away from home. I don’t eat burgers that aren’t homemade and won’t even eat a salad from McDonald’s. Their food just doesn’t agree with my digestive system and I prefer to eat a quick sandwich at the house than eat there. One of my friends recently went to one of the more pricey restaurants in our town and disliked the way everything was a la carte. I hate to experiment with my food and tend to eat only dishes made from familiar ingredients and spices. I like family restaurants such as Olive Garden or Red Lobster. I rarely feel like truly “fine dining”.

So, different strokes for different folks. What about you? Do you prefer to eat in or go out? What restaurants do you like?

– Maggie AAR