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What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition

Last night's dinner was a Bourbon-brown sugar marinated strip steak (well, actually, no bourbon), garlic mashed potatoes, corn with grilled zucchini and red pepper, and fresh peach, plum, and nectarines. It really hit the spot. Beefy, filling steak, comforting mashed potatoes, yum.

Tonight I have a dinner conference to attend but at least there's an open bar. It's humpday and I'm feeling like a glass of wine will do the trick.

What's for Dinner #326 - The Fall Pursuits Edition

I don't know if there are some kind of histamines out in the air making me tired or what, but the past week I feel like I can hardly hold my eyelids open past 9pm!

Last night was no exception and DH and I were entertaining! The couple ran late and didn't arrive until nearly 8:30--practically my bedtime lol. We had some quite cool weather yesterday and so I ended up modifying my menu to make chili, mexican cornbread, and a skillet apple pie for our John Wayne Western movie night. Made it through dinner but dozed off a couple times in the movie.

As for the meal, nothing is still tasting quite right. Maybe it's not my cooking but my taster. The chili was great, but don't think I'll be doing the cornbread or apple pie again.

DH and I (well, ok, mostly him) are taking advantage of the cooler weather to organize the attic. Yuck what a job. But I need to find my fall decorations and this was a good time.

Sep 13, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking
1

What's for dinner #325 - The Transition to Autumn Edition [through September 12, 2014]

We've had some very fall-like weather roll in. Hoping to enjoy it today and tomorrow.

We're having company over for dinner and a movie tonight. On the menu is grilled steaks, homemade french fries, creamed succotash, pickle salad, and apple pie a la mode for dessert. We're watch a western so I thought this comfort-food western-themed dinner was right up the alley.

What's for dinner #325 - The Transition to Autumn Edition [through September 12, 2014]

I think I've lost my cooking mojo.

Used to be that the "eh, wouldn't make that again" meals were few and far between. But recently it seems to be pretty much every other night! Maybe it's the new house, new pans, and new palates I'm trying to cook for.

For example, last night I really had a hankering for macaroni and cheese. I had seen WF had some green chile mac and ever since then I was dying for some. So I went the whole 9 yards--jalapeno bacon cheddar mac n' cheese. There was at least $15 worth of cheese in that alone! It made an enormous amount and with only 4 of us here, I froze a 9x13 and baked the rest off in a gratin dish. With about 8 pots and pans sitting in the sink, I dug into it. It was kind of grainy from the cheeses, not all that flavorful (despite the additions of bacon, jalapeno, onion, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce), and overall just kind of "blah". It wasn't bad necessarily, but definitely a waste of money, labor, and an abuse of my pans. To top it all off, my oven barbecued chicken was overcooked.

How will I ever regain my cooking mojo? If you have any blue-ribbon winner type recipes I'd love to hear.

In the meantime my mother is throwing my birthday dinner tonight. It will be a one pot meal of pork chops, apples, onions, sweet potatoes over yellow rice. I initially had a menu I was going to prepare and honestly would prefer it over the pork chops, but luckily came to my senses and realized I want to take advantage of mom's cooking as long as possible. I was going to make the almond praline cake from bon appetit but i'm doubting my skills. So I may pick up an ice cream cake or the nearest grocery's carrot cake. Not very chowsery, but I think I've done enough pots this week!

What's for Dinner #324 - School's Back in Session Edition [through September 7, 2014]

Getting lots of housework accomplished today so a roast with carrots and potatoes in the oven it is. Nothing quite like the smell of a roast in the oven. It's a close second to bacon :)

Sep 07, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What to do with LOTS of fresh basil?

I agree with pesto. Actually, we had so much that I ended up putting it in smaller cans, freezing, and giving to neighbors as Christmas gift!

Sep 07, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #324 - School's Back in Session Edition [through September 7, 2014]

Tonight is the stepson's night to choose dinner (do we say DSS?) and he has chosen taco ring (taco meat stuffed-crescent rolls), taco rice, and doritos.

This is all part of the compromise that I struck with my DH and step kids: they choose one dinner, alternating weeks, the night we have church they'll get fast food, and the remaining 2 week nights I get to choose but they can take or leave anything on their plate and if they prefer may make a sandwich, cereal, or leftovers. There's definitely a bit of compromise on both ends, but it's going pretty well. Apparently ketchup does miracles on most of the food I cook!

Tonight, with the first NFL game, I have to say I am pretty content to be making such an easy and satisfying dinner

Easy (yet tasty) mid-week birthday dinner ideas

As much as I love to cook, and do so for all my other family members' birthdays, when it hits my birthday I typically opt for something very easy, be it ordering in pizza or a crockpot roast, to save my energy.

This year I would like to cook something a bit more exciting that can perhaps be made in phases in advance and thrown together within 2 hours. There will be 6-8 of us. I really have a hankering for a southern-style meal of fried chicken, but I just think the cleanup and the mess would be too much. Any ideas and planning suggestions appreciated!

Sep 03, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #323 - The Labor Day Edition! [through Sept 3, 2014]

I cannot recommend my dinner :( The chicken was overly lemony, and not even the good kind, the dishwater kind. The corn cakes were passable, but honestly still lacking flavor and I'd much prefer it in cornbread form.

Sep 02, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #323 - The Labor Day Edition! [through Sept 3, 2014]

Grilled chicken marinated in a lemon and garlic marinade, corncakes with bacon, and a salad on the side. I'm still loving summer here.

What's for Dinner #323 - The Labor Day Edition! [through Sept 3, 2014]

Last night DH and I went to my parents' for a cookout. There was honey mustard-glazed grilled chicken, baked beans, a vegetable tray, corn pudding, tomato and mozzarella salad (I brought), and strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Today DH and I are (finally) taking it easy and just going to do some swimming with another couple and their kids. Grilling hotdogs, probably potato chips and fruit salad, and the woman will bring some other snacks and brownies. It's still near-100 degree weather so some pool time is much needed!

What's for Dinner #322 - the pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition [through August 30th, 2014]

Tonight is teen's choice so we are having a dinner of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and peas. Not the most exciting meal, but I never grow tired of it and it reminds me of my grandmother's cooking. Bonus: I know they'll actually eat it. Will be following that up with some college football watching. It's the one thing that makes the close of summer stomachable.

What's for Dinner #321 - Seasons Change Edition [through August 26, 2014]

At 99o, the seasons sure don't feel like they're changing. I'm going to wait at least another week on my PSL.

DH is away on business so it's just me and the step kids (is there an abbreviation for that). Trying to make everyone happy so I'm grilling some basic chicken. Will be served with canned corn and cantaloupe for them, and for me I will put the chicken in a pita with a yogurt sauce I made and a chickpea, tomato, and cucumber salad, the leftovers of which will go with me tomorrow (and possibly Thursday).

Aug 26, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking
1

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

Many thanks to all the great responses. I just wasn't sure how to satisfy the both of us and what I've gleaned from the responses is to not take it personally, for her it's not a big deal. I'll let her decide how involved she wants to be by asking if she has one requested dinner that she can help me cook, and then let her know what other meals I'll be making, go ahead and prepare enough for 3 but plan for leftovers and have her add frozen options to the grocery list.

Yesterday was also the first day of school and I think that might have had more to do with her mood than anything. Today has been quite a different story! I'm sad that we can't bond over food (at least yet), but I wouldn't want it to get in the way of bonding over other things.

Oh and to the person who mentioned baking with her: I think this may be the way to get her interested in cooking. She does like making cookies.

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

I knew exactly what you meant. And thank you.

Aug 20, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

Very good advice, thank you. I really think a portion of it is a lot like my husband--never really being exposed to food and so not being comfortable with new foods. Some meals she will not like, there just really isn't a way around that, but rather than trying to guess at meals she likes, i will flat out ask her what she'd like for me to make. Thanks!

Aug 20, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

THANK YOU! I think this is a wonderful solution. Lack of planning I think will wind up with more confusion and backlash. I will make my menus, and I already have the grocery list on the fridge. I will instruct her to choose the dinners she will be eating with us, and add alternatives to the grocery list for the times she is not. And in any event, her dad wants her to sit down to eat with us.

Aug 20, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

I'm sorry you misunderstood this--of course I meant in the case that she refuses to eat, let's say, lamb chops, it would probably be wasteful to buy said lamb chops for 3 when what she wants is frozen potato skins. But in the event she did want to have the dinner with us I would not want to not have enough to share. In every situation, her food needs would be taken care of.

Aug 20, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

Thank you, I realize this which is why I come here for thoughts. I'm not really sure what "let it go" means in this context. Does it mean cook for her and if she hates it get over it? Does it mean cook the food she likes and let go of the foods I like? Does it mean not cook anything for her, and just let her figure it out?

Aug 20, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

I think there are multiple factors. I don't think I'm even that much on her radar--she has all the accompanying 15 year old stuff to deal with. Her life has just changed a lot and maybe she's trying to hold onto how things went before when she had a single dad who didn't cook and would buy any fast food she wanted. My husband knows its a problem but, like me, is not sure what to do about it. She's not 4, after all. And he doesn't want to cause MORE problems. Because of the fast food-before-dinner debacle of yesterday, he has imposed a new rule of no outside food snacks before dinner. And he insists that she sit at the table with us. But he still doesn't understand why it's a big deal to me. I know I may need to let the dinner situation with the teen go, but it does bother me and I cannot seem to explain why.

I think I'll take the advice of letting her make her own meals. This way I avoid the food fights and someone loses. Does this mean I only buy food for the two of us? Any other ideas? Foods and recipes?

Aug 20, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

When I first started dating my husband he was a very picky eater, but over the 3 years we've been dating he's opened up to new food quite a bit--I might still call him picky, but only slightly so. His kids are another story. We were married just 2 1/2 weeks ago and now his daughter has come to live with us. She is the pickiest of picky eaters. She could sustain herself on chicken nuggets, fries, and slushies alone. When pushed she might eat pizza or a hamburger, and canned corn and canned peas are the only vegetables she will eat. And she's 15! She makes faces, refuses to try anything on the limited list, and eats other foods prior to dinner!

I realize I am walking this line with food that oddly blurs with parenting. I'm unlikely to suddenly change her palate. But it annoys me to no end, and the way it's done is a clear act of defiance. Food is so important to me and I'm not sure my husband understands that. Maybe my chowsers will? It's my hobby, my outlet, a way of expressing love. Weird thing is that the more I try to cater my menus to her (last night I made a breaded chicken cutlet stuffed with cheddar, corn on the cob, and salad with ranch), the more push back I get. I'm at my wits end. What do I do? I'm about to think the best thing I can do is let her buy frozen dinners and have at. Any ideas before I throw in the towel?

Aug 20, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What to return and what to add after wedding registry

Now that the dust has settled it's time to reorganize the kitchen, decide what to keep and what must go, and where to supplement.

I'm a serious cook and cook often. But I also like some modern conveniences.

I am planning on keeping:
10" and 12" cast iron skillets
cuisinart 5 in 1 griddler
kitchenaid mixer, ice cream attachment (I'll give it a shot, anyway), grater attachments
cuisinart
cuisinart immersion blender/chopper/frother
A variety of Le Creuset stoneware pans--oval in various sizes, one covered dish, a 9x9 pan
gold-touch baking pieces

I also got a variety of pans. I registered for All Clad copper core but only received 1 "grain dish", and I'm not sure if I can stomach dropping the cash for the all clad copper core set. The other pans i received consisted of stainless steel all clad fry pan, a calphalon omelette pan set, and a couple Oneida nonstick pans. At the very least I think I will go with one brand or the other. My collection already includes a mishmosh of pans consisting of a nonstick fry pan, a decent saute pan, a large stock pot, a peeling and undesirable small stock pot/dutch oven, and a couple small but workable sauce pans (1qt and 2qt?)

I also registered for Le Creuset cast iron dutch ovens.

Other kitchen aid attachments or small electronics missing?

Because of the registry incentives, it makes sense to go ahead and make some of the selections. I want to invest in pieces that will last. But I don't want to spend money just to spend money. Any advice will be much appreciated

Aug 19, 2014
bblonde in Cookware

What's for Dinner #266 - The Arctic Polar Vortex Edition [through January 10, 2014]

Tonight will be leftover chili with spaghetti and a simple salad. Simple but good and using leftovers

Jan 08, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #266 - The Arctic Polar Vortex Edition [through January 10, 2014]

We aren't nearly as cold here, but that doesn't mean it can't be a good excuse to fix comfort foods for dinner.

Tonight's dinner is chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a nice vinegar slaw to cut through it all. Cheers

What's for Dinner #265 - Into the Deep Freeze Edition! (through Jan. 6, 2014)

Feeling better and up and about today.

Made it to the market in this brutal cold. A basic pot of chili and some mexican cornbread is my reward. Hope everywhere else is beginning to thaw out.

What's for Dinner #265 - Into the Deep Freeze Edition! (through Jan. 6, 2014)

Yes I am! Haven't had much luck. I don't know that I'd call Jazmos Bourbon St. Cafe "authentic" or even all that much Cajun, but i do like it. Don't know if the Shack is back open but the one time I went I found it inedibly salty. I have a general rule that I don't eat at buffet's but the one time I was taken to Cajun King I found it to be really decent because they come around to your table with fresh beignets and freshly fried catfish.

The short answer to your question is--no, sadly.

Jan 06, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #265 - Into the Deep Freeze Edition! (through Jan. 6, 2014)

We're headed into the deep freeze--25o high today. I know that's balmy for some, but here in OK that's dang cold. In fact I almost want snow if I have to suffer through the temps anyway.

Got out last night for dinner at a Cajun restaurant. Tabasco and honey-glazed salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. If anyone has ever come across a smiliar sounding salmon recipe, please let me know

Jan 05, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #264 - 2014 Here We Come![through January 3, 2014]

Well I lied. No cooking today. Still haven't made it to the store. There's always tomorrow...or the weekend.

Instead ordered in Chinese and am watching my Sooners take on Bama. Was expecting a blood bath and so up to this point I'm impressed my Sooners are keeping pace. Boomer Sooner!

Jan 02, 2014
bblonde in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #264 - 2014 Here We Come![through January 3, 2014]

Hello friends and happy new year. Finally coming around after my surgery 2 weeks ago.

For anyone wondering: no, it's not the best idea to have surgery around the holidays. Of course I "thought" I'd recover easily. Pssh. Felt a little bit like I missed Christmas. Bah humbug. Oh well it'll come again next year, lord granting.

Going to try and get back in the kitchen tomorrow. Need to drag myself to the store, anyway.

Last night I did make it to a friend's house for their New Year's Eve Party. The man had smoked a lot of meat and everyone brought sides.

I'm looking forward to cooking some good soups/stews, braises, roasts, and other seasonal food. Also love to get the spices going in January. I think a thai curry may be just what the doctor ordered.
Anyway, Happy New Year everyone. I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season.

What's for Dinner #261 - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Edition [through 12/18/2013]

I can hardly contain my excitement that in less than 12 hours my last law final will be finished and I will be halfway through law school and through the worst of it! Now to just keep the stamina up until 5pm.

How shall I celebrate? I think this evening calls for red wine (heck, maybe champagne after the 2 weeks I've had) and maybe Chinese takeout and tree-trimming. The house has hardly the slightest look of Christmas. By 5pm Scrooge will have met with the three ghosts and have Christmas spirit again!