Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Workday

I am not a creative cook like so many of you.  Nor do I cook intuitively like others or you.  I can follow a recipe really well, but have fallen into habits and we pretty much eat the same things all the time.

While on my four-month sabbatical from cooking, I decided to try to do a better job of trying new things.  For years I have cut interesting-sounding recipes out of magazines and piled them on top of my cookbooks, but at least once a year I go thru and throw most of them away. 
But, this week I tried something new.
Found a good sounding recipe that started with many mushrooms sauted and then turned into a yummy mushroom sauce, added to gnocci and tuna.  A bit of seasoning and parmesan cheese on the top, then pop into the oven and voila!

Easy to make, smelled good, looked good ...

And, tasted really good, too.  Sent me immediately back to the fourth grade and Girl Scouts.  You know when everyone learned how to make Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Take away the seasonings (basil and red pepper) and crumble some potato chips on top and that is exactly what I made!  It was good, but I don't think that I will make it again - even in this "adult version".

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spring is Coming!

How do I know?

Because that first harbinger of spring appeared last weekend - the Home and Garden Show!
We love the Home and Garden Show, but it always costs us money. 

Three years ago we got our counter tops refinished.
Two years ago we got new floors.
Last year we got new pull-out drawers for the kitchen cabinets.

And, this year we went looking for bathroom renovations.  Many dealers are coming to give us estimates over the next few weeks, so no decision for a while.  

But the Home and Garden Show is about much more than just household upgrades.  It's about neat items that you didn't even know you needed.  Things that Abby's husband would call the products of the "hall of scams".  See for yourself.

Your mother - or perhaps your grandmother - had one of these in the 50's or early 60's.  Probably before the hand held mixer became popular.  It makes wonderful froth out of milk and the lightest, fluffiest scrambled eggs you have ever eaten.  I used Mother's until it wore out and fell apart.  Definitely, not a scam.  And, it came in designer colors, so I got the spring green that I am using as an accent in the kitchen.
Mitchell wanted another offset spreader - we only have two already - and the very best one comes from Pampered Chef.  Buying at the H&G Show was much easier than attending a party or ordering on line.  And, Lowe's was giving away basting brushes.  So, two more winners!
Had not intended to get anything plant-able, but these day lilies spoke to me.  I got a variety of pinks and whites:  one that is darker than Stargazer, a pure white, a medium pink, a double pink and one more - a total of 20 bulbs.  Will definitely have to re-think some of my planting plans to put these in a big swath.
The jury is still out on this item.  It's a dish that you "shred" garlic, ginger, chocolate, cheese or anything else you need to shred.  We've tried Parmesan and it works fine, altho a bit hard to clean.  Will have to try some of the other things.  The idea is that you keep all the juice.  Rachel Ray would approve, but am not sure if I do yet.
Hall of Scams?  This is the one questionable purchase.  While it clearly cleans jewelry beautifully, and I am sure it will work on windows and mirrors, the reason we bought it is that the salesman guaranteed that it can be used to clean fan blades and will leave a static resistant "coating" that will repel dust from the top of the fan blades.  If it really works ... it will be worth three times what we paid.  This remains to be tested.
The mystery item.  I can't tell you what this is because Mitchell plans to give one to our friend James, who reads this blog on occasion.  They try to out-do each other in sending Christmas presents that have mysterious uses, and this will definitely be in James' stocking in December.  But, it's neat and will be put to good use around here.  We got 20 of them.

  So, how about you?  Been to any good Home and Garden Shows yet?