Friday, March 7, 2008

Food, Food, Food!

Perhaps it's the heightened sense of smell that accompanies pregnancy, whatever it is, I've been in love with food lately. Have you noticed from my recent posts? Well, this is no exception. Everything in this post is completely and utterly about FOOD, and my observations of it. Hope you enjoy!

Growing food inside of food!
I found this super cute idea from the mag, "Wonder Time." Basically, if you don't have starters going yet, their idea is to use an egg shell (use a spoon to crack just the top off) to grow starters. Rinse the egg out with soap and water, use a pin to poke a hole in the bottom. Fill with dirt (I used dirt from my garden and a baby spoon), then poke your seeds in and pat down! They said to spray with a spray bottle to water. I've been using drips from my faucet. The best part about this is that you can plant the eggs directly in the ground! You can use an egg carton to hold them all. Another super cute idea they had is to draw a face on the egg, then plant, say, grass seed and it'll grow hair! My friend, Melissa, suggested using a candle holder to hold the egg too. All sorts of ideas! I've got spinach growing in mine. Can't wait!

Soup du jour
I've been on a soup kick for lunches. The above are actually all duds but the last one. The peas were too dry and hard in the green split pea soup, the garden vegetable was salvageable with some Pappy's seasoning, but it took some work, same with their minestrone. Who needs garbanzo beans in their minestrone? Who needs garbanzo beans ever? The Campbells minestrone gets two thumbs up! Didn't even need Pappy's seasoning. Also, not pictured (recycling must have taken it already), Campbell's Italian Wedding soup. Very good! I'm usually not a fan of canned meats, but that wasn't half bad. All the Chunky meat soups I tried were awful.

Pizza Dough knead off!
This is pizza dough for tonight's supper. On Valentine's Day I made two different elaborate pizza doughs by hand and we had a taste test to see which we liked more. I had googled, "Papa John's pizza dough recipe" to get the two recipes I tried. We're big fans of their crust. Honestly, neither dough ended up flakey like theirs, but to their credit they were both very good in their own right. The first one was so totally poofy it grew huge, Ben said it was the lightest crust he'd ever tasted, but he didn't like working with it. I make the dough, he makes the pizza. So, that one was out. The second was slightly more dense and super easy for him to work with. So, today I made it again plus the seasonings it called for. We did not cook it at 550 degrees for five minutes like the weirdo said to. Honestly, I made the yeast mixture ahead of time, threw all the dry ingredients together in the above bowl, added the yeast mixture and kneaded it in the bowl until it looked good and mixed. Then I covered it with a towel and it's risen twice like the above picture and probably will again before we make it. Much easier than all that he said to do.

Do the Mu-shu!, well, maybe don't. What we do is make stir fry vegetables, rice in a rice maker and top it with one of the above sauces. Teriyaki is probably better as a marinade, General Tso's gets an A+ for best stir fry topper (has a little kick so watch out Grandma and Grandpa!), Mu-Shu gets a C-, Sweet and Sour is totally mild and fabulous (this is our favorite brand), finally, this is the soy sauce we buy from our Oriental Food store in Canton, Ohio. The owner recommended it to me and as you can see I use it on everything I can! I just bought another bottle for $3. It's so perfect as my mom likes to say, "you could just drink it!" Since you can't read the bottle very well, let me tell you that it says, "Sempio Soy Sauce" on the front and "Soy Sauce Jin Gold" on the back. Sempio is the brand. The best part? No msg!

Ooooh, I almost forgot amidst all the saucey fun, to mention my new favorite veggie combination for stir fry! I read on this fabulous vegetable website a recipe for plain old sauteed asparagus and leeks. Well, I wanted to make an actual dinner, not just a side, so I steamed leeks, asparagus, and broccoli together, then fried them a bit in some oil with some cubed chicken. [slight diversion...I buy chicken in bulk from my local butcher (all natural!), grill it, cube it, freeze it in baggies so I can make a quick chicken stir fry (frozen veggies make my easy meal!), or burritos, or chicken casserole.] So, anyways, back to my dish, I had this wonderful asparagus, broccoli, leeks and chicken stir fry served over Jasmine rice and Ben said it was as good as a restaurant! We both agreed the General Tso's sauce was just divine on it.

......sooooo, tonight my ex-foster daughter, Kim, and my cousin who used to live with me, Jamie, arrive for the weekend! I'm so excited. I let them pick any meal they wanted for us to have while they were here and they chose my Korean dish, "Bulgogi." There are probably people out there who make their own bulgogi sauce and slice their own beef, but I cheat and buy all of it from the aforementioned Oriental Food store. We marinate the beef in the sauce for 24 hours, then Ben grills it, then stir fries it with lots of yummy veggies, then we serve over rice. Also on the menu, English oranges (oranges marinated in a yummy syrup!). For dessert, Indian Kheer (rice pudding with coconut milk and real cream), and all American chocolate macaroons. I'm so excited! I'll definitely take pictures and share!

I'm sure this food craze is just a phase, but at least my cooking skills are improving from it! I didn't know how to make anything when we got married 10 and a half years ago!


Nicki said...

I'm going to have to come back and read your post again sometime after my body decides to like food again!

Feed Jamie an extra cookie for us :)

Kristin said...

The eggshells with grass seed is a super cute idea. We did that in a second grade class that I taught and the kids loved it!

Chris said...

The eggs are super cute!

Dana said...

i got behind on my blogs... so i just read that you're expecting... CONGRATS!!!!!!! woo-hooo!!!!! YAY!

i was totally sick with all three GIRLS :) little girls are so sweet... so are little boys :)