Friday, March 2, 2012

Breakfast Numminess

I'm not a sophisticated breakfast cook. No breakfast casseroles or eggs benidicts for me! I cook good, old fashioned breakfast favorites. Eggs scrambled or fried, occasional omlettes, bacon, sausage and homemade potatoes are staples in our home. The Little Grouch loves pancakes, but swears that The Big Grouch makes better pancakes than I do, so I leave it to him :). When I went on a carb free kick a while back, I was searching for some easy breakfast foods that would provide a bit of variety in my diet, and I found fritattas. They are basically open-faced omlettes topped with whatever you like. Me? I like brocolli, ham, tomatoes, feta cheese and onions. I need a lick my lips emoticon for how good these are! I'd never heard of fritattas before last year when they became an item on the menu at the restaurant where I work. Yes, yes, I am a bit sheltered when it comes to food. I grew up in N. Louisiana. What can I say? If you can deep fry it, I know about it, but ask me about anything more sophisticated than an over easy egg, and I'm lost. (Or at least I used to be! I even learned how to POACH eggs last year. Its a PITA, but I love the end result!)

I invited a friend over for breakfast this morning and made her my beloved fritattas. Here is the final result.

Yes, they were yummy. Yes, they are GONE! And, my homemade breakfast potatoes that you see in the foreground on the right? PERFECT! I'll share my secret to those in a later post. It took me years to figure out how to get the outside crispy but not burned with the inside still soft.

So, for those of you curious as to how to make this delicious alternative to omlettes (which I  tend to  over cook on the outside and undercook in the center no matter what I do), here's how to make it.


(I'm only including amounts for the eggs because you basically put as much or as little of each ingredient as you like. I make 2 egg frittatas, but you could make it 3 eggs if you like.)

2 Eggs
Diced ham
Steamed brocolli, cut to preferred size
Tomatoes, diced
Onions, diced and sauteed, if you prefer
Feta cheese

Break eggs in to small bowl and scramble with fork. Pour into greased (I use cooking spray plus a bit of unsalted butter) non-stick skillet. Once eggs start to cook, scramble in the pan just once. Allow eggs to stiffen then start pullign the outside of the circle of egg toward the center, tilting the pan so that the remaining raw, loose egg runs to the outside. Do this two or three times until all the loose egg is almost gone. Add desired amounts of brocolli, tomato, onions and feta. If you want, and your pan can go in the oven, you can stick it under the broiler for a minute to melt the feta, but I don't mind my feta in chunks, so I don't bother. Slide finished fritatta onto place and enjoy! Easy and quick and perfect for picky eaters because you can provide mulitiple topping and let the kiddos (or picky adults!) choose what they want.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Put a Little Love in Your Heart!

Ah, Valentine's Day. Doing Valentine's Day right is a tricky business. Come on! You know I'm right! Either you don't do enough for that special someone and they wind up disappointed, or you go above and beyond and your efforts aren't appreciated. Finding the middle ground is difficult.

For myself, I've found that for The Grouch (that would be my husband who isn't much into celebrating "Hallmark" holidays), a small, well thought out gift, a card and a nice meal are all he needs. Me? I need a bit more than that, but that's another post (entire blog? lol!) entirely. And, I'll be honest and reveal that The Grouch is very much a card and heart full of candy kind of guy. Not that that is a bad thing, because the sentiment is there. But, sometimes, you want the day to feel... Special. So, I've learned to create that special feeling for myself, because I know what I want from the day.

Yesterday, I spent part of the day hunting down little gifts and cards for The Grouch and The Little Grouchkin (that would be my daughter, who is so much like her father that it is scary). Then I joined my daughter at school for her class party. I took a mylar Valentine's balloon with me to give her to make her feel loved♥♥♥. Afterwards, she and I came home and made dinner together, including a strawberry fudge heart!

It was remarkable how much joy this brought me! The joy of accomplishment, the joy of sharing with the people I love, the joy that came with the fun we had making it... It made my whole day wonderful, and it was remarkably easy to make! I found the idea for it on Pinterest, but here is the link to the original site where the recipe is. I have a heart shaped pan from Pampered Chef, so the shape was easy and the taste is yummy! Just like Strawberry Qwik!

So, in short, if you always feel a little deflated by these holidays where others are supposed to make you feel special and sometimes aren't successful, find a way to make that day special for yourself. Bake something that you love, or buy yourself flowers, or clean your kitchen spotless and look at it shine with a smile on your face. Because, ultimately, we are in charge of our own happiness :).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Beadtastic Disaster!!!

A year or so ago, I took an Anatomy and Physiology course as a prerequisite for my eventual nursing degree. My professor required that we create a visual guide through the body's immune response. There were no other guidelines, just that we be as creative as possible. She provided several examples from previous semesters, such as game boards and paintings. You guys know me. I needed to be inspired! I headed to Michael's, and then to Hobby Lobby, but nothing reached out and grabbed me until I stopped at Walmart to pick up something for dinner. I passed down their miniscule hobby aisle and saw a giant container of clear plastic beads. All the little girls of the 1980s are familiar with these:
You know, the beads we hung off barrettes and strung for bracelets and necklaces? Now, most folks reading this know that I was raised as the only female in a house full of men. Those men were (and are) fantastic, but they never understood the lure of barrettes dangling with plastic beads. Oh! How I wanted beaded barrettes! Of course, I got over my desire for those oh so lovely barrettes, but I never quite let go of my love of those beads. Even on the nonexistant hobby aisle in Walmart, I had a couple of options, but I sprung for the 5000 count container. I blame my childhood obsession, but Lord only knows why I thought I needed so many! I mounted the beads on pages of felt in the shapes of immune cells (B cells, T cells and macrophages, etc.) and created a "book" of the stages of the immune response. It was a big hit with my professor, although I preferred my classmate's Star Wars take on the assignment! I wish I had pictures of the project to share here, but my professor requested that I leave the assignment with her so that she could show it to subsequent classes. I'm tempted to go get it back from her, though. It took FOREVER to put together! So, why do I keep rattling on about my A&P project? Beads. I have lots and lotsa beads. Malena picks them up from time to time and makes a bracelet or necklace, but the box of beads has pretty much been sitting there for a year or more... until last week. Last week, I picked it up while sitting in an awkward position and lost my grip on the box and NOOOOOOO! CRASH! 5000 beads all over my kitchen floor. *sigh* I swept up as many as I could and saved them, but I just tossed the last few in the trash. Or, rather, what I *thought* were the last few. Apparently, when you drop approximately 5000 beads on the floor, it is quite impossible to sweep them all up. It's kind of like smashing a pyrex dish... You never find all the pieces! I keep stepping on newly revealed beads, finding them under appliances, and hearing them skitter across the tile. I have the beginning of a tick triggered by that sound. Seriously! I'm certain that my grandchildren will be sweeping out this house after I've passed away and they'll find beads in the kitchen! There's no real point to this story. It's just a cautionary little tale about the dangers of plastic beads! Next time you see that 5000 count container of beads at the craft store, remember my story of woe and choose the 500 count instead ;-).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cause That's How I Roll

I've been a busy little knitting and crocheting bee lately! It's possible that this is an addiction, but I'm not looking for a cure! I love being able to make something fun, or cute, or useful from what was once a skein of yarn. It is kind of like being in construction. You picture your project before you start, but it's hard to see it completed in your head. Sometimes, it turns out better than you expected, and sometimes you aren't as happy with it as you thought you'd be.

For instance...

This is my very first knitted hat. If you look very closely, you can see little owls. I've added buttons for eyes since the picture was taken, but it's just not as cute in real life as I pictured it would be. I think it was ultimately a poor yarn choice, but I'm trying to use up some of my stash, and I *thought* it would be adorable in beige. But the hat is a little bigger than I'd like it to be, and the yarn isn't as... substantial as I'd pictured it. Oh, well. Live and learn.

There have been a few projects recently where the final results have thrilled me. The first is a crocheted celtic knot that I threw together a few nights ago.

I've made three or four of these and I picture them sewn together for a handbag, but I've been sidetracked this week with other projects.
Namely, a crocheted Christmas ornament for Malena's teacher. (We didn't get her anything for Christmas and my guilt was getting to me.) This worked up so cute! I'm certain that there are more of these in my future. This project was my very first foray into amugurumi, and I had so much fun with it!

 I am also completely and totally in love with these little crocheted hearts I found on Pinterest.
  ***note: The red and pink hearts above are NOT my work.***

But, the pattern isn't easily available, so I looked at them for a few minutes and decided to try to duplicate them without a pattern. This is the result.

I had a couple of very minor snags along the way, and I don't think mine is exactly like the original, but it is very similar. I'll sit down and write out the pattern as I work up my next little heart (I have an order for 2 from a friend! I'm getting paid for crocheting!!!), and I'll share it here when I am sure it is right.

That's about it for now. No real cooking exploits worth mentioning. In fact, I've been in something of a cooking rut recently. Maybe I need a bit of inspiration!