Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More food!!!... YUM

So another week of cooking has passed and I made some more delicious recipes from my Capitol Hill Cookbook.

1) Ronald Reagan's Macaroni and Cheese
This dish was pretty good. I made it to take over to the Pearces' house on Saturday. It kinda of had a crunchy paprika top and and then had a really yummy cheese. I think I would definitely make this recipe again. It was very good on the second day as well.

2) Rachel Jackson's Burnt Custard (Recipe of Andrew Jackson)
This recipe made me nervous as I had never made custard or meringue before. Anyway, it turned out "alright". I was unable to find "light cream" which was the recipe called for so I had to use heavy whipping cream. I think it just posed a problem when it came to cooking time. The custard part was supposed to "set" while cooking in the oven for an hour. I ended up having to cook it more like and hour and 45 minutes. Then, I made the meringue which grew to be HUGE... but that was the intention of the recipe. So you ended up with this browned meringue (which was like 6-7 inches high) and about and inch of custard underneath. It however, was fairly good. The amount of meringue seemed to be perfect for the amount of custard. I don't think I would make it again just because of the fat content (and I am not a HUGE meringue fan)... but it was good.. and I would consider it a "success"

3) Chicken in Paprika Cream Sauce (Senator Harry Reid)
Ok ok.. before you freak out that I made a recipe from Harry Reid.. REMEMBER that I am going to be UNBIASED in my recipes. Meaning, I pick them from the appendix before I even know whose recipe it is. Not to mention.. this just sounded like a fantastic dish.

Now.. for all of you who are still just disgusted with the idea of eating anything associated with Harry Reid... you will be happy to know that the recipe did NOT live up to my expectations. I will still finish eating it as I am not going waste food and it was "ok" but I will not make it again.

First issue with it, the chicken is coated in oil, paprika, and onions. Then, the cream sauce is added to it AFTER the chicken cooks. The problem is that the cream tasted amazing BEFORE it was added to the chicken. The problem is that the oil and cream didn't mix. Instead, the oil separated and stayed on top of the cream.. so it just looked weird. The oil/paprika also just dominated the cream flavor.. sooo it wasn't as good as it could have been. Here it is (that orange is the oil/paprika sitting on the top of the cream).

4) Garlic Chicken and Potatoes (Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California)

This was ok... again, I probably wouldn't make it again. The recipe said to cook the chicken an hour which was TOO long, and to cook the potatoes an hour which was not enough. I would have to alter the recipe if I did it again. Additionally, it didn't taste "garlicky"... I put a lot of garlic but it just didn't make much a difference. The potatoe seasoning that the recipe called for also wasn't "amazing".... Anyway, not something I would make again but good enough for left overs (Darby is probably having a melt-down because of that word... "leftovers") heehee... I am left over queen.. I can eat the same thing for days! lol

Anyway, that is all for this week. Maybe I will have some more fun next week with recipes. I am hoping to keep this up. I am so many others that just sound delicious. Of course, I eliminate all recipes with pork or shellfish so that does make it tough.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mushrooms, Mushrooms, and More Mushrooms

Hey ya'll I am trying to see who is following/reading my blog. Please either "follow" my blog by clicking the follow link... or just comment on one of my blog entries. I would love to see who is reading!

Ok, so I promise this will NOT become a recipe/cooking blog. There are already so many out there. However, I have been really into cooking lately so I am sharing some of the recipes I am making. Anyway, if you want to know more about the cookbook I am using.... see this post.

This recipe is:

Mushroom  Quiche (George H. W. Bush). I swear I did NOT go pick out the Bush recipes when I started this venture. I just happened to see two recipes that looked really good in the appendix (Mushroom Quiche and Mushroom Soup). Can you tell I like mushrooms? Anyway, OBVIOUSLY the Bush family does too figuring both recipes are theirs.

I got home from work last night and whipped this quiche up. It actually was pretty quick. I didn't realize until I was done, that the recipe didn't call for any cheese! I know its shocking! Anyway, I added some fresh parmesan to the top of it once it was done and it was delicious! The recipe was for 1 quiche in 1 pie crust. However, when I had finished the filling, there was NO way it was staying in one pie crust. It was a good thing that pie crusts typically come in packs of two. Anyway, next time (assuming there is a next time), I will use either a deep dish pie crust, or I will just make my own. It will all depend on how much time want to spend (although making a crust is fairly simple). Well, here are the pictures:

They were really really good! We have tons of leftovers now though. We typically like leftovers because it means we don't have to cook every night. However, we also have a lot of leftover strognoff from when we had some friends over for dinner the other night. If I could freeze the leftover quiche I would, however, egg does not freeze well. I will probably just have to freeze the strognoff.

Stay tuned for more recipes.... I have Garlic Chicken and Potatoes, and Chicken in Paprika Cream Sauce planned for the remainder of the week.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recipes from Capitol Hill ... Yum!

Many of you know, and some of you do not know. I once had a dream of going to culinary school (of course I also had the dream of becming a country singer). Anyway, another thing many of you know... is that I am not either of these. :) But.. I still love to cook and I now have some time to do so.

This last Christmas, my parents got me this awesome cookbook. I forgot about it for a couple of weeks. Then, when I was planning the menu for this week, I decided to pull it out. I am cooking 5 different recipes from the book this week, and I stayed under budget! So let me talk a bit more about the cookbook.

Basically this book is written by someone from Spring/the Woodlands, TX. My parents heard about the book on Fox news and decided it would be an awesome gift! Anyway, they bought me an autographed copy. Basically the book has many different recipes. It has the favorite recipes of all the past Presidents, and favorite recipes from current Senators and Representatives. Needless to say, it is really neat! I am going to try to remain "unbiased" as a try the recipes haha!

I am going to try to make most of the recipes in the book. I refuse to make the "brains and eggs" recipe. Mainly because it calls for REAL BRAINS. No thank you! Anyway, I picked some recipes for the week and I will blog about them as I make them.

So, the first recipe I decided to made was for my lunches. Since I have to leave early in the morning for work, I pre-make my lunches on Sunday. I decided to make:

1) Mushroom Soup (Favorite of George W. Bush).  This recipe required me to use my submersion blender... YAY! (though I can say I wish I had a metal one as my plastic one almost melted from the heat). After preparing, I packed it away in about 6 containers. Here it is cooking:
I know it doesn't look that good.. but hey it is MUSHROOM soup. It tastes soooo good. I can't wait to eat it for lunches.

The next recipe I made was:

2) Chocolate Melt-Away Cake (Representative Dan Burton, Indiana)
 Although, Ivan and I rarely do dessert, we figured we could make one recipe a week and then just bring the remaining to small group or whatever. Anyway, this is what the crust looks like:

Here is the final product, in the fridge:

It was amazing! Sooooo YUMMY. I would have take a picture of the individual piece...BUT.. it was very messy.  The only thing I would suggest regarding this recipe is leaving the eggs out to sit. Many times recipes call for melted chocolate, and then they tell you to add sometime "cold" to the recipe. If you do that, the cold item cools the melted chocolate and makes it re-form in chunks. The way to fix this is to leave the eggs out so they come to room temp. Either way, I wasn't thinking... so it was a big "chunkier" than expected. But it was delicious!

Anyway, stayed tuned for other recipes coming soon... 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Random Moments

Ok so I just had a weird/cool moment today. On Wednesdays, I typically drive to work (whereas normally I take the bus). Anyway, I always park in this parking lot right across from the KPMG building. It is pretty cheap if I get in before 8am (only $6). Anyway, I always drive my Miata. Every time, I pull up to the little stand in the middle of the parking lot to pay and get the receipt for the dash. The guy who is there is a really nice guy who will always try to let you park closest to your building. Anyway, today I drove up in my CRV, and the dialogue went like this:

Him "Where are you going?"
Me: "That building there" [I point]
Him: "Oh you must be with KPMG? Did they tell you to park here because I haven't seen you before?"
Me: "Oh no, I have parked here before.Normally I drive a different car"
Him: "What car do you drive?"[at this point he is trying to remember]
Me: " A little miata"
Him: " Oh Ya! I didn't recognize you... and you have long hair. I didn't recognize you with it up"

Lol... anyway, I just thought it was neat that he even remember who I was (once I told him my car). This guy sits here all day, with tons of different cars and different people, yet he remembers them. I only park there once a week (and so far that has only been twice). It made me think that I should probably try to do the same thing. Heck, I barely remember the names of people I see in my bible study EVERY SUNDAY. Yet this guy, remembered that I had long hair, which is just funny to me.

So that is my little "revelation" for the day. I need to be better at remembering people and names.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More House Projects...Outside fun!

I have been very bad at blogging lately. For some reason I just lack the motivation. Anyway, Ivan and I have been doing some projects around the house. I wish I could say I have more pictures, but my camera is not the best so I don't normally take pictures.

Anyway, the first major project has been our fence.If you are an avid follower of the blog (which I know you ALL are.. heehee)... you may remember Ivan's post regarding the fence here. We had what is called a "friendly neighbor" fence. Basically it is a fence which has half of the boards facing you and half of them facing the neighbor's house. Well, we really hated this concept, because it looks as if the fence is incomplete. Therefore, Ivan boarded it up.. like so:
This was stage 1 of the fence. Well two weekends ago, we finally finished stage 2, staining the fence. We really weren't loving the multi-colored look above. Anyway, we freaked out at first because the stain was NOT going on the way we expected. Luckily, this problem went away once we got past the fence gate. For some reason they made the gates out of a different grain of wood or something. Either way, it had a ton of fibers coming off of it...I like to call it the "hairy" gate. :) Anyway, we spent almost all weekend working the fence.. and about 6 gallons of stain later... and a ton of now looks like this (the picture is kinda dark.. sorry):

Anyway, we are loving the outcome. The fence color almost matches our front door now, and for the most part it is all the same color!

Another project which we have been dealing with lately is landscaping. It isn't so much of a project, and more like a "decision". Anyway, we had an oak out in front of our yard. Although the oak will not get THAT big before we move (most likely), it will eventually get huge and probably hit the house or at least tower over it. Anyway, we wanted some new trees. There are three trees in the front yard, 1-the oak, and 2 that are these ugly bush tree things.. which I hate.. Anyway, we replaced the recently. It was a crazy decision making process and we ended up actually getting two things that we never expected. So lets walk through the thought process. Originally we wanted a magnolia tree to replace the oak (not a little gem..), and then we wanted a saucer magnolia (pink flowering magnolia which does not keep all of its leaves). We found out quickly though that saucer magnolias are TINY and although they can get big... we didn't want to wait for it to start looking like a tree (for the most part it looked like a bunch of long twigs coming out of the ground). Therefore, we nixed that idea. Additionally, magnolia TREEs... grow VERY slowly. To buy one that was moreso grown would have been expensive. Therefore, that idea went out the window. Then we ran across... this little pretty thing:
 This is an apple tree. We never thought we would buy an apple tree. However, the flowers are just so gorgeous. Additionally, it will get bigger. It does grow somewhat slow and we will have to wait. In the meantime, it is sooo pretty.

We knew we also needed a big tree to put in the middle of the yard. Since the magnolia was out due to price, we figured we would buy another flowering tree. We needed one though that was reasonably priced for the size. We found a Bradford pear.. :) . Yes, I know it looks like sticks now... but it will have beautiful white flowers in the spring and gorgeous red/orange leaves in the fall.
Finally, we needed at least one tree that has leaves all year round. This tree needed to be fairly close to the house. Therefore, we got a magnolia little gem. Little gems do not get as big as normal magnolia trees. In fact they are kind of like overgrown bushes due the fact that branches grow out of the base. Now, that said they will get pretty big- up to 20 feet. They will not however, outgrow the pear. Sorry that the picture is so hard to see... I will try to take a better one later.
Here is a video of the trees if you would rather watch that.. you can get a better idea.

Also, here are some prettiful pictures of what these trees can look like eventually.

Apple.... notice the pretty pink/white flowers.. soo pretty

Little Gem Magnolia...Magnolias have large white flowers as well

Here is a bradford pear tree

And there you have it.... please feel free to comment and we would always love suggestions for other flowers, bushes, plants, and trees for our front and backyard... post away!