Archive | March, 2012

Moving Mumblings

23 Mar

Know what you find when you’re packing up your life?

Let me rephrase that: Know what you find when you’re packing up your life and the last time you moved was less than 2 months before your wedding so at the time you just threw everything you owned into boxes and didn’t actually go through anything?

A lot. But more specifically:

– The frozen zucchini you really wanted to cook with when your husband (who hates zucchini) was out of town, but couldn’t find a couple months ago.

– A $100 Bed Bath & Beyond gift card from your wedding shower that you never knew you had. (Awesome!) It was in a box with another gift the person had given me and I never realized a gift card accompanied it! Glad I hoard boxes and didn’t throw it out!

– A photo of you and your best friend at the Jersey shore about 1,000 years ago. (You also realize your husband never knew she was once blonde – so weird to me?!) Also, apparently I was Brazilian in high school. And we liked Vin Diesel.

– The ticket to that grilled cheese and beer tasting I told you about a while ago – it was only September, not a year ago like I thought! Phew. I guess that means I’m only kind of losing my mind.

– Remember the free AOL discs they used to send? I can’t be the only one who deleted all the AOL stuff and used them to store school work and stuff on… can I? And no, I didn’t throw them out after I found them. I need to see what’s on them first! And yes, my computer still has a disc drive.

– Every cell phone you’ve ever had. Ever. Minus the one I gave to my mom as a backup.

– Keys to places unknown. PS – Where can I get a skeleton key? The bedroom doors in our new house are all those old (um, and cool) locks that only a skeleton key will work in.

6 days until we move into our very own house. I can’t even put into words how badly I can’t wait for this! Sayonara a*&$@#% landlords. And living amongst a sea of boxes.

Marathon packing ahead of us this weekend, but tonight – TONIGHT! I get to FINALLY go see Hunger Games!

I have had March 23rd on my calendar for MONTHS.

Bought my tickets February 27th.

Reprinted my tickets again today JUST IN CASE I am unable to locate the ones I printed 3 weeks ago.

Wore my hair in a braid today in homage to Katniss (see above).

I KIND OF wish I had time to reread the first book again before I go. Just because I can’t stand the wait any more. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see a movie before! And I’m pretty sure I’ve never bought tickets to a movie more than a week in advance. Wowza.

xxx

 

I Made Something Awesome: Sweet Tea Chicken with Mango Avocado Salsa

13 Mar

Get this – my husband FLAT OUT REFUSES to try peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My husband eats ANYTHING I make him. I don’t even run by him what I’m making for dinner, he just eats it when it’s ready.

Me: Do you like peanut butter?

Him: Yes.

Me: Do you like jam (jelly)?

Him: Yes.

Me: Do you like bread?

Him: Yes.

Me: So then how come you won’t even try peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?? It’s not like I’m trying to make you eat MARMITE or anything. (PS Marmite’s gross, and he loves it.)

He is fully disgusted by the thought of PB&J, and this has caused several arguments now in which I just don’t get the irrationality and he tells me I have to try Marmite first – AGAIN. I have already tried it twice and the second time scraped it off my tongue in the sink it was so bad. No joke. ALSO – he has now stated that he would eat a soft pretzel with jam. WTF. Yes, he is dead serious. What is the rationale here? (This came up because Philly has this weird thing about putting mustard on soft pretzels. Bleh.)

Anyway, just had to share that.

I made something awesome last night. And exotic-ish. Go me!

Another area of disagreement in my house is whether tea should be hot or cold. My husband, being British, will only drink hot tea (with sugar and milk), and I come from a long line of sweet iced tea drinkers. I have come to enjoy hot tea, but given the choice I’d still revert to my sweet tea (or Wawa’s). So when I saw a recipe for using sweet tea on chicken, I ripped it out immediately. Then I put it in my recipe folder and found it 6 months later. Or 9. Or 12. I have no idea how long later. Nor do I have any idea what magazine it’s from. So… oops. Thanks whatever magazine I pulled it from, it was certainly a neat idea and I’ll definitely try it again (when we have a grill – it called for grilling but I improvised).

So Sunday afternoon I whipped up a batch up sweet tea, let it chill, and then added a bunch of stuff to it to make a marinade. It was really weird adding onions to my tea.

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rosemary and garlic, too…

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Sweet Tea Marinade
4 cups tea – allowed to cool completely (probably about 45 min or so)
1/2 cup sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped or sliced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp rosemary
2 cups ice

Add all ingredients in a gallon sized ziplock bag, toss in the chicken (whatever chicken you want to marinate – I used drumsticks). Seal and lay in a low dish. Allow to marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator. The recipe called for grilling, but, well, we’re packing and I didn’t feel like breaking out my mini-charcoal grill for the evening. Can’t wait to get a big gas grill when we move! So anyway, I roasted the chicken in tinfoil on a baking sheet on 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

But wait – there’s more! I haven’t really had time to post about it, but my goal/marching orders for the past few weeks has been to clear out our food reserves. Which has actually been, dare I say, fun! I’ve enjoyed coming up with ideas for dinner from random things we already have around the house. However, I depleted our meat supply in the freezer and had to replenish (since my husband can’t go two days without meat in his meal), so off to the grocery store I went. When I got there they had mangoes and avocados on sale for $1 – so I grabbed some. I figured I’d find something to do with them.

Last night when I was trying to figure out what to make to go with the chicken, I was trying to think of a way to incorporate mango… then I got CRAZY and decided I wanted to incorporate mango AND avocado. Look out! I googled “mango avocado salsa” without too much hope because I knew there’d be mango salsa, but hadn’t ever seen mango avocado salsa. Found one! And it.was.de.lish.

Mango Avocado Salsa adapted from Skinny Taste
1 mango – chopped
1 avocado – chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 tbs. cilantro
salt to taste

Mix it all, ‘fridge it all. Pull out in 30 minutes and serve with chicken… or tortilla chips. I will definitely be making this again. Also, I still have another mango and another avocado, so I may be making this again soon.

I wish I could share something other than recipes right now with you friends, but unless you want to see my glorious wall ‘o boxes in the guest bedroom… I think that’ll just have to wait!

xxx

I Made Something Awesome: Grown Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

1 Mar

I suppose you could call me a grilled cheese connoisseur.

I’d take “best damn grilled cheese maker around”, as well. (She says ever-so-humbly.)

Is humbly a word?

Like three weeks ago (Yes, three weeks ago. I’ve been a little busy packing up my life, so… yeah… sorry!) I made one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life. Did you know grilled cheeses are like an “it” food right now? I don’t know who started this craze, but I’d like to shake his hand. Or her hand. Whatever. My husband and I went to a beer and grilled cheese tasting not too long ago and it was sooo good. Aaand as I just typed “not too long ago” I realized it was probably over a year ago. Wow. Anyway, I had no idea the things people could do with grilled cheeses! My little “recipe” (if you can even call it that, more like “list of different ingredients”) is nothing compared to the crazy funky cheese/fruit/meat/bread combos they came up with. Some were even a little too funky for me – but I admire the effort and creativity that went into it!

The reason I’m sharing my grilled cheese with you? Um, because my husband, mid chew of the first bite, managed to choke out the words “YOU CAN DEFINITELY MAKE THIS AGAIN!!”. Just so you know, this is how the (new) meals I make are gaged (his responses are unprompted, by the way):

  • Nothing, no words – it’s ok (I mean, it’s always edible.)
  • “That was great, thanks love.” – it’s pretty good. He wouldn’t turn it down if I made it again (who am I kidding, he wouldn’t turn any food down, ever).
  • “You can make this again.” – it’s a new favorite and I will have to make it occasionally for the rest of my life.
  • If I get anything above and beyond – as in, “definitely” added in, extra enthusiasm in any way, or the occasional look of wonder and amazement, I am a freaking rockstar and this has shot right up to his top 10 (which, by the way, is a surprising mix of things).

So guess what – this grilled cheese is UP there. Like wayyy up there. So who am I to keep it to myself?

Grown Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
– Sliced bread (I used white bread)
– Prosciutto
– White American cheese slices
– Spinach leaves
– Butter/margarine (I used margarine)

It’s a pretty daunting list of ingredients, I know. You’re probably going to have to search far and wide for “white american cheese slices”.

Ha! I just realized my British family might actually have to go to a specialty cheese shop for American cheese (no, seriously). Sorry, you’ll have to improvise!

Alright, back to the matter at hand: Get out a skillet that has a cover/lid. Do you know the keys to making an amazing grilled cheese? Lids and butter. Yup. Lids… and… butter. If you don’t already use both, try it. I’m telling you. It will change your life! Or at least the way you make grilled cheeses.

Spray the skillet with your nonstick spray of choice, butter the bottom slice of bread, place butter side down in the pan (heat not on yet), add a cheese slice (I rip the cheese because I feel like it covers more area than one solid slice) and ripped up prosciutto

then another cheese slice and rip up some spinach leaves on top (umm… I like ripping things, I guess).

Butter the other slice of bread, place on top butter side facing up. Place the cover over the pan, and turn the heat on low. Slow and steady wins this race here, folks. The goal is to get everything to stick together before browning the outsides of the bread. The low heat and the lid on top keeps more heat in to melt the cheese, which makes it not only delicious, but easy to flip. Give it a good 2-3 minutes, then see how the melting is coming along.

If it’s nice and melty, it’s time to brown the outsides. Toss the lid aside (not literally), and crank up the heat (literally). I mean, not too high, don’t burn your pan. Maybe like medium-high. Keep a careful eye on it and toast both sides of the bread to your heart’s content. I didn’t get to take a picture when they were finished because my husband was pacing the floor. Not even kidding.

We almost always have tuna melts for our Saturday lunches (when we’re home), but we were out of mayo (gasp!) so I had to improvise a lunch out of what we had on hand. We went to the store and got mayo later that day, but I had to make these grilled cheeses again the next day for lunch at the husband’s begging request. So… WARNING: You may have to make these all the time if you make them once. My husband knows we only get prosciutto when I bring it home from work, lol, so that’s the only reason I’m off the hook (for the time being).

Got any other grown up grilled cheese ingredients to share? I’m all ears!

xxx