Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Wrap Up

Since I last blogged Tony has brought home a beef and we've been snowed in for days.  We have eaten well & have added at least 16 full meals to my final count.  That will bring the total to 217 for the year.  That means that there were 83 fewer meals cooked than I had planned - - but I still consider this a success because that is still more than I've probably ever cooked before!

Not to make excuses, but I think part of my count downfall was not due to eating out as much as me not considering in the beginning how many times we would be eating nightly meals at church this year and also how many times my mom will cook and deliver meals to us!  She is always bringing us pinto beans and cornbread or chili - - and too much more to even name.

Here's some pictures of the very casual meal we just enjoyed here tonight.  Our last meal together of 2010.  The stars of the meal were these little mini quiches in ham cups. They were wonderful. We also had garlic and cheese dip with toasted french bread....sugar cookies and fruit. 

All in all, this was probably the best gift I ever gave Tony - he loved it and says it was his favorite too.  He's the greatest guy ever at simply appreciating what I do - no matter how small or simple it might be.

Thanks to all who have kept up with this blog.  I've enjoyed your help in keeping this going!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meal 201

My sinuses have been stopped up for a couple of days, so today I wanted to fix something that I could really smell and taste!  You know that feeling?

I've got an amazing spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove that I'll either pour over pasta or turn into a lasagna.  It's browned ground beef, tomatoes, garlic and basil.  The garlic is from Athyleon & Lee's garden this year.  The basil is from Ed & Deanna Thompson.  They brought a "basil tree" to me one Sunday morning at worship and I spent that entire afternoon chopping up the leaves and freezing some, while hanging up other branches for drying. 

To freeze it I simply tore off the leaves and used the food processor to chop it up with some olive oil.  After that was done I filled ice cube trays with the chopped basil and froze them for later use.  I popped out one of those "cubes" today for the sauce & it seems wonderful simmering on the stove.

It is nice to live in the country where you can sometimes enjoy the bounty of friend's labors too!

Meal 200!

Yep, I've finally made it to the 200 mark.
Cheeseburgers & hot fries.

Meal 198

We had deer and potatoes again - with frozen spinach and greens from this year's garden.  This is a meal that could never get old - the key is totally the marinade that goes on the deer.  Tony always uses a simple soy sauce and red wine combo.

This time we used a red wine from Elk Creek Vineyards - it's Kentucky's largest vineyard in Owenton, Ky.  I stumbled upon one of their shops recently while at a mall in Louisville.

The deer and greens were definately my favorite parts of the meal.

Meal 196, 197 & 199

Jambalaya!!  A friend shared Emeril Lagasse's recipe for "Mardi Gras Jambalaya" with me years ago & it's been a constant favorite for us ever since.  Here's the link:

There's lots of things I do to change the recipe from time to time.  For example, I've never prepared this recipe with the duck it calls for, but have always substituted chicken.  And, I don't always add the shrimp unless I have been somewhere recently to get really good shrimp.  Since we live in a smaller town, there isn't much choice on shrimp's usually frozen salad shrimp or nothing. 

I normally mix up the "essence" he uses with this recipe, but I have substituted store bought "cajun" seasoning.  I prefer the essence.

This one pot of jambalaya served us for 3 nights!  Meal 196-197 & 199!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Super Catch Up - Up to 195

It has been almost two months since I last posted.  I'm going to give us all credit for preparing at least 35 meals in that time.  We probably fixed more because we've really reduced the amount of eating-out that we've done lately.   

Our freezer is almost empty, so we are actually having to buy meat. In the last year we've eaten one cow, two deer and a couple of turkeys as well.  Our meals have been built around chicken and lots of pork, which is weird for us because we are not used to buying meat.

In the last few weeks we've eaten omelettes alot - #1 we have lots of eggs coming in from our chickens and #2 - omelettes are quick and healthy for us...especially when stuffed with lots of vegetables.

One brand new meal that I tried was sausage, gravy & grits.  I fixed a big pan of grits, browned some sausage with garlic and green pepper, then made a classic white gravy - only it was a little more savory becuase of the sauteed vegetables.  Then the entire meal was built in a bowl.  Layer of grits first, then the browned sausage and vegetables, then the gravy.  This meal was inspired by the classic shrimp and grits served on the eastern coast.  It was a hit with everyone but me because I'm just not crazy about sausage.

We've also had plain and simple meals, like pinto beans, cornbread, polska kielbasa and sauerkraut.  And just simple salmon patties with some sweet potatoes.

Tonight we will be having deer (Thanks Don!) with a warm potato salad and some spinach. 

It's been kinda' hard for me to adjust to not having the fresh vegetables from the garden - although we are still being spoiled with fresh tomatoes and greens!  I think since the cold has finally really set in - I will be able to quickly adjust to my winter favorite foods, like jambalaya (planned for tomorrow night) and lots of other hearty soups.