Friday, July 22, 2011

Nearly Vacation!

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted, life sped up all of a sudden and I'm lagging behind. It's the heat, I'm blaming it all on the heat.

This week AJ has been at his Grandparents house and so during the day it's been quiet around here, you'd think I'd get a lot done - but my inner procrastinator refused to let me do much besides read during the day and stay out of the heat. My 18th Anniversary is coming up on Saturday and so Brian and I took the opportunity to have an entire week celebration rather than trying to squish it all into one night. Dinner out one night, movie out another, a trip to Bookmans one evening and staying in another. It was nice to catch up with each other and figure out where we are headed next. (Figuratively not literally, we DO NOT have orders and have no intentions of seeking any!)

We are going separate ways soon as AJ and myself are leaving soon for a vacation in CA. Brian has too many work commitments right now to be able to take that amount of time off so he's staying home and working while we bask in the coastal 60 degree weather. (I know, don't hate me.)

It always amazes me the amount of stuff that needs to be done before one can leave for anything longer than a weekend. Leaving Brian behind also makes it so that I feel responsible to make sure he is taken care of while I'm gone. To him that means food.  So I've spent a part of this week making meals to stock up the freezer so I know he will have no chance to starve while I'm gone. I usually do everything in a protein group to make it easier on myself and this time I chose ground beef. Everything started from that and so he knows that when he goes out to eat or whatever, order chicken. Sometimes I choose chicken as my protein, especially if I know he's been wanting Taco Bell - making sure he gets a variety.

This time I cooked up 2 lbs of ground beef and 1 lb of pork sausage and from that made a batch of chili, a batch of taco meat for tacos and burritos, and a couple of trays of baked spaghetti. I make them into smaller portions to freeze so that he's only eating it for one or two days instead of one big batch that would last a week. I use foil pans so there isn't much to clean up and write the instructions right on top of the foil so he knows exactly how to heat it up.

When I do chicken I usually make chicken fajitas, a white chicken chili, chicken Doritos casserole and something like chicken and rice. These types of meals are great to make if you know you are going to be busy soon or to put away for a friend who's sick or having a baby.

Off to foggy and cool northern CA to hang with my brother, parents and grandma and hopefully eat my weight in crab and seafood. :0)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grilled Pizza

YUM - right?? What, you've never tried it?? It seems like few of my friends have and it's really fairly easy. So here it is - grilled pizza 101.

I made my crust but it is not necessary. You can use the canned stuff, frozen and thawed bread dough, buy it from a pizza place you like, or easily from scratch. I only had whole wheat flour and so that's what I made, whole wheat pizza crust. I tried out this recipe to see how I liked it, I will be changing it next time I make it - but it is a good basic to start.

First take 1 teaspoon of yeast and add it to 2 cups of warm water and about a tablespoon of sugar. This "blooms" the yeast and gets it ready to work. If you don't see any action going on in your bowl, your yeast may have died. RIP
If it seems to be active, a little bubbly, etc. add 1 cup of flour and blend together.
Add another 3 cups of flour, make sure the dough is not really sticky.
This is enough for two large pizzas. If you only need one you can refrigerate or freeze half of it for another time. Place your dough in an oiled bowl and set aside for about 90 minutes to rise..... use a large enough bowl.... not like this:

On a floured counter roll out your dough, it's so much easier to make 2 smaller pizzas than trying to fight with a larger one.
Not that I did that, but trust me, it's much much easier!! Place the dough onto a stone, cutting board, cookie sheet or pizza pan. If you are using something with a lip, like my pizza pan, just flip it over and use the back side. It makes getting it onto the grill a lot smoother. Your pizza crust doesn't need an edge either, just roll it flat.
Once the crust is ready you can go and get the grill going and then line up all your toppings. You want everything ready to go since this is a pretty quick process. Here are some of my toppings ready to go:
Remember that cooking a pizza on the grill is much different than in an oven, you aren't really "cooking" the toppings, just heating them and melting the cheese. Anything that you would want to cook a bit you need to do that first. I also like the sauce to go on warm to help the process along, so I heat it before spooning it on.
I wanted some sweet onions and peppers on mine, but not raw - so I cooked them up and had them ready to go.

Once everything is laid out and your grill is hot - get your pizza dough ready to go. I use a mug with some olive oil and my tongs with a paper towel to wipe down the grill - also on the crust itself, don't want anything sticking!
Once your dough is on the grill, don't walk away. It'll happen quick! The dough will bubble up a bit and the underneath side will get a bit crunchy, a few grill marks and some yummy dark areas.
Pull it off and close up the grill to keep in the heat. Now top the side you just cooked.
I like doing sauce then a bit of cheese, the other toppings and finishing off with a bit more cheese.
Put it back on the grill and close the lid, keep checking for the cheese to get melty and the bottom to get browned and yummy!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What do you think?

Poor Brian. My hubby has to work with young kids all day long. Not young like in grade school, young like early 20's but often with the maturity of grade school kids. When did it become okay for everything to be handed over to people and you not have to work for anything?? The entitlement mentality is rampant and doesn't seem to be getting better, but worse. It isn't about just things anymore either (wanting more than you can afford, expecting people to support you, etc.), it's an attitude that's permeating every part of their lives. Since when did it become acceptable for people to stop "doing for themselves" and relying on others to take care of them completely?

Part of Hubby's job is to inform people of appointments needed, training required, testing dates, etc. He sends out emails requesting that people come into his office to sign for things to show accountability. The most frustrating part of his day is repeating himself over and over to people who refuse to think for themselves and take personal accountability for themselves. They want to be told verbally what do to and when, they do not want to have to read it for themselves. They want reminders sent out, because they don't feel they need to be responsible. If they have a question, they want the answer to be given to them without putting forth any effort to figure it out.  And if they miss an appointment, don't listen to instructions, or don't find the answer to the question they had - It's NOT their Fault!! It's always someone else's fault, always.

So why the rant you may ask? Because I see it in my own son, every day. That entitlement mentality rears it's ugly head. My job, is to beat it out of him, often. When it comes to homework, he wants me to tell him how to do it instead of reading the directions himself. Playing a video game, he wants help as soon as he is stuck before attempting to try. He wants to be told what his chores are everyday! So my new phrase is "What do you think?" I use it often and for everything. I refuse to play into this mentality when I know he is capable of doing it himself. (I used to ask him "Where's your brain?" but that seemed a bit harsh :0)

Just the other day we are out at lunch, invited by friends, and there are balloons everywhere. He of course asks me for one. The answer I give is NO. It's not his birthday, he has balloons at home, he is not entitled to one.  He asks why he can't have one and I respond "Why do you think?" he thinks about it for awhile and comes up with the same reasons I have. We get in the car to leave and he tries to tell me that his friends got balloons even though he didn't. I told him that if it was that important he should have taken care of it himself.
 "How could you have gotten a balloon?" I ask.
"I asked you but you said no." sulky voice included.
"Wasn't my balloon to give you" I reply.
"I could have asked our waitress?" He asks timidly.
"What do you think?"

I will get rid of this ugly entitlement monster yet!! Please, get rid of any living in your house and do the world a favor. Maybe we can have a generation of kids who think for themselves, take responsibility for that which is given to them and show accountability for themselves. Crazy, I know!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Me and my Mayo

I've slowly been coming to the realization that I have an unhealthy relationship with my Mayo. First, it's not just any mayo - it's gotta be Best Food's (or Hellman's when we are East of ol' Miss) Real Mayonnaise. I've tried other brands, I've tried light and the one made with olive oil - nope, gotta have the real stuff!! And if you mention Miracle Whip, you are dead to me. (except for my best friend, she's weird and allowed). It's not a substitute for mayo, it's nothing like mayo and it's disgusting!!

I began to realize my mayo habit was different from others when I got married. The first time I made dinner for my hubby and served it with a slice of bread smothered with mayo and saw the look on his face, I realized this might not be considered normal to everyone. He was expecting something like bread with butter on it! I don't make these for him anymore and rarely for myself, although there are certain dishes (mostly tomato based) where I just need to have my bread and mayo!

I learned very young that I like ranch dressing on my french fries... although mayo works just great as well. I got lots of strange looks until I went overseas and discovered that I am not the only one!! Lots of people eat their french fries with mayo! And on hot dogs as well - so there!!! Not as weird as I was once told.

I make breakfast burritos and put mayo on the tortilla (eggs and mayo go soooo good together!), I use mayo on the outside of my grilled cheese sandwiches (cooks up to a crispy yummy goodness), and my fruit salads are made with a mayo dressing (yes, mayo and bananas work well together).

In our house we don't use cheese to make veggies more palatable - I make a mayo/mustard/garlic salt dip for them just like my mom did. It is especially good for artichokes, asparagus, cauliflower, mixed frozen veggies, squash... okay, just about everything! Fish is especially yummy when baked under mayo, and coating sticks to chicken much better with mayo instead of an egg wash.

Every time I see pictures of jell-o, it's always topped with cool whip. Blech. Doesn't anyone else eat their jell-o desserts with mayonnaise??

My latest find is peanut butter and mayo sandwiches or crackers. Don't judge!! Give it a try. I also just found out that in Japan they like their margarita glasses rimmed with mayo instead of salt. Anyone up to trying a mayogaria with me?