Thursday, August 25, 2011


Tonight was a convenience food night for us with a touch of the homemade. With the new addition of a car payment we are going to try more often to eat in, so I have been in the process this week of cooking wonderful yummy dinners and tonight was another of those dinners. I purchased a pork tenderloin yesterday while at the store and grabbed one of those McCormick seasoning pouches with cooking bag as well, followed the instructions on the seasoning pouch to place the pork tenderloin in the baking bag and then sprinkled the seasoning mix all over, sealed up the bag, and stuck it in the oven to cook. While that cooked I mixed up a box of scalloped potatoes au'gratain, the Betty Crocker ones and put them in the oven. Finally I mixed together a batch of buttermilk popovers, why so specific about the buttermilk popovers, well last week I sent Ashley out for a 1/2 gallon of 1% milk and he came back with a half gallon of 1% BUTTERmilk; as mom would say both useful, however not always interchangeable. At least buttermilk does not really work if you are eating a peanut butter sami. Back to the buttermilk, I have this 1/2 gallon that I needed to figure out something to do with and I started searching for recipes using buttermilk, I found a popover recipe on someone else's blog and thought I would give it a shot; they were delicious!!! I did mine in the giant muffin pan as suggested, though I would not say that you can fill up the pans to the top as the recipe suggested I probably filled mine up 2/3rds of the way full and placed them in the oven. They were so yummy, I can say though that the hardest part for me was to leave the oven alone while they baked I wanted to look so bad. They came out so pretty and they rose so nicely. We will be having them again. All in all dinner was a success the pork loin, the potatoes, and the popovers. Happy cooking everyone who's reading... Until next time.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Car

Okay so that is not a post about a recipe, but I could not resist. We got a new car last night, to replace my car. I say we because occasionally we will both drive it, but over all it is my car. The poor old Neon had a number of miles on it and was frankly going to need a hefty amount of money to replace it, yes I know a new car is a hefty amount of money too, we just could not see spending the money on the car that was breaking down and had almost 125000 miles on it. The dealership gave us KBB value for our trade in and we left after a very long day with multiple test drives with my Dodge Nitro. Photos to follow post. The decision was not an easy one, but we had been talking about it for about a week, and then consulted all the parents for their thoughts, and "support." Thanks! Love the car, hope to get much enjoyment out of it!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday dinner...before work.

So you know, I have more late posts to add regarding my jam processing, but those will come with time, my hope is some time this week.

Tonight I actually felt like I had the energy to make a wonderful dinner for the hubs and I, to follow along pull out your trusted Better Homes and Gardens plaid cookbook, mine is pink. For those of you who don't know I work nights every weekend from Thursday to Sunday, which is why I at times do not have the energy to cook much; tonight however was not one of those nights, we had Steak Au Poivre, fried potatoes and onions, and artichokes with herbed butter.

So how did it all go. I used beef tenderloin steak for the steak, it actually cooked really quickly, Ashley's was a little underdone for him as he prefers a more medium well steak. I on the other hand have moved from the overdone well done of my youth to a perfectly cool medium/medium rare. Once the steaks were all done, I completed the sauce for the steaks. The recipe calls for beef broth, and tonight amazingly I had none in the house, and I had no bullion cubes to cheat with so I just added water in place of broth. The sauce was delish and easy to make, brandy, water, cream, Dijon mustard, and the drippings from the steak. I decided to add a bit of salt after tasting, remember the importance of not salt is not necessarily about salt but about enhancing the flavor.

The artichokes took a bit more time to prepare and cook. This is my first time to EVER prepare artichokes and I was a bit nervous about the task, however it was much easier then I imagined. So I pulled off some of the petals that were not firmly attached to the base, snipped the petals that were remaining on, and cut about an inch of the top off, finally peeling the stalk after removing almost all of it. Once done with preparing the artichokes they were placed in acidulated water (or water with lemon juice) until the water for cooking had come to a boil. After the water was to a boil I placed the chokes in the boiling water, and placed a lid smaller then my pot on top of them to hold them into the water as the float, placed the lid on the pot and simmered for 30 minutes. While they were cooking I prepared the butter sauce, adding dried herbs as opposed to fresh, as well as adding a dose of parmesan oil dipping seasoning so there was a bit more flavor to the sauce.

The final dish was the fried potatoes and onions, this one goes way back in my dads family I am guessing. This recipe starts with peeled sliced potatoes, thinly sliced. Then you put those in a skillet with a bit of oil, while those are starting to cook peel an onion and cut in half then slice thin, add to potatoes. I use about 4 smallish potatoes and two onions, because I love the onion flavor. To the potatoes and onions in the skillet add salt and pepper to preference and place the lid on the skillet cooking until tender and browned.

The overall opinion of the meal, the potatoes are my favorite so those I know will make a repeat. The steak was good, and the sauce was good as well, now Ashley surprisingly liked the sauce as well, I worried because it has brandy in it, and he generally does not like the flavor of liquor. The artichokes, were not as difficult to work with as I expected, however they were rather bland, requiring salt and the dipping sauce was a must! I will try the artichokes again however not this recipe; most likely a recipe that roasts the artichokes.

Well that was dinner, and now I should go prepare for my final shift of the week. Hope all are well and happy eating!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Super Saucy.

So a few weeks about my mother was visiting with us here in Hutto. While here she and I went to pick our peaches in Fredericsburg, Texas, this is something we have been attempting to make a yearly event. While at the orchard we go to, Maurburger Orchard, we noticed that they were overgrown with tomatoes, mom and I decided we just had to have some. We purchased about 14 pounds of tomatoes thinking that would be enough for a decent amount of canned tomatoes. Once home we looked and all of the canning recipes we had for tomatoes required 40-45lbs, no where near the 14lbs that we purchased minus a few that we needed to eat, you know to make sure they were good. So we set out to figure out a way to can some tomato sauce with the limited amount of tomatoes we had, Ball Canning fortunately in years past has put out a number of canning books, one of the recipes we were able to accommodate to what we wanted to do. 

Fresh tomatoes waiting to cook.

 Starting to cook a bit.

 Cooking down.

 Mom stirring away.

 Once cooked down blend in the food processor (or foodmill but I don't have one of those).

 Once blended you have to push through a fine sieve.

 And push through a sieve.

And push through.

This is what the sauce starts to look like, isn't it beautiful.

 Hot water bath canning, rack, pot, and a lot of hot water!

 Finished and they look so beautiful

 Final version, 6 beautiful jars of sauce.

So what have I learned with this experience? I love that I can say I learned to can my own tomato sauce. I know every ingredient that is in that jar, tomatoes, lemon juice, and heat. I know when I finally use it in a recipe it will make some killer tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, or enchilada sauce; and I will be able to say I made it completely from scratch. Then the final lesson I have learned, the tomato sauce you purchase in the grocery store is way under priced for the process, all in all it took my mom and me from start to finish 4 hours. Was it worth it, yes, will I be doing it again, most likely; just because I had so much fun doing it! It was all the more fun with my mom! I think the thing that I enjoyed most was that it was truly something my grandfather would have been proud of! What a fun thing to share with my mom.