Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Cashews and IHCC

Another weekend must end...it's always sad to me, but I guess without the work week, we cannot really enjoy our time off. But you know, I could sure try.




Last night I made a Mark Bittman recipe, because I am participating in I Heart Cooking Club or IHCC, and right now we are featuring Mark Bittman. This week's theme is Potluck, so we could make anything we wanted. I made "Stir-Fried Shrimp with Black Beans" only I did one of his variations and substituted cashews for the Black Beans.
I enjoyed it very much, but the Handyman? I'm not so sure. He picked out the shrimp and the cashews and left the Bok Choy. He's pretty much a meat and potatoes man, but I keep trying.


One summer evening a couple of years ago, it was very hot and I just bought some good cheese, some good bread, some good apples and pears and grapes and was going to call it good. DINNER! But the Handyman looked at what I had set out and he said, "do you need me to run to the store and buy some meat?" (sigh). I think I let him, because he just was having such a hard time getting around that "red" meat and potato supper, he loves.


But I digress....last night we enjoyed out supper out on the patio with a glass of wine. I made some rice to go with the shrimp dish, and like I said, I really enjoyed it.
I have never cooked with Bok Choy before. I know I've eaten it in Asian Restaurants, but never at home. I like it...it doesn't wilt real fast like some greens and the whole idea was to keep some crunch in it. At least I think it was.


It was a simple recipe, but there is quite a bit of chopping and different steps, so I would suggest to do the prep work first and have it all ready to go in separate bowls.



 
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Cashews
from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

About 1 1/2 pounds shrimp 20-30 per pound
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup cashews
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 clove garlic sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 pound Bok Choy
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped green onion


Peel the shrimp and place in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the sliced garlic, the salt and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. Give it a good stir and let sit while you assemble the other ingredients.


Separate the bok choy leaves from the stems; chop the stems into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces and chip the leaves.


Heat a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat for 3 minutes. When hot add 1 Tablespoon of the peanut oil and raise the heat to high. When it begins to smoke add the minced garlic and immediately the shrimp and it's marinade. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from the pan.


Put the rest of the peanut oil in the skillet and add the ginger, followed by the bok choy stems. Cook until the bok choy is lightly browned, 3-5 minutes, then add the greens. Cook, stirring for 1 minute, then add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute or two. Return the shrimp to the skillet and stir, add the cashews and the green onion, the remaining soy sauce and sugar. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and drizzle with remaining sesame oil and serve.
 


What I love about Sundays

These are the things I love about Sundays:



1. Getting up early and either going outside with my coffee cup and book, doing a bit of yard work while the dew is still on the ground, or in the winter, grabbing my coffee cup and book and watching the snow fall outside while I am warm and toasty.


2. Watching CBS Sunday Morning.


3. Making waffles.


4. Going to church.


All these things I love. #'s 1 thru 3 must take place before #4, which begins at 10:00 a.m.
Sometimes it's hard to accomplish it all.
but....it's my favorite. My favorite morning of all.


A few years ago, there was a country song called "That's what I love about Sundays" by Craig Morgan. I am not a HUGE country music fan (although, I do like it), but that song I love. I love the lyrics.
Raymond's in his Sunday best,
He's usually up to his chest in oil an' grease.
There's the Martin's walkin' in,
With that mean little freckle-faced kid,
Who broke a window last week.
Sweet Miss Betty likes to sing off key in the pew behind me.


That is SO TRUE....of my church anyway. Though our church is small and provincial, it is a true microcosm to the country as a whole. Don't you love that about churches?


Anyway, I won't go into much church stuff.... I just love that song. And I love my Sunday mornings.


I'll be back later with a Mark Bittman recipe (post)  I made last night.
For now..... what I love about Sundays....



My grandson Eli came out early to pull weeds with me.



Who am I kidding....we live in the desert...we don't have "dew"...the sprinklers had been on earlier.



My book and my coffee cup.  2 of my favorite things.



The wine opener (another one of my favorite things) left on the patio table from last night.



Soon Eli's twin sister, Emerson got up and joined us.



We found a bee on a sunflower.



My daughter in law preaching 
(I am out of focus!! )



As  you leave our church, you are invited to COCKTAILS.
hahahaaa....
We live in Nevada, we have a casino right across the street from the Church.
I had a friend whose husband one Christmas Eve service left to use the bathroom.
He ran across the street because he "said" that the bathroom at the church was busy.
And he didnt' come back and didnt' come back...finally when the service was almost over, he slips back in and sits in the pew.  
He had put a quarter in a slot machine while he walked by and he won...and he won...and he won.
$500.
While his family was in church.
We laugh now....she couldn't really get mad, he won money!!!

But back to this Sunday....



An Uncle, stopping his niece from falling off the pew.



A dad holding his daugtgher
(yes...that is my son and my granddaughter)



An  uncle holding his niece



A new mom holds her 4 day old baby--little Issac Tyler
(and is in church no less)



A baby peeks over the pew.
(I know her....her name is Hannah, my grandchildren's cousin)



My grandson peeks over the pew!



All of those nieces, nephews, grandbabies, aunts,  uncles, new moms, etc?
It's my daughter in law's family!
And they're not even all in church today.

And now....I'm going to go grab a glass of lemonaide and my book.
Later make some faitjas for supper, some chocolate elcair cake.
Take a nap in the hammock.
That's what I love about Sundays.



The rest of the song....the lyrics...
That's what I love about Sunday:
Sing along as the choir sways;
Every verse of Amazin' Grace,
An' then we shake the Preacher's hand.
Go home, into your blue jeans;
Have some chicken an' some baked beans.
Pick a back yard football team,
Not do much of anything:
That's what I love about Sunday.

I stroll to the end of the drive,
Pick up the Sunday Times, grab my coffee cup.
It looks like Sally an' Ron, finally tied the knot,
Well, it's about time.
It's 35 cents off a ground round,
Baby. cut that coupon out!
That's what I love about Sunday:

Cat-napping on the porch swing;
You curled up next to me,
The smell of jasmine wakes us up.
Take a walk down a back road,
Tackle box and a cane pole;

Carve our names in that white oak,
An' steal a kiss as the sun fades,
That's what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

Ooh, new believers gettin' baptized,
Momma's hands raised up high,
Havin' a Hallelujah good time
A smile on everybody's face.
That's what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

That's what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

King Ranch Chicken--Southern Style

I am so disappointed! I had my dates wrong for one of my book clubs. We usually meet on the 4th Thursday of the month, but this time we are meeting on the last Thursday which is next week! I was already to see my friends and discuss books tomorrow!! Now I have to wait another week.

I hate when that happens.
**********************************



I just read a book. Imagine that, me, reading a book!
It was just a cute little southern book called "Suck in Your Stomach and Put Some Color on!" by Shellie Rushing Tomilson. It was a fun read. It made me smile and laugh out loud at some things.


All that southernness intrigues me. Maybe because I'm from the Northwest originally, and now the "Great Basin" of Nevada, but we don't identify with our regions as the southerners do. Songs are not written about us, books are not categorized around us, meals are not memorialized in regards to us.


So, to have such admiration and pride in a region fascinates me.
And I like reading about it.


It was a great little read, full of essays and quotes and antidotes as well as recipes. On that caught my eye was "King Ranch Chicken", so I made it.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole is nothing new, but I had never had it before. It was full of all good things, cheese, chicken, mushroom soup, tortilla chips. You put all those things together and it cant' be bad, can it?


Homesick Texan says this about Casseroles:
Casseroles are an ancient dish, found all over the world. Yet for some reason, whenever I hear the word, I don’t think of France (the origin of the name), I think of church suppers, potlucks and home.


Me too! Church Suppers and Potlucks!
We used to eat a lot of casseroles when I was growing up in the 1960's and 70's, but I think, casseroles. for the most part, have kind of gone by the wayside. While they are an easy dish (throw everything in one pan and bake) they are not healthy at all.

 My husband, the Handyman, loved this casserole tho, so I might have to make it again. In the fall....when we are getting ready to put on our extra five-pound "winter coat".


A cute read and a good meal!






King Ranch Chicken
(adapted from "Suck in Your Stomach and Put Some Color on" )


1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheese
1 package Doritos
2-4 chicken breast shredded



Combine soups, Rotel and the chicken broth in a bowl. Boil or sauté chicken breast (I used a deli-rotisserie chicken and just shredded it ) until done and put half the chicken in a casserole dish (any size depending on how much you want.) pour soup mixture on top, add crushed Doritos. Repeat steps until mixture and chicken are gone. Sprinkle cheese on top of casserole.



Bake uncovered on 350°F for 45 minutes. Let cool and thicken for 10 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and enjoy.



Ingredients may be doubled for larger groups and the hot Rotel may be used for a little spice.



Serve with a green salad and you're good to go.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Random stuff

At the first of the month MM from Ms. enPlace gave me a Beautiful Blogger Award. She probably thinks I've forgotten about it, but I haven't--it's just that I'm boring. I like to cook, read and garden. Now, we all KNOW that isn't boring, or we ALL wouldn't be doing those things. But when you put it on paper, it sounds "hum-drum".



OH... I just thought of something, but I've already wrote my list....oh well, I collect skeleton keys and clocks. Both my mother and my mother-in-law have grandfather clocks and I want them someday. (you know when that day would be...I don't want to say it outloud) The Handyman just shakes his head and asks why I need two grandfather clocks. Um....because I like them? And there is just something so...so....so intriguing about "time" and how fast it goes and "where does time go" and all that. I have 11 clocks in my living room. They are all unique.


Now, on to my list!
Ten "other" things about myself.

1. I am addicted to chapstick


2. I have saved every letter ever sent to me. (just in case a piece of history is in there) I tie them in ribbons--because I am melodramatic and a romantic--just like they do in old movies, and keep them in a box in chronological order and alphabetical order by sender. (can you say nerd?)


3. I like sunlight on water---I think it's the most beautiful sight there is.


4. I love music and can spout off lines from any song you can name, but I cannot carry a tune, so will not sing in public. My poor grandchildren tho.... (sigh) I sing to them.


5. My mom's snickerdoodle cookies are my favorite EVER (and I cannot reproduce them here, because of the altitude)


6. I cannot think of any food I dislike ---seriously. Nothing. I had tofu once and it wasn't my favorite, but I would try it again.


7. I love dogs! If they are other people's dogs.


8. I have a friend whom I've been having coffee with every Tuesday morning at 6:00 in our jammies for the past 7 years.


9. I belong to 4 book clubs.


10. I am not a jewelry person. I once said to my husband, "you're lucky I'm not a jewelry person" and he replied, "no, YOU are the lucky one" (meaning he wasn't the jewelry giver kind of guy and it was good that I didn't care. Having said that, there were a couple anniversaries when he gave me diamond earrings or a necklace or something like that. Hmmmmm....I wonder where those are? )
 
Thank you Ms. enPlace!!
Now I need to think of 10 people to send it to.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Monday, what are you Reading?



It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme, hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.




What am I reading?




Eclipse. It's taking me much longer than it should. It's not that I don't like it, it's good. There is just a whole lot of teenage angst , and I guess I'm not in the mood. I want to go see the movie tho, so I have to finish it, which I will do in the next day.


Then I'm on to either "The Passage" by Justin Cronin (here is a link to a video interview from the author on Good Morning America-- great pictures of Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows!)  


or "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larrson, which everyone who's anyone has read, but me. That's me...always a day late!


**after watching the video interview, I am going for The Passage.


*****************************





I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and shout about how great my bookclub is! As I have mentioned, I have more than one bookclub and I love them "all", but today, I am talkin' 'bout my peeps from "Totally Lit".


Okay, yeah, peeps. I know I'm too old, but I just like sayin' it. Peeps. My posse`, my gal-pals. However you say it, we are a group of women who love our book club!


Most of us....altho, not all of us.....are over 50 now. There are a couple of daughters who have joined the group, and it is really fun to have that "young mother" or "young-grad-school" point of view. It keeps us from getting "old".


And yes, we do love our bookclub--- we've been around for the past 8 years, and while I know that's not really a long time in a book club lifespan, we've seen a lot of changes in our lives. Mostly good, but some bad, and while Our primary goal is to read and discuss books, we are always "there" for each other to. Just wait till next month's meeting. There will be a SURPRISE! I can't wait.


This evening, we were discussing "The Irresistible Henry House" in my backyard. And having wine and cheese.


The Totally Lit Book Club, est. Jan. 2003

(can you spot the difference?  One picture with me and one with my daughter in law)


We all are not here.  I don't know that we've ever been all together at a meeting.
We might be way too big for a good book discussion if we were.


And then....random shots of us throughout the evening, enjoying our discussion, our wine and our friends!
(I love them!)




I have a hummingbird nest up there....if you look, you can see Jolina looking up!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A good weekend

Another weekend drawing to a close.......they tend to do that so fast. I wish there was a way to make them last longer, but until that happens, I guess we just have to enjoy what we can.

As you know, I live in the high desert of Northern Nevada, about 160 miles from Reno. We spent the weekend in Reno with our good friends John and Robbie Milton.


I realize that Reno isn't Manhattan. Reno isn't Chicago, Rene isn't Seattle or San Francisco, or even Las Vegas... but I like my little skyline. There is just something so "wondrous" about looking down on a city at night, from high above in your motel or apartment.
It is even more wondrous when you have a camera that can actually "take" that picture that you find so amazing.


As seen here, my camera takes pictures of "aliens" hiding in Reno!! Hidden to the naked eye. (we did stop at Best Buy and look at new cameras.... the handyman likes to research and think about and think about and think about something before he doles out almost $1000. That's how much the Nikon Camera I want, costs)


That is the Handyman....getting in my way again!


My friend Robbie.


Anyway..... Reno Trip.
This is where we stayed.




I have almost finished "Eclipse", I read it on the trip to and from Reno and some on Saturday morning. I am not a HUGE Twilight series fan, but I do hate to be left out, so I read each one before I see the movie. It's good.  But I am ready to move on to other books.... a bit too much teenage angst for me.



What we ate in Reno:
( but first I must say that Robbie went for a two mile walk around Virginia Lake on Saturday morning. I'm not so sure it helped with these calories tho.....)


Friday Night, Mexican Food at Miguel's. I highly recommend it.  It's on Virginia Street, if you go.



Not the best picture, but I couldn't go stand in the middle of the street.




These are the owners, Addy and Elmer. Friends of Robbie's









These are our husbands.....thinking, COME ON, lets go.






Saturday morning: fresh berry crepes at Biscotti's (in the Peppermill Casino). No picture. but great crepes!


Saturday night: Italian food at La Strada (in the El Dorado Casino). We had the Chef's choice...and I forgot to take pictures. So, I quickly snapped one of my already eaten plate. Mushroom ravioli....Yum.





Our friends, John and Robbie

Sunday morning: Breakfast at the StoneHouse.


The Handyman had ham and eggs, I had blueberry french toast. Nothing better than eating breakfast outside on a nice summer morning. I wish I had gotten a picture of the Stonehouse. It's really nice. It's a stone house.







So, that's what we ate.


What did we do? The guys had a golf tournament to "watch" and Robbie and I went to the Art Museum, and I got in trouble.



 I took some pictures inside---I didn't see a sign saying not to, so I snapped 3 pics and the guards came out of the woodwork to tell me to put my camera away. It was the artwork of Fernando Botero. A Latin American Artist who paints in the Baroque tradition---like the Rubenesque women, who are "pudgy".....well he makes everyone VERY chubby.




Here is Jesus.
And a  priest.



 And Adam and Eve.
I'm not sure why Adam gets a leaf and poor Eve doesn't?





And Robbie, looking at a sculpture.





Then, down in the lobby where it was okay to photograph this sculpture. She was huge!!






All of his artwork was huge. The Paintings were well over 6-7 feet tall. It's hard to tell from a photograph.




I've always liked  this sculpture they have outside the museum







In the afternoon, we went to a bookstore, an independent, The Sundance, and walked in on an author reading, so we sat to listen.
Best known as a leader of the Indian takeover of Alcatraz Island in 1969, Adam Fortunate Eagle now offers an unforgettable memoir of his years as a young student at Pipestone Indian Boarding School in Minnesota. In this rare firsthand account, Fortunate Eagle lives up to his reputation as a "contrary warrior" by disproving the popular view of Indian boarding schools as bleak and prisonlike.









He was very entertaining. I'm glad we got to listen to his talk. His book about the Indian Boarding Schools, Is "Pipestone"




It was a great weekend.
And now....off to work tomorrow. Must bring home the bacon. And the champagne. (cuz I bought some while in Reno and now I have to pay for it!)

My Big Backyard (on Thursday instead of Wednesday)

Because I'm a nerd, I want to see how my backyard changes throughout the year. So! I'm going to take a few pictures of it ea...