Have a Cata-New-Year!

Here’s hoping that everybody has a safe and fun New Year’s Eve.

Remember…

No pictures, please!  Certainly not on Facebook…

Foolish humans…

Tomorrow is another fresh beginning!

And we all need a little help sticking to our resolutions.

Just in case you were worried about that Mayan calendar thing…

Updates will continue.

Meanwhile, a Sithy Funny, just for Aggie!

May 2012 bring you happiness AND prosperity!  And may you come back for many more Caturdays.  😀

Lamb, Balsamic & Sundried Tomato Meat Loaf

Yes, I said lamb.  And loaf.  In the same sentence.  Generally speaking, I try to disassociate myself from any meat entitled “loaf”.

It’s a personal thing.  Like refusing to eat in the cafeteria in high school because I couldn’t identify the meat at first glance.  Actually, you couldn’t generally identify it even after a close and detailed investigation!

This, however, is a loaf worth eating.  It is heavenly, and easy, and lamby.  Did I mention I just love lamb?   😀

This is not your mamma’s meatloaf!  Although I’m sure your Mom’s meatloaf is totally awesome, this one has LAMB!!!

Obviously, you’ll need some ground lamb.  🙂  I had a 1 pound package, but it would have been even better if I’d used 2 pounds.  More lamb to love!  😛

You’ll need 1 lemon for zesting, 2 large eggs, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 4 garlic cloves  thinly sliced, 2 large shallots, finely chopped, 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes chopped, and 1 tbsp fresh rosemary.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Spray a large loaf pan (9 x 3 1/2) with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vinegar.

Add the oats.

Then the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest.

Last, add the ground lamb.

Here is where you’ll want to put the camera down, as it is rather difficult to mix this all together using only one hand.

But I tried.

The hand is a little scary.

Dive in with both hands and mix until incorporated.

Transfer to the prepared loaf pan, and press into a loafy shape.

Bake 40 – 45 minutes.

For enhanced enjoyment, top with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar.  Rat Boy doesn’t care much for balsamic vinegar.  Something about carrots and a horrid wonderful balsamic honey glaze I forced him to eat  made when he was about 7.  So I left it off.  🙂

More on the sour cream mashed potatoes tomorrow.  They are divine!

I think I might have died and gone to heaven.  Except the dishes are still dirty and the trash needs to go out.  Think I’ll just concentrate on eating for now!

Star Light, Star Bright

Actually seeing the stars tonight!

After many days of much needed rain, the gloomy grey cloud cover cracked open this afternoon and the sun shone onto our soggy part of the world.  Joyfully.  Warmly. There was great rejoicing.

The maintenance guys also came by and fixed our heat.  Yay heat!  Much appreciated, guys!

Overall, it was a lurvley afternoon and evening.  Still nomming on the ribs that Mum decided would be Christmas dinner this year, my fridge currently full of leftovers.

What did you guys have for Christmas dinner?  Traditional, modern, or an eclectic mix just your own?

I have a friend whose family picks a country at random every year, and then does traditional foods of the chosen country for Christmas dinner.  Great idea, but not going to happen here with only 1 person to cook!  😛

Today’s blogging will be, instead of food, about stars and imagination, and heavenly bodies 🙂  I know I have one, it’s just hiding behind the cookies!

Today is the birthday of German astronomer Johannes Kepler.

He was born in Weil der Stadt, Württemberg in 1571, and intended to become a theologian.  He was sidetracked when he read Copernicus’s Six Books Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs, in which Copernicus posits that the planets revolve around the Sun, not the Earth.

Kepler saw Copernicus’s theory as evidence of a divine blueprint for the universe, and set out to prove the theories through scientific observation. Over his lifetime, Kepler came up with three laws of planetary motion stating:

1.  That the planets travel in elliptical orbits around the Sun.

2.  The planet (Earth) moves faster during the portion of its orbit that is closest to the Sun.

3.  A description of  the mathematical relationship between the distance of a planet from the Sun and the length of the planet’s orbital period.

Pretty genius stuff for the Middle Ages.  His contemporaries were busy wiping out cats…because they helped witches communicate with the Devil.  Never mind the cats (good kittehs) killed rats, and held the plague at bay.  Irony, right?

Kepler was also the father of modern optics. He had poor vision himself, as a result of a childhood case of smallpox. He was the first scientist to describe the mechanics of vision in the eye, and developed lenses to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness.

He also explained how both eyes work together to produce depth perception.

Good to know, right?

Caturday Christmas 2011

Featuring Hazards of the Holidaze!

Santa.

And his reindeer.

He knows when you are sleeping.

He knows when you’re awake..

He knows if you’ve been bad or good.

So be good, for goodness’ sake!

And in the morning, there arose such a clatter!

All will arise, to see what’s the matter.

Stockings and gifts for all good kittehs!

A Merry Christmas to all!

Stay warm and safe in your family’s embrace!

Thanks Again Microsoft.

I play World of Warcraft.  Stop judging me!  Everybody needs a hobby…or two…or five.

My fantasy universe requires maintenance from time to time, as do all our disks and switches and the millions of line of code that keep us happily posting our deepest thoughts, recipes, stories of kids, or political musings.

The balance of my universe has become upset.  My programs are not downloading and updating as they should, at only the quick right click of my mouse.

I blame Microsoft.  For one thing, it’s just so easy.  Our friendly ‘big corp’ has become so overly dominant in the operating system (for your computer, and possibly your personal-adult-battery-powered friend) market that you have to buy an Apple (who is now using an OS by Microsoft) or you can build your own machine and run Linux.  Who wants to do that as a casual user?

Those days are over for me.  I want to push the power button, have the pc boot up and run without any need on my part for constant maintenance and tweaking.  I just want to browse the internet, blog, and play WoW.  Speaking strictly of free time here…sitting time, not standing-in-the-kitchen-for-some-reason time.  And I started sewing again.  All of this is seriously cutting into my gaming time!

Excuse me!

Well.  That feels a little better.

All my troubles started yesterday, when Curse Client (a program which handily manages all of my little ad-on applications for WoW…and other games) had an update.  I’ve been using this computer, and program to play WoW for about a year and 1/2.  Everything has been hunky-dory.  But suddenly, the CC update can’t find a file.  CRISIS!!!

So I check the details log.  It sends me poking into App Data, and looking at a MS .NET Framework file.  I’m removing programs, deleting files, re-downloading…  still no joy.  😦

At lunch I took a break from playing tech support to myself to dine with my wonderful friend, Josh.  He’s a grad student now, in Florida, so we only get to see him a couple of times a year.  He was driving through today on his Christmas break, so Hubby and I met him for a-lunching.  During the course of our conversation, I learned that MS .NET Framework is a ‘manager’ program, that updates MS Office, among other things.

I don’t even have MS Office!  So why I ask you for the love of all things sacred, WHY DO I EVEN NEED THIS PROGRAM???  And why is it f’ing up programs that I DO use?

Such are the questions that make us hate Microsoft.

Better go try another fresh install.

Chicken Verde Enchiladas

I try to avoid going to the market on weekends.  Yes, it’s crowded, and slower than weekdays, but what really gets me is the food tasting. I taste things I wouldn’t normally make, and it’s good.  Then I get a ginormous jar of whatever product it was I just tasted, go home, and make meal X for the family.  Invariably it receives mixed reviews at home.  Sigh.

This one was a winner, however.  I did tweak the recipe on the jar a bit.  Who can possibly argue with more cheese?  Unless maybe you’re lactose intolerant.  But then you can use soy cheese or any of the other non-cheese cheeses that are commonly available these days!

You’ll need to boil a chicken.  I used a whole chicken, because skinless breasts just don’t have that much flavour, and they’re rather expensive in comparison.  AND…you get more chicken, so you can make more than one dish from the same chicken.

When the chicken is fully cooked, set it in a bowl to drain.  Strain the liquid in the pan, reduce it, and you have some delicious non-salty chicken broth.  Save this, and we’ll make some delicious chicken vegetable soup!

Two notes on the chicken:

1) Do make sure to remove the giblets before boiling!

2) De-bone carefully.  You don’t want anyone to choke or lose a tooth later!

Shred 2 to 3 cups of chicken.

Add 2-3 cups shredded cheese.  I used a cheddar Habanero variety, but it really wasn’t very spicy.  Also add 1 cup sour cream, and 1 cup pico de gallo.

Stir together, and then add 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed.

Try not to be like me and pour the black bean juice all over the counter.  Some days I just can’t hold onto things.  This morning, I poured half my cup of coffee on the counter in the same spot.  There is a land shark living there.  That MUST be it.

After the filling is combined…gently as to not squish the beans, pour in about half the jar of Cookwell & Company Green Chile Stew, until the filling is quite moist.

Microwave the corn tortillas until they are pliable, then spoon about 3 teaspoons of the filling into the tortilla, roll, and place into your baking dish of choice, seam side down.  The recipe says to use a 9 x 13.  I chose to use non-stick so I wouldn’t have to grease it.  I made enough filling with this recipe to make 2 pans!  That was about 24 enchiladas!

Cover then with some of the remaining Chile Stew mixture, then liberally apply shredded cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30 – 40 minutes.

Garnish with some salsa and more shredded cheese.  We are not big fans of Spanish rice, so I just threw together some pilaf from frozen peas and corn with Jasmine rice.  It was all quite nomable!  🙂

Hope everyone is having a good week before Christmas!

Caturday in the Kitchen

It’s that time again.  A day of rest, relaxation, pampering…

Who am I kidding?  It’s only a week until Christmas!!!  And I have a list at least a mile long.

I don’t see how Santa does it!  😛

We are going to the Alley Theatre this evening to see “Santa’s Naughty Diaries”.

Now, I realize this is the time of year for Dicken’s Christmas carol (which we have seen at least 6 years running), or the Nutcracker Suite (which I danced in for several years, and then went every year for 10 years at least).  So, I’m a bit tired of traditional Christmas entertainment.

Thus, we will be seeing the ‘Naughty” for the first time.  I hope it’s hilarious.  This time of year, everyone needs a good laugh!

AND…another holiday requires holiday food.  So today, I’m letting our feline friends take over.  Kitchen Kat has a posse it seems.  😛

Have a great Caturday!

Christmas Caturday next week!

200th Comment!

Wow!  I can’t believe that you guys keep coming back…but I’m happy that you do!  🙂

At Groovy Noms, I received my 200th comment…from The Queen!

I feel like Sally Fields, as in “You like me, you really like me!”.

Thanks for reading, and letting me know what you think.  Input IS appreciated.  😀

Kitchen Kat says thanks, too!

He looks angry, but he’s not.  He’s just waiting for me to go back in the kitchen…

Beef Tips with Mushrooms

I’ve come to the conclusion that posting every day is just not going to happen here.  I don’t cook anything new some days.  Some, I don’t cook anything at all.  If I did, I have no idea where I’d put it, as the fridge is usually stuffed to the point of exploding!

Over the weekend, I made some chicken vegetable soup with noodles.  Of course, I forgot to take any pictures of it until it was at the leftover stage, and not looking all that pretty anymore.  😛

Yesterday, I made beef tips with mushrooms.  It was delicious!  And easy!  😀

And warm and beefy, too.

The ingredients list here is fairly short.  Olive oil, red wine, beef, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and carrots.  I forgot to put the carrots in!  Really, I probably shouldn’t drink and cook.  😛

You’ll need about 2 1/2 pounds of beef.  I got a boneless shoulder roast and cubed it myself.  Stew meat is always rather fatty, I think, and a roast isn’t that much trouble to cube.

Saute 1 cup of shallots and 4 garlic cloves in about 2 tbsp of olive oil.  This is my favorite part.  It smells SO good!

Add the cubes of beef, and brown.

They will get quite juicy!

When the beef cubes are brown, empty the skillet into the crock pot.

I decided to do the mushrooms separately, so they would be nice and brown without being mangled by the meat.

I do love browned mushrooms!

They go in the crock pot also.

Now, the wine.  Some for me…and you…

This was a really tasty Zinfandel, by the way…for under $10!  And my beautiful Christmas-themed glass by Lolita is always fun to use.

Add 1-1 1/2 cup wine to the crock pot.

Cover, and cook on low 6-8 hours.  When the beef tips are tender and almost ready to serve, add 1 bag of frozen carrots (12 oz), or a small bag of baby carrots.  Then, cook until tender.  Serve over egg noodles, or rice.

Bon Appetit!

I actually put some frozen peas into the crock pot, after I had served dinner.  As leftovers, this was even better.  I don’t know if it was the peas, or just because somehow the flavors always meld a bit more overnight.

Either way, this was a win with the family.  And that makes every day a good one.  😀

Parmesan Chicken

It’s still cold outside.  Well, if you consider 50-something cold…  I’m a Gulf Coast dweller.  Stop judging me!  🙂

Rat Boy is always asking me to make this for him, and it’s so easy, I probably should more often.  But then he’d just be tired of it, and it wouldn’t be a treat then.

So, I had this chicken.  And I was wondering what I’d cook today.  So I decided to make Rat Boy happy.  🙂

Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this.  It keeps really well, and is good cold on a sandwich, or even by itself, so make plenty!

Butter a baking sheet (with sides) well.  Really well, as the butter will kind of fry the chicken to heavenly.

Slice teh breasts in half crosswise to make them thinner.

This is so much easier and less messy than pounding them thin.  🙂

You’ll need 2 small bowls, one for breadcrumbs (I used panko and they were awesome) mixed with Parmesan cheese…

and one for a beaten egg.  Using a shallow, wide bowl for the breadcrumbs works the best.

Dip the chicken pieces in the egg.

Then into the breadcrumb/cheese mix.  You can press it on to get a nice thick layer.

Your fingers will be goopy, but it’s really worth it!

Lay the chicken in the melted butter on the baking sheet.

Pat any remaining crumb mix onto the bald spots, then bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Flip the chicken pieces over, and bake another 10-15 minutes, until the pieces are nicely golden brown and crunchy.

If your oven is a hundred years old like mine, you’ll need to rearrange the pieces so they are evenly cooked!

Then enjoy the crunchy deliciousness.  🙂

Oh, and don’t forget the wine.  You deserve it!

Please ignore all that stuff in the background.  I was washing up while the chicken was baking.  Now, I can enjoy the wine!

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