Caturday…with yoga!

We are spending the day today driving out to the piney woods of east Texas to have a holiday meal with my Great-Aunt-Mary-Jane.  Should be a good day overall…at least the out-of-the-car part.  Can’t say I’m too fond of hours in the car.

Unless I hang my head out the window like a dog.  That can be really fun!  Unless you suddenly encounter a large insect, hurtling through space then impacting your head like a brick.

But all the bugs in life cannot be avoided.  Thus a lesson in serenity from our feline friends…

Breathing in, come into all fours,  breathe out and we’ll meet in downward kitteh.

Remembering to scoop your tail and draw your shoulders down your back…

With mindfulness,  lower the top of your head…

At the end of practice, we all want this:

And nobody wants this:

Hope y’all have a most excellent and relaxed Caturday!

Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day was established at the end of World War II, when a new German government took office after the defeat of Hitler’s Nazi regime.  The purpose of Veteran’s Day is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

This is a day to honor our troops, both in peace and war.  A day to remember why America is free.  A day to know that only because of those who are called to duty for whatever reason, we are free.

Thank You to the men and women who served, and to those still serving.

Thank You to the families out there who serve alongside our service members.   We don’t think enough about the sacrifices these families make to support our troops every single day.

When you’re out and about today, take a moment if you see someone in uniform to thank them for their service.  It means a lot every day, but especially today.

Moroccan Stew

I’m going to briefly apologize to anyone and everyone who came by to see yumtastic food last week, and I wasn’t here.  My Mum’s dog passed on to the happy green fields of Doggie Heaven last week, so I’ve been over at The Parent’s house more than at my own.

Kitchen Kat has been lonely.  😦

Today, I was feeling spicy.  Not Baby Spice or even Posh Spice, but Moroccan Spice.  Which means smoked paprika and cinnamon as the theme for this dish.

There’s a lot going on in this dish, but the flavors meld beautifully, and again…one pot cooking for the win!

It seems that I always begin with sauteing onion and garlic. Celery also, lately.

But it smells so good!  Also, I watched a couple of tutorials the other day on how to dice and onion, and now I need to practice.

This dish is vegetarian, but Hubby and Rat Boy raise such Banshee Queen wailing a fuss when I try to feed them anything vegetarian.  So I added some sausage.

After a couple more minutes of browning, I added some veggie stock.

Then, cubes of butternut squash, sliced carrots, chopped plum tomatoes, and quartered new potatoes.

Here’s hoping the hand isn’t too scary.  🙂

I ended up using the rest of the carton of stock, to cover all the veggies.  It’s 32 oz, so that’s 4 cups.

Wow!  I just did math in my head.  Correctly!  😛

The interesting part of this stew, I think, is the spices.  Cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika.  Of course, salt and pepper, too.  Cook until the veggies are tender, about 30 minutes.

Then I added these groovy sweet peppers I found the other day at Whole foods, because they are pretty (and tiny).

Some coconut milk…about half a can. Plus a can of garbanzo beans, rinsed.  I always have some garbanzo beans hanging around, as I never know when I might get the burning urge to make some hummus!  😛

I let it simmer on low, no lid,  while I made some rice.  Naan would have been just awesome with this, but since I didn’t happen to have any on hand, I just went with rice.

Kitchen Kat was keeping an eye on me from his stealthy location inside the cupboard.

Please ignore how messy it is in there.  Kitchen Kat likes to rearrange things, not necessarily in the best order…

At least he is out of the dishwasher.  😛

Finally, I arrived at Moroccan stew with rice!


It was very savory, but not spicy at all from the paprika.  To give it a kick, you might use half smoked and half Hungarian paprika, as it’s a bit spicier.  Was great for a day like today, though…not hot, but not really cool, and cloudy like it couldn’t decide whether it would be worth the trouble of actually raining.

I think I would definitely make it spicier on a really cold day!  🙂

Vegetable Soup with Chicken Sausage

Finally it feels like Fall in these parts.  Possibly even what passes for winter along the Texas Gulf Coast.  A lovely if brief thunderstorm (yes, rain!) followed by a temperature dip into the 40s last night!

Perfect weather for a nice hot bowl of soup!

I think me head got in the picture.  😦  But the soup still looks scrumptious!

As usual, I started by sauteing onion and garlic in a little olive oil.  This time, I added some diced celery.

Smells wonderful.

The other day at the market, I ran across this mix of barley, lentils, and split peas.  I thought it would be good as a side dish, but even better in soup.  Into the pot it went.

Then I added about about 6 cups of vegetable stock.

I love this stock.  I use it in practically everything that needs stock.  Of course, wine is good, too, but I really can’t see putting an entire bottle of wine into anything…except my mouth perhaps.  😛

The day before I set the grill on fire, I had grilled some corn.

I cut a couple of ears worth off the cob, and also diced some of the the red bell pepper that I had grilled.  I love the way grilling brings out the flavour of veggies!

After I added the corn and bell pepper, I also sliced and added the chicken sausage with spinich that I grilled when I was grilling the corn.  I had planned to throw it together with some rice, but this seemed like it would be SO much more interesting

I also added some jalapeno.  We like the spicy!

Stir the whole mess together, adding more broth if needed. Salt and pepper to your taste.  Cover, and simmer a couple of hours to blend the flavours.

After a couple of hours, add some sliced zucchini, and cook about 15 minutes longer.

It’s warm, and comforting, and actually healthy.  Perfect for our little cold snap.  I like bread with soup, and served cornbread with this one, as Hubby has been asking for cornbread.  Honestly, we just love bread.  And soup.

Another 1 pot meal.  🙂

Fudgy Brownies

A week or so back, I was making Cream Cheese Brownies for Mom.  Hubby plaintively asked, “Why don’t you ever make us brownies???”  He likes the plain, fudgy kind.  And since he has been on vacation, I thought I could accommodate his request.

After all, he DID just give me a new bed!

And I’ve been dieing to use the bar pan that Aggie gave me.  So this was a perfect opportunity.


I think my head is in the picture.  😛

In a microwaveable bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter, cut up,  and 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped.  Microwave for 1 minute, stir well.  If lumps remain, microwave again, in 30 second increments, stirring in between until all of the chocolate and butter are melted.  Stir WELL.  Your arm will be very tired.  The mixture should look slightly glossy.

Slowly add (still stirring) 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Stir until well mixed.  Then add 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Keep stirring.  The mixture will look a bit granulated from the sugar, but just keep stirring.

Add 2 large eggs, 1 at a time, stirring well to incorporate each egg.  The mixture should begin to look smooth.

Add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir until incorporated.  Add 1/2 to 1 cup of any nuts that blow your skirt up (or shorts).  I used walnuts, half a cup, but could easily have used more.

Pour into a greased 9×9 inch pan.  I used 1 1/2 times the recipe, and baked the brownies in the 9×13 stoneware bar pan that Aggie gave me.  Go Pampered Chef and Go Aggie!!!  😀

Bake 25-30 minutes if using the 9×9 inch pan, about 1 hour in the 9×13.  Cool on the stove top, then chill in the fridge at least an hour before cutting.  These are VERY fudgy, almost molten brownies.  Delish!

Chicken and Pasta

I realize I’m falling down on the job of posting every day.  Yes, already.  But I will offer up the only excuse I have at the moment…I’m a slacker BEEN BUSY COOKING!!!

LOL.  Kat meme pics are amusing, but that’s not what I intended for this blog to be about.  And while I’m trying to turn Groovy Noms into a real life business, I AM still feeding Rat Boy and Hubby daily.  Some days, it’s just nothing new or interesting.  😦

Today I have good stuff.  The Pioneer Woman gave me the idea, and this is a slightly twisted version of her Penne Pasta with Chicken ThighsDeliciously twisted!

We will begin with chopped onion.  I chopped one half, and diced the other…just to be different.

Add some garlic, of course.

And olive oil.  Saute until tender and glassy.  It will smell divine!

Insert chicken thighs, skin side down so they will brown obediently.  I used my fingers to scoot the onion/garlic mix out of the way.  You might want to use a spoon, however.

I know.  Raw chicken looks…well, raw.  But when it’s brown, it looks golden!

When they ARE brown, flip those thighs over, and drain most of the grease from the pan.  I accomplish this by using a wooden spoon to hold the thighs, and carefully pour out most of the liquid into the sink.

It’s best if the sink is clean, due to occasional unplanned thigh-flight.  Obviously, chickens are unaware they do not fly.

Once the pan is safely back on the stovetop, add a jar of pasta sauce and a can of roasted tomatoes.

Add about 1/2 cup of a nice red wine, and give everything a stir.

This one is very nice.  So I had to drink it.

Let the chicken simmer, uncovered, about an hour on low heat.

Then add zucchini slices, and whatever other veggies you might desire.

Veggies are looking lovely right now.  The corn is for today.  But it looked so pretty, I just had to take a picture while the chicken was simmering.

When the zucchini has cooked, about 10-15 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove chicken, zucchini, and tomato chunks from the pan.

Turn up the heat, and stirring constantly, reduce what remains of the sauce.

Boil some pasta.  I was feeling the farfalle last night, aka bow tie pasta.  In whole grain, even!

After draining the pasta well, without rinsing, pour the reduced sauce over it and gently mix to coat.  The pasta will soak up the sauce and yummy chicken juices.

Serve chicken over saucy pasta.

Garnish with basil, if so desired.  Hubby and Rat Boy are getting a bit tired of basil this year, but it’s still going strong.  😛

Eat, enjoy, and LOVE that there’s only 2 pans to wash!  (And the collander.  but I’m not counting that one.)

Braised Pork and Potatoes

Realizing that I recently did a Herbed Pork Loin, I originally intended to slice this loin into thick chops and then grill them.  Faced with a blustering windstorm yesterday, I reevaluated the wisdom of tying myself to the porch rail with a safety line and playing with fire.

Really, I enjoy sharing yummy food, and other wacky stuff about my merry-go-round life.  Being blown halfway across Texas would not be conducive, I think.

So I decided to cook inside!  😛

Braising is one of the most wonderful ideas I’ve run across lately, and since it works so well with beef, I figured pork would work equally well.  And how can it possibly be bad to cook with beer?

Begin by browning the loin in a heavy pan, preferably one that can go right into the oven.  I lurves my Dutch Oven!

A little salt, pepper, and olive oil here.

I like to turn it onto the side so that gets browned also.  I prop it up with tongs so I don’t have to hold it!

Slice some onion.  I like the purple.

When the meat is a lovley golden brown, disperse the onion over and around it, and pour a bottle of beer on top.

Welcoming back an old friend is always fun, don’t you think!  😛

Cover, and bake at 250 – 300F.  About an hour before you want to serve, throw in some small new potatoes.  Make sure the potatoes are in the liquid, and continue baking until the potatoes are tender, and the meat is basically just falling apart.

The Holy Grail Ale did NOT disappoint.  This made a delicious gravy for the meat.  I could have sliced the potatoes in half to absorb a little more of the juices.  Maybe I’ll do that next time.  Because there WILL be a next time!  😛

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