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Archive for January, 2010

This is less a recipe and more a secret that ever after made my chicken and turkey salad great every time.

On a side note: Yes, it is not Monday. Yes, I know that the recipes have been late often, but I decided that once a week, sometime is good enough for you! Carry on.

Back when Ries and I were still dating, I went back to Ohio with him for Christmas one year. I am glad that we made the trip; it was the only time I met his Granny, who was a wonderful, sweet lady. Like many lessons well learned, this one was shared in the kitchen with family running around and the ladies chatting in the kitchen.

Ries’ mom, Cindy*, was turning the leftover turkey into the obligatory turkey salad when she divulged the secret of making great turkey salad.

Celery.

I know. I know. You probably already put celery in your turkey salad, but it is the proportion that is the secret. When making turkey or chicken salad, the mixture should be half meat and half celery. Sounds simple, but once I started adhering to that rule of thumb, my turkey salad, no matter what else I put in it, turns out perfect.

I make turkey and chicken salad in a dump, taste, and add manner so I am just going to list ingredients that I often put in with some approximations and let you experiment yourself with actual proportions. Ries is probably reading this and having an apoplexy.

Turkey or Chicken Salad

    chopped turkey or chicken
    chopped celery in equal proportions to the meat
    mayonnaise
    1 tbl mustard (if I am feeling really fancy I use Dijon)
    dash salt
    dash pepper
    2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients well. Eat on a sandwich, crackers, or all by itself. Yum!

*Cindy, whom my brother-in-law has deemed The MacGyver of the kitchen.

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If you follow this blog (and I am not sure why you would, must be following my wife or kid) then you probably know that I, like most of you out there, have a hate-hate relationship with Comcast.  Really, it is cable companies and not specifically Comcast.  I generally don’t trust anything they do, because their only motivation is to put money in their pockets right now with no concern over the consumers desires or the direction that technology is pulling the world.  I will stop my rant now, before I gain steam.

So, on Friday, I got a call from Comcast telling me that my 6 Mb/s (download) internet service that I pay ~$60 for could be upgraded to a new plan that they were rolling out that would give me 16 Mb/s for $64.  For $4 more to get more than twice the bandwidth, how could I resist?  So I agreed to upgrade my service.  Especially since, Michelle has been complaining about the internet acting funny recently.  After agreeing to this, the customer service rep also notified me that basic cable also comes free with the service.  Great, now the cable I was getting in my study because they removed the filter would now be completely guilt free.

This has to be too good to be true, right?  Like I said, I don’t trust Comcast.  I went to their website.  They make it hard to find the details on their website.  They don’t want to make it easy for you to determine where they are holding the knife to you.  But from what I can tell, it seems that they are upgrading all their internet services.  The plan I was on, will now go to 12 Mb/s and be a little cheaper.  It looks like they didn’t want me to get something for nothing so they convinced me to go up to the higher tier service, which was also getting upgraded, to the now 16 Mb/s speeds.  To top it off, since Tuesday, when the new speeds were activated, I have not been able to achieve download speeds faster than 9 Mb/s.  Better than before but not what the service claims.  Nor is it even as much as the lower tier plan claims.

I also have an old modem, which my lease fee has easily paid for twice over.  I asked if I needed to turn it in for a new one, but they claim it handles the speeds of all their services.  I suppose so, if none of their services provide what they claim.  I am pretty sure I am going to exchange it anyways.  If I am leasing, I at least want the best one that they will provide.

Believe it or not, I’m not actually mad about this.  I still may do something about it but I am surprisingly calm about.  I guess the lowered expectations created by years of dissappointing service and customer relations has created this type of attitude.  Good job Comcast!

-Ries, turning into a cynic.

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Broken Records

What I say every 10 minutes or so these days:

If you have to go poopoo, tell Mommy.

Being a Mom, it’s an adventure… involving body functions.

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Hungy

Gideon tells me often that he is “hungy.” He is hungy in the morning. Hungy for snacks. Hungy in the middle of the night when he should have eaten his dinner. Sorry, kid, have some milk. No snacks until breakfast. Hungy, Hungy. Hungy. Gideon seems to have a black pit where he puts food. I know and dread how this will worsen as he reaches teenagerhood. Lord, please be gentle to my food budget.

He loves cereal bars. Whenever I give him one, he eats it and then asks for, “More cereal bars.” I lie and say we do not have any more cereal bars. (Lying is a great parental trick, too bad he will eventually catch on to it.) I tell him he has to eat X that is also on his plate. Then begins the lament of You Are The Worst Mom Ever Because You Only Let Me Have One Cereal Bar At A Time. It is a sad lament, but one I hear often. Gideon changes this lament occasionally when eating other favorite things that we only let him have one of: hotdogs and cookies are the things that come quickly to my mind.

Worst. Mom. Ever.

I think I can live with that badge if it means he eats a greater proportion of good things to bad things.

He is currently hungy and sad because I gave him a cereal bar and cheese for a snack. He wants more cereal bar and does not want the cheese. I guess he can be hungy until the cheese starts to look more appealing to him or until dinner, whichever comes first.

Of course, the cheese will make a second appearance with dinner if not consumed before then. See? Told you I was mean.

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Recipe: Pizza Dough

I can not believe I have not posted this yet. At our house, Friday is pizza and beer night. We make pizza from scratch and drink homebrew. It is a great way to close out the week. I could eat pizza every day, but once a week will suffice.

This recipe makes enough crust for 2 large pizzas. If your family only needs or wants to make one pizza at a time, you can freeze half the dough after rising. Dough will keep in the freezer for about 3 months. To use frozen dough, simply take it out of the freezer and let it thaw. After it has reached room temperature, roll it out, let it rest for a few minutes, then proceed as normal.

This recipe calls for a combination of bread flour and regular unbleached flour. Bread flour makes better breads because it is higher in gluten. If you use all unbleached flour, the dough will still turn out fine.

For wheat crusts, substitute wheat flour for the unbleached flour in the recipe. I also sometimes add ground flax or wheat germ for extra nutrients.

Pizza Dough
adapted from Cooking Light

    2 c. bread flour, divided
    1 tsp sugar
    2 packages dry yeast or 4 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
    2 c. warm water, divided
    2 1/2 c. unbleached flour
    1 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. olive oil
    cooking spray

In a medium bowl, place 1 c. bread flour, sugar, and yeast. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add 1 c. water at 115 degrees. Stir until well combined. Set aside and let rise for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, place the remaining c. of bread flour, the unbleached flour, and salt. Stir to combine with a whisk. Make a well in the center of the flour.

When the yeast mixture is ready, add it to the center of the flour mixture along with the remaining 1 c. water at 115 degrees and the 2 tsp. olive oil. Stir from the middle, slowly combining the wet and dry ingredients. When a the dough forms you can either turn it our onto a floured surface for kneading or you can knead it in the bowl using one hand at a time. If I am feeling lazy, I just knead the dough in the bowl.

Knead the dough for about 3 minutes or so, adding flour as needed. The dough should be smooth and not sticky.

When the dough is ready, place it in a large bowl covered in cooking spray. A bowl with a lid works best or cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place (the kitchen) for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

When the dough is doubled, punch down and divide in half. If you are freezing a portion, now is the time to do that. On a floured surface, roll the dough to the desired size and thickness. Place on a pizza pan. Top with the sauce and toppings of your choice.

This dough also makes great calzones. Just remember to poke holes in the top!

Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

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IMG_1282

Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

When we went for our check-up in December, we walked by Pod C, where Gideon was when he was the most sick. It made my heart flutter to look at him, so big, and remember him small and hooked up to the ECMO machine. Here are my boys, almost two years later.

Sometimes, I can not believe what a gift we have been given. I know that God has plans for our family and we never forget why we have each day.

Every day is a gift from God.

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It is staggering to realize that this person living in my house has been here for almost two years. He comes up with new strategies everyday for taking over the family, but lucky for the adults, we can usually see right through his machinations. Here are some tidbits about Gideon.

Gideon had his last, until Kindergarten, developmental checkup at Texas Children’s in mid December. He performed 6 months to a year ahead in all skills. He does talk a lot and is very good at figuring things out. It was nice to have a doctor confirm our belief that we have an amazing kiddo.

They did ask us how many words he knows and I was like, “We are supposed to count all of them?” He knows hundreds of words, he can identify a lot of animals (including the noise they make and what they eat), he knows colors reasonably well, he can count to three (sometimes), he can identify his name and some letters, he remembers things that happened weeks ago, and he can make pizza dough like a pro (admittedly, I help a bit). It is sometimes hard to figure out what he is saying because he mostly knows nouns, only a handful of verbs, though he seems to be gaining verbs daily, and no articles or conjunctions.

He does like commands the best. Sit down. Come on. Mommyyy! Dad Daddyyy! Read Book. Eat! Hungry! Play! He does think he is the boss. I have noticed that he is easily frustrated and can’t imagine where he picked up that!

Gideon adores watching football and bball (basketball) with his Daddy. He does his own commentary as well, which is often more entertaining than the actual game. “Run!” “Tackle!” “Fall down!” or in the case of basketball, “Bounce!”

His favorite toys, and boy did he get a lot of them for Christmas, are: matchbox cars, wooden puzzles, books, a little people airplane and airport, and plastic animals.

He still only really likes animal shows on TV and that is ok with me.

Gideon only has four teeth, but he uses them well. He eats almost everything and in large quantities. Gideon loves to cook and make dough.

During bedtime, Gideon gets to pick three books and three songs. He requests songs and has recently started “singing” Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with me. By singing, I mean he sings every fifth word. The first time he did it, I almost died from the cuteness.

We got serious about potty training this week and so Gideon, who had previously been telling us when he had to go potty, went on strike and refused to cooperate or else he threw fits when we suggested sitting on the potty. Willful is definitely in his vocabulary. The last couple days, we have had some successes and he likes that he gets an M (M&M) when he poops on the potty. I think this will be a process of time.

Gideon keeps us laughing. He loves to give hugs and kisses. He loves his grandparents and great-grandparents. He likes to play with his friend Caleb (who he calls Cable) and his cousin Isaac. Gideon finds new things to learn, say, and do everyday. He is a blessing.

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