Archive for Food

Menu by the Day

Is there a certain food that is associated with a particular day of the week for your menu planning? In a lot of homes where I grew up, Fridays always meant fish, because the Catholics observe the tradition of no meat on Fridays – just fish. Even the schools respected that tradition, the Friday public school lunch was always a fish fillet, with different starches and veggies throughout the month.

In my home now, I have made Wednesday night my “Italian Night.” That means some kind of pasta and some kind of sauce. I love Italian food and never seem to get tired of it. And there are so many variations of pastas that each call for a type of sauce that works best. This has gone way beyond the traditional spaghetti and meatballs that my mom used to cook two or three times a month. I like baked pastas, I like cream sauces as well as red sauces, and I use different meats, such as ground beef, ground sausage and chunks of chicken. And I love toasted garlic bread, too!

My grandparents always had a ham on Sundays for Sunday Dinner after church. In the summer they would have potato salad or macaroni salad for the starch and then other fresh vegetables from the garden. In the winter, my grandmother would make scalloped potatoes or macaroni and cheese instead of the salads, and the vegetables were either broccoli or canned green beans from her garden.

When my brother worked at a pizza place for a part time job in high school, he would bring leftover pizza home with him to share with the family. His biggest hauls were usually Saturday nights, so Sunday evening meant reheated pizzas for us.

How about you? Did your family have special meals on certain days of the week? I always love to learn about other people’s traditions. Please leave a comment and tell me what meals were special for you.

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Pumpkins For Sale

My little neighborhood grocery store set up a huge box of pumpkins for sale in the produce section because Halloween is just a month or so away. There are several different kinds, too. There are pumpkins for carving into Jack-O-Lanterns and pumpkins for cooking and other pumpkins for decorating. I have to admit that I bought one to make into a Jack-O-Lantern, even though I don’t have any kids. I like carving pumpkins and decorating with things like corn stalks and hay and scarecrows. It makes me feel like we are welcoming the change of seasons as well as celebrating Halloween.

Last year I bought 2 pumpkins and never got around to carving them. I ended up just painting them with acrylic paints, and they lasted for a very long time. Once you cut into them, bacteria starts to grow and they slowly rot. But if you don’t cut them, they can last for 3 months before they show any signs of rot. But on Facebook I read a tip from a friend that you can douse the cut and cleaned pumpkin in a bath with bleach, which kills the bacteria so it lasts longer. That gives me hope and I will try that trick this year to see if it really works.

So, my next questions is, what do I carve into my new pumpkin? A scarey face or just some kind of design? I have seen some really cute designs…..

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Cold Weather Comforts

Pretty much anywhere in the U.S., January means winter. Even in the Deep South and the arid western states, January means cold weather and spending more time around a fireplace or kitchen stove in search of comfort.

Some of the things I like to do in the winter months is bake. It’s all about baking classic cookies, pillow soft cakes and heavily spiced pies. Some of my favorite cookies are the classic Toll House chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter blossoms – you know, the ones where you bake the peanut butter cookie dough and then as soon as it comes out of the over you plop an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss into the middle of the cookie so it slightly melts.

Winter cakes in my kitchen include carrot cakes, gingerbread cakes made with applesauce, and traditional yellow layer cake with white, coconut frosting. In the summer, I like Poke Cakes and lighter citrus flavored cakes. And, of course, chocolate cakes are a year-round favorite.

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Home from the Holidays, Safe and Sound

Finally got home this morning. I drove all night. As much as I love my family, three days of holidays and dinners and exchanging gifts at my mother’s house was plenty of family togetherness for me. But I’m glad I made the trip.

My mom went all out to entertain everyone, but this year my two sisters and I pitched in a lot to keep the kitchen running. I took mom to the grocery store for the last few things and she told me how tired she was. So the three of us took over the kitchen and had mom get off her feet as much as possible. After all, we knew how to cook everything – mom taught us all how to cook!

Almost everyone was on their best behavior. But I swear, you cannot get this many people together in one house without someone getting mad over something. This year it was my brother’s wife who turned out to be the bitch. She is a little bit of a dingbat anyway, but something my mom said must have insulted her – unintentionally – and she went stomping out the door. We were all surprised, as no one heard anything said out of the way. But whatever it was, my brother got the bitch calmed down and they stayed outside for about 20 minutes “to smoke.” When it was time to eat, they came back in and acted like everything was fine, although she sat at the far end of the table away from mom and when they left she barely said thank you before rushing out of the door.

All in all, I’d call it a success. And I’m home again, safe and sound.

 

 

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Breakfast for Dinner

I’m hungry but nothing sounds good. I almost never eat breakfast, so tonight I got the bright idea to cook breakfast for dinner. I went all out with bacon, pancakes, warm syrup, scrambled eggs and hash browns.

One thing that I have never really mastered in the kitchen is properly cooked hashbrowns. I keep trying but they never seem to turnout like the hashbrowns that they serve at Waffle House. Maybe its because they cook everything on a flat top grill and its seasoned better than my cast iron frying pan. I use the same frozen, shredded potatoes that Waffle House uses, but their always stick together and brown evenly. Mine tend to fall apart when I try to flip them over with my spatula. So frustrating!

However, I do kick ass when it comes to pancakes. I use my mom’s recipe for pancakes and they always turn out light and fluffy and perfect! I like small pancakes – not the tiny silver dollar size, but smaller than a salad plate. I know some people like big ones that take up the entire dinner plate. But I would rather have a small stack of pancakes with butter and syrup tucked in between each layer.

My scrambled eggs are a nice finish. Sometimes I like fried eggs, but most of the time I like to scramble them so there is nothing runny. Sometimes I add some shredded cheese, and if I have any, a spoonful of salsa.

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