Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday Thoughts and Tastes...

Tuesday - sounds so tame, doesn't it? Around here, though, Tuesday means a mad dash to catch up on everything I missed on Monday. Lol. I don't know about you, but my typical Monday has a to-do list about 2 miles long. For some reason, I always think I'm some kind of super-woman and can accomplish in one day (Monday) what should (and does) take all week to complete. Not sure why I do that, but each week, come Tuesday I'm revising lists, making more lists, and wondering where I'll find the time to get done what I was "supposed" to do yesterday. Hey, I never said I was normal. ;-)

On the dock today is yet another group of assignments for my newest endeavor. Have ya'll seen the Clean Eating Academy? It's pretty cool! One of the skills I've wanted to develop for years has been my knife work in the kitchen. I've planned to take some local classes, but then my schedule always goes wonky. When I saw an online course, I thought - Hey! I can do online! It's not like Sur la Table is going to offer me a class at 10pm simply because that's when I have time to do it, lol.  So, I signed up. And I'm loving it!

Nutrition isn't a foreign subject to me, as you know, but kitchen skills? Hmmm.  I'm self-taught, and my food is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. But if I can get through one (just ONE) cooking session without dropping a knife on my toes or trimming my nails (oops!) then I'm doing stellar. So... knife skills. Yeah, let's work on those. [Insert sheepish grin here, haha]

Here are a few pics from my assignments recently...


Different styles of cutting - and it's been a lot of fun learning how to hold the knife. My speed has suffered greatly, lol, but I haven't lost any fingernails lately. ;-) Each assignment is photographed and uploaded so the instructors can grade them. So far I'm doing great! Woot!

Also in those pics you'll see a couple recipes - the first is my very own homemade vegetable stock! Yay!!! I've always wanted to make my own, but have been intimidated by the process. What the heck was I worried about?? It's so easy! And the result was amazing! It was so good! I used it in my very first batch of homemade Minestrone (another assignment)! Which was... well, the broth & veggies were fantastic! The beans were a challenge, lol.

The second recipe you see in my "cutting" pics is a ratatouile style vegetable stew. And may I just say - OMG!!! I was eating it right out of the pan! I haven't gotten my grade yet on that one, but I kinda don't care, lol. So.Darn.Good!!
I wish I could share that recipe with ya'll because it's abso-freakin-amazing, but I'm pretty sure it's exclusive to the course. Sorry.

After that was done, I settled in to make dinner - I'd prepped it so it was ready to go when I finished my assignment. And these recipes I can share - fabulous!!!
I was intrigued by the use of grated pear in the marinade, but let me tell you - Wow!! That pork had some KICK! Not too much, as the hubby has gringo-mouth (haha) and he really enjoyed it. I served it with some snazzed up rice and steamed asparagus. So tasty!!! The pork recipe is from Bon Appetit and you can use whatever protein you like. I had a pork tenderloin handy, so that decision was easy. I also subbed in Bragg's Liquid Aminos instead of the soy sauce. The rice - I used this recipe from Epicurious but cooked it in vegetable stock. Yummy!!! Then the steamed asparagus was a simple ziploc steamer bag with some Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb. I gotta tell you - it was tough to not go back for more!

Apart from my adventures in the kitchen, I have finished up 12 more continuing ed credits for my various certifications. I've also played a lot with this little guy...
His eyes are still blue, and at this point looks like they may stay that way. What a doll! Bethy is doing a great job of learning to become a puppy mommy, and I am definitely enjoying being this little fur baby's gramma. ;-) I'm a bit nervous about when he's big enough to jump into my garden beds - he's already super curious and hops up to peek over the top, lol. Little bugger better stay out of my garden!

Speaking of my garden - Wooohooo!!!! It's doing great! Knock on wood. My asparagus plants are sprouting - too bad I can't harvest them this year, lol - they need another year to establish. I was really worried about them since as I mentioned before, I, ahem, planted them all upside down. My bad. But... they're growing!! And I put in some stock (flowers) in the beds to attract the bees. That worked out a little better than I anticipated. There are definitely bees in the garden now. That's good, right? Sort of. See, me and bees don't get along. I know the garden needs them, but they scare the bejeebers out of me. Yes, I'm the goof doing the shaky-shaky-boogie when they fly near me.

And... I have the best husband ever. Look what he got me!!!
I've been commenting (ok, bitching) about my cookware for years, but there was no way I was going to invest in good stuff until the kids were no longer swiping it for camping trips or carelessly tossing it in the dishwasher (if it made it that far). Now that we're nearly empty nesters, lol, I don't have to worry about how hard the kids are on my stuff. He got me a whole set of cookware, a bunch of prep bowls, new potholders, and other various kitchen tools. We don't celebrate Valentines Day around here, but he sure knocked it out of the park! Wooohooo!!!! I still get that tug on my heart when I start to work in the kitchen, missing my Sadie, but having new toys to play with (I mean tools to work with), helps distract me.

Ok, I've gotta get back to work. Need to gather supplies for the next set of assignments :-) Fun!!!
Oh, and I have to spend some quality time at the dealership while my car gets it's "mandatory" service. Ugh. At least this time I won't have to do my cardio while I'm there. Lol!

Happy Tuesday!!