What I’ve Been Cooking Lately

This was promised to be a general life, house, cooking, DIY, crafting, knitting blog and here it goes. (No pictures this post because I didn't take any.) I don't get home most days until 7ish or 8ish when I was commuting from the Eagle River library. I also tend to want food NOW not food in an hour when I've cooked. And we're still trying to eat healthier and avoid pre-made processed foods and mixes with their crazy chemicals and loads of sodium. My solution is a combination of a few quick easy meals, cook ahead and freeze cooking, the crockpot, and leftovers. Monday is my day off. I'll usually make a large something that can be frozen in smaller batches or be leftovers for the rest of the week. (I try not to have more leftovers than we will realistically eat in a week. When in doubt, freeze it.) Monday is also my day for new recipes, more elaborate cooking, grocery shopping and prepping as much as possible for the rest of the week, not to mention as much cleaning, errand running, and housework as possible. Lately though Monday has also been my day to read as much as possible for the Newbery award. Details available here. This has meant even more crockpot and easy cooking than ever. Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup First off I made this creamy slow cooker tortellini soup I saw on pinterest. I mostly followed the recipe, except for a few changes. *I thought I had mushrooms, but I didn't. Didn't miss them though I bet they would be excellent. *I didn't measure the amount of spinach I put in, just chopped up one bunch. It seemed to be about right. *Since I had just finished a batch of chicken stock, I used a cup of that instead of vegetable broth. *And the biggest change was that I didn't have a white sauce mix envelope. I just added the ingredients from this white sauce mix recipe that would be equivalent to one quarter the total. Or to say I put in 1/4th of what was called for of every ingredients (mixing it in the crockpot). With dried milk put in twice (once in the original recipe, once in the sauce mix recipe) it was rather thick and milky so I added an extra cup of water. Worked perfectly. The only major thing I will do differently is not to add the butter in that white sauce mix recipe. It tended to separate when reheated. But this was an amazing soup and David and I loved it. Will definitely be making again. Not very healthy though with all the milk/cream based yumminess. Stovetop Easy Chicken Bake Yes this is a mostly processed food. My sister told me about this a mix of bite sized chicken and veggies mixed up in condensed soup and sour cream with stovetop stuffing baked on top. It's yummy, easy, and filled with lots of veggies. Just be aware that you're getting a ton of sodium in this one recipe and plan the rest of your day accordingly. The recipe is on the back of the box of Stovetop dressing or online here. Make it once and you'll have it memorized. The main thing I changed was to use a smaller bag of veggies (12 oz) and cut up a fresh broccoli head with them. I didn't steam the broccoli before cooking so it was relatively firm/not mushy. Delicious. David loved it. Sneaks full servings of vegetables in. Prepared in under 10 minutes. Pumpkin Poppers On the sweeter side I made these pumpkin poppers. They were like addictive pumpkin donut holes. I ran out of allspice (how does that EVEN happen?) and so I used cardamom instead. Fantastic, but next time I'm going to try upping the pumpkin and leaving out the oil. Would make them healthier and more pumpkin flavored. Both of which are good things. I ended up giving most of these away at work so David and I wouldn't eat an entire batch. They disappeared quickly. Side note about allspice - doesn't it seem like if you have that it should be sufficient for all your spice needs? I was so sad as a child when I realized that was a specific spice and not a substitute for every spice or an instruction to toss in all the spices in your cabinet. Additionally I made a weight watcher recipe (stuck behind a pay wall on their website) that was slow cooker Caribbean chicken with sweet potatoes and pineapple. Also amazing. When we had it for leftovers, we combined it with rice. Long entry, but I see everyone's pinned recipes and I always like hearing the "I tried this but changed this and here's how it worked" stories. I would (and probably will) remake and recommend any of these recipes.

We Need A Dog

I read some articles recently about training dogs to smell cell phones. Apparently they can smell the chemicals in the battery. They mostly use them in prisons where a cell phone is a very dangerous and popular contraband item. Dave and I knew that from watching what we affectionately call the people in prison shows. Now some of you (my sister) are asking wouldn't the dog just hear it ringing? (And implying that wouldn't I just hear it ringing?) But to do that you have to ask David to call your cell phone and he reminds you this is the third time in two days you've "lost" your cell phone and it was on the kitchen counter (or couch or whatever). Once he just laughed and laughed because your cell phone has crazy camouflage power and even though it was only a foot and a half away from you it was the exact same color as the book it was sitting on and could not be seen. And he laughed instead of being helpful. Dogs don't make fun of you. Dogs are just excited to go on a hunt. We should get a dog and teach it to smell cell phones. Or get one of those keychain things that help you find your iPhone (or vice versa). I usually can find either my keys or my iPhone.