Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Silky We Thought Was A Yorkie

When my parents bought our "yorkie" 9 years ago, they were shown his parents - two adorable pint size tea cups yorkshire terriers. They were told he would be their size when he got older. Our "tea cup" is more a latte mug.

Over the years people have plainly told us he's a silky not a yorkshire terrier. A silky is a mix of Australian Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier. They tend to be larger in size, though they are still a small breed. We (family, vet, random strangers, silky and yorkie breeders) took a vote ... he's a silky.

Random yes ... important? Not really. Breed isn't important, it never was, even now it's not important. It is a little helpful when I tell people about him because I get lectured when he's a 11 lb 9 oz yorkie.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's his birthday and he's going to be in denial

My dad is turning a year older and even though he seems to be somewhat in denial of this I am going to make him a cake. I'm aiming for a chocolate-peanut butter or banana-chocolate cake, with matching frosting. I want it to be a real nice cake and I have to do it without him knowing.

I think it's time to bring in a Ninja baker.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My after thanksgiving soup

On Thanksgiving, after we cleared the table, my son and I prepared our turkey stock. I got a bit inspired to add the bone from a shoulder picnic I made earlier in the month, I had read a tip to save the bones.

Following this recipe: Crock Pot Chicken or Turkey Stock from Recipezaar, with a very few modifications:
1 shoulder picnic bone, it was very large
all the turkey bones
4-5 carrots, unpeeled and cut up
3 onions, quartered and with the skin left on
1 bunch celery, leaves and all, cut up
1 shallot, quartered with the skin on
fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
boiling water to cover

I turned the crockpot to low and let it cook for 14-16 hours. Strained, cooled, removed the fat, and froze until needed

This morning I made the soup, following no recipe:
1 bunch of celery, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 onions, chopped
1 shallot, cut in half and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped
2 cans of white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut up
fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups turkey-ham bone stock
1 cup chicken stock (homemade - same way as the turkey, but with only chicken bones)
3-4 cups left over turkey, cut into chunks

I put the celery, carrots, onions, shallot, parsnips, rutabaga, white beans and tomatoes in the crockpot. Topped with the seasonings and mushrooms. Then I heated the stock together until hot and poured it into the crock. I stirred it just a little to get it all mixed in.
Turned on low for 7-8 hours. Then I added the turkey and let it cook 40 to 50 minutes.

I served with cheese bread.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Waddle waddle

Today my family gathered at the dinner table and enjoyed a wonderful turkey dinner. I made a sausage-cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and herbed corn. I was going to cook some sweet potatoes but since my dad won't eat them, my son won't eat them.

My son's favorite part was the pie. I did not make a traditional pumpkin pie, I made an ice cream pie! I also made gingerbread whipped cream. It was great!!

After dinner my son helped me sort through the turkey for bones. We put them in the crockpot along with some veggies and in 12 hrs we'll have some lovely turkey stock for our turkey minestrone. I am hoping to go to the store and purchase some lovely vegetables for said minestrone, I'm just not sure which to get.

I hope everyone out there had a fantastic turkey day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is next month so I'm planning my dinner. I've been told I'm doing this considerably late, as most of my friends had there dinners planned as far back as August (or maybe she said April.) So far I have most of the meal planned with the exception of Dessert 2. One dessert will be Gingerbread flavored and the other will be pumpkin.
In December I will be braving the "homemade cakes" category. My dad hits a high note, birthday wise, and so I want to make him a cake I know he'll love. It'll have to be something peanut buttery or something with bananas. I saw a gorgeous cake at Smitten Kitchen that might be just what I'm looking for.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Smarter Choices

It started in my teens when my mom started buying this stuff. The bag always said pop for under 2 minutes but it usually took 3 minutes. Then my family would pour REAL butter on the butter flavored bits and sprinkle with salt.

Mmm microwaved popcorn. It's quick, easy and convenient. It's also full of nice, delicious, additives that decrease it's nutritional value and can potentially make you physically ill. After becoming more aware of how unhealthy it really is I put a permanent ban on the stuff.

In September I caught an episode of Good Eats that was on popcorn. Somehow when a attractive man talks about stuff I listen very well. This month I bought an air popper that resembled the one my grandparents used in the 80's.

What I've learned in the past 12 days:
The convenience of microwave popcorn isn't enough to sacrifice the healthy properties of air popped. In my opinion the convenience is nonexistent. For my microwave, popcorn usually takes almost 3 minutes to pop. My air popper takes about 5. Cutting just over 2 minutes isn't convenient.

Lets not forget the nutritional part*.

Servings (note, 1 serving of air popped is 4x as much as microwavable)
Air popped = ½ cup unpopped
Microwaved** = 2 tbsp unpopped

Air popped: 108
Microwaved**: 120-170 (sometimes as high as 210)

Air popped: 3.5mg
Microwaved**: 310mg-380mg

I add unsalted butter and salt to our popcorn. Even with the additions, it's still healthier than microwavable.

*Air popped popcorn ... I could only find nutrition facts for 1 cup air popped. ½ cup unpopped is 1 serving according to the bag and it makes about 3 ½ cups.
**A popular microwavable popcorn brand


In the beginning when I started to learn to cook I would fail and give up. One example is my attempt to roast a chicken. It was overly dry and since then I've never made another. Over the years I've concluded one thing - this method produced zero improvement of my cooking skills.

My method has developed into: try, fail, figure out why, and try again. I'll keep going until I've figured it out. Same goes with trying new foods. If I try it and dislike it I try another method of preparation.

I attempted to make poached eggs and followed these instructions. My first attempt didn't go well because I didn't use enough water. My second attempt went better because I added enough water. Her suggestion to use vinegar was great and I used rice vinegar like she did.

Up next I'll be checking out the store link she provides in a recent post and hopefully get a bottle of Tahitian vanilla extra going.