Monday, February 8, 2010

Sometimes I just want to punch someone

Not for any real reason, but wouldn't it feel good? Kind of like smashing dishes just to hear them break. Not that I would ever do that mind you. I am a perfect lady.

You can stop muffling your giggles now!

The day started out benign, I had my coffee, did some facebooking, some ravelrying, some blogging. Then I wrote up and charted my nw sock pattern for a club I was invited to design for. Fun right? I felt confident everyhing was perfect so off it went to my tech editor. Now I love this woman as she goes over my work with a fine tooth comb and then sends me back a long list of wtf's? Love it! It means by the time the two of us are done it IS perfet and it's worth the money someone paid to get the pattern. If there is nothing I hate more it's spending my hard earned money on a pattern that is written so piss poor you'd think the writer had never written and published a pattern before (and maybe this would explain why despite how many patterns said designer has published, there are very few that have actually been knit. Might be a clue in there!). So like I said, love my tech editor.

While I am busy correcting my fuck ups, I decide the chart would be better if I split it from 1 main chart to a front leg & back leg chart (which each will require 2 charts, weeee are we having fun yet?). In the process of making NuChart I discover 1 stitch that is wrong, not only does this stitch screw up the row it's in it also screws up the row count for the rest of the chart. Now I know this is like Greek to you non knitting folks but trust me this is TRAGIC! Now by this point I have corrected mistakes, staring at my screen for sometime and reworking a chart that now has to be rereworked all while I have fixed dinner and tended to children.

Children, those whining, crying, annoying, must have moms attention RIGHT. NOW. or else. Nevermind that dad is sitting right beside me. Nope, only mom will do. My nerves are stretched thin, my stress level rises, and on comes the massive headache. Mom explodes. Not once, not twice, but thrice. Sigh. Is it really so hard to just leave mom alone for a few minutes? Can't you ask dad to fix your cup of milk? I love you honey but I cannot concentrate on you counting your change to me when I am trying to count stitches in a row.

And now it is bedtime. The silence is almost nervewracking. Thankfully my husband is snoring so there is some noise in the background. I've enjoyed a most delightful cup of hot cocoa, calmed myself down with some funny as hell reading about Lost theories (yes I am a Lost fanatic) and silly yarn swappers. Now its time to get my fingers to the needles and whip out a sock tonight. I know I can do it if I just put this laptop down and have at it. I feel a lot less like punching someone now and much more like curling up with a good book and warm snuggles.

RCM Day 8: Pantry Essentials

Our Dear Mrs. B of CoaPSM has become ill and put the RCM on delay for a few days, but over here at Chez Pin Up we are plugging along.

Here is this weeks schedule
Week 2
Mon: Pantry Essentials: What ingredients do you always have on hand?
Tues: Share your favorite bread recipe! *Giveaway Day*
Wed: Super Quick Meal: Have something you can whip up in 1/2 an hour or less? Share it today! *Giveaway day*
Thurs: Guest Blog
Fri: Dessert in a Jar: Share your favorite Dessert in a Jar *Giveaway Day*
Sat/Sun: Saturday and Sunday will get one recipe, something that's a little more involved and takes a bit of time to cook.

My pantry essentials:
dried beans of some sort
peanut butter
sugar (white and brown)
evaporated milk
sweetened condensed milk
cocoa powder
cornstarch/baking powder
boiullion cubes
variety of dried spices
powdered milk
variety of canned veggies

Even in a pinch, oh no our paycheck was shorted or we had an unexpected bill, I can still whip up something from my small bit of pantry essentials. What are your essentials?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

RCM Day 6/7 : the slower the better

Sunday in our family was always the big meal of the week. There was always one big main dish and then several sides that included beans, rice, mashed potoatoes, greens and at least 1 other vegetable. And of course dessert. MawMaw usually stuck to cobblers as they were fairly easy and quick to make and boy did I love her peach cobbler. One of my favorite dishes had always been chicken-n-dumplins. They are easy, although time consuuming, to make. They are the perfect comfort food, or rainy day, or wintry day foo. Hearty and warm and just. . . perfect. It always takes me 2 days to make this and that's how it should be y'all!

Day 1
in a large stock pot place whole chicken (with giblets/kideny/neck removed) in and cover with water. Now you can seaon the water how you see fit with either dried or fresh ingredients. Garlic, onion, carrots, celery, salt & pepper. When I am on a budget I will use garlic & onion powder and salt & pepper. Bring pot to boil and then turn down to a slow simmer. This should simmer for a few hours, you want the chicken cook all the ay through and practically falling off the bone.

Once the chicken is cooked carefully remove it from the pot and place it on a plat to cool. Let both the stock and the chicken cool completley. Once cooled remove all the meat from the bones and put in a storage container, pop it in the fridge. Take the bones and the skin from the chicken and put it back into the stock. Add 1-2 chicken bouillion cubes and season to taste, cooking down on a slow simmer for another few hours. Allow to cool and strain all of the skin & bones out of the stock. Reserve the stock in th fridge.

Day 2
Heat reserved stock on stove to a slow boil. While heating this you can make the dumplins. This is a simple recipe it's just flour (about 2 cups or so) and ice cold water (enough to make a nice dough). When you have a nice firm, non tacky dough you are going to roll out it as flat as possible on a floured surface. The flatter/thinner the dough the better. Sprinkle with more flour and with a pizza cutter cut into 1" wide strips. You'll cut them again to the length you want (mine are generally 2"). sprinkle with more flour and then gently transfer the dumplin strip to the boiling stock. Now this is very important: DO NOT STIR THE DUMPLINS! Just drop them in and leave them, turning the stock down to about med/low. After about 1-2 hours the dumplins should be ready and the stock thickened somewhat (if not you can mix some cornstarch & cold water then pour into the stock), now you can add the pieces of chicken, stir and allow to heat thoroughly. Serve and enjoy :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Betty Crocker classic giveaway

I am loving all of these give away's CoaPSM is doing on her blog this month. Who wouldn't love original Betty Crocker recipes from the 1950's? I know I would!! Check it out HERE for your chance to win too :-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Love the retro cooking!

Tonight is my family's favorite, home made mac-n-cheese, broccoli & cauliflower, and for dessert egg custard (or the kids can eat that jell-o mold, yuck!)

Recipe for the Mac
Now keep in mind I do not measure, let me repeat that I DO NOT MEASURE, that's just the way I roll

1 box of elbow noodles, cooked al dente
1 2 cup pkg each of shredded cheddar, mozerella, & swiss cheese
cayenne (red) pepper
garlic powder
dry mustard powder
1 egg beaten
dollop of butter
some milk
salt & pepper to taste

preheat oven to 350
in a bowl combine the cooked noodles, half of each cheese, a sprinkle of cayenne (not too much!) a couple sprinkles of garlic & mustard powder, spoon or 2 of maragarine (you can use real butter instead), beaten egg and the salt & pepper. Stir until it's well combined then pour into a 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and pour milk over the top (i guess 1/4-1/2 cup) DO NOT STIR IT UP! You can add some crushed up croutons on top for a nice crunch if you wish. Bake 20 minutes or so until cheese is all melty and bubbly.

eat it all up, mmmmm!

RCM Day 5 Quick and easy desserts!

One of my favorite and easiest desserts is egg custard! Its so creamy, so smooth and so very very retro ;-)

I'm going to try out this recipe and double it, knowing me I can eat that all by myself. I'll also be using my boring corning ware dish as I do not have individual custard cups, for shame!

Pics and yummies to come tomorrow :-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The dangers of Cytotec

I found out today that our local Navy hospital is still administering cytotec (an ulcer medication) to induce labor. There have been many many reports on how dangerous this drug is and yet hospitals are still using it 10 years after much of the information came out. I can remember hearing about it when I was pregnant with my 9 year old son and the scary risks involved with using it.

Over the course of the next few days I will be gathering as much research and data as I can find on this dangerous drug and will be taking my finding with me to the hospital. Rather than creating new posts everyday I'll just be editing it all in to this one.

Maybe I can just assume they are ignorant and don't really know? I could bet $100 that they aren't fully informing their patients of the risks associated with this either. Informed consent is such a fucking joke.

RCM Day 4: Jell-0 Molds!

Now normally I am pretty anti-jell-o but hey it's retro month and weren't those the shit back in the 50's? So today I whipped up an orange jell-o fruit mold. It was quick and easy, sure hope it tastes good. I forgot the cool whip so I am a bad bad 50's housewife, oops!

The main course is spinach & mushroom fritatta. Another cheat dish since I used frozen spinach (it was already in the freezer, gotta be frugal!) but I think I made up for it by buying the loose mushrooms and slicing them myself. This recipe called for cream cheese rather than shredded cheese so I can't wait to try it mmmmmmm!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

RCM Day 3: Meals on the quick!

I am so late in posting todays update, it was a crazy day! I finished knitting a gift for our CO's wife as they are transferring to Japan! ANd then I worked on a test knit sweater and then my sock club design, so busy productive day over here and that certainly required a quick & easy meal.

Tonight's dinner was veggie fried rice. Now what I love about this is I can get the kids to eat veggies and LIKE it, plus it's very minimal work. This recipe will serve about 4 and it goes great with frozen egg rolls (alas we had none tonight). I cook the rice an hour or so ahead to give it time to dry out just a little, wet rice doesn't fry well.

So you will need, 3 eggs, a bit of canola oil, wok or large frying pan, 2 cups rice (uncooked measurement), a small pkg of frozen mixed veggies, chopped ginger, minced garlic, diced onions, soy sauce & sesame oil. Tonight I cheated and used garlic powder, onion powder and ginger powder. I also do not measure anything, just taste as I go and adjust as needed.

Heat the oil in the wok and scramble the eggs. Remove eggs from pan and toss in the onion & garlic, cook 1 minute then add rice & ginger. Fry for a few minutes before adding soy sauce & sesame oil. Next add the veggies and cook until heated through, stirring constantly. Before serving stir in the eggs and enjoy!

Tomorrow is jell-o mold day. The kids are going to love that!

A Cool Retro cooking giveaway!

CoaPSM is running a fun retro kitchen gadgets giveaway today. How cute are those utensils and bun warmer? Be sure to check out OctoberFarm's blog as well, she put together this really cool package. And can I say I am totally jealous of her back yard.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RCM Day 2: Cook once, eat twice

I am a hater of leftovers, I really am. When I was a teen we would go to Sunday supper at my MawMaw's and she would cook this HUGE southern meal. I loved her cooking and learned a lot of what I know from watching her. She always made sure to make enough to last for almost a week for 1 adult + 2 kids. My dad would pack all the leftovers up in containers and take them home. For 3-4 nights out of the week that is what we would have for dinner while the other 2-3 nights he would cook. And then it would be Sunday again.

This led to me never save food, learning how to cook exactly what we need for each meal and not any extra's. Trial and error as I was accustomed to very large servings! Those times I did save leftovers they never got eaten and would get tossed later on in the week.

Now that I have gotten older (and thusly lazier) I can appreciate a good leftover every now & then. In fact I know some things are better the next day (chicken n dumplins!). So now I am working on rewiring my brain to cook once, eat twice. I have a few things I can make double batches of or a meat I can cook today and use in another recipe tomorrow. Here are a couple of my favorites!

Boneless skinless chicken breast -- when cooking for dinner night #1 cook a few extra and save in the fridge. The next day you can use that chicken in fried rice or sesame noodles. Another leftover chicken fav is to shred it, mix with taco seasoning and have chicken fajitas. A juicy tender beef roast is also good for double duty, night 1 you have your roast & potatoes & veggies. Night 2 beef roast sandwiches, or like the chicken shred and make beef fajitas! My absolute favorite meal for double batching and freezing for later has to be lentil rice burgers. They are cheap, easy and the kids LOVE them! The recipe I am going to post makes about 6 burgers, I cook the full bag of lentils and add 4 cups cooked rice to make about 20-24 burgers. We eat the 1st half fresh that night and wrap the leftovers in wax paper to freeze. Also including the home made burger bun recipe, it really compliments the meal and is super easy!

Lentil Burgers
1 cup lentils, dried
1 cup brown rice (white also works, just less nutritious)
5 cloves garlic
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 inch ginger, peeled
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
olive oil for browning

Prepare rice and lentils according to package instructions; drain lentils well. Place cooked rice, lentils, and remaining ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least four hours.

Heat olive oil (enough to coat the pan) in a cast iron skillet. Shape "meat" into patties and fry a few minutes on both sides, until well browned.

Serve as hamburgers!

Basic White Bread Recipe from Breadtopia
For KitchenAid Stand Mixer


1/2C (4 oz.) milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons Instant Yeast (.34 oz.)
1 1/2C (12 oz.) warm water (105F to 110F)
5-6C (1# 13 oz.) unbleached bread flour


1. Combine milk, sugar, salt, and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low heat and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm (less than 110 F).
2. If using active dry yeast, dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. If using Instant Yeast, just add it to the flour and mix it in before adding liquids.
3. Add lukewarm milk mixture and water to 4 1/2 C (1# 6 oz.) flour. Attach bowl and dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 C (2.5 oz.) at a time (slowly so it doesn’t fly out of bowl), until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch.
4. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
5. Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
6. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

For Hamburger and hot dog buns, divide the dough into 2-1/2 oz portions and shape into a ball. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then flatten with the heel of your hand and place on cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Allow about 1” between rolls for expansion/proofing. For hot dog buns, shape into about 5-6” long tubes with seam down. Brush with whipped egg white/water mix and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 400° F for 12-14 minutes or until 200°F.

New Study concludess Circumcision does harm not good

Now I didn't a need a study to know that cutting off a healthy functioning part of a penis causes harm, but it seems the people of America do. I doubt this study will hit the mainstream media, America would rather bury it's proverbial head in the sand and ignore what is right under their noses and continue on causing harm. To accept and acknowledge that circumcision is mutilation, hurts infants and is unnecessary means admitting they were wrong. Doesn't the saying go "When you know better, you do better"? Why can't WE as a collective DO better? Why can't we say past knowledge was incorrect, accept it and move on to do right by our sons!

Circumcision is NOT a parents "personal choice". It is not their penis! A vast majority of circumcisions are performed with no or inadequate pain relief. The infant is strapped down to a foam board and their foreskin is forcibly separated from the glands of the penis (it's attached much like your fingernails) and then CUT OFF, removing healthy necessary skin and thousands of nerve endings forever scarring the penis. A doctors oath is to "do no harm", how exactly is this procedure acceptable under that oath, especially given that no or inadequate pain relief is administered?

It's time to open your eyes and make a stand for all infant boys. Genital integrity should be the right of all humans, not just girls. Show our sons that we respect their genitals as much as we respect our girls and we will no longer perform COSMETIC surgery on our infants.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Retro Cooking Month kicks off!

Since today is officially Day 1 and as always I am a bit unprepared, I will be cheating some what. I always allow exceptions such as the kids are cereal-a-holics and I am ok with that, and I am NOT going to make my own pasta noodles or cheese or sour cream or. . . well a host of things. The point of this adventure is to get away from the everyday convenience foods and boxed meals, to get back to the simpler things in life one ingredient at a time.

I am copying this weeks schedule directly from CoaPSM blog and will add pictures, recipes and whatnot along the way.


Mon: Show us your recipe system. Keep 'em in a box? A 3 ring binder? Show us how you store your recipes!
Tues: Cook Once, Eat Twice: Have a recipe that you make so you'll be able to make another meal with the leftovers? Share it today!
Wed: Super Quick Meal: Have something you can whip up in 1/2 an hour or less? Share it today! *Giveaway day*
Thurs: Weird Jello Recipes: Do you have a family recipe that calls for jell-o? We want to know!
Fri: Quick and Easy Dessert: Have a dessert that you whip up in no time?
Sat/Sun: Saturday and Sunday will get one recipe, something that's a little more involved and takes a bit of time to cook.

I don't have a decent recipe system myself. I tend to print recipes out or just save them on my hard drive. Some are in my head or on an index card and tossed willy nilly around the house (i have found some on my washing machine!). One of my goals this week is to come up with a recipe storage system, I'm crafty but so not organized so this will be a real challenge!

Tonight's dinner was not so much up and up on the retro cooking BUT I am trying to use up what I have. On the menu was chicken parmesan, green beans and garlic bread. About the only thing from scratch was the chicken. If I repeat this recipe 1st I'll use a meat tenderizer and flatten the chicken, then after browning both sides I'll remove the chicken from the pan and drain the grease before beginning the sauce. Cook the sauce down a bit before adding the chicken back in and remembering to put the cheese on top before erving so it gets all melty and gooey. And now some pics for your drooling pleasure.

As if we need another blogging mama

So why blog? Because I have a lot to say damnit.

What can you expect from this blog? A little bit of everything really. I am an activist, a knitter, a researcher, a teacher, a mother, a wife, a baker, a candle stick maker. . . This month I'll be focusing on retro cooking month sponsored by Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom's blog. I am sure there will be random rants and knitting posts and pictures, I love to take pictures!