Freezer Gourmet

Hi all! I've started a new blog devoted to feasting from your freezer. It is called The Freezer Gourmet, and my hope is to share everything I've learned from OAMC (Once a Month Cooking). Although OAMC is kind of a misnomer for me--I generally do more mini sessions with one kind of meat. I have done full cooking days, but it is harder for me to fit that into my schedule--so a mini session works. I also do mini sessions when I do my monthly dinner swap. I make the same meal X amount of times (depending on how many people are participating in a given month) and freeze them. Depending on the type of meal, I can do this in one afternoon (for a marinade type meal), or two (for a casserole).

In December of last year, not only did my group do a dinner swap, but we also did a cookie swap. Cookies are another great thing to freeze--both the cookie dough, and the cookies themselves. In fact, the cookies from that swap graced school lunches for a couple of months into the new year.

If you are interested in freezer cooking, go check my blog out. I think you will be glad you did!
On June 30, 1997, in Hong Kong, the Union Jack was lowered for the last time over Government House as Britain prepared to hand the colony back to China after ruling it for 156 years.

Fandango Giveaway!

So my new blogging pal Laurie is giving away $40 in Fandango Movie Bucks on her blog. I've decided that this is a great way to go see some of those movies on my summer movie wish list. I am thinking that would be a good thing, since most of this summer fun stuff has fallen by the wayside. We did do one cooking day. We have seen a couple of movies. Not so much on the field trips or library, though. Although I've been going to the library. And of course, I've been forcing my darling child to read every day.

Anyway, head on over to her blog and check it out. And while you are there, don't forget to enter her giveaway!


Hey! I just realized my blogoversary just passed! Officially, I've been blogging for 4 years. Of course, I haven't really been blogging that long, since I was locked out of my account for so long. But still. Kinda cool. Wanted to share. :)

Angels and Demons

No, not the movie. As I was perusing Momstar's blog yesterday, I came across one of her random thoughts. It was basic: An angel and a demon died today. But so blatant in what she meant. I imagine if you are 10 or more years younger than me, the Michael Jackson you know is Wacko Jacko. The man who never grew up--or never got to be a child. I remember the younger Michael of the 70's and 80's. Much more exciting. Awesome music. Somewhat normal.

The angel--well, Charlie's Angel. Farrah has had her own ups and downs in life. Don't forget her Playboy spread. But, she was a woman living her life. She has had her own struggles--of course, the cancer. Her relationships. Her son. I think her life could be called far from angelic.

Anyway. I love the play on words. Although I don't believe so much in the correlation.

Teresa Wiltz on Michael Jackson

I’ve always found it ironic that the boy who helped me to really appreciate that black was indeed beautiful grew into a man who didn’t seem to see that in himself.

On June 25, 1876, Lt. Col. George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry were wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana.

Transformers Rock!

You know, growing up in the 80's--you would think that I would remember the Transformers. I guess I do remember them, but I was never into them (hell---ooooo, that's a boy thing, and I'm a girlie girl). I sure don't remember them being as cool as they are now. I didn't even see the first movie until a couple of days ago. My son wanted to watch it to prepare for the advent of the second movie. So we watched it. And I loved it!

Today we went to see the premier of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And even though it was on my list of movies to see this summer, it wasn't one I was really dying to see (unlike the new Harry Potter movie!). And wow--almost 3 hours of non-stop action. And it was awesome.

Just thought you should know. I managed to drag myself out of my pj's and see a movie. And I had a great time hanging with my boy. Just the two of us. Yep, awesome.

Depression Rears Its Head (yeah--it's UGLY!)

I never really thought that I was prone to depression. I've always been pretty even tempered--never really high high or low low. But when my daughter ran away (she was later diagnosed as clinically depressed), depression set in. I don't know if it was the extreme low that I was at...I mean, I was so extremely worried about her. And wondering how much was my fault. And even when she came back, and got help, well...the extreme low was still there.

Fast forward a bit--even though she is getting help, I still worry about her. I am still struggling with my own depression--which these day seems to be brought on by who knows what. 2 weeks ago a tragedy happened in our neighborhood. On my birthday. My 40th birthday. And a week later, my dog pinched a vertebrae. Overnight he went from a happy, healthy dog to a paralyzed, miserable dog. (on the bright side, he IS doing better).

Normally I would roll with the punches. But, I haven't been physically or emotionally healthy for a while. And these two things just knocked me for a loop. I have kind of just curled up into a ball and hibernated. I have probably lost one of my writing accounts because I haven't contacted them--and I don't even have a good reason to give them for my absence. It sucks.

I can only hope that things will get better. Maybe they are already starting to. I am blogging, after all...

Twitter Tea

One of the amazing things about Twitter is the randomness of the posts, which end up leading to a whole new appreciation for the world. John Chow, the blogger known for teaching bloggers to make money with their blogs (lol!), posted a picture of his dessert last night--Bubble Tea. Which I had never heard of. And which caused me to Google Bubble Tea to discover what it is. And now I want to try it myself.

One of the many variations of Bubble Tea that I want to try:
  • 2 cups prepared brewed green tea
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pearl tapioca (Raw, black or pastel-colored)
  • 4 cups honeydews or cantaloupes or watermelon, chunks
  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  1. Combine green tea with sugar and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil over high heat; add tapioca pearls. Stir lightly and let pearls float to top. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let pearls sit in water 25 minutes until chewy and translucent.
  3. Drain and rinse under cold water. Combine in medium bowl with sweetened tea. Refrigerate until needed.
  4. Blending in 2 batches, combine melon, ice cubes, orange juice and coconut milk in blender or food processor. Process until smooth.
  5. Place about 1/4 cup tapioca mixture in bottom of large glass. Fill with melon mixture. Serve with straws if desired.
Other Bubble Tea Recipes:
Bubble Tea Basics
Bubble Tea Cookbook from RecipeZaar
Thai Mango Coconut Bubble Tea

Now I just have to find a source for large tapioca pearls. Looks like a trip to Vegas is in order.

Splitting Expenses

In my travels across the internet, I came across this blog: Splitting Expenses. I am hoping that she will keep sharing information (as the blog is quite new!). I hate to say this term--In today's economy--but, in today's economy we are all in the perfect position to spend money more wisely and be green while doing it. I love the idea of splitting expenses for things with my friends and family, and I will be looking for more tips to do so. I already participate in a meal swap. Not only does this help fill up my freezer, it frees up my time.

I am hoping that the cooking that we are doing with the neighborhood kids will help with this as well. We are already sharing expenses by buying many of the ingredients in bulk, we are also sharing the idea of helping each other out. I feel lucky as many of these families are already participating in our meal swap. I am hoping we can get together to start sharing other expenses.

On another note, what do you think of bartering? We had to take my dog to the vet on Monday because he has lost the use of his back legs. Things are pretty tight on the money front here, so my daughter asked the vet if she could work for her to pay the vet bills. We live in a very small town and have known the vet for years--so she already knows that Morgaine's goal in life is to work with animals in some fashion. She agreed.

And for those who want to know about my dog--he is a dachshund, a breed noted for extreme back problems. He has apparently pinched a vertebrae (probably rough housing with our other dogs--who are all bigger than he is). He has almost no feeling in his back legs, and can barely move them. We have been told to keep him confined to a box (although we can take him outside for potty breaks) and to keep pinching his feet and legs. With any luck, he will completely recover. If not, we will have a disabled pooch on our hands (because if his quality of life is not affected we will not have him put down). Morgaine has already posted an ad on CraigsList looking for a doggy wheelchair...
Well, it's been almost a week since I posted. My daughter has spent many days at the hospital waiting for news and just wanting to be there. The prognosis right now is that she has a broken rib, a punctured lung, a concussion, a bit of fluid on the brain, and major road rash. Surgery went fine and she is awake. She will be in intensive care/major trauma for at least another week, and will probably be in the hospital for the rest of the month, if not longer. The funeral for the other two girls was this weekend.

It's been a rough week.
On June 8, 1978, a jury in Clark County, Nev., ruled the so-called "Mormon will," purportedly written by the late billionaire Howard Hughes, was a forgery.

Summer Fun Series Week 1 Wrap-Up

Well, we had 10 kids show up to make Thai Chicken Wings today. We separated them into 2 groups (middle school and elementary school). The younger kids pretty much just dumped everything in a bag and squished it together. The older kids cut wings apart, pressed or chopped garlic, grated fresh ginger, and then dumped it all in a bag and squished it together.

We made a sample batch of the wings for them to try before they started cooking--needless to say, those wings are all gone. But I do have a new batch in the freezer for another day (that my son made).

Next week we are making deviled eggs. Lots of people around here have chickens, so we have an abundance of fresh eggs.

Prayers Needed

For the families of 4 girls in our valley today. The girls were on their way to Girl’s Camp when their car had a blow out and rolled. 2 girls died on the scene, 1 is in the hospital in critical (but not life-threatening) condition, and one walked away with superficial injuries.

Most of America is probably feeling the same way about the "bailout." I know I am. I even called my congressmen when it was first being discussed. Crazy how us "real" people can figure out what is going to happen, when the government can't seem to.

And so it starts...

Forgive me for feeling sorry for myself today. It isn't because I am turning 40 tomorrow. No, because I truly believe that you are only as old as you feel, and to be honest--I feel like I'm in my 20's (which sometimes seems kind of weird, considering my daughter is almost 20).

No, I'm feeling sorry for myself because I feel like I could lose my house in this economy. And it's frustrating. I don't have a high-risk, adjustable loan--no, my husband and I could actually afford this house when we bought it. It's the fact that my husband's hours have been reduced severely and my work is only coming in sporadically.

Which isn't to say I'm not happy with my work--because I am. I love my job as a writer, I think I just need to figure out a way to work more. My husband actually hates his job. Not the job itself, so much as the company he works for. It started out as a good place to work, but over the years as it has been passed down through the family--gradually it has grown into a place that isn't so great to work.

For example, when they cut the hours where he works, they explained that they were doing it to save money. But they would bring in helpers on those three days. So what has actually happened is that they are spending more money in their effort to save money. And, darn it, he works in a warehouse. It isn't like they are saving money on utilities for those days that they are closed--they aren't. It's just stupid.

Well, my birthday is tomorrow. I expect my family will be better regarding my birthday than they were for Mother's Day. They always are. But forgive me if I am sad and worried. It's not you, it's me.

Woohoo! Summer Fun Series Commence!

Remember that post a couple of weeks ago about summer plans? Well, it has kind of evolved (on Tuesday, anyway) to include a bunch of neighborhood kids. School gets out today, and starting next week, the fun will commence! The first cooking thing we are doing will be a freezer meal (or appetizer--depends on how you look at it) for the kids to take home.

Thai Chicken Wings
  • 24 meaty chicken wings, tips removed, cut into wings and drumettes
  • 8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp dried coriander, crushed
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  1. Place chicken wings into a large resealable plastic bag. Add garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, coriander, and fish sauce. Seal bag, turn to coat. Freeze. Or refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  3. Place wings on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes. Turn and bake 5 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink.
That darn fish sauce smells really bad, so I'm thinking of providing nose plugs (you know those things they sell for swimming without getting water in your nose?). I will also have wings done before they get there so they know what the wings taste like before they make them.
“I don’t know who this bailout is helping. We’ve given these banks all this money and they’re not doing what they say they’re doing. Something’s not working right.”

Eileen Ulery, a homeowner in Mesa, Ariz.
"...imagine a world in which Donald Trump owns NBC and lives in the White House, while grooming Miss California USA to run for Congress, and you may be half way to understanding Italian politics."
~Robert Mackey on Italian Politics

Where Have all the Helicopters Gone?

Great new article in the NY Times about changing parenting styles. It's one of those articles that makes me feel like, yes...someone finally understands me! I grew up in a time where it was safe to ride my bike to the park, and I did it on a daily basis. One of the reasons I love living in a (very) small town is because I feel relatively safe allowing my kids to walk or ride their bikes to their friends house, or let them go to one of the two local pools without adult supervision. I am limited in the "opportunities" for extra-curricular activities available for my kids, which makes it that much easier not to worry about what they are missing. They are growing up much in the same way I did.

It works for me. My kids take (or took) music lessons in school. Public school. Public school teachers. Who are really very good at what they teach. It's an amazing concept, I know. My son is a Boy Scout. He goes camping every month or two. He learns how to help other people and to be a good citizen. My daughter was a Girl Scout until she graduated High School--learning and doing much the same. My daughter got a job when she turned 16. I expect my son to get a job when he turns 16. This is life. This is what the rest of us did.

I suspect the helicoptering goes back to this sense of entitlement that we have been fed. We all have to have big houses and cars, send our kids to multiple classes so that they will get into the best colleges. We must have only the biggest and the best of everything. But you know what? There is so much more to life than stuff. So much more, and even if it is only the economy that is moving society "backwards" to a simpler time, at least we are getting back to it. When our kids do things they want to do, and they do it for themselves, they become better people. They gain a sense of accomplishment from their own successes and their own choices. They learn better. They don't have a sense of urgency without knowing what is causing it.

In short, they become the people we want them to become.