2015 - Week 9 Cooking Results


Black Bean-Chorizo Stew

They should've just called this chili, or some version of chili.  I would've liked to try this with the green chorizo, but did it with the chorizo I get from Crooked Gap (good stuffs).  This came together easy, but took time to prepare.  Not to bad.

Sausage and Egg on mini Ciabatta

So the idea here was to use the cooking rounds that I have to make an egg patty.  The sausage was quite good, but it ended up being a fried egg on top.  The rounds didn't sit down as I expected.  They started to slowly leak out of the side.  I didn't want to weight it down, since it was stainless steel holding in the egg, on a non-stick pan.  Didn't want to mess up my pan, so I just let them go out.  Anyways, good, but not exactly the presentation I wanted.

Pork Chops...or pork chop tacos...I haven't decided yet.

Pork sandwiches!  So there were surprisingly large butterfly chops.  I used one, cooked it up using salt and pepper, then after resting a bit, sliced them for sandwiches.  That and some sun chips and you have a meal.  Worked out well.  Now I have another pork chop to do something with.  Probably tacos.

Pork Burgers (for real this time)

Yay!  I'm starting to really enjoy having sauerkraut on more things.  Maybe it is me aging or maybe I just found a really good kraut?  Who knows, but anyways, most of my burgers now are topped with kraut. 

Green Onion Sausage Pasta

Sautéed an onion until it was a bit soft in a bit of olive oil.  Added the green onion sausage, cooked it until it was mostly not pink, then added some red pepper flakes, some dried oregano a bit of pepper.  Then added two cans of diced tomatoes, and a small can of tomato paste.  Stirred it up and let it simmer while the pasta cooked.  I used rigatoni pasta.  Once it was cooked I drained it and added it to the sauce to mix it all together.  Turned out pretty well.

2015 - Week 9 Cooking

I admit, I have been feeling rather uninspired lately.  I'm finding the magazines (except Lucky Peach) kind of boring.  I look at things and think more about the effort involved, then how good it will taste.  Usually going out to eat at one of the very nice places in town fills me up with wonder again, but even though the last big meal we went out at (Valentines) was fantastic, I'm still left with a blah feeling inside.  It could be entirely related to the whole situation going on, or maybe related to not be able to do that tour of the DTFM.  Who knows.  I've decided I'm going to spend some time with the Momofuku Milk Bar book.  I've had some of their products, which have been fascinating in thought process themselves, let alone having the beautiful taste.

The restrictions that were self imposed due to budgetary constraints, are starting to be lifted.  I still keep an eye out and have vetoed some dinners because you come to the "you want me to buy what now?" type of reaction.  

  • Black Bean-Chorizo Stew
  • Sausage and Egg on mini Ciabatta
  • Pork Chops...or pork chop tacos...I haven't decided yet.
  • Pork Burgers (for real this time)
  • Green Onion Sausage Pasta

2015 - Week 8 Cooking Results

This week a sad thing happened.  I ran out of my garlic stash.  Usually I try to build up enough garlic (that can age) to make it through the winter, however at this time I clearly ran short.  I wouldn't suggest it, but I did replace some of the garlic needs with roasted garlic (dried) from AllSpice.  Which was acceptable.

Last week, because I menu planned on Saturday, I got to the grocery store early.  Unlike other weeks where sometimes you have to time between church, sports ball, and etc, it was just almost empty.  It made for a nice experience.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I delayed this because I thought it would take a long time to really didn't.  I suppose deboned chicken thighs would've tasted better, but who knows.  Pretty good, nice meal.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

I didn't want to delay the meal to much, by having to put things together to take over to the Hettingers to bake.  So I put it together the night before.  This turned out pretty well.  When I was cooking down the onions, I thought, maybe this needs more time, since it was still exuding water from the onions.  And I really should've cooked it longer, because the meatloaf (warm) didn't hold together as well as it should've.  Even so, a satisfying experience.  I also made some mashed potatoes there too.

Carolina Chicken Bog

This took a while to come together.  But was so worth it.  A simple set of ingredients, but combined with purpose.  Sausage and chicken made to flavor the chicken broth, then to imbue the rice with that flavor.  Good stuffs.  I'm looking forward to the leftovers.

Quick Turkey Chili

It was quick.  Maybe needs to be a bit brighter (tomatoes?).  I had forgotten to pick up some sour cream and didn't feel like leaving the house to get it, so we just topped it with some crackers and shredded Prairie Breeze.  I also intended to take some roasted peppers out of the freezer and use that, but also forgot.

Chicken Salad

Every once in a while you get that strong craving for a thing, this fit that need.  It certainly didn't have the best combination of ingredients to make an amazing chicken salad, but was still pretty good.

I can talk about this, publicly now.

So a bit back we were taken through a roller coaster of emotions.  Scare, relief, scare, more scare.

So for several reasons my wife was sent over to Iowa Radiology after a bit of back and forth, we found out that she had a mass around one of her ovaries.  So at best, it's gotta go, at worse, all that system has to go.

So the positives.

  • Her work has been amazing  She found out about it during the first month or so of working there.  We were planning on just using FMLA to ensure she can go back to work, but her manager was like here, let me get you the short term disability paperwork, lets take care of this.
  • My work has also been amazing.  Clearly I have been distracted, overly emotional, and running off to take my wife to appointments.  This has not been a problem (except the minor freakout for a major go-live that I'll be missing (I only have a minor role)).
  • Many people have said if we need anything, just ask, and not like that thing that some people might say, but more of a these people will actually do.  It feels great to have friends  / family like this.
  • The oncologist we are working with, we have not heard anything bad about her (other doctors, other people in the know).  She's been great to talk to and handle everything.  She's been a great confidence boost.
  • I had other plans for my Flex money this year (dental), and we set aside some flex money for Shannon, but between the two of these things, there's a large chunk of cash to take care of bills, and another large chunk in reserve beyond that.

The bad (for me)

  • I have been stress eating.  Now I'm quite aware of it, and I'm within a reasonable margin, but more then I should be clearly.  Strangely enough I'm still down weight, so who knew (up from my lowest point, but down from my latest peak)?
  • There has been more...drinking.  Certainly not to the same extent as some other periods in my life, but certainly more then the weekend / casual / social type of drinking that I do.  While I know it's not the best way to deal with things, some of it is the calming ritual of it.
  • I never expected to live past 30 (I'm closing in on 40).  In discussions with a fried about this whole thing, neither of us really were living our lives as if there was not much of a future.  Lives changed then my goal became, I want to make sure that there is enough money for my wife, when I pass.  Clearly I will first, though she doesn't like me talking like this, but with that as a generalized goal and a lot of what my life revolves around, what would happen if that pillar was gone?  Being in the suspense that we have been kept in, in these periods of time, very dark thoughts can go across my mind.  I'm often, as I stated, distracted, distressed and very dark.  I try to keep up the habits that keep my mood elevated (regular walks, keeping myself partially distracted at all times, etc), but often times, these days, it's not working very well.  Sometimes I hide it well, sometimes not.  Either way, it's been a struggle to keep my head in a normal / semi-normal space, while trying to be supportive and keep up with the day to day.
  • I have been sleeping poorly.  I often find myself staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to hold me.
  • When I sleep and dream, they're often bad dreams, haunted by bad things

With all this going on we've been working together to keep the attitudes positive.  It is hard to predict what will happen in the next 40 days or so, but hopefully, no more bad surprises.

Short thing, not important.

Last week I drop my first iDevice that caused significant damage.  I have fumbled own or two here or there, but not to the amount of damage.  Luckily for me, it was work's, and old (iPad 2 from 2011).  The screen spidered, but the next day, my boss picked up a screen protector (the kind that gets glued on) and a co-worker put it on.  So the screen is a bit bumpy, but no longer a hazard to fingers.

This triggered me to pick up a hefty case for my's pretty beefy...maybe to much so.

2015 - Week 7 Cooking Results

Going a little bit early, because we may be doing something tomorrow (depending on the weather).

Pork Burgers

I looked for the pork, I really did, but I couldn't find it.  And there was some local ground beef, sitting right there in the front of the freezer.  So I spiced it a bit, made little patties to go with the mini-ciabatta buns I bought and we had burgers.

I had a nice combination of Pleasant Ridge Reserve (yes seriously), some local sour kraut and some spicy mustard on mine.  Good stuffs.

Pizza (tonight, delayed from last week)

Good as always.  I used a combination of cheeses including Cabra Blanca (goats milk based).  This is the cheese I was trying to remember for the longest time cause I forgot what I was using to make a non-cow based pizza (Friends' children issue).  That at least gets me partially back to the point I need.

Because of the coolness that day, and the lateness that I took out the pizza dough I put it on the barely warm oven to do it's final growth stage.  It still had troubles getting out to the edges of the pan, but even so.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Wasn't feeling up to making this or eating it, so I used some of the same ingredients to make a vegetarian pasta.  Little bit of diced tomatoes, tomato puree, some paste, a mixture of dried spices on hand, over some sautéed onion.  A bit of rigatoni and to top it off with some parmigiano reggiano.  Turned out very well.

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice

This did not seem as salty as the last time I made it.  Maybe last time I crushed the fritos first, before I measured it, and this time I did it after.  Anyways, quick, easy, pretty good.

Farmhouse Chicken Chowder

This was quite good.  Easy to make, and tasted quite good.  I only wish we had more leftovers.

2015 - Week 6 Cooking Results

Bangers & Mash

Simple and good as always.

T-Bone Pork Chops with Apple Sauce and Peas

Didn't have enough peas, so I supplemented some corn in there.  it was pretty good.  Nicely cooked (sear, sear, oven).  I haven't had apple sauce in forever.  Anyways, nice throwback meal.

Sweet Italian Sausage & Tomatoes pasta (not sure yet)

Used some canned tomatoes and tomato paste some spices and parmesan.  Then used 3 types of pasta that were mostly or partially used.  Yay for cleaning out the pantry.  It still was pretty good.

Green Onion Sausage Pizza

Delayed until today.


These were pretty good, not my favorite pancake recipe, but pretty good.

Chicken and Couscous with Chickpeas and Apricots

Apparently I had the wrong type of couscous...  So I made chicken sandwiches instead.