Some news on our Hummingbird with the broken wing–she was a bit disappointed that her new hard cast went all the way up and over the elbow, but she cheered up when the doctor told her that she could probably switch to a shorter cast in a few weeks.

This cast is decidedly un-Seussical, don’t you think? I must say, when it comes to color, Miss M. doesn’t hold back!

It’s still chilly here, although we sent our truly arctic weather over to Wisconsin and Michigan–sorry about that, folks, but I’m sure glad to be rid of it!

When the snow first started falling last week, Mozzy was beside himself with excitement and awe. I think Mozz-man had forgotten about snow. He couldn’t stop staring out the window and begged to go outside. Of course, once were out there, he realized how butt-ass cold it was and wanted to come back inside. But then, 30 minutes later? Begging again to go out. He nearly drove me to madness those first few days.

The snow is still on the ground, and now that it’s not so frigid, Mozzy is in heaven. He feels the need to jump in every snow drift he sees (dragging me along with him) and roll around in giddy abandon. I sure wish snow excited me that much. I don’t understand how he can hang out in those drifts without freezing his little pee-pee off? Yikes! Mozz is made of stronger stuff than me.

I’m still craving warm, comforting things with this weather, but again, I need to keep things somewhat healthy–especially since snow and cold mean the abandonment of my daily 3-mile walks. I really miss them, and my thighs do too. I’ve been trying to do productive things like clean out the kitchen pantry, but that’s not really a calorie-torching activity…

I also started planning our Thanksgiving menu last week. If you remember, I’m not real keen on the traditional Thanksgiving fare, as I ranted about here. What we’ve been doing for the last few years at Chez T. is picking a theme for Thanksgiving–one year, we pretended we were in Greece, the next Spain, and then off to France.

This year, our theme is Pan-Asian, and I’m excited! Here’s the menu, if you’re interested:

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Garlic and Soy Marinated Roast of Pork with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

Mashed Potatoes (maybe with wasabi, maybe not…still unsure)

Braised Bok Choy

Snow Pea Salad with Sesame Dressing

Assorted Dessert Sorbet

 

Hopefully, some of these recipes will pass muster so I can share them with you. Even without the traditional Thanksgiving fare, we’ll manage to stuff ourselves silly.

I’m going to share a veggie dish with you today that would be a terrific addition to a Thanksgiving table–if you aren’t worried about pushing the envelope a little.  It’s actually tasty enough to serve as an entree for vegetarians who might be gracing your table, too. These mushrooms are cheesy and satisfying and oh, so delicious.

Good luck planning out your Thanksgiving, readers, and I hope you know how grateful I am for you. You rock my socks. The girls have the entire week of Thanksgiving off school, but I’ll be popping in every so often just to see what you’re up to (and eating)!

Marinated Portabello Mushrooms with Asiago
from Weber’s Way to Grill
serves 6

Marinade:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 large portabello mushrooms, each 5 to 6 inches in diameter
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups grated Asiago cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red chile flakes (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients.

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth or paper towel. Remove and discard the stems. With a teaspoon, carefully scrape out and discard the black gills from the mushroom caps. Place the mushrooms, caps sides up, on a rimmed plate and brush them with the marinade. Turn the mushrooms over and brush again with the marinade. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat or heat a grill pan on the stove on medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the parsley and red pepper flakes, if using.

Grill the mushrooms, gill side down, over direct medium heat (if doing this on the grill, keep the lid closed) until the mushrooms begin to soften, 4 to 6 minutes. Brush the cap sides with some of the remaining marinade from the plate, turn over, add 1/4 cup of cheese on top of each mushroom,  and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, 4 to 6 minutes. During the last minute of cooking time, place the bread crumb mixture evenly on top of each mushroom. Remove from the grill, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

*If grilling indoors, you can alternatively pop the mushrooms under the oven broiler after you add the cheese topping.

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When I woke up a few mornings ago, the outside thermometer read -1. In early November! That’s just seven kinds of wrong, folks. The projected high temperature for the day was a whopping 8 degrees and snow fell steadily throughout the morning.

On days like that, I crave warm, comforting food. When the weather is beastly, my belly feels especially empty and in need of tending to. Does this happen to anyone else? The temperature drops and your hunger spikes into the stratosphere? It’s kind of a bummer, and tends to be the reason that I pack on some poundage during the colder months. I call it my “winter insulation.”

Problem is, with all of the pizza I’d been eating during M.’s broken arm ordeal, I knew that something healthier was definitely in order. No gravy and mashed potatoes, no matter how grumbly my tummy was.

My other problem? No way was I making a trip to the grocery store in those icy and snowy conditions. I’d already had to bundle up like Nanuk of the North to take the girls to school and walk the dog; I wasn’t going back out there for something as mundane as a trip to the Kroger. Nasty weather also turns me into a lazy slob.

I scanned the pantry and I didn’t have enough chicken broth for soup, which a bit of a buzzkill, because it was definitely soup weather. I was also miserably low on potatoes and pasta, my other cold weather go-tos.

I pawed through the freezer and found–no surprise–chicken. I always have chicken around, even if it’s not the sexiest protein in the world. Chicken is kind of like a second-string quarterback; it doesn’t excite but it manages to get the job done.

I knew I had rice because duh, I cook Asian food at least twice a week. Rice is always close at hand. A second scan of the pantry found a pleasant surprise–several bottles of apple cider, an item I don’t usually have around, but then I remembered that I’d bought some in September, when I was in an Autumn frame of mind. And then I promptly forgot about it.

Sometimes a forgetful nature is not a bad thing, because I was able to cobble together a warming, hearty and surprisingly non-ass-busting meal out of those humble ingredients.  Another bit of good news? It’s an easy dish to pull together. By the time the rice finishes cooking, you’re well on your way to having dinner on the table–making this a great meal for a weeknight or a busy day or a frosty winter night.

Temps are supposed to climb into the 20′s today, so I’ll be busting out that bikini. Spring is here!  :)

Stay warm, readers!

 

 

Cider-Glazed Chicken

from Cooking Light magazine

serves 4

1/2 tablespoon butter

1 pound chicken breast cutlets (about 4 cutlets)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken cutlets to the pan; cook 3 minutes minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from skillet. Add cider and mustard to the pan and scrape the browned bits off the bottom with a spoon. Cook 2-3 minutes or until reduced and syrupy. Add chicken back to pan, turning to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle parsley over.

Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or buttered noodles to soak up the sauce.

{ 4 comments }

Recipe for Exhaustion

November 12, 2014

Of course Miss M had to break her arm when her daddy was out of town for several days. Of course she did. And of course she did it the afternoon I was hosting my Suburban Mom Book Club in a matter of hours and was running around like a lunatic.

And of course, she immediately told her teacher that she thought she broke her arm but neglected to tell ME that when I picked her up from school. By then, she was more concerned about the gushing wound on her face (which was alarmingly large and red, resembling a crimson, Hitler-like mustache). I have to admit, I was more concerned about her pitiful face, too. It wasn’t until I went to get her into the bath late that night that I noticed that her arm was hanging a little funny.

Uh-oh.

“Does it hurt?” I asked.

“Everything hurts,” she replied.  “My face, my arm, my skinned knees.”

“I don’t like the look of that arm, though” I said. “We’ll re-assess in the morning, okay?”

Re-assessment happened at 4am, when I woke to a howling Miss M. “My arm is killing me,” she cried. I gave her an ice pack and some pain medicine and as soon as I dropped Miss D. off at school, we headed in for an x-ray.

“Waiting for someone to read the films,” I texted my husband.

“Okay. In meetings right now but keep me posted.”

Half an hour later, I texted: “Broken.”

“Crap!” my husband texted.

Then I whisked Miss M. off to the orthopedic clinic and an hour later, sent the message: “Needs surgery.”

“Fuck!” my husband texted.

Fuck indeed, because by the time Miss M. came home after surgery, it was almost 4 o’clock. Almost eight hours, start to finish, ferrying her to doctors and waiting for surgery and driving to the pharmacy and trying to secure a ride home for my older daughter.

I felt so bad for M., and she was very brave through it all, but surgery is scary stuff.

I also felt bad for myself because after all that, I was exhausted and my support crew was all the way in Louisiana, so the only person following the directions to, “wake her up every 4 hours for some food, her medication, and a fresh ice pack” was going to be me.

I knew that first night was going to be hairy, but what I didn’t count on was the hairy things in my house to be the problem. Miss M. enured the cycle of waking, eating, medicating and icing like a pro, but the animals in my house were gorked to the gills by all of that mid-night activity.

Aria howled and caterwauled and paced constantly, and even when I put her in the garage, the sound was deafening. Mozz man wasn’t upset, but he sure was interested in my every move, so every dang time I got up from the couch to tend to M., he’d shoot out of his kennel, tail wagging, head cocked, looking at me like, “Hey mom? What’s goin’on? Whatcha doin’, mom? Huh? Huh?”

And then he had to get in half a dozen face licks and demand a few more belly rubs before he’d settle back down. I think that first night after surgery, I got four hours sleep, if that. I *may* have even, somewhere around 2:30am, hollered out, “I am not fucking Doctor Dolittle! Go the Hell to sleep!”

I don’t deal so well with sleep deprivation, but somehow I managed to lurch through the next two days and keep everyone alive and reasonably entertained and taken care of, although I realized on Sunday evening that I’d eaten cold pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner most of the weekend. I was too tired to figure anything else out for myself, so pizza it was. Oh, and popcorn. In the toughest of times, popcorn sees me through.

I almost cried when my husband walked through the door Sunday evening. I was so grateful to see him that I didn’t even beat him around the head when he proceeded to tell me all of the amazing things he’d had to eat/drink in NOLA. Cretin.

Current situation: I am still exhausted and not bouncing back as quickly as I’d like. Old age is not my friend in that regard. Miss M. is on the mend–she still has her temporary cast on for another week, but she wants you all to know that when she gets the real deal, she’s going to get something snazzy and will proudly show it to you all when it’s on.  It may not be as Seussical as her last one, but I know it’ll be good.

Be still my heart. She looks so little here ^

 

As I write this, she is returning to school, although figuring out how any writing is going to get done will be interesting, because of course, she broke her dominant arm. Of course she did.

An ordeal like this calls for some comfort food (now that I’m capable of producing more than pizza). Especially since the snow and brittle cold arrived, just in time for my one-armed kid to navigate slick streets and faltering coordination.  It’s going to feel like -15 degrees tonight (!) and the nasty cold weather is supposed to last through the week, so I think I’ll be cooking up some warm and nourishing things.

But not quite yet. I think I may just have one more night of pizza in me, after all.

Question: What are your comfort foods that you turn to when times get tough and/or the weather gets wintry?

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Cardamom-Spiced Oranges

November 3, 2014

A Tale of Two Halloweens

October 29, 2014

A few Fall happenings and Marinara Sauce

October 21, 2014

Birthday Boys

October 16, 2014

Edamame-Orzo Salad

October 13, 2014