Food Blogging is not easy!

The other night the wild child was getting ready to fly to Colorado for a few days to visit her Uncle. She asked for curry for dinner as it is one of her favorite dishes. I have always used my trusty S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix. When the kids were little, more of the Mild, but now Medium Hot (I would go hotter, but the youngest wouldn’t eat it). You may scoff at me! Yes, we watch all those cooking shows. Yes, we have so many spices not only do we buy them in the super-size, but I have literally run out of places to put them. Yes, we are known as pretty darn good cooks! But S&B makes pretty darn good curry; it’s as simple as that. And, it is so easy to make. So give a busy Mom a break!

Ok, now as the youngest isn’t much of a beef fan, and I only had one box of S&B, I decided to make some chicken curry as well. Yes, from scratch. I will put the recipe at the bottom of the post.

I had good intentions and took the camera into the kitchen. Now Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, is one of the wild child and my favorite chefs. We love to watch her show, and read her blog. In fact she is going on a book tour this fall and we hope to be able to see her. I don’t know how she does it. Trying to remember to stop and take pictures, step-by-step when you are cooking is impossible! I’m sorry, but I love to cook, I just cannot interrupt the flow to take pictures. So you will get what I think to take, like this:

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I saw these veggies in the pan and thought how pretty they looked. What a picture they would make. Where is my camera?!! Then I took these:

curry_beef_0642_smcurry_chicken_0641_smI know how much you wanted to see raw meat, but I had good intentions. I really wanted to blog about cooking this curry. So I diced up the beef into smaller bits, and then the chicken.

If you are wondering, the beef is on the red cutting board (I have a
green one for chicken), and the chicken is covered with the curry spice mixture in a red bowl (just in case you thought they were both on the same surface, just saying).

Now the beef curry has simple frozen peas and carrots thrown into it. It is a very quick and easy dish to make; you just follow the directions on the box.

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The chicken curry took a bit longer as I had to cut up the squash and zucchini, but overall the dinner didn’t take too long.

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I will admit I didn’t make the Naan this time. That would have been just a little too much for the day! Although I have made it before, and it is soooo good! Here is a little hint for you – Naan at grocery stores is ridiculously expensive. Something like $3.29 for 2 pieces! I went to Gordon Foods the other day and got 6 for $2.99. now that was a deal!

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This recipe has evolved over the years. I had to giggle when I picked up a can of coconut milk and saw a recipe very similar on the label. But then if you think about it, how far can you vary a recipe before it isn’t the dish anymore? I like this curry because it isn’t spicy and overpowering. It has simple tastes, so is wonderful when you have fresh summer veggies to cook. But it is also great to serve with a spicy curry so they complement each other.

Chicken Veggie Curry

2 – good size chicken breast halves – cut into bite-size pieces (abt 1lb)
2-3 TBS curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1 TBS olive oil
½ lg onion diced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 summer squash, sliced
3 TBS coconut oil (or olive oil, I just like the flavor coconut oil adds to chicken)
1 cup chicken broth
1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk
½ tsp basil
Salt & pepper to taste
Slivered almonds to garnish
Cooked Jasmine rice (or any kind of rice will do)

  1. Cut chicken into small cubes. Make sure it isn’t too wet (or the spices clump) and place in a bowl. Mix curry, turmeric and cinnamon and toss into chicken and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan and add onion, zucchini and squash. Cook until onion becomes translucent and remove from pan.
  3. Add coconut oil to pan and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes, browning on all sides.
  4. Add the broth, coconut milk and spices. Bring to a simmer and add the veggies back in.
  5. Let cook until chicken is done, about 5-10 minutes. Don’t let the veggies get mushy!
  6. Serve over rice and sprinkle with almonds.

Playing at the Wool Gathering

Yesterday the wild child asked me to go to the Wool Gathering with her and her best friend. This is a yearly event out at Young’s Jersey Dairy where all the local wool producing/using/appreciating people gather. We have gone before when we owned our alpacas and were looking into selling our fleece etc. Now I wasn’t too interested in the wool and yarn, but I thought what a wonderful opportunity to play with my camera!

I did learn a lesson though, the event was under tents that were red and white striped. I was using my Canon EF 75-300 lens; a somewhat old lens, but a good workhorse. Unfortunately, things ended up with a red cast over them. Thankfully I have Photoshop, and some experience in it. I do find myself lacking in some of the functions in Camera Raw though, so this is going to be a new learning project for me. But I don’t think I did too bad.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did have some fun though. There were a lot of textures and colors to play with.

Where it began . . . to what it can be

Where it began . . . to what it can be

All the wonderful colors!

All the wonderful colors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But also watching the masters working at their craft – and the tools that they work with.

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But the icing on the cake was the field of sunflowers we passed on the way home. Well no, I didn’t pass it . . . I stopped!

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A Spontaneous Buy – not always a good thing

Yesterday I did something a bit out of character for me. I spontaneously bought a piece of furniture. It was on clearance at Kroger even – in the box! It was the only one, so I couldn’t even really look at it. This is so not me – to spend money without really being able to ‘touch’ it. After you read this post you will see why . . .

As those who have been reading this blog for a while will know, we have been working on making life more comfortable around here. We had the massive push before our son’s wedding, and over the next few weeks we rested. But now we have started on hubby’s office, and finishing up the last few things on the downstairs bathroom. Hubby and I even went and found the new loveseat for my office, but there are still other smaller things needing attention.

In my office there sits a little desk . . . Hummm, I think I need to explain this a little more. Hubby works from home, so in order for him to not spend all his time at his ‘work’ desk we put a small desk in my office. Now we call it my office, but the space is really only half that. The other half is a TV room. Hubby has been working from home for over 6 years, and at first we noticed that after work he would spend quite a bit of time in his office space doing personal stuff, bills, emails, etc. So we put a small desk and filing cabinet in my office so that he could leave ‘work’ at the end of the day.

desk_sm_0375Over the years he has moved from using his PC to a laptop with a docking station at both desks. But recently he has taken to simply using it in his lap in the recliner. So when we were cleaning the house before the wedding we realized that his little desk had become a dumping ground simply because of lack of use. But the PC is the server, not accessed much, but is used. When friends/family have computer problems he hooks up there too. So he does need it. But the little desk is just not the right thing.

Hubby’s first reaction was to tell me to just get rid of it. He could integrate the PC into my system and if he needed access use my computer. I didn’t like that idea; mostly because I felt like I was kicking him out for being a slob! So we cleaned up the desk, and went on with life. But it is slowly becoming that dumping ground again. We have been trying to come up with alternative solutions, but nothing has struck any of us.

This brings us to yesterday. I saw the desk on clearance; it looked like it might solve our problems. It had doors on the front, and could hide the mess. It also had a file drawer and a keyboard tray. It was in a box and I would have to put it together, but I don’t mind that. The youngest and I have a really good track record with that. We love Ikea furniture. Let me reiterate, WE LOVE IKEA FURNITURE! It is well constructed, goes together easily (corners actually match up), the instructions are easy to follow and are accurate. All of which this desk was not. I could find nowhere online to write a review so:

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HD Designs Freemont Office Desk Kroger #991147 here is your REVIEW: 1 star, would NOT recommend
The product used to construct this piece of furniture is wonderful. It is all wood and solid. The design of this desk is quite nice as well. It uses screws to assemble, and even has a wooden back, not cardboard. This is where the positives end.

The pre-drilled holes were not straight, so the bar is not level with the top of the door.

The pre-drilled holes were not straight, so the bar is not level with the top of the door.

The people who do the pre-assembly took little care, and there was obviously just as little quality control. Things do not line up, and when there are holes pre-drilled they are not always the depth/place they should be. There were numerous places the holes were not there at all (i.e. top of piece F). The directions say all you need is a Phillips screwdriver to assemble. This is a lie. You also need a drill. As I mentioned above, the wood is solid, you have to have a drill to get the screws in. But the worst part is the doors. The only way we could get them to close somewhat evenly was to unscrew the top a bit and shove a piece of cardboard in. Now at least they will shut, not quite straight, the left one desk_sm_0370bows out at the bottom, and there is a big gap between them, but they do shut.

It is a shame, as it is a pretty piece of furniture. Fortunately I bought this on clearance, and my husband will be able to make the adjustments necessary to make it look good. But for the person who doesn’t have the capability to do this YOU ARE SCREWED! ~ end review

desk_sm_0369 You can see here that by putting the piece of cardboard in we managed to get the doors somewhat even (said with sarcasm), but they do shut. As you will see below the left door bows out at the bottom. Hubby is wonderful at woodwork. You can see that by the work he did on the fireplace. So he will do his magic and make this into the piece of furniture I envisioned for our family. But this is why I don’t spontaneously buy things.

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