Thanksgiving Turkey and “Meeosh”

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here.

I was on call.  It is how I roll these days, it seems.

Despite that,  I thought it would be a good idea to have people over for Thanksgiving dinner.  Because we have a biggish dining room and I like to cook.

It was a good idea.

Some planning ahead and good luck meant that we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with Child, D and Dr. Bond.

I was ridiculously excited that I found a “decently priced” fresh turkey that was small enough to fit in our oven and the disposable baking pan that would also fit in our oven.

Jeter made it his main goal in life to eat the turkey.  He tried to eat it raw, he tried to pick the chunk of extra skin out of the garbage can and then, once everyone arrived, he proceeded to jump on the counter and try to steal a bite repeatedly.  That cat likes his meat.

I like having some “family” away from biological family.

I also like hosting Thanksgiving because it means we wind up with leftovers… My favourite.

Tonight we had what my family calls “Meeosh.”  The recipe: Take all of the leftovers, mix and fry them together in a frying pan, then put extra gravy on top.  Other people call it hash.  I call it delicious.  Patrick and I both looked forward to it all day.

Interestingly, Patrick had never had “Meeosh” until he married me.  In fact, he never had anything quite like it.  He thought us a bit odd that time as my Mom and I combined everything we pulled from the fridge in a giant frying pan.  He was pleasantly surprised and has never gone back.

Mmmm… Turkey.

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Weekly Writing Challenge: A Pinch of You

This week’s writing challenge with the Daily Post is to write a recipe for yourself or someone in your life or an experience relevant to your blog.

Main Dish:
  • 300mL Joy
  • 250mL Sarcasm
  • 100mL Naive optimism
  • A dash of realistic pessimism
  • A moderate serving of friendliness mixed with intense introversion
  • 250g Anal retentiveness
  • 25 Songs from various genres
  • 1 flannel blanket
  • 100g Nerds candy
  • 13 random facts
  • Stethoscope
  • A pinch of sappiness
 
Sauce:
  • 2-5 books
  • 1 cup of Coffee
  • Wit to taste
  • A dollop of SPF 60 for protection
 
Directions:
  • Start the dish with a high baseline.  For best results, prepare in colorful cookware while singing.
  • Soak the contents in ocean water (waves preferred) for 2 hours, then bring it inside and allow to return to room temperature alone with an episode of “Gilmore Girls” or “New Girl.”
  • Season the dish with plenty of spicy ethnic sauces, fun glasses and pepper.
Best served with a selection of lattes, cheesecake, ice cream and anything spicy.  It also goes very well with Patrick.
*Trisha does not mix well with horses, mayonnaise, bananas or pineapples.   If produced in the presence of too many people or in the absence of music, coffee and books, she may taste overdone.*

Becoming Domesticated

I love being domestic in the stereotypical sense of the word.  I am still nesting… As in I am still trying to get settled in to our house just the way I like it.  I’m still not quite there yet.  We will get there at some point.  I only have time and funds to do that sort of stuff in increments (for instance, I have volunteered the Child to help me during my vacation in re-covering a bench in our apartment that has been cat-mangled).

I am not domestic in that I work so much and have priorities outside of the home such that I sometimes feel like I get behind on things.  Our bed is not always made, we are known to have dish mountains and sometimes I am known to really hunt for clean underwear in the mornings.  Thankfully, my husband is a superstar who isn’t afraid of the vacuum cleaner or the washing machine.

I saw a chore list posted on a friend’s Facebook wall that I acquired.  It has made its home with our postcard and magnet collection on our fridge (yes, some of my decorating tastes may be a bit juvenile by times, but it makes us happy).

The post-card/magnet stash (we had to get rid of some of the originals when we moved because there were too many... sad face).

The post-card/magnet stash (we had to get rid of some of the originals when we moved because there were too many… sad face).

The whole chore list thing re-motivated me.  That and that I hate having to power clean on one of my few rare Saturdays off.  So, having a list of things, some of which we do daily, some of which we procrastinate and then a division on non-daily stuff may help us get that stuff done more effectively.  Maybe.

The chore list... As stolen from a Google search on someone's Pinterest page (I still refuse to get Pinterest).

The chore list… As stolen from a Google search on someone’s Pinterest page (I still refuse to get Pinterest).

Since this weekend was a delightful (second in a row) weekend off, I not only cleaned, but I have had a chance to get groceries and do some cooking (and see the movie Quartet).

Tonight, we are having French Onion soup from scratch!  IMG_0517

  • All you need are 5 onions thinly sliced, 6 cloves of garlic, ½ cup of butter, 2 tablespoons of flour and a box of Campbell’s beef broth.  Oh, and bread and cheese.
  • You toast the bread in the oven until it is hard.
  • Fry the onions and garlic with butter until golden (that will take about 30 or 40 minutes).  The mix in the box of broth, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 min.  Add the flour to thicken.
  • Drop in the bread chunks and cheese.

Om nom nom.

I sliced a chunk of my thumb off, but otherwise, it seems to have been a success.

I have also prepared a slow-cooker Cajun chicken recipe to cook while we are at work tomorrow (props to Patrick for volunteering to put the prepared meal in the cooker and turning it on at lunch so we don’t burn the house down (something about being out of the house more than 6-8h that can be problematic).  I didn’t quite have the right ingredients, but some spice variations (to the milder end) shouldn’t be a bad thing in this house.

Supper just waiting to be slow-cooked tomorrow.

Supper just waiting to be slow-cooked tomorrow.

All of this food prep means lots of deliciousness at work lunches this week (woot woot).

On a domestication note, my desk space at work is relatively homey complete with drawings from my “niece” and “nephews” and festive stationary paraphernalia. IMG_0505

On a childish (and head decorating instead of home decorating) note… Look at the fabulous headphones I purchased (for the same price as plain ones) after I finally broke the cord on my last set last week.

I like owls... And orange.  What else can I say?

I like owls… And orange. What else can I say?

To a happy work week (preferably full of food and clean houses)!

Grown up butter chicken

Today was one of those “grown up” moments for me.  And brace yourself… It was lame.

We had my parents to our apartment for supper.

I know, big whoop.

But, it was nice for a change.  You see, we have always lived too far to have our families over for a meal.  If they were over for a meal, they were visiting with us and often we were too busy doing all of the touristy sorts of things to actually make a nice meal.  And when we have been home in the past, we have stayed with my parents, so despite making dinner, it wasn’t very hostessey (not a real word, I know).

I was on academic half day (aka afternoon reserved for studying and lectures) and so I had time to make a nice meal… To the background of a webinar on normal tissue responses to radiation doses.

I made butter chicken (complete with pre-making tandoori chicken to go in the butter chicken sauce).  So, I had everything marinaded and such before I realized my epic fail.  The apartment we are staying in lacks a blender.  Or even beaters.  So, I had to call Mom to borrow her hand blender.  Which set back my otherwise potentially on-time meal.

Our apartment reeked of spices and was excessively hot and humid (bad idea making complicated food in hot summer weather), but somehow it all came together.  Yes, I blew up tomato puree all over the kitchen.  And yes, I threw and ice cube on the floor, only to slip on it later, but the food was prepared and we ate.

As I already said, I made butter chicken from scratch (none of this canned garbage) and cumin and cinnamon scented rice with salad and bread.  Everyone ate it.  I was a bit nervous because my parents have never eaten Indian and I didn’t know how that would go, though I anticipated that the less spicy and more sweet and creamy butter chicken was a safe bet.  It also helped that I restrained my urge to put chillies in the sauce… The spouse and the parents were the cause for that restraint.  Patrick was surprised I had that much restraint, as I usually slip a few in when it is just him.

Everyone ate.  Everyone was happy.  And hot.  But happy.

Butter chicken leftovers in awesome tupperware!

Bonus… There are leftovers.  I have lunch tomorrow (and if I am really lucky, I will even get time to eat it).

I suppose this means we will have more dinner guests again in the near future.  Fortunately I love cooking and I quite like my parents.  And Patrick’s.  I suppose they are next.

Butter Chicken

4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground teumeric
5 cardamom pods
½ cup Greek plain yoghurt
4 cubed chicken breasts
  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
  • Place chicken in a roasting pan with a lid and bake at 450 degrees for 20-30minutes.
1 can chopped tomatoes.
2 diced tomatoes, diced.
¼ tsp chillies (optional)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
45 mL butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
300mL cream
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
  • Combine the canned and fresh tomatoes, chillies and ginger and blend until liquid.  Meanwhile, heat butter until melted and add onions, stirring until soft.  Add cumin and continue to cook for another minute.
  • Mix in the tomato mixture with the onions and butter.  Cook on medium heat until it begins to boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and add cream.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Add chicken, garam masala and coriander and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. 
  • Serve with rice.

Custom drinks

I have previously mentioned my love of personalized Starbucks drinks.  One of my new favorites this summer is compliments of some of my lovely friends back on the Rock who spent a good chunk of their undergrad perfecting their Frappuccino orders.  The bought me my first one before I left.  You should try one too.  Just saying.

Image from frappuccino.com… I can’t believe there is such a website.

Get a Chai Frappuccino.  Sounds simple enough… But no… They modify it.  Get a Chai Frappuccino, double Chai, double blend and with dolce sprinkles.  This results in a smoother, more chai filled cup of deliciousness.  Do it.

This, just so you know is the only drink that I now order regularly in this specific a manner (really, I often skip the double blend because I don’t mind the ice bits, but it does make a difference).

I have never worked in a coffee shop, but I wonder sometimes if it is a bit bothersome when people get so particular.  I know, it is your job, but are there days when you just don’t feel it and the particular people annoy you?  On the other hand, I think it would be fun to be a chemist/scientist sort of person, but with coffee.

My only conclusion is that when you need to make that much effort to order a drink, it has to taste like said effort.   I would start doing that more often, but then I would have to remember another formula and be that specific.  Honestly, I don’t want to take the time or bother.  Unless something as truly delicious as this comes along again!

Fresh bread and soup

With my time off, I have been trying to be all housewifeish and making supper and keeping the apartment clean.  Not that I don’t do that regularly, but I feel like I actually have time to do a better job, which is quite exciting.

So, one day last week, I was downtown running other errands and decided to pick up some fresh bread at a bakery.  Fresh bread is fairly epic to me, as it is just like my childhood when my grandfather would always pick up “fresh bread” at the grocery store every day.  And call it “fresh bread.”  This happened to the point that I spent many years believing that “fresh bread” was indeed a type of bread of its own.

I needed something to go with the bread and decided to make a homemade lentil soup… Something I am certain I never had in my childhood.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 chopped garlic cloves
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups lentils
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until starting to brown.
  • Add the vegetable broth, lentils and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  • Transfer 2 cups of the solid to a blender and puree, then add it back to the soup mixture.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar.
  • Serve.

No whisk? No problem!

While away at the cabin for the weekend with the small group, we decided to make waffles.  This was not some sort of whim, it was strategically planned right down to me bringing whipping cream and each of us bringing a predetermined fruit for a topping.

The problem arose when the “fully equipped” cab it kitchen did not have electric beaters… Or even a whisk.

Thus began an adventure of sorts.

I started with a fork and when that was clearly failing, I tried a pasta spoon.  Still no luck.

So, one of the guys, W, started with a fork again… Then, a serving spoon.  Then, a potato masher.  Still, no big results… Just a few bubbles.

It then started getting ridiculous.

We found a wire egg cup in the cupboard… Just one.  The guys managed to attach it to a spoon and tried to use that.  Still not the most effective.

The whipping apparatus.

So, we did what any twenty-first century group of young twenty and thirty-somethings would do.

We Googled how to make whipped cream… The answer… A whisk.

So, we Googled how to make whipped cream without a whisk.  No really useful results.  YouTube was also lacking in data on the matter.

Then, W & P put their heads together and came up with a potentially messy but possibly effective idea.

They found a container with a lid.  They put the lid on… And they shook it like madmen.

We made a video of the escapades. 

What you don’t see in the video is when we all go “oh no” what actually happened.  Our biggest concern is that the lid would leak and we would shoot whipped cream all over the cabin and ourselves.  And we actually thought that happened.  But, really, P had a kleenex in his hand from cleaning up some drips and that flew across the room… In a white streak… Looking like projectile whipped cream.  It wasn’t. Thank goodness.

The whipped cream adventure woke up a still sleeping Patrick and A…

The whipped cream was delicious, as were the pancakes.

All in all an innovative and delicious adventure.

Extreme Bake Sale-ing

You know the show extreme couponing?  I have never actually watched an episode, but those people sound pretty intense with regards to their coupon practices.

Well, that would be my class and bake sales.

Tonight, I am baking for what will be bake sale number three in the past three weeks.  We are currently raising money for our graduation festivities… And one of our collective strengths seems to be baking.

Our school has this giant charity gala every year with gambling with fake money and there are a number of start up costs…. So, when we were in second year and running it, we bake saled (not a verb?) a lot to raise the money.

For some odd reason, the majority of us bake… And all of us seem to like to eat.  Which works well.

When you really think about it, it is a bit ironic… Med students baking a bunch of goodies to sell to people in the hospital.  Here, your future health care provider is basically trying to convince you to buy these sugary treats to fund their celebrations (well, this time anyway).  We ignore the fact that these treats are contributing to your overall obesity, diabetes risk, poor glucose control and pending heart  disease.  Yes, definitely turning a blind eye.

Either way, bake sales are a great distraction from studying.  Lots of discussion of what people are going to make.  I come home and threaten Patrick within an inch of his life for consuming whatever goodie I concoct (one of my school friends suggested instituting a “spouse inflation” for when people’s family members consume their bake sale food).  Most people (even the hard core crazies) stop from studying long enough to bake (or at least go somewhere good to buy) something.

Often there is something epic about at least a couple things in the bake sale.  The last one we had included brain cupcakes.  Previous to that, it was almost Easter, so we had duck cupcakes and marshmellow-eggie brownies.  So much goodness in one place.  The heck with primary prevention and hello mental health.

Tonight, I am making brown sugar fudge.  Which is ironic because I actually dislike fudge (more on that some other time).  But, it is not to difficult and fudge sells.

Despite the fact, I dislike fudge, I had an overwhelming urge to try the fudge… Straight out of the microwave.  My tongue is actually blistering.  Interesting.  Also interesting was that it wasn’t too bad… Not tongue blister worthy, but still not bad.

The recipe: 1 can of condensed milk, 1 cup of butter and 2 cups of brown sugar.  Mix them together and nuke at high heat for 10 minutes stirring every 2 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then mix with electric beaters for 5 minutes.  Put in a square deep pan and cool until solid.  Not complicated.  Not complicated at all.

In other news, we have other fundraisers. I just picked up my super cool class motto (P as in Pass equals MD) T-shirt, as visualized below.  These things were sold to all four years and raised a similar chunk of change to a bake sale.  Funny how things work sometimes.  

I would love to say I look forward to not fundraising anymore.  I said that after my undergrad raising money for class conference trips and InterVarsity retreats and my friends’ mission trips.  But, I am far to interested in non-profits and such to really get out of it.  I guess so long as I can bake, I will be happy.  It is kind of nice to be involved.   But, it is always preferred when I am not in charge (for instance, I avoided the grad committee with a ten foot pole to not be responsible for this stuff… I like to do behind the scenes stuff).

Being carnivorous

I am not an especially carnivorous person.  I have no reason for this.  I don’t really stand for anything that prevents me to eat met.  I don’t have any religious restrictions.  I just am not big on the texture of some meats, especially red meat and pork.

I eat vegetarian often.  Because it is healthy and because I like it.  And because I often forget to defrost meat until I am about to cook.

When I was a teen, I tried  to be a vegetarian.  I was pretty good at it.  I spent a whole summer at camp eating vegetarian.  But, my parents are ridiculously carnivorous, so it didn’t really fly at home.  My family is definitely that of the meat and potatoes variety.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I now like meat and potatoes for the occasional treat.  It tastes like home.

The other reason I failed to be a vegetarian is that I really like bacon.  I can eat it on or with just about anything.  Disgusting or amazing, I am not sure.

My carnivorous parents prepared me for my carnivorous husband.

Patrick loves meat.  He does embrace my veggie streak and will eat a couple meat-free meals before he either suggests going out or him cooking or asking where the meat is.  He gets it is healthy and he doesn’t hate veggies (at least not all of them).

As a result, I have learned to cook a few red meat-y dishes (that aren’t burgers or tacos or spaghetti or something that comes from a mix on a box or can)  And by a few, I mean that I have perfected one and experiment ruthlessly otherwise.

Ginger Beef

1 steak, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2-3 tablespoons of minced ginger
1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic
3 tablespoons soya sauce
1 green/red/yellow/orange pepper – chopped
6-8 mushrooms – sliced
1 red onion – chopped
1 chopped celery stick
Two heads of broccoli – broken apart into bite sized pieces
½ cup hot water
1 beef broullion cube
  • Heat the oil and a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  When oil is about to smoke add the ginger, garlic, soya sauce and steak.  Stir fry until steak is cooked.
  • Add the peppers, mushrooms, onion and celery and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Then, add the broccoli and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
  • Mix in the hot water and broullion cube.  Decrease the heat to low and cook for 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Serve over rice or noodles.

Food and flannel

The other night we were hanging out with friends and Patrick re-iterated what he truly believes are the ways to my heart… Food and flannel.

Sounds ridiculous, no?  But honestly, there is a good bit of truth to this.

I have to feel fabrics before I buy them.  I seriously manhandle them in the store.  There are some I just can’t handle.  Sensory issues.  I only like fleece and flannel and jersey cotton to sleep in.  Yes, first world problems for sure.

As I have said here a million times… I love food!  And I love to cook, especially when I get off work with time to make a decent meal and we have the ingredients in the house.  In the past week, I have had a chance to make a few concoctions thanks to the beauty of a radiology rotation with no call and where I see images of all kinds of things that would impair people’s eating abilities.  I guess seeing people’s insides that cause them to not eat makes me more grateful for my eating abilities.  At least that is how I will rationalize it.

So, a few recipes…

Whole Wheat Tea Biscuits

This is a pretty traditional recipe… Except as usual, we only have whole wheat flour, so everything ends up with a bit of distinct whole wheaty twang.  Not always optimal.  So, I added some extra milk and butter to these to minimize dryness.  It seemed to work.

2 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup butter
¾ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Combine the dry ingredients and butter and mix until it is a crumb mixture.  Then, add the milk and mix until the dough is moist and soft.
  • Roll the dough out to approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) thickness and cut out circles (I did this by hand for a diameter of about 5cm.
  • Allow to set for 5 minutes prior to baking.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Eggplant appetizers

I have developed a new found love for eggplant.  This is one of my favorite eggplant based recipes.

Two to three chopped tomatoes
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-2cm thick slices
Olive oil
Grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Oregano
  • Preheat the oven for 450 degrees.
  • Pre-soak the eggplant slices in cold salt water for at least ½ hour prior to cooking.  Drain and dry the eggplant.
  • Brush the surfaces of the eggplant with olive oil.
  • Place chopped tomatoes on each slice of eggplant and sprinkle with cheese and oregano.
  • Bake on a well greased baking sheet or broiler pan for 20 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Avocado-salmon sandwich

This is not a profound recipe by any means, but it made me happy.  We had leftover smoked salmon from the night before, so it needed to be eaten and I had read previously that avocado is great on toast, so why not combine them.

The recipe is simply toast with one side covered in sliced avocado and then the smoked salmon.   It was amazingly good.  I may try to make something similar on baguettes for a potluck sometime.