Saturday, August 30, 2008

Giving Up

I had posted this on my other blog and a few of you commented and I thank you. But for those of you who do not get a chance to gander in that direction, I thought I would repost this, since it deals with food issues:

This post is so not going to be about anything you think this title may lead you to believe. *rubs hands together*

I was recently talking to a friend of mine, and we were discussing how I will be handling everything in my life once I return home from the hospital. She meant cleaning, food and such forth. I told her I would be in Miami for the hospital stay(That being a given), then at my sisters for about another week, then home where hubby would have a week off before heading back to work, then mother-in-law is two blocks away if there were a dire emergency. Then once hubby goes back to work, there are women in my home schooling group who will be coming with meals and cleaning crews. So I will be taken care of for a while.

She offered to bring her signature dish...(Said dish had meat). I told her that would be a welcome offer, but that my daughter Savanah would not be able to eat it and fend for herself that night. she then, politely as she possibly could told me that 'Maybe your daughter should set aside her beliefs and take what she can get until you get better.' I politely told, 'I don't think so, she is set in her convictions and I stand by her and she can manage on eggs for a night or two.'

It didn't hit me until a day later(Why do you always find the snappy comebacks when you are not in the heat of the conversation) something came to me. What if I had told her to set aside her Christan beliefs just long enough to watch an 'R' rated movie that went against what she believed in. Would she have done that? I think not. so why should my daughter do what she would never consider, just because it deals with food. *Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth* Where do people come up with this stuff. I couldn't make this up if I wanted to.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Hold on to your hats folks for I have some news. Somehow I made it to the age of 46 and never ate Fettuccine Alfredo. Do not ask my how or why, it just happened. I was so used to red sauces only, that I thought that a cream sauce could never rival my beloved tomato based sauces...never. Well I was disproved, thanks to my daughter. See, we can learn from our children, so moms, keep an open mind when it comes to your children.

As my daughter suggested a cream sauce pasta dish, I began to cringe on the inside, but outwardly I gave her my full support, hoping beyond all hope I would not lose my dinner at the table. I even helped her to prepare the dish. Simple ingredients...right up my alley. Well, low and behold, that dish rocked, and as we dub them in our home, it is a keeper. So please enjoy this dish we snagged from none other than Giada De Laurentis from the Food Network. We figured if you want good Italian, then go to her. You want good Southern, you go to Paula Deen, and so forth. Well it paid off and I hope you all enjoy this dish as much as we did.

18 ounces fresh fettuccine (We of course used 1 pound boxed)
2&1/2 cups heavy cream(We used whole milk)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice(We would cut back to 1/4 cup)
12 T unsalted butter(We used salted, it is what we had)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 t grated lemon zest(We used 1 t)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite(I prefer a more cooked pasta, but that is me. And watch the fettuccine, it has a tendency to stick, which my daughter found out. Stir it more frequently). Drain.

Stir 2 cups of the cream and the lemon juice in a heavy large skillet to blend. Add the butter and cook over medium heat just until the butter melts, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Now here is where we had to improvise. Since we used whole milk, we had to let our sauce render down a thicken up, but it came out fine.

Add the pasta and toss. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and Parmesan cheese to the cream sauce in the skillet. Add the lemon zest, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Toss the pasta mixture over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Serve hot. Enjoy

**This dish was elegant and fragrant, and aromatic, and...well you see my meaning. We only have to tweak it a bit, and we like to keep dishes as true to their original format as possible. For changing it too much takes away from the integrity of the recipe. I know that sounds silly, but that is how we feel. Not every recipe is going to fit every home, and that is what makes us special and unique. Hope you enjoy this dish, whether you use the original recipe or our tweaked recipe.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fellow Blogger Soup

I love giving fellow bloggers and here comes one. To say I love lentils is a gross understatement. So any recipe with them in it is a plus in my book. So I visited a fellow bloggers blog...duh, and she posted about a lentil soup in a bread bowl. If I was physically able, I would have gone over there and taken every last bread bowl...with the soup in it, and not even have tasted it. But low and behold, we made it tonight. It was over the top grand. I am a cook that does not thrive on weird odd ingredients. I prefer to be able to go in my cabinets/frig and be able to grab what I need for any dish.

We had all the ingredients, minus the celery, but hubby did not mind, he least favorite vegetable. This was so simple and to me it struck me as an artisan, those are my favorite types of dishes or breads. But it will be a while before I get back into the full swing of cooking or bread baking, but one day at a time. So please visit Tam and try this simple yet comfort food worthy soup. And with fall around the corner, this is one you will want to add to your fall collection.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vegetarian Soap

I know this is a short post, and it deals with nothing about food. But when I come across something that is animal product free, I feel the need to let others know. I had heard about this soap a while ago, and my grandmother used to use it as well, so this product has been around for ages. If you go to their website and go to the FAQ's, you will find out more about them.

The product is Kirk's Castile Soap

Monday, August 25, 2008

For My Daughter

This is technically not just for her. She is already an established vegetarian(Wow that sound important) and I am on the journey to join her. Last night we experimented with tofu. I know, most non-vegetarians feel that is all we live on, but here in this house we eat it rarely. However, I am looking to experiment with it, but I am unsure how to "cook" the darned tootin' stuff. I am afraid I will overcook it, or under cook it. So I am turning to my blogging neighbors to give me a helping hand.

I am not afraid to try new things, and I love being in the kitchen, so there is no fear there, I just don't know how to work with tofu. I am more comfortable with ti when it has been frozen and defrosted. That texture I can work with, but in its natural state...I am but a fledgling.

And sites, recipes, or blogs you can point me in the direction of would make me a happy wanna-be vegetarian. So dig deep ladies and show me what you got. And thanks in advance.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

To Microwave That is the Question

I got this from a friend of mine who is pretty radical in her way of thinking, but in listening to her, her words make you think and that is always a good thing(Thanks Dotty). But I knew that microwaving was not a good thing, and over the years have really cut down on what I microwave. I was never a huge fan of microwaving to begin with, so for me, the transition to leave the microwave behind was no great leap. My husband, son and even daughter do use it to reheat foods. daughter has started to heat her leftovers and veggie analogs on the stove top, but every once in a while, she zaps her food. I do have to give her credit, she does not microwave in plastic, so that is a step in the right direction.

As far as I am concerned, you could take that hing and chuck it in the trash. Would I miss it, maybe for a little while, but trust me, the pros outweigh the cons. So here is a list of reasons NOT to microwave your food.

1) Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long term- permanent- brain damage by "shorting out" electrical impulses in the brain(de-polarizing or de-magnetizing the brain tissue).

2) The human body cannot metabolize (break down) the unknown by-products created in microwave food.

3) Male and female hormone production is shut down and/or altered by continually eating microwaved food.

4) The effects of microwaved food by-products are residual(long term, permanent) within the human body.

5) Minerals, vitamins and nutrients of all microwaved food is reduced or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit, or the human body absorbs altered compounds that cannot be broken down.

6) The minerals n vegetables are altered into cancerous free radicals when cooked in microwave ovens.

7) Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous growths(Tumors). This may explain the rapidly increased rate of colon cancer in America.

8) The prolonged eating of microwaved food causes cancerous cells to increase in human blood.

9) Continually ingestion of microwaved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations.

10) Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence.

Have you tossed your microwave yet? After you do chuck that thing, you can use a toaster oven in its place. It works well for most and is nearly as quick. Could I let go of my microwave? Hands down, it would be a joy to chuck it, but my family would balk like there is no tomorrow. Truthfully...I could use the extra cupboard space. This is just food for thought. I do not expect everyone who reads this to let go of their microwave, but maybe cut back on its usage. Just think about it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mexican Cornbread

I am from the South, so me and cornbread are like Lewis and Martin, Abbot and Costello, you get my drift. But my husband and daughter love spicy food, and I mean hot spicy. I can take a shake or two of hot sauce, or a few pepper flakes for some heat, but they smother their food in this stuff, and I am talking mashed potatoes. I mean come on, what happened to gravy? I have a veggie alternative. But my daughter found this one form Paula Deen and man is it great. So break out your corn meal and get cooking ladies...or men.

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour (We grind our own)
2T sugar(We use no refined sugar, so we use raw or turbinado)
4t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk(Vegetarians, do your thing)
1/3 cup sour cream(I have substituted yogurt when we are out)
1/4 vegetable oil
2T chopped jalapenos(Optional for sissies)
Preheat oven to 425
Grease an 8-inch square pan, cast iron skillet, or cornbread mold. I use what is on hand. Ina medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. To dry mixture, add egg, milk, sour cream, oil and jalapenos and mix until smooth. Pour into prepared pan(We line ours with butter). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Transition From Meat

Well I think I am doing better in my journey to becoming a vegetarian, but I keep getting pulled back in to the meat eating world. Why does everything (Here is America at least) have to revolve around a dead animal? Do I crave meat? Yes and no. Somethings I can let go with no problem, but other meat items I feel the need to have a little snippet of. I knew my journey to losing meat in my diet would be a somewhat difficult transition, but what is keeping me going is that I am not being so hard on myself. I keep thinking, there is another meal to tackle, and tackle it I do.

It gives me great pleasure to find, cook and eat new veggie dishes, whether they be side dishes or main entrees, it fills my heart and tummy to find such recipes. I find them in so many different places, but blogs are becoming my new source of vegetarian entrees. These recipes are usually tried and true, so you want to try them more readily. Sometimes we snag a winner and others need tweaking(I love that word) and others hit the garbage and never return.

My daughter is my greatest inspiration. She decided at the age of 8&1/2 to become a vegetarian all on her own, and her decision was based on ethics(How animals were treated before going to slaughter) and I have stood by her and applauded her since then. She will be 15 in October of 2008, she is my shining star. She takes more abuse and joking about her choice than she should. We don't ask people why they eat meat, so why should be subjected to the barrage of questions about her not eating meat?

So stay strong Nana, because Mom is hot on your heals!

Braised Collard Greens

I am always scouring for new recipes. I do not want to be in my 70's and be cooking meatloaf on Monday, Fried Chicken on Tuesday, Liver and Onions on got my meaning. So search I do.

Well, I love this new cable network, Planet Green. And just recently, Emeril Lagasse was added to the line-up. He is working hand-in-hand with Whole Foods to teach folks how to get over some of their coking hurdles. These people know how to cook, just need some fine tuning.

Well, just recently, he did an episode about fish stew, but that was not what caught my eye, it was the collard green dish. Now, you have to remember, I am from the south, so any dish I can vegize(I made that up) is fine and dandy in my book, plus, my daughter loves collards, so that is a plus.

So I take no credit for this dish and thank you Planet Green, and Mr. BAM!

2T olive oil
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1&1/2T thinly sliced garlic
2bunches collard greens, Swiss chard, or kale(We used collards)**
1cup vegetable stock(see why I liked this one?)
1t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper(this was plenty)
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. After 10-15 seconds add the crushed red pepper, garlic, and cook until fragrant, 30-45 second. Add the greens, in batches, stirring between additions until the greens wilt slightly. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock, salt and cayenne and cover, continuing to cook until greens are just tender. 4-5 minutes longer.

**I have always just ripped the stem away from my collards. But after watching this episode, I found out there is another way, which let my leaves be better prepared for slicing. I ran my knife along each side of the stem and cut or pulled the stem off the leaf (I cut at least 3/4 of the stem away).

Then I folded the leaf in half and stacked them as I went. Once I was done, I took a handful of leaves and rolled them like a cigar, then took my new Rachael Ray knife and cut the leaves into slivers, producing beautiful shredded collards. I also did this on dirty leaves and rinsed them afterwards. I to the same thing with my curly parsley when I am making Tabbouleh.(I learned this from Arabic women...I think they know best)

And the rest as they say is history. These collards were different from my norm, but they will be on our menu me on this!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cooking or Preparing

The inspiration for this post actually came from my husband...thank you Hector.

We were watching TV(Which I do a lot since my spinal surgery) and we saw a commercial for a generic type of food that promised a wonderful meal after pulling it out of the freezer and adding a boxed side dish and opened a bag of salad and pour on bottled dressing and Viola!, you have dinner. WHAT??

When did opening a box, can, bag or anything pre-prepared become dinner. that is when my husband defined the difference. People are now preparing dinner, as opposed to cooking dinner. That is not to say I do not canned food for some convenience or emergency when I cannot make something myself, they do serve a purpose, but on a daily basis...come on.

Let me give you an example. Those who live in Florida and some states in the Southeast know of a grocery store chain called Publix. This is not an endorsement nor a bashing, just an observation. They have this little set-up called Aprons. It is a menu card with all items for said dish. gives you all the bells and whistles on what to buy and how to prepare said item. And conveniently enough all items for the dish are right there within an arms reach. The perfectly portioned meat(Which the dish asks for), the pre-chopped onions, pre-chopped green peppers, the pre-chopped tomatoes, you get where I am coming from.

I guess there is a market for this type of food, but again at what expense. I see moms that work all day, run to get the kids from school, drag them to whatever practice is that day and then fly home to barely get dinner on the table(That is if they have not gone through the Drive-Thru window at the local fast food joint, or called ahead for a 2 large 3 topping pizza with extra cheese) and then call it dinner.

What happened to making food. I know I am the first one to sit down and eat. I love food. It the gift from the Gods, it is here to be enjoyed, not thrown together with this preservative and that preservative. that's not food. And what genius(Most more then likely a man) invented preservatives? Now granted, they serve a purpose let's say in the battle field, but other than that there are few places that belongs, and definitely not in our mainstream of food supply.

I wish I could tell people how easy it was/is to cook/make real food. And it is not really all that expensive(I know this for we are on a super-strict budget, and yet somehow we manage to but some Kick-A(As my son has deemed if it is something of quality) food, and food I would serve to company. now there are nights we just have scrambled eggs and home fries, Yummo! But that is rare. I wish I could instill to people my love for food and cooking food. they have no idea what they are misisng. I know of a woman, through my husband, that does not cook. did you read that correctly? Yes you did. They eat out or order out 7 days a week. What kind of role model or example are you going to be to your children. come on folks, food is good, most of us like eating it but do not want to take the time to see the creative process in being in the kitchen. That's like a painter saying I like my finsihed prodeuct, but I hate picking out paints. Hellloo! It's a labor of love.

OK, I am obviously feeling a wee bit better, for I am complaining, and you know us women, if we can complain, then we are most definitely feeling better. Thanks for listening and hope to have some new recipes up soon. TTFN!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crock Pot Baked Beans

I had this recipe sent to me via a reader from Vegetarian Times. And I have never used this recipe until this past week. I feel ashamed for not having used it earlier. But alas, I did and it was a success. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Me and my daughter love baked beans and we were hoping to find a good homemade recipe and we had this one sitting in out midst.

2 pounds Great Northern or Navy Bean (Navy Bean is the traditional bean used in most canned baked beans)
1/2-1/3 maple syrup or molasses, or a combination of both
1 medium onion chopped into bite-sized pieces
Dash of salt
2t dry mustard
1/4t liquid smoke
1/4t cumin
1/4 t fresh ground pepper
I pressured cooked the beans first, for these types of beans are quite tough to cook without some sort of softening. I pressured them for 30 minutes. Do not go with less time, they need that much.

When beans are cooked, put them into your slowcooker and add remaining ingredients. Add the bean liquid as well. If you portioned your water when you pressured them, it should be the perfect amount, but if you do not pressure a lot of food, this can be a bit tricky until you get more comfortable with pressure cooking. I don't like being without mine.

We slowcooked our beans for about 3-4 hours on high and they were delicious, but the next day...Oh-My-Stars. It was like chili and spaghetti sauce, it is so much better the next day. So please try this one, it is worth its weight in gold!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Almost Vegan Dinner

It is not my goal to be a vegan, but I do not shun it if it comes my way. Well thee other night, just such an opportunity presented itself.

My daughter and I were trying to pull together a meal and I had a crockpot of homemade baked beans going and they were yummo (I will blog that recipe soon, so simple), and we found a chick pea/wheat berry/dark green dish from Ruby Red Vegan . I like dishes where I have most of thee ingredients, and this was one such a dish. Make this dish folks. Simple and filling. Scroll down a bit but you will see the wonderful snap shot of the chick peas laying on a bed of wheat berries surrounded by a dark green (We used bok choy)

So on our plates that night we had the dish I mentioned above, our homemade baked beans, some left over bow tie pasta our homeschool group had delivered and a corn/black bean salsa I whipped up. Our plates were overflowing, and what does my lovely husband come out with (So typical for so many men) "Where's the beef?" And yet, even though there was plenty of left over brisket in the fridge, he did not make any attempt to leave the table and warm it up, he sat and ate what was on the table.

Why do people still poke fun of a perfectly wonderful meal if there is no meat. this is my daughters father...the jokes get old very quickly! Bad daddy!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Old Fashioned Bread Pudding

This recipe was given to me by one of my dear friends, who has taught me (And still teaching me) everything I know about bread baking. I run to her with all my questions and queries. She is my rock in the baking world. A few years back we were over for dinner and she made bread pudding. I was never much of a bread pudding fan, but that night, I was converted. This recipe is wonderful and just sweet enough to calm the palette. I do not like super sweet desserts, so this fits right into what I am looking for.

The reason I am posting this, is because another dear friend called me (For an entirely different reason) and we got to talking and as you all know, one subject leads into another and soon enough she was asking me about my cooking blog and referenced to my post about what to do when your baked bread goes wrong. She knew I had a bread pudding recipe and she had not quite found one that tickled her fancy, so here is mine. Well, I cannot truly claim it. This recipe is from Urban Homemakers. They are all about cooking from scratch and using as much natural ingredients as you possibly can. So this is for you Sharon!!

1/2-1 stick softened butter
7 slices good quality homemade bread
4 cups milk or milk substitute (For you vegans)
3 eggs, slightly beaten (Vegans, do your thing)
1/2 cup sucanat (I have used any sugar I have in the house, usually raw sugar)
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2-1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 2 quart baking dish. Spread a generous amount of butter on one side of each slice of bread and line the bottom and sides of the baking dish. Mix together, in a bowl, the milk, eggs, sugar, salt, raisins, and vanilla and pour over the bread. Place any extra pieces of bread on top and press down so they are submerged. Let stand about 10 minutes or longer if bread is quite dry. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. If you like a crustier brown top, slip the dish under a hot broiler for a few minutes until deep golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream...oh heck, go for broke and use both.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stir Fry Sauce

I am putting this up for a fellow blogger who is searching for the perfect stir fry sauce. I came upon this when my husband was on Weight Watchers. And as always it has stuck with us. My daughter dresses it up every now and then, but use the basic recipe and then experiment as you see fit.

1T sesame oil
2-3T Tamari (Soy Sauce) Reduced Sodium is preferred
1t sugar (Any sweetener you have on hand will do)
*Add-Ons* these are items my daughter has added over the years.
Grated ginger-Be careful, this is powerful
2-3 cloves a garlic, through a garlic press, or minced, which ever you prefer
A pinch of pepper flakes

The basic sauce is awesome and does not mask the flavor of your veggies. If you add the garlic, please remember not to add it until the end, otherwise it may burn. And garlic cooks quickly.

Comfort Food Memories

As I sit here, recovering from my back surgery (And not being able to sit for very long...yet) I am forced to enjoy what little time I am in any one given position. When I sit, I do as much as I can while sitting, and the same with standing or walking or any other position my body can get in, save lying down. There is just nothing I can do except hold the TV clicker and change channels.

But I sat at my cold puffed rice cereal with a chopped up nectarine and cup of coffee with store bought wheat bread (Temporary due to my surgery) some memories came flooding back to me.

When I was a little girl, we had your A typical household. My father worked (A police officer in Miami) and my mother stayed home (Until my youngest sibling was school age, then she entered the work force in the school system so she could be home when we were home). So on Saturday and Sunday, we relaxed just like everyone else. All of our errands were done on Saturday, or at least those that needed my fathers help. We grocery shopped and did all the heavy lifting chores on the weekend. And on Sunday my parents would sit in their bed with the Sunday paper and Easy Listening style music was on the radio. I would read the Sunday Funnies (Comics) to my younger sister. My parents would have their coffee with them. this was before the days of drip coffee. Now I am dating myself. Heck, even my first coffee pot was a percolator.

But what I remember most was my mother letting my dunk my buttered toast into her heavily sugared, heavily creamed coffee. I remember the fat from the butter swirling into her cup of coffee. So I sit here today, doing the same thing, all the while my husband is looking at me like I am some sort of weirdo. to me, there is nothing more comforting than a connection to food. Do not get me wrong, I also have some bad memories with food, and I swore to myself that I would not do to my children what was done to me with food. I wanted my children to have a good connection and good memories with food.

I live for food. I am cleaning the lunch table and wondering what is for dinner. I love to cook (Waiting to heal from surgery before I can get back in there full time again) and I love to eat what I cook. I would much rather have a friend come over with a covered dish, or a bottle of wine and sit around a table of good food and shoot the breeze. Good friends and good food. to me, that is what life is all about.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Moroccan Stew

This recipe we found...well not found but were introduced to under odd circumstances. My daughter(who is a vegetarian) had a sleep over with her best friend. They were already aware of her vegetarianism, but most people panic and have no clue what to do. Luckily this mother is a cooking mom, so she put on her Google cap and found this recipe. We fell in love with it and is a dish we make on a regular bases.

Do not omit any of the spices, or trust will regret it, the dish depends on all the spices listed. If you do not have them, then wait and buy what is necessary. It will be worth it.

2T olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2t paprika
1t salt
1/2t pepper
1/2t coriander
1/2t cumin
1/2t turmeric
1/2t ground ginger
1/4t cayenne (This is plenty)
1 cup of water
28 oz. canned tomatoes, drained
2T lemon juice
3 cups 1-inch cubes peeled hard squash (We prefer calabaza, but acorn, or butternut can be used in its place)
2 cups cubed, peeled carrots
Chop vegetables and set aside. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; saute until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in all spices (We put all spices in a small bowl for convenience) Add 1 cup of water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes.

This dish can be served with a grain such as quinoa, or cous cous. I have even used rice in a pinch. My daughter prefers to use it with nothing, more like a soup. But it is delicious all the same and any way you want to eat it. Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Have Gadgets and I'm Not Afraid to Use Them

Yes indeedy folks, you heard right. I finally got hold of my Christmas Gift Card my mother had sent to me via my sister. but somehow that poor card got a HUGE detour. I finally got it while I was in Miami having my spinal surgery. So, when I was well enough to leave the house, my hubby took me and the children and off to Bed, Bath & Beyond we went. The first thing my daughter and I determined(since she helps out tremendously in the kitchen) was what we needed most. And straight out of the bull pen was a knife. And Viola, you see it above, we purchased one of Rachael Ray's more accessible knives. not too large and not to small. It is just right. So mom, thinking she knows what she is doing, breaks the poor little knife in. Well low and behold, that thing is sharp, and I have the cut to prove it. Yep. I was slicing carrots, so I thought it was just carrot juice...oh so no. that was blood and it was coming form my finger. Once we realized just how sharp it was and handled it with much more care, we have learned to love that thing. Sharp knives are essential in any kitchen.

Now this little gift was not something I was necessarily in the market for, but you have to understand two things. 1) We use garlic in everything, even in our cereal...nah, just kidding, but we do go through tons of Vampires here. 2) The one I was currently using was so small that I could not put a clove of garlic inside, unless I chopped it in half. One clove. So you see my dilemma. Now I can practically put an entire head of garlic in there now. Ahhh, modern technology.

And last but certainly not least, we went with a microplaner. We debated about this one. Since my daughter is the chief cookie maker, we almost purchased a silicone mat, but decided on this. We can use this for so many things other than lemon zest, so the microplane jumped into our cart. All in all it was a good day for gadget shopping.

This is what gets me about people. Everyone knows I love being in the kitchen. So why get me anything other than something that goes in the kitchen. I could actually place my bed in there, that is how much I love being in my kitchen...and yes, even the cleaning up part. I love cooking and eating. I cannot thank my mother enough for getting me this Gift Card, even though it took nearly 8 months for me to get it and decide what we actually needed. But we now have a happier kitchen. And all of you readers are invited over for a meal so I can use all of said items mentioned above.