Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sucks to be Sick

I have been sick for a while now. I didn't realize how long it'd been since I'd blogged. I've had two boys (my husband and son) sick with congestion and bronchitis. Then I ended up heading to the doctor as well because I've been sick for over a month and can't seem to get well. All three of us sickies were put on the same medication, Zithromax. It is awful stuff. The package says that about 5% of people get upset stomachs from it, but all three of us did. I'm talking doubled over, cramping, so nauseated that you can't drink water and painful upset stomach. It lasted for about 20 hours after taking each dose of the antibiotics. Not fun at all. I took mine at night, so by dinner time each day, I could eat a little something. However, since it dries up all the congestion, it also made me quite dehydrated which prompted a pounding headache in the afternoons. And I couldn't drink much because even water would cause my stomach to cramp up more.

I took my last dose last night before bed. My doctor said that the nausea may last up to 48 hours after taking the last dose, so hopefully I'll be feeling better on Tuesday. I really hate being sick and a medication is supposed to help you feel better, not worse. In this case, the cure is definitely worse than the disease. Next time I'm just going to load up on Mucinex and Sudafed. Seriously, I feel like I've had a hangover for a week without the euphoric feeling of even a slight buzz. Sucks big time.

Now that I've gotten all that ranting out of my system, I'm going to crawl back into bed and pick up another knitting project. I'll blog about those when I can stand to look at my computer monitor for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Hope no one out there has to suffer through Zithromax. It's evil, pure and simple.

If I'm feeling better Tuesday, I'm going on strike and taking the day off. No dishes, no laundry, no cleaning, no cooking, no kids. I'm gonna take a long hot bath, get dolled up and head out. I'm taking the whole day for just me. No one relying on me for anything. Tuesday is going to be Shelly's Day of Me Time! StumbleUpon

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shut the Front Door! This Curried Pumpkin and Chicken Soup is So Good!

I had my first good experience with Thai food this past September. My sisters and I had our annual get-together in Washington, DC and Pittsburgh this year and we went out for Thai food for lunch one day. The only Thai food I'd had before that was yellow curry that my mom used to make us eat. Now, my mom is a great cook, I always ate well when I lived with my parents. But yellow curry is by far the nastiest thing I've ever eaten and I refuse to ever eat it again. So when my sisters suggested curry, I was not excited. (Neither of my sisters would consider eating yellow curry either, by the way.) They assured me if I stayed away from the yellow nasty stuff (which my husband actually likes, gag!), I would like it. And I did, in fact I fell in love with it and have been craving more ever since. So every time I get the chance to make something with Thai flavors, I jump at it.

I've been sick for the last week and so has half my family. I made chicken noodle soup last Saturday, from scratch, even though I didn't want to do anything more than crawl into bed and sleep for a week. But if I hadn't made it, we'd have ended up eating toast and mac & cheese for 3 days. Not appealing.  Every time I ate my soup, I was wishing that my kids would have been interested in this soup. Like most kids, mine are very hesitant to try new things, especially anything with complex flavors. My sister posted this recipe on our shared blog after she made it and raved about it. I was so jealous.

Well, today I finally gave in and made some. My fever broke yesterday, so I was feeling a bit better. But I was still feeling a little under the weather today. Then, instead of being about to go out to lunch with my wonderful husband for our weekly lunch date, my son Jacob got sick at school and I had to bring him home. I needed more chicken soup to deal with the sickness coming back, but my chicken noodle soup was gone. Today was the day to make some Thai chicken soup. And it was delicious. I'm hoping no one else will like it so I can have it all to myself.

I followed the recipe as closely as I could with what I had on hand. I didn't have the ingredients to make panang curry paste, so I used my red curry paste. I had chicken breasts in the fridge, so I used them instead of shrimp (although I love shrimp and think they would be wonderful in this recipe). I left out the lime leaves and the bird's eye chile too because I didn't have them. But everything else went into the pot and turned into quite a tasty creation. I ladled it into my bowl over some jasmine rice and savored every bite. I burned my tongue pretty badly because I wasn't willing to wait for it to cool down. So yummy. I would definitely recommend trying this recipe.

I think I'll add a bit of chile sauce to the leftovers for a little extra kick of heat. I like my asian food spicy and this wasn't spicy enough. All the other flavors were there, just not enough heat. StumbleUpon

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Potato Gnocchi with Pear and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

 I went out to dinner with my family for my daughter's birthday last night. She chose to go to Olive Garden. (She always chooses Olive Garden.) Eric and I weren't very hungry, so we decided to split the Pear and Gorgonzola Ravioli. We substituted chicken for the shrimp because Eric doesn't like shrimp. It was good. I loved the flavors of the pear and the Gorgonzola cheese. I figured, I've got some ripe pears and a tub of Gorgonzola cheese in the fridge, I could make something like it at home. I've been meaning to try my hand at making gnocchi too. So, when I started getting hungry for lunch today, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

I was surprised at how easy it was to make the gnocchi. I baked some potatoes, pulled off the skins, mashed them and added flour and salt. I kneaded it until it was a soft, smooth dough. Then, working with 1/4 of it at a time, I rolled it into a 1/2" log and cut it into 1/2" pieces. Once they were all cut, I gently rolled them down the tines of a fork and they were ready for the pot. You only boil them until they float, which took about 2 minutes. Super easy and it only took about 15 minutes once the potatoes were done baking.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Over-Cooked Oatmeal....Or Not

Today was a busy day. It started at about 6:30 and I was going about 5 different directions at once. I got the kids ready, took them to school, came home, started my oatmeal, looked up the current grocery ads, made a menu and shopping list. Then I remembered my oatmeal on the stove and freaked out. How could I have so completely forgotten about my breakfast simmering away on the stove?! For an hour and a half?! I was sure that my oatmeal would be ruined, burned to the bottom of the pot if not on fire. But I was wrong. It was just fine. How odd.

I tried steel-cut oats about 6 months back and decided that I enjoy them much more than old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats. Steel-cut oats take longer to cook and still have a bit of chewiness to them. The other two varieties, in my mind, produce inedible, mushy slop. But that's just my opinion. My family doesn't like the steel-cut oats (I guess they prefer mushy slop), so I only make them when I'm the only one eating oatmeal. I think my choice of steel-cut oats today saved my breakfast. If I had chosen old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, I'm sure I would have found a disaster and possibly a ruined pot.

Except for needing a bit extra milk in it this time, my oatmeal was perfect. The oats still had a bit of  chew to them and the starches thicken things up nicely. I think next time, I'll try cooking them longer and see if I can get them even softer, maybe overnight in the crock pot. I believe that's how Alton Brown does his. Maybe it's time to try it out.

Every once in a while, it's nice to have a happy accident in the kitchen. StumbleUpon

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bacon-Scallion Corn Muffins with Cheddar Cheese

Like the rest of the US, we've been getting a lot of snow lately. It all seemed to be melting yesterday morning, which made me very happy. I love the look of snow, but I hate having to go out in it. Then it started snowing again in the afternoon. It continued most of the night and I woke to a very snowy view out my window. My husband offered to make hot cocoa if I would go shovel the driveway. I countered with an offer to make breakfast and hot cocoa if he would shovel. I offered to make these yummy muffins and scrambled eggs. He ended up doing the shoveling.

These muffins are so tasty. They are a bit of a chore to make, but it's worth the effort every once in a while. And they are in no way low-fat.

Sorry I don't have any pictures of these, they were practically inhaled as soon as they came out of the oven.

Bacon-Scallion-Cheddar Corn Muffins 

3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
8-10 scallions/green onions, sliced
2 c flour
1 c corn meal

1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1/2 c sugar
8 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 c milk
3/4 c plain yogurt or sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.
Cook the bacon until crisp. Add scallions, cook 1 minute. Set aside.
Mix dry ingredients and cheese together in a large bowl.
Whisk eggs together with sugar. Slowly add melted butter while whisking.
Mix milk and yogurt or sour cream in large measuring cup. Slowly whisk into egg mixture.
Add bacon/ scallions to egg mixture.
Pour liquid into dry ingredients and stir gently with spatula.
Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, fill muffin pan.
Bake 18 minutes, rotating pan half-way through baking.
Let cool 5 minutes in pan.
Refrigerate leftovers and reheat before eating. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Orange Chicken with Broccoli and Rice

Confession: I put things in the freezer and forget about them. By the time I remember they are there, they're usually expired. While I'm trying to do better about this, it still happens from time to time. So when I remembered the chicken breasts I had in the freezer, I determined to use them...all of them.

I was going to make Chicken Tikka Masala, one of my favorite dishes lately, but my hubby was having tummy trouble and didn't want anything spicy. And really, what's the point of eating Indian food if it's not gonna have a kick of heat, right? So, I had to come up with something else before the chicken went bad in the fridge instead of the freezer.

I got out my handy-dandy iPhone and opened up the Cook's Illustrated app. I can always find a yummy sounding recipe there. I went through hundreds of poultry recipes and found Orange-flavored Chicken. Sadly, it called for deep-frying the chicken. I DO NOT deep-fry. I have had trouble with kitchen/grease fires in the past (I used to take a medication that made it very hard to concentrate and you need to be able to stay on task when frying.) and think it's safer for everyone in my house and the surrounding area if I abstain from deep-frying. Luckily, at the bottom of the first page of the recipe, there was a link to an oven-baked version. Perfect! I can bake, easy-peasy.