Monday, September 23, 2013

Purple Potato


It’s a purple potato! One of my husband’s favorites and something the little guy needed much convincing to eat.
You know what they say, the more colorful your foods are the better, right? I don’t know that this actually applies to these guys but hey, I’m eating my purples.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pot Roast Flautas - Because I Can


Hello Monday!
My blogging is all thrown off this past week, I normally do it in the evenings when I have time alone. But with my husband’s new schedule I don’t have that free time anyone, it’s wonderful and horrible at the same time, but mostly wonderful. I’m an introvert and I just have the readjust to sharing my space again.
I made an excellent pot roast two weeks ago but I planned for three people to eat it and the tiny one apparently does not like roast. So I had plenty of left overs! Normally I would mash up my veggies [Potatoes, Carrots and Celery] and make burritos but I felt a little adventurous this time around and decided to make flautas! Growing up in West Texas, flautas were a staple food of my childhood, until I grew up enough to appreciate things like Mole and Carne Asado. I wouldn’t call mine “Mexican Food” it just Mexican inspired. I made mine with everything in them, roast and veggies. I enjoyed them, crunchy and delicious!
My son still was not willing to eat these but he was willing to eat his weight in sopa, I suppose because it was alphabet. I love sopa, maybe because I have better luck with it than I do with rice and because of the fun shapes.
Flautas are easy to make, you just need pre-cooked meat [or veggies] and corn tortillas [And vegetable oil!]. The one trick to get started is heating your tortillas. If you just try to roll them out of the package, they will break and you will cry. I sprayed a little pam in a non-stick pan, tossed the tortilla in, flipped it once and then pulled it out. I added my meat, rolled it and dropped it in the pan. I my pan of preheated oil ready, about 1-2in deep to fry. I fry them until the tortilla is crispy, turning them over a few times, and then it’s done.
Flautas are fun but far from healthy since they are fried! But not every dinner can be perfect around here. Sometimes I do what I can to keep food from going to waste. After I made enough flautas for dinner, I rolled the left over meat mixture in flour tortillas for quick pot roast burritos. I can store them for a few days, which makes for easy lunches [or dinner if I’m lazy]. Nothing went to waste, I feel a sense of accomplishment.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hat Hoarder

My husband asked if I would mind having his hats hanging. I don’t, it means more shelf room for my shoes in the closer. EXCEPT I didn’t have enough hooks for all his hats; hat hoarder.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Big Changes to Our Little Home


Oh hey, it’s our family picture FROM LAST FALL… I didn’t have anything more recent of the three of us together, yep. I plan to fix this very soon.
There are things I don’t often talk about regarding our life, somethings you just don’t need to broadcast to the world. One of these things for me was my husband’s work schedule. Why? Well, since our son was born he has worked nights! And there are enough creepers out there that I didn’t feel the need to tell them all I was all by myself and a bit terrified, 5-6 nights a week.
But today marks something new for us, my husband was finally able to transfer to days at his job. I could hardly get out of bed this morning because I had a goodnights sleep! You would think I would have gotten those on the weekends, but I rarely did. My husband and I often stayed up late so we could talk and have time together because we hardly saw each other during the week. And during the week I usually got 4-6 hours before the kiddo got up because I was busy listening for sounds and just don’t sleep well by myself.
The past three years haven’t been a bad experience, necessarily, I’ve been forced to grow a lot. I don’t think we realize how young and immature we really are at 22 until life turns upside down and demands we be a functioning adult. I became a mother and then suddenly I was functioning almost like a single parent. My husband was at work or sleeping and I had an infant all to myself. I was clueless about babies and I think I had some of my worst moments during that first year. Sitting in the corner of my bedroom, crying, because my baby won’t stop crying and I have no one to help or give me advice is not a fond memory. But I do see where these things have made me better, believe it or not. For one, my patience has increased about 200% because babies and toddlers don’t understand anger, so there is no point being angry, no matter how sleep deprived you are. I’ve learned value in people, the friends and family that came to my aid when I needed to breath. And my husband, I cannot tell you how much more I love and value him now. Not only did my life go through a huge overhaul but my marriage did too, like I said, we rarely had time together. You know the saying, distance makes the heart grow fonder? It sure did, yes, it did.
Now I have my husband and best friend back in my life and I get to make my bed in the morning. You have no idea how happy I am to be able to make my bed! Or blow dry my hair, vacuum, put away laundry and all those disruptive things I could not do during the week. I wasn’t a clean freak when I was younger, just ask my Mom… Dad… Aunts… Grandma.. you get the point. But having a child in the house changed my entire perspective on dirty floors, dishes, laundry, small things on the floor and so forth. So being cut off from an entire part of the house really put a kink into my cleaning plans as did having to be quiet. I could SCREAM right now and not disturb anyone, but the toddler, who would probably just scream back. It’s a wonderful feeling, you can’t even imagine.
So that’s it, the big change in the house, it is a big deal to me! I’ve half considered putting on a dress, heels and pearls to welcome him home from his first day just for giggles. But I’m awful comfy in my running shorts that I didn’t run in today. [Achy knee, I don’t know what its problem is.]
If you wondered in hoping I was going to announce a PREGNANCY, well, sorry to disappoint. Not yet! I jumped in, eyes closed and no plans on the first kiddo, I’d like to complete my plans this time around. There is a campaign in my family right now called, “Baby Keener 2014”, we will see.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Labor Day Weekend - Pt 5 - Wiggle Out Loud


For the last part of our weekend, we took our son to the Wiggle Out Loud Family Music Festival. Another one of the many reasons Oklahoma City is a great place to live, especially with a family. The festival revolved around children with music, food, crafts and various other kinds of entertainment all geared at children. Our little guy really enjoyed himself. 
I didn’t get him over to the stage to listen to music and dance about with the other little ones, no sir. In true fashion of my little fish, he found the water and that is where he stayed for a solid hour. Spray fountain, automatic favorite. 
At one point, we convinced him to wander off, make a wand, get a free frisbee and tattoo but then it was back to the fountain! Where mom and dad got to stand and sweat it out in the sun while he played. I was tempted to run amuck myself, but I was in a dress and the visibility of my undergarments would have increased once soaked. Not proper, not at all. I was thinking of the children.
But, what matters most, is the he and so many other children had FUN. We were just talking a few weeks ago, my husband and I, about how we wished there was something we could go do as a family that was geared towards families. This was awesome! Oklahoma City is loaded with families and I really hope this event comes back every year. I know I’ll be more than happy to support them with my dollars.
For more info visit: WiggleOutLoud.com
Or follow them on twitter: @wiggleoutloud
I only have pictures at the fountain… because it was his home. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Labor Day Weekend - Pt 4 - The Last Cheesecake of Summer


The next part of our weekend included going for a cook out and swimming at a friend’s house. During this evening my son found college girls to care for him and adore him, as well as made friends with two cute pits named Boomer and Asia. We don’t hold Boomer’s name against him, he’s friendlier than a kitten [We’re just Cowboy fans]. As a guest, I brought the gift of my much requested lemon bar cheese cake and now I’m announcing for all my friends and loved ones, that was the last one of the summer. I have a slice left in the fridge that I’ll give to the sole winner of a battle royale, if you all want to fight for it.
They loved it and that makes my heart [and head] swell, baking brings me joy. Even more joy when others enjoy it! We spent the evening swimming and enjoyed burgers, hot dogs and such with our friends. Watch the travesty that was the LSU vs TCU game and I’m starting to realize I might like football. I am a little freaked out and hope everyone will support me as I deal with the traumatizing realization. I am apparently more like my parents than I thought, which is scary, trust me. I have fond memories of my parents, aunts and uncles going bat shit crazy over football games, very fond.
I’m not done with cheesecake for the year, heavens no! I love cheesecake and really enjoy licking the bowl clean while I hide where no can find or judge me. I actually had a request come in from one of my husband’s co-workers, something about caramel and pecans. Sounds like FALL! I want it to be fall, so bad, because I have new boots in my closet. And I’m tired of summer’s heat, even if we’ve had an amazing, cool summer in Oklahoma. But the boots are reason enough, right?
Good-bye for now, Lemon Bar Cheesecake, you carry many fond summer memories with you! Birthdays, baby showers and time with friends, you never failed me. I’m writing you on an index card and adding you to the recipe box along with the recipes from the Mothers and Grandmothers of my family. And maybe, just maybe, one day my own children or grandchildren will be asking me how to make you.
No pretty plate and fancy set up, this baby was prepped to travel!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day Weekend - Pt 3 - Macaroni and Cheese


We can’t have any meal around here without making it somewhat kid friendly as we have a very picky three year old. But picky as he is, he loves my Macaroni and Cheese! Regretfully, I make mine with velveeta…. I know, it’s a horrible fact. I haven’t had much luck with regular cheese [cheddar], it doesn’t melt right. I know there has to be a trick to it, I just haven’t taken the time to learn. Mac N Cheese expert really isn’t high on my list, I’ve been busy weeping over pie crust, but that’s a different story.
So what makes it so special that it’s worth blogging about? The flavor! Stone ground mustard, paprika and onion granules. It gives it a completely new flavor, makes it more than melted cheese on pasta. My son and my husband can devour it! I don’t have measurements for you because I season things to taste, but generally I start with a tablespoon of mustard [I use stone ground, but any will do], 1/2 teaspoon paprika and a dash of onion granules. What’s a dash? Shake the bottle once, dash! If you wanted to be even more amazing, you could sauté some real onions and throw those puppies in there. And don’t forget salt and pepper!
You can see the spices and taste the flavor in this mac, it’s a party for your taste buds.
Do you spice yours up? What’s your trick?


This is the last part of our first little Labor Day Weekend meal. With our grilled bbq chicken and mac, we had baked beans. I didn’t make those and I don’t think I need to write about the joys of using a proper can opener on a can of Bush baked beans. Someday, I’ll make my own and then we will talk about it!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Weekend - Pt 2 - Grilled Chicken


Happy Tuesday and technical “Monday” for those working!
Yesterday I bragged about my husband making homemade barbeque sauce. I’m hooked on it and no longer understand why anyone buys pre-made junk at the store. It’s not hard, at all. 
Today I’m giving you my opinion on grilled chicken, what makes grilled chicken good? Well, with any meat, a good overnight brine kicks it up. Sadly, we decided to grill last minute and didn’t get to brine. I’d sob into the chicken if it wasn’t still good. If you fly back to my fried squirrel, I put it in a might fine brine. These little niblets didn’t get to brine, but they did get something else, a good rub.
And guess what? My husband made that too.
He made the rub about a month or so ago when he smoked a couple of whole chickens. I didn’t photograph those and so I won’t be blogging them, crying shame, I know. But he had plenty left, so he coated the chickens and let them set before he lit up the grill. I feel like pairing a rub with a barbeque really adds the flavor, especially if they’re made to complement each other. He didn’t add any barbeque until the chickens were on the grill.
Now here is what I love, black. If the fat on those babies doesn’t get a little crispy and black, I’m not happy. I’m not saying burn the chickens, not at all, just get them crispy. He always pulls this off for me, black and crunch on the outside but still tender and juicy chicken within. This is how I love my chickens to be cooked.
Everyone has a way they prefer things, how about you? Is it the end of the world if the chickens get a little black or do you appreciate the crunch as I do?

Oh and here is a little difficulty I always face when photographing food at home. This guy here is always starving [like his Dad] and actually tried to steal my chickens. He did manage to take my crunchy drumstick in the end. Sigh, what is a mother to do.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend - Pt 1 - Barbeque Sauce


I hope everyone had a great labor day weekend! Or considering it’s Monday, you’re probably still enjoying that weekend. Mine started off with grand news that I can’t share for another week. I know, cliffhangers. 
Something I love about holiday weekends… and holidays in general, is the food. This being the last holiday of summer, it means cooking out. There are many options for cooking out: Burgers, Chicken, Steak and so forth. I am sure there are vegan options but this is a carnivorous household soooo, we grill meat. 
We decided last minute on Friday to grill out as we have plans the rest of the weekend. This unfortunately meant no brining or smoking because I picked the chicken up just in time to be marinated and cooked, but life goes on. 
For Father’s day a few years ago I bought my husband a combination grill/smoker, to say it’s a smoker is a stretch but it works. I knew he was interested in smoking meats but didn’t want to make the leap into purchasing a real smoker until I knew he could and would do it. Why has it taken two years to get him smoking meats? Well the first year there was a burn ban and I’m not sure what last year’s reason was.
This spring he smoked a pork loin for his first, it was a hit. He’s been learning more and more about prepping and cooking meats since then. It’s absolutely wonderful for me, the guinea pig. And the biggest plus out of this is his interest in making his own barbeque sauce.
Before you get excited, I will not have a recipe to share. For one, he’s working on developing a recipe he loves. He’s made sweet and recently a tangy, but he’s not ready to call it done. And two, it’s not mine to share. But I will tell you all about it!
As we’ve began cooking and creating more on our own, using less store bought and prepared, there is a clear difference. Once you have a good, homemade barbeque, you just can’t go back. This time around he made two jars full, so we have sauce to last and I love it. It’s not just a red orange liquid oozing out of a bottle, you can see the color of the spices in it. I see bits of this and that in there, letting me know this stuff is fresh. You can’t beat it.
If you’re interested in making your own, just hit google or even pinterest. There are plenty of recipes are out there to get you started.
Tomorrow is grilled chicken and my humble opinion on what makes it perfect.