Sous Vide Magic

Since we’ve been spending a lot more time at home for the past four months, there has also been a lot more home cooking. Also, when all the stuff started hitting the fan, I went to Sams and stocked up on meat to portion out and put in the freezer. This seems like excellent planning until I remember that I am, in fact, me…and I never remember to thaw things out in time to have that night. Toward the beginning of Stay at Home I was pretty good about it, but as time went on my natural tendencies kicked back in.

One of my friends a while back told me about their sous vide, or precision, cooker. Seems like this would be the perfect time to try it out, so off to Amazon I went! I got the Anova one because it was the same one my friend had. The first thing I tried with it was rib eye steaks. I just set the temp that I wanted the centers to be when they were done and left it for a couple of hours. When I was ready for dinner I just popped open the bags and gave the meat a quick sear on the outside. They were perfect! Cooking low and slow for so long made them super tender and the fact that they cooked in their own juices made them super, well…juicy!

When I did the steaks, I had been responsible and actually remembered to thaw the meat before cooking. The next time I used my magic device, I had not planned so well. We had one of the kids’ friends come over in the morning after swim practice and I remembered that I would have to feed these kiddo’s lunch. I’m tired of running out for fast food, so I ran off to the freezer and grabbed a bag of frozen chicken breasts. Three hours at 160 degrees and right at lunch time I had lovely, moist chicken breast ready to slice up on to sandwiches or salads! As I said, this thing is magic. A couple of days ago, I grabbed two frozen, marinated pork tenderloins out of the freezer. Best ever! Those I threw under the broiler after cooking just to get a little more “roasted” flavor on the outside, but I think I want to buy a kitchen torch next so I don’t have to mess up a pan to broil or sear the meat. It’s not terribly pretty when it comes out of the sous vide bag.

My latest sous vide adventure was a pot roast. Here’s the deal, my mother-in-law makes the best, fall-apart pot roast you will ever eat. She’s told me how she does it and all the ingredients, but I have NEVER managed to pull it off in the slow cooker. My gravy is just as good, but the meat is never as tender. Sous vide to the rescue! I grabbed my meat (thawed this time) and added a packet of onion soup mix to the bag, sealed it and threw it in the cooker at 150 degrees. There it remained for 24 hours.

A couple of hours before dinner, I threw some beef broth and mushroom soup into a stock pot. I cut open the bag that the meat had been braising in and dumped those juices into the pot as well. Don’t want to waste any of that good flavor or the seasonings! I went to cut up the meat and add it to the gravy, but realized at that point, cutting wasn’t really necessary. It was so tender I could just pull it into chunks! Left all that to simmer until just before dinnertime when I added some cornstarch to thicken the gravy. Served it with rice, green beans, and rolls. The family devoured it and declared it just as good as Mimi’s! But here’s the deal, we will NEVER tell Mimi because hers is the original and made with massive amounts of love. It’s just good to know that I can pull it off as back up!

Now, here’s the problem. I’m a really bad blogger and forgot to take pictures of the finished product! So, I’ll just promise you that it’s delicious. Besides, pot roast isn’t all that pretty, it just tastes amazing.

Ingredients:

Chuck roast, Lipton Onion Soup Mix (1 Packet), 32 oz. Swanson Beef Stock, 2 cans Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup, Corn Starch.

Take the roast and coat both sides with the soup mix and seal it into a vacuum bag. (Did I mention that when you are doing sous vide, having a vacuum sealer is pretty important?) Place the bag in your water basin (I just use a big old stockpot) and set the precision cooker to 150. Leave it going for the next 24-48 hours. You will have to check back and top off the water a few times during the process, but seriously, there’s no other work.

An hour or two before serving, add the stock and the mushroom soup to a pot and blend well over medium low heat. You want to simmer this, not boil it. If it starts to boil, lower your temperature. Add the meat and the juices from the bag. About 1/2 an hour before serving, whisk in the cornstarch until there are no lumps and continue simmering. You could also use flour to thicken the gravy.

That’s it! So easy!

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Time flies…but are we having fun?

I’m really bad at this whole blogging thing. Seven years since my last post, and that one had what, a two year gap between it and the post before it? Honestly, for most of that period of time, I had completely forgotten my log-in information to this site. That happens when you never use something…

I meant to start writing again at the beginning of this crazy, Covid existence we are all rambling around in back in March, but couldn’t bring myself to start. After all, my experience is much the same as everyone else’s, filled with anxiety, fear, frustration, anger, boredom…etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. There have been flashes of fun. There has been a TON of eating. And a good bit of crafting. So, I guess that’s where I should focus.

Backstory: I picked my kids up from school on Friday, March 13 and they haven’t been back since. That’s 129 days. 18 weeks, 3 days. 4 months, 1 week. Yep, I’m dwelling on that. Think about it. For most of us, summer break is about 10 weeks. By the time “school” officially ended this year, our kids had already been home that long. Yes, they were still attending “school” online, but they had been home for 10 WEEKS! I love my kids an awful lot, but that’s a long time for us to be home and together. Admit it, by the end of summer, most parents are sooo ready for school to start and counting the days. School ended and we were left with another 10 weeks to go…if we’re lucky. Where we’re sitting now, Bean and Potato, who are now 13 and 9, will be going back to school in 24 days. We are all completely ready. They miss their friends, their teachers, their busy life. So do I. I miss actually being alone in my house. I miss my friends, too. One would think that with nothing to do all summer we would have seen each other more, but that hasn’t happened. We’ve seen a few people, but for the most part, we’ve all kept to ourselves and our own Covid life.

I just started a paragraph outlining how we have spent the last 18.5 weeks, but even I don’t want to relive that! Suffice to say, there was no family vacation this year, no camps for the kids, and very little in the way of sports. Summer swim, but that ended this past weekend. Bean will return to her year-round team this afternoon, but there’s still no pool time for Potato’s group. Fingers crossed our team gets back to our regular pool soon.

I have so many thoughts about our current world environment, but I’m not sure I can pull any of them together for a coherent post right now. This post will just get things back swinging and trying to remember to write, then I can choose a topic to focus on for future posts. So, snapshot of who I am right now:

This is us

I’m a mother of two. My daughter is 13 and amazing. Yep, I’m that proud mom. She’s not perfect, but she’s still incredible. She’s smart, athletic, beautiful, and strong. She’s not always as nice as she could be to her little brother and we’re getting more flashes of teenage attitude, but for the most part she is kind, caring and helpful (when reminded that help is needed). My son is now 9. He’s pretty awesome, too. Handsome as the devil and smart as a whip. He can be a bit lazy at times and stubborn. He always wants to be right. But he loves his friends, his stubbornness translates into loyalty, and he is all about justice and valuing the rules of fair play. Basically, you can take from this that I am an incredibly proud mom who thinks the best of her kids, but knows that they are not perfect. Even on days that we frustrate each other, I wouldn’t trade them and am well aware of how lucky I am to have them.

I’m married to an amazing, hardworking man who gives everything he has to provide us with a wonderful life. Unlike our son, he is never lazy. Just like our son, he’s got a stubborn streak a mile wide that also expresses itself as incredible loyalty. This period of time has been very hard for him, not only because of the financial uncertainty that all business owners have faced during the pandemic, but his unhappiness that he has been unable to provide much in the way of fun for our kids. Vacations and adventures are very big in our family, but now is not the time for them. I know some others disagree and have carried on with their travels, but it’s just not a risk our family felt comfortable with right now.

That’s the family. Who am I? My main identity really is wrapped up in being a wife and mother, and I’m still a Knitter (yep, with a capital K). Since my last attempt at blogging I’ve added weaving and spinning to my skillset. I consider myself a fiber artist and love all things wooly and warm! Over the years, our family has been insanely busy, so my cooking skills didn’t evolve much and we ate out or ordered take-out more than I care to admit. Things have started to change in the last four months…still love to eat, we’ve just been doing a lot more of it at home. A LOT more of it. And there’s a lot more of me to show for it. Right now, I’m not happy with myself or my health. I hope to change that soon.

Our family also now has three cats, Lucy Fur, Winter, and TJ. We didn’t mean to have three, but we got TJ from my MIL right before the shut down started. So I guess we qualify as crazy cat people…

This post is about the Love portion of my blog title. While rambling a bit at times, I hope you can take away from it that my family is the center of that Love. I will follow up soon with a post either about Eating or Knitting!

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Tap, tap, tap….is anyone out there?

A lot has been happening around here!  That tends to happen after more than a year of silence.  I won’t try to catch you up on everything, though, that would take way too long.

Recently, there has been a lot of action on the knitting front.  Last week (Apr 11-14) I was lucky enough to get a Mom-cation to Atlanta for the Stitches South conference!  Even better, I got to meet up with my dear friend from Ravelry, Hypercycloid!  This was the first time the two of us have gotten to hang out in “real life”, but it will certainly not be the last!  We had an amazing time!

I flew in on Thursday morning, and headed out to the conference center to help out Miss Babs with her booth set-up.  It was such a treat to fondle all of the yarn before anyone else got a chance to see it.  I should’ve snapped up a few more skeins while I was doing it, though, because apparently everyone else at the show liked the same colors I did and my favorites were gone by the end of the weekend.  I did get two skeins, though, that I am totally in love with.  I got a Yowza! in her Peacock colorway and a Yummy 2-ply in Groovy.  Clearly I was attracted to the same family of colors that day because upon further examination, they are nearly the same, but that’s okay, I’m going to have a great time knitting them up!

After the Market preview opened, I headed out to the airport to pick up Hypercylcoid.  The weather was starting to get pretty nasty, but fortunately her flight still got in nearly on time.  Unfortunately, the weather caused a few accidents on the interstate, so it took quite a while for us to get back to the hotel.  I must admit to a few nerves about our first meeting, would we get along as well in person as we did on-line?  Silly of me to worry, we never ran out of subjects to talk about and I don’t think there was a single awkward silence all weekend!

The rest of the weekend flew by with Market visits, a few classes and some really great dinners!  Of the classes, I think my favorite was deliberate pooling with hand dyed yarns taught by Laura Bryant.  It was an all-day class and I was a little concerned about getting bored.  I should not have worried, the class was fascinating!  And there was math!  (I’m a nerd, I love math!)  We also took a class with Lily Chen about join-as-you-go knitting.  I enjoyed the content of the class, but her teaching style didn’t really appeal to me.  The last class we took was short-row knitting, but the technique was being applied in more of a free-form way and wasn’t as interesting to me.  Also, I discovered during the class that I had lost my cell phone, so I will admit to being very distracted!

On the eating side of things (after all, it’s in the name of the blog), we had some fantastic meals!  On Friday night, we hit the South City Kitchen in Vinings.  Oh. My. God. was it ever good!  We shared two appetizers, fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and bar-be-que pork on a hoe cake.  Both phenomenal!  For dinner we both got the fried chicken.  Now, I’m a southern girl and I’ve eaten a lot of fried chicken in my life.  This may possibly be the BEST fried chicken I’ve ever eaten in my life!  We both stuffed ourselves.  To the point that we couldn’t even order dessert.  And we both have huge sweet tooths (sweet teeth?).

Saturday night, we joined about 80 other knitters at Scalini’s.  A woman who used to be a dyer (and is now a nurse) has been hosting a dinner there for a few years because it’s right near the convention and her father owns it.  Pretty darn good Italian food and even better company.  We shared a table with Babs and Jen (from Miss Babs yarn), Kate from Dragonfly Fibers and her crew, and the gang from Cephalopod Yarns.  We had such a great time and laughed until it hurt!  Then we headed back to the hotel to meet a group of Slytherins from the HPKCHC.  More laughs ensued!

I’m still in a bit of a happy glow, more than a week later, from all the fun I had at Stitches.  I was a good girl and did not add too much to my already enormous stash, just a few select skeins from Babs and Dragonfly (and one other dyer because they had Sparkles!).

On another knitting front, the day after I got home from Atlanta, I opened up the registration for Tour-de-Sock 2013!  We are going to have such a great tour this year!  We’ve already got more than half the number of Racers signed up this year than we did last year, and we’ve still got a month of registration left to go.  Lots of new faces and plenty of new ones as well.  I’m really hoping to double the donation we were able to make last year to Doctors without Borders.  I’ve got an amazing slate of designers on board for this year’s event so I think everyone will be very happy in the end.

The Love portion of this blog is easy.  Bean (DD 6yo) and Potato (DS 2yo) are doing great!  They are getting so big!  Bean is in Kindergarten and it has thrilled me this year watching her learn to read and do basic math!  So far she seems to love learning and I hope that she continues to enjoy school as much as I did.  Potato is in pre-school.  I was not going to send him so early, but he wasn’t speaking much and I thought it would be good for him.  The past month has been explosive development in his verbal skills and he treated me just this morning to his first FIVE WORD sentence.  He told me “I want more ‘an’ peez.”  “An” is his word for “banana”.  It really blew me away!

Hubby is also doing well.  Work is keeping him super-busy, but he’s been really focused on spending time at home with us as well.  He gave me an amazing present for my birthday this year, a kitchen renovation, that will kick off in the next few weeks.  I’m sure I’ll be venting a lot on here about it this summer!  I really want the kitchen, but I know the process of getting it will be ‘challenging’!  Oh, and since we decided to add in new floors for the whole downstairs, a new bar and downstairs bath while we were at it, things are going to be even more exciting!  Oh, and we have to rip out a load-bearing wall in the kitchen!  Fun stuff, huh?  I’ll put up some before pics soon and track the progress as we go. Anyhow, hubby has racked up some pretty serious brownie points on this one!

Okay, I’m going to sign off for right now.  I need to get back to work on some accounting stuff for Tour-de-Sock and Sock Sniper!

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Procrastination Thursday

I have a to-do list a mile long consisting of errands to run, groceries to buy, repairmen to call, and sock contests to organize. Not to mention a house to tidy before my housekeeper gets here. Yes, I am one of “those women” who have to clean the house before the cleaning crew arrives. Well, I’m not really “cleaning” but I do try and have everything put away. It’s my job to tidy, so they can really CLEAN.  But I don’t feel like doing anything on my list right now, I’ll get on it in a little while.

Life has been pretty busy around Casa EKL lately. Mardi Gras has wrapped up, and with it my season of dance practices with the Pussyfooters. I had a great time strutting my stuff in the Krewe of Muses parade on Feb. 16, but realized quickly afterwards that I was in no kind of shape to repeat the performance the following Sunday in the Krewe of Thoth. My (feathered) hat is off to the ladies who were able to do both. I believe I will start training now for next season!

Filling my plate now are the demands of my two amazing kids. Bean is still loving school and getting so stinkin’ grown up! She’s getting awfully opinionated and strong-willed lately, which is driving her mama a little nutty at times, but on the other hand, I really like that I have a strong daughter who will hopefully not be swayed by peer-pressure or any boys as she gets older! The Potato is growing like a weed and at 16 months old is the size of an average two-year old! That’s getting a little hard on Mommy’s back, since he’s still at an age that he loves to be held and quite frankly, can’t be trusted to walk on his own when we’re out at stores or other public places. Perhaps I’ll give my favorite masseuse a call this week….

On the knitting front, I’m keeping very busy. Miss Babs, one of my favorite dyers, has asked me to act as Tour Director for her new yarn club that kicks off this month. I’m very excited about getting to help her and lead the KAL’s for the group. I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve this month for our exclusive colorway!

Also in my queue is the return of my two fundraisers for Doctors without Borders, Tour-de-Sock (June) and Sock Sniper (September). I’ve got four amazing yarn dyers lined up as sponsors (Miss Babs, Dragonfly Fibers, Alina Shea Creations and Nalani Yarns) and now I’m just working on filling up our dance cards with equally wonderful designers. I’ve been wearing my design hat a bit lately, too and think I have two or three patterns that I could use, but I don’t want to make this the “Sarah show” so will only probably use one or two. I wish I could show off what I’ve come up with, though, because I’ve been having a lot of fun!

Knit’s in Progress (March)

Test knit for Syracuse (on Rav) – using Dragonfly Fibers Dragon Sock in Mardi Gras Mambo
Bee Keeper Quilt – 44 puffs (out of a goal of 366)
TDS Sock Idea 1
TDS Sock Idea 2

Syracuse Test Knit

Finished Objects (March)
None, it’s only March 1!

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone has a fun and festive holiday!  I’m really looking forward to Trick or Treating tonight with the cutest little blue monster and most beautiful Princess in the whole wide world!  For the record, Bean will be the princess and will be dressed as Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty and the Potato will be the little blue monster complete with horns and an alligator-like tail.  Hubby has provided them with some fantastic transportation for the evening in a “Doom Buggy” he concocted from his father’s golf cart, some black garden cloth and a couple of styrofoam skulls.  I’ll try and snap some good pictures today to show off both the kids and the cart!

I cannot believe it’s actually the end of October already!  There are a lot of times I don’t write because, quite frankly, there’s not been anything interesting to write about.  But for the past few months, there’s been a ton going on and although I’ve been dying to share, I haven’t taken the time to actually sit down and commit it to the blog.  I can’t believe that I haven’t shared with you two of my most exciting projects, Tour-de-Sock (rav link) and Sock Sniper (rav link)!  These are two knitting contests, clearly sock-related, that I started on Ravelry to raise money for Doctors without Borders.  Sniper kicked off on September 1 with 90 snipers and as of this morning we’re down to the Final Four!  I cannot wait to see how that one turns out!

The Tour began on October 1 with over 200 racers signed up.  Stage Three (of six) will finish up tonight at midnight.  It’s hard to believe that the race is halfway done, but I’m already planning for next year!  These two contests got thrown together rather quickly after a wild hair of an idea in June and I’ve got so many ideas to make it better next time!  The participants have been really great and supportive.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know them all!  Hopefully I can keep them happy for the next three rounds… Another big plus of this experience has been the opportunity to work with some amazing designers and sponsors!  I’ve even been offered the opportunity to work with one of my sponsors on another project that I’ll hopefully be able to reveal very soon!

I have been doing a bunch of sock knitting to go with these two contests.  Between them, there are 11 patterns and I tested each of them before releasing them to the contestants.  One of them I did in two different sizes.  Then I had a little bit of “travel knitting” to do when Hubby and I ran away to the Caymans in August.  So, all tolled, I’ve knit 10 complete pairs of socks and 3 half pairs.  I’m hoping to finish up one of the incomplete pairs later today or tomorrow and have the rest done in the next week or so.  I think I’m a bit burned out on socks right now!

Have a great day today and keep away from the spooks tonight!

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Neighborly update

June 8 – Not much change

June 9 – Here’s Mama, but still not on the nest

June 10 – Finally got a shot of her on her nest.  She was definitely giving me the hairy eyeball, though!

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A Bonanza of Burp Cloths….and other Finished Objects

I think I’ve developed a bit of a problem when it comes to kitchen cotton lately.  I found some Bernat recently that I really loved and got started knitting some burp cloths to give to some friends who are expecting and now I’ve done about 16 of them in the past month!  Oh well, they will make good gifts, plus I have some to use for Bubba who is becoming increasingly messy as he discovers more and more foods that he loves to eat!

Here is the original batch that got me going in Psychedlic

Followed by Moondance

And then Batik

Then a little stash busting with Fiesta

I have a TON more of this cotton, so will be doing a bunch more of these in the future.  It’s an easy pattern (rav link) and pretty mindless knitting for times when you can’t really focus on anything more complicated.  I’ve even worked on a couple of these at the gym while riding the stationary bike!

Another project that I’ve been working on (seemingly forever) is a Tunisian stich baby blanket.  I had forgotten how long Tunisian stitch takes!  I must admit that I love the result, but unfortunately, the blanket came out a little more feminine than I had intended and the baby it was meant for came out a little more masculine (the mom didn’t peek, so I was trying for a gender neutral blankie and failed).  Fortunately, I have another blanket in my gift stash that will work for her baby and I’ll save this one for the next girl to come along.  Sorry, no link to a pattern, I made this one up as I went!

Here are some gloves that I finished a month or two ago but haven’t been able to photograph since they were made for my darling friend, Kate, who has abnormally small pinkies and therefore no one but she could model them for me.  I’m so glad that I was able to get them to her in time for the hottest June on record since the mid-seventies!  I do love these gloves though (rav link) and think I will probably make a pair for myself this winter.  I did modify the pattern a bit to exclude the bobbles in the original pattern and substitute a plain, ribbed cuff.

Another sweet baby knit that has come off my needles this month is a pair of pants for my bestest, best friend in the whole wide world who is expecting her first in late September.  I love this yarn from Zitron called Unisono and have a TON of it in my stash!  I heavily modified the pattern for the Baby Brights Pants from Lion Brand so they were done in the round and just about seamlessly.  I also got rid of the garter stitch cuffs in favor of a hemmed cuff.  The crotch is grafted instead of seamed and the wasteband was kitchnered from the live stitches instead of bound off and sewn.  So basically, all I used from the original pattern was the dimensions…does that count as designing my own pattern?

And finally, I participated last week in a Knit Along sponsored by the lovely Miss Babs!  The pattern in the Marrowstone Shawl (rav link) and I used Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply yarn in the Van Gogh colorway.  This is a super fast and easy knit with an easily memorizable lace pattern for the edging.  Then the body of the shawl is picked up and shaped using short rows.  I cast this on last Friday (June 3) and finished it up yesterday (June 6) and I wasn’t even knitting the majority of the time, just a couple of hours each day.  Here it is blocking, I’ll try and get some better pictures of it soon!

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New Neighbors

On June 1, I noticed a small bundle of sticks in the sago palm outside of my kitchen window.  As I watched, a pair of mockingbirds returned with a few more sticks and began construction on their nest.  I’ve decided to document their progress and new family.

June 1 – Some sticks

June 2 – Looking more like a nest

June 4 – I couldn’t get a clear shot but there’s a piece of my yarn in there.  I offered up a clump of scrap yarn and I think they tried to placate me by using one piece.

June 5 – Two eggs

June 6 – Three eggs

June 7 – Four eggs

I’ve been trying to get a picture of mama sitting on her nest, but she flies off rather quickly when I come out the back door.  I can’t wait until the eggs hatch and we have little birdies hanging outside our kitchen!  I’m a tiny bit concerned about how she will react if Bean goes outside on her own, however, because mockingbirds can be rather nasty.  Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that I don’t have to worry about that!

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I Have Two Children, Thank You Very Much

I understand the urge to go up to a grocery cart with a beautiful baby in it and ooh and aah over the adorable little one. I’ve done it. But what would you do if someone came up to your cart to do the same thing and totally ignored the equally beautiful, just older, child sitting in the cart as well? This happened to me yesterday in the store, and although I know it’s happened before, it has been particularly bugging me lately because my beautiful, sensitive-hearted Bean has begun noticing. Yesterday we were in a store and the two ladies involved KNOW HER, but they ignored her anyway. She tried to get their attention. “Hi! I’m (Bean)! I’m four years old”, and they basically brushed her aside. My heart hurt for her and I did my best to steer conversation her way, but the damage was already done. I removed us from the situation as quickly as I could, but she didn’t want my help and spent the rest of the time at the store just a little bit down.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon has not been limited to strangers. This week on Facebook, I posted two pictures, one of each of the kids. Everyone commented on the picture of Bubba, how handsome he is, how grown up he is getting. Only ONE person commented on Bean’s picture! I wanted to hug her for it. For noticing my wonderful girl.

Let’s face it, folks, it’s hard being the older sibling. Going from being the center of attention to being brushed aside for someone younger and cuter. As parents, Hubby and I do what we can, but Bean notices what other people do as well. So, the next time you see that cute little baby in the cart? Stop to pay attention to the older child(ren) as well. You will make their(and their parents) day!

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The Very Close to Perfect Day

There are very few perfect days in life, and although today was not one of them, it was pretty darn close.  Things around here have been pretty crazy lately with the family and even though I’ve been trying really hard to keep a positive mental attitude, it’s been a challenge lately.  Especially the last two weeks because, once again, I’ve been getting little to no sleep.  Between the baby having some pretty restless nights and Bean being sick, sleep has been a rare commodity around here.  Then once Bean started feeling better and we thought the rest of us were in the clear, Bubba, Hubby and I all came down with it.  We’re still sick, but on the mend.  If I were able to get a couple of solid nights of sleep, I think I could kick this thing.  But as it is, I’m a snotty, nasty mess and so is my sweet baby.

After that description, you may be wondering how today could possibly be a Very Close to Perfect Day, and if you were to have told me this morning that it was going to be, I probably would have laughed in your face.  But, we decided to buck up and get out of the house because a cold front went through yesterday and it was absolutely gorgeous out today.  In the 70s, breezy with low humidity.  You just don’t waste those days in Southeast Louisiana!  So, after Bubba had a bit of a nap, we packed up the kids and headed out, stopping along the way to pick up some Chic-fil-A (we have a deep and abiding love of CFA in this house).  Then we headed off to the park for a picnic.  We even had a “friend” join us.  We actually had to chase this guy off so we could eat in peace.  He definitely had some personal space issues and at one point was so close to Hubby that he got elbowed in the head!

   

After lunch, Hubby and Bean headed over to the playground and Bubba and I found a place in the shade to hang out on our blanket.  I got some knitting in (I’ll have some finished pictures for you soon, just need to block some stuff).  I’m working on the Meisi gloves (rav link) by Julia Mueller and they are gorgeous!  We had a great time at the park, but after a while the kids were getting really tired so we headed home.  All of us got a bit of rest and after that Hubby and Bean went back outside to wash cars and I made some gumbo.  I gotta tell you, I was really proud of this batch.  Sometimes the roux just comes together so well and the seasonings blend just right.  Today was one of those days.

 

After the gumbo was done and simmering happily on the stove, I called Bean back inside to help me with some baking.  I’ve joined a new sock club this year and along with the patterns and yarn, we get two cookie recipes every other month.  I’ve decided that Bean and I will start making these together.  She just loves helping in the kitchen and although I tend to get impatient with her about making a mess, I need to relax and let her help out.  We had a great time making these cookies and they turned out Delicious.  They are Molten Chocolate Chunk Cookies and unfortunately, I cannot share the recipe with you guys because it’s a condition of the club.  Sorry.  But I will tell you that mine have Ghirardelli dark chocolate morsels and whole Louisiana pecans.  Yumm-E!

   

Now we are sitting on the couch watching the “blue cat movie” (Avatar) for the umpteenth time.  The baby is in bed asleep.  Hubby and Bean are cuddling and looking adorable and I’m just happy.  I’m congested and exhausted, but happy nonetheless!  So have a great night, I’m going to sign off and enjoy the rest of mine!

Gumbo Recipe

Roux

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine these ingredients in a cake pan and toast in the oven heated to 350 degrees.  Stir it about every five minutes until it starts to turn to a golden brown.

While that is cooking, you can get started on the gumbo itself

  • 1 pound cajun sausage
  • 2 cups trinity mix (onion, bell pepper and celery, you can just buy it in the store in Lousiana)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound chicken thigh fillets (cut into small pieces, I also cut off the extra fat)
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 bag of frozen cut up okra

Start off by browning the sausage in your big pot in a little bit of olive oil.  After that’s cooked, put the sausage to the side and sautee the trinity mix in the oil and fat until it’s tender. While that’s cooking, slice the sausage into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken stock and heat until it’s at a boil.  At this point, you will take your roux and add about a cup of water to it and stir it into a paste.  Add this paste to the stock and stir well until it’s all mixed in.  Then add the sausage, chicken, shrimp and okra.  Let it boil for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  I usually let it simmer for an hour or more to get the spices to meld well and for the okra to thicken it a bit.  Then serve it over rice.

Enjoy!

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