Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A ZANY Idea!!!!

Duane and I LOVE to go to grocery stores!  We visit them on trips across the country (and world!), and it's part of our weekend ritual...stocking up for the week.

The problem is that I ALWAYS find stuff to buy/try/eat.  As a result, my cupboards, and my refrigerator, and my freezer...are FULL.  I've actually resorted to storing things on the COUNTER.

A few years ago, I had a thought...why don't I USE all of this stuff up before buying anything else?  OF COURSE that only lasted until our next trip or the next time we went to the grocery store.

So...as an experiment, I'm going to try to do just that...use everything in my cupboards/refrigerator/freezer before finding other things to fill the space.

A caveat...some of the items I've purchased need "additional" ingredients to make them, so I am going to attempt to buy ONLY stuff that I need for a recipe, or to complete a sauce/box/mix.

Over the years, I've found several websites on which you can list ingredients that you have on hand, and they provide recipes that you can make with them.  Super Cook looks good, as does the "Ingredients on Hand" window at What's For Dinner?  I will have to play around with them, and see if they work.  Otherwise, I'm going to have to "ramp up" the creativity, and figure it out on my own!

I'm SURE this will only last as long as the next trip to the grocery store, but, I'm intrigued by the concept.  Perhaps I'll start slow now, and buy SOME stuff that I need to complete a recipe, or make a box mix, but add a few ADDITIONAL items too.  My goal is to start "officially" on January 1st...a cooking New Year's resolution, if you will!  I'll post as the year progresses, and let you know how it's going.

Here's hoping YOU have a goal for the New Year that will clean/organize your life as well!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Grown Up" Mac 'n Cheese

Happy THREE DAYS after Thanksgiving!!  Mine was AWESOME...hope yours was too!!

As I get ready to launch back in to work, I found that I'm in need of "comfort food".  Found the following recipe online, and made it tonight...YUM!!!!

Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted slightly from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook:  The Original Classics (Clarkson Potter, 2007):

4 T. unsalted butter, plus more for dish
3 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed, torn or dices into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 1/4 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, or 3/4 cup Romano cheese
1/2 pound elbow macaroni

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter an 8 x 8 inch baking dish; set aside.  Place bread in a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss.  Set breadcrumbs aside.  Pull out 3/4 cup of grated cheddar, and 1/4 cup Gruyere or 1/8 cup Romano, and reserve.

Fill a large pot with water; bring to a boil.  Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone.  Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk.  In same pot you used for boiling the pasta, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  When butter bubbles, add flour.   Cook, whisking, 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk.  Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove pan from heat.  Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, and 3/4 cups Gruyere or 1/2 cup Romano.  Stir macaroni into the cheese sauce.

Pour mixture into prepared dish.  Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Gruyere or 1/8 cup Romano, and breadcrumbs over top.  Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes.  Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes.  Serve hot.

WOW!  Really creamy...really flavorful...I HIGHLY recommend this the next time YOU need a little "comfort"!

Here's hoping YOU tried a tasty recipe recently too!!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Let the Hoarding Begin...

SOOOOOO not happy to hear that Hostess is calling it quits!

Duane and I are taking appropriate action...

Here's hoping YOU have fond memories of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Ho Ho's too!!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Show Ended!!!!

I haven’t had a chance to post for awhile because of the musical I finished performing in yesterday.  I just completed my FIFTH production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”!  I was NOT going to do this show again, but, as fate would have it, I did NOT get cast in Woodbury Community Theater’s production of “Into the Woods”, which I really wanted to do (sore subject…enough said), so…had some time on my hands. 

Actually, I didn't, but needed something to take my mind off my completely overwhelming job…and all the stress there, so auditioned. I have to say here and now that having been Joseph in THREE of the five productions was thrilling, and wonderful, and…AMAZING! The last time I did the show, I got cast as Napthali. It was not pleasant…I was surly and crabby…and I think my actual response after seeing the cast list was….”What?! There are BROTHERS in this show?! What do they do? Who are they? What??!!”

I thought SERIOUSLY about dropping out, but stayed in the show to get on the “good side” of the choreographer who does lots of stuff at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. I was hoping for an “in”… but to no avail. I DID meet some fun people, survived the experience, got to sing “Benjamin Calypso”, paid my “dues” with that theater company…and never went back.

This time, I had HOPED for one last shot at Joseph, but it wasn’t meant to be. I think I’m out of the “age bracket” now (although I will not admit that out loud to ANYONE!). I was cast as Reuben…”the ELDEST of the children of Israel”. I should be glad, I guess, that I didn’t get the part of Jacob (which is why I’m NOT auditioning for this show ever again…it’s only a matter of time…!). 

It's actually a fluke that I got this part at all. The theater company that produced it gives actors the option of choosing which parts they’d like to be considered for. I ticked the boxes for “Joseph” and“Napthali”. LUCKILY, the director (and a friend of mine) asked at the audition if I’d accept any other roles. I hadn’t considered the other brother solos, but told him I didn’t like “One More Angel in Heaven”, but would be open to doing “Those Canaan Days” (even though I’m a terrible dancer, and am afraid of the whole Apache dance after the solo).

I'm SO glad he asked, because it was an AMAZING number, we DIDN’T do the Apache dance, and it was an ABSOLUTE HOOT to perform! I got a fake cigarette (the coolest thing ever…filters made with varying degrees of nicotine to help people quit smoking, but nicotine-free filters (which I used) as well that create water vapor that LOOKS like smoke, but doesn’t have the smoke smell or taste…awesome! They charge by plugging them into the USB port on a computer, and the tip lights up when you inhale…), a wine bottle (from which I pulled the cork with my teeth every night and spit across the stage), and a sound engineer who knows my voice, and knew JUST when to punch the audio to make the high notes ring throughout the theater...AMAZING!! The brothers and Jacob as my “back up” were ASTOUNDINGLY awesome, and it was an audience favorite every night! 

Here's a bootleg video, shot during the second weekend of performances, should you wish to watch:


Now that the show is over, I’m taking a break from performing for a little while.  I went straight from eight months of Fringe rehearsals/performances for “A Cappella Love” directly into Joseph rehearsals.  Adding to the exhaustion…rehearsals began the week before school started, and started each night at 6:00…so I spent LOTS of time in rush hour traffic and…I’m tired!  I would REALLY like to have auditioned for their next show (Damn Yankees!) as many of the members of the Joseph cast did, but they start rehearsals for that show TONIGHT…oy!

The theater company is doing a 15th anniversary concert/performance in May.  I’m HOPING to be able to be a part of that!!!

Here’s hoping YOU were part of something musical and AMAZING recently too!!!