Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hi Tony!

I didn't want to leave you out, Tony- here's that funny picture we took. For your viewing pleasure- go see all the photos at:

Thanks for visiting us in San An- you're always welcome!

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Offer!

While Jason and I were down at the King William Festival on Saturday we got word from our real estate agent that we had an offer on our house in St. Louis! If all goes well, we'll close at the end of May- and then have all of our furniture in one place! We hope that the new owners love living in that house as much as we did for 4 and 1/2 years. House on Hartford- You were the best house a couple of newlyweds could have asked for. My favorite things- gardening in the yard, floating in the pool, walking over to the park, decorating for Christmas, spending time with friends and family, and mostly just hanging out and having lazy days as home with the Hubs.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Indian-Style Crock Pot Curry

This is the last of the recipes that the PND girls requested. This one is from the Rachael Ray website. Again, I tweaked a few things to make it better. And Liz, I made this "as is" at my house, with the few dashes of hot sauce and all, and it still was pretty mild. This recipe is all about the extra toppings that go on at the end... so take the time to chop, slice, etc. Makes about 8 servings, delicious as leftovers. Prep time 30-45 minutes, cook time 3.5-4 hours. If you're having friends over and want extra- bump the chicken up to 2 lbs, and use more eggplant and sweet potato.

1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
2 T curry powder
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
few dashes hot sauce

1.5 lbs bone-in skinless chicken thighs (you may have to buy with skin, and then remove it- don't be intimidated, it's easy)
1 medium onion chopped
1 T tomato paste (buy a tube- it's so handy)
2-3 cloves garlic- through the press
1 green bell pepper- or which ever color looks good at the store
1 14 oz can chick peas
1 inch knob ginger- peel and grate with your microplane
1/2 large, or 1 small eggplant
2 smallish-medium sweet potatoes

White rice
1 lemon
3 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1 c chopped toasted peanuts
mango chutney
Naan or pita bread wedges

So, it's 2 in the afternoon- good time to start this meal. Put the coconut milk, curry, coriander, cumin, and hot sauce in the crock pot, and get it going- start on low.

Pull skin off your chicken if needed. Heat a couple of T's of veg.oil in a big non-stick skillet. Pat chicken dry, season with S&P. One the oil is ready to sizzle, put your chicken in and brown both sides of each piece- nice golden brown color. Move the chicken into the pot.

Now add your onion and green pep to the skillet, and saute until getting soft- ~6 minutes, add tomato paste- 1 minute, now garlic- 30 sec to 1 min. Scrape it all into your pot. Crank it up to high. Add the chickpeas too. And grate your ginger right into the pot.

Clean up, go do something else for 2 to 2.5 hours.

Now, add your sweet potato and eggplant. You could have put them in with the chicken and onion, but they will get mushy and disintegrate, but still taste good. Go do something else for an hour or so.

Now your sup has been cooking for 3 to 3.5 hours on high, time to get your rice going. Look and see, the meat should be falling of the bone by now, use a fork to pull out the bones. The meat will just fall apart when you give it a good stir. Chop your cilantro, scallions, chop (food processor mini if you have it) peanuts. Toast peanuts in a small sauce pan on the stove top until fragrant- 4-6 minutes, shaking the pan every minute or so. Slice lemon into wedges.

Your sweety is home! Now it's time for your delicious curry buffet- Put some rice in the bottom of your dish, Curry on top, and then the toppings- scallions, cilantro, peanuts, mango chutney. Lemons and Naan on the side.

This meal is great to make on a day you plan to spend at home, there's plenty of time to do other things- like make peanut butter cookies and see what's new on the Seatsleaf blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wall color indecisiveness

For the past week, I have been going to the paint store every day, and I'm sick of it. It all started while D&D were in town. The guest house is now at the stage where the wall colors I chose are going up on the walls. I came home and saw that the guest bedroom had been painted. I wanted to be daring and had chosen a bright orange-pinky color. Well, it was perfect for a taco stand, but not good for a bedroom. So, Dolores and Dino helped- and instead of chosing from a tiny sample card, we went out for paint samples this time. I went with a bluish-green- lovely. Then, the bathroom was painted the color I had chosen for the bathroom and downstairs- a tannish-yellow. Well, there was nothing tan about it- it was bright yellow. Fine for the bathroom- but don't paint the downstairs that color! Went out for more paint samples, tried out 5 tans- and chose one. Then looked at the floor- it clashed- Wait, don't buy that paint color that I chose the replace the yellow! Went out for another paint sample- still don't like it. My contractor must think I am crazy. I have until Monday to pick the color.

Visit from D&D

Jason and I spent our Easter week with a visit from mom and dad Seats. It was their first visit to our new home in San Antonio, and they approved. My favorite day spent with Dino and Dolores was the first day they were in town. Jason had to work, so I took them on the San Antonio cheesy tourists' tour- A trip to the Alamo and the Riverwalk, including the tour-guided boat ride on the river (my second time!). When we sat down for lunch, we were approached by a Mariachi band. Any time this has happened to me previously, someone always shoos them away, and says "No, thanks." But this time when we were asked if we would like to be serenaded, Dolores replied "yes!" And I have to say, it was a beautiful song. So I have hereby instated a new rule- If approached by a Mariache band, you must always say "yes!"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Amanda's Tweaked Hummus

My family and I are all huge fans of hummus. I tweaked the "Light Hummus" by America's Test Kitchen. My secret ingredient is pimento stuffed green olives and olive juice. Plus, Lontai family hummus requires a sprinkle of Hungarian Paprika on top.

1 15 oz can Chickpeas
2-3 T Tahini paste (usually found in the olive isle- sesame paste)
2-3 T good quality e.v. olive oil
2-3 T water
Juice of 1 lemon (~3 T)
1/2 large or 1 small garlic clove
2 T olive juice + extra on top
big pinch of kosher salt
pinch cayenne
Chopped olives

Process the chickpeas, tahini, EVOO, water, lemon juice, garlic, olive juice, salt, and cayenne in the food processer until you reach desired consistency. For thicker hummus use less liquids, for thinner more. Taste and adjust.
Stir in sliced olives, and extra on top for decoration, top with a drizzle of olive juice. And sprinkle paprika on top.

Serve with veggies- carrot, celery, bell pepper sticks, sugar snap peas, etc.

Also, use store bought pita chips or make your own:

Thin style pita breads, not the bready kind (I have yet to find in San Antonio)- try whole foods or the Jay's international foods on South Grand in St. Louis
kosher salt

Heat oven to 350. Tear up pita into chips and spread out on baking sheet. Spray EVOO on with a Misto oil sprayer or dab on with cooking brush (one side is fine) and then sprink kosher salt on top. Bake for ~6 minutes. I almost always burn 1 batch- keep your eye on then, once they get slightly brown or golden on the edges, take them out and they'll crisp up once they cool. You can also use garlic infused oil- yum.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Homemade Granola

Make your own granola- it's easy, and yummier and cheaper than anything you'll find in the store. Plus, you can say one of my all time favorite things to say, "There's nothing more granola, than making your own granola."

Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch metal pan with cooking spray, then set aside. Mix oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt and Extra Ingredients --except dried fruit -- in a bowl. Bring syrup, oil, water and any Flavoring indicated below to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine. Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Squish it down on the baking sheet with your spatula to form and even layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir in dried fruit. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool. (Granola can be stored in an airtight tin for up to two weeks.)

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup Extra Ingredients (see complete list below)
1/4 cup real maple syrup
3 Tbs. flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola
3 Tbs. water
Flavoring (see below)

1. Classic Granola
Extra Ingredients: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup sweetened flake coconut, 1/3 cup dark or golden raisins
Flavoring: 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
You can replace the 1/4 cup of maple syrup with 2 Tbs. each of maple syrup and molasses.

For the granola you had at my house- I put a few shakes of cinnamon in with the dry ingredients as well as with the wet/ heated ingredients. I also swapped out pecans for walnuts, and added banana chips. Buy unsweetened coconut and banana chips to make it lighter. My other favorite variation is dried cherries and almonds. Do head the advice and don't over bake the dried fruit- it bursts and then burns. After you try it out, if you find you are not getting enough clumps- bump up the wet ingredients next time.

PND Reunion 2009

Liz, Jenny, and Katy safely made their way to San Antonio for the weekend- and are hopefully all now safely back at their homes. We started off the weekend with a trip to the Alamo and walk on the Riverwalk. Plenty of time for relaxing by the pool. Eating, drinking, and being merry. And our all day winery trip on Saturday. The girls thought it was necessary to shop for cowboy boots before going home, but Katy was the only one to splurge on a pair. Revelations from the weekend: Babybell cheese- yummy with wine and crackers. Liz in a string bikini- a sight to behold. Katy's pantyliner armpit story- will make you laugh to yourself at odd times of day. Jenny is a fashion guru. Girls, I'll post my recipes that you wanted from the weekend- enjoy!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Tribute to Megan

I have 4 girlfriends from high school (Peoria Notre Dame)- Liz, Jenny, Katy, and Megan- and despite the fact that we live all over the country, we all try to get together once a year. This year the obvious choice for the destination was San Antonio. We got off to a sad start, because Megan had to cancel her trip last minute due to the stomach flu. So our get together this year was very sadly, minus one Megan. That gosh darn stomach flu!

Megan, we tried to think of what could be worse that not being able to come to our reunion due to the stomach flu. And here's what we came up with...
1. Death of a loved one
2. Death of a pet
3. Disfiguring injuries
4. Being wrongly accused of a crime and sent to jail
5. Being diagnosed with a fatal disease

That's all we could think of.