Adventures In Food and Wine

Join me in my kitchen while I embark on a journey of cooking and enjoying food and wine.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I received this photo in an e-mail today. People are so creative when they carve their pumpkins! Zac did not want to carve any this year and I have been so busy we skipped it. I miss it too! I love carved pumpkins.

I had to work until 5:30 and Trick-or-Treating began here at 5:00! I rushed home and whipped up a quick dinner while waiting for the kids to come to my door. Alas, there just wasn't very many. It has been that way for the last couple years now. I may not put my light on next year.

Anyway, back to dinner. I whipped up some Devilish Sloppy Chicken that is a Rachael Ray recipe she made this weekend. Instead of beef for these sloppys, you use ground chicken. Spice it up with some garlic (to keep the vampires away tonight), smoked paprika, and grill seasoning. Make a mixture of tomato sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and spicy mustard to mix in. Serve on buns and you have a tasty and quick weeknight meal. We had ours with some (gasp!) frozen tater tots to make it less fussy and quick. These were a bit spicy and just a tad salty. I would advise cutting back on the steak seasoning if you decide to make these.

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween!

Until next time...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Foodie Store and A Cornmeal Cake!

We are back from our weekend away. It was good to get away for a while and enjoy the company of our family. So, Thanks to Roger and Cindy for having us. Let's do it again soon.

On Saturday we had planned a steak dinner and we needed a few things from the market. I wanted to go to this wonderful foodie find that is located in Bloomington know as The Olive Market. Located at Tenth and the Bypass it is close to the Mall and Indiana University. This was Homecoming weekend at IU (they won) and thus the area was pretty congested. I presevered and managed to locate the place on my own even though I had never went there without someone who knew their way around town being with me.

The Olive Market specializes in Middle Eastern and Indian ingredients and has a fresh olive bar that cannot be beat. It is always so hard to decide which ones I want to get when I am there! I decided on jumbo green olives stuffed with cloves of garlic and the best-selling house mix. This is a mix of various kinds of olives is a spiced brine. Very good! They also sell fresh feta cheese, Greek yogurt (which they were out of unfortunately) and freshly baked Pita and Naan breads. If you ever find yourself in Bloomington, Indiana you must go check it out!

The Olive Market

After I returned to Roger and Cindy's we began dinner. Randy cooked up some NY Strip steaks, I made some Twice Baked Potatoes and Cindy steamed some veggies. For dessert we had talked about Pineapple Upside -Down cake and we decided to try a version we had seen Alton Brown make the other day. This version is made with cornmeal in the cake batter. You begin by melting butter on top of the stove in a cast-iron skillet. Add some brown sugar, top with pineapple rings, add cherries to the center of the rings, then add 1/3 cup pecans if desired (I omitted these). Top with the batter and bake in the oven. After removing from the oven it looked like this:
Roger kept thinking we just had cornbread and wanted to cut it with the dinner! After letting the cake rest for a minimum of 30 minutes you carefully turn it out on a plate and you have this:
It was an interesting combination with the dense cornmeal cake and the sweet topping. This was my first attempt at an upside-down cake and I was pleased with the results. We all declared this one to be a winner.

Until next time...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Road Trip!

I had planned to do some domestic "stuff" around home this weekend (like cooking!) but it seems Randy has planned a surprise road trip to Bloomington, Indiana to visit his brother. Visiting with them is always a fun time and a chance to get away right now sounds mighty fine.
So I will have to put off the cooking until I return. (BTW, the car in the above photo is just like mine! Pretty cool huh!)

There are a couple of pretty interesting discussions going on at the Cooking Light Bulletin Board site right now. One is on the grocery chain Aldi and one on Trader Joe's. It seems they are owned by the same parent company yet I think they are vastly different. In Muncie we have 2 Aldi's and the nearest TJ's is about 50 miles away in Indianapolis. It has been a while since I have been in Aldi so maybe I better go check it out again. What do you think? Have you been to either one and do you frequently shop there? Discuss please.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Today my youngest turned 14. OMG, 2 more years and he will be driving! Somehow I think ADHD and driving should not go together!

We had the celebratory dinner yesterday since Dad has to work every Monday evening. I made one of Zac's favorite meals, Jambalya (ya gotta love a kid who asks for Jambalya!) For the cake I made one posted last week over at Culinary in the Country (Desert). A Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake. This was very good and Zac was happy with the choice of cake. Chocolate and peanut butter are 2 of his favorite things. The chocolate is rich and dark and the peanut butter filling is superb. I was reminded of the old Reese's commercials, "You got peanut butter in my chocolate..." However, Joe's version of the cake looked much better than mine and you can see his here.

Zac is getting treated tonight to another of his favorite meals, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. He does prefer the homemade marinara for this and since I made some up and froze it, we have it on hand. I just browned up some Hot Italian Sausage for the meat, added the sauce and spaghetti and we called it a meal. He was happy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

New Blogs to Check Out!

I have added some new blogs to my favorites list that I want to tell you about.

I was browsing the blogsphere the other day and stumbled upon a great blog Eating Well on Dialysis The blogger is a woman who had a kidney transplant in 1980 and it eventually failed and she is back on hemodialysis again and awaiting another kidney. She takes good recipes from sources such as Cooking Light and The Food Network and revamps them so they are dialysis friendly. Please go check it out!

Also new to the list is Project Foodie This is a fun site that has blogs, forums, articles, and info about winerys, restaurants, Bed and Breakfast, and of course recipes! There is alot to see over there so check it out as well!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Too Little Time

Lately time has been a precious commodity. It just seems like there is so much to do and too little time to do all the things I want to do. I have been wanting to get a better handle on all my "To Try" recipes and all my "Tried and True" recipes. I use Mastercook, but I don't think I use it to it's full potential.

I have taken a renewed interest in quick to get on the table dishes such as those of Rachael Ray's. Last week I happened to catch her new talk show a couple time and made the dishes she cooked on the show in her "What's For Dinner" segment. The first one was Spicy Thai Chicken. This was quick and done in just under 30 minutes. Very flavorful and well liked by everyone. I usually like to take the leftovers to work, but this time there were no leftovers! This will become a quick go to meal around here.

Second up was Vegetable Ravioli Lasagna. I have made a ravioli lasagna before with ravioli from Trader Joe's that is very good, so I thought I would give this a try. I added mushrooms to the mix and cut back on the cheese topping and only used 1 Family Sized package of ravioli (Rachael called for 2, but that would be WAY too much IMO). Still made a large pan and this time I had plenty to take to work and share the next day. My co-workers all wanted the recipe! The most time consuming part of this dish is the chopping of all the veggies but it is sure worth it in the end!
Veggies for the lasagna

Recently at work we just had our annual sign up for United Way. Ball Hospital gives away prizes as incentives to sign up. I won the weekly prize this week! A $25.00 Visa Gift Card! Now what to spend it on! Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'm Back! Yeah!

Woohoo! I fixed the problem and I am now able to access my blog and other blogs once again!

I will be posting updates tomorrow. Until then ...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Where is Patti?

I know I have not been here lately. It seems that when we recently had to do a system restore on our computer, something changed that no longer lets me into blogger from my home computer. I cannot even leave comments on other blogs!

So until I have some time to access the home computer and figure out the problem...

See ya soon I hope.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Using up the green tomatoes!

I have been busy since I started my days off with studying (again!) to recertify in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). I am happy to report that I recertified this morning and I don't have to worry about that again for 2 years! Whew! Now to enjoy my time off.

We did manage to close up the garden for this year. The boys got all the plants pulled and I harvested the last of the peppers and many green tomatoes. Now DH and I both like fried green tomatoes, but not all the time. DH told me that one of his co-workers brought in a Green Tomato Cake. He said it was very moist and delicious. So I went on a search for a recipe. I found one that used chocolate which DH nixed ("It did not have any chocolate in it"). I found several that had spices, raisins and nuts which he said were in the one he tasted. I finally settled on a recipe I found at that sounded easy and received good reviews.

You begin by salting your chopped green tomatoes and letting them set for a few minutes. Cream the butter and sugar, sift the dry ingredients, add the nuts and raisins to the dry then mix together with the wet ingredients. Rinse and drain the tomatoes then add them to the batter. Bake, cool, and serve with a dusting of confectioners sugar. Pretty simple and straightforward. This cake is spicey (cinnamon and nutmeg) and very moist. It does not need any frosting. Frosting would mask the wonderful flavor of the cake. DH stated it was even better than the one he had already tried and was very pleased. Zac liked it as well, however Chris would not try it because he hates tomatoes (OK, more for us!).

I still have a lot of green tomatoes left so I think I will make another one to take into work tomorrow. I have another 3 days off after tomorrow so who knows what I might come up with to use up some more of these tomatoes! Any suggestions?