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Matriarchy: In the past year, I have gone from a family of five to a family of 2! My oldest daughter went to college, my mother went to a nursing home, my partner moved to Philadelphia for a job. Now it is just my younger daughter, who eats almost exclusively processed food, and me. My partner is home on the weekends. But I find a barely know how to cook now. I make too much and the freezer is full. I am considering having some dinner parties!
5 years ago
Matriarchy: Recipe challenge! My mother gets cheese from a food program. Land O' Lakes Reduced Fat American Cheese Product. WAY too close to Velveeta for my taste. I doesn't seem like real cheese to me. I can't figure out what to do with it, and I have three blocks in the fridge. I tried mac-n-cheese but it came out so... velveeta-ish. I need ideas to use this up! Anyone?
Matriarchy: Today is my 50th birthday. I have a lot of plans for the upcoming year. One of them is to try to transfer most of my 800+ bookmarked recipes to WGE. Yeah, I already have a lot here, but I have a huge backlog. I am going to try to schedule periodic afternoons where I just add recipes for a few hours.
Matriarchy: I've been so darned busy. My mom's dementia is a bit worse. My eldest daughter is graduating from high school and getting ready for college. I am gardening like crazy. But I am still using WGE most days! I found a new PBS cooking show about traditional Mexican food, and I am adding a bunch of new recipes from "Pati's Mexican Table." Made the Chilorio Burritas tonight, served over pan-fried sliced potatoes, and it was great. Trying the Charro Beans later this week. Most of the recipes call for things I usually have on hand, with just one of two new things, or a new seasoning style.Chilorio Burritas
Matriarchy: I am going to try vending food at a local Earth Day festival on Sunday. My theme is simple, healthy, affordable family snacks. Hummus/pita/veggies, pretzels and cheese, apples and bananas, pasta salad, vegetarian wraps, deli pickles. And a little sugar - rice crispy treats, maybe banana bread slices. My teens are helping. If it goes well, I might get a state vending license and look for more festivals and music events.
Matriarchy: Sorry I've been missing. I was getting ready for weight loss surgery. I lost about 40 pounds over the last year, and had a lapband installed on Monday, Valentine's Day. I am now in the recovery period, working my way up from clear liquids, to full liquids, then mushy food, and finally fuller textures. The menu is very boring right now, and features a lot of commercial protein powder shakes. But after that, I will start experimenting more. Many of my old go-to recipes will still be fine. I made curried split pea soup and pureed it super-smooth to eat this week. Better than the canned cream-o-something soup I am allowed to have. Making potato soup tomorrow - part for my family, and part super-pureed for me. It is my intent to continue to eat real food, not the fake-sugar fake-fat stuff the weight loss industry pushes at me.
Matriarchy: On the MLK day of service on the 17th, some friends and I, with our teen kids, are volunteering at an urban farm project. They will be hosting a bunch of kids to help plant seeds in a greenhouse, to later be planted in the farm fields. We are asked to bring food for lunch - healthy food that can be eaten standing up. No peanut products. These will be a pack of bouncy younger children. We were thinking cheese sandwiches, fruit chunks, muffins. Anyone have more suggestions?
Matriarchy: I am suddenly collecting cracker recipes like crazy. Guess I got tired of making cookies. Crackers seem cheap and simple. Also thawing veggie stock to brine another turkey tomorrow night. Trying to think up side dishes that will make it different than Thanksgiving.
Matriarchy: Making vegetable stock and then experimenting with pumpkin/squash soup recipes. I have a LOT of squash - left 5 large squash on the porch and they froze solid, so I have to harvest the seeds and cook/puree the flesh as I bring them in the house to thaw one-by one. I better find a lot more things to do with squash, since it won't all fit in the freezer. Pumpkin Pie at dinner last night, Pumpkin Bread as gifts, Pumpkin Soup to a Girls' Night Out tomorrow, Pumpkin Muffins to church on Sunday.
Matriarchy: I have been exploring a recipe site called Cookstr.com. It appears to be a collection of recipes from professional cooks - mostly excerpts from cookbooks. I wonder if it is a collaboration with publishers that have a lot of older cookbooks in their catalogs - they they affiliate links to places to buy the books. I have found some good recipes (like the Sweet Potato Gratin I recently added). But many have typos - and there are complaints about persistent recipe errors in their forums. I find the search awkward, and there is no way for me to sort, tag, or otherwise organize the recipes I favorite. I do enjoy the cook profiles - they feature some famous chefs, like Marion Cunningham, but I notice she has only 40 recipes from her vast body of work. I don't enjoy the excessive advertising - ads print when you print a recipe, which uses extra paper and ink. I have stopped printing from the site, and instead copy recipes over here to WGE.
Matriarchy: Today, my mom handed me an old newspaper recipe for potato soup. Later, one of my Facebook friends mentioned making potato soup for dinner, and I knew the universe was telling me what to make for dinner. The old recipe made SIX quarts of soup, and that was too much for my over-stuffed fridge, so I made a third of it. Still got more than 2 quarts. The old recipe was pretty bland, too - like liquid mashed potatoes. I perked it up a bit with garlic, cheese, and hot sauce. My mother and vegetarian daughter ate it up, but my spouse and I felt like it needed meat. Then I spotted the kielbasi in the fridge. Sliced and sauteed until it was crispy at the edges, it was perfect with the soup ladled over it. I even had some chives left over from T-Day. My belly is warm and full. Newly-renovated recipe: Potato Soup, Maybe with Kielbasi
Matriarchy: I had read that using homemade pumpkin puree leads to inconsistant pies, because the water content is not as controlled as canned pumpkin. So, I did a pumpkin pie experiment yesterday. I made two identical pies - same ingredients, same crust, same pie pan, even the same mixing bowls. The only difference was the pumpkin. One used a can of Libby's pumpkin, the other used a refilled-canful of local pumpkin I roasted and pureed. Both pies baked in the same amount of time and looked beautiful. The canned product was thicker and the warm canned pie had a more "set" texture, at first. The warm local pie tasted more pumpkin-y and was more melt-in-the-mouth. As they cooler completely, the local pie set up more. Just had some for breakfast. I would have no hesitation about using home-pureed pumpkin in the future. My further pie experiments will all use local pumpkin.
Matriarchy: I am only cooking for 4, but I think I could be easily cook for more without much fuss. I got a 20lb turkey so we would have leftovers. The rest of the prep was simple. Roasted and pureed a huge neck pumpkin last week. Made veggie stock and brined the turkey yesterday. Making pumpkin pies and roasting sweet potatoes this morning. The rest of the stuff - stuffing, green beans, biscuits, and maybe a corn pudding - is just a big dinner. Celeste is making mashed and gravy. Clint is making a sweet potato pie. I make a lot of food from scratch everyday, so this is just a little more. I *could* cook more elaborate food, but then I would not have time to watch movies with the family, and mess around on the internet exchanging "thankfuls" with friends on Facebook.
Matriarchy: I am brining a turkey with the Alton Brown method from the Food Network TV show, "Good Eats." I had to make vegetable stock, and I used Eunice's recipe here on WGE. I am boiling the brine now, and it smells great - I think it's the allspice berries. This is going to be a relaxed day with only 4 people eating, so I don't even have a timetable. Only the turkey really needs advanced prep. I'll make pie in the morning, and slowly get the rest of the dishes ready as the turkey roast. Might make some cocktails that involve apple cider. We will watch movies and get a little tipsy as the day goes on. :-)
Matriarchy: My family usually has T-Day at a huge family potluck, but this year it looks like it will be the four of us at home. I am going to make a turkey. My kids have asked for green beans, mashed potatoes, and biscuits. My 17-yr-old is our expert Mistress of Gravy. I like "potato filling," a local PA Dutch thing that is like a cross between mashed and stuffing. I am on a mission to find the perfect pumpkin pie recipe - made the first attempt this morning. I might have to ask more people to eat with us!
Matriarchy: Still working on getting my "mixed" family to the table together. Daughter made some grits with curried vegetables after school, but I told her to save room for dinner with us. I tried a new bean and potato gratin I just found - I had everything I needed in the pantry - yay! Gave her a big portion with broccoli, and made a round of pork chops for the rest of us to add. We all liked the gratin. Bean and Potato Gratin
Matriarchy: My 17yo daughter is taking a serious run at being a vegetarian. I am working to adapt our daily cooking so that she can eat at leas part of it, so she isn't always cooking separately. I want to keep more "handy ingredients" on hand for her, so she can also cook for all of us at times. She likes texmex, middle-eastern, asian, pizza, pasta. So far, I have: roast garlic in oil, refried beans, batches of roasted vegetables, vegetable stock, pasta and pizza sauce, hummus, pizza dough. We always have a lot of different rice, beans, and pasta. I always have potatoes, onions, and garlic, seasonal fruit & veggies, and a lot of herbs and spices. What other versatile basics should we have?
Matriarchy: Almost-chilly rainy evening. Time to turn on the oven! Roast chicken, peach cobbler, and cauliflower sauteed in garlic oil. My house smells AWESOME! First time for this peach cobbler recipe. I have never had a recipe that asked me to pout boiling water over it, before. But it looks fabulous - sugar-crackly crisp crust with pockets of thick peach loveliness. Everyone else better hurry home, or I will eat it ALL UP! Peach Cobbler
Matriarchy: Hey - The New York Times is running a contest about the best potluck dishes. "Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs of food52.com will test and post a curated list of the very best on Oct. 6. The deadline to get your entries in is Sept. 24, noon E.S.T." Let's see some entries from WGE foodies! Here is the link: What's Your Signature Potluck Dish?
Matriarchy: Anyone use dried chickpeas for hummus? I have always used canned, but dried are cheaper, and lighter to store in the pantry. I can dump a few bags in a jar. I found a recipe that said 3/4 cup of dried would cook up into the equivalent of a 15-oz can. I boiled them for two minutes in a lot of water, then let them soak overnight, then cooked them for half an hour the next day. But when I used the cooled peas to make hummus with my usual recipe, it was decidedly grainier than usual. Tasty, but not so creamy and smooth. Anyone know what I did wrong? Should I cook them longer? Is there just a fundamental difference between dried and canned? We go through more than a quart of hummus each month, so I really want to perfect my recipe, and be able to make it from my pantry at will. Hummus
Matriarchy: I want figure out how to make "canned soup." For instance, to make a cooked concoction, pressure can it in pint jars, and then be able to add water, stock, or milk to have 3-4 cups of soup. Cream of cauliflower or broccoli, for instance, so I can take advantage of that season. I want to see if I can make up the recipe without the dairy, can it as "condensed" soup, and have shelf-stable homemade soup. Anyone doing that?
Matriarchy: We ate all the strawberry jam and apricot preserves I made. None left for winter! I'd better make the most of the peach season.
Matriarchy: Just made a long forum post about Pantry Building. Please add suggestions and resources!
Matriarchy: TIP: I am sure everyone else already knows this, but *I* just discovered it. If you freeze snack-size bags of chopped onion in half-cups, it's really easy to add it to what you are cooking, without getting all onion-y. Chop a couple onions all at once, and cook for weeks. I keep the baggies inside the frozen core of my ice cream maker in the back corner of the freezer, so I can find them.
Matriarchy: Accidentally left a huge turkey thigh in the crockpot when I went to bed! Woke up dreaming of Thanksgiving at 1am. But I might be onto something here. Made marinade out of whole-berry cranberry sauce, Dijon, cayenne, and onions. After about 6 hours on high, it's like pot roast. Have to work on the pan sauce tomorrow - needs salt, pepper, and the fat skimmed. Sage? I started with a recipe in my collection, but it's going someplace else right now. Sweet-n-Spicy Turkey Thighs
Matriarchy: My 13yo loves to make pizza, but will only use canned sauce. Drives me nuts. She doesn't even have a brand preference. Turns her nose up at homemade sauce that everyone else loves. I adapted this recipe from a recipe on the Tasty Kitchen blog. I liked the easy ingredients, but they used a few tablespoons of this and that. I want a recipe that lets me use standard can sizes. A 28-oz can of tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. So, I multiplied and tweaked until it fit that standard. Testing starts tonight. Pizza Sauce #2
Matriarchy: Made a batch of hummus last night. Making a batch of pizza sauce tonight. Found California blackberries and local apricots on sale. Going to make some small batches of jam this weekend. Been eating Ranier cherries right out of the bag this week. And local corn is in. I barely need to "cook" anything. We only turn on the oven for 15 minutes to make pizza.
Matriarchy: Too hot to cook. Heat index going up over 100 today. I have been eating melon, yogurt, sandwiches, tortellini from frozen. Making hard-boiled eggs for tuna salad. Does anyone have go-to recipes for hot days? I just put this chicken recipe in the crockpot to try later tonight: Slow Cooker Island BBQ Chicken
Matriarchy: Been making jam! Got together a group of 8 at my church for a Strawberry Jam Session, and produced 27 pints. Today, I made a batch of Sunshine Jam with a very ripe pineapple. Cooking down some leftover strawberry mash to make some no-pectin preserves. Meadowlark's Sunshine Jam
Matriarchy: OK. so I can't find a brisket. I got two packs of country-style beef ribs. Since they are also intended to braise, I think they might work. And I am doing this in a crockpot, so I can go to a movie without worrying about leaving something on the stove. We will see how it works in 8-10 hours! Passover Brisket
Matriarchy: I have more than 500 recipe bookmarks that I have not yet cataloged on WGE. I am going to start spending 15-30 minutes each day adding recipes, to get through that backlog. As I actually cook them, I will add notes, rate them, and remove the ones I don't like.
Matriarchy: We recently got a Walmart superstore near us. Normally, I am not a Walmart fan. But they are getting better press about their produce lately (see Atlantic article below). But my favorite thing is this frozen pizza dough they get from a NY bakery. We but about 10 at at time, for $1.18 each. There is always dough thawing in our fridge, and we all make our own specialties. No one likes mine as much as I do. I make thick white sauce with Parmesan and a lump of frozen pesto, spread it on pizza dough, and topped it with cheddar and bacon bits - sometimes leftover chicken. But the weirdest was when I spread cold, thick, Ham-n-Bean soup on dough, and sprinkled it with cheddar. I though it was like a handy way to eat bread and soup. Everyone else thought it was gross. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/03/the-great-grocery-smackdown/7904/
Eunice : how are you, Matriarchy? just saw this article and thought of you. "Fresh ricotta in five minutes or less"
Matriarchy: YAY! The nice folks at WeGottaEat gave me a Pro membership for having a ridiculous amount of recipes. LOL... I am posting that on Facebook. Maybe I can introduce more people to the Joy of WGE.
Matriarchy: Time to get back to adding new recipes! I have been using WGE regularly to look up my favs, but not adding much. I starting a new cooking phase. I want to keep cooking real family food from scratch with the best quality ingredients, but I need to lose some weight. I will be going through my most-used recipes and calculating calorie content and portion size. Not giving up food, just dialing it down. Most weight loss plans are built around packaged food and chain restaurant menus, oddly enough. People need to learn to cook, not eat 100-calorie packs of bad cookies!
Eunice : Happy New Year to you, Matriarchy! hope things have quieted down for you a bit for you. it's freezing out here in Chicago!
Matriarchy: Things have been weird in my household, what with the demented mother and the long-distance parenting partner. But he is coming home tonight and we are all going to spend 5 days in a beach house in Delaware with his family. My kitchen is rocking to day - as I am sure many of yours are. Loud music. Stockpots and crockpots bubbling. Things roasting and baking. I wish I could bottle this smell.
Matriarchy: My DH is home for the weekend - the first time I will see him in 2 months, and I won't see him again until Thanksgiving. He has been living on canned food, take-out, and cereal, so I am stuffing him full of home cooking! (Not my only plan for him, of course.) Steak, mashed, real gravy, broccoli, and brownies tonight - fundamental man-food. Breakfast is eggs, cheese grits, scrapple, and toast with homemade peach jam. Lunch is his fav broccoli-cheddar soups, and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Dinner might be homemade pizza. Sunday breakfast is waffles and bacon. Non-stop family favorite food, until he can barely fit back in the bus back to grad school. And some baked goods in his luggage.
Matriarchy: Just made a batch of something I am tentatively calling "All-Purpose Peach Topping. http://wegottaeat.com/matriarchy/recipes/allpurpose-peach-topping
Matriarchy: Birthday prep, today. My 12-yo turns 13 tomorrow. I was going to make her favorite, cheesecake, but their is a local outlet for a national restaurant-quality dessert manufacturer that has their plant in our town. I got a huge Ricotta cheesecake for $8. I can't even buy the ingredients for that. I bought pizza dough from a bakery, and got mozzarella to shred. She likes to make pizza with our homemade sauce. I also roasted squash to puree for pie this morning, and soaked beans to put in the crockpot tomorrow. Need to go stop at out freezer (temporarily living my brother's garage) to get bones to make stock - almost out of my frozen supply. OK - off to make rice crispy treats to take to soccer tonight.
Matriarchy: Oooo... I just put in a pan of Everyday Bread Pudding, with sliced peaches mixed in. I can hardy wait for it to bake. The peaches were so ripe that the skins just about slid off, and the juice dripped off my fingers.
Matriarchy: Interesting NYT article about "crowd-sourcing" recipes: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/dining/23recipes.html
Matriarchy: Made about 150 little cream puffs this morning, from a couple batches of Eunice's Choux Pastry recipe. Now I am waiting for the custard to cool, so I can fill them for a memorial service this afternoon. Out late friend apparently loved the puffs I made for a church event a few years ago, so her daughter asked me to make some for the reception after the service. RIP, Isabelle - bet they serve cream puffs every day, wherever you are.
Matriarchy: That vintage Vita-Mix blender of my Mom's DOES work. I just pureed a batch of Curried Split Pea Soup from overnight in the crockpot. Lovely velvety green with chunks of soft carrot and deep pink smoked ham. Teeniest bit of bite from curry and lots of black pepper. Mmmm.
Matriarchy: Oh ho! I have been invited to a family bake-off! My husband's family (who I have only recently begun to know) is renting a beach house in Delaware for Thanksgiving weekend. Us (me, hub, two teen girls), two of his aunts, and a couple that is friends with the aunts. His aunts are the younger sisters of his late mother - they are like having two mothers-in-law. Another uncle from California is also invited, but he has had a minor heart attack, and might not be able to travel. So, at least 8 people, at this point. And they want to try deep-frying a turkey! My mind reels with possibilities. I think my daughters and I can blow these aunts out of the water. But is that the best strategy? And let's not forget that hub makes a kick-ass Coconut Sweet Potato Pie. The baking skills of the other couple are not known to me. This weekend, I will be making about 200 hundred tiny cream puffs to take to a memorial service for an old friend. Good practice for my pate-chou skills. I think I will experiment with savory puffs - maybe fill them with eggs and cheese, or creamed chipped beef for breakfast.
Matriarchy: That pesto from a few days ago - still working! I found I had no pine nuts or any other nut close at hand. Today, I reaasembled all the ingredients, loading it into Mom's food processor, and pushed the button. Nothing. Nothing in a different electrical outlet. It's dead. So, I scrape the pest stuff into the vintage 14-speed chrome Waring "Super Robot Blendor." It starts up, but then screeches to a halt and starts producing copious amounts of black electrical smoke. Dead. I'm eyeing the vintage Vita-Mix blendor, but I don't have high expectations.
Matriarchy: Sorry for the long absence. We've moved in with my mother for year, to organize and renovate her house so she can stay in it. Cooking has been difficult this summer, and often performed in other people's kitchens. I didn't garden or can. Lots of sandwiches and too many prepared foods. But, I am starting to do things again. Making a big batch of pesto for the freezer today. Hoping to bake banana bread and cookies later tonight. I want to send care packages to a few people.
Matriarchy: Highlights of the week: 3Qt Broccoli Cheddar Soup, 2Qt yogurt, 2Qt applesauce, chicken Caesar salad with honey-mustard steamed carrots, lots of oatmeal breakfasts, roast turkey thigh for sandwiches. DD12 made chocolate chip cookies, and kept us supplied with stove-top popcorn for movie watching. DD16 made good burrito filling out of a package of freezer-burned meatloaf mix we found in the bottom of the freezer - way to reduce food waste!
Matriarchy: We've added my 82-year-old mother to our household, and are working on developing new cooking and eating habits that involve her in our kitchen life. She is an experienced low-fat eater and a great lover of fruit and vegetables. I think she will be good at helping to keep the fridge stocked with cut-up summer fruit and veg for snacking. She is already great at helping to keep the sink clear of dishes! The challenge will be adjusting our cooking habits, which are not particularly low-fat or low-salt, to her dietary needs. I made Broccoli-Cheddar Soup last night, with Kraft's new lower-fat 2% white cheddar. It was a success - but really, was that a big fat reduction? The recipe uses butter, half-and-half, and cheese. Perhaps the key will be moderate consumption for things like that - served with a big salad and a piece of whole-grain bread.
Eunice : ahem...just so you know, you're still queen, Matriarchy. you scored 146 hits on the last tallied full day and your highest on April 9th was 353 hits! pretty much blew everybody outta' the water.
Matriarchy: Hey! I will be back, but I have some work to do first. Unfortunately, my mom had a mini-stroke yesterday. She is recovering nicely, but we are scurrying to speed up our house-transition plans so we can keep a somewhat closer eye on her. It's gonna be a heck of a summer. I am still trying to at least get some strawberry jelly canned this month.