Friday, June 30, 2006

They're GONE!

Yay! I'm still in recovery though- was very stressful. Almost came to bad words with mom. Am still trying to relax but my back still hurts from all the tension. Have massage booked for Saturday.
Said to boy from friend, "Now I understand why she lives so far away from them."
More forthcoming.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Parental visit

They're here! Oh help me. They landed early- go figure that. So my parents are in town and staying with us. It's going to be a looooooong week. I love my parents but there's a reason I live across the country from them. Really. Sigh.

Friday, June 16, 2006

We're Pre-Approved (sort of)!!

It's conditional on getting verification documents and stuff but I can get a loan! The boy has NO credit, none. But I have ok credit. So yay! But with caution. I have a lot of questions and am not sure if we want to go with this or look for a better interest rate or not. I'm asking the lender tons of questions. We might have to wait. I'm ok with that. At least I know it's possible to get a loan!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

House Hunting

Oh god. We decided to buy a house. Yeah, that was an impulse. I'm the one who has to start talking to lenders because I'll be the primary borrower. My credit isn't very good but there are other ways to do it. (The boy doesn't really have any. Hasn't helped since he's the most gung-ho about this. You'd have thought he would have done more...) Plus we have a small downpayment. We've seen houses we like ranging from 103,000 to 135,000. That's doable for sure. Oh god we're going to buy a house- or at least try!
I get to email and call potential lenders today! Tis all about the shopping around!
Our friends gave us the name of their mortgage broker, so we're going to try her. I figure it couldn't hurt. Yikes!

Pan Bagnats

These sandwiches are so good. Make sure to really press them together. That’s what makes the sandwiches special. It’s sort of like a non-cooked panini. You can use any other meat with this and even go vegetarian. This is just a base. You can make this sandwich any way. (I also HATE avocado so I leave it out. So you'll also never get a good guacamole recipe from me.) Italian twist would possibly include mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and maybe a balsamic vinaigrette.

Pans Bagnats a la Grecque
4 to 6 sandwiches
These sandwiches are a specialty in Nice, France. Pan bagnat is local dialect for pain baigne , meaning "soaked bread." Traditionally, small round loaves (boules) of crusty country bread are hollowed out and stuffed with tuna, tomatoes, hard-cooked eggs, anchovies and vinaigrette.
This version takes in a bit more of the Mediterranean by including Greek elements. The sandwiches can be assembled a few hours ahead; the crusty country breads will absorb juices without getting soggy. If you opt to keep the components separate and assemble the sandwiches on site, you can get away with a less crusty bread, such as pita pockets.
2 or 3 country bread boules split in half vertically, insides scooped out (leave a margin of about 1/2 inch)
24 ounces cooked lamb, tuna or chicken, or omit the protein and boost the amount of coleslaw for vegetarian sandwiches
Greek Goddess Dressing (recipe follows)
Mediterranean Coleslaw (see recipe)
To make vegetarian sandwiches (6 servings), slather the insides of the hollowed-out boules with Greek Goddess Dressing, then fill with Mediterranean Coleslaw.
Per serving: 480 calories, 17 g protein, 58 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 33 mg cholesterol, 6 g saturated fat, 1,440 mg sodium, 9 g dietary fiber

To assemble the sandwiches, slather the insides of the hollowed-out boules with Greek Goddess Dressing. Then build the sandwiches by filling them with layers of lamb, tuna or chicken; coleslaw; and dressing (or just coleslaw and dressing for a vegetarian version) so the flavors blend well. The sandwiches can be assembled 2 hours ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to transport.

Greek Goddess Dressing
Makes 2 cups
This also makes a great dip. It's a takeoff on tzatziki , a Greek cucumber yogurt sauce.
1 medium seedless cucumber, cut into thirds (not peeled)
1 medium zucchini, cut into thirds
1 scallion, white and tender green parts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
Two 6-ounce containers plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Flesh of 1 avocado, chopped
Grate the outsides of the cucumber pieces, stopping before you get to the seeds if there are any. Over a sink, squeeze the grated cucumber tightly in your hands to remove as much water as possible. Place the grated cucumber (there should be about 1/2 cup) in a medium resealable container. Repeat with the zucchini. In a mini food processor or blender, pulse the scallion, parsley, garlic, 6 ounces of the yogurt, salt and pepper to taste until liquefied as much as possible. Add the avocado and puree until smooth. Add the puree to the cucumber and zucchini and stir in the remaining 6 ounces of yogurt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chicken Filling
6 servings
Poaching is a quick and easy method to make moist chicken for these sandwiches or any dish calling for cooked chicken.
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 quart chicken stock, such as Kitchen Basics, or more as needed (may substitute low-sodium chicken broth)
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the chicken breasts in a medium pot and add enough stock to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and let the chicken sit in the covered pot for 20 minutes. When cool, if not using right away, transfer the chicken and stock to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate (the stock helps to keep the chicken moist). When ready to assemble the sandwiches, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and add salt and pepper to taste.

Mediterranean Coleslaw
Makes 8 cups
This slaw is Greco-Nicoise. In addition to being a required ingredient in nicoise salad, French beans take the place of salad greens nicely because they provide a pleasant, colorful crunch and they don't wilt. Be careful about adding salt; the olives and feta cheese have plenty already. This recipe yields enough to use in the sandwiches and still have some left for a side dish.
1/2 pound trimmed French beans, cut in half
Dash of salt
1 pound shredded coleslaw mix
1 pint halved grape tomatoes
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Greek
Place the beans in a resealable food storage bag with the salt. Seal the bag three-quarters of the way and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Rinse the beans in cold water until they are cool and place them in a large bowl. Add the coleslaw mix, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, lemon juice, vinaigrette, thyme and oregano and toss together well. Transfer to a resealable food storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Yeah, enchiladas can be good for you, but I like mine covered in cheese and sour cream and served with rice and refried beans. That’s not healthy but it sure is good.
A basic enchilada recipe is rather easy too, especially if you use canned sauce and jazz it up a bit.

1-2 cans enchilada sauce (Hatch is best)
adobo powder
1 can chipotle in adobo sauce (optional)
1 onion, diced
blend of shredded cheeses such as Monterey, Colby, and cheddar
shredded chicken or ground beef cooked and seasoned as you would for tacos.
Corn tortillas

Open the cans of sauce and pour them in a bowl. Add in the adobo powder and any other spices you might like. The sauce is already flavorful, but adding stuff never hurts.
In a large bowl, add diced up chipotles. Add however many you like to taste. Mix in the onion and half the cheeses. Mix in the meat.
Soften the tortillas in the microwave so that they bend without breaking.
Heat the oven to 350.
Spray the bottom of the baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and spread some enchilada sauce along the bottom.
Place a spoonful or two of the meat mixture into the center of the tortilla. Roll into a cigar like formation, and place in the baking dish.
Repeat until you are out of tortillas or meat mixture.
Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with cheese.
Bake until cheese has melted and is bubbly, about 20-30 minutes.
Serve with Mexican rice and refried beans. Cover enchiladas in sour cream and guacamole if you wish.


My recipe style is very laid back. When I post recipes that are mostly of my own doing, they're not specific. I don't cook with measuring spoons or cups. Sometimes I'll use the measuring cup, but that's mostly with rice and a few other dishes. Baking is of course different, and you need to be way more specific with the measurements. But with cooking, I have a hard time measuring.
Often times when writing measurements down, I make up the amounts. It's about how much I use but I'm never quite sure.
Everything is really to taste, as that's subjective. I'm not a chef, so I don't have to make sure things turn out the same every time. I don't think I could do that very well anyway.
So just take my recipes and make them your own. Most of them are suggestions anyway. If you don't like something, don't use it. There are plenty of substitutes out there. Use what you like, but remember the technique. That's the important part.

the lazy cook

Chicken and Tomato Sandwich with garlic oil

Sorry I’ve been so busy lately. The blog has been the last thing on my mind. What with the sudden house hunting decision, the imminent arrival of my parents (one week yikes!), and a zillion other things, life has been crazy.
But I’ve been eating well and making yummy stuff. I’ve been keeping it rather simple but that’s always a plus when the temperature has already decided to remain in the 90s. The high 90s I might add.
One of the easy recipes I made recently is a simple chicken and tomato sandwich. I used American cheese because I like it from time to time, but any other would go well. (Ok that and we were out of everything else.) Really. Use what you like.

Chicken and Tomato Sandwich

1 baguette, cut into sandwich sized pieces
1 chicken breast per person, less if desired
Italian salad dressing
Red onion, sliced
Tomato, sliced
Basil or arugula, optional
Olive oil

Marinate the chicken in the salad dressing for about 1 hour. Just enough for some of the flavor to permeate.
Cook the chicken breast however you wish and let cool.
While the chicken is cooking, place about 4 T of olive oil in a pan. Chop up the garlic and place in the oil. Heat on low to infuse the oil. Keep it really low-barely a flame. This will help to keep the garlic from burning. This takes about 10 minutes at the most.
Assemble the sandwich. I brush the garlic oil on one side of the bread. On that, I top it with the chicken, sliced or whole. Then place the onions and tomatoes. Top with cheese and arugula. For a twist, stick it in the toaster oven to make it well, toasty. You can make it a panini by using a press or by heating a heavy skillet and placing a slightly smaller heavy skillet on top of the sandwich. A foil covered brick works really well.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Things Not About Food

Head hurts today. Got whacked in head yesterday with a tiny pot by friend’s 1 year old. Yeah. I have a lovely bump and it’s very tender. We were playing and my head just got in the way. Oh well. That’s what happens with the little ones. He’s cute and a HUGE flirt so it’s all good.

Cat is her normal self. Got upset yesterday because she couldn’t go out. (No one was going to be home and since being outside means keeping the door open a bit, just no.) She meowed a lot and tried to beg her way out by being all cute and affectionate but it didn’t work. I saw through her. I do want another kitten though.

Boy has started thinking that maybe moving to Houston wouldn’t be so bad. Not sure how I feel. Rents are slightly higher and I might be able to find a better paying job but I took a quick look and found mixed results. All I know is that he needs out of the restaurant business. His job isn’t bad but he can’t move up. Found a job that would be a great fit but he doesn’t have much in the way of office skills. I told him to come up with a resume and a cover letter and I’ll make it sound good. It’s a job I’d like too, but it has more marketing to it than I’m good at.

I love Austin. Not sure if I want to move but if I don’t find a better job… We are doing tons better than we were in DC on less but it would be nice to make purchases and not have to worry at the end of the month. Some of that is my spending- I love to shop. Some is the boy’s need to keep picking up the tab for everyone. (Really time to stop that. We can’t keep paying for his brother. I know he doesn’t have much money but still.) Other is just that we need to cut back on stuff. We can do better. We should be doing really well at the end of the month. But we’re not. I’d love to get out of debt. I’m just not sure moving to another city is the solution. Boy needs to get a better job. So do I. I just hate moving from job to job. But I have put in a year here. And it’s not what I want.

All this frustration. It’s not necessary.

Gym news: I’ve lost 12 pounds! Woohoo! I do spend 5 days a week there so something should be happening.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I made this treat a few days ago. It’s already gone. It’s that good. It’s super-easy and tastes wonderful. The batter becomes this sweet-buttery thing that goes all through the blueberries. Of course you can use other berries with this too. Peaches would work also. I wouldn’t use strawberries alone; maybe try it with rhubarb for a contrast in sweetness.

Blueberry Cobbler

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour melted butter into a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and milk. Pour evenly over the butter.
In a bowl combine berries, water and sugar. Spoon evenly over batter, but do not stir.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Batter rises to become buttery top crust.