Monday, July 20, 2009

Making Dinner With Nothing

I'm not exactly a high-class chef, but I do homemake 99% of my meals and today I feel like making a list of things I make when there's nothing in the fridge. Seriously, these recipes have saved me dozens of times.

Chop up vegetables, shrimp, etc. to desired size. If you're using potatoes, carrots, radishes, etc., make sure they're thin enough to cook all the way through. In a small bowl mix enough flour and water to make a pretty thin batter. Coat all your vegetables with batter then deep fry in oil. Serve with white rice and a side of soy sauce while they're still crispy.

Egg Custard Pie
This is perfect for when I'm desperately craving something sweet and there isn't a single piece of candy to be found in the house. All you need is eggs, milk, and sugar (there's a recipe for it in every cookbook.) I usually keep some store-bought pie crusts in the freezer, but if you don't have one, all you need is flour, shortening, and water.


Make a roux by sauteing chopped onions and garlic in a pot with a few tablespoons of butter, then mix in a handful of flour. Fill the pot halfway with water (or with milk for a cream stew) then add in whatever you can find in your kitchen. Beef, potatoes, and carrots are ideal but I've also gone with chopped up cabbage, leftover frozen broccoli, corn, green beans, and mushrooms. Add in some beef or chicken stock/bouillon in whatever form you happen to have, whichever one you think would match your ingredients better. I keep a jar each of beef and chicken "Better Than Bouillon" in the fridge and they are AWESOME. First of all, they are the only items of their kind with no MSG, and they last forever because one teaspoon is equal to a can of broth.

Casserole Thing

If you have a decent amount of potatoes, or if you're sack of potatoes is starting to sprout or get rubbery, then you can make a casserole. Just peel and chop them up, then throw chopped whatever else you can find that is meat or vegetable in with the potatoes. Mix everything with a few generous spoonfuls of sour cream in an oven-safe dish. If you're lucky, you can locate some cheese to sprinkle on top. Bake in the oven for a while, until the top looks light brown and somewhat appetizing.

Eggless Pancakes

Next time you think pancakes are out of the question because you're out of eggs, think again. I make pancakes without eggs all the time and my husband actually likes them better that way because they melt in your mouth better. Seriously, just use your favorite pancake recipe and leave out the eggs. Usually all you need is flour, a little sugar, baking powder, some oil or butter, and milk. Sometimes I even use water instead of milk when we're out, although admittedly it tastes way better with milk. For syrup I just boil tons of sugar with water for a while and add some chopped up fruit. Or if you don't want to bother with the extra hassle (or dishes), just serve your pancakes with butter and jam.

Fried Egg

Sometimes I remember that an egg makes a great side dish in and of itself. I just fry it to my desired doneness and eat it on the side of white rice. It tastes great with salt and pepper or a little bit of soy sauce.

So I wish I could have kept this post from being the most droning, boring post ever but I hope you made it through. I at least enjoyed writing it, as food is one of my favorite things ever. I swear, all day long I think about what I'm going to make for dinner.

Any other favorite meal ideas using only leftover items in the fridge?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is way popular with kids right now so I picked up the first volume and read it.

Can I say, I loved it! I was laughing out loud the whole way through. The only other book that has ever done that to me was some Dave Barry book -- probably Dave Barry Does Japan. Lucky for me, I get to work in the elementary school library teaching kids to read during summer school, and that place is a treasure trove of cool books. You have to be careful though -- there are tons of new kids books coming out with pretty, tempting covers but a lot of the stories are practically exactly the same as already existing stories. This Wimpy Kid series, however, is fresh and the author's humor is hilarious in a surprisingly non-cheesy way. It is illustrated with cute comics drawn by the narrator, and all the words have the appearance of being hand-written on lined journal paper. I highly recommend it.

PLUS the cover is pretty.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sunday Lesson

Yesterday at church I made an origami cube out of the sacrament program and gave it to a little boy who was sitting in front of us. Good move -- he got much more use out of it than we would have. We entertained ourselves with watching him repeatedly flick it across the empty chair next to him, sometimes making it ricochet off of his hand or a hymn book. Every once in a while he would turn to his dad and whisper, "I already made 71 points!" or, "Two times out of four I got holes!" Sometimes I am so jealous of what goes on in kids' minds.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Help Wanted

Josh gave me his iPod Shuffle and I need to update my music library... badly. It hasn't been touched for probably five years or so. The problem is, I hardly ever listen to the radio or anything so I have no idea what kinds of songs and artists are out there these days. I need recommendations... please help!

My favorite albums to listen to are:

Damien Rice -- "O"
Jewel -- "Pieces of You" (Note: I do not like her other CDs.)
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova -- "Once" Soundtrack

I like mellow, singer-songwriter styles with acoustic guitar and raw vocals. Cellos and stuff in the background are cool too. Know of anythig out there I would like?