Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: July 2013 (page 1 of 2)

Southern Culinary Satisfaction

Of all breadlike confections, I probably miss a dish of biscuits and gravy the most (with the category of “sandwiches” a close second in line. Followed by the cookie segment). In my 30 years of eating experience, I’ve found the best B&G when eating at places with the dirtiest floors. Seriously. So when we had breakfast at a local lake dive (complete with a bug in the sugar jar), I couldn’t resist. It resulted in the anticipated “bread head”, complete with carb-induced sleep coma and yucky gut. It was an all-around poor (albeit delicious) decision on my part. 

I returned home determined to find a way to consume the classic dish in a way that doesn’t make me want to hibernate on a couch for 14 hours. This morning, Attempt #1 yielded fantastic results. 
First, the Gravy Intake Device. Biscuits are pretty much out of the question because they’re sure to make me feel like crap and the gluten free imitations are straight up BAD. Dry, weird texture in your mouth, often with an aftertaste. Perhaps if I hadn’t had a biscuit in a year it wouldn’t be so bad, but I’ve cheated just enough to know what I’m missing. 
I settled on the potato. Bob Evans himself often serves his B&G with a side of home fries and any good glutton knows to pour the extra gravy over those, too. So last night while prepping dinner, I sliced up some red potatoes, tossed with olive oil and a few spices (paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, seasoned salt) and baked at 430 for just under an hour. Honestly, after turning off the oven I forgot about them, so I left them in the cold oven overnight. To cover any legal liabilities, I don’t recommend it. But so far we’ve not encountered any food-borne illness. 
This morning I tossed the taters in the frying pan (I would prefer cast iron, but it was in use for the gravy, so non-stick sufficed) over medium-low with a bit more oil to fry. This is the secret to good hash brown potatoes, the double cook. I’ve heard you can cook them in the microwave as the pre-cook option, but I was already prepping dinner last night and I find this saves me time in the AM when I’m not always at the top of my game. 
On to the second obstacle: milk-free gravy. Paula Deen just puked a little in her mouth reading that. Let’s face it, the alternative milk selections weren’t made for cooking with large amounts. A splash here and there will suffice, but 2 cups is a lot of non-authentic milk taste to overcome. But I have the secret:
Vanilla-flavored, UNSWEETENED Almond Milk. 
And pepper. Lots of pepper. 
Also, a phone tutorial from KLR helps the outcome. It resulted in a creamy sausage gravy, perfectly flavored without a coconuty aftertaste that plagued previous attempts. Praise Jesus. 
H Boy ate 2 bowls (second on he didn’t even bother with potatoes). Once again, the Murphy’s Law of New Recipes meant that when experimenting, you never have enough. 
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These are the days of our lives

I believe that when I look back on the days of raising my littles, I won’t necessarily go to the memories of big-deal vacations or lavish birthday party events, but rather I’ll savor the days like today. Not perfect, but really good. 

We worked. We washed cars, mowed lawns and scrubbed toilets. 
We played. We dug in the sandbox, played “campfire” and “boat”. 
We rested. 
We visited with neighbors, poolside. We swam.  
We ate well. We grilled and fried a family favorite (fried green tomatoes). 
We harvested our first head of cabbage from the garden and transformed it into cole slaw, aka “H Boy’s favorite salad.” 
We cleaned up and wore dresses. 
We participated in community events. We saw friends and introduced the baby. 
We danced at the outdoor concert. 
We stayed up late, caught lightning bugs and saw an end-of-day rainbow. 
We rocked the baby. 
We said “I love you.” 
We were thankful, appreciative and humbled that we can lead such a life and have days such as these.
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Back in the Saddle

While away at the lake last weekend, several of us – yours truly included – succumbed to a brief bout of a flu bug (by this I mean a stomach virus. Not Influenza. Pet peeve #17.) Makes for a pleasant vacay, right? I slept what felt like 21 of 24 hours, but seeing how my general nocturnal cycles were a bit disrupted for 8 days prior, I figure I nursed a bit of of a Birth Hangover in there as well. Fortunately, on the whole, the bug seems short lived. 

Imagine how I lept for joy when JJ rolled out of bed at 5am to prop himself over the toilet. 
So today served as my return to Solo Mom Glory, navigating Newbornland life of sleeping / eating / changing every 3 hours alongside a 3-on-1 defensive situation. Complete with a pre-holiday grocery trip and a post-vacation-before-repacking laundry endeavor. 
Not to mention normal life of feeding*, cleaning up after and refereeing the 3 eldest. Who had just returned from an extended time away of late bedtimes, early mornings and generally getting what they wanted so that mom and dad could enjoy some R&R. (What? You want to jump in the lake? Make sure you plug your nose. Leap from the yard toys onto intertubes? Knock yourself out. But not literally. No hospital trips, please.) 
I believe my exact thought, circa 6pm, was, “what do I have in my fridge that I can add vodka to?”
So, go ahead and judge away… before bedtime I gave each of the kids a taste of the cupcakes a neighbor brought over (Oh, my The Cakery!) and told them that if I had to go into their rooms to tell them to be quiet and go to sleep I would eat every. last. one. Tonight. 
And I totally would. They would pair nicely with my pinot grigio. 
*Don’t be too impressed. Feeding in this case involved buying a pound of cold deli turkey, slicing a pepper and scooping out leftover salads onto whatever clean plates I could find in the drawer. 
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