Back on Track… I hope!

Life has been amazing the last year or so… very busy and very full of fun, family and food. This last year brought my beloved boys moving out and leaving me with a terrible case of empty nest, a wonderful new job as a visiting nurse which has left me fulfilled in so many ways, and it has brought me a wonderful new addition to our lives in the form of my grandson Dylan. He is the joyous oooops who has brought so much happiness and smiles to everyone who meets him. DSC06264
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And Rob and I have been working on weight loss..
At Nicoles Wedding

And Nik and Aaron might have gotten older but they haven’t grown up… (HORRIBLE PIC Of them but it makes me laugh)
NIk and Aaron being Nik and Aaron

I found a couple of posts in my drafts section that I will be posting in a day or so. I have decided that I don’t need all the pics in each post and that was part of what was taking me so long to get posts up, then I lost track of doing it.. blah blah. So anyway, time to get back on track. Cant wait to show you what we have been cooking..

But now I’m back…

No not from outer space! HA  I have had a couple people from work ask about my blog and a couple other people have asked about recipes so I am going to try posting atleast once a week.  I might not have as many pictures as before.. or even have pictures but I still loved posting my recipes and the fun I have in making them.   So this weekend I am going to be making some roasted brined chickens and using the leftovers to make chicken and dumplings tomorrow.  But todays recipe I am going to work on is called Double Coffee Browned Butter Blondies.   And I am using the coffee nibs we got in Honduras on our cruise as a special add on.

I will post the recipe tomorrow probably with atleast one picture but I wanted to let you know what is happening in the world of the Part Time Housewife.   Lets see, Aaron is in his second semester in college studying Landscape and Horticulture, Nik just started EMT school right after our cruise, and Rob is still waiting for his clinicals to start.  Oh and he has a new love affair with the Shark Steam Cleaner.  I should be jealous but the floors look better than they ever have, so I’m not!  HA

I am still in school, taking Leadership and Management in Nursing.  We just read 22 pages on budgeting, kill me now!  Nursing is going good. I do love it very much.  It is hard and I leave many days feeling inadequate but I am doing my best so that is all I can ask of myself I guess.

All in all life is good, interesting and busy.  We finally took the boys on that cruise we have been talking about for 2 years  and that was amazing.  I have to finish my Facebook posting of pictures today and work on our memory books!  Funny how life just gets away from you!  Maybe I will work on that now while the butter is defrosting for the blondies…. sounds like a plan.

and here is a pic of us on our trip

Catch you on the flip side.

Done, Done, Done.. well not quite but close enough!!

So I am done the horrible part of nursing school.. the core and clinicals.  I had pinning last week and graduation was on Saturday.  I can say I am relieved.. though I still need to take the boards and find a job.. oh and take the online classes for the bachelors…. but that is all.  HEHE  SO now my life as a nurse can start.  The good days/the bad days/ the uncertainty until I find a job.. and the joy of helping people. 

I want to thank all of those that helped me get here.. from family to friend and all in between.  To the few subscribers I have who read my recipes and blog and tell me how much they like it.. You helped me deal with school.   AND i will be able to post and get going on the 10 recipes I have pics of but didnt have time to write up.  Thanks especially to my loving husband Rob and my sons Nik and Aaron.. without you three I really would have not been able to do this..  Love you!

First day……….
Pinning night

Scared, Excited and Nervous

The next 6 weeks are going to be so big for me and my family.  We are having 3 of us graduate, one of us get his license, and take our first real family “vacation” ever.   I am so scared for school to be over and the real work to start.  I will be graduating 2 short weeks from today.  The boys in just 6.  Life is changing and it is exciting.  As I have watched the kids grow and mature I have been in awe at the way they seem to try to take things in stride.  I would like to think that will serve them well! 

Rob finished radiation this week, unless they come up with something funky there are no more treatments that should come out of the woodwork for us.  LOL  He is in good spirits but still not feeling too well. 

Now the job hunt starts.  I have already had one HR director elude that I shouldnt bother to apply at her facility since they dont take new grads.. no experience, no job..   Keep your fingers crossed!  I will be a great nurse.. just need to get in the door.

Thanks to all that have supported me.  It means the world..

Happy Changes!!!

Boys Driving

So Aaron got his license this past week.  It has been an adjustment.  The first time I saw him get in a car and drive without me was, well an eye opener.  They are not boys anymore.  They are men.  Nik will be driving soon too.  I can say that “I am not ready for this” but in reality, I am.  I have been preparing for this for years, I have been teaching them to be independent and think for themselves.  Teaching them to cook.  Teaching them to make good decisions based on critical thinking and forethought.  I know that they will do well in the world. 

The whole driving thing is a double edged sword.  It opens things up for us.  I wont be the only one who can run errands.  It will give the three of them some freedom while I am stuck in school, but now they are more indepedent.  And they wont need me as much.

I said I was ready for this, not that I would like it.

Use and Care for a Mortar and Pestle

I love my mortar.  Not sure why.  It sat in my kitchen for years and was not used.  It moved with me to 4-5 new places and never was used.  Then I married Rob.  He asked why I didnt use it, I had no intelligent reply so I started using it.  I can honestly say that it is only used for a few things but now that I am branching out in my cooking I will be using it for more. 

The task we use it for most is grinding up pepper and other spices.  I love how it smells now, all warm and inviting like I am in a spice shop.  I used it recently in my meatballs recipe and promised to show you how to use it and how to clean it.   So here goes.

Use, is easy.  You use it to grind up pepper, cinnamon stick, or to muddle other dried spices into powder.  I use it to ground up my oregano, basil and other spices if i dont want alot of flaky bits.  But Aaron will demonstrate with grinding pepper.

Cast of Characters

First take your prescribed amount needed.  Say you need 1 tbsp of pepper.  I would measure out ab0ut 1 1/2 tbsp of peppercorns and put them in the mortar.
Steadily apply pressure to start breaking them up a bit.
Then wrap a towel or a washcloth around the pestle and holding it down you can start really pounding on the peppercorns.

Swirling motions work as well.  Once you have gotten most of them cracked and ground a bit, you can take off the washcloth and then finish up to the fineness you need. 

Clean up was always one of the reasons I didnt use it often, the flavors would mix cause I wasnt cleaning it correctly.  Again my dear darling smart husband corrected me on that.   You clean it with uniodized salt.

Start with putting a tablespoon or two of salt in the mortar.
Grind it around all the surface that needs to be cleaned.

And grind and grind until it is a powder…..

Empty and then repeat.  Its that simple.  I use this for when I am making large batches of salsa and it requires 3 tbsp of pepper.  I dont like it already ground, you cannot taste the spice to it, it is just there but when you grind it yourself.. the warmth and the smell permeates the house. 

I would like to thank Aaron and Nik who are generally my mortar and pestle men!  I can say that I dont know too many kids out there who can use one.. leave it to my boys to know how. LOL  Though Millie says she would like to learn but she has no thumbs.  Look at her.. she wants to learn..

Boys to Men

It isnt just a boy band from the 90s.  It is my life right now.  My boys are 17 and 1/2.  They are not my little ones anymore.  I am having a hard time with this.  When they were born, they were early, sick and all mine.  Without going into the drama and heartache that brought them to this world lets just say that we were a match made for each other.  We were the Three Musketeers.

Those of you that know me outside of the cyber world you can attest to how close I am with them.  It was just the three of us for many years.  For 13 years we were just the three of us.  As they got older that Three Muskeeters analogy became more and more apropos.  I was Aramis, the self preclaimed boss, the one who had a plan and took control.   Aaron was Athos, a quiet whit that came out when you knew him.  His humor is generally underplayed but still there.  Then Nik was Porthos.  He was a good Porthos.  Large laugh, bright infectious smile and always finding fun in things.  Even if no one else fully understood it.  

We did everything together.  I took them grocery shopping with me and we did laundry together and I was always eager to put them in situations to teach them how to behave.  See it was just me, and them.  There was two of them and one of me.  So I had to be incontrol or they would have taken over!  I know basic math.  I may have be bigger than they were but they had strength in numbers!  I knew if I didnt make sure they knew who was in charge I was in trouble.

That is where cooking came in.  Cooking can be a great way to teach life.  Cooking has many aspects and much diversity.  Beside the types of food and the style the techniques add to learning about life.  Take baking.. it is a chemical reaction so you need to be precise (to a certain point) or you will end up with something inedible.  As you become more proficient you can learn how to tweak your recipe.  This is how some aspects of life are.. it needs to happen a certain way or you will have a disaster but once you have the basics down you can learn how to think outside the box, you are still following the basic premise but you can make it your own.  Stovetop cooking is a bit more free, you can play with flavors and textures and while it may not always taste good, you are have a higher possibility of it atleast being edible, maybe not palatable but atleast you aren’t making a mess.  Stovetop cooking is like being a kid and having play time.  Baking is more like the adult where you have rules and you learn what they are.

I started the boys cooking lessons when they were about 6.  We started off with the basics, PB&J and now to cook an egg.  Then worked up to macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes.  We took on lasagna and the architecture of making a meal that built upon itself, and french toast and pies.  Now at 17 they can cook, and bake and can jam and set a mean table.  They may need a recipe card for somethings but they know the basics.  Some lessons were taught and learned in the kitchen, some out in the world.    I tried to take them from boys to men in just 17 short years.    I am hoping that these lessons in the kitchen will transfer over to their life.