Thursday, December 18, 2008

Put on your aprons!

I have recently fallen back in love with my slow cooker. Not that I ever really fell out of love with it, but my stupid tiny kitchen makes it tough to store it, so I had been keeping it in my pantry where I would often forget about it's existence. So when I finally did some seriously kitchen cleaning, cleaning so serious it included throwing out ALL of the plastic food storage and the 3,792 lids I had been keeping for said plastic containers. I bought one very nice set of rubbermaid storage containers and that's it, the rest are history! So anyway, this massive cleaning has freed up space in my kitchen cabinet for my slow cooker and now that I can see it, I think to use it much more often.

As any of you who really know me know, I'm a cook, not a baker. I don't measure; I toss and throw and dash and dab until things taste good. Great for when I'm cooking, not so great for when I'm trying to replicate that awesome meal I made three weeks ago. I don't have the discipline or patience to bake, I'm all about the throwing stuff together and calling it a meal. Not that the ample men in my house ever complain, but sometimes I regret not knowing what the hell I just did. I get into mad scientist mode and before the balsamic vinegar scent is out of the air I've forgotten what I used to make the dish. This became abundantly clear last year when I attempted to contribute recipes for our ASA fundraiser cookbook. Me, one of the best cooks I know, was stymied for recipes. Oh, I managed to contribute my fair share (about 20, I think) but it occurred to me that maybe my life would be easier if I started writing these things down.

Now add to that my new favorite online toy, springpad, which has a place for just this sort of thing (recipes, shopping lists, meal planning, etc) and I have newfound motvation to keep track of my culinary exploits. So, dear blog reader, I present to you the first in what is hopefully a series of "what I am cooking today" posts in hopes that we all will benefit from my desire to become more organized.

Mexican Mac n' Mmmmmm
(forgive the naming, I can't promise they will get better)

1 1/2 lbs browned ground beef, drained (i browned w/onions, basil & oregano)
2 cans condensed tomato soup
2 c. milk
2 cans black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
2 T. Taco Seasoning
2 boxes Macaroni & Cheese (uncooked including cheese powder)
1/2 c. velveeta cheese, cubed
1/2 c. shredded colby-jack cheese

Mix all the ingredients in slow cooker, stir thouroughly. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Now, I will put the disclaimer here that I've only just put this in the slow cooker 37 minutes ago, so I'm guessing on the time based on my past experiences. I'll let you know my thoughts on it tomorrow.

Now that I've gotten all that off my chest, let me share some pretties with you. My favorite Ravelry group, the Harrisburg Sock Knitters has once again had another of our wonderful exchanges. I was lucky enough to have the tremendously talented Crimson Orchid as an upstream (yes, I know she lives in Canada, just because we say we are from Harrisburg, PA doesn't mean we won't keep you from playing with us just because you're not lucky enough to live here). She sent me the most yummy stuff...

Okay, for starters, that's an autographed copy of the Yarn Harlot's "Free-Range Knitter". Which thrills me to no end, because the only time I was lucky enough to meet Stephanie in person I had her autograph a book for my swap partner and was too stupid to get her to autograph my own copy. Can you say, 'star-struck' anyone? So once again, karma has smiled on me and I've been granted a swap partner who is a bit smarter then me. She also sent me incredible chocolate (notice how the bag is already ripped open, pre-pic), some amazing yarns, Canadian 'jam type spread', chocolate truffle hot cocoa mix (what can I say, I'm a simple girl, just give me chocolate & I'm happy) and of course, her awesome stitch markers, in all my favorite colors. Go check out her etsy shop to appreciate just how beautiful her work is; I promise you won't be disappointed. The purple yarn is from Mama Blue. It's Sea Merino Semi-Solid in the colorway "Dainties" and it's a gorgeous fingering weight. The striped is from Sunnyside Ellen and the colorway is called "Pirate Cove", which I just love! Thank you so much!!!

Yay!!! I love being spoiled!!!

Next post, knitting photos & an update on the Mexican Mac n' Mmmmm! Yay!

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