My New Norm!!

This has been the longest, craziest two weeks of getting back to work in this new normal. A part of me is glad to be back at work to see all my friends and even my favorite players at the casino. Then of course there’s a part of me that wasn’t ready to go back, its like when you were a kid, summer break going good and then the next thing you know it’s back to school. So yeah I felt like that, to readjust to a new schedule and of course my schedule is not what I want, so my managers and I will be reworking that.

It’s good to be back at work though, it just feels weird to have to wear a mask all day and we can’t hug or hi-five each other anymore. How long will this last we don’t know, but we are all happy to be back. 20200601_123116

Along with working my regular job full-time, I need to also focus on building up my blog on here, and somehow I will get it done.

I was supposed to be headed to sunny Tampa for a short vacation but things changed up so not doing Tampa but still doing a little trip right here in Missouri, heading to St. Joe and to Hannibal to see an Ice cream shaped stand and to check out Mark Twain’s boyhood home. But just like I had plan on doing in Florida I will post lots of pictures and places that we stop at along the way.

During all this time I did try a new recipe that I have to share before I hit the road and it’s from Darius Williams and his recipe for fried salmon which I never knew you could fry outside of frying canned salmon. I didn’t have the seasonings he had and his directions made no sense so I made it like I fry my fish. It came out really good and I’m not a big salmon fan at all, unless my cooks at the casino fix it or of course salmon patties from the can.

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Fried Salmon

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Paprika
2 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
2 Cups Buttermilk
2 Cups Cornmeal
1 Cup Flour

Directions:
Season cornmeal with the garlic powder, paprika, salt and black pepper
Dry salmon off
Dip fish into flour, then buttermilk then dredge in the cornmeal mixture
Place in hot oil and fry until golden brown
Drain on paper towels

I will try this dish again, if only for the fact that its different but when I get back I’m going to try his fresh Salmon Burger. See you guys when I get back and keep an eye out for my road trip pictures.

 

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I Made Bread!

A few weeks ago, Nick was telling me how all the guys at his job were bringing in homemade bread and other homemade pastries that their wives and girlfriends have been making for them, and I think he was feeling a little left out. So of course being the great girlfriend I am even though I don’t like baking but hey I couldn’t let him be the only one that didn’t have anything to show off. Just like a mother hen.

I started doing some research to see if I could find any bread recipes that didn’t have a million steps and something that a newbie like myself could pull off.  So I found one by brooklyn farm girl that looked really easy to mix up and you cooked it in a slow cooker so yep that was my kind of recipe.

I actually made this bread twice, and even though it didn’t look too pretty the taste was pretty darn good, and now my mom is like she wants me to be in charge of bringing rolls to the family dinner, does she not understand that I am not a baker and I only did this to earn girlfriend points from the boyfriend.

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Not very pretty

Like I said I did make it twice and though the second batch came out looking a lot better, I just forgot to get a photo of it. So next time I make it I will take better pictures.

I like this recipe and I will throw it together again at some point, it made up some nice rolls which reminded me of my Aunt Kitty’s rolls when I was a little girl, maybe now I can I ask my sister for the recipe and just maybe I’ll make those we shall see. I really liked that it didn’t have a bunch of fancy ingredients, I just needed to get some yeast and because everyone is baking that was one of the hardest ingredients for me to finally track down.

Now I don’t have a warm spot in my apartment to get bread to rise so what the heck was I supposed to do, well I found a trick and it works great. I turned my oven into a proof box all compliments of Cook’s Illustrated  and I couldn’t be happier with this little trick.

Enjoy the bread, it’s great with butter and strawberry jam slathered all over them especially when its fresh out the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Bread

Ingredients 
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cups flour

Directions 
1. Pour warm water into a bowl, add the sugar and mix until dissolved.
2. Add the dry yeast, let sit until it gets foamy
3. Add salt, olive oil and flour, mix well
4. Turn onto the floured counter and knead for 5 minutes, till smooth
5. Form into a ball and place dough into an oil coated bowl, covered
6. Sit in warm spot for 30 minutes to rise (or try the oven method)
7. Place parchment paper the size of your slow cooker for the bottom
   and to go up the sides for the dough to expand (oil paper with veggie oil)

Once the dough has risen you can place it as is into the slow cooker and let
the loaf cook for 2 hours on high.

Or you can do like I did and make rolls, punch dough down and cut into 8 
pieces, roll into balls and place into slow cooker. (next time I'm going to
cut it into smaller balls to fit into my slow cooker better). 
Cook for 1 hour on high.

Once bread is done, brush some butter on top and to get some color just
put it under the broiler to brown.

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My Official Taste Tester

Saturday nights is usually reserved for our date nights when we  either go out to our favorite spot, try a new spot, or if I have time cook up something special for us. Since the quarantine I’ve been doing a lot more cooking for our date nights  and Nick has become my official taste tester for everything that I  make.

I’ve made this man pasta, cookies, and even a lasagna and now he want’s bread because all his coworkers are bringing bread from home that their wives or girlfriends are making so of course I do have a recipe I’ve been wanting to try so he will get his bread for work to.

This date night I decided to cook since we were going to do a movie in, I had found a recipe by Chef Gordon Ramsay on his Instagram page for a 10 minute curry and a fried bread to top it off. So of course I had to try this recipe because we both love curry and it looked easy, so why not.

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Now to make your own you will have to do like me and follow along in the video: @gordongram 

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Chicken & Shrimp Curry

I just used a little too much spinach and I added shrimp instead of peas (he hates peas, go figure). Both dishes came out really good and this will be going on the menu again.

For dessert I threw on a Betty Crocker Apple Crisp  20200516_124051since I had some apples left over and sometimes he is a big ole kid that loves things that reminds him of his childhood. 

I hope you guys have as much fun making this with your special someone as much as we had fun doing this one together.

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Chocolate Chips Everywhere…

Today is “National Chocolate Chip Day”, and of course if your making cookies, chocolate chips definitely deserve it’s own holiday. The story goes that in the 30’s a woman by the name of Ruth Graves was baking cookies and decided to add some chocolate chunks to her dough, well it took off and the toll house cookie was born.

You would think I would fix that tried and true Toll House Cookie recipe but I decided to try my hand at the famous $250 Neiman Marcus cookies and there are thousands of this recipe out there, I just picked the last one I looked at (I was getting a little tired). Just as I get geared up to make those, what happens during our extended stay at home orders, but DoubleTree  hotel posted their famous cookies online, you know the ones they bake fresh and leave for guests staying in the hotel, of course I had to try these.

But it looks like I wasn’t done on my chocolate chip cookie quest because I just decided to pull up the Neiman Marcus Store  I found their cookie recipe so yep I had to put that on the list to try.

I finally started baking cookies and giving them out to my mom, my sisters and my kids, that everyone was like “NO MORE”, who knew you could get tired of cookies. But below is my take on each of the cookies I made. Continue reading

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Work Family: Pasta Maker & Sauce

It has been 13 years since I started working at the Harrahs casino with my work family and over the years we have been through everything, from birthdays, weddings, deaths in the families and even babies being born. Of course as everyone knows sometimes you see your work family more than you see your own family so you can’t help but love them or yeah even hate em sometimes, but that’s family for you.

So it had to be at the start of my time at Harrahs that my work daughter gave me the best birthday present ever. I had been talking about wanting to make homemade pasta ever since the little ole Italian grandmother of the bunch had given me her recipe for homemade pasta sauce, which by the way she made me promise to never give it out to anyone (so hush, I made some modifications and now it’s my sauce). So on my birthday she hands me a pasta maker and I was thrilled to say the least, but alas I never got around to making pasta that year. I didn’t get around to making pasta at all through an ankle surgery, and two moves, until now when this pandemic had us in lock-down.

Now after 13 years, yes I pulled out that pasta maker and I learned not only how to make fresh pasta, which by the way is the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted. After figuring out how to get the contraption to actually stay on the counter and finding the perfect recipe, which I’m not even going to copy, because there are so many recipes out there it was crazy but after doing a huge search I found one at “The Spruce Eats” which was perfect for me cause it made enough for 2 and hey it’s only me.

Next up was now taking that mixture of ingredients that this grandma gave me, that didn’t even have any sort of measurements for me to use….what the heck…right! So what’s the internet for, I started doing some research just to at least get some measurements or something to help me figure out how much of everything I should use. Just like pasta recipes you got a million sauce recipes, all kinds of sauce recipes, but at least I had a starting point on how much of anything I should use. After all that I was ready to make my own tomato sauce. Continue reading

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