Meals on Wheels

I frequently volunteer to take meals to new moms. I know how nice those are to receive and I like to pay the same kindness to these new young moms as I received. Tonight I made some lime chicken as well as steak kabobs that were marinated in homemade balsamic vinaigrette — heavy on the balsamic vinegar, light on the olive oil, a few squirts of Worcestershire sauce. Mmmm. It’s my favorite way to make steak kabobs. They smelled so good. I smelled them in the car all the way over there and the aroma still lingered all the way home. I couldn’t wait to have my own.

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Except when I got home, they were all gone. The family scarfed them all down and all that was left was the chicken. And they only left one spoonful of fruit salad (not counting the mess Things 3 & 4 made on and around their plates). Sigh. I guess I’m going to have to reserve my own plate when off to deliver meals! 😉

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When I take the whole clan grocery shopping, we always have to cruise by the bakery. The girls talk about what their next birthday cake should be, even if it’s 362 days ’til the next birthday. And the ladies at the bakery hand out free cookies to little twinkies. Thing 1 has been enamored with the Lemon Supreme Cakes lately — I’m not sure if the cake itself is lemon but it has a thick layer of lemon gel on top and yellow frosting all over. It looks like it should glow in the dark. That’s what she wants next birthday. No candles.

So tonight I made something like that for the new parents, without the artificial color and neon glow. I made a yellow cake and put a layer of lemon gel in between layers and frosted with lemon cream cheese frosting and put another layer of lemon gel on top and decorated it with fresh raspberries. The bits of cake I took off to level tasted lovely with the lemon gel. In fact, if I had an ice cream maker, I would put some lemon gel in a batch because I think that would taste fantabulous.

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Clear Lemon Filling (from Betty Crocker)

3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt

3/4 c. water

1 t. grated lemon peel
1 T. butter or margarine

1/4 – 1/3 c. lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Remove from heat; add lemon peel and butter. Gradually stir in lemon juice. Cool thoroughly.

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Yellow Layer Cake (adapted from Betty Crocker)

2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. plain yogurt
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 large eggs (1/3-1/2 c.)

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour baking pan (2 x 8-inch or one 13 x 9 inch).

Measure all ingredients into large mixing bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan(s).

Bake 30 minutes for rounds or 40 minutes for oblong. Cool.

It’s a ‘Shroomin’ Kind of Day

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We are without children for a couple of days — they get a vacation without parents but with the Grandparents. So we had ‘adult food’ tonight. The kind you make and know no one will turn up their nose and say “Eewwww, what is *this*?” It’s good to have a couple of those days in a year.

Since I am without an oven still, I grilled tonight. We had burgers, but not quite like the Husband’s favorites (which involve green chile). I mixed about 1/2 pound of ground beef with some chopped onion, a couple tablespoons of raspberry chipoltle salsa, a sprinkle of bread crumbs, and an egg and made those into patties. When they were nearly done, I topped them with cheese, a slice of deli turkey, a grilled portabella mushroom, and spread the bun with guacamole rather than the typical mayo/mustard/ketchup options. Mmmm. That’s a good burger! I served it with grilled crab stuffed mushrooms that are slightly different than that recipe — no ham, different cheeses, etc, and fruit salad. Later I made some Mango Dreams for us.

My Soup Bowl Runs Over

I’m not including these in my LOT#3 entry, but it’s more of the same . . . using up that rice last week. I was the main dish provider for small group so I made two different soups.

One was a chicken and rice soup — pretty straight forward. I made my own broth with celery, onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper, and a couple of bone-in chicken breasts in a pot of water on medium-low heat for six hours. Next, I pulled the chicken out and shredded it and returned it to the pot sans bones (although there may have been a few left). Finally, I added some frozen peas and the rice and let it warm through. Pretty ho-hum and I’m sorry to say we have a lot of leftovers from that . . . b/c it’s likely to go to waste . . . anyone want some chicken & rice soup?

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For the other I made a Stuffed Pepper Soup. I read several different recipes — some included brown sugar or soy sauce — and came up with my own version. Here’s what I added to my crockpot:

2 lbs ground sirloin, browned

large onion, chopped & sauteed for a few minutes with the beef

2 bell peppers, chopped

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 – 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

~ 24 oz V-8 juice (I poured from a 46 oz bottle and used about half)

water

thyme

parsley

rice

salt and pepper

I didn’t drain the beef b/c it didn’t look like it had much fat and I thought the juices would be good in the soup. But when I tasted it, I thought it was too greasy so I should have drained it like I usually do. I put everything but the rice in the crock and cooked it on low for about 6 hrs and added the cooked rice in the last half hour to get it heated through. This was OK, and the kids like it well enough, but I thought it could use a little jazzing up. A little Tabasco or something. Maybe use the spicy V-8 juice.

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