Insomnia is the perfect time to create holiday menus

Its been a while since I’ve posted anything. Graduate school really took over my life my last semester. What I thought would be my easiest became my hardest thanks to statistics, and a few other basic course. But I graduated in May, and am studying for one of my big tests.

After I graduated, I ended up doing a lot of things -the cure concert, throwing Mumika a 60th bday party, going to Puerto Rico, the diabetes trying to kill me, and now studying for the board exam.

And my insomnia has come back in rare form. Before, I could claim it was due to writing papers, studying, exams, projects. But now I have no reason. And its there rearing its ingly little head laughing at me. Originally, I would watch food network, then I became obsessed with the great british bake off, then I started watching the great irish bake off.

But a few nights ago, I realized the best way to use my time is to come up with my holiday menus and put together the shopping list. This way all I have to do is grocery shop. This year is less extravagant but still quite grandiose. I think I’m trying to find the main staples Bryan and I have to have that as the years comes closer to an end, we have something to look foward to. Last year Bryan threw a fit about no one making ambrosia, so I made sure that has made it to the menu.

Thanksgiving Menu

Deep fried turkey

Chris Ruth’s sweet potato casserole

Green bean casserole

Carrot roses

Stuffing

Ambrosia 

cheesecake baked in apples

Christmas Eve Menu

Pernil

Arroz con gandulez

Arroz con dulce

Christmas Menu

Bbq pork stuffed with jalepenos and garlic

Garlic parmesan faux mashed potatoes

Asperagus with onions and bacon

Stuffing

Creamed corn casserole

Chocolate roulade with buttercream

Passion fruit creme brulee

If there is any potlucks I will make crustless pumpkin pie in november.

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New Years Eve Menu

I’ve been stewing on this for weeks now. And then I get invited to New Years Eve Parties that I have to kindly decline stating I’m having a party of my own. The next question is always the same, “What are you doing?” after the decline.

And then they look at me crazy or in one case, “Are you Italian?”

Just so happens that I am. Oh wait, I was also raised European and my husband and I do love to dazzle at our parties. What I do not like is people trying to get invited to my party using the whole, “Aren’t I invited?” pity party shit on me. Seriously. Just because you know me, just because we work together or I’m doing my practicum at the place you are doing your internship does not mean you get an invite. I was kind enough to give you a Christmas present this year (coquito).

We are having a nice cozy party this year with company we enjoy because let’s be honest good company is rare nowadays. And if I am going to start a new year, I’m going to have people over whose company I enjoy and who are also amazing houseguests.

Although, once you read the menu, you might understand the self invite. Just when I think I can’t outdo myself, I usually do. I think the hubby takes pride in this ability of mine.

New Years Eve Menu

Drink
Raspberry Moscato Punch
Apple Cider

Appet
Tomato, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella drizzled with Pesto
Bacon wrapped little smokies

Entrée
Beef roast stuffed with sausage and cranberries stuffing wrapped in bacon
Sautéed mushroom and asparagus in a garlic butter

Dessert
Mascarpone stuffed strawberries
Peach and Blueberry Crumble

At Midnight there will by champagne soaked raspberry jello shots to ring in the new year.

 

Ok, yeah. The way I tend to view New Years Eve is that it is literally the last night of the year so no matter how horrible and shitty this year has been, there is at least one good meal on the very last that help prepare you for the next. Add some good company and fireworks, and there’s no way the new year can start off wrong.

So maybe I’ll the self invite come after all. No….no I won’t. Sometimes that instinct is there for a reason.

Thanksgiving Menu

I’m not sure what we are going to do for thanksgiving. Last year was a family Thanksgiving the Saturday before. But in case it’s just me and the hubbie, I created a menu.

Tentative Thanksgiving Menu

STARTER
Gorgonzola apple salad

DINNER
Turkey breast stuffed with gluten free stuffing
Slow cooker sweet potato casserole with a pecan topping
Green Beans and mushrooms sautéed in garlic
Gluten free Texas roadhouse rolls

DESSERT
Pecan pie
Pumpkin pie cake

It sounds like a lot, but it’s enough for two days without feeling overwhelmed by the left overs. It’s just hard to determine the amount for holiday dinner for two.

Visiting Mumika thanks to a conference menu

Look a blog post! I know I’m overdue for one and sooner or later I’ll start making my way through posts that should have been posted from March to the present.

But until then.

In September, I will be home due to an awesome conference about couples therapy. This means the creation of Dinner menus!!!! A lot has happened. Mumika’s health has changed rapidly causing an over haul in her daily intake of nutrition. I thought my restrictions were bad, her’s are way worse.

So here’s what I came up with.

DINNER MENU

Wednesday – Slow cooked pot roast with mushrooms and onions on a bed of sauteed                             spinach.
Thursday – Brazillian Pork Ribs with a caprese stuffed avocado
Friday – Oven baked chicken with a nice quinoa salad
Saturday – Chicken Gorgonzola salad with a tangy citrus vinaigrette.

Because the conference is providing breakfast, I won’t have to worry about that Weds – Fri. Yay!

Mumika’s Birthday Full of Yumminess Spectacular

Try saying that 5 times fast.

Recently Mumika went to the doctor and found out she had plaque build up in her veins similar to a person 20 years older than her.

It’s all those cheetos Mumika, they are killing you.

Despite trying her damnedest to eat healthy, the heart disease her family is known for is taking over.

So the doctor put her on a strict no carbohydrate, no sugar diet. This restrictive diet is more restrictive than my latest let’s claim gluten is the devil restrictive diet. She can’t eat fruit, potatoes, breads, pastas, rice,  and starchy vegetable. They took corn away. You all know how I feel about corn.

Basically lean meats and vegetables.

I would die. I would so die. I would cry and starve for a year. Mumika, you are stronger with food than me. I would have been like, if I eat rice and pasta and corn once a month, could I get away with that and not add to the slow death my body is striving unknowingly towards?

Seriously.

I’m going home for her birthday as usual and had this one meal planned that was a grilled chicken with red quinoa, rice, pecans, green apples, dried cherries and feta cheese, but now it’s totally out the window.

The OMG this is only what I can eat restrictive menu that would kill any diabetic menu

Dinner
Pinchos with vegetable kabob
Grilled steak with oven roasted. 
    tomatoes and sautéed garlic brussel
    sprouts
Grilled chicken with sautéed spinach
     and roasted cauliflower

Breakfast
Breakfast cupcakes
Egg stuffed bell pepper
Baked bacon wrapped avocado slices
     with a poached egg

Birthday Dessert
Vanilla Greek yogurt souffle

Lunch
Salads of somekind.

And there you have it. Clean eating at its finest. Not as creative but not too bad considering the restrictions. And it is all gluten free.

Mumika and Diabetic Michelle approved.

That and honestly, any reason is a good reason to use the grill. Man we could do grilled ribs with a side salad for tow of the lunches……. Hmmmmm…….

Grating butter

I recently read somewhere that the easiest way to make pastry that involves cutting butter into the flour was to grate it with a grater.

The inner Michelle ears perked up. Grating butter. Why haven’t I thought of that.

The whole reason why I fave been leary about pastry and making my own pie dough was the butter part. It seems frustrating and tedious. I could see myself screaming, cut damn you, cut.

That and using knives seemed pointless.

A week ago, I found a recipe that only used rice flour to make a gluten free pie crust.

I was leary.

And then I remembered to grate the butter.

So I tried it.

It WORKS!!!!!!!!

And you use less butter by grating it.

1/2 cup butter becomes 1/2 a stick. Cutting fat is always a plus.

Now no pastry is too hard to make and I can make homemade pie crusts.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Grating butter, a life hack every Susie homemaker baker needs in her arsenal.

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Jesus has risen day. Bryan and I ended up having dinner at his sister’s house where Timmy made amazing ribs and pork fajitas. The deviled eggs Lesley made were yummy. The whole spread was quite nice with the cheese and corn tortillas for the fajitas and the tomatoes with rice which I never got to because I was full and Bryan was blocking my ability to get to the rice.

This time I did stay away from the lemonade. Learned my lesson.

The funny thing Bryan and I noticed were how protein heavy the meal was. Ribs, pork fajitas, deviled eggs, cheese. Which was fine by me, the more protein the better.

I brought over the strawberry and creme pie which was delicious. One pie crusts down, a million to go.

On the bright side,  I found a fairly simple pie crust recipe using rice flour so I’m going to try it out in the next few days. That way there will be a gluten free post instead of looking what awesomeness I made that I and you can’t eat.

Nothing pisses me more off that being unable to eat.

All and all, not a bad easter. Hopefully we can do this next year.

Easter Menu

Easter is upon us.

I am not ready whatsoever. Graduate school is kicking my butt, however I’ll be down to one internship in the summer so I should be less frazzled.

I have been racking my brain for the last few days about what to eat on the day the prodigal son rose. Bryan hates ham so the traditional Easter meal will never happen in this household.

I also wanted to make something easy since it’s just the two of us. Last year I didn’t even remotely got within the same room as what I had planned to cooked. It’s the overachiever in me.

Also, the gluten free thing makes things a wee bit harder. I have like 9 pie crusts and puff pastry in my freezer. So one of the desserts will not be gluten free.

So completely not traditional, and quick and easy,  and remotely gluten free. Sounds complex somehow.

Easter Menu

MAIN
Sausage, beans, and rice
Corn on the cob

DESSERT

Strawberry and creme pie – not gluten free
Greek custard.

Bridal Shower Menu

One of my best friends that I’ve known since sophomore year of high school is getting married in August. Her theme is the Avengers and Mumika is working on my Iron Man themed dress.

When Kim asked me to ask Mumika to host the Houston bridal shower, I knew Mumika would be quite happy to do so. That and because we come from the world of engineers, we know how to host parties that her mom and friends are used. That and I love party planning. It soothes me somehow.

My goal is to make this bridal shower epic and more a modern tea party minus the tea. Something classic with elegant food.

BRIDAL PARTY MENU

Savory
Bruschetta
Asian meatballs
Greek hummus dip
Cucumber bites
Cranberry Pecan brie crostini
Chicken salad in lettuce cups

Sweet
Lemon brownies
Fruit and nutella crepes
Tri melon skewers

Beverages
White peach sangria
Citrus water
Tea of somekind

I have figured out if we will do strawberry tea, regular sweet tea, or raspberry tea.

It took me about an hour to put it all together with the games, prizes, and favors.

Not bad at all.

I was having problems with the chicken component but thanks to Pinterest, I found an idea that could work. My hair stylist introduced me to Pinterest and this whole gluten free thing made me realize that I definitely needed to give in to it.

And everything will be gluten free so that I can eat it

Glutino Decadent Chocolate Cake

You know how you try a product and it’s really good, so you try another product of the same brand.

What you don’t realize is that the high expectations you gained from trying the first product influences your feelings when you try a second product. And, in all honesty, it dooms the new product to fail from the start.

A long time ago, Mumika and I tried a gluten free chocolate cake box mix. Why? I don’t know. Probably to try something different. This was before gluten free became all the rage that it is today. It was one of those, it’s supposedly healthy, why not try it? What’s the worse that can happen?

It was the most god awful tasting chocolate cardboard posing as cake I had ever had. Flash foward a good few years, technology, and the time to create a better method of gluten free flower blending, and one would think there would be a better tasting cake.

One would think.

I ended up making cupcakes instead. The thought process was chocolate cake with a strawberry mascarpone cheese frosting, but that totally didn’t happen.

First and foremost, when making this box mix, the batter was extremely runny to the point that I feared it would end up being a hot soupy mess. Also, it had to be baked longer causing the cake to dry out. On top of that, the cake was extremely dense and not that fluffy awesomeness we all know and love of cake.

In a nutshell, it failed on so many levels that when it came to taste, I didn’t really care that much. It tasted better than chocolate cardboard but not by much.

Which means, I’ll have to experiment with different flours or flour blends before finding the perfect cake.

Grrrr……

I would try to make this again but I fear it would end the same causing me to waste money on it. Maybe I’ll try a different cake box mix next time.