Friday, December 21, 2007

Passport Pictures

We got them done yesterday. My husband made the appointment. He tries. The thing is that he made it on a Thursday at 2:30. Nap times in our house are 10 and 2, I think he knows this but being Dad it doesn't occur to him not to make appointments at these times. Thursdays at 2 are even worse because most times there is no morring nap due to play group and shopping. If there is one it's not a good one.
We went to the picture place early to see if they could get us in. I was afraid that we would have no luck. They got us in but all Olivia wanted to do was play. Sitting still on a pillow for a head shot was not happening. Her picture looks like someone pinched her :(. Mine turned out good on the other hand.
This morning we got the passport paperwork turned in. One more step down.

We are going to take Olivia to get pictures taken with Santa today after Justin gets off work. She met him a few weeks ago and in general does well with other people so we should get a good shot for this photo. In the mean time here is a picture that Devan took last time we were home,
Yep she is standing! She is trying to do it on her own now too. Only a few more weeks until she walks. I caught her the other day trying to climb the gate in front of the Christmas tree, I'm always on my toes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Long Absence

Almost two months since my last post, wow I didn't realize it had been THAT long. I have done a couple of projects in the last few months but do not have pictures to show, I have been spending much of my time playing with my baby girl who is discovering new things everyday and attempting to get my house in order to sell and move. Last Saturday we got one step closer to getting our move done and got our house on the market. Now we are just waiting for a buyer, hopefully we get one before mid April, we should since we are in a good location and are not looking to make a ton of money.

Last night I made a wonderful dinner and wanted to share with everyone. We had Chicken Tikka Masala, Lentil and Rice Pilaf, Naan Bread, and Poached Pears. I took some pictures and will include those. This meal is a lot of work so make it when you have an afternoon to prepare it. Also many times I will make a very large batch of the chicken so that we can have this several times with out having to block out a day to cook. I will give directions for each dish one at a time but all of these dishes are cooking at the same time at one point or another in order to get them out on the table at the same temperature.

First the chicken. My recipe is based on this one from I took out the jalapeno pepper and cut back on the cayenne because other wise it is a very hot dish, we are talking take a bite and call the fire department. But if you can handle spice go ahead and try it with the extra pepper.

Cut three chicken breast into bite size pieces.

In a bowl combine:

1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I juice one half of a lemon)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of cayenne pepper (for us a little goes a long way)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon salt

Stir the chicken into this mixture and allow to marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

Heat a skillet (I use cast Iron as I find it gets the best heat) and lightly oil. drain off extra marinade, place chicken in skillet, cook until liquid has cooked off. Set Cooked chicken aside.

In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Saute 1 clove of garlic for one minute. Season with 2 teaspoons each cumin and paprika, and 1 tablespoon salt. Stir in 8 oz of tomato sauce and 1 cup whipping cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add cooked chicken and simmer for 10 minutes more.

For the rice:

My recipe for this comes from the Joy of Cooking cook book. My Grandmother bought me this cookbook the first Christmas after I was married simply because it has instructions on how to boil eggs in it and I had called my Mom asking her how to do this (something I had done many times as a teenager) because it had totally escaped my mind. My Mom spent more time laughing on the other end of the phone then it took to tell me how to do it. I don't call home and ask how to do things often any more.

Anyway the recipe is for Lentil and Rice Pilaf with Toasted Cumin Seeds. I cannot find cumin seeds where I'm at so I use cumin powder instead and it still taste great.

Stir into a medium saucepan of boiling water
1/2 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed.
Boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes; drain. Heat in an large saucepan or deep skillet over low heat:
2 table spoons vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
Add and cook just until sizzling, about 1 minute:
1 clove garlic, Finlay chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Add the lentils along with:
1 cup white basmati rice
Stir to combine. Add:
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring to a boil stir once, cover and cook over medium-low heat until the stock is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and let stand for 5 minutes.
This is served with Naan bread. Sometimes I make it but most times I pick it up at the grocery store. When you are just about ready to serve your meal put a couple pieces in a 400 degree oven for 4-5 minutes to warm.

We had a friend over last night whose family is of Pakistani decent. She asked us how we eat this. Justin will typically put a bed of rice down then put the chicken over it and eat it with a fork tearing off bits of bread as he needs it. I attempt to use my bread as a utensil as I know that that is the traditional way of eating it. Also I find even with cutting out a lot of the pepper it's still a spicy dish for me so the bread and a little rice in every bite tones in down a bit. Our friend said she was raised to use the bread for the meat dish but that she uses a fork for her rice. Traditionally the rice would be eaten with the hand also.
For desert I made poached pears for the May 2007 Real Simple. Go to the sight for the recipe. They were good but I forgot to take pictures and it looks much better on the sight than I would have taken.