Steak Stir Fry on Angel Hair

This is one of those ten-minute meals that utilizes fresh and leftover items to their best advantage.

The fresh items here were the pasilla peppers (green), the red bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion.  These items were quickly done while I pulled the other items out of the refrigerator and added them.  The herb toast with Romano cheese happily warmed itself in the Cuisinart Oven Central whilst I stirred on the stove.

We were eating in almost nothing flat.

Tune in tomorrow to see how this happened so quickly.

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Breakfast Brown Bread – with seeds

Inspired by all of the delicious-looking brown breads that I see at Schnippelboy, I ventured out.  I started with a recipe for Anadama Bread and added a lot of seeds, probably too many.

I look forward to having a slice this morning for my pre-breakfast!  ;->

I took a bazillion pictures of deer and roadrunners yesterday, and will post a few on the Animals Spotted page – maybe tomorrow.

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The Tale of Tippy Tail

Teenagers!  Once they get out of the nest, it’s hard to keep track of them.  This is the last portrait of all three baby roadrunners before they started abandoning their home for the great outdoors.  The third one is in the front center – all hunkered down with his beak pointed straight at the camera.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures of them – mostly because I couldn’t get to them without really invading their sanctity.  The parents seemed to tolerate our presence on the deck, but I didn’t want to overly concern them and have them abandon the nest at some point during the gestation, raising, and fledging.

The littlest one was, of course, the last to leave the nest.  His inexperience with the world gave him quite a disadvantage to getting out into the open area to join his family and learn the finer points of feeding himself.  His ability to hop up onto the fence, and thence to the other side to freedom, was just more than he could immediately muster.  The springs in his legs were not sufficiently developed for such activity.  It certainly wasn’t needed in the nest.  He needed to only open his mouth, and a tasty morsel was popped into it.

We were quite amazed at the amount and variety of food that was hauled in there by the parents.  We saw everything from crickets, to lizards, to snakes, to a baby bird – probably a quail, as they are everywhere around here, and they nest on the ground.  The size of the food seemed incongruous with the size of the babies’ mouths, but we did not see any sign of adult regurgitation of these foods.  Whatever they ate must have totally agreed with their needs, because they seemed to grow up right before our very eyes.

It’s been a couple of weeks now since they all abandoned the nest.  And our littlest one has a slight deformity of his tail, presumably from the overcrowding in the nest.  The very end of his tail tips up a bit, so we can tell which of the roadrunners he is.

We quite often see the whole family out there hunting about, but have not seen more than four at one time.  We saw Fledge #1 leave, and then conquer the fence.  And we saw #3 (with the tippy tail) do the same.  But we did not see #2 leave the nest.  So we are not certain if we just don’t ever see all five at once, or if somehow one was lost in the transition. It may be that we are seeing all three babies, but just one parent at a time.

The first two were robust, and Tippy Tail was the runt, and we expected maybe he wouldn’t make it, yet he persisted.  His tail seems to be flattening out a bit every day, so soon I won’t be able to tell which of our friends is which, but for now, it is fun to watch them grow up.  His persistence is still evident in the massive amount of fluttering he does when he sees another member of his family.

Yesterday afternoon he was out all alone in our yard, pecking at the fence for bugs.  He was feeling pretty grown up, when the quail who were marching on the water pond became aware of his presence, and scurried away in a noisy flurry.  But moments later, two of the other roadrunners appeared, and Tippy Tail turned into a quivering mass of shaking feather ruffling in an attempt to be fed.  The larger birds were having none of it as he went from one to the next in his quest for a free meal.

We’re not certain what they are up to, but there have been many repeat visits to the nest in the hedge.  A time or two, there was nest material in their beaks.  So we’re not sure if the original parents are starting a new brood (seems unlikely), or if the offspring are just practicing the Art of the Nest.

We are trying to recall the exact timing from our last batch three or four years ago, but at some point soon after total fledging, two additional eggs appeared in the nest, but were never tended.  Eventually other birds removed them for their own use as sustenance.

It’s so great to have Mother Nature provide us with such quality programming!

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Close Enough to Perfect For Me

Nothing special here – just the French toast part of our usual Sunday Pig-out Brunch – but it was so beautiful, that I couldn’t resist making its portrait.

Leftovers make a great snack   My current favorite is a dab of apricot jam, then sprinkled with chopped pecans and cinnamon.

 

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Chicken Salad Supreme

Here is a typical lunch for us.

Most of the components are self-evident, but the chicken salad was especially good, so I scribbled down the ingredients while we were eating it.  As usual, I just tossed in whatever appealed to me at the moment.

Meats:

White meat chicken breast (roasted the day before in the Nesco Roaster) and bacon

Veggies:

Cucumbers, shredded carrots, tomato bits, Pasilla pepper (roasted previously), peperoncini

Add Ins:

Pecans, Pepper cheese, Mozzarella cheese, cranberries, tomatillo salsa, tomato salsa

Seasonings:

Montreal Steak Seasoning, Garam masala, mild ground red chili, celery seed

I bound it all together with a couple of spoonfuls of Cole slaw dressing

 

If you don’t have any/all of the above, there are myriad other options.  Here are a few I thought of, but did not add this time, either because I didn’t have them, or didn’t think of it in time.

Celery, Mexican scallion, bell pepper, shredded cabbage, boiled egg, small potato cubes, pickle relish (dill or sweet), other kinds of cheeses, other kinds of nuts, other kinds of dried fruits

The possible variations are legion.  If you want a more “potato-y” salad, put in a lot of potato; likewise carrot salad or Cole slaw, or substitute any meat you have.  I haven’t tried it with tuna, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be just as satisfactory.

 

One experimental thing I have been doing is:  Once a week I try to remember to buy an item that I have not tried before.  Here in the land of everything Mexican, there are so many possibilities that I would be foolish not to try them out.

This week I have sprung for two items:  One a Mexican “cooking sauce” in a jar, and the other a condensed salsa in a can, which I opened and decanted into my own jar, so I no longer have the can label to show.

Both of these items were hot.  The salsa more so than the cooking sauce, so I had to be careful with the amounts used.  DH is much more tolerant of “hot peppery” things, so he sometimes puts these “hot” things on his food separately.

I must say, though, that I liked both of the items . . . in small quantities.  Like the ground up mild chilis that I use so often, I dumped the cooking sauce into a lot of things I was making over the last week or so.  Believe it or not, it was especially good in a gravy that I made from a roast that I cooked in the InstantPot.  It didn’t actually have a taste in the gravy, but I thought it gave it a nice “body” with none of the overt harshness that might be detected from straight chilis.

To test, I put it in only the amount of gravy that I was serving with that meal, leaving the rest unsullied in the event it was a bust.  But I found myself adding it to the gravy each subsequent time I served it forth.  It seemed to go well with everything; didn’t detect any discord with any other foods served on those days.

Now we can’t really call just about anything I post as a “recipe”, but hopefully these guidelines will serve to make delicious use of whatever you have in the house without having to jump into a vehicle to go out to eat very often, as well as make good use of a little bit of this and a dab of that rather than feeding it to the disposer.

TIP:  Almost anything can be plopped on a Triscuit and thence into one’s belly!

So . . . the moral of the story is:  Even if you grew up on Midwestern cooking, you can branch out to encompass a lot of various cuisines.  A lot of goodness awaits!!  ;->

 

 

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How to Make Your Tastebuds Sing with Delight

 

If you have a large, good quality frying pan, this meal goes together in minutes.

Leftover cooked noodles from Stroganoff

Leftover spinach

Fresh sliced mushrooms, diced onions, diced red pepper

The raw veggies will cook up appropriately in the time it takes for the dish to be completed, so don’t worry that some items are cooked and some are raw.

NOTE:  I dislike raw onions, so you KNOW they cooked up properly!

 

When everything is cooked/heated through, add whatever seasonings float your boat, a couple of beaten eggs, and some shredded cheese – whatever kind you have on hand.  Another three minutes, and you have this lovely meal to feast upon.

I added fresh tomato salsa on one side; green tomatillo salsa on the other, and then popped on a few tortilla chips for crunch.  (Must have crunch!)  The Tabasco lurking in the background was used generously on DH’s portion because  – well – NOLA Boy!

The raspberries were such a lovely ending for this lunch.  ;->

PS:  This is a wonderful way to keep the contents to a minimum if you are working with a small refrigerator.  Almost anything can be added to noodles, pasta, potatoes, rice, or any other grain to make a nutritious and filling dish that is quick to prepare and requires very little clean up.  Just keep a few bottles/jars of interesting condiments on hand to appropriately jazz up your food.

 

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Three To Go

 

Here they are as newborns (above).  There are three tiny babies in there – seems like only yesterday !

And here they are a few days ago (below).

TODAY!  The largest one is out of the nest and having boot camp training by the parents.  He seems to have been evicted from the nest a few days ago, as he was mostly sitting on a branch about two inches from the nest – close, but not still in the nest.  Pretty much, he took up all the space inside the nest, so was evicted.

We watched for quite a while this morning while he tried to get over the fence in the back yard, and out into the alley and open area that seems to be their own private “Bugger King”.

The parents were out in the alley coaxing him to hop up onto the fence and drop down on the other side.  It’s not very far up from the berm, but it would appear that his spring mechanism to hop up to the top of the fence has not yet entirely matured into usefulness!

I’ll have a few pictures of the fledging procedure up in a day or so.

SPOILER:  He made it!

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