Friday, September 4, 2009

China in the Meantime

Dinner tonight was wonderful for a couple of reasons: 1. Slow-cooker, microwave, George Foreman Grill, and 2. Short prep time. I did a menu ("Takeout at Home") out of the Fix It and Forget It Slow Cooker Magic cookbook: Asian-Grilled Pork Tenderloins and Chinese Vegetables.  It always makes me happy to be able to do any number of things (shopping, napping, Guitar Hero) while my dinner is being prepared for me.  Tonight's required me to marinate the pork tenderloins for 8 hours, so after I did that I went to lunch with my dad (not good sushi - our regular place was closed), went to the bank, came home, watched tv and waited for Drew to come home so we could play Guitar Hero.  I also was able to throw the veggies in the slow cooker.  Here's the rundown:
Loved the veggie recipe.  Really easy to throw together and very tasty.  Rounded out the meal with brown rice, prepared in the microwave via the Pampered Chef rice cooker (a wonder in its own right).  Heated up the George Foreman and put the tenderloins on for the last bit of the rice cooking time.  Oh, I modified the recipe a little bit by adding some of the Pampered Chef Asian seasonings (love the spices from PC).  Drew asked what I marinated the pork in. That was the feeback I got.  Overall, a great dinner at the Hudson household.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Caliente PC on a roll! that's more like it!  Tonight's dinner: Mexican Sausage Skillet from the Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner 2 Cookbook.  Here's the review:
SPICY!  Very flavorful and filling.  Great ingredient list which can be modified to suit your tastes (considering chicken and diced zucchini, possible seasoning change).  Did I mention spicy?  I love it when Drew only gets up to get salt, not hot salt, not cajun season, just salt - it makes me feel I have done my job for the night! Doubled very nicely and made A LOT of food.  Will have leftovers - trying to figure out how to change it up a little bit - or I could pass it on to mom and dad (he really enjoys spicy food).

But here is the deal on tonight: we had Morgan and Ken and Conni over for dinner.  It is the 2nd week of a "tradition" I am trying to start to challenge my hostess skills and spend more time with the people I love on a regular basis.  I am trying to have someone (anyone) over to dine with the Hudsons on a weekly basis.  I think we can do it!  Haven't mentioned this to Drew yet, but I am sure his hosting skills are up for the challenge.  Besides, when everyone leaves, we can play Guitar Hero (I promise).  So, here's the official invite...get your reservations now and come ready to try a new recipe.

Thursdays with Morgan

Not to be confused with the popular (and still unread by me) book Tuesdays with Morrie, I am now spending my Thursdays with Morgan.  Instead of spending time with an old, wise man, am spending time with a young woman who makes me feel really OLD!  Morgan has just started high school and I feel privileged to be one of the people she wants to hang with.  We like to bake goodies.  Last week, we created a long list of the things we would like to make, which should take us easily to the end of the year!  We figure we will bless others with the baked goods, so our waistlines do not suffer. 
Today, a Pampered Chef recipe for Banana Cream Brownie Squares.  This was a hit Pampered Chef!!  I knew you could do it!  Really simple recipe with box brownies, vanilla pudding, with cool whip and bananas.  I am not a fan of putting bananas on anything, so I just ate around them, but they were good.  I especially liked the pudding mix topping.  Great after school snack or perfect for dessert with a small crowd.  Morgan cut the bananas, folded in the cool whip and put it all together.  Love having someone in the kitchen to help me out!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Out to Dinner, Deals for you

I will not be cooking tonight because we are going out with some of our great friends to celebrate a birthday!  Yea! - we feel so special when they ask us to celebrate life's occassions with them. 

Since I will not be cooking this evening, I thought I would share something a little different with you - Bargains.  I do have a lot of friends who wonder how I do it...SO, every once in a while, I will share my latest deals and bargains and discuss how they happened. 
So Monday and Tuesday I went to the mall.  I know it is kind of ridiculous to go twice in one week, but there was a reason: Victoria's Secret. 
I have signed up to get email from Victoria's Secret and they send me offers all the time for free underwear, etc. They also have a program called Pink Nation (you sign up and receive coupons for free products every other month or so).  So on Monday I had a coupon for a free pair of underwear with purchase and another coupon for a free PINK travel kit with any PINK purchase.  I went in and got a couple of small items (great for stocking stuffers - another one of my obsessions) and got my free stuff.  Amount spent: $18.00.  Product purchased: a purfume thing ($8), a body scrub ($10), underwear ($14), travel kit ($25)  Total savings 39!  Pretty exciting, huh! 
So, then I get home the other day and find out they have a promotion for Facebook fans.  All you have to do is become a Facebook fan and then they give you a coupon for 2 pairs of FREE underwear with purchase.  The catch was that I had to go on Sept. 1st only.  So I went back to Victoria's Secret to get another purfume thing ($8) and 2 pair of underwear ($17).  So I saved another $17.00.  Not bad!  By the way, does anyone know how to un-become a fan on Facebook?  I do not want any more VS updates on my homepage (nor the half naked woman on my profile page).
Is this getting too long?  Because I have another deal to share with you (hang in there, this one is good!).  I have a gift card to American Eagle that I earned by answering surveys on this website (  It was for $25.00 and those who know me know I am way cheap when it comes to clothing.  So I have had this giftcard for about 4 months and haven't been able to use it.  Yesterday, I decided to check AE out and found they were having a sale on jeans and t-shirts (Buy One get one 50% off) which you could mix-and-match and included clearance items.  So I tried on a pair of clearance jeans and found a t-shirt that I LOVE!  I will spare the details on pricing, but all told, after giftcard, I got both for $15.50.  NOT BAD.  Gotta love free giftcards for answering surveys.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I had only hoped this would happen

My sincerest apologies for the previous post regarding my latest Pampered Chef recipe - it wasn't exactly a scathing indictment of the entire company, but somewhere I picture a sad, fat little man in a chef's apron and hat. 
I just completed the post and then I went to my email and got my September Tasty Tidbits from my friend Becky (who happens to be my Pampered Chef consultant extraordinaire) and I am FAMOUS!!!  Well, at least in my head.  I had a party last month (had a great time and ate great food, with great friends old and new) and I am the host of the month!!! When we had the party I was wondering if it would happen and it did.  I lieu of an acceptance speech, I will give a hearty recommendation for all things Pampered Chef and give you Becky's website:
Soon I will have a picture of the pans that I got at 60% off  for hosting the party!

Mixed Review

So I feel a little bad about this one:
Tonight I made a new recipe (I should stop referring to them as new, from here forward, I will only note an "old" recipe, should one come up) from the Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner 2 Cookbook.  Usually I am enamored of the simple, quick-cooking, and flavorful recipes.  Tonight's was just...ehhh.  Not great, not inedible.  So the middle ground is good.  Everything I make does not have to be spectacular.  Here's the rundown:
Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Lemon Basil Rice.  I did a couple of modifications: switched the rice for orzo (I dressed it with a little extra-virgin olive oil and parmesan) because we have a lot of rice in our week and thought Drew would be a little burned out by week's end. I also cut the recipe almost in half (I had a teeny tiny chicken breast that probably came from a very sad, very young chicken + two normal sized chicken breasts).  The process of making the recipe is very simple. The instructions easy to follow.  I would throw a little pesto into this situation next time to fill out the flavor profile.  Drew said, "I don't like the tomatoes." 
Here's the problem I have with cooking chicken in the oven:  I like my chicken to brown on the outside so that I know it is done.  I need some feedback, chicken.  When you do it in the oven (or in poaching liquid), it remains, sadly, just white enough to trick you into thinking it is done, but pink on the inside.  My solution: cook it for at least 5 more minutes than it says to.  I have never had a problem when doing this - the chicken is still moist, but it is cooked through.  Not that you needed this tip: but this is what I was thinking whilst dining on said chicken.
So, maybe its me, but I don't think this one will make it around again (funny, because very often even the successes don't make it around again).  Sorry Pampered Chef, you will have the opportunity to redeem yourself Thursday night (I know you can do it!).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

You know that part about "my husband's chagrin" in the summary above?  Well, Sunday nights are definitely in this catagory.  I recently created a "new tradition" in the Hudson household - Breakfast for dinner on Sunday evenings.  I know Drew would love for this not to be the case, because he is not so much for the breakfast foods; but I love to have breakfast.  Short of making breakfast for myself beyond the normal : cereal (hot or cold), coffee, maybe a muffin, I don't get to enjoy all the breakfast delicacies very often.  Thus a "new tradition" that I will do until I get tired of it or I can't find any more recipes that look appetizing.
Last night was Sausage-and-Scrambled Egg Pizza from the Southern Living Busy Mom's Weeknight Favorites cookbook.  Here's the rundown:

Takes less than 30 minutes.  Great flavors that can be modified based on mood (salsas, cheeses, etc.).  Short ingredient list of stuff you mostly should have on hand.  Throw some fruit on the side and it makes for a well balanced dinner.  Would have preferred to have orange juice, but because I am cheap and did not have a coupon, we didn't get any. Truly excited to have leftovers for breakfast for the next couple of days.

How's that for a first review.  Oh, wait - Drew liked it!  That is always the test of a meal in this house!

NOTE:  I am not sure what I need to do to avoid copyright infringement, so here's the publishing info for the cookbook: Southern Living Busy Mom's Weeknight Favorites, ed. Elizabeth Taliaferro, 2006, Oxmoor House. (Been a while since I did one of those - don't think its right, but you get the point)


I hesitate to enter into the blog realm for a number of reasons.  We won't go into those now because I fear it would lead to even lower readership (is that possible?).  But what gets me interested in writing this blog is my love of memories from the kitchen. 
I have a kind of bizzare, extremely focused memory.  It serves as an inventory of the past in a very vivid way for me.  My memories can be catagorized by two things:  1.)  What music was playing at the time and 2.) What we had to eat.  Strange I know! 
So I got to looking for a picture of me that is acceptable enough to post on this blog  (obviously, have not found one yet) and this commenced a walk down memory lane through pictures Drew has saved (on the computer) since before we were married.  I came across pictures of our Rehearsal Dinner, our first Thanksgiving, past Christmas dinners, etc.  Memories came flooding back and I realized - my life (and more specifically my married life) can be summed up by what we ate and when.  Here are some of the favorites:

1.  The first dinner we had together in our home (Drew made steaks, I made my Granny's macaroni and cheese, I think we had some asparagus to go with).
2. Our first dinner party (Chicken Fried Steak with all the fixings).
3. Christmas dinner one year (Crown Roast of Pork - insanely good, Cornish Game Hens with Southwest Dressing, all the side dishes)
4. Oysters (our favorite Cali restaurant)
5. Margaritas and Guacamole and chips (guess who ate what!)
6. Z Tejas - Texas-on-a-plate enchiladas!!!
7.  Anything at Mamaw's house
8.  Lettuce Wraps with Beef and Chicken (the only meal made 4 times in our married life! - and the one that received the best compliment from Drew )

As we approach the 5 year mark in our marriage, I realize my memory will not always be so sharp.  At the risk of sounding to mission statementy (new word, Drew), this blog will seek to catalog and critique our dining experiences from this point forward.  So with fear and very low expectations, here's to future memories in the kitchen.