A Modern Day Fairy Tale: February 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Veggies, Veggies, Veggies

I will be the first to admit, side dishes are not my strength...I try to prepare well balanced meals, but to be honest, most of the veggies I serve are just plain old canned veggies, which is fine at times, but it gets old. I lack creativity in this department! Anyone with any good ideas, feel free to leave a comment, I would be very grateful! But here are a few I've tried recently and my thoughts on those!

Rosemary Asparagus

This was a last minute thrown together idea. I'd had some asparagus left over from an asparagus stuffed chicken I'd done a few days earlier and didn't want it to go bad. Normally, I just throw it in a steam bag with some butter but I looked up asparagus in my Taste of Home cookbook and found this great recipe! I had everything on hand but the bay leaf do I figured I'd give it a try without.


  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 1 to 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley


  • In a large skillet, combine the broth, rosemary, garlic and bay leaf. Add asparagus and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Discard bay leaf. Garnish with parsley. Yield: 4 servings.
As I said, I left out the bay leaf and added just a pinch of sage, but otherwise prepared the same way. I am not really an asparagus fan myself, but Matt is and he LOVED this. One day I will have to try it as the recipe calls for but either way...a success!

Sauteed Spinach and Peppers

Another Taste of Home recipe which can be found here. As you can see, I use this cookbook a lot, and while you can get a lot of the recipes online, I would recommend buying the cookbook too...lots of good stuff in there!


  • 1 large sweet red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Crisco® Light Olive Oil or Canola Oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar


  • In a large nonstick skillet, saute red pepper in oil for 1 minute. Add onion and garlic; saute until tender, about 1-1/2 minutes longer. Stir in the spinach, salt, pepper and sugar; saute for 1-2 minutes or until spinach is wilted and tender. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 4 servings.
This was AWESOME! I'm normally not a fan of spinach other than in pastas or that type of thing, but I really loved this and can see it becoming a regular in the future. Very easy to make too...the hardest thing was the spinach overflowing from my pan initially. Ha!

So, a few good side dish ideas for you. Hope someone enjoys them, and seriously, if you're looking for a good cookbook, this is the one to buy! My friend Brittany bought it for me and its my current favorite!

I also want to close out this post by giving a shout out to my fellow August mommy, Dallas. She has some great recipes and tips for making great food on a budget. Check her out. Become a fan!
Frugal Gourmom Blog
Facebook Page

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's Cooking? (a few recipes and a look back.)

When I started this blog it was partly my intention to share some of the recipes I've tried on my learning to cook journey. I have not done well at keeping up with that at all (or with the blog in general for that matter). I am going to try to work on that. So, I thought I'd post a few links to catch up. Most of my recipes are found either online, in cookbooks (some of which are also available online!) and from friends and fellow bloggers. I am getting more comfortable tweaking these recipes to my tastes, but mostly I stick to them to the letter.

This brings me to the look back, before I get to the recipes! When Matt and I were first married I knew nothing about cooking. I made rice dishes very often because, well it was about the only thing I knew how to do. Sad, but true. Matt never complained, and he would even do the cooking fairly often since I couldn't cook meat! So, when he left for a 7 month deployment, I decided that when he came back I would learn to cook. (Him telling me he HATED rice, after he was safely in another country was certainly a kick in the bottom too!) And so, I have. As I said, I'm still mostly very dependent on following recipes exactly, but I am always trying new things, adding little things here and there and getting comfortable doing that. Still a long way to go, but I've definitely come far, and in the process I've learned I really enjoy cooking too! Now, if only I could find that I enjoy housework, I'd be that perfect 50s housewife I love;)

Okay, NOW I'll share the recipes:

Feta Tomato Basil Fish
This is from my Taste of Home cookbook and can also be found here.


  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pound walleye, bass or other whitefish fillets
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese


  • In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add tomatoes and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, broil fish 4-6 in. from the heat for 5-6 minutes. Top each fillet with tomato mixture and cheese. Broil 5-7 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

This was my first attempt at broiling and I have to say it turned out great. Matt and I both really loved this one. Amazingly, I have no idea what broiling was before this recipe...I had to call my mom and ask her. Ha! Definitely a technique I want to try out more in the future. I also used tilapia because it was all I could find at the commissary...next time I will have to plan a trip to a fish market for some better choices, the tilapia was good though!

Okay, I had planned to share a few more, but I got tired...so, I'm off for the night. I will try to update more frequently from now on though!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"It's Thomas!"

This is a phrase you will commonly hear in our house these days: sometimes on the tv, sometimes from Matt or myself, but most often from Shauny himself. Since my last entry-oh so long ago- his train addiction has become more intense- more specifically, his Thomas the Tank Engine addiction. It seems he has a radar for these things. Put him down in the store (following closely of course), and he WILL find their train section if they have it. A few weeks back we took him to Toys R Us and the crazy boy cut through the dolls, past the action figures, right to the trains...cutting right through the store, I will never know how he knew that's where they were, but he did! We took him to the used children's store and he walked in saying "Clairabel?" And once he finds the Thomas goods, he ever so politely hands them to mommy or daddy saying "thank you" and moving on to check it all out. Such a silly kid...and spoiled rotten too. This obsession can have its negative points- he gets very upset if he has to leave with nothing, etc...but it's been very positive for him as well. As all reading this probably know, Shaun's speech is very behind, but for a boy with little communication, he knows trains. He can name most of the Thomas trains, knows what a tender is and uses several train/Thomas phrases on a regular basis: "Oh Dear", "All aboard", etc. He has also gotten into Thomas books- he would never look at books before so that's huge. He will sometimes even sit and let me read a whole book to him! Amazing! He will look through his books and name the characters on each page, mimic their faces...he has even learned that a cow says 'moo' from one of his books. Except he thinks cows are called moo but he's close! So that's our life these days...choo choos and therapy!