Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Delicious Dinner!

Here is something you may not have known about me: I have a thing with rice. I also have a thing with Cream of Chicken soup. Both entirely unrelated, but also both kind of a big deal to me.

I think the Rice Thing started back when I had Hailey and we were still receiving dinners from the neighbors. This one sister made her famous curry and I don't know if it was because anything at that point that I didn't have to make tasted amazing or if it really was that good (which I don't doubt!), but that was probably the best dish of curry I had ever eaten in my entire life. Besides the fact that the curry sauce itself tasted so wonderful, the sticky rice inside was cooked perfect and soft. Ever since that day, I made a goal to make rice just like hers.

I did have a few issues. That included I have a BUNCH of long grain rice, which makes for horrible sticky rice. I didn't want to go out and buy special rice because I really had that much long grain rice in my storage. I felt sort of guilty, like I was betraying the rice I already had. Number two, my rice cooker has a mind of its own. More often than not, the rice still comes out crunchy (eww!!). I tried the stove method over a dozen times, each with a new recipe from the internet, but they all failed. My quest for perfect rice continued.

And the Cream of Chicken Soup Thing, it's just fake. That's the only way I can describe it. It doesn't matter which brand I get, it still tastes fake. You can mix it with mayo or sour cream or milk or cheese...and it still tastes fake. I hate it and I avoid it at all possible.

This brings me to my delicious meal tonight. We had a ton of leftover chicken, so Scott said Why not Hawaiian Haystacks? I sort of groaned inside, knowing that I'd have to face the rice AND the cream of chicken for another unsuccessful dinner. But I turned positive and started my search online for a SCRATCH recipe. And guess what? I found it!!

Real Mom Kitchen is the bomb-dot-com. And you know what is so great about this recipe? It uses everything one would usually have as a staple in their kitchen anyway. That is why I like these white-sauce/roux/milk or cream sauce things so much! They are SO versatile and you don't realize how much the "quick and easy" world has pushed it aside and made their own canned version to make dinner time come faster. But this scratch recipe (along with many others that I already use this same method for) is SO worth that extra 20 minutes.

So Cream of Chicken Soup Thing was checked off my list. I had finally conquered the soup!

Next was the issue with rice. I had remembered once seeing a quick "recipe" for rice in a cookbook that we got for our wedding.  "Mormon Pantry: Cooking for Two" by Debbie G Harman is the name and I have actually taken a few recipes from that book and already dubbed them as "family favorites." I decided to give this rice a try.

1 cup long-grain rice (me me me!)
2 cups water
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

Bring the two cups water to a boil. Add rice, salt, and butter and stir well. 
Reduce temperature to medium-low and place a tight-fitting lid on pan. Simmer 20 minutes. 
Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Serve while still warm.

I wonder if the salt helped do the trick because I had never added salt before. Whatever it was, I liked it! The rice actually came out SOFT. Did you hear that? S-O-F-T. Even my husband was surprised (poor guy having to endure all that crunchy half-cooked rice). Would you blame me if I told you I sat down and ate the left over rice straight out of the pan? Yum!

Combine these two elements together, plus some delicious toppings like pineapple, celery, cheese, and who can forget chow mein noodles, this was probably THE best Hawaiian Haystacks I have ever had.

The End!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Good News!

The Good News is...my computer is back! Healthy and fast as ever. I am so, so very happy. It feels like the very first day I turned it on.

But that's the bad news. It's because it IS like the very first day I turned it on. Wiped the whole thing...and factory reset it. We backed it all up on my external hard drive, but I know that is going to take a good, long time to upload everything back onto my computer.

You know what, though? It feels really good, this starting new thing. True, it may take some work to get things back to where they were before (re-install the printer, put all my pictures and files back on, get all my settings the way I like it) but it is totally worth it.

Sort of feels like baptism, or the Atonement, wiping this all clean. Love it!

Anyway, I thought I would start a new thing. Try to write every Friday or Saturday to tell you about our week. Today is Tuesday, but this is making up for last week. And sadly, no pictures right now.

Last Monday, school started for Scotty and my mom. It also meant Hailey started at her new babysitter. She loved it!! The new sitter has 2 kids, one Hailey's age, and she came home happy as ever!

We are still trying to adjust to Scott's new schedule at work. It keeps him away til 8pm, which we are very much not used to. For two years we've had our evenings together, every evening! But I feel like this is good to shake things up a bit and get us working on our toes again. I think this will also encourage us to go to the temple more since before, we felt like we could go anytime, and thus, didn't. Now, we really have to plan it and stick with the plan. I think I am going to like this.

Friday was Scott's cousin's wedding. It was in Manti and it was beautiful. They both have such great families and I was very pleased to be in the their presence all day. We spent the afternoon/evening in Richfield for the luncheon and reception. I like Richfield! Small enough that it's in the middle of nowhere, but big enough for a Walmart! It was a great, but long, day.

Saturday, I went to my sweet little piano student's baptism. She got baptized with her two best friends. What a wonderful moment that was. It was crazy to see these young girls getting baptized. They were so little when we moved into the ward 3 1/2 years ago!

Sunday was our nephew's baby blessing. We spent more time with Scott's family and had a nice breakfast/luncheon. We spent dinner at my family's house where my tech-savy brother helped clean my computer.

Monday was great because my dear sister Oy decided to watch Hailey for me while I deep cleaned my house!! I did the kitchen/fridge and the storage room and it feels SO sososo great to be able to have space in the storage room again. I love that everything is organized again. I am happy.

And so that brings us to today, where I am yelling at my daughter to stay out of the garbage and stop eating those old carrot peals, and to stop climbing up on the rocking chair and tipping it over backwards, and, oh yeah, where I am avoiding the DISASTER in my bathroom where the toilet may or may not have flooded the floor...I am going to have fun cleaning tonight. Oy vay.

That is all! Hope you enjoyed!