Friday, February 6, 2009

New layout!

I finally took a little time to spiff up the bloggity-blog this evening. It was a lot of fun going through my saved files browsing for picture candidates for the banner. Now that I feel comfortable cropping and editing photos with text, I'll try to make this a more common occurance because it was kinda fun!

Now for some bad camera is missing. Seriously, it has disappeared and nobody can find it. It was sitting on my desk, where I left it after uploading the pictures from my last post. Now it is MIA. It had better show up soon because I made some beautiful lemon ricotta cookies that are as yet unphotographed and the supply is dwindling rapidly. Also, I'm leaving town Sunday for a work trip to Austin, Texas, and I'd like to take it so I can take some photos of that neat town. So help me figure out, internets, how a camera can just disappear. *shakes head, baffled*

I almost forgot to mention the musical inspiration for this blog installment: the album Sevens, Garth Brooks

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Horseradish-Mashed Potato Shephard's Pie

I love it when I find a new great blog. Good writing is always catches my eye, along with great pictures (especially for a food blog). But first, a great layout and header reel me in. I realize that my own layout and banner are completely lacking in the 'draw you in' department. Now that I've admitted to my awareness of my blog's boring first impression, I am required to do something about it. It is my goal to to make my page look more like the blogs that I envy. Now if any of you out there can help me figure out how the hell to do that please let me know.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by one of the cleverly written and well photographed blogs I've recently started following. Like me, the author lives in Oklahoma, plus the name of her blog includes the word spork. And really, how can someone go wrong naming their food blog after such a versatile utinsile? It had me at hello!

Probably because I had a really good day at work which left me feeling surprisingly full of energy, I accomplished something that hasn't been done since before I became pregnant...I worked until 5:30, went to the Wal Marts, came home to cook a meal requiring TWO separate food preparations, and still had dinner on the table by 7:48. AND for the grand finale, I am posting about it immediately after. As Kanye would say, bow in the presence of greatness.

Horseradish Mashed Potato Shephard's Pie

From Have Spork, Will Travel
Originally from Rachel Ray "Everyday"

5 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1/4 cup milk prepared horseradish, to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 pounds ground beef
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh chives

1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain, mash with milk until smooth. Add horseradish, egg and season with S&P.

2. In the meantime, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add veggies and bay leaf. Season with more S&P and cook until half done. Add beef to pan, stirring often until browned. Sprinkle flour on top and cook, stirring for one minute. Add broth and cook until thickened. Add the W sauce and season to taste. Don't forget to remove the bay leaf.

4. Preheat oven to 450. Grease a medium sized casserole dish and add the meat mixture, topping with the potatoes. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chives.

Now to admit to the errors, I mean changes, I made while preparing this. I used red potatoes, and I didn't peel them. I am lazy about potato peeling and I don't think my husband minds. Also, I can never find parsnips at the store, so I just used more carrots. I also had some celery that needed used so I added that too. It was good. I did forget to add the W sauce, which I'm sure would have only made my pie taste better. And a tip: mine nearly boiled over, I'm glad Spork Blogger advised me to use a cookie sheet under my casserole dish. I also left out the chives. Chives are something I grow in the summer and it peeves me to shell out moolah for them in the winter.

Now for the muzak: I was listening to the Twilight Soundtrack while writing tonight. No I am not 15. Yes I enjoyed the books. Yes I enjoyed the movie.