Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ravens vs. Steelers

Another exciting game from the Ravens. The Ravens kept us guessing all the way up until the end, and ended up defeating the Steelers, 22-20. The game was cold, but not as cold as the Jets game, which doesn't make sense, since the Jets game was a day game.
The band didn't perform a show, because the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed. We did form "Play 60" on the field behind them (I was in the P).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WBAL Pep Rally

The Pep Band was asked to perform for a Pep Rally, since the Sunday Night Football bus is in town for the game tomorrow.

Initially, the gig was supposed to occur at the Inner Harbor, but the permits didn't come through, so it was at the WBAL studio on Television Hill. We had a couple of good television shots, and we got to check out the bus. Check out the following links: Video or Slideshow.

Pictures of Pep Band with WBAL Meteorologist, Ava Marie.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ravens vs. Jets

Woohoo! Another win by the Ravens! This time it was against the Jets, and the Ravens won soundly, 19-3. For halftime, the band formed a big 75 on the field, to honor the induction of Jonathon Ogden into the Sports Legends Museum Hall of Fame.

These are my two seconds of fame from this game.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Beef Stew with Herbed Potato Dumplings

So, tonight, I made Beef Stew with Herbed Potato Dumplings, the last of the recipes that I wanted to try out while on "stay-cation."

Beef Stew with Herbed Potato Dumplings

Ingredients STEW
  • 7 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans reduced sodium beef broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (16 oz.) package frozen vegetables for stew
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup Hungry Jack® Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
  • 1/2 cup Hungry Jack® Complete Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix (Just Add Water)
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Preparation Directions
  1. COMBINE 3 tablespoons flour and seasoned salt in large resealable plastic bag. Add beef cubes. Seal and toss to coat.
  2. HEAT oil in 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add beef cubes and cook until well browned on all sides. Add 2 1/2 cups beef broth, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.
  3. STIR in frozen vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Whisk together remaining beef broth and remaining flour in small bowl. Add to stew, stirring until gravy thickens.
  4. To prepare dumpling batter: WHISK eggs and water in medium bowl. Stir in potato flakes until moistened. Add pancake mix, green onion, parsley and garlic salt; mix well.
  5. DROP batter by tablespoonfuls onto simmering stew. Cover and simmer over low heat 13 to 16 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.
Despite the garlic - shhh, don't tell Tom it was in there - Tom and I both enjoyed this dish. The only criticism I had was that I couldn't eat more - those potato dumplings were extremely filling.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup

My final new recipe attempt from my week off is Smoky Butternut Squash Soup

Smoky Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • One 3-pound butternut squash, peeled and diced (8 cups)
  • 1 small canned chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 7 cups chicken or turkey stock or low-sodium broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
  1. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the squash and chipotle and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and honey and bring to a boil. Simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Puree the soup until smooth; season with salt.
  3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir the crème fraîche with the 1/4 cup of chives. Microwave until just melted, 30 seconds. Serve the soup with a swirl of chive cream and a sprinkling of chives.
Well, the hardest part about making this recipe was peeling and dicing the butternut squash - does anyone have advice on how to make that easier? The soup has good flavor, with a bit of heat, so Tom definitely will not be able to eat this.

German Cucmuber Salad

Today, I wanted to make something I saw on Pinterest, German Cucumber Salad.

German Cucumber Salad

  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 medium to large tomato
  • 2 slices onion (slice like you would for onion rings)
  • 2-4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp dill
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Peel and slice your cucumber, slice your tomato, and slice your onion. I like to slice, then quarter the onion because its easier to eat.
  2. In a bowl, combine dill and salt.
  3. Add sour cream or yogurt and lemon juice to taste. Mix well.
  4. Add onion, cucumber, and tomato to the mixture and stir until the veggies are coated with the dressing.
Well, I didn't realize until it was too late that I didn't have any lemon juice in the house, so the flavor wasn't what it was intended to be, but I still liked it. If I make this dish again, I'll slice the onion thinner, so that it's more like my family's sour cucumbers, and I'll probably add more dill.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Steak and Potatoes Dinner

For dinner tonight, I made Slow-Cooker Steak and Potatoes Dinner.

Slow Cooker Steak and Potatoes Dinner

  • 1 1/2 lb beef tip steak, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced onions
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 bag (19 oz) Green Giant® frozen garden vegetable medley
  1. Spray 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of beef with flour, salt and pepper. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Cook beef in oil 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on both sides.
  2. Place onions in slow cooker. Top with beef and tomatoes; sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 7 to 9 hours or until beef is tender.
  4. About 15 minutes before steak is ready to serve, microwave vegetables as directed on bag. Stir into beef mixture.
I wasn't exactly thrilled with the first bite, but subsequent bites were quite tasty. I'm not used to eating beef with tomatoes, so I think that is where I got hung up initially, but the meat turned out to be nice and tender.
On a totally different note, I practiced purling today.

There are a lot more things to learn, but I think I'm starting to get a hang of knitting!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Scared To Death

I finally finished reading "Scared to Death," by Wendy Corsi Staub.

I can't tell you how hard it was, but I'm guessing that it's because it's the second book in a series. There was a huge twist at the end, so the book was a little more interesting towards the end.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Italian Wedding Soup

I needed to use up some spinach that I had, so I made Italian Wedding Soup.

Slow-Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 small head escarole (8 ounces), washed, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 3/4 cups acini di pepe pasta (such as Ronzoni)
  1. In a large bowl, stir together egg, beef, onion, bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, 1 tablespoon parsley and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Form into 1-inch meatballs (about 45) and place on baking sheet; refrigerate while preparing soup.
  2. Combine broth, carrots, escarole and oregano in slow cooker. Gently add meatballs. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Stir in pasta for last 20 minutes of cook time. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Sprinkle each serving with remaining parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve.
I made a few changes (I used spinach instead of escarole and after adding the pasta, I jacked the heat up to high and cooked it for longer than necessary), and it didn't turn out as expected. With the added time, the pasta soaked up practically all of the liquid, so I added water to make it "soup." The flavor was good, and the reason why I cooked it for longer was because the meatballs didn't look like they cooked through. Perhaps they did, but if I make this dish again, I'll only use a cup of pasta.
I also finished listening to an audiobook, "Never Go Back," by Lee Child.

I enjoy a good Jack Reacher novel, and this one was much better than the last one. I was disappointed by the ending, but it makes sense, and I can't expect Reacher to change, can I?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Learning to Knit

Today, I started the process of learning how to knit.

I looked up a tutorial, and learned the first two steps: casting on and knitting - the picture is cast on 20, and about 16 rows of knitting. The next step is purling.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hamburger and Potato Skillet

I've taken the week off, Tom and I had scheduled a vacation, then decided to cancel the reservations and stay home. Tonight, for dinner, I made a Hamburger and Potato Skillet.

Hamburger and Potato Skillet

  • 3 cups frozen mini potato nuggets (from 28-oz. bag)
  • 1 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups frozen cut green beans (from 1-lb. bag)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can (10.75 oz.) condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup shredded American cheese (4 oz.)
  1. Cook potato nuggets as directed on package.
  2. Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef and garlic over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Add beans, milk and soup; mix well. Reduce heat to medium; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add cheese; stir until melted. Top with cooked potato nuggets.
When Tom started to complain about the smell (he's extremely sensitive to garlic) while I was cooking, I started to worry about how it would turn out. It ended up good - and above all, easy. Best of all, Tom said it was good, too.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ravens vs. Bengals

What a great game! The Ravens defeated the Bengals, 20-17 in overtime. Even though I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of going into overtime, it was worth the time.

The Ravens played well for the first half, then not so well for the second half. The band's halftime show went well. We played the "Armed Forces Salute," and sounded great. We had a really cool show to go with it - we formed a tank and moved the wheels and track, an eagle that flapped it's wings, a boat with moving waves, an airplane with jets, a submarine that sank, and USA.

I even got a tiny bit of air-time.

I'm the only one where you can see the back of the head (bottom center)!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

HdG Holiday Craft Show 2013

Well, it's finally over, the Havre de Grace High School Holiday Craft Show. Unfortunately, it was not very successful. I did not make enough money to cover the cost of the space, but from what I hear, this was the worst year in recent history. Some people that we talked to have done the show for four years, and they said this year was horrible, probably because of the economy and sequester. Aside from that, I thought it was a good experience. I got to make new things, and learned how to set up a booth and displays. Here are some pictures:

The last picture is of Joan's items. She's the mother of a co-worker, and I asked if she wanted to participate in the show with me, and she agreed. Unfortunately, she was very dissatisfied with the show, and said she wouldn't do it again. I will not be disheartened, and have signed up for a booth for next year. We'll try it one more time.