Monday, November 30, 2009

Inadvertant Blog Hiatus

Sorry for abandoning my blogging duties so egregiously. I have a huge project ongoing at work that is threatening to eat up all my free time. I wish I could say that this makes me a littler happier (and, to be fair, it does a little since I can't stand being bored at work), but I fear we are being so obviously set up for failure that I work feverishly with the despair of knowing that our fabulous product will probably go nowhere thanks to the childish politics of the various government offices involved (e.g. My org should be leading this project, therefore I will sabatoge any effort you make in spite of that fact that we are fighting a war and people are dying. Who cares! It should be my project!!!!).

To tide you over in between my infrequest posts, here are some other stories of life in the Pu household:

C made some new friends with a few of the sixth grade girls at her school when she brought her copy of Twilight: New Moon to school to read at recess. I believe the coversation went something like this (as repeated to me by said child).

Random Sixth Grade Girl (RSGG): OMG! Is that, like, Twilight: New Moon??!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I looooove Twilight. Do you love Twilight, too??!!
C: OMG, yes! Twilight is, like, so totally awesome and cool. I love Edward. I am Team Edward all the way, whoo hoo!
RSG: OMG, me too! We should be BFF forever (hugs!!!)
C: Like, that would be so awesome! Twilight is so cool. I wish I had a vampire boyfriend like Edward.
RSGG: I have already seen New Moon twice and I am going to go again!
C: NO WAY!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven't seen New Moon yet because my parents are so lame!!!!!
RSGG: No way! That sucks! You're parents are way lame!
C: I KNOW! What is wrong with them??!!
RSGG: You should tell that that you will just die if you don't see it!!!
C: I tried that!!!! My mom said that I was lucky to have the book! SO LAME!!!!
C: I KNOW!!!!

And so on. Tween talk is very hard to interpret because of all the random squealing.

J, on the other hand, has become an expert at interpreting A-speak:

A: Oh weee
J: A says he wants Halloween candy.

A: Ah guck!!! Ah guck!!
J: A wants his truck. You are sitting on it, and he wants it back before your butt eats it.

A: Mo geegah!
J: A wants to have more cookies.
Me: But you don't have any cookies.
J: Yes, that's why he wants more.

Post Turkey Day Ideas:

I always make way too much food for Thanksgiving (who doesn't), and I'm not crazy about having T-Day feast repeats over and over, so I have become pretty good at figuring out what to do with the leftovers. So far this year I have made Tom Kha Gai with turkey and a hybrid turkey pot pie (mashed potato crust, so sort of a turkey shepherd's pie, really). One of my favorite recipes for leftover turkey, however, is Turkey Tetrazini. It is really delicious and it is also super, super easy. Here is my version, which is very slightly adapted from an old Homes & Gardens Cookbook I have.

Pu's Tetrazini:

1 lb spaghetti, cooked
1/2-3/4lb chopped turkey
3- 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth (or turkey broth if you saved it)
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup sherry or white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 lg onion, chopped
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a large pan on medium heat (large enough to hold all ingredients mentioned in the recipe) and cook the onion and mushrooms with a little salt and pepper and the lemon juice until cooked through (about 5-7min). Set veggies aside and melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the flour and stir the roux until it is smooth and a nice caramel color. Slowly add the chiken or turkey broth and sherry until the mixture is a thick almost chowder like consistancy. Add the half and half and nutmeg and season to taste.Then add the saved veggies and chopped turkey and cook just until mxture is heated through. Spread the cooked spaghetti evenly in a large oven-safe pot or dutch oven. Pour the turkey mixture over top of the spaghetti and sprikle the cheese evenly on top. Bake at 350 for about 30min or until the cheese browns slightly. Let the dish cool for about 10-15 minutes and then slice into even pieces and serve (like lasagna). So delicious!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boys Are Stinky and Girls Are Mean

Very uneventful weekend. On Saturday we held a birthday party for Tim’s Grandma (the one who watches A for us). We all pitched in and bought her a ticket back to Buffalo to visit her family back there. I found it humorous that we live in FL and bought her a ticket to go on vacation to Buffalo in January! We also went to the market on Saturday and got lots of produce. I tried to make a cauliflower soup with curry and cardamom, but it turned out to have way too much cardamom and no one would eat it :(

The temperature here has dipped a bit. It still gets into the high 70s/low 80s during the day but it’s down into the 50s at night (hey, after the summer weather, this feels like ice to me!). So in honor of the cooler weather, here’s my current recipe for Tom Kha Gai:

Pu’s Tom Kha Gai

2 cans Coconut Milk
2 cups Chicken broth
4-6 Tbsp Roasted Red Chili Paste
1 stalk lemongrass
1 6” piece of galangal
1 can straw mushrooms
½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
2-3 Tbsp lime juice
Kafir lime leaves
1 serrano or Thai bird’s eye chili seeded and sliced (big slices so you can fish them out) *optional
Salt & pepper to taste

Season the chicken and cook it in a skillet until cooked through. Set aside. In a pot, put the coconut milk and broth, peeled & sliced galangal, and lemongrass* and turn the heat to medium high. Add the chili paste, lime leaves (as much as you’d like to taste – I put in about 8-10), fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper, and serrano chili**. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn down the heat to let it simmer. There is no prescribed cooking time for the broth. The true flavor of this soup comes from the galangal. You cannot substitute for it, and the flavor will be deeper the longer it cooks. So don’t be worried about overcooking it! Conversely, if the broth tastes good to you after 20-30 min of cooking, so be it! Once you’ve decided the broth is done, add the straw mushrooms, chicken, and lime juice (use this judiciously and taste as you add so you don’t accidently put in too much) and cook for another 10min or so.

*Prepare the lemon grass by chopping the stalk into 1 – 1 1/2” pieces and bruising them with the side of your knife.
**Depending on how spicy you like your food, this ingredient is totally optional. It is mainly for the heat and its omission won’t affect the flavor of the broth that much.

This is one of my favorite comfort meals. It is warm and spicy and soothing. I craved this soup daily when I was preggers with A. Hubs used to get it from his coworker who lived near a hole in the wall Thai place in Long Beach that made the absolute best version of this soup. I have never been able to equal their recipe, but this version is as close as I’ve ever gotten. One of the great things about Tom Kha Gai is that it is a very personal recipe. You can add or take away as much of any one ingredient as you like to make the broth fit your taste. Hope you like it!

Thing Heard Recently on Pu’s Corner:

J: My brain is telling me to eat your head.
Me: Hmm, well I would tell your brain that that is a very bad idea.
J: *very seriously* I know. I keep telling it that, but it doesn’t listen. Stupid brain.

Me: Your cousin, Y, is about to have a baby brother. What advice would you give her?
J: I would tell her not to have a brother. Boys are stinky and poop in their pants. She should have a sister.
Me: Like C?
J: No, not like C. She is mean and won’t let me play with her movies. Sometimes I can play with her cats but only when Daddy yells at her.
Me: But you would still tell her to have a sister?
J: *thoughtfully* No, she should just have a cat. Cats are soft and if you want their toy you can just take it and they don’t get mad.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


So Halloween has come and gone (as evidenced by the pics in my last post), and now we have entered the true Holiday Season. That is, now we get to be inundated with commercials about how we need to spend, spend, spend for all the upcoming holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, C’s Birthday*). This year the Hubs and I have decided to keep our spending to a minimum. We are hell bent on getting ourselves out of debt, and I can’t think of much that we actually “need” (vs. want J ) We will be buying each child one large gift and stocking stuffers. Wish us luck in actually sticking to that, lol!
In other news, A’s therapy is progressing well. He has approximate sounds that he uses as words, which I am starting to figure out. For example, he says:
Jus – juice
Tada – Potato (as in, Mr. Potato Head or just to refer to potatoes in general)
Doodoo – Scooby Doo
Eeeoo-uu - IDK
In other news, I totally forgot that I have my reserve drill this weekend (1st one at my new base), so if I promised to Skype with you that's obvs not going to be an option. Sowwy!

*This one is considered optional for the population at large, but Amazon likes to remind me that it is coming up and I should buy, buy, buy to prepare!

Sunday, November 01, 2009