Monday, March 16, 2009

360 Reasons to Love George

Ok, well, I haven't got exactly 360 reasons to love George, but I do have quite a few. Who's George, you ask? Why, George Foreman of course! Ok, not the actual man, but his Dual Contact grills...specifically the George Foreman 360 Grill. Oh I do love that machine. It caught my eye when it first started to be advertised last year. And yes, in true Linda fashion, I said to anyone who would listen, "I GOTTA get me one of these!"

Apparently Richard was listening. 2 weeks ago he came home with one from Canadian Tire. Sure, I AM the one who told him they were on sale there for a REALLY GREAT PRICE. And sure, I cut the ad from the Canadian Tire Flyer and left it by his breakfast plate. And yes, I DID remind him about the awesome sale when he called me on his lunch break that day. But still....

I immediately took out the manual from the box and read everything it had to say about the machine, about how to cook various foods, and how to clean it. Then I went to the internet and researched everything I could find about it - not much as it seems - and then hunted for recipes, as the manual only has half a dozen or so. Wow, tough to find recipes for that specific grill. S'ok, I found recipes for lots of other dual contact grills.

This grill has 5 removable grill plates. Oh, and before I go any further, disclaimer time. NO, I do not work for George Foreman Grills or any company associated with George Foreman Grills. No I receive nothing for this glowing review of the grill. There, now, where was I...

...oh yes, 5 removable grill plates: two quesadilla plates, two grill plates and a baking plate. What have I made so far? Oh gosh, lets see. Quesadillas, they were great. Chocolate, chocolate chip cookies. Turned out good, but didn't cook them quite long enough, was experimenting. Peanut Butter cookies, they were good, baked long enough. Frozen Pizza, Richard's choice. Was good. Panini sandwiches, followed suggested temperature in manual, shouldn't have, not hot enough, but edible. Oh, boneless skinless chicken breast grilled to a turn! Oh yum, moist and delicious and done in 7 minutes. Breakfast potato patties, to eat with the chicken, yum. Dry Garlic Pork, but forgot to raise the back of the grill to let the grease drip into the little drip pan. Was still good. Oh and the best, I mixed up some Brioche Dough in my Bread Machine, rolled out several pieces of it on the counter, then plunked them in the pre-heated grill and baked them.

Oh my goodness. They are kind of like Brioche Pita Bread. Too Cool! So, what all can you cook in it? Better off asking what can't be cooked in it. You know me, I will try to
cook almost anything in George. Oh it makes wonderful pancakes, but, when you fry and egg in it, you really need to remember to put a tiny bit of oil on the spot where you are going to cook it so it doesn't stick quite so much. It does cook them good though.

I have Brownie mix in the cupboard and tonight I am going to mix it up, then spoon it in rounds onto the pre-heated baking grill pan and bake brownies. Should be good. I also have cornmeal muffin mix and will try that soon as well. Why all the mixes? Well, I experiment with the mix first and then if it works, I make if from scratch, so as not to waste ingredients if it doesn't turn out. Yes, the chocolate chip cookies were from one of those rolls of refrigerator dough from the store and the peanut butter cookies are thanks to a package from good old Betty Crocker.

Tonight for dinner I am using George again. Probably Honey Garlic Chicken Wings, some Sweet Potato Fries and Veggies cooked on the stove. And tomorrow, who knows. Maybe Quesadillas again. Darn but they were good. Chicken, green onions, black olives, Tex/Mex Shredded Cheese. Yup, definitely quesadillas.

And I want to try making Homemade Pizza dough for pizza's too. And then some beef fajita's. Oh and some Burrito's. Then have to try and grill a steak for Richard, that would be good. Hmmmmm, lets see, what else. Focaccia dough baked in George. And a cake. Want to try a cake mix first to see how that turns out. I tried to make a Peach Galette in it, using freezer pie crust, but the crust was just too dry and crumbled apart. Will have to break down and make my own pie dough and try again. It tasted ok, but was in pieces...tiny pieces.

Chocolate Panini; Apple Turnovers; Omelets; French Toast; Grilled Vegetables; thinly sliced potatoes grilled with onions; Hamburgers and grilled onions on grill toasted buns; grilled Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches; Grilled Cheese and Ham sandwiches; oooooh, Chicken Marmalade....

What's that? What did you say? 12 step program?

Who, me?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs...

The Winter from Hell is least for now. The snow is mostly gone from the yard, having stayed for over 2 months. That is the longest we have had snow last in the 23 years we have been on the Island. I don't miss it in the least.

Now the cleanup begins. I was out taking stock today of my plants that usually survive our winters. They don't look good. The best that I can hope for is that all that snow insulated the roots of many of them from the bitter cold. I have to say I was surprised by one that appears to have survived. My mini Carnation in the stern of the garden boat looks green and fit, a good sign. I put that one on my list of plants to purchase more of come spring. My chives survived, but I would expect nothing less from them, grin. My Rosemary, on the other hand, looks very dead, as does my Lavender. I see that the Chamomile is thriving, and the thyme and oregano too. Purple Sage is iffy. Yarrow is coming up - that's one of my favorites, I love the pastel flowers. Many of the different varieties of mint look really bad, but they are hardy so one can only hope the roots survived.

There are signs of spring too. I found a dandelion bud just opening. And tiny Snow Drops are popping up everywhere. Then there is the Little Yellow Somethings pictured above. I know that's not what they are called, I just can't spell the name so always refer to them as Little Yellow Somethings. They have a buttercup-like blossom above a leaf collar. And Richard spotted the Crocuses blooming in the garden yard and outside the fence as well. Soon will be the beautiful bright blue Chianodoxa, also known as Glory of Snow. Daffodils, Narcissus...if the weather holds, in another month there will be cherry blossoms. And in 6 days, we go to Pacific Daylight time. That is always a big lift. The days are getting longer, the weather warmer, and yes, I AM ignoring the weather pundits who are calling for -9 this Friday night. Bah Humbug to them, I say.

And what have I been doing these last couple of weeks since I wrote last? Sigh, well, Richard had a nasty cold thingy. I say thingy because it wasn't really a cold, more of a head and chest infection. Got him to our doctor for antibiotics finally and the very next day...THE VERY NEXT DAY...I came down with it. Had to wait nearly a week to see the doctor myself so it set in, and I have a lung infection, again. Arrrggghhhh! Enough already. I spend a lot of time sleeping, but, being that I am not a good sleeper at the best of times anyway, I guess this is helping me to catch up.

How is my stress level doing, you ask? Better. Of course, the doctor gave me some medication that helps. I don't like taking pills, but have the intelligence to know when I need it. Ergo...anyway, I am doing better.

The dogs on the other hand look like ragamuffins. Richard even took two of them and clipped off their tattered fur for me the other night. Which made a third one, Pippi, quite depressed because he spent so much time with them and made a fuss over them. And believe me, if you have ever had a depressed dog, you know where-of I speak. She lays on the mat by the front door ALL DAY. If we go outside, she is chipper and cheery. Comes back in the house and lays at the door. She is despondent because I spend a lot of the day on my bed and Richard is at work, and, well, who knows. I know what she is going through, having just been there. She has done this before, and it will pass. Meantime I spend a lot of time petting and talking to her and coaxing her to do things. Therapy for both of us, I guess. Richard plans to clip her next, maybe the attention will make her feel better.

Pippi is a clever little thing. It has gotten to the point that Richard and I now spell things around her because she understands so much of what we talk about. For instance, if we are going to take them outside, we allude to it with nods of the head toward the window and spell o-u-t-s-i-d-e. Or if we are going out to the store, we of course spell s-t-o-r-e. That wont last us for long. She already is figuring out that o-u-t means out. And she is a master of body language. I always tuck my pant legs into my socks before I go out to the yard, so they don't get wet in the grass. She figured out what that meant after my doing it only once. I am constantly telling Richard not to make eye contact with her as I swear she can read his mind.

So, I am back. And hopefully this Amoxil antibiotic I am taking does it's job and I get over this !@#$%^&* lung infection quickly. Meanwhile, we have been planning our work in the garden yard, going to move some antique roses from under the bathroom window to over in the corner where the shed meets the house. Then I think one half of that wall will be planted in herbs - it is an east facing wall - and the other half in old fashioned Hollyhocks, a beloved flower of my childhood. Have to put a small fence around whatever we plant, as the dogs love digging for Mole People in that flower bed. Along the south-facing shed I am planting sunflowers this year, the big, tall ones, to feed the birds with next winter.

Time to t-a-k-e the d-o-g-s and g-o o-u-t-s-i-d-e. Why am I spelling it here, you ask? Well, she can spell, so it wouldn't surprise me if she could read too.