Tales of a Wookie Wife: Fueled by caffeine and good intentions. Feed hairy man. Clean house. Be fabulous. Repeat. You can learn more about me here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hungarian Pot Roast

This is a recipe I saw here first, but it has been greatly, heavily modified...Mainly by the fact that it seems I somehow forgot how to recipe halfway through, but it still turned out absolutely amazing.

You can thank my sister-in-law for the punctuality of this recipe.  I'm usually a few days behind in posting, but I just made this yesterday afternoon and, after she sampled it, was told it was to be posted today so she could thaw her pot roast and make it, and she could totally kick my ass, so here it is.  =P

Start off with a roast.  This was about 1 3/4 pounds.  The recipe calls for a rump roast, but I couldn't locate one at the store I was at, so I just grabbed a chuck roast.  Rub it down with sea salt and black pepper, put it in a heated skillet with about 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high heat and let it brown on all sides.  You may want to kick the heat up a little if you're not using cast iron.

Here's where my version of the recipe became truly my version.  And I totally did it on purpose.  I forgot my roast was half the size of the one in the other recipe and ended up with double vegetables and gravy.  While the roast is browning, cut up 4 medium onions into thick slices.  I used white.

Once the roast is browned on all sides, put it in the crock pot (which should not be on yet), add another tablespooon of olive oil to the skillet, then toss in the onions and 2 heaping teaspoons of paprika.  Cook that, moving the onions frequently so they cook evenly, until they are soft and browned.

Add to the crock pot.

After the onions are out of the skillet, put it back on the stove and pour in 2 cups of beef broth.  Use a spatula or something with a flat end to scrape the drippings from the onions and roast off the bottom of the pan so the incorporate into the broth.  Let it cook down until it reduces by half.  Should only take a few minutes.  When that's done, pour it into the crock pot, too.

Drain some roasted red peppers....

Add those and a can of diced tomatoes (don't drain the tomatoes) to the crock pot, give it a stir, and season with pepper.  Set it on high, put the lid on, and let it cook for 3-4 hours or until it is tender when you fork it.  (heh.  heheh.)  After it cools enough to take the crock out, drain off the juice and save it.  Put the vegetables back in the crock and turn the crock pot down to warm.

The recipe said to slice the roast at this point, but mine just sort of fell apart when I poked at it with the tongs...

...so I just put it back in the crock pot and stirred it up with the vegetables.

 Remember that juice you saved?  Put it in a sauce pan and cook it down until it reduces by half.

Once it reduces by half, remove it from the heat, whisk in 1.5 cups of sour cream and it will form a gravy, then pour it over the roast and vegetables in the crock and let sit on warm or low until it is all heated through, then you're ready to go.

I'd planned to make sides with it, but since I ended up with double vegetables already and there's just the two of us I decided to skip it.  I've been making exceptionally ugly-looking recipes lately, I know, but this stuff just tastes incredible and is definitely worth trying.  I'll be cooking this one again.  


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review - Stila Lip Glaze

Yet another review from the Box o' Awesome...and there's still a lot more to go!

This is Stila Lip Glaze in "Kitten".

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of lip gloss.  They are sticky, messy, and most of them make you look like you've been drooling on yourself.  This one, however, is an exception.  While I didn't take a picture of the applicator, you turn the bottom to make the product come out onto an attached lip brush.  The application is easy, the brush is very soft, and, like most designs similar to this packaging, this one doesn't leak or get all gross in your bag, which is a big bonus, and I even let it knock around in my purse a few weeks just to check.  There's nothing worse than a product that ends up leaky or oily in your makeup bag or purse.

Here it is on its own, just a light gloss, not a glassy one and it has sort of a nice champagne shimmer to it.  As long as you don't put on gobs of it, it isn't sticky or uncomfortable at all and doesn't have that odd, chemically taste some do.

Here it is alone on the left and swatched over a bright red lipstick in middle and a more brownish color on the right so you can see how it can enhance other colors and it adds quite a nice touch.  This one is in sunlight.

...And here is the gloss over the same colors under a flash where you can see the sparkle in the gloss a bit more.

Overall, I'd give this a 10/10.  I've worn it several times and like it quite a lot.  It wears comfortable, light, and is versatile.  Usually any lip gloss goes straight to the garbage after one or two tries.  :)

<3 WW

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jacques Pepin's Crusty Chicken Thighs with Mushroom Sauce

I've always been a big fan of Jacques Pepin, but this is the first of his recipes I've attempted to cook. It didn't go as I wanted it to, but I figured I'd post it anyway. The Wookie said it was pretty damn good, not that I'd know, I don't like cooked mushrooms. If they are in a sauce or on a pizza, I can generally handle them which is why I wanted to try this, I figured I could deal with the mushroom sauce and the Wookie loves him some mushrooms, so even though I couldn't hack this, I'm happy I made it because he got to eat one of his favorite foods.

Look for (hopefully) a new recipe every week, by the way. I'm trying to get back to posting more recipes, but there will still be beauty reviews and craft tutorials - just more recipes, too. On with the song and dance, no?

First thing you'll need is roughly 1 3/4 lbs of chicken thighs, skin, bones, and all.  Well, not feathers, obviously.  2 pounds is the closest I could find, so it works.

Lay them skin-side down and cut a slit on either side of the bone.

Salt and pepper both sides.  There is a 1/2 tsp each measurement for this in the recipe, but I just eyeballed it.

Lay the chicken skin-side down in a cold, heavy skillet.  I used this stainless one as my cast irons don't have lids.  Cue crying jag.  Turn said skillet on high until you hear the chicken start to sizzle, then turn it down to medium.

Cover and let cook 20 minutes or until the chickens are done.


Now, guys, my chicken skins stuck badly.  I did this in two batches because of the tiny stainless skillet and figured the second batch couldn't possibly stick since I laid it over the still-stuck-on-skin of the first batch that was on there with the power of every ancient deity ever.  I was wrong.  It managed to stick, too.  This happens every single time I make skin-on chicken on the stove and I don't know how to stop it.  It doesn't seem to matter what kind of skillet I use, what kind of oil, or what temperature and it drives me crazy because my chickens always come out ugly and torn up and I don't know how to fix it heeeellllllllpppp!  Seriously, every.  Time.  Unless its one of the recipes where I can hover over it uncovered and move them around constantly, then I'm okay, but if I have to cover and/or let it sit for more than 2 minutes - I'm scraping chicken skins with a spatula for a half hour.

 Remove the chicken and put them on a plate (or, as the recipe suggests, in a warm oven, but it was a warm day, so I just put them on a plate and put another plate on top to keep them warm.)

While those were cooking, I'd chopped up 3 cups of white mushrooms (at least I hope these were the right ones, but there are only two kinds at the local stores and one was massive and blackish-grey, so I used my best judgement), 1 cup of onions, 1.5 tbsp of garlic and 1 tbsp of chives.  The chives should have been a garnish, but I mis-read that part, so they became part of the "sauce".

Pour off all but 2 tbsp of the chicken fat and then add your vegetables and a dash of salt and pepper.  Sautee over high heat for 3 minutes.  In a perfect world, you'd be able to do this in the same skillet, but mine had two layers of chicken skin stuck on the bottom hence the wardrobe change.

Pour in 1/3 of a cup of chicken stock or white wine.  I used chicken stock because it is cheap and we didn't have any wine.  I don't think vodka would have done the trick.

After you add the stock, let cook on high for another minute so the "sauce" can reduce.  I say "sauce" because it kept looking just like that above.  I can't help but think the sautee and reduction times are either too low or were perhaps made for a gas stove because I sauteed about 2 minutes more than I should have and let reduce about 3 more minutes as well.  It just kept looking like a chunky soup instead of a sauce, so I just gave up and figured that was how it should look since, other than extending the cooking times of the "sauce" a bit, I'd followed the recipe almost to the letter.

Here it is plated up and sorry I didn't get a shot in natural light.  I made some red mashed potatoes to go under it since I'd expected the mushroom sauce to be, oh, I don't know, a SAUCE instead of a chunky soupy side dish.  As I said, the Wookie said it was pretty damn good, but not being a fan of mushrooms and this turning out NOTHING like I'd planned, just looking at it made me feel queasy, so I passed.  I took a bite of the chicken, though, and that was fine...Will probably turn the leftover chicken into quesadillas.  *.*

Have you made this recipe?  Is the "sauce" supposed to look like that or did I manage to screw something up?


Wookie Wifey

Friday, March 8, 2013

Glade Expressions Review

These were provided to me for free via coupons from Bzzagent, but all opinions are my own.  :)

When Bzzagent gave the the opportunity to try these products, I had mixed feelings.  While I like spray air fresheners, I usually only like them while they are being sprayed and can't smell them afterward.  Most room fresheners, specifically most mass-market retail-store-types, almost never have much of a scent unless you basically stand over them and huff them like a junkie all day.

The Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser is the one I was most excited to try.  I got it in Pineapple & Mangosteen and it smells delicious.  It smells like some sort of exotic mixed drink.  Not only does it smell nice, but it smells nice from a distance.  By that, I mean for 2 full weeks our bedroom, hallway, and bathroom all smelled so good from just one of these little puppies.  Did it last the full 30 days advertised?  No.  But that's a lot of space and it was in the bedroom.  I bet if I were to put one in the bathroom on its own, it would last closer to, if not the full 30 days.  Plus, they are cute.  I wanted the white one, but the sores here didn't carry it, bleh.

So, will I buy it again?

I already have.  The one pictured above is in our living room!

I also got these two sprays, the Lavender & Juniper Berry provided by a coupon from Bzzagent and the Vibrant Bloom I bought just because I liked it.  :)  The Wookie chose the first one and he likes it quite a bit, which says a lot.  He's not into about 90% of the air fresheners, candles, and incense I bring in even though I do try to find things he will like.  It has sort of a classic scent...It is hard to describe.  It is floral, yet more a herby floral than a girly floral.  The Vibrant bloom smells fresh and is very girly-floral and is my favorite...I wish I could find a diffuser in this scent!

Overall I'm pleased with the collection and will continue to pick them up now and then and its nice to have something handy to freshen up the house, especially when it is too hot or too cold to have the windows open much.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Rag Rug Tutorial!

This is rather time consuming and made my hands hurt like hell, but I found the end  result to be so cute that I'm almost finished with a second one and have plans and lots of scraps saved for a third, huge one.  This was no-sew, which I love, and a great way to bust scraps or use fabric that you have no clue what else to use for.

The first thing you will need is something like this:

 This is a open-weave knit jacket-thing I found at a thrift store for on the cheap.  I'd bought it to wear, but it was a bit tight and just really didn't look so cute on, so I decided to re-purpose it.  I cut the sleeves off and used the body of it, flattened out, for my base.  I used garbage bag ties to wire bits of it together where it had been cut into slits on the side to sit better on a body.  You could also use a small weave net, a latch hook base, basically anything you can find with lots of small holes.  It doesn't matter what it looks like because you won't see it.

 Secondly, you'll need scraps.  Lots and lots of scraps in whatever coordinating themes and colors you decide on.  When you think you have enough, trust me, keep cutting.

I made mine 6" long since I wanted a shaggy rug and they range from 1.5" to 2" wide.  I just used this plastic ruler and cut a long strip 6" wide then eyeballed the width as I chopped it up.

Once you're ready to tackle this thing, take your scraps and fold them in half like this.

Loop them through the holes...

Then pull their tails through the loop and tighten.  I found out on my second rug, you can just loop one end through a hole and tie it and it will come out just as fluffy, so really its up to you...Just whatever you find easier.

Keep going.  At this point, it may look a bit scroungy and you may wonder whether or not you're wasting your time, but you're not, just keep at it.

End result?

Cute and fluffy.  This is just a small rug I made for the knee-hole under hubs computer desk to keep his toesies warm.  The second one I'm almost done with is much bigger and a different color and I will post it and my huge one when I finish them.

Here's a close-up so you can see how shaggy it is and how nice the colors blend from up close:

On this rug, as well as the second, I cut up one color of fabric at a time and just went round and round in circles with them and that's how I got the odd, stripe-y look.  For the big mama I'll be doing a jumble, hodge-podge and I think it will look wicked cool.

These are easy, fluffy, and they feel soooo good on your toes, especially the second one as I used satin in it as well as other fabrics.  They are time consuming, though, so just find a good tv show with LOTS of seasons on Netflix!  Happy knoting!


Wookie Wifey