French Toast with Dinner? Try This Spin on a Classic!

Happy Friday and upcoming weekend, everyone. Trying really hard to get back into a blogging groove and ideas that hit due to a no-big-deal error can really be a big help!

I was getting ready to bread chicken cutlets yesterday. Added too much milk to the egg mixture and was about to throw it out when a light bulb flashed: slice up the seeded Italian loaf staring me in the face and fry up as a French-style toast!  Honestly, a recipe doesn’t get much easier than this! (It looked really pretty too. Didn’t think to take a photo b/c I didn’t realize I’d be writing up the recipe and sharing it.)

You will need:

4-6 slices bakery bread cut no about an inch thick (you want the egg inside to cook);

1-2  eggs*, beaten (depends on how much you’re making and/or how eggy you want your bread to be)

salt to taste

fresh parsley, chopped (sometimes I just cut it up with a scissors)

1/4-1/2  cup of milk*

grated cheese* of choice (I always stock Parmesan but Adagio or even crumbled Feta might work nicely here too)

¼ cup (or so) of bread crumbs

*using egg whites and lower fat milk and cheeses might appeal to those conscious of fat and cholesterol)

With a fork or a whisk, beat together the egg, milk, parsley, salt and grated cheese. Dip the bread slices in the liquid mixture then coat on each side with bread crumbs. Fry over medium-high heat in a pan coated lightly with cooking spray until golden brown on each side. (I fried mine in the same oil I used for the chicken cutlet. I tend to be light-handed with the oil so I didn’t feel too guilty about any added fat.) Remove from heat, sprinkle with additional grated cheese and serve immediately. (Hubby wouldn’t try it but the boys and I will be partaking of such yummy concoctions during future meals.)

Topping this with some thinly sliced tomato (sprinkled with a touch of sea salt, oregano and more cheese of course) and putting under the broiler for a few seconds sounds like something I might try another time–maybe even with a fried green tomato.  Hey, this might work as an appetizer, too. Hmm. The recipe idea gears are grinding…

Your turn: what minor cooking gaff have you turned into an unexpectedly delicious meal or side dish idea? What about combinations you’ve tried that haven’t worked? Anyone have any big plans this weekend? Enjoy!

Thanks for indulging me. 😀 Until next time,

Joanna

With Whom Would YOU Sing?

Thanks to the Happiness Engineers at WordPress.com for the prompt for this post. Thought it would be fun to take on and makes for good audience participation, don’t you think?

Of course I’d love to duet with Donny Osmond–any of those wonderful Broadway covers he did on Somewhere in Time would do. So would my dream role: narrator to his Joseph (and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).  Go figure: the narrator on the Canadian soundtrack looked so much like me–thinner of course–one of my sons pointed to the photo and said, “That’s you, Mom.” (I wish! He was quite a bit younger then, but I’ll take it. :))

Then there is my birthday buddy, Bono. How cool would it be to share the mike with him on Stuck in a Moment, Vertigo, The Sweetest Thing or my absolute U2 favorite: Walk On?

And I’d so sing with Kevin Bacon on pretty much any cut from any one of their amazing CDs–Tuesday, Old Guitars and the one we all heard first: Only A Good Woman.

So who would YOU sing with? Come on and play along!

Joanna

Sunflowers and Home Fries

Happy Friday, friends! Hope you’re all geared up for a fun and/or restful weekend. Our weather  is promising much-needed rain, but so far the sun is having its way.

This photo is for writer-blogger Darlene Steelman (always a great collection of articles at her blog):

This recipe is dedicated to author JT Ellison over at Twitter (a.k.a. @thrillerchick)—she happened on one of my tweets and asked for the recipe. I am happy to oblige!

Joanna’s Home Fries (inspired by hubby*)—serves 4-5.

Sorry, no photo today–will post one as soon as I make them again :)!

You will need: 

5-6 large potatoes (Eastern or Idaho)

2 red, orange and/or yellow bell peppers (one of each works too, and makes for a very colorful dish)

1-2 large cloves of garlic, chopped or minced (optional)

1 large yellow (or Vidalia) onion

canola or olive oil

salt/pepper/paprika/Adobo to taste

Here’s what to do: 

Peel and rinse potatoes before cutting into pieces about 1-inch square (pieces this size cook faster w/o burning).

Wash peppers. Use a sharp nice to cut out the stem and empty the seeds. Slice into strips or cut into pieces, 1-2-inches long.

Peel and slice onion.

Cover the bottom of a large (12-14-inch preferably) non-stick frying pan with oil, but not so much the potatoes are swimming in it. (You’ll definitely need to use more oil–and/or add as needed–to a stainless steel skillet.)

Over medium-high heat, heat oil until one potato dropped in begins to sizzle as soon as it hits the oil.

Add the potatoes and fold until they’re coated with oil. (Add more oil as needed.)  Stir/fold potatoes as needed to keep them cooking evenly. (A silicone/flexible spatula is great for this.) Potatoes should progress from their creamy color to a pink-red brownish color—which would be about the time to add the cut-up peppers and onions.

Use spatula to carefully fold together all the ingredients. Continue cooking, folding mixture as needed so that veggies don’t burn while desired tenderness is reached. (Keep in mind that allowing the veggies to become blackened/caramelized will add some sweetness to your dish.) Add garlic at this point, and cook until golden. (Don’t let the garlic burn!)

Season with salt, pepper, paprika and/or Adobo to taste. If you used canola oil, you might want to top off the dish with a drizzle of (extra virgin) olive oil, but that’s it! Serve with fried eggs or as a side dish for pork chops, chicken—you name it. Leftovers heat up nicely too.

*For a slightly different version—my mom’s—substitute green bell peppers for those above. (You’ll need to cut pieces smaller or cook a little longer; green peppers tend to be harder than the red/orange/yellow variety.)  Skip the onion and add a clove or two of chopped garlic when you’re almost done cooking. Don’t let the garlic burn; unlike onions and pepper, burned garlic doesn’t caramelize. It just tastes bitter.

Next Friday I’ll be sharing my thoughts on historical romance author Mary Reed McCall’s The Crimson Lady, a book I thoroughly enjoyed. I have a few choices for earlier in the week so that one is up in the air yet. One last request: if today’s content spoke to you, please take a moment and click a SHARE button. Thanks so much!

Have a wonderful day and a great weekend!

Joanna

#FollowFriday? No, #FridayFrittata!

Happy Friday everyone!

Ash Wednesday set Lent in motion, so how about a meatless recipe? And in the spirit of Twitter’s #FF (Follow Friday) we’ll call this one #FridayFrittata.

As with all of my recipes, I try to keep things easy. I must say, however, this one might take a little practice to make the way I do. Trust me, experience is the only reason I can flip the thing the way my mom does, but there are ways around that (which I’ll share as we go).

So here goes Joanna’s Momma’s #FridayFrittata:

Ingredients:

4-5 medium-large potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

3-5 eggs, lightly beaten (as if you were to scramble them)

Parmesan cheese*

Salt/pepper*

Parsley* (preferably fresh or frozen and lightly chopped—something about the smell of dried I don’t like)

Cooking spray

Oil (canola or olive)—enough to fry potatoes (I tend to be light-handed and fully coat bottom of pan)

How to put it all together: Spray the bottom of a large (12-inch) fry pan. (Non-stick is best in this case.) Cover bottom of the pan with oil; enough to allow you to turn the potatoes with a spatula and coat them lightly before you start cooking, know what I mean? Fry over medium-high heat, stirring and turning as needed until golden and tender as you like.

While potatoes are frying, prepare the egg mixture. Beat the eggs together with the remaining ingredients. Spread potatoes out so that they cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Reduce heat to medium and pour the egg mixture in, making sure to distribute between and around the potatoes.

Use the spatula to lift the sides and make holes to allow the egg to run to the underside.

Okay, the tricky part*: When the bottom is firm enough, cover the pan with a large plate. Hold one hand firmly over the middle of the plate and grasp the pan’s handle even more firmly with the other hand. Invert the frittata onto the plate. (The less-cooked top should be in contact with the plate.) Slide it back into the pan and continue to cook until the egg is done.

This dish tastes best served immediately but leftovers are yummy too!  Pair it with a salad, soup, toast or even pasta with garlic and olive oil for a light and tasty meal.

*Some folks skip the flipping part. (I just made a mess until I got it, lol.) Though I’ve never done this, another way is to take a large pie dish  and slide the frittata into that, uncooked side up. (Or simply start with a frying pan that has an oven-safe handle.) The whole thing then goes into a 400-degree oven for no more than 10 minutes (or until the egg is firm but not dry).

For a photo (not mine, but a good representation), click here.

Let me know how you make out! And if you like what you read here, would you kindly take a minute to help me spread the word and click one of the share buttons? Thanks so much!

A great weekend to all,

Joanna

Just in time for Super Bowl Weekend!

I’m celebrating my 200th post! To everyone who visits regularly, I so thank you for doing so. And to you first-timers, my humble thanks and a special welcome too!

So, friends, here we are on the Friday preceding the biggest Sunday of every football season.

  (Yes, I’m just a little excited about Sunday’s big game :D)

Photos courtesy of my older son and his I-phone–thanx! Love the Giants’ colors, too. Oh, and before I go further I’m adding a disclaimer: I don’t pretend to fully understand that whole (somewhat complex) wildcard and Rounds 1 and 2 progression parts of the Road to the Super Bowl. Please forgive any errors as I’m still learning a lot of how it all comes together on that first Sunday in February. 

Anyone out there been following NFL post-season play? Excuse me, but did somebody bother telling the NY Giants that they weren’t going to make it to Super Bowl XLVI?

Maybe it’s just me, but seems like Eli Manning and the boys missed a few memos, and those may have gone something like this:

You may not beat the Dallas Cowboys to win a wildcard spot.

Let’s see you get past the Atlanta Falcons to win the wildcard game.

Forget winning against the Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl XLV winners and super-season record holders of 15-1.

You’ve got your work cut out to get past the San Francisco 49ers, those mega-aggressive guys who literally snatched the win from the Saints the week prior—now there was a nail-biter of a game—to become the NFC champions AGAIN.

Oh, and you could get past the New England Patriots, seeing as you upset the H-E-goal-posts-minus-the- crossbar last time y’all met? (I mean, has anyone been watching footage of the last 90 seconds of that match-up? Eli was Houdini getting out of the pocket—he had NO business not being sacked. Then David Tyree had even less business making that too-amazing-for-words catch to set off that final, victory-claiming, drive.)

  It’s a mother-son thing! We both turned down SuperBowl parties to watch the game together at home.

I mean, all I’ve been asking myself since the Sunday night they manufactured the 2011 season’s miracle is: How did they get here? Pull off what may be their most memorable run yet? And how do they continue to do it?

I wrote this as I watched Rafael Nadal walk off the quarterfinal court victorious at the Australian Open Tennis Championships. At end of the second set, Rafa was one set-point down.

As is true of most tennis champions, set and match points are simply something to get past. It’s a mindset. Rafa is frequently described as relentless, as he bats away ball after ball until he forces an error or hits a winner. (His forehand has this lasso-like action that’s so cool to watch, and I’m noticing current Number One Novak Djokovic using a very similar motion with his forehand. Hmm!)  Oh, and Rafa is also known for this quote: “Every point is match point.” (BTW, Rafa wound up rallying from 2-5 in the fourth set to tie things up in the final match against Djokovic, and take it to their first five-setter–wound up being one of those matches one wishes both players could win.)

Years ago, when I first got into tennis, my first all-time favorite player was Stefan Edberg. Like Rafa, he was a pretty humble champion and one who never gave up. During the 1992 US Open he was down three match points to hard-hitter Ivan Lendl.

Want to guess how that one turned out? I’m sure the little bit of rain that suspended play until the next day didn’t hurt, but Stefan fought off those match points and went on to win not just that match, but the whole darned thing as well. (Was I happy then. I had tickets to the final and got to watch my first mega-favorite win his last grand slam title.)

Brings to mind the Giants and their past five games. As I said, they don’t seem to have gotten the memo—or, like any great champion(s), they blew it off.

As a writer—and an occupational therapist, I’m a watcher. Observation skills were usually my forte on most of my evaluators’ write-ups. So, I watch Eli Manning’s game.

Now mind you, I’ve gotten highly annoyed with him at times. Not that I could coach or head up a team but I’ve learned a whole lot about the mental part of football this season. (Think I need one more season under my belt before I totally get the ‘running game.’) I am, however, starting to get Eli’s game—and his brilliance. And having watched the Giants these last five weeks—and even some old footage from Super Bowl XVII—the word relentless comes up over and over.

So do the notions of “progress not perfection” and “easy does it.”

Watch how, little by little, Eli inches his team down the field toward the red zone. He obviously keeps his eye on the prize (i.e., touchdown or field goal) but tends to use smaller efforts to get them there, as in one first down at a time, and of late, a third-down conversion (kind of that “never say never” attitude over and over until payoff).

Not only did the Giants not get the memo, but I don’t think they realized they weren’t going to be Super Bowl contenders this year, especially going in to play the Packers. (I hated seeing Aaron Rodgers roughed up, but his team kind of fell through a little on that one too. Almost a smaller-scale version of what the Patriots did to Tim Tebow and the Broncos—and there’s more fodder for that never-say-die attitude: what rookie Tebow accomplished with his flailing team this year.)

OMG, make sure you check out these photos: the best shot ever and another that show it all!

Yes, I’m done now. For now. Who are you rooting for and/or which teams would have made up your dream Super Bowl?

TTYS and go Giants!

Joanna

Looking for a Weekend Read?

Here are two books you may want to consider adding to your beach bag!

Happy Friday, friends! Despite my house being interruption-city, I’ve been dragging my heels getting posts written—or posted, sad to say. (Maybe if I move slowly enough summer won’t go away? One can hope…)

Anyway, here are my thoughts on two of my most recent  reads:

  Amanda Hocking’s Switched. (LOVE this cover art!)  Pretty much anyone who follows today’s publishing trends (traditional, indie/self) is familiar with this young author’s name. She writes well and hooked me immediately with the story of a teen who suddenly learns she is not the simple human she was raised to believe she was. Written in first person (not necessarily my favorite choice) and despite a slightly lagging middle and maybe a rather abrupt wrap-up of the story Ms. Hocking held my interest. I’ve already downloaded Torn, part two of her Trylle Trilogy and look forward to getting that and Ascend—part three—read sometime in the near future

   Christopher WillsCall Me Aphrodite was quite the read. The subject matter seemed a bit strong for categorizing the novel as a YA but shows a harrowing picture of a runaway’s experience behind closed doors onLondon’s back streets. At times, Mr. Wills’ word-pictures were so difficult to take, I had to incorporate a reading break in order to handle the situation in which Aphrodite found herself.  Definitely kept me turning the virtual pages. Again, the ending came a bit abruptly but I definitely look forward to the next phase of Aphrodite’s journey.

Would love to hear your weekend read recommendations and won’t you please click a share button below before you go?

A wonderful weekend to all and thanks for the visit!

Joanna

Character Impact…On Us!

Happy Friday, folks! Let’s get right to the fun! (Makes for wellness, right?):

Is there a character who has influenced your sense of fashion and style? Maybe even you as a person?

Those who know me know who I love: Fran Drescher’s Fran Fine. (I can get past the voice—she has to live with it, right?)

So ever since Nick at Nite picked up this show shopping hasn’t been the same. Women’s apparel is boring and finding those quirky—but almost always classy—pieces Fran wore is a challenge. Those of you who are shaking your heads, take a close look. Form-fitting or not, she rarely looked trashy. Her outfits were offbeat but tasteful and she didn’t show much more than her arms and legs. Cuts, colors and patterns are timeless—ten years later, she does not look dated.

I’ve had some luck, but always at a TJ Maxx or similar store, where a variety of styles are kind of lumped together. Let’s remember I don’t have the phenomenal figure Fran had back in her Nanny days. (What is encouraging though, is that she and I seem to be built similarly and maybe even about the same size these days, if you’re watching Happily Divorced. Oh all right: chances are she’s a size or two smaller, when I allow for the “ten pounds” TV puts on. Of course I have way more backside than she does, but can’t I hope Fran is a mere mortal like myself?) I can, however, have fun with bold patterns, strong colors and of course, ruffles, especially on long sleeves.

Then there was her wisdom with her TV charges. Can’t tell you how much it’s helped me at home and at school. My all-time favorite line came from the pilot episode. (I use this one with my boys all the time. Click the image but be warned: I figured out where to start a clip but have yet to get how to create a cut-off point. That’s up to you. 😀)

Guess her influence is pretty much part of me now. This past school year, I had comments that came from kids—who have no business being up that late on a school night—to confirm it. One boy said, “You sound like her!” (I’d rather look like her, thank you very much.) And when two of my special-ed girls couldn’t come up with a plan for standing far enough apart to play catch, guess I went into Fran mode. Can’t remember what I said, but I can just see one little girl’s hands going onto her hips. With her cute southern accent-vernacular she asked: “Is you watchin’ The Nanny again?”

My day was made.

Your turn: name a character who has become a part of your makeup. What appeals to you about said character, and how does that influence show? And anyone know where can I find fun clothes like Fran’s?

Please remember to click a share button or two before you go–thanks so much! A great weekend to all!

Joanna