Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

This Week’s Kitchen Follies

Black Eyed Peas – that’s the Bean du Week.  It’s also the bean that got me started on my conversion from bean-o-phobe to “hmmm….there are a half dozen or so that I’ll eat”.  Progress, people, progress. Here’s the week’s lineup:

  • Monday – Maeve’s Super Scrumptious Sort of Mexican Crockpot Chicken; BEPs; spinach (probably served in tortillas)
  • Tuesday – Well the girls are headed to their Dad’s, so I’m headed out for dinner with my GFs
  • Wednesday – Grilled Skirt Steak; BEP Salad with Baby Greens; grilled zucchini
  • Thursday – Grilled ham steak; Hoppin John (I prepare the beans separately and spoon over the rice – I know that makes me something of a heretic, but hey, I AM a born Yankee); greens of some kind
  • Friday – Black Eyed Pea Fritters (if there’s any beans from the Hoppin John left over); Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs; leftover rice; roasted cauliflower

If you’re looking for some new things to do with BEPs, this site has some great ideas (and some are unusual, like BEPs on toast with caramelized leeks – I’m sooooo going to try that one.)

That’s pretty much the plan, subject to change as always.  What’s cookin’ at your place?

Little aside here, if you’re on FB and don’t follow The Drunken Spatula or Food52, DO SO NOW. 

[Update – fixed the link for the chicken recipe – thanks Taylor 🙂    )


Yes – There Will Be Cooking Again This Week Chez Maeve

Ok OK – I know I’m dink here.  Busy weekend – yard sale, cleaning out the garage – three runs to thrift store with donations and a ton to the recycling and trash center.  I was exhausted yesterday and didn’t make a menu – which made shopping a challenge.

Last week’s experiment of making a huge pot of beans and planning menus around it was excellent.  They came out fantastic and everyone loved them.  I’m going to do the same thing this week, but instead of black beans, I’m soaking navy beans right now and plan to use them in a couple ways.  I like how having the beans as the “anchor ingredient” is making me think about my menus.  For one thing, it takes a huge burden off me – I have something around which to build everything else.  They re-heat easily and also can be incorporated into all kinds of dishes.  The soaking/cooking requires no effort on my part and that’s a huge gift from me to me.

So, here’s the tentative plan for the week:

  • Monday – Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Braised White Beans (from Sarah Leah Chase’s “Cold Weather Cooking”) and asparagus
  • Tuesday – Grilled Chicken with White Bean Mash (courtesy of Nigella Express); spinach salad
  • Wednesday – Chili (with white beans)
  • Thursday – dinner out with friends; daughters at Dad’s
  • Friday – leftovers (because there will be lots of leftovers)

I’m very excited about making the Braised White Beans – the recipe includes leek, carrot, celery, garlic, prosciutto, sage and the white beans; the veggies are sautéed then the prosciutto is added; the veggie mixture is combined with the beans, some soaking liquid, tomato paste, parsley and sage and a  little more olive oil; then baked for about 30  minutes.  Now, I bought pancetta by mistake, so I’ll use that, but no matter – I’m drooling at the mere prospect of the deliciousness.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on in my kitchen.  What’s happening this week in yours?


Our Best Friends?

My dear blog-pal Elspeth’s family is dealing with a crisis; one of their family members is ill and it’s affecting every one. Harley is their 4-legged, furry-coated baby, and from pics of him, he knows how much he’s loved.

We lost our Lil last year, in the middle of the summer. She took heatstroke one afternoon and was unable to recover, despite heroic efforts by my veterinarian neighbor and the staff at the animal hospital. Saying goodbye to our Little Old Lady (she was 13) was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done.

Els’ friends have been praying for Harley’s recovery – as is only fitting; he is family after all; but Andrew over at Adopting James has truly put into words what our pets really mean to us. I got pretty teary-eyed reading his essay, and knew I had to share. I know that everyone whose family includes a member with multiple legs and an abundance of fuzziness with appreciate it as well.

Edited – This is a sad update.  Harley has passed away and he did so in the loving arms of one of his girls.  If anyone is inclined to do so, a prayer for her family would be appreciated.  Harley is sorely missed.

Please enjoy “Our Best Friends?”.


PfoteThey say dog is man’s best friend. I disagree.

Let me explain.

People have had a strong attachment to animals, particularly dogs, for many years. I don’t know the history of man’s relationship with animals, and I’m not going to pretend to. But let’s just go back to the early 1900’s. Even then, people have had a strong attachment to their animals. Think Old Yeller and even The Grapes of Wrath where even the most stoic group of men mourn over a dead dog on the side of the road.

Why do you think that is?

3690_1I think I may have an idea and you can you can take it with a grain of salt.

I feel like the older I get the more compassionate I feel toward animals. I used to love going to Sea World, but knowing how it is an abuse to one of the smartest…

View original post 295 more words


Reading Update of Sorts

Some people walk in their sleep.

Some people talk in their sleep.

I eat lemon pie in my sleep.

Le Sigh.

Just needed to get that off my chest.  Now, on to the post.

I’ve read a number of excellent books lately and keep thinking that I will, must, write books reviews or recommendations or SOMETHING.  All these thoughts swirling around and I can’t quite get them from brain to fingertips.  Well, here’s a partial list, and hopefully I’ll actually write about them or at least start a book discussion, if only to prove that I discuss something other than food.

  • Dead Heat – Patricia Briggs
  • Havah – Tosca Lee
  • Demon:  A Memoir – Tosca Lee (a re-read, actually, but needed to before reading Havah)
  • Paradise Lost – Milton (also a re-read for same reason)
  • Wakeworld – Kerry Schaefer (there are 2 more and yes, I have then loaded on my Nook)
  • The Wrath – Kristina Schram (nice Gothic-y goodness)
  • Queen Joanna – Kate Danley (creepy ghost story)
  • The Woodcutter – Kate Danley (for those who love fairy tales)
  • Wreck of The Nebula Dream – Veronica Scott (some fun scifi with a little rom)
  • Whom The Gods Love – Sarah Hoyt (scifi? fantasy? not sure exactly how I’d classify it)
  • Warprize – Elizabeth Vaughn (romantic goodness)
  • Shimmering Splendor – Roberta Gellis (OOP, I think, but an lovely take on the Hades/Persephone story if you can lay your hands on a copy)


A few of my upcoming reads…

  • The Grendel Affair – Lisa Shearin
  • Storm Front – Jim Butcher (OK I’ve read it a million times, and I’m going to re-read it again and then work my way through them all throughout the summer)
  • A Deafening Silence in Heaven – Thomas Sniegoski (and I have to wait until 1 October for the release – which is fine because it means I can just re-read Remy Chandler 1-6; this is not a bad thing)
  • Shards of Hope – Nalini Singh (Hey – June’s not that far away)
  • Castle D’Or – Daphne Du Maurier (Gotta have my Gothic fix!)

There are more – of course there are more.  I’m reading a nice fluffy romance by Eloisa James (Three Weeks with Lady X) right now.  It’s going ever so nicely with my tea and shortbread.

So, what’s going on in the pages you’re reading?







What Might Be Cookin’ This Week

I DIDN’T COOK AT ALL LAST WEEK.  Not one single night.  Part of the reason is that we had many leftovers from Easter Sunday dinner.  Also, Iseult was at her grandparents a bunch of the week and I worked about 60 hours between Monday and Friday.  So I was pretty much exhausted.  Angharad had her own plans, so there you have it.  No cooking.

On Saturday Angharad and I took ourselves off to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and we came home with a fridge full.  Yesterday I made a huge pot of Cuban black beans (from Miami Spice – one of my favorite cookbooks), which we are having tonight; and right now I’m making Nigella Lawson’s Moonblush Tomatoes (which I’m using tomorrow).  Later on this evening I’m going to replenish my stock of garlic oil and maybe make some hummus.  I feel better.  This should be a light week for me (so, 40 hours!) and I’m looking forward to spending some time in the kitchen.  Anyway, barring unforeseen disasters, here’s the plan:

Monday – Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Cuban Black Beans & Rice; Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Tuesday – Spaghetti with arugula, mushrooms, lemon, garlic & olive Oil (based off Nigella Lawson’s Spaghettini with Shrimp and Chile, from “Nigella Express“, but minus the shrimp);

Wednesday – Chicken Milanese with spinach salad

Thursday – Grilled Tri-tip with broccoli and roasted gnocchi

Friday – I have dinner plans with a couple of my girlfriends; Angharad and Iseult have their own plans.

I rather like this menu – it’s easy enough to just make quick adjustments and there’s every possibility that one night will be DIY leftovers (for the record, we like leftovers-and-a-movie nights – almost as much as breakfast-for-dinner nights).   The important thing is that there is a plan and I’m actually enthusiastic about it.  So, what’s cookin’ at your place?