Have You Tried…Naan Bread?

January 27, 2012

Naan bread is very familiar to people who enjoy Indian food. I admit I am not a big Indian food fan. I don’t know what is spicy and what isn’t, so it makes it hard for me to figure out what to order. I do love tandoori chicken, however. Naan, though, is an Indian food I just love. Naan bread is a flat bread, similar to pita bread. It is usually cooked in a tandoor oven.

My grocery store now sells naan and I’ve been buying lots of it. I really love it for making pizzas. The bread is just thick enough that it works quite well (I find tortillas and pitas to just not give me the consistency I want). I like the whole wheat variety. My son likes the white variety and eats it plain, with nothing on it.  It’s great with dip or to make an open face sandwich you’re going to eat with a knife and fork. Have you tried it?


Padded Headboard Project

January 25, 2012

It’s been quite a while since we have attempted a major home project. I have a bedroom set that I got when I was about 16. The headboard for the bed will hold a full or queen size bed. A couple of years ago we upgraded to a king mattress and box springs (when you have 2 golden retrievers sleeping with you, you don’t have much choice). We could not attach that to the headboard, so we just stood the headboard up between it and the wall, but you could tell it was too small, so it looked a little funny.

The headboard was curvy, with different carvings and panels in it, so whenever I sat up in bed to read or watch TV, my head was against some uneven part of wood. It drove me nuts. Pillows did not do the trick. I wanted a padded headboard. There are some out there, but none of them are in colors I would choose. So, we decided to make our own. This project was actually pretty inexpensive (in contrast to buying a pre-made headboard) and was accomplished in one day.

First we measured how big we wanted it to be. Then we bought fabric, batting, a piece of wood and a big piece of foam. We cut the wood an inch smaller all around than the foam, so that the edges would be soft. We used a spray adhesive to attached the foam to the wood. We covered it in batting and then covered it in the fabric. We used an air compressor stapler gun which makes it quick work.

We worked slowly and carefully because the pattern is linear. The hardest part was the corners. It took some trying, but we came up with a technique that had some very small folds/creases at the corners so it wasn’t too lumpy.

Mounting it on the wall was very easy because Mr. MarthaandMe bought these fantastic self-leveling mirror hangers. You attach one piece to the wall and the other to the back of the headboard. They catch each other and hold the headboard up (each one will hold up to 75 lbs and we used 2). It was easier than I ever imagined.

Total cost: under $300. The fabric and batting were both 50% off at JoAnn Fabric. Wood was from Lowe’s for about $8. The foam was from a special foam store. We would have had to use 2 pieces if we bought it at JoAnn and were worried the seam would show. Mr. MarthaAndMe used to repair office furniture and used to buy foam for chairs from this store. We got a professional discount since they remembered him (it still was not cheap – $78).

It took us most of the day but we kept getting interrupted for other things, so this could really be done in just a few hours.

I am THRILLED with how this turned out. I will be going to bed early from now so I can spend some time reading, leaning against it!

Martha Mondays: 1/30

January 24, 2012

Perfecting Pru has chosen an interesting looking spaghetti dish for next week’s project. I hope you’ll join us in cooking it!

Martha Mondays: Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches

January 23, 2012

Thanks to Sassy Suppers for choosing today’s project, Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches. I am not a huge fan of coconut, but in recent years, I’ve liked it a bit more. For this recipe, you make the dough, freeze it, slice it, bake it, fill with ice cream and freeze again. I thought the dough was kind of hard to mix up. I ended up getting in it with my hands to get it to come together. The recipe said to slice with a serrated knife, but I found a regular knife was better. I thought they were actually pretty good, given that coconut is not at the top of my list.  They’re a different play on an ice cream sandwich, which is definitely fun.

Martha Mondays: 1/23

January 18, 2012

Sassy Suppers picked Coconut Cream Sandwiches for next week’s project.

Lemon Parsley and Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes

January 18, 2012

This recipe is from January Living. I’ve had the magazine open to this page almost since the magazine came and finally got around to making it. Nothing too complicated here really – put your potatoes and chicken in a roasting pan and drizzle some oil and lemon over the potatoes and oil over the chicken. You stuff half a lemon and some parsley into the chicken, then roast it. Meanwhile, you make an uncooked sauce of garlic, oil, parsley, lemon juice and zest and Parmesan. I did this in the food processor so it was quite simple. I served the sauce on the side and did not spread it over the food before serving.

I loved the sauce – very bright and fresh. It went well with both the chicken and potatoes. I was not wild about the way the chicken and potatoes roasted. I had about an inch of juice in the bottom of my pan so the potatoes did not get crispy very much. They were still good. I don’t find that stuffing the chicken with things adds much to the flavor of the dish. I wouldn’t bother stuffing it like that again and that might cut down on the overwhelming amount of juice in the pan. Definitely give this sauce a try!

Martha Mondays

January 16, 2012

Today’s project was Chicken with Artichokes, Capers, and Angel Hair Pasta, chosen by Megan at Megan’s Cookin’. I have to say, it sounded kind of plain, and it pretty much was. I had some grated Parmesan cheese at the ready but even that didn’t do much to help it. I also added some onion powder to the sauce thinking that might boost it a bit. It didn’t. Not a fan of this one unfortunately. What did everyone else think?

Have You Tried… Ponzu?

January 13, 2012

I recently discovered ponzu just by happenstance when I saw it on the shelf in the Asian section of my grocery store. I had never heard of it so I picked up the bottle to read what it was. I ended up bringing a bottle home to try and really, really love it. Ponzu is a combination of soy sauce and citrus and is much lighter than soy sauce. It’s just the perfect blend of citrus flavor and the light saltiness of soy. It’s pale in color. I used it recently in a salmon recipe and was really thrilled with the result. It’s also great as a dipping sauce for sushi for something different. I’m going to use it with chicken next. It brings a really great fresh pop of flavor to anything you use it in. This is definitely one of my newest favorite finds!


January 11, 2012

In the winter I usually take on a baking project each weekend. This past weekend I decided to make challah, which probably should count as a dessert, not a bread! It was delicious and made two giant loaves. I use a recipe I adapted from fellow writer Lynne Meredith Schreiber:

Dissolve 2 1/2 tablespoons yeast in 1 cup warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Allow to proof for about 10 minutes.

To this add:

1 cup warm water

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

4 eggs

1 1/4 cup sugar

7 cups bread flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

Knead for 5 minutes then place in a greased bowl and allow to rise for 2 hours. Divide in half and then divide each half into thirds. Roll these out like logs that are about 2 feet long. Place 3 of them on a baking sheet and smush one end together. Braid the three pieces and smush the other end. Do the same with the other 3 logs. Allow to rise about an hour. Brush with an egg wash and bake at 325 for  30-40 minutes, rotating shelves and direction of the pans, until light golden brown and the bread feels cooked in the center when you touch it.

This is enough for 4 meals for my family of 4. I think in the future I might make it into 4 smaller loaves, so you can definitely try that as well.

Martha Mondays 1/16

January 10, 2012

Megan’s Cookin’ has chosen Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair Pasta for our next project.

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