Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Little Pig, Little Pig...

(And another child of mine begins the incessant knocking and waiting at the bathroom door.  I'm destined to never potty alone.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Salmon Burger Experiment

First and foremost, y'all know I don't cook.  Or at least that I don't cook well.   However, lunch rolled around a few days ago and some factors came together that forced me into it.

1. I'm trying to eat healthier foods.  The pool in our neighborhood opened a couple of weeks ago.  As in, it opened in April, as loony as that is.  Will I be there anytime soon?  No.  But hopefully I'll be able to shed a couple of pounds and convince myself to pull on a bathing suit and splash around at some point this summer.
2. I need to go to the grocery store in a bad way.  My pantry and fridge are pretty bare, so I was forced into creativity, which is usually dangerous.
3. I miss Disney World.

What does Disney World have to do with cooking, you might ask (perhaps not so nicely)?
I'm in the middle of planning for our next trip, and when making all our dining reservations, I perused over all the menus.  One of my favorite things I've ever eaten (ever.) was at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.  The menu at describes it as "Akershus Salmon Burger--on a Toasted Onion Roll with Tomatoes, Arugula, and Spicy Red Pepper Coulis."  Mmmmm.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Norwegian?  I thought this was a southern specialty!

Growing up, we had salmon patties (no silent "l" according to my southern mama--"SALmon," she calls it) quite often.  These concoctions are pretty basic.  Can of salmon.  Corn meal or flour.  Eggs.  Salt.  Pepper.  Fry in oil.  And boy are they tasty!  Now that I'm married to a fish-hater, I rarely get to eat them.  And since I am trying that healthier approach, the fried aspect wasn't going to work.

I went to my pantry for inspiration.  I knew right away that I didn't have all the ingredients for the delicious salmon burger.  Not by a long shot.  So it was time for one of my creations.

Don't say you haven't been warned.

In a bowl, I threw together:

  • 1 can of salmon, drained, broken up with a fork
  • 2 tbs dried minced onions (you could use about a half an onion, but this is lunchtime and I had no time for chopping with a baby on my hip!)
  • 1 whole egg, plus another egg white.  Keeping these things sticking together is key, and eggs are "sticky," to use a technical term...
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (could use a clove)
  • 1/2 tsp dill...because it's fish?  I'm not sure why I threw it in.  I think I read somewhere that dill is good with fish.
  • About 3 good shakes of hot sauce.  This was a nod to Akershus' Red Pepper Coulis, mostly because I have no clue how to make a coulis but know I like a little spice.
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce.  My husband would be proud.
  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread, crumbled up, to add more stickiness.
  • Just a small shake of Parmesan cheese, since I knew I would not be allowed to melt a big hunk of cheddar on it.
Can you tell we shop at Publix?

Here is probably the most important thing you should remember:  MIX THIS GENTLY WITH YOUR HANDS.  Oh, yes.  It is squishy and wet and gross.  And there is no other way to do it without turning that fish into a paste that won't stick together at all.
Go ahead.  You know you want to squish it.

So, rings off, gently mix it and  lightly roll it into a small ball.  Roll that ball in flour, smash it into a burger shape (it will be smaller than a regular burger), and plop it into a non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray.  Fill up the pan with these babies, and after about three minutes, carefully flip them and cook three minutes on the other side.
Those crunchy bits?  The best part.

Inevitably, you will have some breakage.  If you try to make them big, they will all completely fall apart.

I didn't have a potato bun, so I used whole wheat ones.  I took some more Akershus inspiration and laid down a bed of spring greens on my bun.  I didn't have the coulis, so I topped with...wait for it...ketchup.
Fancy!  It said so right on the ketchup bottle.

Now, it was no restaurant quality salmon burger by any means, but it wasn't bad for just haphazardly grabbing ingredients.  I think it needed more crunch.  Maybe next time I'll add chopped celery or bell pepper.  The ketchup was even good on it, I'm embarrassed to say, but if it had a little horseradish mixed with it it would be even better (isn't that cocktail sauce, though?  oh.).  Also, after I took a picture, I added another patty to my burger because it seemed skimpy.  Delish.

Don't take my word for it, though.  This was Julia's plate when she finished.
Probably all I *should* have been eating.

There are tons of salmon burger/patty/cake recipes out there, all very similar, I might add.  I might just try those.  But for now, this mish-mash worked just fine.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sawyer's Nursery

The breaking news around this house is that not only does Sawyer have a nursery, but he actually does spend time in it!

Yes, he's almost ten months old and has a nursery for the first time.
And, yes, he only uses it for naps and for that time of evening between falling asleep and waking for his first nursing session, and then he bunks stretched out in our bed while we're nearly pushed out of it.

But it is being utilized and is super-cute, so I thought I'd share.  And as long as I'm sharing, you might as well know that this has become my favorite room in the house in which to relax.
Sans baby.
This is the room that houses THE chair, and this is the room that is more well-decorated than any other room in our house.  During my "me time," you might just find me with my feet propped up in THE chair, drink and snack nearby, reading by the soft lamplight.  Minus the kids, it's quite relaxing.

The nursery has been in the making for a while now.  It all started when Sawyer started rolling around and trying to sit up, and I no longer felt comfortable with him sleeping on my bed during naps without me in it.  Try as I might, my other kids just weren't going to let me take a nap each time Sawyer wanted to snooze.  He refused to sleep in the pack-n-play now that his beloved cradle insert was off-limits, so we needed a crib.  We bought a cheap (but lovely), in-store, flat-packed crib and chest of drawers from Babies 'R' Us, and we assembled the crib in about five minutes that night and put it by our bed.  Nap problem solved.

Our fourth bedroom was being trashed used as an upstairs playroom for the girls, complete with princesses and fairies all over the walls.  Honestly, they weren't playing in there much, but instead liked to throw all the toys in the floor and leave it wrecked for weeks on end.  Getting frustrated with that whole scenario, and also coming to the conclusions that (a) kids really don't need two playrooms and (b) Sawyer was starting to not sleep well in our room while we were still milling about before our bedtime, we decided it was time to convert our fourth bedroom into his nursery.

This was my first time decorating a boy nursery, and I honestly kind of gagged when I saw the offerings for decor.  Teddy bears?  Cars?  Or, Heaven forbid, Sports?  No, thanks.  I looked online and strolled around baby stores until I found my inspiration...monkeys.  And modern monkeys, at that!  (Do those exist?)  It was a set by Mod Pod called Pop Monkey, and it had all the soothing browns and greens I like.  Let's face it, it was ALL about what I would like, since half my day would presumably be spent nursing the baby in this room (and it is).

One decision made, it was on to the next one: paint.
Brown?  But not too brown?  Tan?  We settled on Behr Premium Plus in New Chestnut from Home Depot, and we chose eggshell finish with primer built into the paint.  Wouldn't you know it, it STILL took two coats to erase all evidence of princesses and fairies!

The bedding was ordered, the lamp grabbed from the store, brown light-dampening curtains were hung, THE chair scooted into place.  Things were coming together.

Then, weeks later, it was complete.
View of THE chair from the room, with blanket from bedding.   
His crib (it has since been lowered for the wild man).
Made the decorations from unused bumper pads and cross stitching hoop clamps.
Dresser, lamp, ceiling mobile, TV where I watch The Golden Girls.

Monkey lamp.              

Genius!  Toy baskets hidden under the bed.

Stuffed animal basket.  All my kids have one.

Monkey light switch cover.

LOVE this monkey mobile.

Even his drawers are organized!

This is probably the best nursery ever.  Just sayin'.  And the older he gets, the more Sawyer will enjoy it and actually sleep in it.  For now, it's really nice for me.