Bike one hour thirty minutes.
I found myself in the kitchen on New Years Eve. I spent the afternoon and into the night baking and cooking. Here is a recipe I found online. Honestly, I tried to find it again and could not. I cannot take credit for it as someone else already posted it, however it goes as follows…
Ingredients 4-8 pork chops
26 ounce can of Cream of Mushroom soup (or two 10 ounce cans)
2 cups milk
1 cup water
bay leaf (optional)
In a large skillet, brown for five minutes per side. In a large mixing bowl, pour in 2 cups of milk, one cup of water and a large can of Cream of Mushroom soup (26 ounces). Preheat oven to 350. Once each pork chop has browned for 5 minutes per side in a pat of butter and olive oil, add them all to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Add a bay leaf or two and pour the milk,water, soup mixture onto of the pork chops. Place them uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. The last 10 minutes add some slices of mushrooms and continue baking until complete.
WHen you take them out of the oven, allow them to set and cool slightly. I placed these on a bed of rice and had a side of Jim Lane mashed potatoes and black eyed peas.
Today, I used the left over sauce for dipping my stuffed rolls (see previous post). https://makeitfunblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/super-fantastic-stuffed-rolls/
Make It Fun!
I have been inside. For a while inside my own head, but lately in the kitchen. It has been a mild winter. I remember growing up, there was a white Christmas every year. Now before you chime in that it is due to global warming and all that other jazz, it was because we visited my grandparents in a different state; One that is quite accustomed to receiving snow every year.
I surfed the web looking for fun things to make. I visited the local grocer and picked up a few veggies that I typically do not cook. I picked up green cabbage, red cabbage, and leeks among others.
For this blog, I will share some super fantastic stuffed rolls. I find it interesting that we label food as “German, Chinese, Mexican, etc”. For the most part, food is food, though it may be prepared or cooked differently in different regions of the world, or even avoided due to beliefs or preferrences. In Afghanistan, I had some of the tastiest kabobs and falafels. In the US we also have kabobs as do other countries, though food tends to be affiliated with particular regions of the world.
This particular recipe may be more German in origin though when I looked up steamed rolls, there was some slight variation. I modified these even more.
I shall give credit to Food.com for the original recipe though as stated, I did modify it. Here is the link to the original recipe. http://www.food.com/recipe/bierocks-german-hamburger-and-cabbage-filled-rolls-88304
I spent New Years eve in the kitchen working on this and then again today, I added a few more things to stuff the rolls. Ready? Here we go.
First, prepare your dough. This takes the longest to make, so while the dough is rising, you can prep the other ingredients. Second, thaw the meat. The original recipe called for ground beef however I preferred to add ground chicken. If you have a food processor or grinder it may speed up the prep time. I chose to purchase already ground chicken though you could grind your own. In the food processor, I shredded half a green and half a red cabbage and carrots. I minced some garlic and a very small amount of red onion (VERY SMALL AMOUNT).
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 minutes
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast (or if you have it in a jar, follow the label. Mine was 2 1/4 teaspoons to equal one packet)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups cabbage, cut fine
1/2 cup onion, cut fine (I used possibly 1 teaspoon of onion, just enough for flavor)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb hamburger (I used chicken instead)
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper (optional) (not added)
1 DOUGH: In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast.
2 In a saucepan heat milk, sugar, butter and salt just till warm (115-120 degrees F) and butter is almost melted; stir constantly.
3 Add to flour mixture; add eggs.
4 Beat at low speed for 1/2 minute, then three minutes at high speed.
5 Stir in as much remaining flour as you can mix in with a spoon.
6 Turn out onto a floured surface.
7 Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total).
8 Shape into a ball, and place in a greased bowl; turn once.
9 Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 hour).
10 Punch down and cover; let rest 10 minutes.
11 FILLING: In a large frying pan, cook the cabbage and carrots together until the cabbage is completely softened and golden.
12 This process can be hastened by adding a half-cup of water (or so) and covering the pan, but eventually cook all the liquid off before proceeding.
13 Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, if desired. I used adobo seasoning, a crack of black pepper and tiny amount of sea salt
14 In a separate pan, brown the hamburger and add the garlic and onions.
15 Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, if desired.
16 Mix the cabbage/carrots with the hamburger thoroughly. ( I just spooned in each ingredient separately into the roll)
17 You may complete this part of the recipe in advance,refrigerating until needed, or just before you are ready to assemble the rolls.
ASSEMBLY: Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, and a thickness of about 1/4 inch. ( I found this to take too much time. I pinched off a portion of dough, flattened it in my hand, worked it out thinning and pulling in all directions like in a pizza shop then stuffed the rolls) Sure, mine don’t look cook book picture perfect, though the taste was fantastic.
18 Cut into squares of 3 inches by 3 or 4 inches by 4.
19 By the spoonful, place some filling mixture into the center of each square, apportioning all of the mixture among the squares.
20 For each, bring the two opposite corner ends of the dough square up to meet one another, then do the same with remaining ends and pinch them (all 4) together with your fingers.
21 You will see that you now have open slits along the diagnals; pinch these together as well, making a seam of each.
22 Water on your fingertips will facilitate them staying”glued” together.
23 The end product should be a square with a seam running from each corner to the center where all four are joined.
24 Set the squares on a baking sheet (if you had trouble keeping the seams closed, you can flip them over so that the seams are against the baking sheet, thereby keeping all the filling in place and making a nicer presentation).
25 Let raise 30 minutes. ( I totally missed this step. I filled them and put them in the oven)
26 Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 °F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
27 Brush on a small amount of melted butter and sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt on the top of each roll.
Enjoy!!! For other fillings, I used the following in different rolls: macaroni and cheese, chicken and rice, chicken/rice/cheese/veggies
On New Years Eve, my wife and I sat up all night and dipped these rolls (the original recipe) into a mushroom gravy (see next post). WOW, the combo was overwhelmingly amazing. Even the kids loved it.
Again, I give credit to Food.com for this though with most things, tinker with the recipe and make it your own. It was really tasty.
Make It Fun!
What do you do when life gives you lemons? What do you do when you are down? When you feel alone? When you are depressed? When the weight of the world is on your shoulders or demons are taunting you? What do you do when you are addicted to substances? What do you do when you are born without arms and legs?
One of my children watched a video at school and told us about it tonight. As I type this, we are watching a video on YouTube of Nick Vujicic. If you have not met him or seen his videos, I strongly encourage you stop what you are doing and listen.
“Be the change you want to see”.
There was a time in my life, when everything seemed dark, everything seemed the walls were closing in. I will not go into details on this, just understand that the message in one of Jeremy Camp’s songs “I’ll Take You Back” helped me slowly second by second, minute by minute, day by day call out to Christ and ask for help. I hit rock bottom, was hurting and literally had no where else to go. That help came as promised. It took months then slowly improved over several years, but it did happen.
Recently, I went to Europe with my family. The trip was great. As we were preparing to leave Germany to return home, my wife stopped by an ATM only to discover that all of the money in our account was gone. In the end, we were sitting in Europe, no money, unable to purchase a ticket to fly home. We did not originally get a round trip ticket to begin with because we didn’t know when we were going to return home. I was unable to purchase food, unable to grab a cab, unable to secure a hotel room. We found out that someone at an ATM in Germany and another ATM in Italy had used an electronic card reader scamming device, obtained our codes and drained our accounts. It was a major kick in the stomach. I had some cash on me but not much. It appeared we were stuck. We tried to logically sit and work through all of our options and what could we do about this. My wife and I sat in the lobby of a hotel near the airport and quietly prayed together. I begged God for a miracle. I looked at my family. I had to take care of them. I felt helpless. I could not change these circumstances. I took pride in educating my family before and during our travels to watch out and defend ourselves against pick-pocketers. However, thieves stole our money electronically and figuratively left us at the road-side. My wife called the bank. They could mail us a new card but would take two weeks. They turned off our credit card and debit cards to prevent any further fraudulent withdrawals. I looked at my wife and said to her that I cannot do anything but pray. We prayed together. We prayed separately. I asked God for a miracle because there was nothing else I could do at that point. She stepped out to call her grandmother to ask her to pray as well. I was praying the rosary when all of a sudden, out of no where a man walked over and asked if he could help us. I looked at my wife. I thought it was a joke or couldn’t be true and as quickly as that thought entered, I realized GOD was delivering. This was truly humbling. He was an American Soldier, temporarily in Germany and about to head back to his home station the next day. He offered us the floor in his hotel room, ensured the kids had food and provided the $12 we needed to pay for our plane tickets to get home.
We all go through circumstances. We all face tough times. Some days the sun shines and other days we face long stretches of storms. After the storms though, the sun comes out and the crops grow; often with abundance.
In the words of Tenth Avenue North, “This is where the healing begins”.
No matter where you are in life, you can take a moment, ask God to help you, to lead you, to provide you hope. Personally, I talk to Jesus Christ.
I am thankful for that American Soldier who helped my family as I called out in a time of need. I am thankful for the inspiration provided by Nick Vujicic, Jeremy Camp, Tenth Avenue North and Matt Madison (https://makeitfunblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/putting-on-the-full-armor-of-god/) . There are many, many other inspiring people in this world, but my hope is in Christ.
I wish you the best.
Make It Fun!
God Bless You!
Overall, I enjoyed my time in Italy. In the north, I had a positive experience with our friend hosting us and neighbor teaching my wife to cook authentic Italian cuisine. Venice was neat to see however like Rome, I was happy to leave. Too many people crowded around overpriced traps.
In Rome, I saw many ancient remnants that affirmed that Romans once dominated the world with many feats and talents. What I was met with at this period were many immigrants working in the service industry, trying to scratch out a living, many chauvinistic men and tremendous vanity. Chivalry is nearly dead in Rome. It truly saddened me. Men would look up at elderly women as the women stood on the train or young men would ignore their surroundings by tuning out with ear buds jammed in ears and staring at phones or other electronic devices. A young man stood before me, looking me up and down then turned his back to me to primp his hair in the train window for nearly five minutes. I was warned about pick pocketers by the police so I was continually on guard. I watched as people stared at others’ belongings and areas where wallets would be kept. Often times, I made it clear with eye contact I had noticed what they were doing. Rome was trashy. Graffiti and litter were rampant. There appeared to be a lack of pride in the city. Possibly the residents were clinging to the past that Rome once was a great city while hoping the immigrants would do all the work? I don’t know. I was disappointed with Rome.
Oh, restrooms. Never mind toilet paper. Apparently it is not required here and toilets cost € 0.50 – €1 just for a hole to pee into. Soap and toilet paper were not to be found outside of restaurants or the hostel. I began to carry a roll of TP with us everywhere we went along with hand sanitizer.
I do however, recommend getting the Roma Pass as it did help with the transportation and allowed us into two free museums. Plus, Rome allows children free entry to many events and on many of the buses and trains.
Speaking of transport, the buses and trains were easy to use; often tardy.
Our hostel provided a great place to meet people, cook our own food which saved tremendous money and the owner did deliver with the air conditioning as he promised each of the guests. This cooled the rooms and helped cut down on mosquitos in the room. He was hard working and his staff helped with any questions we had.
Overall, it was a good learning opportunity though I doubt I will ever intentionally return to Rome.
I have never been treated so rudely in my life in an eatery as I was today. The non-hostess tossed the menus on the table, quickly turned her back, went to a far table and tinkered with the phone in her hand Everywhere I go, I try to speak the local language as much as possible. I was in Italy so I did my best at speaking Italian. This was a Chinese restaurant in Mestre, Italy. I stood and approached her to place an order. She looked as though I somehow inconvenienced her. I placed our order and asked for tap water. She went to the see-through kitchen window pointing back at us over her shoulder with her left thumb to tell the cooks something,sounding sarcastic-they all laughed. She resumed her spot at the table with her phone. It should have tipped me off when I saw that we were the only people in the place. There was food on the walls at every table. Not once after the elder woman of the place brought out the food did the younger woman make eye contact, even look in our direction. Not once did she ask if we wanted anything or any deserts or anything else. I once again stood to ask for the check. I paid the bill in full then I inquired to the extra €6 on the bill. She said it was for the tap water. I explained this was a bit high and she turned her head as she shrugged her shoulders indicating she didn’t care. As we began to leave, I turned to head to the restroom. She stood guard in front of the bathroom as if to block me from using it. I smiled and politely asked for the toilet. It was a small victory that I secured for our family.
I can understand expecting immigrants to a new country to learn another language to be proficient where they would work and live. However, I would never expect someone visiting the US to be an English professor upon arrival for a week long visit. Part of the joy of traveling is to learn the language as you go, make mistakes and learn from the locals. Maybe she was having the worst day of her life and decided to take it out on us (and coincidentally rip us off at the same time). Maybe she was going to be deported out of Italy or could not make ends meet. I know not the reason. It’s no excuse for the crappy service or blatant rudeness. I shall pray for her. I shall also warn you incase you should step out into Mestre, Italy.