Thursday, December 1, 2011

chocolate covered ants or cocoa powder, you make the call

well folks, Thanksgiving is over, and other than a few oven burns and an unusually paranoid daughter, i think it went well.
We had my wife's side of the family over for the day, along with a few visitors all the way from Las Vegas. Working from home as i do, i told my wife i would fix a nice dinner in-between writing. How hard could it be? in my mind, all i had to do was get up after every page and baste a turkey or take a pie out of the oven, then go back to writing. boy was i in for a surprise. i now have a great respect for my mother, feeding dozens of family every holiday while i was growing up.
I actually started making test food on Monday, talking my step-daughter Brooke into stopping in to be my guinea pig. I would be testing a new pumpkin pie recipe, trying out a home-made hot cocoa mix, and i would attempt to make a lemon pie. as it turned out, i burnt the crust on the pumpkin pie, and the mirengue kind of melted in the lemon pie, but she courageously tried both pies, drinking a full glass of milk after each bite. by the time i got to the home-made hot cocoa, i was a bit frazzled, and Brooke was a bit nervous. as i mixed the cocoa powder into the hot cinamin milk, i noticed a few specs of what looked like cocoa without my glasses on, so i mixed it up a little better, threw a few marshmallows in the top and causiously handed the mug to her.
She took a few sips, slurping up a few speckled marshmallows in the process. i watched her swallow and turn to me with a puzzled look on her face. the conversation that ensued is not appropriate, but you can probably guess her words just after the little antennas slid down her tongue. apparently, the speckles were actually little bitty shriveled up cocoa covered ants that got into my ten year old can of cocoa and died. i tried to pass the the mix off as asian quisine, but it did not work.
anyway, by turkey day, Brooke was very careful about what she ate, and i will be amazed if she ever asks me to make her any hot cocoa again.
My first ever Thanksgiving day dinner was a success, though, with the television and phones off, and much great conversation between family. We truly enjoyed our "gotaminute" moment on that day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

chicken nuggets ala Bob

today i am going to share a secret recipe i created last year when i had to feed my 6 foot four, 300 pound brother-in-law. all i had in the fridge were chicken breasts and biscuits. this recipe is for parties or snacktime, and it makes 10 bite-sized morcels, so double it up if there are more than three of you.


1 can regular sized biscuit
2 boneless chicken breasts
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
one quarter cup of parmeson cheese
one quarter cup melted butter

in a frying pan on the stove, heat up a bit of olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper and 2 smashed garlic cloves. cut chicken breasts into 10- one inch square pieces, and cook them in the frying pan with the garlic and oil until the chicken browns. let chicken cool a bit. preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take out biscuits and wrap one piece cf biscuit around one piece of cooled chicken. place each piece on baking sheet, brush each piece with melted butter, then sprinkle the tops with parmeson cheese. Bake until pieces are golden brown.

set out bowls of whatever dip you might like, and try different dips. i like ranch or western dressing with mine.
let me know how it went if you try it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

mom's recipe for keeping our family close

let me take you back, for a moment, to the days when families ate together every night. when i was a child, virtually every Saturday morning started the same way. there were eight of us in that big old house on 15th avenue in Fulton. Mom and dad slept on the main floor, and dad fixed the upstairs into three bedrooms. My brother and i slept in the attic, remodeled to look like two mirrored images of a room, split right down the middle, each of us with our own space.
I would wake up to the smell of sausage frying, and i knew it was Saturday. I would usually be the first one up. Dad would be shaving and putting on "Old Spice", and mom would be mixing a bit of flour and a half gallon of milk in with the sausage to make the best gravy in the world. the smell of Mom's home-made buscuits were the alarm clock for the rest of the clan.
By 8am, we would all be sitting at the table, talking over the week and what we would do on that day. Dad was very busy during the week, but on Saturday he was ours. During the summer, it was off to the river, all of us piling into the boat, mom with her picnic basket full of fried chicken and potato salad. and in the winter, once a month i would get dad all to myself. on those days, after breakfast i would make a few peanut butter sandwiches out of the leftover buscuits, and mom would hand us a thermos of hot coffee and dad would take me hunting. our old beagle, Gypsey would sit in the front floorboard as we road hunted, slobbering all over my boots as she begged for a bite of my sandwich. I remember, dad would be different on Saturdays, nicer, more attentive, more focused on us kids. he knew this was our day to be with him, and he would change just a bit for us.
Thinking back on those days, i am inspired. i am inspired to be a better father, to give my kids more of me, more of what brings us together as a family. Now pop is gone, but mother is still making those buscuits and gravy every time she can gather us all together on saturday mornings. she knows the importance of gathering as a family now and then.
i have been shown the way to keep my own family close. mom and dad showed me how to do that. And it all started with sitting down to breakfast together on Saturdays.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

what happens when you combine beef kidney with prunes and yogurt???

Well, here we go again folks, another year of blogging for Gotaminute, and i am excited. I believe our efforts just in my family alone paid off in numbers last year. This year we have four of us around the table, sometimes five when my step-daughter and college girl Brooke comes home to roost. my wife and i have an 11 year old son together, and i have 22 year old son who is living upstairs for a while. he has turned into our source of grocery money, as his rent goes straight to Aldi's food store. eating a big dinner at home five nights a week can get expensive, unless you are a penny pincher like me. I never bring a list to Aldi's, no...i buy what is on sale. last wednesday we had planked salmon on the grill with creamed corn and a spinach salad, with brownies for desert. sounds good, doesn't it? Everything in that meal for four people was less than 10 bucks, making it $2.50 per plate. I even used the cedar board scraps from our bathroom remodel for the planks.
My family, bless their heart, went through some tough times while i figured out what food went well with other food, though. one night i combined boiled beef kidneys with canned pork and beans, finishing with a prune and raisin yogurt desert, and within one hour you had to take a number to get in the bathroom, not to mention the ugly scene we created for my wife on laundry day....on the plus side, that whole meal only cost 23 cents per serving....
to be serious for a moment, i will tell you that we absolutely need to sit down with our families a few nights a week if we want to keep those family values and morals that we were taught while we sat around the dinner table growing up. This IS where we connect with our kids, my friends. If someone told you they had a secret way to find out what their kids were up to each and every day while at school or hanging with their friends..if they told you they had a way to get your kids to tell you how their day went, what they are thinking each day...wouldn't it be worth almost anything to know? well, folks, it's really not a secret. Simply stated, the key to knowing how your child is doing day to day is to sit down at a table with them, shut off the tv and radio, set a plate of food in front of them and listen...easy as that. Give it a try, folks, give it a few nights a week for a couple of months and see what i am saying. Let me know how it goes.,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

another stolen recipe, posted for all to see. Christine's Spaghetti Pie

When i started stealing mom's recipes and posting them on this blog, my wife quickly hid any of her "special" recipes, knowing i would get to her soon after i was finished with mom. Well, it took me a month, but i finally found where my wife hid her recipe for her famous "Spaghetti Pie".
She hid it in the one place she didn't think i would ever look, the laundry room under the ironing board. Little does she know, i use that ironing board to fillet my catfish on, when she is not home.
Anyway, she never reads any of my stuff anymore, so i'm sure she will never notice this post. This recipe is in the top five on my "favorite food" list. Oh, and if you should happen to read this, thank you dear, for providing the recipe.

Christine's Spaghetti Pie from Mary Metzger

16oz spaghetti
1 stick oleo
3 beaten eggs
1 cup grated parmasan cheese
16oz small curd cottage cheese
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound pork
3/4cup chopped onion
1 large jar spaghetti sauce
1 1/2cups mushrooms
2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
1 tsp oregeno

Cook spaghetti and drain. Stir in oleo, then beaten eggs and parmasan cheese. Form spaghetti into a crust in a greased 9x13 glass pan. My wife uses three glass pie pans. Spread cottage cheese evenly over spaghetti crust. Cook ground beef, pork, mushrooms and onions until meat is brown. Christine chops down the meat constantly while she cooks it, turning it into very small, almost crunchy pieces. Drain any excess grease, stir in sauce and heat until steaming. put mixture on top of cottage cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Add cheese and bake until cheese is golden brown.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Has "Got a Minute, Eat With Me" changed our lives? You be the judge.

For the last two months i have been documenting our family's evening activities, and below are just a few of the entries. Has "Got a Minute, Eat With Me" changed our lives? You be the judge.

Wednesday November 24, 2010
on this, the third day of this new family experiment, I must say i am noticing subtle changes already. My oldest son's nervous tic is now almost undetectable, as he figures out that this experiment is not some giant government plot to eliminate electronic devices entirely from our daily lives, my wife has been coming home a bit earlier these days, i suspect in order to head off the terrible havoc i have already wreaked on her kitchen and it's utensils through an attempt to make our "sit down" dinners, and my youngest son responds on only the second or third attempt to speak to him.

Tuesday December 12, 2010
today i saw success with my own eyes, as it took a full 2 and a half minutes for the children to turn on their phones, computers and TVs after dinner.

Friday January 7, 2011
a true day of firsts. the first time ever my oldest son volunteered to help with the dishes. the first time ever my wife told me i was correct. The first time ever my youngest son ate everything i cooked.

Monday February 14, 2011
one year ago today, if i had asked my children to "Give mom and dad a little time alone" for Valentine's day, they would have disappeared faster than the speed of light. Tonight they seem to be offended, asking me "Could we just sit down for a short dinner together first?"
Go figure.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

you might be my kinfolk...take the test

This whole "Got a Minute" thing has me so wound up about getting closer to family, i thought to myself, "Self, i wonder if there are any of my kinfolk around that i have never met?" One thing is for sure, we are a peculiar bunch, the Whittens, and there are surely one or two tell tale signs you might be my kinfolk. Below is a short "check off" list, and if you think you might be related to me, just go through this small list. if you answer yes to 2 or more, we just might be kin folk after all.

1. If you have eaten chinese food while traveling with your family in your car, you might be my kinfolk.
2. If you've ever had the "Heimlick Manuever" performed on you while eating dinner after realizing the 350 pound biker at the table is your daughter's new boyfriend, you might be related to me.
3. If you have ever spit milk out of your nose as your son casually told you that he plans on living in a cardboard box under a bridge when he grows up, you might be kinfolk.
4. If you have ever accepted a "Student of the Month" award for your kid because she was temporarily "expelled" from same said school, you might be kinfolk.
5. If you've ever had two or more children supended from school on the same day for seperate incidents, you probably are my kinfolk.
6. If you have ever dug a 2 inch nerf ball out of your 4 year old son's nose after he did a "Magic Trick" at the dinner table, you might be a relative of mine.
7. If you've ever watched your old hound dog swallow a whole ear of buttered sweet corn that he stole off your plate while you were saying Grace, you are surely a realtive.
I could go on, but i'm sure by now you know if you are my kinfolk or not.

As "Got a Minute" winds down, I can tell you it has changed my family, and in many ways it has made us closer. I believe it is now easier for my children to bring more sensative issues up, and the dinner table has proven to be a great venue for these voices i probably would have otherwise never heard.