What’s a Congee?

Well, despite following instructions and recipe, a congee is NOT what I made…but I tried..


According to Wikipedia a congee (British English: /ˈkɒndʒi/; or conjee) is a type of rice porridge or gruel popular in many Asian countries. When eaten as plain rice congee, it is most often served with side dishes. When additional ingredients, such as meat, fish, and flavorings, are added while preparing the congee, it is most often served as a meal on its own, especially for the ill. Names for congee are as varied as the style of its preparation. Despite its many variations, it is usually a thick porridge of rice largely disintegrated after prolonged cooking in water. 


Well, disintegration is what I got! The recipe called for soaking the rice, then processing it to make it even smaller. Additionally, the squash has to be shredded. Then add to vegetable stock and cook, then cook some more…


The aforementioned gruel like consistency never materialized so I capitalized on the soupiness and made…soup! How original of me. The secret to its success was the addition of coconut milk, not the cocktail ingredient, but the dairy substitute.


The original recipe was in Cooking Light.

When last we left our heroine..

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She was trying to figure out why there were 3 opened packages of pitted and chopped dates in her pantry….

I know it’s been a while since I posted, actually it’s been 2 weeks, and like all retired peeps I’m very busy but couldn’t really tell you what I’ve been doing except looking for gainful employment, setting up Get Togethers and Shopping Events for my India Hicks business    ( http://www.indiahicks.com/rep/mconroymiller) and playing …

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I’ve been crafting so I’ve been making things like cards and tags and necklaces and a few bracelets.

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I also did a couple of marathon cooking events, featuring emptying the entire contents of the fridge and coming up with a  bunch of meals from it. This load was from 2 Sundays ago and yielded:

Italian green beans in sauce

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Roasted beets and carrots for salad additions with goat cheese

Roasted vegetable and pinto bean ratatouille (beans when rinsed and roasted are extra delicious!)

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Brussel sprouts roasted with apples and kielbasa

Acorn squash stuffed with dates

Not a bad afternoon’s work.

Well I’ll be back soon with some new posts…sorry I was gone for so long!

Currently Crushing….

I’ve got a pretty full list this month on some new things you should check out!

From the sublime to the ridiculous we go…

First up, new television must see…nbc-this-is-us-aboutimage-1920x1080-ko

What a little gem of a drama that “This is Us” is on network television! The story looks back in time from a trio of siblings (twins and an adoptee) raised by a ne’er do well dad and a fiercely devoted mom. The drama centers around what’s happening with them now, today and how their past drives the future.

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Dinozzo’s back! Well, not the character, but the actor in a uniformly likable rendition of Dr. Phil, before he was Dr. Phil. You know back when he was a jury consultant…that’s the premise of the new show starring Michael Weatherly. He’s quirky, he’s smart, and he has quirky and smart peeps working for him. Very watchable…

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I have always loved Maria Shriver. I loved her as a newscaster and as First Lady of California before her world with “Ahnold” disintegrated. She’s whip smart, funny and devoted to moving women forward. Sometimes to do that, we need to take a breath and Maria’s Sunday Paper is the way to do it. She makes you think….and breathe…and then you can think and breathe together, which in today’s world doesn’t happen often. Too often, thinking makes us stop breathing! Have cup of coffee on Sunday with Maria. Smart.

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Next up, the adult bevvie front…now that summer’s over and a definite chill is in the air, it’s time to go back to red…wine that is. Ah, I’ve missed it! A few years ago, the Hubs and I were at our friend J & A’s house for dinner, and J on taking cocktail orders announced to me “have I got a wine for you!” He was dead on. Apothic Red is lush, and rich and full and perfect for your house wine. They followed with “Dark” with some serious body a couple of years ago in limited batches and then “Crush” appeared last year. Now “Inferno” is on board as the limited batch. In very small batches and I think you can only indulge in small batches because this wine will “wreck” you as the Irish say. It’s almost 16% alcohol….But it tastes delicious. Not a wine for a steak, I think the whiskey undertones get in the way, but definitely a wine for sipping by an indoor/outdoor fire! With chocolate!

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Remember these?  They were so last year, so , I don’t know …iphone 5 ish. Now with new phones and new upgrades to IOS10, you get lots of chances for new emojis downloadable from the new message app store. My personal faves are Lily Pulitzer, cause everyone needs a mermaid emoji…img_6198

But you can also get free ones like from Dunkin Donuts! Imagine, you can text your order right to your SO’s phone!

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And lastly, my favorite new follow on Facebook is courtesy of the Financial Times, the venerable financial paper known for printing on pink paper. The FT has an entire site dedicated to ” how to spend it”.  Seriously….bookmark it in case you win Megamillions or Power Ball…just saying.

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Off the Shelf…The Admissions

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At first you think Meg Mitchell Moore’s book “The Admissions” is only about getting into college. But it’s so much more than that…in fact, this family is a train wreck. Honestly, you cannot take your eyes off them. They are clinging to the tiniest ledge of sanity because of a belief about “what should happen”. With a few well struck incidents of fate, and the accompanying “admissions” the family realizes that everything they have worked for for 20 years, is about to be upended. It will change them as a family and as individuals and you hope they survive. Fast read,hooks you right in in first few pages…read it to see!

Yummy Gummies….

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So the fashion and food blogs are full of stories about how cool it is to have wine flavored gummy bears, more specifically rose flavored dummies. How hard can this be I thought as I trolled Amazon for a mold to try them at home. Success!

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All you need is wine ( 1/4 cup for 50 bears), sugar, plain gelatin and gel food coloring. I used  sparkling Moscato because it was open, but I will definitely be doing this again with Rose. Mix sugar and 3 packets of gelatin together in a heatproof measuring cup. Heat the wine to between 90° and 100°, any higher temp and you will lose the wine flavor. Pour wine onto powdered ingredients and mix until all the gelatin is dissolved and the add some food coloring and stir well to make sure it’s distributed.

Pour into molds that are on rimmed cooking sheets and then use an offset spatula or the edge of a flat blade to scrape liquid excess away. Put the whole cookie sheet into the fridge and let chill for a few hours. The dummies will pop right out!

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I used a recipe from Pinterest ( where else?) but you can adapt this by changing wine to water and adding a drop of candy flavoring! In preparation for an India Hicks event next week, I of course, experimented with Flamingo for a color, because, well….you can never have too much Flamingo!

Multitasking…part deux (or, just another meatless Monday)

So the flip side of the coin was a tomato eggplant gratin which is a cinch to put together. From the Cooking section of the New York Times last week, it is a versatile and forgiving dish with enough zip to make it taste like an entree.


Start with yellow and red grape tomatoes with seasoning as indicated and oil. I had the last of our truck farm tomatoes to use up. Thanks to 90 days of sun, they held on till the end! Peel and chop the eggplant and toss with tomatoes. Then mix shredded mozzarella with panko, basil, more seasoning and olive oil. Mix half of panko with the tomato/eggplant and put into roasting/casserole pan. Add tomato purée and to with the remainder of the seasoned panko.

Bake…


Side dish on Sunday and entree on Monday!

Multitasking at the stove…

Saturday night I couldn’t decide which of two recipes to try, so I made both and flipped a coin at the last minute…


Saturday nite we wound up with ragu on cauliflower polenta. A simple ragu of ground sirloin (which, when I make again, I will put through the food processor for a finer product).  Brown the meat in oil, add some Worcestershire and onions, a cup or so each of ketchup and tomato purée,chicken stock, season to taste and let reduce. You can add in some butter at end to smooth it out. Top with chives.



Meanwhile, back at the food processor, cut cauliflower (shown here in festive carnival colors) into florets and then run through food processor do its like rice. Bring salted water to a boil and drop in the cauliflower and cook for about 3 minutes. Add a mere 1/3 cup instant polenta and stir until very thick. All the taste of polenta without the carbs and calories!



Original recipe courtesy of Cooking Light, September 2016, p.28

Part two of multitasking is coming right up!