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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

cucumber tofu salad

It's true... I've had to loosen my apron strings again while I prepare for baby number 4! For the last few months, I've had morning sickness so bad that I haven't spent much time in the kitchen. But as summer is coming, and the fresh food is hitting the market, my appetite is coming back bit by bit. One thing I have really wanted to eat non-stop is cucumbers. I made a cucumber salad last week but I used a normal amount of onion which was just too much for me still at this point. And the flavors just weren't anything too exciting. Today though, I used those ideas with the old cucumber salad I've made many times and found a perfect combo! Dressing: 8 TBSP vinegar 2 TBSP sugar 1 tsp salt 4 TBSP EV Olive Oil Add to: One peeled cucumber, sliced 1 package firm tofu, cubed 1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced 1/8 - 1/4 vadalia onion (you could use a whole onion but it is my strongest food aversion so I really just let it soak in the vinegar for some light flavor) Then add: 4 large basil leaves, chopped 8 chive stalks, chopped 4 TBSP chopped fresh dill

Saturday, May 5, 2012

single malt orange marmalade

I've been wanting to make this marmalade since Robert Burn's Night when I found the recipe. Today I had a few hours to myself so I finally got to making it. It is very time consuming but after my first real taste this morning, it is very worth it. First step is to get the zest off 6 oranges and 1 lemon. My peeler wasn't nearly sharp enough so this took forever. Then chop it very fine. Also, grate 4 carrots and 1 granny smith apple and get the juice from the lemon and reserve.
Add all this into a stainless pot with a small handful of allspice wrapped in a cloth. Segment and juice the 6 oranges being careful to keep all seed and pith out of the pot.
Let this cook down for 15 minutes and then add 4 cups of sugar and the lemon juice.
After the marmalade passes the set test, add in 1/4- 1/3 cups of single malt scotch (I used glenfiddich). Skim off any foam and fill clean, boiled jars. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
The color is spectacular! And the taste is beyond words!

Friday, March 2, 2012

my new diet drink

Fresh Brewed Green Tea and Ginger Tea, iced. To this I ad a splash of juice. My new favorite is Ruby Cherry. Then I made ice cubes out of lemon juice, raspberries and a little filtered water.

Chicken Orzo Spinach Soup

I put the raw chicken breasts in the crock pot early in the day with chopped onion, red pepper, carrots and spices. After it had cooked all the way through, I took some of the stock out to use a different time. I shredded the chicken and then I added a can of garbanzo beans and ripped up spinach. Then an hour before dinner I added 2 cups of orzo.
We had this with cheesy pesto bread- what a perfect dinner for a chilly night!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Candy Apple Upside Down Cake

It's become a tradition for me to make canned candy apple rings around Christmas. I try and save a few jars for myself to use throughout the winter. Last night my Mama was coming over for dinner so I wanted a yummy dessert. I used the traditional Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe but used the Candy apple rings instead.

Preheat over to 350. In the cake pan, heat 2 TBSP butter and then stir in 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place the candy apple rings around the outside edge of the cake pan.
For the cake batter, cream 1/4 cup butter and 1/3 cup sugar. Add 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt. Then add 2/3 cup milk and slowly add 1 1/3 cup flour and 2 tsp baking powder. Pour over top of the brown sugar glaze with apple rings. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a can plate.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken Curry with Chicken Stock rice and veggies

I've had curry on my mind and tastebuds lately but I knew I had to do it mellow to make it family friendly. Saturday I slow cooked a chicken and turned it into curry chicken with chicken stock rice.
For the curry sauce, I sauteed a red onion and 2 cloves of garlic. in olive oil. Once the onions were soft, I added 1 TBSP of curry powder, 1 TBSP cumin and 1 tsp red pepper flakes. I let the spices open up and get fragrant. And then I added 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup sesame oil. I let this all cook together, maybe 5 minutes, on low and then added a few cups of the fresh made chicken stock and pieces of the warm chicken to soak up the curry flavor. I didn't want to have it cooking in there too long because I was afraid that would overpower it and the family wouldn't enjoy it as much.
For the rice, I used all fresh chicken stock and no water. It was delicious! Also, in a separate pan I cooked a medley of broccoli, carrots and celery. I added 1 TBSP of olive oil and 1 TBSP sesame oil to the bottom of the pan. And then as it started to cook, I added 2 cups of the fresh chicken stock and put a lid on it to let the veggies steam. This way everyone got to pick the vegetables they would actually eat.
It's rare I'm nervous to present a meal to the family but in this case I was rewarded with compliments and kids asking for seconds!!

tee shirt necklace

I found this t-shirt a few weeks ago and fell in love with it. It's a little cheesy but it was my kind of cheesy. It was also a dollar and I loved that too! But when I went to put it on the other day, I found a hole in it in a very obvious place. (not where you want attention when you are a woman trying to practice modesty). I've seen these patterns around Pinterest so I thought I would give this a go.

I kept the hems intact here.

For the top part, I cut the sleeves off so the strips where shorter. I made them a bit thicker too. I used these to wrap around the ends of the necklace to bind them together.

The short strips I used to tie the parts of the necklace together. The middle sized strips I tied to make longer strips and made the braided part and the twisted part. The longer part I kept as in, just tued it together with one of the shorter strips. And then I used some black thread and sewed the three groups of strips together.

It turned out good! But I'm afraid it might be another one of the projects I make for myself that I never use. Maybe I'll find it a good home.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Newborn Baby Bonnet Pattern

I've had a lot of friends having babies lately. This has been my number one gift. I just love these sweet bonnets on a newborn face. I've also sold them on my etsy page with a matching newborn cocoon.

First I cast on 30 stitches with a thicker yarn on size 8 needles.
Row 1- knit
Row 2- purl
Row 3- knit 1, k2tog, knit accross, k2tog, knit 1
Row 4- purl
Row 5- knit 1, k2tog, knit across, k2tog, knit 1
Row 6- purl
Row 7- knit
Row 8- purl
Row 9- change to baby yarn, I like to use a double yarn just to keep the thickness consistent.

Keep going with knit (rs) and purl (ws) until you reach 4 inches.

Then bind off and leave a long tail to stitch up the back of the bonnet with.

Cut long strings with all three yarns for the braided ties.

Or just buy it here!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

on the needles and on the stovetop tonight...

hot pink ala Cyndi Lauper and black scarf

Loaded baked Mashed potatoes, Bacon layered Meatloaf, Garden Green Beans, Pear Crisp from my canned Pears

Shayne was VERY excited about it!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

in the kitchen today

Breakfast today was my take on Martha Stewart's egg and bacon cups. She says to roll out the bread and cut it with cookie cutters to make it fit the muffin tin perfectly. I decided to just cut the bread in half and make the cups into hearts.

Then the bacon in a heart shape

And the egg in the center.

Baked for 25 minutes at 375

Lunch today was leftover Chicken Pesto Lasagne. No one complained about leftovers of this. It was wonderful! Especially with the white sauce I made to go over top to mix with the pesto and make it even creamier.

Dinner tonight is homemade tortillas.

Inside the tortillas is maple and bacon cured beans, chicken, tomatoes and cheese. Baked at 375 for 20 minutes.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bebe skirt

I've made a few pairs of the Pickles Pants . They are so cute on little diapered bums! I was knitting for a friends sisters the other day and thought up a way to change the pattern into a skirt. So this is what I came up with- the Bebe Skirt.

Cast on 44 stitches in a round. Knit in stockinette for an inch.
And then in the direct front of the skirt, make two holes for the drawstring to go through. I use a k2tog.
The next round, make a stitch where you lost a stitch on the round before.
Knit another two inches in stockinette.
Then for one round, make a stitch after every stitch you knit. (knit 1, make 1)
Knit in stockinette again for another two inches.
Then to make the ruffled edge, knit in the front and back of each stitch.
Knit two more rows and then bind off.

Roll the top of the skirt down and sew a hem for the draw string to go through. I usually sew it with the draw string inside so I don't have to weave it through later.

Tuck in all the loose bits of yarn with a plastic needle.

I use a crochet hook to make the draw string, but you could certainly use a knitting stitch too.

The great thing about this skirt is it will fit from newborn until probably about one year with a pain of bloomers.

chicken for cheap

I've been determined to cook healthier and cheaper this year. Yeah, the other day I fried bread in crisco... but overall I really am trying to feed the family wholesome meals that won't kill my wallet.

I was buying too much ground chuck because it's the cheapest protein source that is quick and meaty. So this year I'm looking to use more chicken and dry beans in my cooking. Chicken can get so expensive though! So I have been buying the whole chicken and cooking it down into useable portions.

I put the whole bird in the crock pot and fill it half full of water. I quick chop some onions and garlic, maybe carrots and celery if I have them. I put in dried sage and thyme from the garden and I let it go all day.

After about 8 hours the chicken is fully cooked and super moist and flavorful. The hardest part if then taking all the meat off the bones. I usually try to keep the breast meat intact for one meal and then use the rest of the meat for another meal; usually something calling for shredded chicken. Then I put the bones back in the crock pot and let it go a bit longer for stock. I just use a ladle and get the liquid out of the pot. This usually makes about two quarts of stock. This can then be used for soups or for making more flavorful rice. The bonus for me is that the fat all rises to the top so I can skim it off and have a lower fat chicken stock than you'd find in the grocery.

Just thought I'd share in this experiment. Anyone have a better way to go about it?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Color me Loved

More early Valentine's! This time for Isaiah and Lil G (the boy who hangs with me). I took all the old crayons from the big crayon bucket and melted them down. I found silicone muffin pans in a heart shape at Target for a buck- perfect for this!! Especially because I'm not sure they will be food friendly afterwards... they are still soaking so we shall see on that.
I broke the crayons into littler bits and put the pan in the oven at 180. It took over an hour for them to melt down. You don't want to rush it or you'll just get grey globs. These are bright and colorful and will make a perfect after nap craft!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Early Valentines- Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

I love wednesdays. Everyone is home for dinner on wednesday and we all eat together. There is something magical to a family dinner and I try to make it special every time (even when it's most times we're all home). Today for dessert I made Blueberry Oatmeal cookies with pink sprinkles in honor of valentine's day coming up.

The recipe:
1 stick butter and 1/2 stick margarine creamed with 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of raw sugar. Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1 egg. Once mixed well, slowly add 1 3/4 cup flour and 2 Tbs flax seeds.
By hand then mix in 2 cups of rolled oats and 1/2 to 1 cup Blueberry freezer jam.

Roll out into balls and bake in a 375 oven for 12 minutes. At the 6 minute mark, I sprinkled on the sugar. Let them cool on the cookie sheets and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fry Bread

I have had a mad craving for fry bread lately. I made it as doughnuts a few autumns ago but I wanted it as a real dinner food. So I slow cooked some beans and rice with good mexican spices and caramelized onions and got my fry bread on!

The basic dough recipe is:
4 cups of all purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups warm water

Mix by hand until a dough forms.

Yes, I love my family. And yes, I try to cook healthy. But fry bread needs to be fried in crisco. It just has to be done.

Kneed the dough out and break into 12 small breads.

Drop them gently in the hot oil. The nice thing about frying in crisco is that is spits less than regular oil. But, don't do what I did and dip a bit of my finger in the oil with the bread. That doesn't feel good.

Let them rest and drain a bit on paper towel. And then serve with beans and rice, sour cream and shredded cheese. We are all so full! I said, before dinner, if everyone ate well I'd make more as doughnuts for dessert... but we're so full no one wanted them after all!

enjoy! xoxo