Tuesday, March 30, 2010

John Paul just LOVES swiss chard!


Contrary to John Paul's insistence, no children were permanently harmed, sickened, or maimed during the making of this post.

Monday, March 29, 2010

No baking powder? No problem!

It was a beautiful Saturday morning and the punks were still asleep so I thought I'd whip up some blueberry muffins with some gorgeous organic blueberries I had recently bought. I started to mix the dry ingredients and realized I was out of baking powder. I was NOT going to the store and figured there must be some way to substitute for it. After a quick look online, I found this great little tip: just use baking soda and vinegar!

Note the amount of baking powder called for in your recipe, and measure *half* that amount of baking soda. Add the baking soda to your dry ingredients, and sift as usual.

How much liquid does the recipe call for? Add one (1) teaspoon of vinegar per cup of liquid in the recipe. If the liquid is milk, I like to add the vinegar directly to the milk and let it make "buttermilk" before mixing it all together.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together thoroughly, and let the batter stand for a minute before baking or cooking.

Look at that oven spring! Who says you need baking powder?
I don't need no stinking baking powder!

C'mon punks, time for breakfast!

For more great tips in the kitchen, visit Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's blog!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meatless Fridays

I have had cravings for Chinese food lately. My oldest son and I love to have dinner at Kim Son in Houston...but that is a rare treat! We always get the spring rolls with spicy peanut dipping sauce. I think we'll head into Chinatown this weekend and pick up supplies for this week's meatless meal:

Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Spring Rolls

1/3 cup Napa cabbage VERY thinly sliced
2 large carrot julenned
2 tablespoons scallion slivered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 ounces dried bean thread OR rice noodles
16 each rice paper rounds 8" size

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter smooth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon hot chili oil OR 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped

Soak the bean threads or rice noodles according to package directions and then toss with the other ingredients listed. Soak the rice paper rounds in warm water until softened then assemble your rolls with the mixture. Fold the sides of the wrapper in towards the center and then roll up. Combine all the ingredients of your dipping sauce and allow to sit for 30 minutes or more to get those spices to combine.

NOW it's Spring!

We went to the feed store last week for onion sets and seeds,
it REALLY feels like spring now!

I was determined to go all heirloom with my seeds this year but I'm too impatient to wait for shipping. So this year, just peppers and tomatoes will be heirloom and I'll be experimenting with saving their seeds for next year. Once I have that mastered I'll go on to have a complete heirloom garden and never buy seeds again!

For now, I'm really enjoying all this seed porn...

Can't wait to plant!
Fire up the tiller, Doug!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This is what "bolt" looks like!

Lettuce HATES warm weather and we've been having more and more of it here in south Texas. When cold weather plants get warm, they bolt.

Here's what romaine lettuce looks like in bolt:

I think it's beautiful with all the delicate yellow flowers!

I let it stay in the garden box longer than I should have. It drew LOTS of bees to the garden, and I'll be planting soon so busy bees in the garden will be a good thing. Plus, I'm sure a lot of it went to seed and I will have a free lettuce bed next fall (and free lettuce in the walkway, in between the pavers, in other garden boxes...you get the idea!)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The "orchard" is growing!

The Easter Bunny made an early appearance here and brought me two citrus trees! I have been coveting my neighbor's orange tree and was even gifted some gorgeous Meyer lemons from a friend.

I've been wanting those trees ever since!

These beauties will go out back along with the apple, peach, pear, and pecan trees we already have growing...
I call it "The Orchard".

The Meyer lemon tree already has dozens of blooms on it and I'm bound and determined to get at least one freakin' lemon this season ~ even if I have to hand pollinate every.single.bloom.myself!

I can almost taste that fresh lemonade right now,
or maybe even a little limoncello!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meatless Fridays

I got 'nuthin planned this week!

This was my first week back at work after two weeks off with our loss. I ended up having to work overtime so shopping and meal planning have gone out the window (as have laundry, house cleaning, gardening, etc...). I'm hoping my Doug E. Poo will take us out for a nice seafood meal this Friday...I am SO NOT cooking...I may not even make it off the couch all weekend!

I did find an interesting casserole that I want to try:

Parmesan Spinach Casserole with Garlic Brown Rice

Leave me a comment and tell me what YOU'RE having this Friday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The beginning...

...of beautiful summertime
heirloom tomatoes!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Something I want you to know...

We've lost another child, this time at 12 weeks.

When I found out I was pregnant in early January I was scared to death. As Doug held me crying in the bathroom, all I could say was, "Please God, don't let my baby die." I couldn't help it. In the instant that I knew our baby existed - I was in love.
We didn't tell anyone about this new life. For some reason we thought we should wait to see if everything would be ok. We somehow thought that if things went wrong that we would be sparing grief in others.

I wish we had told everyone.

Maybe God would have heard their prayers...he didn't hear mine. And now that this baby is gone, there is no one to grieve his precious life but me and Doug.

So I want you to know that a child existed.

His name was to be Anthony Benedict.

He was very much loved and wanted.

He joins three other siblings in Heaven:
Michael, Dominic Phillip, and Mary Grace.

Please pray for us.
This grief is too much for me to bear. I hardly get out of bed these days. Doug is wonderful at taking care of the family-but he is weary, too.
Please, just pray for us.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Meatless Fridays

Kyle is the sandwich king in our family. He loves making grilled sammies of any kind. This week's meal is so warm, gooey, cheesey, and filling that you'll never miss the meat! Our Meatless Friday meal is:

Grilled Vegetable Pannini

nice crusty ciabatta bread
hummus or marinara sauce
provolone or mozzarella cheese
your choice of veggies: zucchini, eggplant, tomato, red onion, spinach, etc...
balsamic vinegar

Place your chopped veggies into a ziplock bag and coat with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Let marinate for one hour then grill. Slice the bread thick enough to contain the ingredients and slather the insides with either hummus or marinara sauce. Build your sandwich and place on the grill. Weight down the sandwich with a brick wrapped in foil or a nice, heavy cast iron skillet and grill until golden.
Serve with homemade tomato soup or pasta salad.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Time to make the kraut!

I had a small surplus of cabbage in the garden and decided to make another batch of sauerkraut for the year. This year's batch will not be the traditional kraut like I made last year. This year I am spicing things up a bit by adding some more flavors to the cabbage before lactofermenting it.
I am making a pseudo kim-chi style kraut!
By adding some shaved carrots and green onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes, I hope to make a really flavorful mix. It will be delicious on hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, and just by itself!
And by lactofermenting the kraut we will be adding lots of healthy probiotics to our diet. Here’s what we know, when you lacto-ferment vegetables it increases in vitamins, it is more digestible and you get a plethora of good bacteria when you consume it!

The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”

Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, pg 89

Making lactofermented sauerkraut is VERY easy!
Check out this YouTube tutorial and make some yourself....
your gut will thank you!