Welcome To My World

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not sure!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beginning Gardneing from a Beginner.


Today while my son was taking his nap I was thinking, "am I going to take my usual nap too?" No. I decided I was going to take advantage of the beautiful day that was unraveling before my very eyes and garden in the little space I have left in my newly roto-tilled gardening square. Here's one thing I planted today and what I used to do it: A package of Ed Hume Seeds brand Kentucky Wonder Beans, two claws, and gloves with rubber on the palms. Ed Hume is a local Seed company to the Northwest and so I like to support that. You also may be wondering why two of the same tool? I actually have several reasons for that, one, the spacing between the the claws for poking holes, two, its good to have several of one kind of tool so that if you leave them all over the yard you can always find one, and three, I like feeling of the different weights between the plastic and the metal claws.


First I clawed up the dirt with my little metal claw because its heavier it just seems to get in the dirt quicker and easier than the plastic one. Then I made a straight row with the dirt, and used my more spaced apart plastic claw and gently poked holes all the way down so it does the spacing for you.




Then drop in the beans, and press while cupping your hands over the row to seal in the seeds.


Then water.


My Husband decided to join me & he planted some habenaro peppers to make hot sauce this year. He loves himself some hot sauce!

So if you are feeling productive and decide to skip your daily cat nap, pick up a packet of seeds, dig in the dirt, and soon you see little sprouts of joy, that will grow into your next meal of homegrown goodness!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Totally Terrific Tortilla Soup

Yesterday I had gotten home late because Wednesdays can be a hectic and fully loaded day for Olie and I. He and I spend the night at our Grandma's houses on Tuesdays. I get to sleep in a comfy warm bed all to myself with an electric blanket in the golden silence that is my Grandma's house, while Olie gets to snuggle up in his little crib in the cozy upstairs nook of my mothers cabin. We all get up early on Wednesday mornings and go to Bible study together, then lunch, then my Mom and Grandma have to go to several thrift and antique stores. There is always a lot of talking, story telling, interrupting, and cackling when my Grandma, Mom and I are in a small space together. So by the time we get back to our own home we are pooped, but I still needed to make my man dinner. So I opened up my fridge and cupboards to see what I had. I decided to make a hearty tortilla soup. It was more than just delicious. It was amazing. Seriously not to toot my own horn but this is certainly some scrumptious & slurp worthy soup!


I took a picture of almost everything that I put in the soup pot minus the bacon, chorizo, green bell pepper & black pepper. Which is sad because the bacon and chorizo are beautiful things. So try to imagine them in the shot for me please.


I took a close up shot of these two ingredients because I feel that they really set of the flavor profile of the soup. Roasted diced tomatoes, and Mexican Sour Cream. Mexican sour cream if you've never had the pleasure, is a bit more creamy and viscous in texture than regular sour cream, which makes it great for stirring into stuff.


I decided to take a shot of the soup with a moracca that I got in Mazatlan Mexico when I was a wee one on a family vacation. For what reason I added it in don't know. I guess I thought it would add a little cultural flair and really get the point across of "hey this is a Latin inspired dish."


This is the finished soup garnished with a piece of fresh oregano and the Mexican sour cream. Stir in the sour cream before enjoying, it's fun.


Totally Terrific Tortilla Soup:

(*Note* I don't measure when I cook so aside from the measurements on cans or bags of things I'm gestamating as far as the exact amount of spices I put in. I can't help it I was taught that way.)

Ingredients:
  • 8oz chorizo sausage
  • 5-6 strips of bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1 smallish Yellow Onion (diced)
  • 1 15oz. Can Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 15oz. Can Yellow Corn with juices
  • 32 oz. Beef Broth
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • A sprinkling of salt
  • 5 Crumbled Tostadas
  • 3 smallish Potatoes (diced)
First in a tall soup or stock pot add the diced bacon and turn on the stove top to a little below high and cook until crispy. While its cooking chop your veggies and potatoes. Cook the potatoes on the stove or in a microwave safe dish until fork tender, drain and set aside. Add the chorizo to the pot with the bacon, break it up with wooden spatula until almost cooked through. Now add the diced Onion & Green Bell Pepper and sporadically stir them around until the onion becomes translucent. Pour in the Beef broth, Roasted Tomatoes, the can of corn with the juice, potatoes and spices. Allow to simmer for a bit and add the crumbled tostadas. Allow to simmer some more for about 15-20 minutes or until the soup has thickened a bit. Serve with a dollop of the Mexican sour cream and if you have it, a sprig of fresh oregano. It's fun to have a pretty presentation for your plate even at home. It really completes a meal and gives off that gourmet aesthetic that any diner is looking for, even if its just your husband and a toddler.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Best Chewy Granola Bar Recipe I've found.

I found this recipe on www.allrecipes.com and
revamped it a bit to the ingredients that I had on hand.
Which is the best thing about this recipe in my opinion.
As long as you have 4 out of the 10 ingredients its easy to swap
some things out for others to adjust to what you've got in
your cupboards and your flavor preferences.

The Vanilla, Wheat Germ, Sesame Seeds,and Almonds are missing from the above picture of the ingredients, but hey nobody's perfect.


First you mix the wet ingredients and then
add the dry and it will look like this.


Then you liberally spray an 8 by 8 inch baking dish and get a spatula. Its a must for evenly pressing this very sticky stuff.


When you're pressing down the granola mixture it might look somewhat like this, especially if you've recently painted your fingernails fuchsia. Make sure its an evenly pressed layer.



This is what it looks like in its raw form.
Wipe your lip I think your drooling.


Then you put it into a 350* Oven for 15-20 minutes until the edges are crispy and browned. My oven usually takes 19 minutes



This is a bad picture I know. Give me a break though because I working with a 3 year old Kodak Easy Share, so yeah, that's that. Anyhow these are the finished product. They are chewy with little bits of chocolate, seeds, nuts, and healthy wheat germ and oatmeal, even with decadent peanut butter. Everything you could want in a granola bar, and you can make it almost as easily as going to the store to buy a box. I keep these things in my pantry just in case I feel the urge to make them. I've gotten these urges regularly ever since I found the recipe.
So make some won't you?

Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
  • 1/4 cup chopped Almonds
  • 3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips chopped up

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir in the oats, sunflower kernels, chopped almonds, wheat germ and sesame seeds. Fold in chopped chocolate chips.
  2. Press into an 8-in. square baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until set and edges are browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars.
Note* I've swapped out the brown sugar for granulated sugar when I was out, and you can easily substitute some of the nuts or seeds for something equally delicious like coconut or raisins! Also I store my wheat germ (Bob's Red Mill Brand,) in my freezer. It makes it last longer.