Tuesday, March 30, 2010
While pulling up corn stalks this afternoon ... I noticed we have a ton of worms! That's a great thing for the soil. I hope my husband doesn't chop them up too much while tilling! They really don't become two worms when cut in half. sniff
Usually my husband and I do all of the garden clean up in the fall... but last year, life and winter came fast and we didn't get around to it. We were out cleaning today for three hours... I'll feel this tomorrow!
This is my last batch of oregano. I put some in my scrambled eggs this morning. mmmm...
Freezing herbs is the best way to preserve them. It's easier than drying and they taste better too. Harvest your herbs in the morning, wash and dry well, then put in a plastic bag and freeze. Simply pull out what you need. They don't take up much space either. How easy is that?
I bought one of these Ziploc Vacuum Sealers and it's a God send.It's small and easy to store! No dragging out the big, bulky sealer I've used all these years.(time for a garage sale?) And the great thing is, you can RESEAL just as easily. Here's a picture of the last of this bag of chopped up red bell peppers... (only one bag left after this!...hurry up gardening season) anyway, just take what you want out and pump it to seal it back up. ta! da!
We use tons of red bell peppers: meatloaf, sloppy joes, on pizza, in omelets, stir fry, vegetable soup, chili.... wow. we do use a lot!
I only have a few more pints of my canned green beans left. The only thing that gets on my nerves about growing green beans ... you have to pick them when THEY want you to! They don't care if it's Thurs and you're tired from working all week. noooo... they are down there snickering "you better pick and can me now or I'll get all fat and tough"! and it's usually 108 degrees in the shade! But man, they are so worth it when the weather is cold and nasty (this is Ohio remember?) Just add some ham or bacon and go "mmmmm...."
Monday, March 29, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I had about a cup of broccoli/cauliflower leftover from supper. I didn't want to throw it away and it wouldn't work with the next nights menu. I had some jalapeno peppers and simply mixed them together and waited about a week. They are a tad mushy, but taste yummy!
Monday, March 22, 2010
I love zesty cocktail sauce. The stuff in the jar is just ok to me, and besides there were times when I wanted it and it had already gone bad! Sooooo, the light bulb went off and I started making my own when I needed it. I always have ketchup and horseradish in the fridge. Now I simply whip up just enough and can add extra horseradish. It tasted so much fresher too! ~ and no waste ~
Sunday, March 21, 2010
This is a public announcement: Please try leeks!!! They are sooooo good.
Easy Braised Leeks
•6 large leeks
•1 Tbsp. olive oil
•1 cup vegetable broth
•kosher salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. To prepare the leeks, trim off the dark green stalks and the roots. Next, slice the leeks in half lengthwise. Place the leeks in a large bowl of cold water, cut side down, and allow them to sit there about 10 minutes. Most of the grit will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Rinse the leeks again, checking between the folds to make sure all the grit is gone. Dry the leeks with a paper towel.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set the leeks in the baking dish, cut side up. Brush with the olive oil. Roast 20 minutes, tossing halfway through to make sure they don't get too brown. Pour vegetable broth over the leeks. Roast another 10 minutes or until leeks are tender. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I always shied away from rolled sugar cookies because ~ * the dough would stick to everything * I ended up adding too much extra flour (then dry dough) * I couldn't get the dough to roll out evenly (some cookies burned) ... basically a royal pain. Then I found some great tips while scrounging around on the good ol' internet. Now I actually ENJOY making sugar cookies! Here are a few tips I can't do without now. * Buy a set of ring guides for your rolling pin ~ they are color coded for dough thickness (pie dough, cookies, biscuits etc.)* Put dough between waxed paper (no extra flour and no sticking) Everything is nice and even and all the cookies bake the same... no more partially burned cookies!
If you've ever planted anything in the mint family (such as catnip) ... you know it will pop up in the spring a mile from the original planting! We have catnip clear on the other side of the house and Hannah found this clump growing down in the garden .. a long way away. I'm guessing during the fall clean up, I dropped some on the way to the compost pile.
Here's something I do every spring for the birds. We have a HUGE pine tree right outside our front window. I take extra soft yarn and cut it into pieces and hang them around on the limbs and the bushes. It's fun watching the different birds fly off with them to line their nests!
Apple Pie Jelly
6 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
½ cup water
½ teaspoon of butter
3 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar (packed)
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 small box powdered fruit pectin
Cook apples, water and butter over low heat, stirring until apples are soft but not mushy. Stir in pectin and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add sugars and cinnamon and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Pour into hot jars, leaving ¼” heads space. Process jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. makes (7) ½ pints.
NOTE: 6 cups of diced apples = 6 to 7 medium size apples
Friday, March 19, 2010
Making up your own cookie mix is easy! Just add all of the dry ingredients in a Ziploc bag. When you're ready to make cookies, all you have to do is add your egg, butter, etc.... I print the entire recipe and directions on the bag (and reuse the bag---I'm such a tightwad)When I'm done, I don't have to dig out the recipe because it's right on the bag and I add the dry ingredients again. Cool huh?
Skillet Apple Crisp
6 - large apples peeled, cored & sliced thinly
1/4 - cup water
juice from 1 lemon
2 - cups rolled oats
2 - cups all purpose flour
2 - cups packed brown sugar
2 - Tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/4 cups melted butter (2 1/2 sticks)
1 - large iron skillet
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. combine the apples, water, and lemon juice add to a large Iron Skillet. In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. pour in the butter and stir to make a crumbly mixture. Spread the topping in an even layer over the apples and bake for 45 - 55 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and brown.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
I love Gumbo and it's so easy to make. You really don't need an exact recipe, just start with the basics (onions, celery, chicken, polka kielbasa, shrimp, tomatoes) and go from there. You can make it spicy or mild... whatever .... to your taste. It's kinda like when I make chili... I never make it the same way twice!!
Anyway, here's what you do: Brown kielbasa and chicken in skillet in a little oil. Remove. Add a little more oil and saute' onion, celery and red peppers. Add chicken and kielbasa. Then add a can of stewed tomatoes. Stir and heat through. Add shrimp. Bring to simmer. Now add hot sauce and crushed red peppers to taste. Serve over rice. Enjoy!
Remember, this is just a "base" recipe. You can add okra, red bell peppers, green chilies, garlic, tomato sauce...you get it. In a pinch, I've used canned shredded chicken. Anyway .... hope you try this... it's easy and goooood!
This is a great way to fix bacon. Instead of frying bacon in a skillet and having to keep an almost constant eye on it (and dealing with all the splatters) .... put it in the oven instead!
1.Line a baking sheet with foil. This will make cleanup easier.
2.Arrange bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven. Turn oven on to 400°F.
3.Bake 17 to 20 minutes. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the bacon slices, how crispy you want your bacon, and also on how quickly your oven reaches the target temperature. Keep an eye on it the last few minutes, you don't want it to burn.
4.Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the bacon to another sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb the fat. Enjoy!!