Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More From the Kitchen


 Spending the afternoons playing in the kitchen really does have its benefits. Number one being some real good food. Don't get me wrong I have made a few stinkers too. some bland recipes and one recipe that no matter what I did I just couldn't make it work. Mostly however We have been enjoying some really good dishes. like the one I am sharing with you today.
  So far this recipe has to be my favorite.An exotic twist to an old favorite. So much wonderful flavor, the texture is perfect rich and warm, the aroma so inviting. With a good crusty bread this soup makes the best cold day dinner. 

  To make this heaven in a bowl all you need are a few simple ingredients, a crock pot and 6 hours to let it cook. There is very little prep work making this not only the best bean soup it is also the easiest. 
   Curry Lentil Soup
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), diced into ½ inch cubes
  • 1½ cups dried brown lentils
  • 1 large diced tomato
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • ½ tbsp. Ancho chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice (about 1 lime)
  •   Put everything but the lime juice in a crock pot and cook undisturbed on high for 6 hours. Stir in lime juice and serve warm.
  •   I got this recipe from a blog I found on the site Food Foto Gallery. I tried to follow the recipe exactly as written only I didn't have a few things on hand so I subbed a little here and there. Above is how and what I used to make this recipe and below is a link to the blog and recipe I was following.
  • Curry Lentil Soup

  

  •  Happy Wednesday! thank you for stopping by. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

8 Years Of Love & Travels


 Saturday was our 8th Anniversary. After the house was cleaned the laundry done and all the hubby's chores were done too we packed our over night bags got someone to stay with Mom and we were off. The lack of a Saturday post was due to an anxious need to get on the road and let the honeymoon begin.
  We headed less then an hour away from home with just 2 things on our minds. A romantic dinner and Wheaton Village. We decided that Sunday would be the day we would visit the village and Saturday evening and night would be reserved for enjoying one of the best indoor pools we have ever had the pleasure of swimming in, dinner, and enjoying each others company all alone. As far as I am concerned it was the perfect plan. I came home Sunday afternoon relaxed and so very happy. I am sure you understand when I say I was too busy being in love Saturday night and never gave the camera a thought. Just imagine two people smiling, laughing, even giggling at times as they enjoyed good food, floating around in warm blue water and falling in love all over again, and you have the picture.
 Now Sunday and Wheaton village and pictures, you don't have to imagine a thing. I have plenty of pictures. When I planned my day this morning I made the decision to wait until I was done my daily chores before I wrote this post. I like to write as much I like to cook and almost as much as I love to take pictures. It takes a little bit of time to write a post,a few hours at best and well some times I feel more pressure then pleasure when I sit down to write and my house is not in order. I figure I would enjoy writing more if there was no pressure, and I really wanted to enjoy yesterday one more time.
 The weather changed on Sunday, the  temperature dropped and the wind kicked up it was down right chilly and good windbreakers were absolutely needed. My first view of the Village was not as impressive as I thought it would be. It took more then a few steps into the village before I even thought about taking out my camera. Once my eye was caught however I quickly became enchanted with my surroundings and settled into enjoying it completely.


Mostly I am going to let the pictures take you on the tour. I have been wordy enough already. 
 Our first stop was the pottery shop where you see pottery in every stage from beginning to end. There was even a few glass displays thrown in for good measure.








 Next we sat in on to a glass making demonstration in the glass studio.





 Weeks before there had been a competition for young children. They drew bugs and the winning pictures were going to be made into glass. We lucked out and got to see one of the winning drawings being made. Pardon the big bubble on the winners face, I forgot to ask permission to use the winners picture. Let me just say the caterpillars smile was made to look like the winners big bright smile.











 Next it was the glass museum. I could have spent hours taking photos, instead I enjoyed looking and only taking pictures of my favorite and what I thought was the most interesting.








 Next came shopping,

I put my camera away and 
fully immersed myself in all the glass trinkets and novelties made just for our pleasure. I love glass of all colors and shape so even the shopping was like being in the museum except now you could touch and get up close and personal.
  After a delightful lunch in a local Irish pub, we headed home happy and content with smiles on our faces.
  Hope you had a cheery Monday! Thank you for stopping by.    
    

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yep Still Playing In The Kitchen

 In an effort to stay off the couch and to keep myself happily busy I spend a part of my days playing in the kitchen. The results have been delicious. 
  Some of the recipes have come from the many cook books on the shelves just outside my kitchen door, and some of my inspiration comes from things I see on line. 
  Today's inspiration comes from a favorite site of mine called Foto Food Gallery.
If you like food photos this is a site for you. Nothing but beautiful food photos and I do mean beautiful. You will even find a few of mine there as well. I like the site for many reasons the pictures being number 1 and the recipes and ideas are a close 2nd. 
  Zucchini boats, the picture just literally screamed at me " YOU MUST TRY THIS."

 The picture showed a stuffing that had ground beef in it. I wanted meatless boats so I didn't click on the picture to get the recipe. Instead I created my own boat filling. It was so good that the boats became the main dish and I put the pork chops back in the fridge for another day.
 As usual I didn't write down a single thing so the recipe I write today will be more memory then fact. Like I always say adjust the spicing to your taste and make it your own. 

 Zucchini Rice Boats
1 cup rice cooked as directed
1 15.5 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp cooking oil, or enough to cover the bottom of your skillet.
1 small onion ruffly chopped
5 cloves of garlic minced ( If each piece is called a clove what is the whole thing called?)
Cumin
Curry Powder
Ancho Chili powder
Salt
Pepper
1 tomato diced
1 medium zucchini for every 2 people
enchilada sauce
shredded cheddar cheese ( I would use anything you have on hand, almost any cheese type would be good with this.)
  In a large heavy skillet heat the oil, add onion to the hot oil and cook until tender, add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add the cumin, curry powder, and Ancho chili powder to the pan stirring quickly mixing the seasonings  until smooth. (I just can't give exact measurements because using a TBSP I just kind of eye balled it. 2 for cumin, 1 for curry and just a pinch of the ancho.) Add the rice, beans and tomato. Mix well until everything is coated. Remove from the heat and set a side.
 Preparing the zucchini takes a minute but it is easy. Wash the vegetable and cut in half length wise. Using a good sharp paring knife cut along the edge of the seeds about an inch and a half deep. Cut a straight line down the center of the seeds the same depth. Now make cuts crosswise on the seed bed from end to end so you end up with little square cuts on the seed bed.

 Take the knife and run it along the cut you made around the edge of the seeds only aim the point toward the center of the seed bed lifting the little squares out as you go. 

Put a cap full of lemon juice in each boat swishing it around to keep the zucchini from browning as you work.
 Fill each boat with a heaping amount of the rice mixture, top with a generous amount of enchilada sauce. bake in a hot 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until zucchini is tender. Top with the cheese about 5 minutes before the cooking time is up.
 Serve warm then stand back and enjoy all the praise you are sure to get.

 Happy Wednesday! Thank you for stopping by.   

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Kitchen Is My Playground


 I am attempting to get my self back on schedule and settle back into daily life. It isn't as easy as it sounds. After Mom's last fall it is apparent that even for short periods of time she can't be left alone even for a minute. It was my habit to get Mom up and ready for the day and then I would run my errands like picking up prescriptions, getting yarn, books, and puzzle books as well as paying bills and other mundane day to day chores. I can't do that anymore, I have to stay with her at all times even when she is sleeping. I or someone and at this point in time there isn't anyone but me all week long. I can't even tend to my garden. So settling into a regular daily pattern isn't as easy as it would seem. I am fighting as hard as I can not to become a couch potato. Which by the way is easier to become then you might think. I started noticing very quickly that I was staying in my robe longer and it was taking all my effort just to get the basics done. With all this extra time at home my house should shine like a Windex commercial instead there was just a dull shine that said I was just getting by. Once I realized I was quickly becoming stuck in a rut I stood up and got dressed and started doing anything and everything that kept me off the couch.
  You know that with all that movement I would eventually find myself in the kitchen. A room I love more then any other room in the house. After I cleaned every little corner I looked around and decided it was just to clean, I also had the strangest urge to bake something.As you may know I am not a baker by any stretch of the word but every now and again I get the urge.I chose to use one of my many cook books rather then the computer. I closed my eyes and reached on the shelf and grabbed a book. I pulled out the Betty Crocker Bisquick cook book. I was going to put it back but then thought what the heck. I started reading and found 2 recipes that looked pretty good. 1 was a familiar and a true comfort food. Well it should be any way. I had all the ingredients on hand,the 2nd recipe looked spicy and different and I needed to get a few ingredients for it so the familiar one it was.

 I happily walked into the kitchen re reading the recipe directions. It is such a simple recipe the re read was not really needed. As I moved around the kitchen gathering everything together and measuring it all out the usual calm and sense of well being settled over me and I knew where my new play ground would be. 
 My first recipe was just so so and I have seen and had better recipes for peach cobbler, but we enjoyed it just the same. 

 Bisquick Peach Cobbler
1 can 29 oz sliced peaches
3 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup Bisquick
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Heat oven to 400
 1) Combine peaches with syrup cornstarch and cinnamon in a large sauce pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.Boil and stir one minute more.Pour into ungreased 1 1/2 quart casserole. 
2) Stir remaining ingredients to a soft dough.
3) Drop dough by spoonfuls on to peach mixture.
4) Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is light brown.
 Serve warm with a scope of Vanilla ice cream.( that isn't in the recipe just my idea to dress it up)

 The peach mixture is good and flavorful but it could use a little more flavor. I would add more cinnamon and even some sugar. The topping while good was more biscuit like and I prefer a more cake like texture in my cobblers. Not exactly sure how to fix that other then using flour rather then Bisquick.
 The kitchen has kept me entertained everyday sense then, and I am happy to say the things coming out of my oven and off my stove top are getting better and better.
 Well I am off to blind grab another cook book and see what goodness I come up with today.
 Have a cheery Monday! Thank you for stopping by.   

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Autumn With Madeline


 Vacation is over and with it are gone the warm balmy days and sultry nights. Cool crisp sunny days and chilly nights have taken their place. Autumn one of the best season to enjoy. I say that about every season I can't help it I really do enjoy them all. I love watching the change from one season to the next. Fall really is a favorite though, the colors and the aroma in the air there is just something about it. I don't know but I love it. Fall is festive, fall is harvest, and fall is a grand time with Madeline.
  Sunday was a perfect Autumn day. The sun was shinning, skies clear and as blue as could be, it was crisp but not chilly at all, the perfect day to pick pumpkins. Madeline woke up just itching to go and it was a real effort to hold her back until the sun came up at least. After getting her properly dressed in long pants and sleeves, along with her rain boots and garden gloves, we headed out the back door to find Dzia Dzi. We found him waiting for us at the wood pile. Madeline climbs in the truck with Dzia and off they go to her pumpkin patch. Every pumpkin in the patch is hers and she knows it. She has them counted and inventoried. She knows exactly where each one is growing and it's size.With her super power hero rain boots on she can walk in the weeds and not worry about the weeds touching her and the extra strong garden gloves allow her to pick things up that may have a bit of dirt on them.




 She is after all a city girl and things like weeds, dirt, and bugs are not things that should be played with. She and Dzia made quick work of picking the pumpkins and getting them in to the truck. It is like watching an easter egg hunt only you find pumpkins instead.

Dzia made her do it!


 The pumpkins all picked and taken up front it is now time to decorate.


 Madeline is a great helper and she absolutely loves decorating for the holidays. She is my helper for every holiday and she tells me too. " Grandmama don't decorate until I am here." Or I hear " Are you going to get the decorations out, are we going to decorate?" I am getting a kick out of the " Ohhhhhh I remember this." and " Oh I remember this goes here." " This is new Grandmama. Where did you get it?" It pulls at my heart just a little that not only does she want to hang with Grandmama and decorate she also seems to cherish my little nick nacs and decorations even scary Halloween ones.



 Once the front yard was to her liking we headed indoors for a well deserved rest and some football. There was no resting for the weary, Dzia needed a helper to stuff his pepper poppers. Pumpkins aren't the only thing to get harvested in the Autumn. She ate as much as she stuffed. I kept hearing " No don't eat it." followed by a giggle or two. She left enough that the peppers got stuffed



 and Dzia says she is the best prosciutto cheese wrapper he has ever seen.
 All too soon the sun was going down and it was time for Madeline to go home. Always a sad moment for me, but then I think I will see her again very soon and I smile once more.

 Have a terrific Thursday! Thank you for stopping by.