Sunday, June 29, 2008

Love That Garden!

My garden has taken off these past few weeks. It seemed liked it never would grow there for awhile. We just picked our first ear of corn this morning. How exciting! I had not tried to grow corn before. I have early memories of my grandma having a huge garden. There were rows of corn, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, fruit trees, melons and the like. She would then can her bounty and we would be able to enjoy her garden all year round. I wished I had learned more about gardening and preserving from her. She had a stroke when I was a young girl and wasn't able to be very active after that. I pretty much just wing it when it comes to gardening. I plant and it grows or not. I don't use any pesticides and pretty much just let it do its thing. This year we will have pumpkins, melons, peppers, too much zucchini, and of course tomatoes. I live off of fresh tomatoes during the summer. This past year I started really trying to eat only seasonal vegetables and fruits. We did okay for the most part. I just had my first tomato of the season last week and boy was it delicious. I look forward to more bounty this summer. My goal is to have a potager, a year round garden. I want to try to have more control on where my families food comes from and what is in it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ode to Pioneer Woman

I know this is bad. I really meant to take a picture of our dinner tonight. After I served my family, we sat down to eat and it was so good that I forgot to take the pictures. I remembered as I was wiping my mouth. Here is what you missed, Pioneer Woman's beef brisket, home fries, garden green beans, watermelon and carrots. It was sooooo good! Hubby wants what little leftover there is tomorrow with his eggs (he has to lay claim to the food or the boys will get it). I have never cooked a brisket before but after reading PW's recipe, I thought it looked easy enough for me to try. I also like that I can get more meals off the brisket. With the way the economy and gas is, I need to try to stretch our meals if I can. I bet the brisket would be great in enchiladas, as a hash, with scrambled eggs or as a sandwich. PW even has a recipe for brisket nachos. YUM! If you are wanting a low calorie, low cholesterol or low fat recipe, you might want to keep on looking. Her recipes kinda remind me of Paula Deen, where bacon fat and butter rule!

Just so you know, I am a huge fan of Pioneer Woman. If you don't read her blog here it is. She is hysterical! I came upon her blog about 3 months ago and became hooked. She is one of the few blogs I check daily. She was a city gal who upped and married a country rancher (I guess that's redundant, since a rancher is in the country) and she writes about her experiences living in the middle of nowhere and learning to live the cowboy or rather the cowgirl life. She is homeschooling her four kids and writes about her life, cooking, her homestead and photography. She even has her love story on her website call "Black heels to Tractor Wheels". I stayed up one evening past midnight reading her story. I know, I know, I need to get a life! Anywho, check out her site, you will get a good laugh and I know you will come back again and again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This and That

We are into our first week of summer vacation and I am barely surviving. The boys are keeping me busy and driving me nuts! I love my kids, yes indeedy! Their imagination is in overdrive. If they are not battling imaginary monsters they are battling each other. Lots of tears this week and some from the kids as well! Our cat/dog thing is going fairly well. We are still keeping them somewhat apart. Scout has been able to sniff Ringo's back end and she seems okay with him so far. She has not been off leash around him yet. I think tomorrow will be the day that they can frolic together. I just hope Scout doesn't see Ringo move and think its one of her stuffed animals. I will let you all know.

This was dinner tonight. It was really good. I made my version of a Hawaiian fried rice. I have made it many times before, but this time I used a new sausage. I was at the store last week and came across this new sausage from Aidells. It was pineapple and bacon chicken sausage. I know it sounds weird, but it was really good. I thought it would taste great in my fried rice. I usually make this rice with linguica and it gives it a nice kick, but I didn't have any in the house. But, isn't that what fried rice is all about, use what you have. So enjoy, I hope you like the recipe as much and my family does.

Hawaiian Fried Rice

4 cups of cooked rice, cooled completely
3 strips of bacon, chopped
2 links of sausage, chopped ( use what you like i.e., linguica, Italian sausage, chicken sausage)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 carrot, peeled and diced

Put bacon and sausage into large skillet and cook over medium heat until bacon is crisp and sausage is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cooked until tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, add rice and stir fry vigorously to prevent sticking, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add oyster sauce and soy sauce and mix well. Add 2/3 of the scallions and continue to stir fry until all ingredients are heated through, about 2 minutes more. Top with remaining scallions and serve.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meet Ringo!

We added a new family member this week. The boys have been wanting a cat for some time and it so happened that a friend at school had kittens to find homes for. So this little guy joined our crazy clan yesterday. We had a hard time coming up with a name for this cute guy and went from Indy to Scooter to finally Ringo.
Now we just have to find out a way to introduce Scout to Ringo. Scout is not to fond of cats so this should be interesting. They have only been able to see each other through windows so far. Hopefully we can do this slowly so that they can both get used to each other.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Carrot Cake Cookies

I have been wanting to make these cookies for some time. They are originally a Martha Stewart recipe from an old holiday cookie magazine. I thought they would be good and a nice treat for the kids. I changed some things around on the recipe to fit what I had in the house. The biggest change was the ginger. The original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. I hadn't replaced my ginger since I used it all on the gingerbread pudding cake at Christmas time. I substituted finely chopped crystallized ginger. I think it turned out terrific! The boys and hubby gave the seal of approval. I frosted half the batch of cookies and left the other half plain. Since we still have one more week of school (UGH!) these will make nice lunchbox treats.

Carrot Cake Cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)

1 cup raisins

Cream Cheese frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars and butter, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well combined.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir to combine. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low speed until just blended. Mix in oats, carrots, ginger and raisins. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

3. Shape 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.

4. Bake until set, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat baking process with remaining dough. Once cooled completely, use an offset spatula to spread about 2 teaspoons of cream cheese frosting onto a cookie. Sandwich together with a second cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Add in confectioners' sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Early Father's Day

Our kindergartner had a nice surprise for hubby today. His teacher had a little outing with all the kids to the park. There they made root beer floats for the dads and grandads. Dad's don't get the kind of school recognition that moms usually get. It was nice for hubby to spend time with O and his classmates. O was soooo excited!

He even made dad a cute invitation.

This has been a good school year for O. It's hard to believe that he will be in first grade.

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