Friday, November 20, 2009

Oops . . .

Okay - so I obviously grossly underestimated the time and energy that it would take to move into a new house.

Sorry about the bread.  I'm sure you were all counting on that recipe for dinner on Wednesday night.

We have made great progress on the house- my mother in law has painted the pantry and master closet, while I have cleaned just about everything in the house- which is nearly 3 times the size of our apartment!  It takes a long time to clean all that.

Plus, I had to clean so much hard wood flooring- my knees are going to kill me as soon as I give them a chance.  seriously.

But the big move happens tomorrow.  We are moving the beds and dresser and all that "big" stuff. (Everything that requires two or more big men to life) This means that sleeping the the new house is going to happen!  Hip Hip Hurray! 

I hope y'all had a great week.  I have missed you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yea!

So my first day of home-ownership is going to be filled with cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning.  thankfully, my mother-in-law has graciously offered to help.  Hopefully tomorrow I can start doing more exciting things- like painting! 

I will try to take pictures of anything exciting. = )

Until then, I will leave you with this bread.  It is so easy- kind of ridiculous actually.  I will share it tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

We are Homeowners!

Well- not yet . . . but today is the day!  I cannot believe that we are really going to do this, but we are, and that is super exciting.

I expect things to get a little inconsistent around here for a bit- with all the moving and lack of kitchen stuff- but I have some dishes to share and I will be sure to let you know when exciting things happen.  = )

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Homemade Beefaroni



While this might appear to be glorified pasta with meat sauce- I promise- it is.  Ha ha.  I didn't really think about this recipe's similarity to this meal.  However, when we actually made Homemade Beefaroni- the dish was actually quite different than I expected.  I think the cheese adds quite a bit of flavor and texture to the sauce.



Also- If you like pepper, you could add 1/4 tsp rather than 1/8 tsp.  I don't like pepper- and 1/8 was too much for me.  But that is just me.

Homemade Beefaroni
adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments

Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 28 oz jar tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. each garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt (I didn't add salt because my pasta sauce already had added salt)
  • 1/8 t. black pepper
  • 1 lb. cooked pasta (I used wheels to make it interesting)
Directions

1. Brown meat.
2. Add remaining ingredients (except pasta). Simmer to combine flavors.
3. Add pasta and stir to combine.  Serve warm.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper and Potato Soup

After reading about Lucy's Red Pepper soup and then SnoWhite's Red Pepper soup- I knew I needed to try my own.

So when red peppers were 55 cents apiece last week (wow!) I decided to give it a try. 

Unfortunately-I do not have any decent pictures of the soup.  I just have this picture of the roasted peppers.  Yumm.



You will just have to use your imagination on this one- ok?

Homemade Roasted Red Pepper and Potato Soup
adapted from Lucy and SnoWhite

Ingredients
  • 3-4 large red bell peppers, roasted and diced
  • 4 large potatoes, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 C half and half
  • 1 tsp dried oregano*
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme*
*I read recently that when using dried spices that are over 6 months old (ours are from our wedding . . . ) to at least double what the recipe calls for.  Good to know.  However- I just shake a bunch in the pot and call it good.

Directions

1. Roast peppers like Lucy does here.
2. Cook garlic and onion in oil until softened.
3. Then add potatoes, peppers and broth and bring to a boil.
4. Add seasonings and simmer until most of the broth has been absorbed.
5. Blend soup in a blender.  (I made the soup ahead, let it cool, and then blenderized it.  I have had bad experiences with hot soup and my blender.)
6. When ready to serve, warm it back up and add cream right before serving. 

Chris really liked this soup- He liked it even more when he added bacon and cheese to it the second night. = )  Nothing a little bacon and cheese can't fix- right?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homemade Whole Wheat Pitas




Yum!  what is better than fresh homemade pitas?

Well- lots of things actually- like homemade ice cream, fresh hot cookies, pies and cakes- just to name a few.  But pitas are pretty good too.

Pitas are nice because they are very versatile.

We have used them for quesadillas, tacos, and personal pizza crusts.  And because they freeze well- they are an excellent quick dinner item.

Now I just need to work on getting them to be more round.  

Homemade Whole Wheat Pitas
adapted from Good Eats

Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 1 packet yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups water, warmed a bit
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Directions

1. Take one cup of flour and 1/2 cup water and mix together.  Set aside for 30 minutes.  (If you are using regular flour- you can skip this step.)

2. Mix the yeast in with the rest of the flour, salt, and sugar. Add to the water/flour mixture. Add the olive oil and 1 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.

3. Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes.

4. When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
5. When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8- 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.



6. While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, you can use a cookie sheet.

7. After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick - 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

8. Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

9. Bake for 3-7 minutes depending on how crispy you want them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mama's Standard Quiche


One standby dinner at our house is quiche.  We have had a couple quiches before (Hash Brown Quiche, and Asparagus, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quiche) but this one is a good base recipe to build off.

My mother has a standard quiche recipe that is a cheap, easy, and fast dinner option.  I take the standard and then add whatever we have in the fridge at the time to compete the meal.

Mama's Standard Quiche
from Mom!

Ingredients
  • 4-6 eggs
  • milk
  • pie crust (I am still learning to make this well)
  • cheese
  • meat (chicken, bacon, ham, etc.)
  • veggies (onions, peppers, asparagus, etc.)
  • optional: ground flax or wheat germ
Directions

1. Crack 4-6 eggs into a 2 Cup measuring cup. 
2. Add milk until it reaches 2 Cups and mix well.

3. Lie pie crust in a pie pan.
4. Add whatever meats, veggies and cheese you would like to the mix.  You really can't mess it up. 

5. Pour egg mixture into pie pan.
6. Bake at 325 for 1 hour until a knife comes out clean.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homemade Salt Scrub

A long time ago, I made a Sugar Scrub.  It was nice.  But then I used it all and never made more.  I don't know why.

Oh yes, I remember- it really hurt to rub on your skin.  Sugar is tough stuff.

But with winter coming, I wanted that moisturizing shower stuff again.  This time, I bought some Epsom Salt to use instead of sugar.

Here is what you need:


1 part olive oil
2 parts salt
essential oil if desired (I use grapefruit.  I love it.)

Directions

Mix together.  Done.



Taryn's Take:
Much, much much better than the sugar.  Doesn't hurt and it works like a charm.  Be careful- it makes the shower slippery!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Homemade Dried Apple Chips

When I had a bazillion apples, I turned a few into apple chips.  I wasn't sure I'd like them, so I didn't make very many.  I wish I had made more!


I find myself choosing them often when I am hungry- but don't want to make (i.e. do any work) something. Oh well- you live and learn.

Homemade Apple Chips
from me

Ingredients
  • Apples
  • water
  • lemon juice
Directions

I followed the same protocol as with the Dried Pears.
1. Cut apples.
2. Soak in water and lemon juice mixture.
3. Lay on dehydrator at 145 degrees for 5-6 hours, until dry.   

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Award!

 Kristen at Happily Ever After has given me an award!  Thanks so much Kristen.  She just moved into a new house so the joys of home ownership really shine through.  Check her out if you get a chance. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Roasted Chicken on Potatoes and Red Onions

I don't really touch meat. 

I really don't like to associate meat with the animal from which it comes.  If not for Chris- I would be a part-time vegetarian- I would only eat meat if someone else prepared it.  Well I guess that is what I have been . . .

Until this week.  

Wednesday I did this.


Yes- I roasted a chicken. 

I found a happy (read: organic/free range) chicken on sale at the store and something changed in me.

I bought the chicken.  I took it home.  I opened the bag. 

I touched the uncooked chicken.  I took out a bag of something like gizzards.  I washed it.   I pushed butter, herbs and garlic under the skin.  I cooked it.  Then I picked it.  Then I ate it. 

It is kind of a big deal. 

And today I am going to revisit the bird for some broth making.  Wow.

Be impressed people.  Be impressed.

(I followed directions mostly from here.) 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

No Bake Cookies


I made these with the kiddos I sit for- and they had a lot of fun helping out with the measuring and to stirring- but somewhere along the way I think we may have messed it up.

Kate's from Cooking During Stolen Moments looked like this:
 

Ours tasted fine- but they fell apart really easily.  I don't really know what went wrong- so I will just give you her directions.  Hopefully yours will stay together better.

No Bake Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 c. butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 c. peanut butter
  • 2 T. milk
  • 2 c. oats (quick or old-fashioned will work)
Directions

1. Melt the butter over low heat in a medium sauce pan. Add butterscotch chips and peanut butter. Stir until chips are completely melted and mixture is smooth. Add milk and cook an additional 3 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and stir in oats. Drop mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls onto greased aluminum foil or parchment paper. Allow cookies to cool until set and firm.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Want $75 to Amazon.com?

Yes?  Well then- go on over to My name is PJ at Seens From The Backs of My Eyelids and enter to win! 

Hurray!

Homemade Lotion Bar

Well last week we had two days of being snowed in.  I love it.  It seems a little early in the year- but it just gets me thinking of Christmas!  yippee!

Anyway, while I was snowed in, I finally got around to some of the stuff I have been wanting to do, but never really got around to doing.

Such as the sweater.

And making homemade lotion bars.

I got the idea from Screams of Terror from My Kitchen.  (She is pretty awesome.  She told me about the Apple Pie Jelly from apple peelings.)

Good lotion is expensive.  In Colorado you need good lotion.  So I was willing to try a very hydrating lotion that came in a neat form.


 
I adapted the recipe from here
Here is what you need:


1 part olive oil
1 part shea butter
1 part beeswax
a little essential oil if desired (I used Birch Sweet- I have no idea what it is but it smells like bubble gum- yum.)
some vitamin E if you have it or want it

Directions

1. Melt beeswax and shea butter in a doulbe boiler. (I used two pots.)

2. When melted, add oil, essential oils and vitamin E.
3. Pour into a mold or a container that you want to use.


4. Cool and then use!

Taryn's Take:
This bar feels like the consistency of soap.  But I must have done something a little wrong because mine broke apart when I picked it up.  Maybe it needed to be in a smaller container so it would be thicker.  It works like a charm- very moisturizing (read very oily- I have to rub a lot to get it in- but once it is in- it is great!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Homemade Peachy Pear Fruit Roll Ups (Fruit Leather)

Try number two- peaches and pears- even better food combination, if you ask me.

I still need to work on the evenness- this one dried unevenly.  It is my fault- I knew it was uneven, but I didn't think it was too bad and I really didn't want to fix it.  Oh well.  Next time.



Peachy Pear Fruit Leather
from me!

*I have to admit, I made these several weeks ago- while we were still drowning in fresh fruit.  However- if you have some frozen you could use those or wait until next year.  I wanted to make sure I documented what I did when next summer comes around.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups peaches
  • 1 cup pear
Directions
  1. Puree fruit.
  2. Add to dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 145 degrees for 4-5 hours, or until dry.