Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Cafe

The remains of the day, that is all I have to share with you.

The Lovely Jess was kind enough to be hostess for this month's Sunday Cafe, and she did a splendid job. Having had a bit of the "tireds" here lately, she thought it would be nice if I didn't have to cook and yet we still all got together.

Here is a run down of our lovely dinner:

Thai salad with spicy dressing, this is so good and will be made again. Thanks to Kimi Harris @ the Nourishing Gourmet for her review of:Cuisine for Whole Health: Recipes for a Sustainable Life by Pauli Halstead.

 This sad serving plate had a Pork Loin marinated in molasses, ginger and chicken broth. Then grilled and served with grilled chicken tenderloins, for those that might now want pork as their protein.

Barley risotto,  this was so good. I will be making this myself. Barley is one of my favorite grains. 

We also had steamed broccoli, and since everyone knows what steamed broccoli looks like, I did not take a photo. You will have to use your imagination to see the deep green color and the cook to perfection slightly crisp texture present in the broccoli!

Homemade cheese bread, feathery light and delicious.

Strawberry shortcake using berries from last summer and a homemade shortcake that was sweetened by vanilla sugar. Yum.

As always thanks so much for stopping to say hello, I appreciate it!


Friday, February 26, 2010

Four or Five on Friday

Another week completed, and a week-end to enjoy!

One of the first "confessions" I made on this blog is that I would use this blog to keep me honest.

Now don't misunderstand, I am not a dishonest person.

By "keeping me honest", I mean that I will put out there in written words what I do, what I want to do, and to be honest what I fail at doing. I love to keep learning, and by gosh sharing here has helped in that area as well.

I am ending the "tired" period of my recovery and look forward to increased stamina and and with that, more happiness. There is so much to enjoy, learn and share. Thanks to all who have continued to come here, I appreciate it so much, and it has helped me in this healing process.

I have label this new feature 4 or 5 on Friday because some weeks will simply be busier than others! Lets take a look at the run down from this past week.

what I am learning, this will be enlightening and helpful .

what I found along the way, lots of possibilities here .

what I have completed, now I need to think of my next step.

what I want to get started on now, these little guys have been in the "plan" for some time.

what will change for next month: we are done with plastic garbage liners, and we will reduce our curb side pickup to every other week.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. This month's Sunday Cafe is being hosted by the lovely Jess, she decided that I should come and be cooked for. There will still be lots of good food sharing and I will have photos, because I was told to bring my camera to dinner!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday night brights

I have yet to start making my own soap, mostly because I have already purchased soap to use up. But I have begun to cut the liquid dish soap with equal amounts of water. I blended 2 cups of liquid and 2 cups of water to try it out this first time. I will keep you posted to how effect this "new" cleaner works.

We are down to this small core of plastic garbage liners. I thought we would go plastic free 03.01.2010. Having a couple left over is OK, and we might need them for storage of blankets etc in the garage.

It is not the best picture, but I now have an organized canning pantry in the back bedroom closet. 

Believe it or not, this is the beginnings of a cake! I had wanted to make something with a portion of the Soaked and Ready Oats. It is actually a saucepan cake, but I used this glass measure for photo reasons.

Saucepan Oatmeal Cake (snack cake)

Saucepan oatmeal snack cake

1 1/2 water, bring to a boil in a saucepan (one large enough to mix in)
1 1/2 c oats (I used the Soaked and Ready Oats)
1 cube butter
Remove saucepan and the boiling water from the heat source, stir in the oats and butter. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees

2 eggs
2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla into the oat mixture.

1 1/2 c flour
1 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
Combine dry ingredients, whisk to mix well.

Beat into the oat mixture. Mixture will not be smooth. Pour into a 9X13 pan. Bake 
30-35 minutes. 

You may dress up the snack cake by adding over the top, chopped dates, chocolate chips, coconut. The choice is yours. Let cool before cutting. Frosting is not necessary, but peanut butter frosting is very tasty.


As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate it! 


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Soaked and Dried Oats, honestly I don't know if this is needed.....

Update: here is the finished Soaked and Ready Oats

I found it very helpful to watch this video, and had no misunderstanding of the process. Thanks Marilyn.

I am not one to follow fads (per say), however becoming one to want more nutrition from my food.

Enter Nourishing Traditions.

Currently I have a copy on loan from the library. My first thought when I asked Honey to pick it up for me, during his routine visit, was skepticism. Then when he came home empty handed and stated that we would be on the list for mail out, when one of 6 copies has been returned AND we are on the top of the list, I put all thoughts aside and waited. I had actually forgotten about it, when it arrived in the mail and was waiting for me one evening after work.

There is a lot of information in that book! It can be overwhelming, to say the least. But some of the simplier basics are being tried in my kitchen like, soaking grains before cooking (brown rice and barley so far) and now soaked (and then) dried oats. Referred to as Soaked and Ready Oats. There have always been a fair number of recipes for "soaked" foods. Speaking for myself, I had no reason why soaking was part of the recipe, now I do. Currently you can find pancakes on this very popular blog, and here (where it probably all started, she is great)  and here.

With the Soaked and Ready Oats, you are ready to cook. You are ready to make cookies or throw a pan of granola into the oven, or mix together a meat loaf. I have decided to purchase the book, this is a lifestyle change for better health. As you become comfortable with the success of one of the basics, you keep adding more.

Lets get started.....

Soaked and Ready Oats

4 c fresh water
4 c rolled old fashioned oats
6 T whey*, Lemon juice or cider vinegar
wax paper
food dryer OR baking sheets

Stir water and whey together, stir in oats. Cover and let sit 24 hours.

Drain thoroughly, this will take about 15 minutes. I placed oats in a strainer and let drain 10 minutes, then gently turned in the strainer to release any trapped water and let drain 5 minutes more.

 I think I need a larger wire mesh strainer.

I decided to use 4 trays for the drying process, I wanted to have the oats as spread out as thinly as possible. Tear off 4 sheets of waxed paper, pour about 1 t oil in center and spread around with the palm of your hand. Place on drying tray and continue to prepare the remaining pieces.

Place 1/4 of the soaked oats on the tray, evenly around to weigh down the wax paper. Using a knife, cut an X in the center where the air will need to move. Gently bring back the paper and fold down around the opening. Spread out oats evenly, tug gently at the corners of the wax paper to smooth out so it will lay flat on the rack.

Stack trays, and let dry.

Depending on your model, this will take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. The first time, will definitely be an experiment, and you can make notes regarding your particular dehydrator that will assist you in the future.

My plan was to rotate the racks before bedtime this evening to facilitate even drying of the oats. However when I checked my oats at about the 4 hour mark, they were almost dry. I rotated the trays at that time. I think this model food dehydrator will only take 6 hours. I will post a photo of the finished product.

Update:  here is a close up of the finished oats. Looks just like oatmeal, there are a few large pieces that may need a little help in the food processor. 

Recipe rating:  Hmmm. (thought this would be better)

* I strain my yogurt for about 15 minutes. I capture the whey and get a "Greek" style yogurt to enjoy for my daily breakfast.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I do appreciate your time. Drop me a note, I love getting mail!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another update

I have been so tired, tired enough to feel my (true) age, and that has never happened before. Ever!

About the hardest thing I have made was vanilla extract, and lets be honest, it is booze and vanilla beans dumped into a jar and you put a lid on it!!!

I am scheduled for another round of blood work on 02.24.10 and I must say, I am looking forward to that day arriving.

I want to thank you for continuing to drop by for a visit, I really do appreciate it. There are so many ideas and recipes I hope to share with you here. And of course the visiting of all the wonderful blogs and recipes I will learn about.

Stay tuned, Please. I will get untired.

As always, thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello. It means a lot to me.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday night brights

We had a very busy weekend. Before I knew what had landed, it was time to go back to work! We had a nice breakfast out on Valentine's Day. I had my favorite Omelet prepared with fresh spinach, sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese, that and a side of herb seasoned red potatoes that were fried up, crunchy and delicious. Came home and got busy while Honey went off to work, got lots completed. Including filing of federal and Oregon state taxes. Yeah, done for another year. And now, take a look at some of these. This is what goes on here.

Here is granddaughter playing "21" with her Papa. A fun game to learn to make choices, adding  numbers and making some smiles. There is no gambling here, She always wins!

Quart containers from yogurt, labeled and used to capture pan drippings (not fat), those lovely de-glazed pan  juices. Frequently I have a pan with the that good stuff left over, and it goes to waste if there was no gravy or sauce made. Now those pan juices will go into the soup pot. 

Re-organized the gift wrappings. One container for Christmas, another one for every thing else. Now I know what we have. Being organized is one way to save. I don't re-buy what we already have.

Another jar of vanilla extract started. This one has the beans from 4 tubes. Yum.

Found a used sewing cabinet on CraigsList. Now there is a sewing corner in the spare bedroom. Sunday was an organization day. 

Here is some of Honey's handy work in the craft area. He is a model railroader. This was all built by hand. 

All the little pieces of the building were cut from thin plastic, and assembled. The floor of the deck, hand cut little wood planks. 
See the little conveyor belt, yes he made that too!

Another view. It is big, about 2 ft X 6 ft. The styrofoam base was gently pummeled to create the surface shape.

These trees are actual greenery ( weeds to you and me) that is found, cut, dried and then painted. 

Loading product, how did he do that???!!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I hope everyone has a great week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

Honey is working all weekend, so I am leaving his Valentine gift out tonight for him to find when he comes home, late from work. 
This little chalkboard box of chocolates and a John Lennon "imagine" shirt. 

Share the love, it always comes back to enrich your own life! Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Baked crackers and cheese

Wow, these are so crispy and delicious! As in "I can eat more, please" good. My batch is not a pretty as these, but are just as yummy.  I am sure my friend Rocquie, is right. The cheese used will make a difference in the final results. I used shredded Colby Jack, which I think it is a drier cheese than say a medium cheddar. A drier cheese will result in the pebbly surface.   

Baked crackers and cheese
adapted from
Sage Trifle

2 sleeves saltine crackers
1/2 stick butter, melted
any salt free seasoning of your choice, or you can leave plain
8 oz cheese grated, or 2 - 3 cups grated cheese ( 3 cups of Colby-jack )

Lay the crackers in a single layer on baking sheets, brush with butter, sprinkle with seasoning.

Sprinkle with the cheese.

This is somewhat important, you want the cheese to be as even as possible for the best coverage.

Broil for a moment to melt the cheese, do not let brown. Turn oven on to 180 degrees, bake 2 hours.

I rotated the baking sheets at the one hour mark.

These would be great with soup, salad or just as a snack by themselves.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

Here is wishing you a wonderful weekend, filled with family time and happy memories. As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. Leave a note, I love having visitors!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday, already?

This week has simply evaporated! Which is funny if not impossible since it is raining outside and not hot and dry at all. There have been a couple of things out of my control and always when that happens, I wonder where did the week go? But tonight even the boss stopped by my office and said "You have to cut back to 8 hours" a blessing to be sure.

The drive home from work tonight, was pitch black with the rain and all thoughts were on getting home. Once home however, my first thought was, Thursday already!!? That is usually the point where it dawns on me, I have not posted since Monday.

I do have a fun post in mind, it is savory and simple and frugal. So tomorrow I will take the following items and make a delicious treat and share it here.....

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello,


Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday night brights

The week starts off with a BANG! We were on a stove buying mission, we just did not know it at the time.

But first a little tip, I keep my scrubbers in the first section of the silverware tray in the dishwasher. They are always in reach and usually clean. Also they do not get in the way at the sink area. 

And now, I am so excited........

Meet "Sam" our new Samsung kitchen stove. By golly he does about everything....

Convection oven, warming drawer, a warming center on the cook top. 

Yes from $999.00 to $499.00, why?

Yep, this dent. I have in the past few years only purchased used or clearance. Never in my dreams did I think I would have a stove with all the features I wanted. 

And here is Honey getting the wiring just right,

Those rose shears, who would of thought they would be so helpful?

Honey is such a tidy worker, he cleans up as he goes!

When I got home from work tonight, Sam was up against the wall in his own slot, The owners manual has a little note hand written on it, Honey had written "not done yet". He had simply put it where it will go to make sure it fit correctly. Later when completely installed, I did cook up some eggs. It was too late for much more than that. 

Also sitting in the garage is a pellet stove, also purchased on clearance. This summer it will come inside and take it's place on the hearth pad. This will be our last wood chopping season, I won't really miss that. We still get to enjoy the benefit of a wood fire. 
As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I really do appreciate your visits!