Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday and wandering about

Here we are, and it is Wednesday. I am glad the week is going quickly, because I get a 3 day weekend! Daughter and family are moving, so some of my time (gladly given, they always help us) will be spent assisting. But look what we have here to share.......

Starting with Summer stuff:

This is such a good idea for a picnic or party. Feel free to make homemade bread if that is your preference. The  instructions are great for the assembly.

This is a great idea for using nothing not commonly found. Take a look.

This might be the best denim recycling project yet.
Does your family partake in Meatless Mondays? If so, look here.

These blog post recipes looked so good, too good not to share.

Grilled cake and peaches, what is not to like?

I have made these, very good. As a matter of fact, it is easy to eat them all up and then be sorry they are gone! What is it about butter and cheese that brings that out in folks (OK, me!)

Applesauce cake with honey, yum!

And now the final two.

This craft looked like fun, and it is a quick one as well. Just what we need for the fast moving days of summer.

And now to say thank you........ The fun thing about this award, is that you really have to "wander" and visit to find it! I will pass this forward soon. Thanks SageTrifle, so much!

As always thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello.

Your visits always bring a smile to my face!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sub Sandwich Pizza

It took a long time for us to have the same nights off and share a dinner together, but I wanted this to be fresh and not a leftover. Why? Because I have never made this before, but I remembered it from a little cafe that was in downtown Vancouver Washington.

Theo's closed many years ago, too many for me to remember, but this pizza I never forget. I only enjoyed this delicious pizza a few times, but it was so different and delicious, that when they closed, I knew I needed to try making this myself.

Delicious but Not really Theo's Submarine Sandwich Pizza
425 degree oven

1 pound of pizza crust dough (I am using the parsley and garlic dough found here, but Theo's used a plain dough)

1/2 c favorite pizza sauce
8-10 slices honey ham, deli style
12-14 slices dry salami
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 large green pepper
1 large tomato
thinly sliced Peperoncini

On a cornmeal sprinkled surface press and pat dough out to about a 12 inch pizza size. I wanted to be able to slide the raw pizza onto the pizza stone heating up in the oven.

Cover with the sauce and get ready to layer on the flavor.

Sprinkle with most of the cheese, layer on the ham and then the dry salami.

Add the green pepper and the rest of the cheese. Now carefully....

....and gently make sure the pizza crust has not begun to stick. Slide a large flat turner around the edge of the dough. 

Take the cutting board to the oven, and slide the assembled pizza onto the hot stone baker. I did have to assist in the movement, but after a gentle nudge, the whole pie slide gently off the board and onto the stone.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven, and let cool a minute (or 5 this stuff is hot!), slide back onto the cutting board. Add thinly sliced tomatoes and Pepperoni garnish. Cut and serve! Yum is all I can say.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for stopping,
it makes my day to have friends stop by!

This post is shared with:
fresh clean and pure friday @ la bella vita

Friday Potluck @ EKats Kitchen

Fat Camp Fridays @ Mangoes and Chutney

12 days of Bloggie-mas @ a moderate life

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday night brights

After a quiet weekend, I have a couple of things to share. But it was very quiet. I even canceled my Sunday dinner, I am having a difficult time getting over this virus, and the kids thought I should just rest on Sunday instead of cook. I must say though, I missed cooking. 

I did get the new pictures framed. Such sweet smiles to greet us each day.

Honey surprised me with new shelves in the garage. These will be mine, so that I can store all the little things that I use from time to time along with the large lot of toilet paper that we buy from Costco. You know things like, different vases, and figurines and of course my canning equipment. You know, the girlie stuff! He made them 2 cans tall, just in case I want to store extra food here, and maybe in the fall and winter, but this part of the garage is too hot for food in the summer.

This pretty rose is on the side of the house. It is misunderstood, I say that because it is a climber and the previous owners planted it where it has no place to climb. So it is all fallen over and hunch backed. I am hoping to move all the roses to another area, especially this one. I would like to place an arbor over the gate to the back yard and plant it at the base, so that it will drape the arbor with color.

The rest of the garden is coming along nicely, take a look. 

Blueberries are ripening.

The raspberries are ripening. 

And we do have strawberries this year.

As always thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I love having visitors!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pizza Dough with Parsley

Most folks are aware of parsley, as being that little green sprig on the side of the plate. Usually right beside the lone black olive, that you did eat. See, you do know. Parsley is usually ignored or folks think of it as not something to eat. But parsley is very nutritious and available year round. It is also a frugal purchase. Most bunches of parsley are 59 cents or less. Many years ago, I was told by my Grandmother that parsley was put on the side of the plate as a breath freshener, to be eaten after your meal. It is full of chlorophyll, a natural odor eliminator for onions and garlic. When eaten, your breath will be fresher and you will also get vitamins K, C and A.

But alas we do not seem to eat parsley, it is in the same category as many other frugal, yet fabulous foods. Foods we should eat, but usually don't. In my ongoing quest to eat healthier and maintain a frugal lifestyle, parsley has come to the forefront. Again, why do these things take me so long?

The other day I made a cucumber salad adapted from this recipe. I enjoyed that salad very much and remember the loaf of herb bread I made earlier? Because of these delicious foods, I have decided to spotlight various foods on Saturday. Lets start with parsley, shall we? There are 2 basic types, curly leaf and flat leaf. It is much easier to find the curly leaf parsley, and it may be substituted for the flat leaf in any recipe. Just be aware that the flat leaf parsley is more tender, therefore your curly leaf parsley may need to be chopped more.

I know that summer is upon us here in Vancouver, and in full swing in other parts of the state. This is the peak of the most flavorful, fresh food time of year. But don't leave parsley out, it is that healthy.  Also it stores easily, and for a long time.

While the parsley is still banded, wash well under cold running water. Shake to remove excess water from the leaves. Remove band from around parsley, cut stems to fit the length size of jar. Add 1/2 inch fresh water to the bottom of jar.

Cap and store in the refrigerator. Fresh, clean and ready.

To prepare dry leaves for immediate use, try this process:

Wash parsley in a bunch as described above, snap or cut leaves at stem. Lay out in a single layer on a soft dry towel.

Roll towel up gently, fold into a horseshoe shape and secure with a rubber band. Let rest for 5 minutes or until needed.

Unroll towel, and use as desired. I am going to use these parsley leaves in a Parsley and Garlic pizza dough.

Don't forget the stems, I throw these into my freezer container that holds all of the veggie trimmings. These will add delicious flavor to the next batch of stock.

Now lets make some pizza dough. This is a large 2 pound size batch, use some now and freeze the rest or freeze it all now to use in the future. Dough freezes very well, and is so nice to have on hand. Just pull it out in the morning, let rest in the fridge while you are busy, use it that night. Fresh, homemade and easy.

Parsley and Garlic Pizza dough
adapted from Regal Kitchen Pro Collection
makes 2 one pound dough knobs

10 liquid ounces water, potato water or whey, room temperature
2 c of whole parsley, you will want to "snuggle" the leaves into the cup, but do not pack tight
2 to 4 cloves mined garlic, use the amount that will please your family
1 t salt
3 T olive oil
1 to 2 T sugar
4 c flour
2 t dry yeast
Combine in the ABM pan, in the order listed, with yeast placed on top of the flour. Process for dough, sit back and relax or multi-task. If you do not use a machine, throw it in your mixer and follow along as the manufacturer recommends.

You can also make by hand, but then I have seen the light about the AMB!

I am a bread machine voyageur, I cannot, NOT look!

This is how your dough will look when the dry and wet ingredients have been combined. The whole leaf parsley works so well in bread dough, and it is easy to see, that chopped parsley would be lost in this dough.

In progress.  

Almost done. 


Dough is now ready to remove from dough pan, deflate, and divide into 2 knobs. Moisten the dough knobs with oil, then wrap for storage. Refrigerate for use now, or freeze for use later.

Pizza tonight, stay tuned for a delicious pizza based on a sandwich. Delicious and different.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for stopping by to visit!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday and wandering about

I just finished the first picking of raspberries. Not a lot, but enough to stir into my yogurt tomorrow morning. It is the little things, don't you think! I have been down with a really bad cold, but I will return to work tomorrow. For two reasons, first I am on the mend, and second there will be too much to catch up on if I don't!

Lets take a look at what I found around the blogsphere, you might find something that will be fun to try or inspire you in yet another direction. 

I recently signed up for an ecourse about fermentation of everyday foods. Kefir, sourdough, yogurt, soft cheeses. This course also included soaking grains, sprouting grains and legumes. A link that was provided in the course offered a free sourdough starter. This particular starter is from 1847 and part of the Oregon Trail. To get a sample to rehydrate simply send a self addressed and stamped envelope. You will receive a small plastic bag with the dried starter. I have my sample now, and plan on dehydrating it. The link provided is not from the ecourse. Although I have enjoyed the ecourse, I am not an affiliate.

This link is from Breadtopia, a bread blog I visit regularly. And the page provided has a link for the 1847 Carl Griffith sourdough sample. 

 This is what you will receive in the mail.

I have visited Stonesoup many times, always something interesting. She has offered a free 5 ingredients ecookbook. She states, "share the love" let your friends know, and they can also have a free download copy. So here you are friends........oh and the preparation is simple too! 

This next link will look a lot like Christmas, and well that is because the first few items are geared towards Christmas. Probably the post was originally written in November or December. But keep scrolling down and you will see a couple other items not Christmas related. And the Christmas theme items could be turned into any celebration for your family. This has fun/great ideas for using up scraps of wood.

Who wants a Convection oven? This little article might help you make that final decision. I love mine, but to be honest, I did not realize it was a convection oven, until the lovely Jess asked why the price difference on the two stoves that were on clearance.

With summer coming, this might help keep the kitchen cool and you will still get a nice dinner on the table. Here are some suggestions for making up crockpot ready foods to freeze. The night before your remove from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw. The next morning, place in the crock and go about your usual busy day. Dinner is done. There is also a list of items that freeze very well, so make a double batch and freeze to simply reheat, on those extra busy days.

And now for a couple of frugal items. I have always had an affinity for the frugal food. You know the ones, the healthy ones that we should eat but usually don't. I have decided to spotlight these foods, but for now.....

This last item may not appeal to all, but I am wanting to give these a try. Come on now, we all have different tastes. I keep bacon fat around to saute in, this would simply be the next step.

As always thanks so much for stopping by,
I love having visitors come to call!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday as a Monday Night Brights! Kate's Wedding

The coast weather was just like home, overcast, chilly and wet! I took plenty of clothes to choose from, but standing in the drizzle for the ceremony and daily walks on the beach took it's toll and now I have a cold. Not just any cold, a really bad stayed home from work cold. The only upside to this whole downside is that IF I am going to get a winter virus it is usually at the end of the cold weather season, right before the change to warm. So by my calculations summer is coming!

We walked and ate and simply relaxed, oh yeah went to a wedding also! 

The wedding was held right on the waters edge. Later everyone went back to the beach house for dinner

My sister Kathy, baked the Wedding cake. Carrot cake, by request of the bride.

Granddaughter open the sand dollar bank, this was one day's business.

We found many interesting items, including a small sea star that had washed up on the beach. I am attempting to dry him out, but do not know if I will be successful in this colder, wetter climate.

Honey put the sea star on the sifting screen, and placed it under the roddie in the backyard. It is under the eve of the house, should stay dry there. 

Granddaughter and I started collecting feathers on our first trip to the beach. To make a feather bouquet. This is from trip #1 last year. We, she mostly, collected a lot of feathers this time.

Feathers and other treasures.......this is the small portion that came to my house. She gathered enough to give a sand dollar to each child in her class today as a last day of school, going away for the summer gift.

Our feather bouquet in progress, there is room for more feathers, when we go again. I "floated" a loan for the sand dollars!

Granddaughter loved the bigger clam shells, until she found this one with barnacles in it. We talked about barnacles, but she still though them icky. So I get this shell. It is sill rather wet, the sand will tap out later, for a clean display when dry.

Here is what is happening in the back yard.

These are the trees in the back yard. They are huge, when a limb falls it is easily 20 feet long. I love them, but Honey not so much. He would like them gone. And for a while that was the plan, cut the trees, use the wood for heat. But we are going to install a pellet stove this summer, so the firewood from these trees would not be of use to us now. Our compromise is to have about 25-30 foot of the bottom limbs cut off. That will bring in more sun for the garden area, and eliminate some of the limb/windfall.

It is raspberry picking time!

A nice crop of blueberries is ripening.

Not many, but we have currents. These are the white variety, I picked up the wrong container. I wanted the red variety for jelly. Oh well, something new to learn about.

And saved for last, here is in our home.

New photos of the granddaughters to frame. The two beauties in blue live in Texas, otherwise all three would be going and doing, right along with Honey and me. 

As chilly as the house has been, the bananas still got away from me. It is time for a batch of banana bread, Honey's style.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I so enjoy visitors!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Almost out the door

This morning we will caravan north and to the coast for an extended weekend. I haven't had much time off from work in about 6 years, so needless to say, I am looking forward to a bit of free time and walking on the beach. There was a bit more preparation to get ready for this trip, since we will be gone for four days!!! I have made Meatballs and red sauce, peanut butter cookies, and right now a cake is in the oven. The always a hit, and very delicious applesauce spice chocolate chip cake. I have packed a nice bottle of wine, and of course fruits and veggies. I get to take granddaughter with me in my car. I am sure we will enjoy many rounds of Disney's follow your heart series!

I just completed my last project and thought I would share that with you in this blog post to say, I will be back on Tuesday. My last little chore, was heart felt and a work in progress. Some of the progress has taken over 50 years. I made my Mother's basket gift, for my niece and her intended, for their special day.

Happy Wedding Day!

I did not purchase a card, I wrote a letter to them, explaining the origin of the gift and a bit of history about our family. I hope they enjoy the filled basket, but more importantly I wanted to combine family and connectedness while sharing in this day. Here is the basket contents.....

Homemade jams, along with a vintage jam server.  A thick cloth trivet, made from my new fun hobby, re-purposed tee shirts.  A couple of cookbooks, one on chocolate goodies and another on Spanish Tapas. A pair of vintage candle holders and drip less candles from Trader Joe's. A package of note cards made by an artist who also happens to be a quadriplegic. And last but not least, a little flip album for photos. The gift also includes the basket and the paper goods in the bottom used to support the other gifts. My Mother always used a large clothes basket for her basket gifts.

Secured with the fun polka dot ribbon shown above, is this letter on the celebration of family, marriage and the future.................

Dear Katie and Brian,

Your journey has begun on this day, and with any new journey, you must close out or say goodbye to what was.  You see…………….. 

Ending earlier on this day was two separate, yet complete individuals.

Beginning today is the connected, yet inter-dependent individuals now joined together in promise, name and commitment.

Today, on this day you are now husband and wife. Partners in and of your own future.

I wanted to offer in the way of a gift to celebrate this day, something that had a bit of history to it. Our historian, now no longer with us, gave a gift such as this gift. And now we are our own family historians.

Katie; your Grandma Mary was many different things, some can be mentioned here and some should not!  It will be your job to teach the good and kindness that she did hold in her heart, to Brian. Just as it will be Brian’s job to teach you, about the good in his family members. 

Grandma Mary would usually give the gift of a filled basket. Much like this one. She would offer something homemade; something needed everyday and a special little something, if she had the resources to do so.

And that is what I offer to you both, on this day. A filled basket, to celebrate the beginning of your new lives together. .

Everything in the basket matches Grandma Mary’s ways; starting with homemade, there are jams, and a cloth table trivet. For everyday I offer paper goods, and a couple of fun cookbooks. And the little special item is a pair of candleholders and candles for cozy dinners together, with disregard to what is being served. For it is whom you share the table with, that truly makes the meal.

Katie and Brian, your tomorrow’s will never be the same, as your yesterdays have been. It may seem like not much has changed, on this day, but in reality everything has changed. It is now your jobs to make every tomorrow a day filled with the continued promise and commitment that you started out with today.

Happy today, and all of your tomorrows.

With love, Aunt Melynda (and Grandma Mary too)  

And with all that shared, much more than I usually do, it is time to get back to the chores! The cake just came out of the oven, daughter has sent a text message that they are on the road to their first stop, I need to finish my coffee and pack some clothes and then the car.

I wish everyone a wonderful weekend and I hope to see you back here on Tuesday.  
And, as always, thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello. 
I love having visitors, you do make my day!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday and wandering about

We still have almost daily rain her in Vancouver, but I know summer is coming. Know why? Well lets see, the berries are ripening and look what else I found to share with you.

Lets not start in the kitchen this time, only because these are great and, well I usually do start in the kitchen. So we will just shake things up tonight!

I have a long held fondness for bricks, old bricks in particular. I still wistfully look at brick homes, when on a Sunday drive. I am collecting bricks to use as garden boarders. I like the moss growing  on them and how they make the garden look. It will not surprise you that I was immediately taken with these brick planters.

Here is a peasant style top made from a Dollar Store shirt. Something cool and comfortable that won't break the bank. And what a great project for the first time or beginning sewer.

I offer something to read and be inspired with. We all seek at one time or another a calmer, more meaningful life. Each of these has a point of view and something for everyone to think about. It could be that reading these will make you proud of what you already do, or give you some ideas on how to make changes to do what you want to do.

Although I have reached a stage in my own life where moving to a more rural area is not in my plans, I liked the message of a rural mindset, no matter where you live.

Please move this way to the kitchen, we have some great ideas for you tonight.

A different soda to offer family and friends. Now don't laugh, give this a read.....

How about easy coffee, morning, noon and night? Look here. This would also work well to make fancy schmancy coffee drinks. Yum.

I really liked this recipe, something different to do with those frozen skinless thighs. You cannot beat the convenience of IQF chicken thighs, so another recipe to use them in is great.

Sometimes you need a dish that not only presents well, but is economical. Enter French Hamburgers.

You knew I had to have a rhubarb offering. Rhubarb, cake, vanilla sauce, heavenly to be sure.

Dips and spreads, can you have too many? I say not. Take a look here.  I think it would be fun to have a dip and spread sampler buffet. With the cheese and beans that most dips contain you are sure to get enough protein. Whole grain crackers or bread and fruit for dessert. A light and lively spur of the moment party.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. It is
so nice having visitors!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday night brights

The strawberries are doing very well, this year we will get a crop IF the critters don't get to them first.

What you see is a crushed egg shell mulch, this is to keep the slugs from having breakfast on our berries.

You can see some little dots of red, I am hoping for at least a batch of jam from our home grown berries this year.

Our first harvest, nothing to break news about, but we each had 2 and they were very tasty. I used them to crown the french toast I made from Sunday's Cinnamon rolls. 
In case you have been under a large flat rock for the past few years, left over cinnamon rolls make great french toast. It is like eating warm bread pudding. Very yummy! Makes a great dessert too.

This may look odd or simply like a basket full of items that need to be put away. But this is a wedding gift. My own Mother use to make up such a basket for gifts, usually shower gifts. The basket would be filled with gifts that matched the shower theme. I decided to continue this custom for my niece's wedding next weekend. I still have to wrap some of these gifts (some were wrapped and others not, in Mothers basket gifts). I have written a little letter to my niece and her husband to be about the custom and how they each are responsible to teach the other about their own families. I hope they like this gift. I had fun and in the process continue our own  homemade tradition.

Oh yeah, and the new mortgage is signed!

Remember the little sitting area with candles for our evenings outdoors? That sitting area is comfortable and the little bit of light from the candles was just right. Then I had to post another photo of the candles and how the sun melted them into unusable blobs of wax.

This might help refresh your memory......

These new oil lamps will be fun and will stand up to the sun much better than the candles. I am looking to evenings out in the cool fresh air.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello! 
I always enjoy having visitors.