Saturday, July 31, 2010


Lets talk Quinoa. I have only cooked it a couple of times. But I am in like with all of the good stuff it offers. It cooks up quickly, is a whole grain, and is high in protein. I also have a large bag of it in my freezer that I bought at Costco. From what I have learned so far, you can just about use it anywhere for anything, simply substitute Quinoa for another grain type. Because it has a mild taste, you can enjoy it as a hot breakfast cereal, in cold grain salads, hot as a side dish, and more, probably lots more.

One of the reasons that I run this whole Saturday Spotlight, is to educate, little old me. Yes me, you see it is so easy to stay in the "safe food" rut, and keep eating the same things. Usually because the family, and even you like them and they are, well they are, safe. You certainly know where they are located at the market, you know that the last time you served it, everyone ate, and often times you need easy (also known as safe) because it has been a long and/or tough day. Whew! I think that about covers all my excuses, er I mean reasons. 

But then you can look back on the last month or 10 years, and think " my gosh our meals are boring (but safe!)". And you realize that there are so many other wonderful foods out there to enjoy and cook. The only way to do that is to learn about new and different foods as well as a review of the forgotten value of some the good old standbys. So how about this Saturday's Spotlight, I think I am learning a few things here.

And you know, eating preferences do change. I use to be a dyed in the wool, cold cereal and orange juice kind of gal. Not any more. I prefer a warm breakfast, yet rarely is that eggs. I prefer my eggs as a mid-day or evening meal. So by default, a warm breakfast for me would be some sort of warm, whole grain cereal with some milk or yogurt on top. A scoop of brown rice from the fridge warmed on the stove with some milk and cinnamon is delicious, and now I will have Quinoa to look forward to.

My plan is to cook up a batch of Quinoa and keep it in the fridge. I do that now with brown rice and it has proven to be very handy. I will always have a starting point for a quick meal at any time of the day. Warmed in milk for breakfast, used in a cold grain based salad, or a quick meat and veggie stir-fry served over the top. One of my favorite ways to be frugal, and not waste food is Fried Rice, using up all the little bits and dabs left over. Why not Quinoa?

I am not going to cook and show a pan of Quinoa.  That seems pretty silly, and besides, if you could see the disaster in my craft room, you would completely understand! Honey is on the late shift today and I have all evening to get this put back together. But next Saturday I am going to make this, it sure looks good!

As always thanks so much,
for stopping by. I appreciate it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes for Pasta

I have never been a big fan of pasta, not ever. Oh I know it is frugal and easy and quick, but still, I did not turn to pasta for a meal in times of need. But this simple dish of baked tomatoes with cheese may change all that. I did not plant a cherry tomato plant this year, but I shall from this year after. With no cherry tomatoes in the house, I turned to what we had in the fruit bowl. This was made with grown on the vine, standard size tomatoes, and you know what? It was still good. Actually better than good, good enough to share here.

Roasted tomatoes for pasta
 400 degree oven
4-6 fully ripe tomatoes cut into small chunks OR a pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c olive oil
1 T dry basil leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 c dry bread crumbs
1/3 c Italian Parsley leaves or chopped curly parsley

8 oz spaghetti- bring water to boil when tomatoes go into the oven, so that the pasta can be drained and ready when the tomatoes are done.

Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a 9X13 pan, sprinkle with the garlic. Add tomatoes in one layer. Sprinkle with the basil then salt and pepper.

Cover with the cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes.


Bring all ingredients to center of dish, add parsley and toss with the drained pasta.

Serves 2 or 3

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)
This will be made again, and again. Simple, frugal and easy. Love it!

As always, thanks so much
for stopping by. 

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Brownie Walnut Bread (yeast)

This bread has such a sophisticated flavor that I wanted to share it with everyone,
therefore this is a repost!

As written this is not a sweet bread, it is delicious and with the sugar listed in the recipe it is a wonderful sandwich bread. This bread would make an unbelievable good chicken sandwich.

IF you want a sweeter bread, increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. And it goes without saying, this would be wonderful rolled up with a spicy cinnamon swirl in the works!

I have noticed this bread in various places, and as it turns out in one of my own cookbooks! Honestly when I first noticed this bread, my first thought was meh. But one day I decided to try it, don't know why, so very glad I did. It turns out it is not only good, it is delicious and not at all like I thought it would be, it is so much better!

Yeasted Brownie Bread with Walnuts
adapted from: The All New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook
by Tom Lacalamita

1/3 c warm water
2/3 c milk, warm slightly
5 T butter, cut into small chunks
1 t salt
1/3 c brown sugar (1/2 c for a sweeter dough)
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa
3 c flour
2 1/4 t yeast

2/3 c chopped toasted walnuts

Layer ingredients into bread machine pan in order given. Leave walnuts for later. Process on dough setting.

When dough is done mixing and going into the final rise, add walnuts to side of pan, where they will warm to the same temperature as the dough.

 (I could not get my machine to turn back on to knead the walnuts into the dough, when the cycle ended, and worked them in by hand)

Restart machine when cycle ends to work in nuts, or turn dough out and work in my hand. Shape into a loaf, place in prepared pan, let rise final time.

When dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 350,

Bake 35-40 minutes or until done. Let rest 10 minutes in the pan, turn out to cool completely.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks so much for stopping by!

Don't forget to enter your favorite raisin recipe for the December Smackdown!

This re-post is being shared at:

Cookbook Sunday @ Brenda's Canadian Kitchen

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday night brights

Yesterday for Sunday Cafe, we had the traditional picnic/BBQ meal. Hot Dogs with buns, potato salad, chips, you know all the food that is a treat to eat! Also not something I serve a lot of, only because that menu does not carry a lot of veggie weight! But you know, every now and again, you gotta have a fun BBQ dinner. I had an idea for homemade dog buns, and it turned out really good.

Make up a batch of this delicious, soft dough , then

After the first rising, divide the mixture into 6 mini loaf pans. Let rise again. Bake at the same temperature and time. Let cool briefly (5 minutes) then tip out to avoid a soggy bottom.

Cut in half down the middle lengthwise, this gives you 12 "bun cradles".

Slice about 1/2 inch deep on the soft side, and gently separate, to open. (This photo does not show much "gently" anything. but in my defense, it is hard to be a one armed camera woman! One arm on the cradle and one arm operating the camera.)

Dress your bun cradle with your favorite fixings and lay down your grilled dog. All that is left is to enjoy! I will make these again, and this would also make a great meatball "sub"!

You have to know I am over the top with this gift from my sister's back yard! Thanks so much "Hazel".

Rhubarb pie, jam with red grapefruit, and maybe some Rhubarb Vodka!

And now, here are the last shots from the Saturday wedding at the Castle

This is the back of my little red hatchback, filled with food and linens.

Here is the passenger seat, also filled up. Our other crew member, the Lovely Jess rode with Hazel.

This is Hazel's big red truck filled with coolers and tables.The back seat area was also full. We wanted to be as prepared as was possible.

And how was your week?

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday's project

The Lovely Jess brought her camera to Sunday Cafe and downloaded the photos she was able to capture. I was very happy she did, I did not get any shots after we arrived. Really we were so busy, I am pleased these got taken, so thanks Jess!

 All walking areas are cobblestone, so much stone work. The property continues on down to the river. It really is beautiful.

This is the pond, and knaves house. 

This is the fireplace in the castle. The hearth is about 6 inches deep, so are all the door and window sills. 

We cooked lots and lots of chicken. 

The food line was draped in fabric and food. Here is meat and melon boats. 

Along the way, there was a variety of salads, purple cabbage with apples and spices and more fruit.

It was a lot of fun to plan, lots of work to do, and lots was learned along the way. I think we might do this again! 

As always, thanks to stopping by,
I appreciate it!

Sunday Cafe

Yesterday was a very very busy day, about 16 hours! On the road to load up at 7:30 am, got home to unload at 11:00pm. Today is laundry day, as we supplied the linens. Today is also Sunday Cafe. And we shall share a meal together.

I spent yesterday here, cooking and serving 100 plus wedding guests. 

Today I get to serve those that I love and call family! This is the cooking I enjoy best, cooking for my family. We shall have a simple meal, a summer picnic. With all the great things that a picnic has, potato salad, lemonade, macaroni salad and fresh fruit. We shall have grilled dogs and chicken skewers. And a nice visit.

Sunday Cafe Menu
My moms potato salad
Special macaroni salad
grilled dogs and brats
chicken skewers
Marinated sliced tomatoes
Fresh raspberries and vanilla ice cream

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cheese Garlic Dinner Buns

Happy Wednesday, before we wander take a look here......

I had one cup of cottage cheese to use up and thought that I should play around with that little dinner bun recipe and see what might come from that. I love the combination of cheese and garlic and decided to make those little  buns a bit more festive, yet still very easy to make. A definite plus for those busy days.

Cheese and Garlic dinner buns
350 degree oven for baking

1/4 c warm water
1/4 c sugar
1 pkg (scant T) yeast
1 c warmed cottage cheese
1 t garlic salt
1/4 t baking soda
1 egg
1 c shredded cheese, I had a cheese blend on hand, but use what you have
1/2 c parsley leaves (about 12 stems) washed, plucked and rolled in a towel to dry
 2 1/4 c flour, you may use up to an additional 1/4 c if needed - for a total of 2 1/2 cups
additional cheese for tops, if desired
In a large mixer bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar, let set until yeast is active and foamy. Add remaining ingredients, beat well (a stand mixer is best for this recipe, it is a sticky dough that will climb the beaters on a hand held mixer) 2-3 minutes. Scrape beaters, and sides of bowl, sending dough to bottom of bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise 1 hour.

Stir down dough, divide into 12 prepared muffin cups. Cover and let rise 30 minutes, or until doubled. Sprinkle with the additional cheese.

If ready to bake preheat oven and bake 22-28 minutes or until done and golden brown. If desire, oil tops (if not using the cheese), cover loosely with wax paper and then a towel and place in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator while preheating oven, when ready to bake.
Serves/makes 12

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

My wandering was only food related this week, it must be because of all the great produce available. Or maybe I have been focused on my own crafts and have not been looking for a new project. In any case, lets take a look at these, I hope they offer something new to enjoy for you and yours.

We must be in the salad days of summer, I am finding some wonderful salad recipes to share. One is even a super-food salad. This salad contains no lettuce, parsley is the salad green used here.

Here is a Caesar salad that has no raw egg, but does contain bacon. It was the bacon that caught my eye!

And here is a wonderful grilled Panzanella salad. It is beautiful as well as delicious.

If your garden is giving up lots of zucchini, you probably have a lot of squash blossoms also. This is a tasty and different side dish.

Here is a delicious vegetable dinner pie. If your household follows meatless Mondays, this would work out nicely.

And of course something sweet......

Do you have rhubarb? How about some vodka? Look here......

Or how about making plum wine?

Have a great evening,
I appreciate your visiting here, Thanks!

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ultimate recipe swap @ life as mom

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just a little update

The week has gone so fast, and yet there is so much to do! Does that every change? I actually hope on a small scale it never does, I like a couple of quiet days and then go great guns again. This weekend will be a "great guns" weekend, I am co-catering a wedding with 150 guests with my sister on Saturday and on Sunday is my family dinner for July. I do not want to cancel my July dinner, I was thinking a BBQ would be nice, we are finally having the weather for it.

We have been planning the wedding food list for a couple of weeks now, and today purchased most of the food. It is fun to take on a large project like this, and even more enjoyable to spend this time with my sister. We are preparing grilled meats (ribs and chicken pieces) lots of salads (wild rice, nappa cabbage, tossed red leaf/green and of course fruit) along with a chopped olive spread and honey butter for the bread that will be on the tables.

There will be 18 tables and we are figuring we will need to make 5 pounds of butter into honey butter. That is a lot of butter. It is a Renaissance outdoor wedding held at a Castle in the country. I am a bit excited and a bit nervous and thought that I should share some of that here, or bust! This is a much larger project than I have ever taken on before, even only doing half. I hope to remember to take some photos, as it will be nice to view what we did as a tutorial on what could be improved. Also I could do a bit of sharing here. The guests are coming in costume and we will have one helper in costume, the lovely Jess.  
 Whew! Ok I am done
bursting at the seams, and thanks for listening!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday night brights

The raspberries are coming along great, this picking makes over 3 gallons in the freezer. After the growing season is done, I will make jam and other goodies.

They are very large, I can only imagine next year after having a year of sun to thrive in, since the big trees have been trimmed. 

I have been having fun with recycled crafts, this red rug for the kitchen is the last rug for a while. I do want to get started on holiday gifts. This shot sure makes the kitchen look big (I wish :) !

A close up for detail. Who would of thought old tee shirts could look this good? In using the rug, I have decided I will want to add enough additional rows so that the edge of the rug is flush with the toe kick under the cabinets. That will help it stay in place better.

and now Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing..........

Homemade Laundry Powder
from: Love made the radish grow.

I listed this in my Wednesday wanderings and decided to make it and share it today. I do have some of the commercial laundry powder to use up, but I won't wait until the last minute! I have wanted to make my own laundry powder for a long time, and have had some of the products on my storage shelf in the garage.

4 oz grated bar soap - I used Fels Naptha
2 c borax
2 c washing soda
1 c baking soda

I have had some of these products awhile, the soap wrapper is dirty and the borax box is dusty! The soap is a 5 oz bar, you are viewing 4 oz grated.The one ounce chunk left over is great for spot treating, just dip the end  in water as the washer fills, rub on the dirty stain. 

Not only was the box dusty, the product had clumped. I pressed it through this sieve to smooth it out.

Combine everything, mix well.

I have an extra coffee scoop which is 2 T in capacity. For a small load use 1/2 to one scoop, for a large load use up to 2 scoops. This follows the guidelines for amount to use.  I am storing in a labeled coffee can. I will remark the can when I find my bold black sharpie, the green is too hard to notice. 

I found this old roll top breadbox while out thrifting last week. I love the carved birds. Also it has a handy little top spot to store my digital scale. Every time I come home from thrifting, Honey groans, but I always find a way to put things to good use.

My guilty pleasure, the last piece of pie for breakfast!

The gift that keeps giving. Over 30 years ago I gave my sister "Hazel" a philodendron plant as a gift. She still has it today, and has probably trimmed off miles of excess growth from it through the years, some discarded and some given for starts. I myself received a start about 15 years ago. Every few years I cut it back or start again with the best "ends" if I have let it get away from me. This is another re-potting of that plant, this time in a giant red coffee cup for my kitchen windowsill.

What did you do this week? Sometimes the look back is fun, and sometimes it gives the opportunity to see how much was accomplished.  

As always, thanks
for stopping by, I appreciate your time!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cottage Cheese Dinner buns

I have posted this recipe here before. Before I had a camera and before anyone visited! It is another one from my old little black binder, splattered and made many times over. These are simple, easy and delicious. My three favorite categories! You know the reason folks love to cook, is because not every recipe they make and enjoy is difficult. Lets be honest here, if every meal was a big challenge or difficult, the fun would disappear. Learning about and enjoying these simple, easy and delicious recipes is what begins the journey to other more challenging recipes and fun projects.

If you are a bread lover, fresh bread can turn the most humble dish into dinner. And fortunately yeast doughs are not fussy at all and very forgiving. Yeast dough will wait in the refrigerator, to be baked right before dinner. And of course that wonderful aroma will call the family to dinner, you won't have to. But enough about my love of bread, lets make some dinner buns.

Cottage Cheese dinner buns
source unknown, in my little black binder
350 degree, for baking

1 package (1 scant T) yeast
1/4 c warm water
1/4 c sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1 c cottage cheese
2 3/4 c flour - divided

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water, add the sugar, stir.

Gently warm the cottage cheese,

and add to the yeast mixture along with the egg, salt, soda and 2 1/2 c of the flour.

Slowly blend the flour into the wet ingredients, then mix well until mixture leaves the sides of the bowl, adding last 1/4 c flour if needed. Scrape down sides of bowl, when completely mixed. NOTE: dough is sticky.

Cover and let rise until double in bulk.

 The rising will take about 1 hour.

Stir/punch down dough. Spoon into 12 prepared muffin cups.

Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

 If not ready to bake after 30 minutes, remove towel. Otherwise it may stick to the dough. If you need/want to store the dough, oil the tops lightly and cover loosely with wax paper and then a towel, put in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and done. Makes 12 buns.

As always thanks for dropping in,
I do appreciate your stopping by.

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