Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Garden Tuesday - our local forecast, shade with a touch of reality

I have come to understand a few things:

it is a good thing that I don't have to grow what we eat,

I really do love those big trees,

I won't be able to grow much, with those really big trees.

I like coming home where it is quiet and earthy.

There are not too many things in this life more earthy than  huge trees. Our back yard is quiet, with patches of shade, beautiful flowers, lots of birds and other cute critters. On the gardening side of things, the yard has too much shade to grow much. On the living side of things, the yard has so much shade it is serene and I enjoy coming home.

These beautiful bushes, bloom in order, the pale pink one is first, then the dark pink and finally the purple one.

I won't be sharing a post about how many quarts of tomatoes I put up this year, unless I bought them from the farmers market. Or how the chard is on it's 5th cutting, or the pea shoots are just right to harvest and stir fry for dinner. Because I cannot grow those things, with this much shade.

No in the coming weeks, I will be pulling lots of weeds, picking a few berries and hunting up a sunny location for those sorry rhubarb plants! Oh, and relaxing a bit in this comfy spot.

And you know, all of this is really OK.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and visit.
I appreciate your time and your comments.

This post is shared with:
garden tuesday @ sidewalk shoes
tuesday garden party @ an oregon cottage
cottage flora thursday @ fishtale cottage

key words:  garden tuesday, flowers, reality check

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop!

Today seemed more like a Sunday than a Monday, oops!

Welcome to the hop.
If you are new to the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, you can read our mission statement and rules for linking up below.

Hearth and Soul Mission

It’s about food from your hearth, made for your soul. Food that follows your intuition. Preparing food from scratch to nourish your family…body, mind AND soul! Food made with your own hands…infused with energy and passion and intent. Real food made by real people to feed real families (big and small, in blood or spirit). Ingredients from scratch, be it something grown in your garden or raised on your land…food foraged in the field or woods…food from local farms, farmers, or farmers markets…or even ingredients chosen by you from your local market that will be turned into something that feeds your soul. Tapping the food memory that each of us has stored inside; letting it guide and influence our own time in the kitchen.

We hope to embrace not only the “expected” areas of real food, but also those who want to incorporate healthier choices without sacrificing their love of food…how it tastes, the memories it conjures up, the comfort it brings. Yes, we’re trying to steer clear of packaged, processed, and boxed foods in favor of real foods……..without absolutely excluding the sometimes frowned upon white sugar or flour (because the body craves what it craves…and sometimes things just don’t taste the same when you replace these). Making conscious choices and being present in the now with what your body needs…and taking steps towards exploring and enjoying healthier choices. If you take the time to listen, your body will tell you what it needs.

The warm comfort of the home hearth…stories, anecdotes, lessons, adventures, journeys, recipes, meals, beverages…we want to share the “why” of how food feeds more than just our bodies…how it also feeds our souls. After all, aren’t these the essential ingredients in defining real food? Please share links from your Hearth ‘n Soul with us each week.

Rules for linking:

Please use your best blog hop etiquette when linking. The rules are in place to help everyone have the best blog hop experience possible.

Right now, the Hearth and Soul Hop Team is joining up to share the Blog Hop with their audiences. If you haven't been to their blogs before, then you certainly should, as they are tremendously creative cooks who are passionate about health and food and all are taking steps to cook more wholesome and soul nourishing food. This means you get exposure to many different blog audiences for the price of one link, so it is like linking up to many different blog hops with one single link!

So, please link a recipe using the linky tools below and your link will be shared over many different blogs and many different blog audiences. Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.

If you are new to a blog carnival, or blog hop, it is very easy to learn how to join in the fun! Simply go to the blog post for that carnival and scroll down to the bottom where you will see a small box that will say, You’re Next or Your link here. When you click on that link, you will be asked to enter the URL of your recipe or article.

Please link to your article only and not directly to your blog front page. The linky may ask you to upload a photograph from your computer (remember that if you are linking to a Linky Tools you need to re-size your photograph to a 150 pixel thumbnail. You can do this by using your photo editing software or a free service like Picnik to create your thumbnail), then you click next and leave a comment on the blog hosts post.
You will also be asked to place a link back to the blog host, which means, adding in the URL of the blog hop post which you can copy from your browser address bar and insert at the bottom of your post. You could also choose to place a blog badge into your post, which use the widget below.

*A team host will visit each link and read and comment on your post before the next linky period opens, because this is personal for us…we want you to know that we appreciate that you’ve taken the time to create a post, add a link back to the hop, and add your link! We’ll be sure to acknowledge this with a comment and a tweet on Twitter (using hashtag #hsoul).

-One link per week, please

-Must: include a link back to one/any of the host sites (through worded link or badge) in individual post, not on sidebar…although we love having links on your page, as well (this benefits all of us). You will be sent a gentle reminder if no link is added to your post, we understand that sometimes people forget…but if it becomes a regular occurrence, (even though we don’t like to do it) your post may be removed. It’s just not fair to those who do take the time and show the grace to link back.

-Please link a post that closely fits into the mission: You don’t have to link up every week…link up when you can. We welcome posts that are shared in other events. If you have an older, archived post that you want to add, we welcome that…as long as you go in and add a link back to Hearth and Soul.

-Linky will stay open from 10 pm Monday to 11:59 pm Thursday (Eastern time).

Please share the hearth and soul hop badge listed below to promote the Blog Hop. We would ask you to subscribe to our feed and Tweet the Blog Hop as well if you would be so kind! You can also visit us at the Hearth and Soul Hop Hub.

As always, if you have any questions please email me at: MomsSundayCafe@gmail.com

Let the fun begin!!!

*Your Hearth and Soul Hop Team!

Alex at A Moderate Life

Jason at Alternative Health and Nutrition

Alea at Premeditated Leftovers

April of 21st Century Housewife

Kankana at Sunshine and Smile

Swathi at Zesty South Indian Kitchen

and me, 

Melynda at Mom's Sunday Cafe

On behalf of all the hosts, I offer a hearty "welcome to the hop"!

Death Row Chicken, a meal worthy of being your last!

One of the dishes that I made for Sunday Cafe was this chicken dish, adapted from those RecipeAddicts, Carla and Michael. The actual post for the delightfully titled dish, for the time being, is a victim of the great Blogger Crash of 2011. This version was part of our dinner and everyone raved.

Death Row Chicken, a meal worthy of being your last, but you will want it again and again!
adapted from: RecipeAddicts

8-10 chicken thighs, with skin on and bone in
butter, rendered lard- for browning

1 pound of mushrooms, sliced
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T butter (or more, it will depend on the mushrooms)
1/4 c Balsamic vinegar
2 C rich chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

*dry white wine if needed
2 large hands full of baby spinach leaves

Serve with suggestions:  rice, pasta or mashed potatoes

Brown your chicken thighs in the butter or rendered lard (bacon fat would also be good here). A deep rich dark brown is what you want to achieve on the skin, turn over and brown the other side. When all chicken is browned, remove it to a large flat baking pan, 9X13 or 12X15 as needed for the chicken to fit without over crowding. There should be a small amount of room around each piece of chicken, so the stock and mushrooms surround the meat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drain excess fat from the pan, do not discard the portion that has the sought after brown bits of flavor. To the pan, add 2 T butter, the minced garlic and the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms to a golden brown, scraping the golden bits from the bottom of the pan. When the mushrooms release their juices, this will help deglaze the pan. Add the chicken stock, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Carefully pour pan sauce over chicken, then make sure all the mushroom slices are down in the stock mixture. Important: the stock mixture should not cover the chicken, the goal is to have the skin continue to bake in the oven and remain crispy.  Bake 45 minutes.

Carefully remove chicken from the stock, place on a large serving platter. Return to the oven to keep warm if desire.

Pour pan juices back into the skillet used to brown the chicken, and reduce stock by about half. The pan gravy will have coat the back of a spoon. *I let my pan reduce too long and added back a bit of white wine for the proper consistency. Add the spinach and simmer briefly until tender.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken, serve with pride.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop by.
I appreciate your time and your comments!

This post will be my entry for the Hearth n Soul blog hop @ right here at Moms Sunday Cafe! 

This post is also shared with:

A Gallery of Favorites December 2011 @ premeditated leftovers
tuesday night supper club @ fudgeripple

key words:  chicken, spinach, mushrooms, balsamic vinegar

Thinking of those, now gone

I am American proud, 24/7!

My flag is never off this pole. Most evening when I arrive back home from work, it has waved and twirled in the breeze. Sometimes wrapping itself around the pole. Before going into the house, I unwrap the layers and set it free. 
As it turns out we are a Navy family in this house. My father was in the Navy, and Honey's father was also in the Navy. His Portland brother, yes a Navy man! 

In my sisters home, her Son in Law is in the Air Force, ready to leave for Turkey. 

My brother in Yakima, his son was in the Army serving in Desert Storm. 

I think most families in America have a story similar to this one, where someone from each part of the family served. We have been lucky, everyone has came home.

Thank you America's military, 
you help keep America,
the home of the brave and the land of the free.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and visit for a while.
I appreciate your time and your comments. 

Key words:  flag, military, pride

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Our Sunday Cafe, May 2011

Smoky Roasted Pork Shoulder,
by the seat of my pants,

Pork Shoulder was browned, without salt or seasonings.
Painted with a smoky glaze of, 1 T each honey, yellow mustard, smoked paprika. 1/2 t garlic salt and 1/4 t liquid smoke. Sit on a bed of coarsely chopped onion, cook on low 6 hours in a crock pot.

Death Row Chicken (good enough to be your last meal!)
from:  RecipeAddict

This is a delicious dish. I did adapt it slightly, I used less vinegar and omitted the blanched garlic, instead seasoning with garlic salt. This was a big hit with everyone!

Inside Out Pizza Bites
by the seat of my pants
Angel biscuit dough, cut into small squares and scattered in a pan. Bake 10 minutes, spread with pizza sauce and some cheese. Continue baking 10 minutes more. Tasty and fun!

Roasted Buttermilk Mashed Sweet Potatoes - shown with the Pork Shoulder.

Oven roasting in the skins, keeps the flavor rich and naturally sweet. The rest is simple, peel, return to the oven or microwave for a quick reheat, mash, season with buttermilk and butter.

Buttered Corn - no photo!

Chocolate Banana Upside Down Cake
from :  Kitchen Flavours

Caramel base.
thick banana slices
 Not a wise choice in pan size, wise choice to use a pie moat.


Rhubarb Apple Crisp, served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
by the seat of my pants

I try to make half nut free, some in our family just don't eat nuts!

Grape Lime Ricki's

Cold Beer


Coffee, Milk and Soda

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging, Let me introduce myself

Hi my name is Agate, yes just like those little stones found on a beach. Haven't I seen you before, you know, here on a Saturday? Yeah, I thought so.

I had this opportunity to be a movie star, and as busy as I am, what with chasing bugs and eating treats, I thought that maybe, I shouldn't pass it up.

So many things to do, you know, being a star. But, once the decision was made, I just went with the plan. Of course that included a wardrobe consultant.

The trouble is, I look good in so many colors, that's when I realized what a total waste of funds that the consultant really was.

I will be honest, this is not my favorite color. What do you think, does it make my fur look fat?

This one is new, you know I really don't  want to show off. Well, OK, I do, but I don't want it to show! Whew, wardrobe changes are hard work.

Time for a break, and then let's begin shooting.........Lights, camera, action and me!


Movie title:  My life, begging for treats!
I hope you enjoyed the move, and come back again, anytime. We are always up for visitors!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello!
This post will be shared with:  Weekend Pet Blogger @ Life with dogs.

Friday, May 27, 2011

and now done, Thanks Honey!

Here is the photo from the other day, you can still see where the back-splash is needed, to the right of the SodaStream.

Here is the beautiful back-splash.

Yep Honey, you did good!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and visit.
I appreciate your time and your comments!

key words:  back-splash, home projects, what Honey did!

A Friday view.....

Not just for this weekend, but everyday, here at home.

Things have been a little out of balance, too many tasks at work, not enough tasks at home.

Looking forward to the weekend, to reconnect, respite and reflect on how much I have to be thankful for.

As always, thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and visit.
I appreciate your time and your comments! 

keywords:  reflections, flag, patriotic, truth

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Roasted" Bananas Banana Bread, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Wednesday November 4, 2009. But it is better here......

My travels to the blogs of the world, have reveled a new take on banana bread. Banana bread is not new of course, banana bread is a routine offering on any blog. It seems every home has bananas that become banana bread worthy or ripe to the point that banana bread is the only option. I routinely have bananas that must be used, and have actually share that here. Through the years, I have worked the same recipe and changed it somewhat as whim dictates or ingredients were available and sometimes not available. Those favorite recipes are the best. You are completely at ease to change, modify and recreate.

When I first spotted the Roasted banana and Browned Butter bread on foodgawker, I took the side road to the blog and noticed the bananas were oven roasted in their skins. When it was time for me to bake, I did just that. These bananas were roasted at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. The house smelled wonderful, just like baking banana bread. I was happy, thinking that I had roasted banana in those skins ready to bake with.

When the bananas cooled enough to be handled, I snipped off the ends and let the bananas slide out into this keeper dish. Disappointment was immediate. The skins had roasted, the banana had not. The pan of roasted bananas makes a good photo opportunity, but you do not get roasted bananas.

Here is my banana bread recipe. It is slightly adapted from the banana bread recipe in The Wooden Spoon Bread Book, by Marilyn M Moore. This recipe has been made in my kitchen, many many times. You can tell, because the page has dried spots that have wrinkled into little hills and valleys, plus it has writing where I have reworked the ingredients to my liking.

The first step was to pan roast the bananas, I started by substituting butter for the oil. I let it melt and added the bananas.

The bananas browned gently while the butter turned a golden brown. It is simple, let one side brown, turn gently, brown and repeat until all sides are a deep golden brown. There is a lot of moisture in bananas, to brown will take a fair amount of time, the butter also browns in the process. 

"Roasted" banana bread

3 ripe bananas
1/2 c butter

2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c milk + 2 T if needed

1 c whole wheat flour ( I prefer White Whole Wheat flour)
1 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda

1/2 c walnut pieces

Melt the butter in a large skillet, add sliced (or chunks) bananas. Saute until the bananas are soft and a deep golden brown. Remove pan from heat source and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Set aside. 

In a medium size bowl, add eggs and sugar. Beat well, add vanilla, the 1/2 c milk and banana mixture (use a silicone scraper to get all the banana goodness from the pan). Beat well.

Combine wet and dry ingredients. If the mixture seems too stiff, add the additional 2 T of milk to make it moist and easy to work with. Turn dough into prepared pan, top with walnut pieces.

Bake 350 degrees, 45 minutes or until tests done in your oven. Let cool in pan 15 minutes, turn out and let cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments. 

key words:  roasted, bananas, quick bread

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Before and after!

Before: yellowed, chipped, not attractive. And to make matters worse, yellow is my least favorite color.

After:  clean, new and not yellow! There is a wood back-splash that needs to be put on, Honey will make those tomorrow!

We sure worked hard, (wink wink) didn't we Honey?

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and take a peek!
I appreciate your time and your comments!

Key words:  counters, new, hard work, look what Honey did