Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ohhh Martha would be soo proud

Somebody has a birthday coming up, so we made her a sign.................
I told Mason "Mum's the Word.....don't tell her....."
He though that was pretty funny.....

Yep, I got crafty......
Cupcakes to be served.......

Amount spent:   $0.......used scraps, had a clothesline, I love it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Attack of the delicious tomatoes.....

I have boatloads, if not truckloads of yummy tomatoes...and tomatillos, which is a whole 'nother story in itself.  So basically the only thing I can think of to make is pasta sauce...which we already made and froze away, WELL actually Josh made it and I froze it away.  Delicioso....and yet, here remains massive amounts of tomatoes.

So tonight I happened upon Matt's blog and like a sign from God, I found this post:

I think the biggest attraction I have with summer tomatoes, heirlooms to be specific, is that there’s not a lot that needs to be done to them. They’re excellent as is and with minimal prep. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them because you certainly can. Here are ten of my favorite things to do with summer tomatoes.

1) Sliced and drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, maybe some shavings of really awesome Pecorino? Hell to the yes.
2) In a Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary.

3) Chopped with garlic, olive oil, basil and shallots for bruschetta.
4) Sliced and SLATHERED with mayo on really good bread. I SAID SLATHERED.
5) Made into a nice chilly sorbet!
6) Pop them in my mouth like there’s no tomorrow (provided they are the lil ones).
7) Grated and tossed with pasta, olive oil and lemon juice for a quick no-cook sauce.
8) Chopped in a bowl and sprinkled with nuoc mam (this makes my eyes roll back into my head I’m telling you).
9) Heirloom & Fennel Soup that’s raw and chilly and perfect on a hot day.
10) Look at them and weep tears of happiness.


This is the last week of Summer Fest and I can’t thank you everyone enough for the participation! I’ve been so inspired with all the amazing ideas for using all these amazing fruits and vegetables that summer brings us. Leave your suggestions in the comments and make sure to check out what our other Summer Fest Hosts have been doing with tomatoes!

• Margaret’s making Quick Tomato Sauce, Ever So Slowly
• White On Rice Couple are doing Tomato Jam and Preserves with an entire cast of cute kids and Sierra, my girlfriend.
• Paige gives us her Curried Carrot & Tomato Soup and I can taste that marvelous combo already
• Jaden and her delicious Caprese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
• Marilyn’s — wait for it, wait — Upside Down Tomato Bread. I think I just saw Heaven
• Shauna makes a mouthwatering Smoked Tomato Salsa

So tomorrow, I am going to make a bloody mary and some chili for the big game.....come on over if you are so inclined.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Okay....I suck

I have just been so busy.....I am doing things that I hope will give me time downstream from here.

Anyways....I tested out a new recipe...but unfortunately, I did not take any pictures.  BUT TRUST ME....they were yummers.  Easy...and did I mention YUMMY. (Oh and my cinnamon roll secret...I use dental floss (fresh) to cut the rolls.)

2 pkgs. dry yeast

1 tbsp. sugar

5 c. flour, sifted

2 1/2 c. lukewarm water

1/8 tsp. salt

1 pkg. yellow cake mix

In extra large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add remaining ingredients, stir well. Turn out on floured board and let rise in warm place for 2-3 hours. After dough rises, divide into 3 portions. Roll each out 3/4 inch thick.

Spread with soft butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (brown). Roll up and slice. Arrange in pans. Let rise again and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done. Frost with powdered sugar, soft butter and cinnamon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


First off...sorry it has been so long. It has been hot and so having an oven on in the evening is not conducive for "air conditioning" the casa. Above you will see my first harvest. I will be the first to admit that I did a shitty job gardening this summer....I didn't weed enough, I didn't space out my seeds, we were in near drought conditions for awhile.......but oh well, there is always next summer. Also, I do know you should wait for your tomatoes to vine ripen...but we have so dang many of them that I just thought I would bring some home and let them ripen on my counter top. But all in all, I am pleasantly surprised with what I did get.

Next up...Chocolate Chip Cookies. I know some people in need of some cookies and so I go to my closet where I have all my cookbooks and see this one. I don't know if I have ever used it. I got it at my bridal shower from my mom. So I open it up and to be honest, it was quite overwelming...101 chocolate chip cookie recipes. That is a lot to distinquish..some you use beaters, others not. Some use cocoa, others use chip and then BAM....it was a sign from Mother Earth.....

And here were the results:

I am not planning to bring them to work but had three testers. The husband ate four, the kids each ate one (and licked the beaters, per their job description)...and they liked them and asked for more. Maybe it was the two sticks of butter that made them so good.....

Here is the recipe:

3 Cups Flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup margarine (butter!!!)

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cups brown sugar

1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract

2 extra large eggs (I think I used large eggs and it still turned out)

3 cups of chocolate chips (I just used one whole bag of chips)

1)Preheat oven 325 degrees

2)Combine flour, baking soda salt

3)Cream butter and sugars and then beat in the vanilla and eggs, then slowing beat in the dry mixture, a little at a time. Then add the chips.

4)Bake for about 12 minutes...eat.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bread Recipe

I have never made it but plan to do so just as soon as I find a good ole castiron pan to bake it in.

Courtesy of coworker Rob....

-I always double the recipe. I think the doubled recipe bakes higher in the 4-6 quart pot, plus it always gets eaten up.
-To double it, use 6 cups of flour, ½ t instant rise yeast, 2 scant T salt, and measure the water twice (so twice 1 5/8 cup, easiest to measure in one of those 2 cup liquid measure cups).
-Hot water from the tap works fine; the temperature does not seem to be key.
-I often use more whole grain flour than he recommends – up to 5 cups whole grain (wheat or rye) to 1 cup white flour. But it is true that the more whole grain flour you use, the denser the bread. Some people probably prefer a lighter loaf.
-I usually throw in a fair amount (even up to 2 cups – though I do not measure; just toss it in) of extra stuff, like whole oats, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, ground or whole fax seed, fennel seeds, dried cherries, etc. You may want to add some extra water if the dough seems too stiff after all these additions. The dough should not form into a ball; it should be thick but still sloppy, so it spreads out in the bowl.
-One time I tried adding chunks of chocolate. I think you need pretty big chunks, or they just melt.
-It's easiest to let the dough sit overnight. You can then do the 2-3 hour second rising anytime the next day. In general, the timing is not so critical; if anything, err on the side of letting it sit around longer.
-Especially in the summer, or if you use more white flour and less whole grain, the dough will be really sticky on the second day – more like a liquid, bubbly blob. That's okay; it actually bakes up better that way.
-I always put some olive oil in the pot after it is preheated. Spray is easiest (but Burns) Carefully pour in some olive oil, and use a paper towel to quickly spread, around the edges, only about half way up from the bottom. VERY HOT!
-The trick is to let the blob spread out on a Silpat or cloth for the 2-3 hours, and then to scoop up the edges, carrying the whole mess on the Silpat/cloth to the waiting and extremely hot pot, dumping the blob in upside down. You can shake the pot if the dough sticks to the edges or seems lopsided.
-You can put a layer of whatever you'd like on the top of the bread on the Silpat/cloth, before you put the blob onto it. Later, when you dump the dough into the pot, upside down, that layer ends up being on top. Alternatively, you can sprinkle whatever it is (e.g., sunflower seeds, oats, or poppy seeds) onto the dough, after you have flopped it into the hot pot. (With great patience, you can even spell out letters or a design…)
-With my oven, I actually do the first half hour of baking, lid on, at 460 degrees. Then I turn the heat down to 445 for the second 20-30 minutes (lid off).
(Kathy and I do the first part @ 450 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes, then leave it at 450 and take the lid of for 10-15 mins. Our Dutch oven said it was only rated to 450)
-You might want long oven mitts; I have burned myself multiple times!
Enjoy, Jill

Recipe: No-Knead bread
Makes a 1 1/2-lb. loaf.
Note: Instant yeast is also known as rapid-rise yeast. Active dry yeast can also be used without proofing (soaking to make it active). Author Mark Bittman reports success in using up to 30 percent whole-grain flour, up to 50 percent whole-wheat flour and up to 20 percent rye flour. When adding flavors -- caraway seeds, chopped olives, onions, cheese, walnuts, raisins -- Bittman suggests adding after you've mixed the dough, but they can also be folded in before the dough's second rising. Bittman adopted this recipe for the New York Times from Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City .
• 3 c. all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
• 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
• 1 scant tbsp. salt
• Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 c. tepid water and stir until blended; ! dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature (about 70 degrees) for at least 12 hours, preferably about 18 (Bittman said he has gone to 24 hours without a problem). Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles and gluten (long strands that cling to sides of bowl when tilted) is well-developed.
Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle dough with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface and to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) or Silpat mat with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam-side down on towel or Silpat mat and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise for 2 to 3 hours. When ready, dough wil! l be more than double in size and will not readily spring back! when po ked with a finger.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 4- to 6-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it preheats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel (or Silpat mat) and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that's OK. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Remove from oven, invert pan and cool bread on a rack.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lemon Blueberry Muffins Courtesy of Becky Homecki and The Little Chefs

I promise, they washed their hands. And they only licked the spoons AFTER I put the goods in the oven.

My mom makes these...I just tried to find a recipe that sounded good and had all the ingredients I already had on hand. And voila.....

Lemon Blueberry Muffins (courtesy of For The Love of Cooking Blog) :
· 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
· 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 3/4 teaspoon salt
· 1 cup of frozen blueberries, plus a few extra for the top of each muffin ( I used fresh ones)
· 2 large eggs
· 1/2 cup milk
· 1/4 cup vegetable oil
· Finely grated zest of 2 small lemons
· 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
· 2 packets of raw cane sugar, for the top of each muffin
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a muffin tray with baking spray then set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the blueberries. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, oil, lemon zest and the lemon juice. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until blended; do not over mix. Spoon the batter into the muffin tray then top with additional blueberries and sprinkle raw sugar on each muffin.

Coworker factor.....all gone and I earned the nickname--Becky Homecki...with even any prompting.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bad person

I will be honest with you.....for a few years I had this negative/wierd view of scrapbooking. It all stems from two things.

1) from an interview that Josh and I heard on NPR of this mom that was completely obsessed with scrapbooking. She would purposely get her child involved in all these wierd events and put her in all these expensive outfits so that she would have something to scrapbook about. Then to top it off she was spending like thousands a month on scrapbooking supplies and her marriage was falling apart.

2) I had this old coworker years and years ago that was a part of this new scrapbooking wave. She was actually hosting scrapbooking parties when it first started (she is probably a millionaire now). Anyways, she was also so crazy and obsessive about it but in her personal life she was a mean angry person and so I had a hard time understanding why she would want to be so fake to make all her scrapbooks seem as those she had this perfect happy life. When in reality, she was very miserable.

Which brings me to current day where I admit...I don't know how to scrapbook and am kind of interested in doing it on a small scale. A few weeks ago we went to this graduation party for a babysitter we use and her grandma made her the most amazing scrapbook. She went from pictures of her mom pregnant to current day and then included a family tree so that she cold always carry it wherever she went. I like that and it was beautiful and not so overdone.

I have TONS of pictures and I guess I could put them just in albums, but I think it might be fun to try and doll them up all AMY TANGERINE style.

How do I get started? Did you take a class? I have some stamps and markers and paper here from my attempt to make cards.