July 31, 2015

orzo with sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli rabe

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Image result for rapini
Oh broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, how I love you... if you haven't ever tried it now is the time!  Love kale, spinach, and collard greens?  You will love this then.  It has a slightly bitter taste and a stronger flavor than the usual greens.  I really enjoy it paired with the sweetness from the sun-dried tomatoes and nuttiness from the cheese and pine nuts.  This pasta can also be made with spinach or kale, you will just want to throw them into the water for 1-2 minutes, shortening the cooking time since they wilt very quickly.

Chicken update: They are growing so quickly!!  They seem to have another centimeter of wing feathers each morning when we wake up... reminds me of when my babies were small and they seem to grow right in front of my eyes!:)  The kids take them out to play each day and watch over them.  As you can see they also sit and read, while watching over the flock as they call it, which is a win/win for everyone!  As you can see in the background our chicken coop has be started... yay for their new home!!!



July 29, 2015

pulled pork tamale bake

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How are the chicks... well we had a tragedy this past weekend.  I found a four foot snake that had gotten into the brooder and eaten four of them.  I didn't grow up on a farm, loved being on my grandparent's farm, but there is a certain mindset that people who have grown up on a farm have and I am beginning to understand it now.  Nature is brutal.  There are things that you can't prevent no matter how hard you try, you only do your best.  My kids were distraught to say the least.  However, I also as a parent know that it begins the lesson of death and that life has a finality to it, no matter how hard that is to grasp at times as we tend to live like life is never ending.

So... the brooder is now is my basement/garage (it is unfinished and has a garage door), no more chances, and even although I know that there aren't any snakes down there I find myself checking... even a couple of times in the middle of the night.  I know, I know that's crazy!  I'm not sure who was more upset about it... myself or the kids?

Sunday we went and picked up four more chicks, and the kind gentleman actually gave me five, to help my poor, sensitive son to cope since he lost his special chick, the only one with spots.  So, now we have 17.... oh my!;)

On a happier note we will start building the coop this weekend and have spent the past few days working on the foundation and leveling out the site with cinder blocks... talk about a hard job!!!

On to food!  We had some leftover pulled pork and used it to make this dish, which I have had an eye on for quite some time.  The roasted poblano peppers and pork are sandwiched between a cornbread crust... sound good!?  It's amazing.  If you would like to make it a vegetarian entree you can substitute 4 cups of vegetables, such as black beans, mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, and/or tomatoes.  It's delicious and I served it with tortilla chips that were handy to scoops up an stray bites!:)



July 27, 2015

cilantro and lime coleslaw

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I  am super picky about my coleslaw (trust me I have made several different recipes and this is the first one you are seeing) so I usually prefer to make it instead of buying some at the grocery store.  There are so many variations to this classic dish that no two seem to be the same.  My personal favorite way to eat slaw is on barbeque tacos or sandwiches and this recipe is perfect for that!  The cilantro throws in a southwest taste along with the lime juice, but not so overwhelmingly so that you couldn't take it to your next cookout and eat it with plain burgers and brats.  Make it ahead of time and it will only get better as the flavors come together!

July 22, 2015

southwest chicken and rice skillet

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Chick day is here!!  They finally arrived at the post office this morning and we got the call at 7 am to come get our babies.  They were all bundled up in this little box, huddled together.  They are even cuter than I realized they'd be... and so tiny!  My kids are beyond excited and already deciding which ones they want to be "theirs" and the names. So fun!!!
 

So in keeping with my latest trend of quick, easy, and budget friendly, here is another dish that you will want to add to your weekly rotation.  It is so versatile that you can add just about any veggie, plus it takes very little effort to prepare.  Perfect for a busy weeknight as school starts back in a couple of weeks and sports start to ramp up.


July 20, 2015

lentil spinach coconut curry

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Well everything is in place for the chicks.  The brooder (where the chicks will live for the first few weeks of their life) is all set up and ready!!!  We are super excited and I can't wait to post pictures of them!  They will arrive Tuesday-Thursday... so check back.

Since I have been busy during the day with all my "projects" I have been focusing on quick, easy dinners at night.  This one is no exception.  It is budget friendly and delicious!  I always serve any Indian with naan, being the bread lover that I am, rather homemade or store-bought (it is easy to find, usually by the bakery bread in a package), and cucumber raita which I make in a few minutes. We ate this dish as a main course but it can also be served over rice.

July 17, 2015

potato, leek, and pear gratin

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Anything with the word gratin is always delicious!  It's like one of those foods that reminds you of your childhood, sitting around the table with family, discussing the day.  Maybe that was just me... it's possible, if it is... just bear with me!:)

This version of the original potato gratin is even better... at least in my opinion!  I made it with parmesan cheese, but gouda would also be amazing.  The thyme and pear just add to the flavors that all come together in this delicous potato dish!


July 15, 2015

cauliflower and quinoa burgers with greek salad

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So... I had mentioned that my neext project was going to be a fire pit.  Well, slight detour!  I began looking up baby chicks (never start unless you are going to order, which we were... just in the Spring!) and next thing I know I have 15 chicks (that was the minimum order), which includes 6 different breeds, in my "cart".  My husband was looking at me inquisitively and I ask him what I should do... to order or not to order!?  He knows that it is my time and will ultimately will be my project, so he leaves it up to me.  You know how you hover over that "finalize purchase" button... well sometimes it is easier to just quickly push it.  All in.  Make that decision.  So... I pushed purchase.  I am kind of nervous... 15 chicks to take care of?  What am I getting myself into?

Since then I have continued researching my new endeavor.  Can I just say that I am sooooooo excited!!!!  The more I research and read, the more I can't wait to get started.  However, I have learned that it is similar to raising children in the way that everyone has their opinion/way to do it and thinks that they are right.  For example, some people would tell you that a rooster is a must, but others would tell you "don't even think about it... they are awful".  So... what to do... I'll keep you updated!:)       

On to the delicious recipe that you foodies are waiting for...

I have tried a couple of times to make veggie burgers of one type or another.  Usually they end up falling apart and crumbly (not sure if that is a word... but it works!)  These on the other hand were amazing.  They stayed together, tasted delicious, and were easy to make.  The salad next to them... perfect.  It is such a compliment to the patties and I would encourage you to make it! 

Next up... felafel.  I LOVE it but have only made it once and now that I have successfully done these I am feeling adventurous!


July 13, 2015

chickpea and kale shakshouka

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Remember the driveway project?  So.... guess who ordered a bobcat to smooth and level the gravel?  This girl!!!  Two hours in and I caved!  It's possible that I would have been shoveling gravel well into September.  In fact... it even took the bobcat 2+ hours!  However, after all that work we finally have rocks and not just sand and mud... yay for a cleaner car!;)  On to the next project/idea... a fire pit.  

Traditionally, shakshouka is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions, often spiced with cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin.  I loved the idea of adding kale and instead of poaching the eggs, just baking them.  The pictures don't do it justice... I actually almost didn't post it (since it isn't pretty and looks like a blob), but it was soooo good that I had too!!!  I served this with a thick slice of toast and even although we ate it for dinner it would make a hearty brunch dish. 


July 11, 2015

Grocery List- Week 28

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Meals for the week:

-chickpea and kale shakshouka served with toast
-cauliflower and quinoa burgers with greek salad
-potato, leek, and pear gratin served with grilled chicken or steak

**reminder- the serving suggestions have not been added to the grocery list**

Produce
  • 1 onion
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch kale
  •  4 small tomatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 leek
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 yellow fleshed potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 firm ripe pears
Baking/Spices/Nuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint (can also use 1/4 cup fresh mint)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1, 12 ounce BPA-free can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dressings/Oils/Vinegars
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Ethnic
Pasta/Rice/Beans/Canned Goods
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1/2 uncooked or 1 can)
  • 1 cup pitted greek olives
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
Freezer

Dairy
  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 oz feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Seafood/Meat

Miscellaneous

July 08, 2015

sushi salad over gilled fish

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My new project this week has been the driveway... I decided that our bare driveway (which when it rains becomes mud puddles in some spots) needed some rock.  The turnaround/parking spot that we cleared last week was just mud so I had to start with sand.  The whole day on Tuesday was spent hauling, spreading, and leveling sand.  I will say that the kids had a blast building sand castles! 

Then today I had 36 tons of gravel delivered.  Anyone ever graveled a driveway with a rake and shovel before?  Oh my!  My callouses and one, perhaps two, blisters are feeling the work.  I feel like I have man hands!!!  The truck that brought it emptied it in rows and did a great job of unloading it so that it will take the least amount of work possible, which is still a lot... and that work is HARD work.  Wish me luck... oh and my husband for getting him into this mess!!!

Love sushi?  This salad is for you.  Never tried sushi... then here is something similar.  One of my absolute favorites!  It is all the deliciousness from a roll, but in salad form.  This would also be amazing with grilled shrimp or salmon.   

July 06, 2015

simple fruit cobbler

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This past weekend the kids and I picked blackberries with the plans to make a dessert.  My friend had given me this super quick recipe and I thought I'd try it out.  Unfortunately, we didn't get enough so we ended up using some blueberries that I already had, but it was delicious!

With only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to mix it up... you can't go wrong!  There are always those times when you want an easy dessert for guest, or family (after making dinner for 2 hours a homemade pie may not happen), and here it is!  You can use any type of berry, so use whatever you have or pick some from your bushes that are ripe.  Plus, the kids have so much fun helping and this is simple enough they will love making it!

July 03, 2015

sun-dried tomato and goat cheese grilled chicken

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When we moved into our new house we went from 1/4 acre to mow to 3 acres... quite the difference.  Needless to say, being stubborn like I am and determined, I wanted to just use the push mower we had to mow the 1 1/2 acres around the  house... yes I said push mower, saving the money that a new lawnmower would cost to spend on a fence.  Well, after an acre... it died.  It would start again and mow another 2-3 rows then die again.  Turns out it is 17 years old... so not so shocking that it quit working.  So yesterday we got a new lawnmower... I might just be in love!:)

After working in the yard all day some grilled chicken sounded amazing... but it needed to be simple because spending a couple hours cooking wasn't on the menu (wait... seems to be that is quite the trend lately!).

These are delicious with the sweet sun-dried tomatoes balancing out the creamy goat cheese.  I served them with roasted asparagus that I drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, then broiled for 5-7 minutes, just until slightly tender but still crispy.  SO good!   


July 01, 2015

homemade cinnamon rolls

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Once in awhile everyone needs a cinnamon roll... the rich, ooey gooey icing, cinnamon and sugar... Mmmmmmmm!  I have been making these for years and they seem better each time.  If you are going to have them, homemade is the only way to go.  They are so much healthier that way, although you don't probably think of a cinnamon roll as healthy, but when you don't have all the preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils... they aren't so bad.


These are so good you will have a hard time stopping at one... don't say I didn't warn you!:)