How Do You Find the Time?
I get asked that question a lot and I really don't know the answer. I know that I just do the thing that I get enjoyment from and the things that need to be done.
A single parent, a working professional, someone who loves to read, knit, craft and create, someone who is working really hard to create a good life for herself and her kids. I know I'm not the only one out there, and I enjoy reading the blogs of others, so I thought, "well, why not?" So here we go!
Monday, August 15, 2011
One of the authors who I love to read is Diane Mott Davidson. She writes about a caterer in Colorado named Goldie. The books have recipes included in them too, which is something I love. Her most recent book is called Crunch Time. Honestly, this was not as good as some of her books, but there was a recipe in there that really intrigued me, Puerco Cubano or Cuban Pork.
So tonight was the night. I knew I had a great deal of nice fresh veggies in the garden, so when I came home, I went to the garden and picked some green beans, fresh chard and cilantro. The recipe did not call for chard, but I added it. It also did not call for onions, but I think that almost everything needs onions!
We served it over brown rice, with freshly steamed green beans and cherry tomatoes picked right off of the plants. Oh my!
1 pound ground pork
2 cloves freshly minced or crushed garlic
1 onion, chopped
2 cups chopped kale
2 teaspoons demi-glace (chicken or veal) - I used chicken stock, some worcestershire sauce and some white wine
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
garnish with cilantro
in large skillet, combine olive oil, chopped onions and chopped garlic. Once fragrant, add ground pork and cook until browned. Add chopped kale and cook until kale softens. Sprinkle with flour, salt, pepper and oregano. Add demi-glace or chicken stock mixture. Stir together, then once it thickens, add the orange juice and lime juice. Serve over brown rice.
This received rave reviews from the teenagers at my house. In fact, there are NO leftovers except the rice.
We served it with the fresh green beans and freshly picked cherry tomatoes.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Over spring break, I bought some beautiful Alpaca Fiber at Serendipidity Yarn in Buena Vista. It was one of the first that I spun to a finished fiber and I just finished a really great shawl. I'm calling it my "Lichen Shawl" because of the beautiful colors in it. I had knit it fairly quickly then had misjudged when to start the ruffle and had to unravel it a number of time. In early May, I got sick of it and put it away. Last night I was contemplating starting another project and decided that I needed to finish it, so I did. I still mis-judged slightly, but I was able to un-ply and use a single ply to finish the bind off. It's blocking now, but I'm pretty proud of it and pleased with how it looks. So here is the progress:
Monday, July 11, 2011
Once upon a time, there was a young woman who found herself pregnant. She was a teenager, not married and living in a very small town. She sought prenatal care for her child, at at one point was told that her child had terrible birth defects. She was advised to end the pregnancy and was told that he would likely not live to be born, and if she did carry him to full term, that he would not live long or would be a vegetable. She declined to end her pregnancy, instead opting to give birth to her baby.
This baby was born, and he did have a number of problems, the mos pressing with his brain being malformed and misshapen. She named this child Angel.
Angel did not die. He grew, he learned to hold his head up, he learned to eat, he learned to talk. Soon he entered school. His vision was in question, and therapists focused on helping this little boy learn to walk independently. He started with a walker, then progressed to a cane. He greeted people, he would tell you about his mom and his grandma and grandpa. He was a cheerful and happy child.
Fast forward 4 years. Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine before heading home. I saw three people walking down the street, two women and a tall young man, wearing a jaunty cap, moving at a fast pace, aided only by the slight support of a cane. As they came closer, I realized that I knew them. It was Angel and his mom and grandmother. They went into a restaurant and I entered to talk with them. Angel greeted me, told me about his dog who had died, and made sure that I had greeted his grandmother. He was delightful, engaging and definitely NOT a vegetable.
The decisions we make, indeed. The experts don't always know everything or what is best.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
We have just returned from 10 days of blissful vacation. It was so nice to be somewhere where I didn't have to worry about work or what was going to happen that day. We played in the lake, played in the river and fished. I saw some good friends, laughed a lot and played a lot and spent some great time with my parents!
I knitted, I spun, I cooked and I napped.
And today, we drove home. We spent about an hour parked on the top of Wolf Creek Pass, waiting for the car to cool down.
And now, we are home. While I could have spent a few more days on vacation, I am thinking of sleeping in my own bed with great joy.
And the great thing? Me, the person who has never been able to get an orchid to bloom.... walked into the bathroom and found that one of the orchids I put in the bathtub before leaving has now put out a beautiful bloom.
Life is good!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I got up this morning to find out that school was cancelled today due to a hazardous material leak from a train about 5 miles from here. About 250 homes in our community were evacuated, but fortunately almost everyone is back home. We should have school tomorrow too. I was busy today though! I got some work things completed, which was really nice. I also cooked and crafted. My kids had some friends over too and I think everyone had a great time.
Here's what I cooked today:
Salmon Patties - lunch for all
A loaf of whole wheat bread
Turkey meatball soup
Chocolate chip cookies
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 cooked fillet of salmon - ours was about 10 ounces
minced bell pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 c lite mayonnaise
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 grated carrots
Flake the salmon and mix all ingredients together. Form into patties and cook in skillet on stove with a little bit of olive oil. I had to add the breadcrumbs to get it all to stick together. The teenagers in my house loved these! They were really yummy!
Turkey Meatball Soup
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp Italian seasoning, divided
1 pound lean ground turkey
celery - thinly sliced
1 cup pearl barley
mix the egg whites, bread crumbs, cheese, half the Italian seasoning and the turkey together. Form into meatballs and cook at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes or until no longer pink
Chop the veggies and put into sauce pan with a small amount of heated olive oil. Saute the veggies until they are fragrent, add garlic and cook until soft. Add chicken broth and seasonings to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Add pearl barley. Turn heat down and simmer for 30 0r so minutes.
I also added some sliced cabbage about 15 minutes before we ate and added the cooked meatballs at the same time. Yummy!
**I was out of eggs by this point so I used 4 Tbsp of ground flaxseed mixed with 1/4 cup water. This creates a thickener about the same consistency of eggs, plus it tastes good!
Whole Wheat Bread - from this website: http://wholewheatbreadrecipe.blogspot.com/
3 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 packet dry yeast
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of water ( at a temp. of 110 to 120 degrees F ) with the salt, the honey, the yeast, the oil and the milk and stir until mix.
Step 2: Mix in the flour and stir until the dough starts pull away from the bowl.
Step 3: Place the dough on a lightly flour surface and knead the dough for 6 to 10 minutes or until the dough become smooth.
Step 4: Place a small amount of oil in a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and flip the dough to cover the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise for approx. 1 hour , the dough should double in size. Note: This made take longer if the room is cold.
Step 5 : Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a 8 inches log and place into a lightly grease loaf pan.
Step 6 : Loosely cover the pan with lightly oil plastic wrap and let raise for 30 to 60 minutes until the dough raises approx.1 inch above the pan.
Step 7: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F place in center of oven and cook for about 40 minutes after 20 minutes loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil , test if the wheat bread is done by thumping the bottom of the bread it should sound hollow. Let brad cool on a rack then slice.
For this, I used my trusty Kitchenaid mixture. This was a really really easy bread recipe and it made a really nice loaf of bread. It will be great for lunch sandwiches.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe is from the book, Cookies for Kids. I think that this is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever! Jacob helped me with these! (Actually he did most of the work)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6-oz package semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup chopped nuts
I also added about 1/4 cup of ground flax seeds (leftover from the meatballs)
Cream butter, shortening and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Bake in 375 oven for 8 - 10 minutes until golden.
Today I also took a great nap and started knitting a shawl with some homespun yarn. What a great day!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Photo by: John Autry
Fingerling Potato-Leek Hash with Swiss Chard and Eggs
To trim Swiss chard, pull or cut the stems out of the leaves.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sliced leek (about 2 large)
- 12 ounces fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise (about 4 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
- 4 cups thinly sliced trimmed Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Gruyère cheese
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add leek; cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add potatoes and garlic; cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chard; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Using a spoon, push potato mixture aside to make 4 egg-size spaces. Crack 1 egg into each space; sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon paprika over eggs. Cover and cook 3 minutes; sprinkle cheese over potato mixture. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until egg yolks are lightly set.
Here's what I did differently - You know I can never follow a recipe *exactly*. I used russet potatoes, twice as much Swiss chard - be sure to wash this well, and used cheddar cheese instead of Gruyere because that's what I had, although I'll bet Gruyere would be yummy.
Maybe next time I'll remember to take a photo!
We also went to several antique malls, two of which I had not ever been to. At one of them, they were having a scavenger hunt. They had hidden a number of paper rabbits through the store and those that were lucky enough to find one got to pick something from their table. I found a bunny and selected this stool. Isn't it pretty?
So today I am getting ready for the week ahead at work. On Friday we have "Vocabulary Day." Students have been asked to come up with a vocabulary word that they want to share and design/decorate a shirt around that word. Adults in the building will also be participating. I looked for a word that collective refers to tools used for spinning and even asked on Ravelry, but did not get an answer, so I chose the word "Accoutrements" meaning "equipment with a purpose."
I used Wordle - www.wordle.com to help me design my shirt and this is the finished product. I am ready for Friday!
Monday, April 4, 2011
Buffalo Burger Recipe: from http://www.chow.com/recipes/18752-buffalo-burger
Total: 30 minutes prep
Active: about 20-25 minutes cooking
Makes: 4 patties (about 1/3 lb. each)
1 1/2 lbs. of ground Buffalo
3 or 4 sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 med. onion, minced
2 Tbsp. of “Organic All Purpose” seasoning different herbs and spices in it.Or make up your
Cheese-your choice of types and thicknesses
1/4 cup red wine
couple dashes of Lee & Perrins
1 lb. of 'shrooms, sliced
1. Have a bowl big enough to hold the meat. Put the wine and Lee- & Perrins in the bowl.Chop the sun-dried tomatoes, and put that in with the liquid.
2. Put minced onions, half of the 'shrooms in hot oil, salt 'em a bit, and cook until until they
soften. When softened, put in garlic, seasonings and some fresh ground Black Pepper until
“aromatic”, about 15 seconds or so. Set them on paper towel to cool. When cooled (room temp or
so), put them in the liquid.
3. Put the Buffalo meat in the bowl and “massage” the liquids, sun-dried tomato, herbs and spices into it. When thoroughly integrated, make into patties. 1 1/2 lbs. will make 4 for me, but you might like yours bigger or smaller.
4. Pre-heat oven to 350. Have a middle rack.
Put patties on a hot, oiled skillet/griddle/grill and let them cook about 5 minutes and then flip
them (carefully of course). Make sure they are starting to brown (about 2 minutes) then put them in oven. With 4 burgers, it will take about 15 minutes (about 160 F). At 12-13 minutes, put the cheese on them, and back in the oven. Bring 'em out at 15 minutes or so, cover 'em and let 'em rest a couple of minutes while you get plates etc. ready.
1. Use remaining half-pound of 'shrooms for a gravy mix if you like, OR, put them under the cheese on top of the patties then back in the oven. Or, just use all of the 'shrooms for a gravy.
Here's what I did differently:
- used soy sauce because I didn't have Lee and Perrins
- Omitted the cheese
- added additional sun-dried tomatoes
- Made 8 patties with 24 oz of buffalo meat
I would not recommend cooking these on the grill unless you add some sort of binder to the meat mixture. It is very lean and while it held together in the saute pan and in the oven, I don't think it would over an open grill.
Yum! Photos below with and without a bun. The red is ketchup the Dan added to his plate. Topping the burger is a mix of mushrooms and onions sauteed together with a bit of red wine. I also sliced some potatoes on the mandoline and seasoned them with a little bit of olive oil, seasoning salt, fresh rosemary and sliced onions. I love my mandoline! Slicing the potatoes very thin allows them to cook quickly, a plus when you are in a hurry. I had some fruit for dessert. This is a keeper recipe! I'm glad I have a few more packages of buffalo!
Here's a mandoline. Mine has an insert to julienne vegetables if you wanted.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Food is often synonymous with comfort. We make food for people who are sick, we feed a cold, we feed those we love, we go out to eat to celebrate, we have food when we are sad, we have food when we are happy.
Last night I had the occasion to make food for a very special person and friend who has been sick and had surgery. I put chicken and veggies in the crockpot and let it cook all night. My container was just a bit too small, so we had chicken soup for breakfast! I think that's a pretty healthy breakfast, actually. My point though, is that we took food to someone who needs our help and our love. It makes me feel good to be able to bring something to someone who needs the help and who I think so highly of.
Before leaving for work this morning, I put the fixings for Chicken Posole in the crock-pot. Actually, I had prepared it last night, so all I had to do was to dump it out of the bag and put it in the crock-pot this morning. It was wonderful to come home to good smells and the posole was warm and filling. We had it with some avocado, lime juice squeezed on top of the soup and some tortilla chips. Delicious.
Crock Pot Posole: 3 points per 1 cup serving (this is somewhat of an estimate - was 27 points for the entire crock pot. I estimated at 10 cups, it might have more room than that)
2 pounds chicken breast, diced into small pieces
1 cup dried posole (hominy)
2 cans diced tomatoes
4 cups fat free chicken stock
1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 frozen, roasted green chili's with seeds (especially if you like it hot)
oregano to taste
minced garlic to taste
green chili powder to taste
Put all items in the crockpot in the morning and cook on low all day long. Before eating, garnish with some diced avocado, squeeze some lime juice over it and enjoy it with tortilla chips. I added salt to my bowl, but don't cook with much salt.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
My dear friend Cathy from Alaska came down to visit. We have known each other for probably 10 years and used to live near one another. Now we don't, but when we get together, it's like we just left off the day before! Cathy is an accomplished fiber artist. She spins, weaves and knits and has been working at corrupting me for years! I came home one day last year and found a big box on my front porch. This is what was in it:
So I was very excited about a spinning wheel and went to my favorite store - Green Valley Weavers and took a short lesson on how to spin. I learned to put the wheel together and how to operate it and I came home and created some very thick yarn! It was very hard. Then my dog chewed up the yarn, and I put the wheel in the closet. So once Cathy got here for spring break, we pulled the wheel out and I had some private lessons! I spun some great yarn for a first try, posted earlier on the blog and we proceeded to spend some time visiting several fiber stores and I got a lot of great fiber! Here are a few of the samples and yarn that I spun
One of the other things that we enjoy doing is going to antique stores, flea markets and places where great bargains can be found! In Fort Collins, Cathy found a great basket for her spinning supplies and in Colorado Springs I found an awesome shelf which is now displaying some great fiber!
So one of our traditions is that we love to go to Pagosa Springs to soak in the hot springs there. We decided that instead of doing that, we would explore some other hot springs. So we made reservations for Cottonwood Hot Springs in Buena Vista. We saw online photos of the accommodations and while they didn't look like Pagosa Springs, they looked clean and like it would be a nice substitute. The bonus is that they allow dogs, so we were able to take the dogs with us We made reservations and on Wednesday drove to Buena Vista. We arrived at Cottonwood about 4 p.m. and checked in. We walked into our cabin and were assailed by the smell of stale cigarettes, cat urine and musty odor. None of the windows would open and the place was less than clean. We went back to the office and asked to change accommodations. We were told that another one was available (the last) but that the housekeepers needed to get it ready for us. We unloaded the food, and went for a soak. When we returned to the cabin, it had been cleaned and while musty, did not smell like the other one. We cooked dinner and Jake soaked in the outdoor hot springs. While we were cooking, I kept hearing the toilet bubbling and remarked that I didn't think that was a good sign. We were all sort of icked out and jumpy and silly and wishing we had not been there. After dinner, I used the restroom and when I flushed the toilet, the water began rising. I tried to open the bathroom door and couldn't get the knob to turn and banged on the door and yelled for help. We all started laughing hysterically and when we finally got the door open, I went to the office to inform them that the plumbing wasn't working. Before going to the office, we decided that we were going to ask for our money back and leave. The lady from the office came over and spent about 30 minutes trying to unstick the toilet, asking "Did you flush any sanitary products down the toilet?" We explained multiple times that the only stuff that had gone into the toilet was TP and liquid. At that point, we were given a refund and went back into town where we found some very nice rooms at a very nice rate. While we did not get to relax in the springs for long, we have a story that will remain in our family lore forever!
All was not a total loss though, as the next day we had a nice breakfast and the boys climbed on some rocks down by the river in a rock park:
Then we found a lovely yarn shop in Buena Vista called Serendipity. Wow! I can't say enough things about it. They are getting ready to open their online store, so if you are a knitter or spinner, I recommend you check them out online if you can't get there in person. Hands down, it's the best LYS (Little Yarn Shop) I have ever been to. The women working there were wonderful, friendly and helpful. They welcomed the boys into their store and even gave the dogs some water. I'll go back to Buena Vista just for that store! Check them out on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Serendipity-Yarn-Gifts/80742706057
So while we did a lot of other things and didn't quite do what we planned, spring break was really awesome. Good friends, good food, good fiber and good fun! You just can't beat that!
This works out to 3 points per serving - I calculated 27 servings in the two pans I made, 15 pieces in the larger pan, 12 pieces in the smaller pan.
1 pound chicken sausage - I added caraway seeds to the chicken
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 bell peppers, chopped
Any other veggies you like - I added shredded zucchini and yellow squash
1 - 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
oregano to taste
basil to taste
4 cans of diced tomatoes
3 cups mozzarella cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
14 oz of lasagne noodles - I used mostly whole wheat
Chop the onion and saute in pan with garlic and bell peppers. Add sausage to pan and cook until browned and cooked through. Add seasonings and simmer until sauce thickens.
In a separate bowl mix the cottage cheese, eggs and Parmesan cheese.
When sauce is cooked, layer the sauce, noodles, cheese mixture and mozzarella cheese in pan. It is not necessary to precook the noodles as they will cook as the lasagne cooks. You can either refrigerate at this point or you can cook it at this point in a 400 degree oven for 45 - 60 minutes.
This was really good!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Roasted Chickpeas - 1 cup = 9 WW points plus (7 points for the beans, 2 for the olive oil)
1 Can chickpeas - aka Garbanzo Beans
1 Tbsp olive oil
Seasonings to taste - I used dried rosemary, minced garlic, salt and pepper
Drain chickpeas. Rinse with water and remove any errant skins (you don't have to remove skins, I just removed the ones that came off. Pour onto cookie sheet on top of paper towels, let sit and dry. Once dry, drizzle with olive oil, add the seasonings and cook in 400 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes, stirring at least once. If your chickpeas aren't all in one layer, it will take longer.
Let cool and enjoy!
Spiced Lentil Fritters - This was adapted from a recipe in the book, "Promises to Keep", written by Jane Green. She has interspersed this wonderful book with family recipes, quite a few of which I plan to try. The first was for dinner tonight. Lentil are 2 WW Points Plus for 1/2 cup; this recipe should make 8 patties, each should be 2 points.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 sm onion, finely minced
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
Dried red chili (I used green chili powder)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cup lentils
2 handfuls fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
3 - 4 4 tbsp yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup water
Heat the oil , add onion, pepper and chili powder to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes until soft, then add the coriander, cumin and turmeric and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
Put the lentils and cilantro into food processor and process until finely chopped. Combine beans, onions, lemon zest and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the flax seed and water in small container and add to lentil mixture. Add flour to mixture as well, form into patties, about 1/2 an inch thick and coat with some flour. Heat the sesame oil in skillet or on grill, cook until browned on each side, 1 - 2 minutes. Serve with toppings or dips of your choice - mustard was great tonight.
We also had this with fresh asparagus, sauteed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over asparagus when hot. Yum!