Friday, November 25, 2011

Chopping down the (Cedar) Tree

John and I love to chop down our own Christmas tree. I am not talking about going to a tree farm here. I am talking about hunting down a fence row tree that was previously unloved and taking it home and making it our own. Its very rustic and country Christmas but it wouldn't be Christmas with out it. Tomorrow is the day when we will hunt down our tree. Here are a few pictures from last years hunt!

{Is this the tree?}

{John cutting down the tree from the fence}

 {1...2....3... PULL, its a family affair here!}

{Load her up and away we go!}

Happy Black Friday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy (Turkey Free) Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
John and I hosted a great Vegetarian Thanksgiving that rocked any turkey thanksgiving out of the water.
The Menu (pictures and some recipes to follow)

Appetizer: Bread with dipping oil
Soup Course: Chipotle Sweet Potato
Main Course: Empanadas two ways
                      Macaroni Corn Casserole
Desert: Pumpkin Pie
            Mini Tofu Pudding Pies with Raspberry filling
Feliz dia de accion de gracias

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New era ?

Dear readers-
After over a year long hiatus I have decided to come back to blogging!
I'll do some catch up posts as to what you've missed along the way over the next few months.
For now some questions:
1. Should I change to a new name? (if so what?)
2. What should my focus be? (food, travel, daily life, etc)

I kind of want to go at this a little differently. I am interested in getting involved with foodbuzz and doing more food blogging and adding in our lives and adventure when it fits in (similar to a blogger to some of the bloggers I am huge fans of Daily Garnish and Espresso and Cream)

Please send lots of thoughts and ideas my way as I am looking towards a new era blogging.
Happy (day before) Thanksgiving!

PS As always this may not be set in stone and will require the permanence of it all to sink and see how it it sits after comments and trying it out. Sharing love will help :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

What do you think

Dear readers,
I know its been months since I've given you anything new. During this time I have been questioning having this blog. Does anyone actually read or enjoy it? Is it worth the time and energy to make it?
I ask that you please email, post here, or something to let me know what you think so I can make a decision about the future of the blog.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New recipe: Hummus


My go to semi-healthy snack is now hummus and carrot sticks. This spring I am in love with it! I discovered this 'love'  by my cooking project and ever since this first batch I've been experimenting with hummus making. There are many recipes online for it. Today I'll give you the one that is in the Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Ethan Becker, Marion Rombauer Becker. I also tried a roasted red bell pepper hummus (you'll see pictures of both with this post).

What you'll need:
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
3 Tbsp. Tahini (this is a sesame seed paste)
2 Cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tbsp. Fresh finely chopped parsley
sprinkling of paprika
salt to taste

What you'll do: 
1. Process in chick peas in a blender or food processor
2. Add in lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and a pinch of salt
3. Puree until smooth. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water if it gets to thick
4. Remove from blender and mix in paprika, parsley, and olive oil
5. Serve with warm pita bread or fresh veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, and celery

As this recipe currently stands I rate it  3.75/5 with some improvements yet to come. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Matter Paneer Made Simple

One of my favorite types of foods is Indian food. I think about it and I start to drool. I love it! Indian cooking is one of the types of foods that I have little experience in and have lots to learn. When I saw this recipe made easy I couldn't help but go right out and find my ingredients. First thing is first when you look at the recipe do not be alarmed by the large number of ingredients. They are mostly spices. Give it a try and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Matter Paneer Made Simple
From: Vegetarian times magazine
30 minutes or less

What you'll need:
1 large onion, quartered
1 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. whole brown mustard seeds (I couldn't find these so I used ground mustard seed)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. garam masala (a blend of spices that I find at Hy-vee in the bulk foods section)
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen peas, thawed
3 Tbs. reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 8-oz. pkg. paneer (this is a type of cheese)

What you'll do:
1. Purée onion in food processor.
2. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin, and bay leaf.
Cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.

3. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.

 Stir in tomato sauce, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, salt, and paprika. Simmer 10 minutes,
or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Add up to 1/2 cup water if sauce is
too thick.

4. Stir in peas, sour cream, and sugar. Simmer 5 minutes, or until peas are heated
5. Fold in paneer, and cook 3 minutes more. Remove bay leaf, and serve hot with
basmati rice or naan bread.

Serves 4

*Cut the paneer into small cubes so they become well mixed into the matter.
*If you are feeling up to it try making your own Paneer Cheese, I'd like to do this soon!
*rating 3.75/5

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Burger and Fries

I love it when it gets warm outside that means: Its time to fire up the grill! I love a good "burger" and fries for a quick and easy weeknight meal. For my burger I really like the Boca line of meat less burgers (all except the cheese burger one). My favorite by far is the Bruschetta Tomato Basil Parmesan with melted cheese, mayo, and pickle relish. To spice up the normal I decided to try some sweet potato fries. Here is the recipe...

Sweet Potato Fries

What you'll need:
2 lb. assorted sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick sticks
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2  tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. potato starch

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or coat with cooking spray. Set 1 oven rack in top position and 1 rack in bottom position.
2. Toss together sweet potatoes, oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon, if using. Sprinkle with potato starch; toss mixture once more to coat well. Arrange in single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes.
3. Turn potatoes with spatula, and rotate baking sheets. Bake 12 minutes more, or until golden brown.

Serves 6

*Be careful with cooking these I had trouble getting them to brown and not 'burn'
*Potato starch is a much- fries with out lacked the crunchiness
*Great to dip in bbq sauce
*Rating: 3/5 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Warm up with some yummy vegetarian chili

With snow looming on the horizon today it seems like the perfect day for some warm spicy chili. This has become one my favorites. Today I'm starting a new "feature", the JK rating system for how my husband and  I like the recipes. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili

Recipe adapted from: Joy of Cooking
by Irma S. Rombauer, Ethan Becker, Marion Rombauer Becker

What you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped peeled carrots--chopped very finely
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 fresh or frozen green chili peppers-leave seeds in
1 tablespoon ground hot chili pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 28-ounce can dice tomatoes, with juice
One 16-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
One 16-ounce can chili beans, with sauce
Two 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
Salt to taste

What to do:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add carrots, bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

  3. Add chili peppers and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, beans, tomato juice, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, adding more tomato juice or water as needed, about 45 minutes.

  5. Enjoy!
    *the longer you cook it the thicker and better the flavors blend
    *To bring down the spice add some shredded cheddar cheese (yum!)
    *Works great re-heated for lunches, makes quite a few leftovers
    Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Friday, March 19, 2010


My first flower is in bloom today!!! I  just love spring :)