Garden

Tomatoe Fail

I am in the middle of my first garden fail of the year.   Way back in March I planted my pepper and tomato seeds. The plants sprouted just fine and everything was going the way it should.  Then there was Bijou.  Bijou is a 16 year old cat who came into my life when he was a 3 week old kitten and maybe gets away with more than he should.  He  decided that tomato seedlings that are sitting on a sunny windowsill made the perfect cat bed. so he curled up on them for a nap.  Needless to say he killed all of then.  I decided I would try again since I still have a few weeks before the danger of frost has past.  So far one has sprouted.  Looks like I am growing tomatoes from transplants this year.  Lesson learned?  Stick toothpicks in starter trays to make them uncomfortable.

What have you failed at recently? What did you learn from it?  Leave me comment and let me know

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Recipes

Oops I Forgot

I was supposed to tell you about corned beef ravioli with mustard sauce. Recently the hooligan and I have been making our own pasta. One of the things we like to do is to make interesting ravioli. Now there are lots of simple pasta recipes online so I am going to concentrate on the filling and the sauce.
Our filling was corned beef chopped fine and potatoes that were mashed but still chunky. The sauce was simple too. Melted butter and deli style brown mustard with a splash of irish whiskey. They were a fantastic appetizer for the podcast crew.
I am sorry it took so long to tell you about this recipe. Next time spring! And craft projects.

Cleaning

New Car and Spring Cleaning

Hey there readers we are no longer carless! We have purchased a 2012 Subaru Impreza  its wonderful and shiny.

Speaking of shiny. It’s getting to be spring cleaning time.  I thought I would share with you some of my favorite cleaning “weapons”.

Microfiber cloths – I use these for everything!!  From getting all those fingerprints off my smart phone to getting the little hairs out of my bathroom sink.  They are also fantastic for dusting.  Especially if you have cats.

Method Wood for Good – This is the best way to clean wood furniture and floors too.  It makes everything all nice and shiny and it smells like almond too.

As a matter of fact I am a big fan of other Method products too.  Including their dishwashing liquid in Clementine and all of their Mint scented bathroom cleaners. On top of all all of that wonderfulness all Method products are non toxic.  So check them out I am sure you will love them!

Mr Clean Magic Erasers – If you aren’t  using these yet they are perfect for getting scuffs off of your kitchen floor.  I also love them for cleaning dirty fingerprints from around light switch and for cleaning my stove top.  Also no chemicals at all, what more can you ask for?

Hand knitted dish cloths – A few months ago I found this great cotton yarn for knitting dish cloths the yarn was pretty inexpensive and they were fun to knit up.  More than that they are wonderfully “scrubby” because of all the bumps.  If you knit you can  find lots of patterns online.  Get some cotton knit some and see what you think.  They would also be adorable in a basket of goodies as a wedding shower or housewarming gift.

So readers let me know what is in your spring cleaning arsenal?

PS. On the subject of things that brighten my world.   Lots of thanks to all the family and friend who helped with the car situation.   Especially MK47,  Tee, Vixen,  Lizard, Mr Cook and Aunt Pat. You guys are awesome and we heart you.

Garden

Arrgh! and seedlings

I wanted to do longer post this week about my garden plans and learning to knit cables. Instead our car dropped dead. So I’ll mention that having one car is awesome 99.9% of the time. Now is the 0.1%.

In other news the tomato and peppers seeds I planted are pretty much all sprouted already. I am hoping that is good omen for my garden this year.

I am going to take my foul mood elsewhere now. Next week is Stitch and Bitch so I’ll share what everyone is making. I’ll also tell you all about Corned Beef Ravioli, with mustard sauce. So be sure to tune in.

Recipes

Vegetarian Tales

Last week I promised you some of my favorite vegetarian recipes.  Cook these when your vegetarian friends come to visit or anytime because  they are delicious.

First up, my grandmother’s Escarole and Beans.

Here is what you will need:

1lb Escarole – This is a green leafy vegetable. I like the recipes best with it. If you can’t find escarole you can use spinach or collard greens.

3 or 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

3 cans of White Kidney or Cannellini Beans

3 cloves of Garlic chopped fine

Red Pepper Flakes

Salt

Here’s what you do:

Open the cans of beans. DO NOT DRAIN

Grab your big sauce pan. Heat the olive oil till shimmering.  Add the garlic and brown it just like you are making pasta sauce

Add the beans with the liquid they were canned in. Lower heat to medium.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I over season it a bit because we will be adding the greens.

Simmer stirring for 10 to 15 minutes

Add the greens a few handfuls at a time stir them and let them wilt. Then add the next handful. Do this until all the greens are added to the pan.

Cover and simmer on low for 20 to – 30 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread.

Next up Vegetarian Jambalya

Here is what you need:

I make this using vegetarian Charizo sausage.  Feel free to use any vegetarian sausage you like. If you can find a vegetarian Andouille, that would be awesome

1 pkg Vegetarian Sausage

3 Carrots chopped

2 ribs Celery chopped

1 large Onion chopped

2 or 3 Bell Peppers chopped

2 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 quart Vegetable Broth

1 large can of Crushed Tomatoes

1 cup Rice

Salt

Cayenne Pepper

Here’s what you do:

Once again grab you big saucepan and  heat the olive oil till it shimmers, you should be good at this by now.

Add the sausage and vegetables cook them till the veggies soften and everything starts to brown.

Add broth and tomatoes salt and cayenne pepper to taste.  It should be kind of spicy.

Simmer covered on low  for 45 to 60 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.

Add the rice.  Cover and on low for another 45 minutes or so till the rice is tender.

This is wonderfully hearty and spicy great for a cold winter night.

Speaking of veggies.  Today I started my tomato and pepper seeds inside.  Will let you know more about the garden as it progresses.

So do you ever go meatless?  What do you make?

Cleaning · Garden

Blogs I Heart and Other Stuff Too

We have recently been making a lot of updates to our apartment.  We added a little butcher block island to our kitchen which really makes it easier to cook and keep my kitchen clean.  I love it.  Speaking of cleaning you should check out One  Good Thing by Jillee her blog is lots of fun and she often makes her own cleaning supplies. I actually discovered it through Offbeat Home which, quite frankly you should already be reading.

I have also just signed up for my 2012 CSA. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. What that means is basically I pay for a share of a local farm and I get a share what they grow in a season. I pay for my share up front which covers overhead and I get know where my food is coming from and support my local farms. Yay!!  We got half a share which means starting in June we will get a share every other week till late September or Early October.  I will post our shares when we start to get them. I am also hoping to do some canning with some of what we get in our shares and what we get from our garden.  Oh and there is a canning blog I heart too.  It’s called Food in Jars and if you are interested in canning at all you should read it.

That is it for this week.  Next week, I will have 2 vegetarian recipes for you a Jambalaya and my grandmother’s awesome Escarole and Beans.  So tune in for that one.

 

 

 

 

Books · Crafty Goodness

Keeping My Hands Busy

I have been crafting a lot lately.  I quit smoking 3 weeks ago and keeping my hands busy is important.  My wonderful crafty friends and I have also started a monthly Stitch and Bitch. We had our first one 2 weeks ago and it went great.  I made a Sock Bunny.  I have made sock monkeys before and thought I would branch out to other animals. I got the book Socks Appeal by Brenna Maloney for Christmas so I used her pattern it came out really cute, see:

Sock Bunny!

I have also been knitting a lot too.  I just starting knitting in November and I taught myself so I am still pretty new at it.   I did just finish a cute pair of hand warmers in a ribbed knit and I really like them.

Now I am teaching myself to increase so I am working on the kerchief from the book Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller which is a really good beginners knitting book if you are trying to learn.  I will post pictures of it soon.

So how do you keep you hands busy and what are you making?  Leave me a comment and let me know

Crafty Goodness · Parties · Recipes

Stitch and Bitch

So the holidays are over hope you all had a wonderful New Year.   I got a couple of craft books for Christmas which is just perfect because tonight is the first monthly Stitch and Bitch!! I am very excited to get all my wildly crafty friends together to hang out, I am sure it is going to be a blast.

I don’t really have anything planned for this post. I recently quit smoking and have been, less than motivated lately.  I know it happens to all of us from time to time but, it’s hell when you are trying to come up with content for a blog.

How about I give you the recipe for our go to appetizer.  It’s everyone’s favorite and we serve it at almost every party we have.

Bacon Thingy’s

Here’s what you need:

1/2 pound of bacon strips cut in half

1 package of cream cheese

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 loaf of thin sliced white bread

toothpicks

 

Here’s what you do:

1. Cut the crusts off the bread

2. In a food processor mix together then  cream cheese with the garlic

3. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread

4. Cut the bread into strips about the same width as a strip of bacon

5. Take 1/2 a bacon strip lay it on the bread strip and roll into a spiral secure with a toothpick.

6. Place on cookie sheet and bake at about 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or so till the bacon is crispy and the bread is toasted.

7. Wow your friends!

Next week I will be sure to let you know how stitch and Bitch went.  I’ll also post some pics of all the craft projects I have been working on to try to keep from smoking.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

Recipes

Shortbread and Excuses

Sorry this is so late.  Holiday stress and work is crazy.  Will try to post again on Friday. I know you don’t want to hear my excuses. You want to hear about Cookiemageddon. It was awesome!! Everybody’s cookies were great.  My wonderful husband gave me my Christmas present early a new KitchenAid mixer, which is already getting a workout.  As a matter of fact that wonderful Hooligan made his amazing shortbread in that mixer just this weekend.  He was nice enough so write up the recipe to share with you.  So here it is.

 

Shortbread Cookies

 

1 Cup Brown Sugar

 

2 Cups Butter

 

4 Cups Flour

 

1 cup dried cranberries/raisins/currants

 

In mixer, cream butter & sugar together, then slowly add flour. Add a cup of dried fruit and mix.

 

Divide dough in half. Form half of the dough into log shape 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten sides to form square log. Repeat with 2nd half of dough and refrigerate both logs for at least 4 hours.

 

To bake: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap logs and cut into ¼ inch slices. I use parchment paper on my cookie sheet and place them fairly close together. If they’ve been refrigerated long enough they won’t spread much. Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown. They can go from pale to burn in 30 seconds so keep an eye on them.

 

Variations: I’ve replaced the fruit with 1/8 cup of caraway seeds. Another variation is to leave out the fruit, dip the cooled cookie halfway in melted dark chocolate, and sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt. Let cool on wax paper.

 

These were also successful using a vegan margarine, but they spread out and didn’t hold the shape as well. I used the caraway seeds on that batch and my vegan friends loved them.

I love these cookie the texture is perfect!  They are particularly yummy with hot chocolate.  You can thank me for that tip later.

 


Books · Parties · Recipes

COOKIEMEGGDON!!

Tomorrow is Cookiemeggdon which, as I explained in my last post is the day all my friends come over and make their favorite cookie recipes.  It is a blast and I can’t wait. This year I am making Ginger Snaps. They were a great hit last year so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of ground clove

1 Tablesppon ground cinnamon

1 Tablesppon ground ginger

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1/4 cup white sugar

Here’s what you’ll do: 

1. Preheat the oven to 375

2. Mix together the molasses, brown sugar, oil, and egg

3. In a separate bowl combine the cloves, cinnamon,  ginger, flour, baking soda and salt.

4. Stir the flour mixture into the molasses mixture till a dough forms

5. Roll the dough into balls. Roll the balls in the white sugar.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes

7. Let cool or else they won’t snap.  Then Nom!  These are pretty spicy and great with a dark roasted coffee.

In other news today I had to do emergency surgery on a sock monkey.  I had to do it on site too because my 3 year old nephew refuses to sleep without the sock monkey I made him.  If that’s not the ultimate reason to keep making stuff I don’t know what is.

I also made those salt preserved Meyer lemons I talked about last week.  The recipe is from the book Canning for a New Generation by Lianna Krissoff.  The book is great. It’s got all kinds of preserving recipes from around the world and recipes to make with the things you’ve preserved too.  If you are interesting in canning check the book out and check out this particular recipe it is really simple.  No water processing the jars or anything. Truly canning 101.

Here’s a picture of the lemons all jarred up:

Salt Preserved Lemons

Well that’s about it for this week,   I am sure my next post will be full of cookie goodness.