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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blender Salsa

We have a tradition in our home - Taco Tuesdays. 
It is a fairly new tradition about a year old or so. 
Everyone loves it. 
We often have beef/liver tacos or chicken tacos and occasionally steak tacos. 
Always with soft wheat tortillas and corn tortilla chips. 
(here is how I keep the tortillas warm)
When I get totally taco-ed out I will make chicken enchiladas or enchilada lasagna
And on my birthday we have spaghetti because, well, I love spaghetti. 
The one thing I always make is homemade salsa. 
It is so simple and fresh and delicious. 
In "tomato season" I use all fresh locally grown 'maters. 
In the winter I use canned fire roasted. 
I love to add tomatillos but they aren't necessary for yummy salsa. 

I add stuff until the blender is full. I always taste it before declaring "done" because it often needs a bit more of this or that.

Here is a recipe to start with - play with it and make it your own.

Blender Salsa
4 or 5 large fresh in season tomatoes OR 1 large and 1 small can fire roasted tomatoes (can use plain also)
1 small onion cut in big chunks
2 cloves garlic peeled
1 tsp salt
1 handful of cilantro (I leave the stems on - they are blended up so why waste them?)
1 green pepper cut in big chunks
1 lime squeezed
1 or more jalapenos - deseeded - be careful and use gloves, I have burnt my hands before and it is miserable.
Optional - 6 or so tomatillos - cook in simmering water until they change from a bright green to a dull green. (You know to peel the papery outside and rinse them first right?) When I do this I use a bit less of the tomatoes.
Optional - a handful of purslane - a delicious weed herb weed that adds lots of nutrients!

Put it all in a blender and blend away. Taste, adjust seasonings. Refrigerate for an hour at least to blend flavors.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!
I am linking this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday  Scratch Cookin' Tuesday and the Hearth and Soul Hop!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Enjoy Eating Saturated Fats: They are good for you!

This is a bit long but very informative and worth your time; I promise. The gentleman giving the talk a Dr. Donald W. Miller Jr. is a heart surgeon and he debunks current thought that saturated fats are bad for us.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Meatballs for a Crowd

This is spaghetti with meat sauce ;o) I didn't take a picture with the meatballs. Oops.

 Do you like your spaghetti with meat sauce or with meatballs? 
I admit that I am a meat sauce fan. 
I like to get meat and sauce in every bite. 
But sometimes you just want to shake things up. 
That is what I did today. 
I made meatballs - for the very first time. 
They were really good. 
I made a ton of them because, well in order to use four different meats it needed to be tons. 
I cooked them and then froze about two third of them to use later. 
Now you don't need to use all the different types of meat.
 I am sure these would be great without the liver.
 I am just always looking for ways to feed this wonderful organ meat to my family. 
Recycled picture from spaghetti with meat sauce post - but isn't she cute?!
Also, you could just use sweet Italian sausage and I suppose they could be made with just hamburger meat but they wouldn't be anywhere near as tasty. 

Meatballs for a crowd 
(60 or so depending on size)
1 lb beef liver ground in the blender to mush (sounds gross but trust me)
1 bag spinach added to liver and blended with it (or use thawed frozen cubes)
1.5 lbs ground beef - the best you can afford and find
.5 lb Sweet Italian sausage and .5 lb spicy Italian sausage - once again the best you can find
4 large eggs - hopefully from happy free range chickens
1 sleeve of saltines (or there abouts, I had been saving the stale ones for this) blended - or use good bread crumbs just add salt then to the mix.
1 onion diced
2 TBS Italian Seasoning
2 TBS garlic seasoning
2 TBS dried parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare a large pan by greasing it - I used those butter wrappers from my freezer.
  3. Put in a huge bowl and mix away. I put my hands in empty bread bags turned inside out to do the squishing and mixing.
  4. Take a small handful of the mix and gently roll into a ball and place on your pan, repeat until your pan is full. 
  5. Cook for 20 minutes and then check and make sure done by either cutting in half or using a thermometer.

 I had planned on adding Parmesan cheese but forgot to add it, I think they tasted fine without but you could certainly add it.

Linking this to Gallery of Favorites @ Premeditated Leftovers and The 21st Century Housewife. And Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade. Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

6 Pictures to Keep in Your Phone

I forget lots of things. I blame it on "Sometimers". That and I have to keep lots of information about a lot of people in my poor little brain. I recently heard of the most wonderful hint that has changed my life (well maybe not that drastic, but maybe so).

Use my phone to take picture of things I need to know but don't have memorized.

My top 6 (plus) suggestions:

1. Take your kids photos when you are going out so that if (hopefully never) get lost you can just show the picture to the police so that you won't have to remember what he/she was wearing that day. They love to have their pictures taken so this is perfect. And if you have ever had to come up with what they are wearing in an emergency situation you will be so grateful for this tip.

2.  Picture of the razor and refills my husband likes - I can't tell you how many times I have stood in front of the bajillion choices.

3. A picture of my printer cartridge so I buy the right ones!

4. Travel confirmation numbers - just take a picture of your computer screen and voila'.

5. A reminder of where I have parked - this is wonderful when you are in a big parking lot or in a big city.

6. Picture of poison ivy so I can be sure I am not touching it or attempting to forage it!

Poison Ivy

bonus - picture of Christmas/birthday gift possibilities. I think this would be a great way to let your sweetie know what you want (forward the picture to him/her).

If I was traveling abroad I would use it for things like the street my hotel is on, a picture of my passport, insurance card, and a current picture of myself and anyone traveling with me. Oh, and a copy of my itinerary.

Be careful not to put too much information in your phone in case it is lost or stolen and there would be the possibility of some less than honest person using it for evil gains. 

Tell me how do you use your smart phone to make your life easier??

Friday, May 4, 2012

Homemade Ketchup

I have to admit this is not a frugal recipe, at all. 
Especially if I use all organic ingredients. 
But sometimes frugality has to (if possible) take the back seat to nutrition and health and taste. 
Ketchup is more than a condiment to many people, I remember reading somewhere that the ketchup on the fries at McNasty was really the only thing worth eating. 
Well, that was obviously before we realized how horrible HFCS is for us. 
There is however some truth to that.
I have attempted ketchup in the past and it was always not quite right. 
Maybe it is because we have been using different organic ketchups for several years.
Maybe our palates are more refined and used to good foods.
Maybe, just maybe this is a delicious recipe - I am sure this is true!

Homemade Ketchup
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (you don't want whole)
  • 1/2 tsp powdered mustard 
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (if you want a little kick)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1  28 - ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (6-7ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 TBS unsulphured blackstrap molasses 
  • 2 TBS honey - raw if you have it
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar (I uses unfiltered, raw) 
  • 1/2 cup liquid - water, chicken broth, or I used 1/4 cup of my tomato juice I drained from the diced tomatoes plus 1/4 cup water

Don't forget to be your own sous chef - mise en place really makes this go quickly. 

Chop your onions, drain your tomatoes, measure your spices. 

Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot. 

Add onion, the cumin, clove, powdered mustard, sea salt, and your 1/2 cup liquid and then saute until translucent and the water is mostly evaporated. 4-5 minutes or so. 

Remove from heat and add to a blender along with remaining ingredients. 

Blend until smooth. 

Pour ketchup into glass jars - this makes about 3 cups. 

I haven't tried this but I am sure it could be frozen. 

So, what about you? Do you make your own condiments? Do your kids know you do crazy stuff like make your own ketchup? Do they care? 

I am linking this to Mrs. Dull's Scratch Cookin' Tuesday

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ted Talk: Dan Phillips - Creative homes from Recylced Materials.

This is another great Ted video - this guy makes the most amazing homes from things headed to the land fill.  This is the type of creativity that takes upcycling to the ninja level!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chocolate Whipped Cream

We celebrated Sylvia's 7th (sob) birthday tonight with homemade pizza - yum! and homemade chocolate cake with chocolate whipping cream and ganache (well, my version anyhow). It was delicious. The cake was super rich and chocolatey and didn't need normal frosting so I made chocolate flavored whipped cream to top it.

Growing up I thought that canned rediwhip was the ultimate in whipped cream - that was before I knew what REAL whipped cream was. Using heavy whipping cream (comes in a carton like milk) and making it from scratch is so much better. Better tasting, better for you, just better.

You could also make this recipe with coconut milk - I show you how here, just add the chocolate to the bowl before you mix.

Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 small container whipping cream - raw if at all possible
1 heaping TBS sugar -
1 heaping TBS unsweetened powdered chocolate
1-2 tsp vanilla

First, when you are baking your cake, put your bowl (stainless steel works best)  and beaters in the freezer to get them crazy cold. 20 minutes should do it.  Remove from freezer and immediately dump all the ingredients in. If you are using a stand mixer whip on low in the beginning and then whip on high for a minute or two - be careful because if it goes too long you will get chocolate butter. When you lift the beaters out of the bowl you will get lovely soft peaks and that is how you know it is done. Super simple and delicious.

I am linking this post to the  Hearth and Soul Hop - the place to find real food recipes made with love!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I found it on Pinterest - BBQ Pork

So, just about everybody and there brother/sister is on Pinterest - it is the new social time suck! Sorry, Facebook I have a new love.

I have been pinning up a storm - lots and lots of great recipes to try. 
I thought I would actually make one of them instead of just pinning. 
And I am so glad I did. 
This is the easiest recipe ever. 
And delicious. 
I quote from my 14 year old son; "oh, my gosh Mom that is delicious - this is like perfect, I want this for my birthday dinner, WOW!"

The recipe is from The Happy Housewife. It has 3 ingredients - Pork, brown sugar and worchestershire sauce. That's it. Seriously. Now I had to make it a bit different because I didn't have enough worchestershire sauce. I am linking to the original and giving you what I did.

BBQ Pork
1 boneless pork roast
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup A-1 sauce

In a crock put the roast, then brown sugar then the liquids. Cook on high for 1 hour. Cook on low for 5 more hours. Shred and serve on buns.

I am linking this up to the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mini Oven Puffed Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce

One of the reasons I started blogging recipes (actually the main reason) was so I could remember what I have cooked and what my family loves. 
You see I often try things or make up recipes that my family loves. 
Which is wonderful until my middle -aged "sometimers" kicks in and I can't remember how I made it or even that I had (see here where I forgot I made beef shank and blogged like it was new - embarrassing!). 
So, when I make a winner I like to put it here so I have it permanently and I don't have to go hunting through my bookmarks or bazillion recipe books or google a recipe or hope I can remember.
This way too I can send friends who request recipes here.
Let me tell you this is one recipe I don't want to forget!

Sara at Our Best Bites created the most delicious breakfast dish - mini oven puffed pancakes with berry sauce -these things are delicious. 
Not too sweet. 
Quick - I made these this morning and we had them made and eaten in about 30 minutes.

You need to go look at her beautiful pictures of this dish - really, go ahead and then please come back. 

Hello again!

Mini Oven Puffed Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce 
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk (I used raw whole milk)
2 pastured eggs
1/8 tsp salt - the good stuff
3 TBS butter melted
powdered sugar

Raspberry Sauce
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 TBS raspberry jam (ours is homemade - you must learn to can and make this it is UH-MAZING!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put your mini muffin pans in the oven also to get them hot - this recipe makes 24.

Meanwhile in your blender dump the milk, flour, eggs and salt. Blend until smooth.
Remove HOT pan from oven and grease each little cup with melted butter. I use a pastry brush, works great. Fill each cup with pancake mix to 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes - until all puffy and lightly brown. Pop out and then spread some melted butter on top, drizzle raspberry sauce and dust with plenty of powdered sugar. 

To make raspberry sauce - in a small pan heat the raspberries and jelly, using a spoon to crush the berries. Taste and see if you need to add a bit of sugar.

Josh just ate his with maple syrup - also delicious.

I think these would be great topped with cinnamon and sugar instead of the raspberry sauce and powdered sugar. Or a quick chocolate sauce. The possibilities seem endless.

This recipe is certainly easy peasy lemon squeezy!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tiny Tip Tuesday "Reply to Comment"

Have you heard the exciting news for Blogger Blogs?? 
Our comment section now has the "reply to comment"!! ie "threaded commenting".
It makes so much more sense that way. 
You can make a comment on my post, OR if you have a question or comment on someone else's comment well they will know you do!

Whenever I have had several comments come in on a post and I haven't had a chance to respond I would have to do something like this:

  1. ChristyJan 1, 2012 12:38 PM
    Alea - I think crazy simple is a wonderful and appropriate motto for you!

    April- I hope you do give it a try! Thanks for the New Years wishes - I wish the same for you and yours!

    Michelle - you are welcome! I wish we had blueberry bushes - oh yum!

    Jackie - it is wonderful with a cup of coffee! I hope you try it.

    Now with the nifty "reply" I can comment below each lovely note. Be sure to click on the subscribe by email at the bottom of the comment form so if someone replies to you it will send you an email telling you!

    If you are on blogger and want to activate this wonderful feature it is super simple.
    To add the reply feature to your comments,
    • go to settings
    • then comments 
    • and then in the comment placement form 
    • click on embedded.
    Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

    I am linking this to Works for Me Wednesday @ We are that family

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Teriyaki Chicken over White Rice Noodle

Teriyaki Chicken over White Rice Noodles
Last week I pinned a recipe from Jamie Cooks it Up! aptly named Teriyaki Chicken and Noodle Bowl. This is my take on it - and it is DEE_LICIOUS!! No disappointment this time! My family (and especially my hard to please husband) has requested it be made again and again. The only request was more veggies, please. I can so do that!

Teriyaki Chicken over White Rice Noodles
1 Chicken breast or 4 boneless, skinless thighs or 1 bag frozen raw shrimp
3T coconut oil, divided
1 tsp sesame oil.
3 large carrots diced
1 small zucchini sliced (into circles then quarters)
1 red pepper and 1/2 green pepper diced
8 mushrooms diced
1/2 a red onion or 1 small yellow onion, diced
1 lb package of rice noodles.
Crushed peanuts or cashews- optional

Teriaki Sauce
1 1/2 Cups cold water
3 T corn starch (I will use 2 next time and see if it works)
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Cut up your chicken into small bite size pieces. Heat a large skillet and then add 2 TBS of oil. Toss the chicken in cook, stirring often but let the pieces get a lovely golden brown. Salt and pepper to taste. When they are just about done add a tsp of sesame oil.

2. Before I began I chopped my veggies (mise-en-place) - because I am not fast and I wanted to pay attention to the chicken. But if you are a speedy dicer you can do that now while the meat is cooking.

3. Get your water boiling for your noodles. Cook to your package specifications or if you are like me and bought them at an Asian Grocery Store and the package is in Japanese just keep testing until the noodles are done. Don't use salt when you cook them ( I am usually a big salter).

4. Once the chicken is done take it out of the pan and put in a bowl.

5. Add the rest of your oil to the pan and then the veggies. Cook them until crisp tender. After everything was cooked except the pesky carrots I added a bit of water (chicken stock would have been even better) to steam them some. Remove the veggies and put them in with the cooked chicken.

6. Make your sauce - in a large measuring cup put 1 1/2 cups cold water. Add 1 TBS of cornstarch and whisk, then the next and whisk and finally the third TBS making sure to whisk it - whisk it good (reminds me of that silly song) Next do the same with brown sugar stirring in 1/4 cup at a time to make sure it all dissolves. Next add your soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic powder.

After your veggies are removed from the pan you can put the sauce in and whisk it until it thickens. This only takes about 3 minutes to get a lovely, fragrant sauce.

The final step is to put it all together - I poured the sauce over the chicken and veggies and stirred and then put over the noodles.

Delicious!! And if you are like me, you can add some crushed nuts -but my kids were like "no thanks on the nuts Mom" - really, whose kids are they?

Better than take-out ANY DAY!

I am linking this to EKat's Friday Potluck.

Crayons, Crayons, Crayons

I had a huge container of crayons - most of them broken - all of them unloved - few of them used. 
I have been holding onto them thinking I was going to do that  amazing craft. 
You know, melt them in cupcake liners and make heart crayons.
(put a marble in it and it makes the heart shape). 
Thing is I have been "going to do it" for at least 8 years.
I kid you not. 
It was time. 
Time to let go. 
I have been moving it from here to there for years.
I threw the whole container away. 
Yes I did. 
It was incredibly freeing. 
No worries, Sylvia still has plenty of NEW crayons she got for Christmas. 
She actually likes not having the huge container.
Is there something you are holding onto, because your frugal self says you will use it someday? Something that is taking up valuable space? 
Or just creating clutter? 
I challenge you to let it go - you don't have to trash it, you can donate it, sell it, freecyle it. 
Just let it go. 
Then tomorrow look and see if you can get rid of more - you will be glad you did!
Hoarding is not frugal. 
I promise!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Don't you hate it when a recipe sounds fabulous and it isn't??

I am not one to make New Year's Resolutions but I do like goals. I have several right now and one is to cook from my vast array of cookbooks and saved links once a week - I hate having the same thing all the time.

So in an effort to actually "use" my large collection of recipe books I made two different meals in the last week that sounded UH-MAZING and turned out just eh, ok. Don't you hate that?? It is one of the hazzards of trying something new. It actually happens more often than I would like to admit.

First I made a Rachel Ray recipe called Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad. It makes a huge amount and while I had only one person truly dislike it - no one loved it or wanted second helpings which meant I was stuck eating it for lunch all week. I am giving the last serving to the chickens - I just can't eat another helping.

Then tonight I made Cheeseburger Salad which I didn't know was a Pioneer Woman/Pampered Chef recipe until I went to write this post. It was ok but not great. I think if I try it again I would put all the different components in individual bowls and let everyone make their own - like how we do tacos, that way we can have things like sweet and sour pickles and chopped olives to add if you wanted. I would also make a mustard vinaigrette for the mustard lovers in addition to my homemade Ranch dressing.

Will I keep trying? Absolutely - I have a fairly good handle on what my kids will like and so I tend to cook towards that. I have found that most recipes are too bland for my family. We like it spicier, saucier - lots of flavor. But every once in awhile I go out on a limb like my African Chicken Stew and we end up loving it. And that is why I keep on reading the cookbooks and blogs and watching cooking shows. You just never know!

How about you? Do you cook from your cookbooks? Do you try new things? Does your family like it when you do?

I am linking this to We Are That Family's Works for me Wednesday!