Thursday, April 12, 2018

Birds, Their Nests, Babies....

My Robin did not come back to her tree this year... I was sad... I had pruned the pear tree this fall, and  well, I guess it was too much for her.   I'll miss her and the babies, they gave me joy to listen to their food cries and their parents hard work to provide them food.

Nest in my Kiefer Pear Tree

I provide a source of 'nest' building material.... this little ball, made from grape vines,,,, filled will alpaca wool.... I can tell you... my birds  have been busy plucking away at this for their nests.

Grape Vine filled with Wool for the birds


I have other birds that like to build nests on my porch in the shades I have...... we have had such strong winds they lost a few nests...  and when I went to investigate their latest..... well, they abandonaned it...so I added to my table of decorative bird houses......  can't say this broke my heart.......  as they make a bit of a mess....


Nest that fell out of the screen on my porch
My table with decorative bird houses...
















This past winter we have had birds 'hanging' out.... this is a good thing.... I will guess all my tree planting has provided the birds with more sanctuary....

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wedding Anniversary, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Pork Chops...

My anniversary, April 10th... I forgot.... but my husband... he reminded me... Gosh, I am a horrible partner...... Good thing I can cook! (probably why he reminded me)

My hubby is a good man, provider and friend....   So, despite his low carb healthy lifestyle, I was able to make him a food friendly and Husband approved meal for our special day....  No worry on fussing over when to start the Chops.. I used my favorite new tool.... a power pressure cooker!... Ohh yeah folks, ya'll need one - for us gardeners (obsessed with the yard) - we can work in the yard ALL day and still provide a yummy quick meal.... without standing over it..!

My meal was Pork Chops cooked in onion, lemon juice, white wine and garlic.....
The veggies were roasted cauliflower, mushrooms, and radishes

Sautéed pork, .. ready to cook

Love lemon and Lime... always have in my home...

I love my $3.00 thrift store bowl..... hand blown and a classic.


Dipped Strawberries all packaged nicely
The past few years I have been making more of my own candy and choosing the best chocolate, not only to control the ingredients, but the sweetness too... and I came across these wonderful tools for dipping... gosh - what did I do in the past without them!

The specialty tools for chocolate dipping.


Chocolate, my preference is Guittard or Ghirardelli - if you ever go to San Francisco... make sure you stop by the Chocolate Factory (Ghirardelli).......  BUT hands down... I prefer Guittard...... 100% all the way!





Just dipped berries... ready for chilling
        

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sherbet, Cold Weather and a Neglected Yard

I could not wait to try my Homemade Sherbet!!!! It turned in perfect.... as a ate my Sherbet I was wrapped in a blanket, it is cold outside.... 32 degrees to be exact!  burrrr


This weekend we have expected 70 degrees weather - so we can finish our 'red' brick walkway.. lay seed, work on a new retaining wall.. and work on planting some more trees and plants... I don't plan a big veggie garden this year... just a tomato plant, cucumbers and some herbs...... so I have no stress with preparing garden beds.... 

When we are done.. I have planned BBQ chicken and for dessert we will finish up the Sherbet....

Have a great day y'all!


Monday, April 9, 2018

What it means to be a polite, patriotic American...

I can't even come to terms with what is going on in our Wonderful Country these days.... Jimmy Kimmel, making fun of our Beautiful first Lady Melania's accent.... Open threats against our President Trump, no voice allowed for the conservative Christians - Y'all, if we don't agree with the left we are racist, white privileged deplorable people.
Image may contain: 3 people, including Spencer McGalliard, people smiling, people standing

Image may contain: 3 people, including Spencer McGalliard, people smiling, people standing
I had the privilege to meet a President, President Obama... It was such an honor to accompany my son, the Marine, who supported the White House in his service to our Country.....

I did not vote for Obama, I did not like or approve of Obama's political agenda - His open support of Islamic Terrorists, the allowing of Criminal illegal immigrants some sort of path to sanctuary, and his 'no' border policy! (what the hell)

Not only did I not NOT BASH, Threaten, Taunt, publicly humiliate Obama, make fun of his wife (cause I could have) or children.... I was a conducting myself and what a Good Citizen, a good Patriotic American does...... I sucked it up, and for the good of the Country - I let this awful president be and voted out the Democratic when the opportunity came up,.. See I agree with Trump, I want to Make American Great Again,  for everyone and for Always.

The bottom line - I put aside my disgust and hatred for a standing president, I went to the white house with my Son as a Proud mom, a proud American, I met the first Black President, regardless if did not approve of him the (Man as my president) or his policy... I was honored, it was a privilege and I'd do it again.

The rest of the rude, disrespectful, UN-American Liberal Left... Please take a note from my story and learn what it means to be a polite patriotic American.

Berry Sherbet & Mixed Berry Jam

Love using fruit that I grow, grows wild or I can buy organic, organic is what I have for my strawberry Jam... I can't seem to get but 2 or 3 strawberries from my yard, between the rabbits and the chipmunks - 
It is a battle I have yet to win! urrgh.....Image result for pictures of strawberries in the yard


Flash Frozen Strawberries

I had several frozen bags of freshly picked strawberries and wild blackberries from last season... nicely tucked away in our freezer...







Spring fruit will be out soon - I decided to make some goodies with last seasons fruit... First up is the Frozen Sherbet... using my new ice cream machine.. I have had and used several machines... the basic - freeze the bowl, the very nice generator machine,  Now, I went back to a basic rock salt machine.
Ice Cream Maker
The mixture for the Sherbet is complete and now cooling off!  - Can't wait!!!  Off to store to get extra ice...just in case.
Wild Berry/Strawberry Sherbet Mixture

Set up real nice! yummy!!!
I made a small batch of mixed berry jam too!  had left over wild berries from the making of Sherbet... so I will use it all up (no waste).... I love my  Ball® FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker.. It is perfect for using leftover fruit for small batches of jam
A pinch left over....

Small jars of Luscious Mixed Berry Jam












Toast with butter and fresh jam - 

Ball® FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker
Fresh-tech Jam and Jelly Maker
Y'all have a wonderful spring! - I plan to enjoy every minute of every warm sunny day!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Pasta - so easy and simple.. just a few ingredients

Pasta is one of my favorite food groups.... since my eating plan changed, it is rare I eat pasta, It is a limited food... my favorite pasta is with fresh lemon, olive oil, cheese and a veggie.... I keep it simple!  Do you love pasta?  I made it eat twice this week..... so... I'll have to wait a bit for more pasta... .. 

Good wholesome food is not that hard to make, It is satisfying to make a meal with such flavor, and you can add meat/fish if you want.

Makes me want to plant some broccolini!


  Fresh parmigiana reggano is a must!   add off the heat
I cook the pasta, add the veggies the last 4 minutes..... I keep some of the pasta water out in reserve to use in the final mixture..... helps to thicken up.

Friday, April 6, 2018

TEST COOKIE - Coconut Castaway Cookies.... a spring, summer, picnic treat? - Well, Not yet!

A spring cookie!  I decided to try and make this cookie while out and about.. thrift store shopping... I fell in love with this cookie... Light, crunchy and soft!  A bit like a snickerdoodle.... but better.  I COULD NOT find a recipe, so I reached out to a facebook cooking group... and behold..... someone new exactly what I was looking for... BUT the technique of how to make them was missing.....

TIPS:  (suggested, I'll do this next time)
Use sweetened coconut.... toast it too, but watch that oven.. I nearly burnt it.
It needs more sugar too!
for a crispy cookie, I would suggest melting the fat prior to adding to the sugar and egg...
Don't over whip the mixture.
Bake longer - Depending on your 'fickle' oven
and don't do what I did... Used Bread Flour.... - Shame on me - wondering why the texture was off...


Toasted the Coconut - a Must

 Easy drop cookie!

How to Make Lemon Coconut Snickerdoodles:

2 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c coconut (Tip:  Use Sweetened Coconut)
1 c butter, softened (TIP:  melt it first, y'all get a crisper cookie)
eggs
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind

Combine all ingredients. Beat at low speed until well mixed, 2 to 4 minutes.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 400 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

So what do I think? - They do taste GOOD,, with a hint of Lemon and  coconut adds nice texture... 

 Browned very nice too.... These cookies like convention.




bottom line!  they taste good!  I was looking for a crispy cookie, on the outside and sweeter.. I think it needs more sugar...... I will work on perfecting, as this cookie has great flavor. 




Monday, January 22, 2018

Humble Hooterville Kitchen

I have learned to embrace my small living space; our kitchen and front room are shared, so having functional appeal and a country feel is something I am working towards.....

We plan to sell in a few years, so we have slowing been making much needed (necessary) upgrades...... on the inside that is -  the outside, well...that is something we did strait away, yard work and gardening is my love.

I have gone through a few counter islands over the years - I finally settled on a nice, quality made in USA Boos Block

 and thought long and hard about what type of eating table I needed to fit in this small area, as I did not want to share my food prep area with were we eat..... Well, I found this nice metal/wood counter height table.... for a good price.

I am hoping that we can afford to make some of the changes I am dreaming of..... I want replace the bottom cabinets... I want to ditch them for a more open shelf type of cabinet base - made from real wood..... We took out the dishwasher years ago, and will replace, but only for resale purposes..... Going to a one basin sink, smaller faucet and we ditched the microwave, which was above the stove..... What will go here?  not sure... a shelf? - a light and shelf? - a place to put up my knife magnet?   decisions.... for the time being.. I have filled the gap with some of my useful kitchen tools.


The refrigerator was also relocated.... awaiting the 4th new one..... I am a bit crowded, but where the frig was, I plan on shelves, so this should help rid me of one book shelf cabinet that I keep some of my dried herbs on.


The rest of the room.....This is the 'living' space... but for me the kitchen is my living space



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cold Weather Comfort Food ... Tamale Pie

Trying to be more frugal, and take stock of what I have on hand to cook, left over salsa, cheese, cream etc....   Today, using ground venison to make one of my hubbies most favorite casserole dishes.... - I spice it up! 


This recipe is from All-recipes

Ingredients cooking spray 2 pounds ground beef 2 cups diced poblano* peppers  ( 1 teaspoon salt 1 (16 ounce) jar salsa 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper 2 (8.5 ounce) boxes dry corn muffin mix* (such as Jiffy) 2 eggs 2/3 cup milk, divided 4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided 4 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, divided 8 ounces frozen corn, thawed...  NOTE:  I used jalapenos, and made my own cornbread.

Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Cook and stir ground beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until meat starts to brown and release juices, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in poblano peppers, salt, salsa, oregano, and chipotle powder; cook and stir until seasoned beef is crumbly and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Mix one package of corn muin mix in a large bowl with 1 egg and 1/3 cup of milk. Whisk to combine. In a separate large bowl, mix the second package of corn muin mix with 1 egg, 1/3 cup of milk and half the Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. Spread the prepared corn muin mixture without cheese into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle corn over the muin mix, followed by remaining half of the cheeses, then the beef mixture. Spoon the corn muin mix with cheese on top of the beef and carefully spread over the top with a fork, leaving about half an inch from the edges of the pan.


Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Oatmeal Cookies and Irish Butter

I am so frustrated - I have failed three times!  I can't make an oatmeal cookie! 

This is an epic failure! - what went wrong?  Oven temp?  I have this fancy oven where I can re-set the oven temperature - only thing, it is too technical... OMG... I just wanted an oven - now I need to hire a techie to help me use my oven.


I even bought a new oven thermometer - says it is 350? - IT LIES! ... Anyway, I have been trying to make oatmeal cookies for my older sister Mary, I will send her the batch where I froze the dough first and used my heavier cookie sheet.    See.. these look like they taste good... I need a cookie taster before I ship out... Hubby has a job!



I really think the Irish Cows have it out for me... I need to just eat that butter and quit trying to bake with it.....

I'll have to send a note... "eat at your risk".. Irish Cows are responsible.....

Sad oatmeal cookie baker.....


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Artisan - Bread - No-Knead....YEAH the way to go!!!

Recently, Grit Magazine had an article on no knead artisan bread..... Well, I gave it a try... I made 100% whole wheat (not what they listed, I altered their recipe) - LOVE this recipe... of course, Whole Wheat is an acquired taste... but once you get used to it.... everything else tastes like cardboard..
I can see me making this over a fire outside in a dutch oven.... imagine this along with some beans with ham!  yummy 




COOKIES....COOKIE MONSTER APPROVED!

I LOVE TRIED AND TRUE RECIPES!!....  BUT that can be boring - right?

This year I will make my standard peanut butter blossom cookies - topped with three different type of kisses - some with dark, milk and with some with almonds!



View from the top
A new crispy chocolate chip cookie - reminiscent of those wonderful good Chips Ahoy. - It is all in the technique...

Bottom - just right
Side view - just the right height


A new snicker doodle cookie - crispy on the outside, chewy in the center - coated with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon - but with a new twist - maybe cardamon - nutmeg..... It's a secret.  I like the taste of cream of tarter... so I kept this in my cookie....  BOMB!  stick to tried and true!

A new chewy, fuggy triple-chocolate brownie - decadent high quality chocolate and cocoa.... The perfect moist brownie - This too is all about technique....  BOMB!  stick to tried and true!


I meticulously read recipes, different types of methods and techniques... and I test them for myself.

Want a crispy cookie? - don't whip the fat..... melt it before adding....

Want a perfect moist chocolaty brownie? - Use FAT - and lots of if and Don't OVERBAKE.... too much chocolate will weigh down a dessert... there are ways to bring out its flavor....

Love this time of year..... Cookies, friends and family and more Cookies......

Cookie Monster - signing out!

Featured Post

Birds, Their Nests, Babies....

My Robin did not come back to her tree this year... I was sad... I had pruned the pear tree this fall, and  well, I guess it was too much fo...