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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Summer morning sounds


July 30, 2020
 

Summer sounds today:

 
Two Towhees calling out across the valley and a lone Mourning Dove. What more could I ask for?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer flowers color bowl for a fraction of store bought baskets and bowls

Memorial Day is here and for me, its time to get my potted plants put together for the summer season.

With commercial baskets now costing between $25 and $30, I decided to make my own for a fracture of the cost.


Picture is a "color bowl" I threw together with a gorgeous pale pink zinnia, two French Dorango Flame marigolds and a white with purple blotch pansy in the back. Already had the bowl, and my favorite garden frog ornament plus an interesting rock. Total cost to me less than $10.

Pictured below are few more beauties. Enjoy!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Craving Mac and Cheese?

 Ok, so who doesn't love Mac and Cheese? But the popular boxed brand is nasty stuff, full of white flour macaroni and not much there, plus the "cheese" mixture is full of salt, artificial orange coloring and other ingredients that are not too compatible with healthy eating.

So here is my solution for that soul comfy food.

Ingredients are simple:

Barley (pearl barley is the most common grain found in your local grocery store) Of course, you could use a different grain but this one I absolutely love! I make up a batch in my rice cooker and add it to my dog's food as well as my go to grain instead of rice. (one part barley to 3.5 parts water)
I add a little salt (optional) and a small amount of olive oil ( teaspoon I would say, i dont measure it). Stir the barley and oil to coat the grains. Why? Barley releases starch when it cooks and can cause boil over. The oil seems to break that up so seems to make a difference.

Want to add seasoning? You can or leave it plain. In the batch, I added a generous amount of organic Italian seasoning.

Cook till water is absorbed and the grain is not crunchy, about 40 mins or if you have a rice cooker, just set and walk away.

Spoon some fresh hot barley into a bowl and sprinkle on cheese of your choice. Some would prefer Cheddar but for this batch, I choose shredded Parmesan/Romano cheese. Stir and enjoy!

Barley is a wonderful alternate to rice in my opinion. I store cooked barley in my fridge and add it to my dog's meals and it wonderful cold on top of your salad too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Microwaved Tortilla Chips


Watching TV and want a quick snack? Want chips? Here ya go!

Fresh, homemade, crispy, and flavored tortilla chips how You like them in two to three minutes cooking time and no deep fat frying!


Pictured are tortilla chips I made from packaged yellow corn tortillas, olive oil, salt (my secret ingredient is butter flavored popcorn salt) and spices (red pepper flakes with minced garlic, and a sprinkling of Italian herbs).


What you need:

Corn tortillas found in your local grocery store. For portion control, each tortilla is 100 calories. I do two tortillas normally.

Oil of your choice: I use either peanut oil or in this batch, extra virgin olive oil

Salt of choice: I used popcorn salt, it is already ground super fine and has butter flavor added to it. Of course, any type of salt can be used. See selection below for ideas.

Added spices of your choice or just make them with oil and salt for standard chips.

The procedure: In a small dish, pour in a small amount of oil, a tablespoon is probably plenty. Add to your oil, your salt and spices of choice.
Liberally brush your oil mix over the tops of your tortillas, cut into wedges and place single layer onto your microwave carousal plate.

Place into your microwave and micro at high two minutes. Watch your chips as once they start to brown, they are done! If you check your chips and they are still not starting to brown and limp, then micro a bit longer till they are crispy and slightly brown. Hint: As the moisture is released from your chips, you might want to open up your micro and wipe down the interior to help them get crispy.

So many flavor choices, Ranch, Bacon Cheddar, Parmesan, Nacho, or just use what you got in your cupboard like i did. 





Thursday, March 10, 2016

Make mine grilled pleased!


So we woke up to no electricity today. Matt couldn't take it and went in to work early so he could surf the net! What a light weight, lol

As for me, I rather enjoyed the peace and quiet. We have a large aquarium in the dining room and the water filter pump is rather noisy, so when the power is lost, it is blissfully quiet. I could hear some Canada geese calling to each other as they flew over our house and a frog croaking from my little water pond on the front porch. Nice!

 We are blessed to have a cook top wood stove so no problem getting water heated up for Matt's coffee and my tea this morning. As you can see, I "toasted" grilled my bagel old timer's style in a cast iron fry pan. Kinda like camping but without the dirt, bugs, and weather.

 Because I wasn't glued to a computer screen, I actually was in my kitchen when i spied a herd of elk out in the field behind our property. They bedded down last night just on the other side of our fence. Apparently my dogs are no threat to them, lol When I went out to wood shed to get more wood, they were not alarmed. They did get up and slowly walk away, starting their day too, I guess. lol We are so lucky to live in the "country" but yet, only minutes from town and services.

The girls (Pepper and Millie) enjoyed a brief moment of sunshine while taking their morning naps. Life is so tough!

Finally the power came back on, so had to reset all the digital clocks. If we didn't need the refrigeration going, I wouldn't mind the respite from the power grid. But, like most folks now a days, here I am, back on my computer and internet. And listening to the noisy aquarium filter again.

Email, Facebook, and news, what would we do without them?




Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November = Soup

Squash Soup
So I had this lovely acorn squash given to me a couple of weeks back from Matt's cousin and decided to make soup with it!
 Hard to believe it's November already, lol. So here is a very simplified thrown together recipe that can easily be amended to personal preferences and tastes.

So the first hurdle was how to get it cut up. With some physical limitations due to arthritis and old age in general, I went at it with tools!

A butcher knife and hammer did the trick! I scooped out the seed cavity with a melon ball scoop. I did not peel the fruit but place all the pieces in the pressure cooker along with a cup of water and cooked for 15 mins default time. Of course, instead of water, you could use different broths to add more flavor such as chicken or vegetable broth. But, because it was cooked in water with no additional flavors, the squash can easily be used in any recipe calling for cooked squash or pumpkin. Squash pie anyone? Sunday muffins with cranberries maybe? Yum! And, of course, it would freeze fine for later uses.

 I like to add a spoonful to my dog's food for some added flavor, fiber and vitamins. As I was packing away the extra squash today, the "girls" were in the kitchen with me, so I threw in a heaping spoonful into their dishes. They goobled it down like it was candy! lol



For an individual testing bowl, I took out three pieces of fork tender, melt in your mouth squash and "peeled" off the rind with a tablespoon. So much easier and no waste of edible squash this way. Mashed up the squash with the back of the spoon. You could probably get a more smoother blend with a stick blender but I like it with some texture to it.

I added the following enhancements:
No pumpkin spice in my cupboard, so a dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
A dash of salt.
A dash of Italian herbs blend to give it a savory tone.
Few drops of maple syrup to bring out the natural sweetness of the fruit and spices.
My "milk" of choice is almond milk but any liquid you want to make it soup like consistency.

Heat to desire eating temperature in the microwave or stovetop, and the final touch was a dollop of plain yogurt. I wasn't too sure about the addition of the yogurt, but it was fine.

And there you have it, a basic squash soup that can be cooked up and served in less than a hour thanks to the use of the pressure cooker. Any kind of squash will do, probably canned pumpkin would be even faster! My version is bare bones so let your imagination run rampant and make it your own!

Enjoy the holidays!
Joyce

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gardening in your jammies!

So grab a hot cup of java and join me on the deck while i show you what i got growing!

Got to love container gardening! If you ask someone to tell you what plants they would have on their patio or porch, most often you will hear hanging baskets. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging baskets but have you seen the prices they are asking for them now a days? Nothing under $20 to $30 for the smallest and most common type of blooming flowering baskets. Ouch!

So let's think outside the "box". You can start seeds from scratch and grow your own flowers. That is probably the cheapest way to go, but lots of folks don't want to do that. It's time and space consuming. Maybe they have "black thumb" syndrome and manage to kill off everything they try to grow from seed. OK, how about buying some ready to plant six packs at the garden center and stuffing your own baskets. Still cheaper than buying the fully blooming ready-to-go baskets.

However, I ask you to take a moment and considering what you are spending your hard earned cash on. Annuals...... plants that grow, bloom, go to seed, and die in one season. Pretty, short lived, and then gone forever. 
Or..... you can consider other plants for your containers. Pictured on this page today are blueberries in pot! As you can see, they have flourished and are full of ripening fruit, right on my deck! I step outside and hand picked the ripe ones daily right from the bush to my mouth. And yes, in my jammies! How great is that? Lol

I also have my deck, a blooming Celmatis, a yellow rose bush, a small water feature with aquatic plants in it, and even two apple trees!

Remember, in this hot summer weather, to water more frequently than your land garden as containers dry out quickly, and little nutrition in the form of your favorite fertilizer once a week and you will have happy productive plants for seasons to come!