This is a nice simple 30-minute dish. I was in the mood for something saucy using left over pasta, peas and some Italian sausage. I made a rue using butter, flour and milk but never used it. The sausage dish looked so yummy without it.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound hot or Mild Italian Sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, thick slices
1 cup green peas
1 pound egg noodles or favorite pasta
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until desired doneness. Drain and toss with butter and cheese.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage until browned and just about cooked through. Add onions, garlic and green pepper. Cook until just tender but not soggy; about 3 to 5 minutes. Add peas and cook until heated. Season with salt and pepper is desired.
Sandwiches are an economical way to fill up bellies. They do not require a lot of preparation and they appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Click here for a history on the beloved sandwich. Otherwise watch the following video on how to make an awesome sub for Superbowl Sunday.
Curry is commonly eaten throughout Asia and the Middle East. The term curry refers to delicacies that are seasoned with black pepper, coriander, curry leaves, ginger, cumin, chili powder, mustard seeds, salt, lemongrass, ginger, five spice powder, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and other pungent spices and herbs. The spices are heated with oil when cooking to release the aromas.
Ready made curries such as the powder and paste found in the supermarkets are for convenience purposes. Dry curry powder is made up of ground spices and herbs and burns easily therefore it is not recommended when frying foods. The powdered form is commonly used when simmering soups, sauces and in salads. Curry paste on the other hand has a higher tolerance for heat and may be used in fried dishes. The intense flavor of curry paste is a result of the fresh herbs, spices, oil and liquid flavoring such as coconut juice.
The first time I tasted curry was my first year in college. A couple of my friends from Japan invited me over to their place for a Japanese feast. I watched, amazed, as they threw all sorts of spices together in the pot and let it simmer until the apartment smelled fragrant. The curry chicken we ate that day was absolutely divine. Curry is a treat I do not get very often since no one in the house shares my enthusiasm for cultural fare.
When I saw this recipe for curried turkey salad I immediately knew what I was going to make for lunch. I used left over roasted chicken and Greek yogurt instead of Mayo in the dressing. I wanted to slip into my jammies and if I owned a pair of bunny slippers I would put those on too. Then with my bowl of Curried Turkey Salad I would casually make my way to my bedroom, climb into bed and watch an hour of Pride and Prejudice (the A&E version). (Well, I would have if I had a TV in my room.)
4 cups cooked and chopped turkey
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup chopped celery, optional
1/3 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts*
Curry Dressing (recipe below)
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well. Serve on your favorite bread as a sandwich or on a bed of greens as a salad. Serves four to six.
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons curry powder**
1 tablespoon honey
generous pinch of salt
fresh ground black pepper
Whisk all ingredients until well combined.
*To toast walnuts, spread a handful of walnuts on a baking sheet. Toast in a preheated 350 degree oven for about five minutes or until they are fragrant. Don’t leave them in too long! Allow to cool slightly before chopping and adding to salad.
**If you prefer less spice in your salad, start with one tablespoon of curry powder then taste dressing and add more if desired.
My mom’s ham fried rice was one of my favorite dishes. I routinely requested it for my birthday dinner. In my home growing up we ate it as a main dish. Today we serve ham fried rice in smaller portions along side fish, shrimp or teriyaki chicken.
1 cup rice, brown, Jasmine or cooked wheat berries
2 cups broth or water
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
4 scallions (green onions), chopped
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
Salt and Pepper
Add rice and broth to a pot; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 20 minutes until tender and set.
Heat oil in a skillet or wok over medium to medium-high heat. Saute onion until translucent and tender. Add peas and 2 cups rice. Saute for 2 minutes. Add ham, mix. Make a well in the center; pour in egg. Let set 2 minutes then scramble. Toss the rice with the egg. Stir in the scallions, vinegar and soy sauce.
I learned the art of felting a couple of years ago with a friend. We drove up to Sonora to visit a little Waldorf supply shop and could have easily spent hundreds of dollars on the amazing creations displayed there.
Felting is one of the oldest forms of fabric making. There are two ways to felt. One is needle felting and the other is wet felting. You can make felted beads using the needle felting method but for today we are going to avoid piercing our fingers with sharp needles and instead burn them in hot water.
Felted beads are really fun to make and create a wonderful learning experience in the use of natural products. Felted beads can be easily jazzed up with the addition of beads and ribbon. If you want to be a little more creative after the balls have dried you can use the needle method to add flowers or other designs. Little kids love to rub them, and bounce them and pretend they are treasures.
Some people like to roll tuffs of the undyed wool into a ball then add the color. I prefer to get it done with no fuss and just use the colored roving.
Merino Wool Roving
(wool that has been washed and combed but not yet spun into yarn. Can be found in a variety of colors on Etsy.com, some natural craft stores (such as a Waldorf supply store) or a sheep farm.)
Grab a tuff of wool.
I use a pot of hot water (as hot as I can stand). Place the wool roving in soapy water.
Gently pass the roving back and forth between the palms of your hands; wetting the ball frequently in the soapy water.
As the ball begins to form start to apply a little more pressure. Keep rolling, pressing and wetting until the ball is firm and hard.
Rinse under cold water.
Continuously rolling and pressing to get all the soap out.
For a simple tutorial watch the following video from Sara’s Textured Crafts. She really makes the process look easy.
Photo By: Yang Yi, in China Hejin, Shanxi Province
I am not superstitious; yet, I will admit I get a little nervous when salt is spilt. I do not believe in horoscopes; however, they really have my personality pegged. The Chinese baby gender calendar called the gender of each of my three children. The “Chinese Day Of” calendar that reveals the major personality trait based on the day you were born is surprisingly accurate as well. So don’t call me foolish when I realized that this year, 2010 is the year of the tiger. That is me. And I admit there was a second of hopefulness that this year would bring us some luck.
I started this year two weeks behind on everything. News Years Day had me sitting at my desk pondering if I should go ahead and mail out my Christmas cards. I didn’t. I hated starting the year in such disarray. But… it is a new year and I was not about to dwell on the negative. It was after all the first day of the year. Hey, I started the day off right. I ran that morning and we went out on a family outing and later that day I bravely took the kids on a bike ride. There was much to rejoice over. So I cleared my desk and began writing thank you cards. I am THE worst at remembering to write thank you cards. If I do write them I forget to mail them. I decided if I did not master anything else this year I am going to be the best at writing thank you notes.
I am pledging to forgo one larger New Years resolution in favor of smaller monthly goals that are more attainable for my ADD brain. For one month I am going to focus on one goal. If at the end of the month I am a complete failure I will not beat myself up and melt into a year long depression. I will arm myself to work even harder the following month on a new daunting task.
First up is laughter. This year I vow to laugh more. Yes, this was my New Year’s resolution last year and I think I did fairly well. Laughter, as the saying goes, is the best medicine. The tricky part is learning to laugh in the face of adversity. I think we could all use a lesson in putting our best face forward. The point is, I want to teach my kids that life is full of spills and falls and embarrassments and it is ok. If we want to find happiness we need to discover laughter first.
A good hearty laugh can:
Learn to Laugh by:
Laughter, of course, won’t make our problems go away, but it can help us get through them gracefully. How do we pick our way through the briar patch? We slow down. We take the time to enjoy a cup of laughter.
One day as my friend Kate and I were walking she told me about her mother-n-law’s crispy corn taco shells and how delicious they are. I inquired further. Just fry them in a little oil. That is all. Sounds easy enough. So I tried it using flour tortillas. My first thought was these would taste great with a little cinnamon and sugar, sort of, like a fry bread from the fair. Not as doughy but still yummy. Sprinkle with some pecans or walnuts for an additional treat.
1/4 inch Oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
Makes 6 servings
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp butter
2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water
In a sauce pan over medium heat, add all the apple filling ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until apples are tender about 5-10 minutes depending on how crisp the apples are.
Meanwhile, combine the 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar.
Heat the oil in a skillet until it shimmers and a piece of tortilla sizzles. Carefully place a tortilla in the hot oil. Once the tortilla starts to turn golden flip it over. It does not take that long little less than a minute. Remove the tortilla from the pan. Immediately dust with cinnamon sugar mixture and a spoon full of apples. Fold the tortilla up and devour.
Many years ago I lived in a very small town near Louisiana for a spell. The eastern boarder towns of Texas were heavily influenced by Cajun cuisine. While there I experienced squirrel soup (I will spare you any further details). I learned all about how to shoot a squirrel and became an honorary “Coon Ass”; a ritual that involves sucking the head of a crawfish. Despite the strange customs I loved it there. The people were amazing. Everyone I met was friendly and eager to call me family.
Of all the dishes Louisiana is known for Gumbo is the most popular. Gumbo is a soup traditionally served over rice. Everyone’s Grandma has their own version but typically gumbo is usually made with pork, poultry and seafood and thickened using a rue or okra. In this recipe for Gumbo we break a cardinal rule that disapproves the use of both okra and a thickener. Die-hards believe that you can only use one or the other. In this case the recipe calls for flour and okra.
My sister Michelle sent this recipe to me and I am glad she did. I have been searching for a simple tasty gumbo recipe that would be easy for beginners or those new to gumbo. More experienced cooks can also use this recipe to expound on.
Source: Adapted from the Weight Watchers Cookbook
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 pound of hot or mild Italian pork sausage
1 onion chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles or Cajun stewed tomatoes
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound of skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into 1- inch pieces
1 to 2 teaspoons Cajun or seafood seasoning
1/2 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
1 (10-oz) package sliced okra
2 cups frozen or fresh corn
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or teaspoon dried
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
Cook sausage in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat until brown; about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the onion and green pepper; cooking until softened about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in the flour; cook 1 minute longer.
Pour in the tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil.
Add the chicken and Cajun seasoning; return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until chicken is cooked through about 5 min.
Add the shrimp, okra, corn and thyme; return to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and cook about 5 minutes longer until shrimp are pink. Serve over rice.
– In place of the Italian sausage use spicy chicken sausage, 1 (2-inch) piece kielbasa sliced, or spicy breakfast sausage.
– Additional vegetables: 1 celery stalk, 6 scallions, 1 squash and/or zucchini sliced.
– Additional spices: 1 garlic clove minced, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.
Photo by Greener Loudoun
Vinegar came into existence, by mere chance, more than 10,000 years ago when a cask of wine had over-reached its expiration date. Centuries later in 1964, Scientist Louis Pasteur, discovered that it was the fermentation of natural sugars into alcohol followed by a secondary fermentation that resulted in the product vinegar.
Throughout the time that vinegar has been known to man the substance has been distilled using ingredients such as molasses, dates, fruits, berries, melons, coconut, honey, beer, maple syrup, potatoes, beets, malt, grains and whey. Consequently, the flavors and varieties of vinegars available are just as vast and unique as the substances it is made from.
Since the first accidental discovery this inexpensive kitchen staple has been used in remarkable capacities. Recorded historical uses of vinegar began as far back as 5,000 BC.
-Babylonians used it as a preservative; flavoring the liquid with herbs and spices.
-Roman legionnaires consumed it as a beverage. In ancient Egypt, -Cleopatra used vinegar as a solvent dissolving pearls in it to win a wager that she could consume a fortune in a single meal.
-The Ancient Physician Hippocrates, discovered its medicinal qualities using it as a stringent and cough remedy.
-The Greeks used it for culinary purposes in pickling vegetables and meats.
-Hannibal, a great general, gained access across the Alps by heating a barrier of boulders and then doused them with vinegar. The boulders cracked and crumbled paving a path for his army to cross through.
-During the American Civil War, vinegar was used to treat scurvy.
-During World War I, vinegar was used to treat wounds.
Today we continue to enjoy the benefits of this ancient sour wine in cleaning, household projects, medicinal remedies, organic agriculture, and the culinary arts. The following tips use ordinary distilled white vinegar. This list is just a sample of the many uses of vinegar. For more fun facts and tips visit VinegarTips.com for 1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar.
Photo By: This Old House
Photo By: This Old House
Photo By: AppleCiderVinegarWeightloss.com
Photo By: Planet Green
Photo By: My Little Cottage in the Making
FUN KIDS STUFF:
In this post we begin with a recipe for an omelet made from a cornbread batter as opposed to eggs. I could not find white cornmeal mix in our local grocery store. Instead I used plain yellow cornmeal in place of the mix. Not completely satisfied I decided to try a few more variations. I found a lovely recipe for cornmeal cakes on Cow Girl Chef and learned how to make my own chorizo.
If you cannot find cornmeal mix then use the recipe below for cornmeal cakes.
Source: Southern Living September 2009
3/4 pound Chorizo sausage, castings removes (about 3 links), or see recipe below
6 tbsp butter, divided
3 green onions, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 cup self-rising white cornmeal mix (such as Martha White)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Sauté chorizo in an 8-inch nonstick omelet pan or skillet with sloped sides 7 to 10 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet, and drain on paper towels. Wipe skillet clean.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet, and sauté green onions, bell pepper, and jalapeño peppers over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl; stir in chorizo. Wipe skillet clean.
Whisk together cornmeal mix, buttermilk, milk, all-purpose flour, and 1 large egg.
Coat skillet with cooking spray; melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat, rotating pan to coat bottom evenly. Pour about 1/3 cup cornmeal mixture into skillet. Tilt pan so uncooked portion flows around to coat bottom of pan, cooking until almost set, bubbles form, and edges are dry (about 1 1/2 minutes). Gently flip with a spatula.
Sprinkle 1 side of omelet with about 1/2 cup onion mixture and about 3 tablespoons cheese. Fold omelet in half; cook 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Transfer to a serving plate; keep warm. Repeat procedure 4 times with remaining butter, cornmeal mixture, onion mixture, and cheese. Serve immediately.
Makes 5 servings
Cow Girl Chef Cornmeal Batter Cakes:
1 cup cultured buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup white cornmeal
2/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter or bacon fat
Pour the buttermilk into a bowl and stir in the baking soda. Whisk in the egg, and gradually whisk in the cornmeal, then the salt and fat and 1/4 cup water.
Cowgirl Homemade Chorizo:
If you have your butcher grind your pork, ask him to include some fat, and to grind it coarsely for a nicer texture. You can use any type of paprika although the Spanish variety has a wonderful smokey flavor that adds depth to the chorizo. To watch a video on how to make chorizo follow this link.
2 pounds ground pork
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp Spanish paprika
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano, stems removed
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp sea salt
Mix everything together in a big bowl with your hands. (Taste for seasonings by making a small patty and cooking it in the skillet.) Form into patties and cook over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through.
Freeze for 1-2 months or refrigerate for 1-2 days, or simply freeze the uncooked chorizo for 1-2 months, and thaw and cook when ready to use.