They Told Me To Try It

Part one of recommendations

I had some pretty good recommendations on my blog and in person. Thanks for reading and responding! I have added links to Goodreads, IMDB and Youtube videos if any of the following media interests you. There will be more coming soon.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (book)

Src: Goodreads

This was recommended to me when I told one of my historian friends that I had started A Young People’s History of the United States (Zinn, adapted by Stefoff). I am having some trouble getting through it because there is little cheer in highlighting every group’s battle with oppression. Assassinated presidents sounds like another jolly topic, but from all the reviews I’ve read the writer presents it with some wry humor and it sounds organized like a travel journal. I’m a voyeur and how can you blame me since I have kept a private journal for nearly 12 years.

Banks of the Ohio (song)
I listened to several versions of this to get a feel for this creepy, creepy song that was first recorded in 1927 (Wikipedia). Bill Monroe and Doc Watson was the first that I listened to. It has all the charm of an Uncle picking on the back porch with a couple of the other older farmers. Feet dangling off the back porch and smoke curling up through the battling heat and humidity. This is a song that falls under the sub genre of murder ballads of which there were at least enough for Nick Cave to fill an album of them. The second one I listened to was by Dolly Parton, which I had hoped was a tweaked female version. It takes a very Dolly spin in the way it sounds and although some lyrics are different the main change is found in the first few lines: “I went into his prison cell/To write his story, if he’d tell/He spoke as tears fell from his eyes/And he told me when and how and why/And he said…” before moving onto the story. Olivia Newton-John changes to a female perspective and has the same “knife to breast” murdering that Dolly sings about. I prefer Bill’s straight off pushing and drowning murder. Seems simplest. Johnny Cash has the best of both worlds as he stabs and then pushes his love into the Ohio River. Moral of the story, if the man’s name is “Willie”, don’t turn him down by any sizable body of water.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (TV series)

This is a TV show that got recommended to me and then I got to watch several episodes. First off, if you are a Bruce Campbell fan and haven’t seen this, then you might need to look to fixing your life. This is a wild west TV show in which a man comes to town to avenge his father’s death (Brisco County Senior). It’s your typical wild west TV show (27 episodes), if your norm involves the Chin himself, snorting with laughter at Julius Carry (who played Sho-Nuff in The Last Dragon), and a little bit of weird that can most easily be categorized to 1890s steampunk. Watch it.

Gary: Tank Commander (TV series)
I have already started watching this on Netflix and as I have gotten into it, I dinnae ken who can avoid watching it! Okay, it’s not going to change your life, but this is a funny Scottish military TV show. Gary barely scrapes by without keeping out of trouble and the many duties that the armed forces take on while at home. I still have to have subtitles on and near the beginning of the series the actors poke fun at Americans who can’t understand their slang and accent so there is plenty of cheek. There are a few jokes that are culture specific, but I haven’t had to look up anything that I didn’t understand by context. It kinda reminds me of the pranks and scrapes of the characters in MASH except there aren’t any episodes that include folks getting dead. Around the time of posting, Netflix has 3 seasons available.

Vegan Bourbon Hazelnut Pancakes (recipe)
This is not actually a recipe I made, but one that I ate. The recipe that my vegetarian friend was one that she got from a vegan recipe book. I’m not certain, but this one seems damned similar. Let me clearly state, I don’t like pancakes. I’m also a lover of cheese, milk, butter, and eggs, so vegan recipes are hard for me to get behind. However, I’ve got a friend who is brave enough to try it and forces me -nicely- to try stuff. These were THE BOMBDINGO. We ate them with plain maple syrup, but you could have eaten them plain as well. I ate huge helpings and was waddling around after dinner. If I had any complaint, the ‘butter’ didn’t quite melt like butter. None of that mattered since it tasted ah-mazing. Get outta here with your banana pancakes, Jack Johnson.

Did this short list remind you of other awesome things you’d like to share? Please post below.

Have you already tried some of the above things listed? What did you think?

Advertisements

Vidalia Onion Pie {Recipe Revealed!!}

Recipe by request from several of my Facwbook friends

Vidalia Onion Pie

For a regular size pie plate:
Crust:
1/4 box cheese its
2 tbsp butter
Insides:
2 large or 3 small onions
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 eggs
1/2 cup of milk

If you have a deep dish pie plate, you’ll need a little more of everything.

To put it together,  crush the cheese crackers and add butter to make the crust and sautée the onions (with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes).

Layer the cooked onions with shredded cheese in the pie crust (I usually start and end with cheese).

Then mix the milk and eggs with salt and pepper and pour over top. Poke through the onions to let it sink in and add more milk if It looks like it needs it. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, or until set.

If it’s deeper, do three large or four small onions. Obviously, double thethe recipe if making two shallow pies.
I have never measured the cheesy crackers. I just crush em and line the pie plate until things look right.

This is very similar to a quiche and great for cheese and onion lovers.

Homemade Sushi

Again my sister in law braved the strange foods and helped me get over my fears of sushi making too.
We gathered the supplies: nori (seaweed) wrappers, sushi rice, sushi vinegar and spices, and several sushi fillings.

image

I will admit that the firsf three rolls I made I refused to take a pictures of. They were that bad.
Which brings us to common mistakes #1: overfilling nori with rice and other fillings. Results include not enough to wrap and seal roll and/or ingredients busting out the ends.

image

After getting a good tight roll, I discoverd common mistake #2: Learning a gentle hand and cutting with a sharp knife. This is what ruins most of my rolls. I squeezed the rolls too hard or the knife would mash instead of cut.

image

I tried making a rice on the outside roll. They were extremely difficult for me because it was harder to slice into the nori after the knife got sticky from the rice.

image

By the end of the evening I had eaten a lot of mistakes and had some yummy lumpy rolls to eat.
Recently, I tried making sushi for a lunch my house. Kit can be odd about non-steak-&-taters meals so I was worried at first. He loved it!

image

These are traditional sushi rolls with raw fish. I had to consider my budget when making this lunch. The fillings for my sushi were canned flakey crab and cream cheese. I took canned tiny shrimp and marinated them in lime juice, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. The result was a spicy shrimp roll. The ginger was perfecto.

Which leads me to my final sushi making tip and the best advice we heard from the dozens of youtube videos we watched. Give yourself a break. The best way to make good sushi is keep trying. It proves itself too, my second attempt at making sushi for Kit and me was a huge sucess. I had to eater fewer dud rolls than the first time.
Can’t wait to try different ingredients and give it another whirl.

Have you ever tried sushi making at home?
Have any tried and true tips you want to share?

Ham & Bean Soup

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I constantly steal recipes from my Sister in Law (SiL) and rework them depending on what I have in my cabinets. Yesterday, I did this and completely transformed a Vegan Bean Soup recipe that Beth found on Pinterest.

I will share my version of the recipe. The link above is to the original recipe if you’re more diligent about following recipes than me.

Easy Ham & Bean Soup

  • Generous dash of olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, chopped20140226_125018
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • ~4 cloves of garlic minced

Saute veggies in a medium sized soup pot until they are a bit soft–for about 10-15 minutes then add: 

  • 3 cans of (whatever you can find) black beans, pintos or mixed beans—Or if you’re cabinets are like mine, one of each. Drain and rinse.
  • 2 cups of your choice broth (I had beef broth on hand)
  • Roughly 1 1/2 or 2 cups of chopped pre-cooked ham
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 tsp powdered curry
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes20140226_125013

Slap a lid on that puppy and set it to low-medium or just above a simmer for about 30 minutes. I forgot to add but I do recommended 1-2 TBSP of lime juice.

This would make a fine meal by itself, but if you really want a happy belly: 

Throw some tortillas in a skillet and put some cheese in the middle. A cheese quesadilla pairs beautifully with this hearty soupy meal.

20140226_132722

Greek Valentine’s Date in Review

You may recall my blog about my Greek Valentine’s Day expectations. I shot a little high considering my super lazy attitude from last week. However, we still ate very well and had a lot of fun.
I tried to get pictures of everything, but had been running flat out since 6:30A and was a determined just to get supper done at a reasonable time.

hummuspeppersI made the mistake of laying around on the couch on my day off which left us with having to make the pita bread the evening of our date. We threw everything together in the bread machine to save time and while that was mixing and rising I got to work on the other parts of the meal. Kit had gotten the steak marinating early so we didn’t have to worry about that at least.

Pictured above is the garlic and lime hummus that I made. It looks like boatloads of hummus but we killed it after supper and some for lunch the next day. I cut up two big bell peppers for dipping. Notice the three tiny crackers….I forgot to buy crackers as an alternative dipper. Oh well!
After grinding up the chick peas and spices in the super teenie tiny food processor, Kit washed it and I prepped the next thing to blend up.

The tzatziki was easy to make, there were just several semi-tedious steps. I bought plain yogurt and set it up over a bowl in a sieve with a little bit of cheese cloth. It probably would have been find in the sieve alone, but I didn’t want to lose any deliciousness. After the yogurt was set to draining, I peeled, scraped out the watery seedy center of the cucumbers and cut them in pieces. I placed those pieces in a colander, salted them and left them alone to drain.

pita

Once the bread machine finished the pita dough we got them prepped for the oven. I doubt I will follow the bread machine recipe again. Out of the eight pita circles we baked we only got three that came out of the oven puffed up and perfect for making pocket sandwiches. We had plenty for supper and don’t you worry, we are eating our very flat pita bread with our meals. They act as lovely food shovels with scrambled eggs, just so you know.

veggiestation

 

Sadly, I couldn’t find the dill weed in our cabinets and had to substitute thyme into the tzatziki, but I thought it was delish anyway. After I blended up the tzatziki and put it in the fridge to chill I set about to chopping veggies and Kit cooked the steak on the Foreman Grill. I found feta cheese on sale–yessss–, chopped up some more cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives and opened up the bag salad I bought at the store.

sweet tater fries

We were hungry mungries at this point but since the hummus had distracted our appetites we decided to go ahead and make the sweet potato fries. They turned out quite yummy, but as always there will be changes to the recipe next time we try it. gyro closeLike I said, because I had been running wide open all day I decided against making the lemon brownies and the suddenly salad that night. Although I still can’t wait to try those recipes, we were super duper stuffed like ticks after we finished our steak gyros.

gyro2

 

Of course during our food coma we enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I hadn’t seen it in a while and had forgotten how much I loved the movie. There are some hysterical points in that romantic comedy. All in all, a successful evening.

Did you Valentine’s Day live up to your plans and expectations?

 

Valentine’s Day Greek Date-Night

We came up with a themed date night for our Valentine’s Day by a sort of happy accident. We started off by saying how much we wanted to make this or that. Then we realized that all those things went together in a way.
All of the photos belong to the original bloggers. Please click the hyper-linked text to find their amazing recipes they shared with the world.

The important stuff—What are we eating!?

We have had gyros before and my Sister in Law (SiL) swears that if I can make naan then I can make my own pita bread. I’m not going to use the more traditional lamb because of the cost. Instead we are going to use some beef steaks I found on sale.

Our appetizer will be relatively simple. I’m planning on doing hummus and sweet bell peppers for dipping. Maybe some carrots if we have them on hand too, but I don’t want to overeat before we get to the main event. There will be plenty of food. If you’ve never made hummus before then don’t worry. It is much like guacamole. There are some essentials and after you get them dumped in the bowl you fix it to your taste. A can of chick peas, lemon juice, salt, garlic and pepper. You’re pretty much in business if you have those things.

To alleviate crunch time stress I am going to make the pita bread the pita day before. Allow them to cool, cut them into halves to create the pockets and put them in zipper bags until our supper the next night.
Here is the recipe for pita bread that I will be following. Looks simple, right?

I will also likely make the tzatziki sauce the day before. As with most

tzatziki infographic

sauces, I feel like it will be more tasty after sitting over night anyway. Tzatziki sauce is basically cucumbers pureed, yogurt and some herbs/spices. It is awesome! Of course if you hate yogurt and cucumber then stay away. Here is the recipe I will be following for Tzatziki sauce. I will however point out that I will not be allowing the yogurt to drain for 2 hours. 30 minutes will suffice.  Check out this cute little infographic on how-to make tzatziki or click the link above for word directions.

gyro

The gyro recipe will more or less follow the one found on Tide and Thyme (again). I figure as long as I add some lemon and thyme and other Greek-ish spices that the meat will be just fine. For veggie stuffing in my gyros I am planning: Olives, spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Sidedishes: The sides will be relatively simple since they are not the main and delectable main stage player that the gyros will be. We are going to make up a box of Suddenly Salad. Yeah, I realize that is silly with all the homemade things surrounding it, but I really enjoy those pasta salads and the lack of work they entail. The second side dish is going to be homemade sweet potato fries. I haven’t completely nailed down a favorite recipe but I’ve been scrounging on Pinterest for one that speaks to me. I kinda want to do an olive oil, salt and rosemary topping for them and I definitely want to cut this fairly thin so I get a good crispy fry. Oh, I should clarify that by “fries” I mean that I bake them on a cookie sheet.

The final thing on our menu for the evening is less Greek, but much more realistic and easy. I decided the most important thing was the gyros

lemon brownies

and I don’t want to spend hours slaving over the dessert too. I have been wanting to make these Lemon Brownies for ages! I love lemon desserts, chocolate desserts or chocolate and fruit desserts. Yeah…I kinda have a sweet tooth. This recipe is of the mix and dump persuasion so I think it will fit our evening the best.

My mom suggested this last part and I figured, why not dive in?!
Mom owns a copy of My Big Fat Greek Wedding  so we’re going to greekweddingwatch that as we eat our gyros, salad and fries. I hope that we’ll be full as ticks by the end of the evening. Seeing as the hubbster doesn’t drink wine or champagne I’m not sure what specialty drinks we might have. He will probably stick with his sweet tea or diet coke. I might get a small bottle of something special just for me. And you know that once you remove the cork is spoils if you don’t finish it in one night. 

Questions for my Readers:

Is a themed Valentine’s date too cheesy for you?
I’ve got a lot riding on if all these recipes turn out right. Would you try a new recipe on a special night?
Are you
, like us, trying to avoid going out on the 14th at all costs? I gave up trying to battle the crowds years ago. Staying in are where it is at!

Pinterest Discoveries of the Week

I have been debating writing a blog like this for some time. I have come to the conclusion that since no one is paying me to write blogs I should utilize that freedom and write about things I enjoy. So, as a dutiful reader, if this blogs is boring to you then just skip over it. No one is paying you to read my blog either. However, I make a piercing internal squeal every time I get a comment on like on my blogs.

I hope to make this type of post a weekly thing. Maybe some recipes, some inographics, pretty pictures or Farm-esque how-tos that I find on Pinterest. I won’t pick more than 10 because I feel like that this post will be entirely too long if I do so.

Sweet pins from Pinterest

Homemade Siracha Sauce
I mean doesn’t that picture just beg you to make it? I don’t know when I will get a chance to make this deliciousness. The recipe is

siracha pic

pretty darn easy too. I’m sure you would dice everything tiny and strain it if you didn’t have a food processor.  I think if I made it myself I would use it more often in my recipes at home. I would definitely use homemade Siracha in my Spicy Thai noodles. Yummo! As soon as I read the blog title out loud Kit started searching for Fresno pepper seeds. Looks like we’ll e ordering them from Sustainable Seed Co.

 Adorable Blue Heeler Puppypuppypix
I think I pinned this one twice by accident. My eyes just keep dancing back and forth between his little fat tummy and his round puppy face. Although Kit prefers red heelers, this is the same type of working dog that he wants on the farm. Kit’s last heeler passed away before I met him. I don’t know how I will feel having a dog that is smarter than me on the farm, but they sure are sweet looking dogs.

creamersAfter finding some CoffeeMate seasonal creamers on sale at Kroger I got inspired to make my own. I knew Pinterest would have a copycat recipe so I went on the hunt. Yes, Pinterest is my Google-search for recipes. Don’t worry, Google, you’re still my go-to for stupid meme images that I want to share. Pinterest did not disappoint. After I gather a few ingredients I hope to be refilling my legit Coffeemate bottle with my own creamer. Here’s the link to my favorite Creamer Copycat Recipes pin.

warmupIt should come as no surprise that I have been pinnning some fitness/exercise stuff and going through some of the pins I already have. I have had to delete or repin some to make then link to the correct site. So hopefully if you go through my Fitness pinboard you will have an easier time of things. I accidentally ended up at a Pilates class the other night at the Y and my core/stomach muscles are still sore. Yes, two days later. Obviously, this is something I should do. So as to not bombard you with a armsivilliagethousand fitness pins I will just share one about Great Warmup Exercises and another that has several Arm Exercises with dumbbells.

Next up is a pin I just had to have after tasting it. It seems I do this a lot after just having visited my SiL’s house. We pick something online and I bug the crap out of her until she shares greekdressingthe recipe with me. This Greek Salad dressing is divine! I am hoping to switch over to all homemade dressing as soon as we run out of our store bought ones. Kit hasn’t tried this and is skeptical of many vinaigrettes, but I could also make him some ranch or blue cheese sometime.

Another pin I added to my Beautiful Things board was a pendant with a Shakespeare Quote on it. It comes from one of my favorite

littlefierce

plays–Much Ado About Nothing. Sadly, this pin links to a website where you have to be a member to view the products. Ain’t NOBODY got time for dat!! Perhaps instead this could be an embroidery project. I would love, love, love to have this in a pendant though. sigh.

carrrots roasted

Another thing Beffers made for me during our last visit were carrots roasted in amazing. I believe it was honey and balsamic vinegar? I love carrots and generally cooked carrots scare me. People tend to want to overcook them and drown the in purse sweet stuff. Not how I like my carrots. These were cooked just right and the honey wasn’t the main player. Delish!

The final recipe was one Beffers and I decided would be our next trial drink when we get together. We love Angry Orchard cider and mojitos. This might just blend those two things together nicely. Theangry mojito  The Angry Crisp Mojito. During my last visit we made Angry Aliens for my brother’s Alien Invasion themed birthday party. They went quite well with our screening of Mars Attacks. Oh yeah….I forgot to tell you all about my brother’s Alien Birthday. I should really work on that.

What cool pins have you discovered recently?

Would you like me to share more pins in the future??
About Cooking
Farm Stuff
Cute Pictures
Embroidery                       ?? Tell me, tell me.

**All photos belong to the original bloggers that I have linked.**