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?

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johnny 5

Photo: movieweb.com

Over Christmas and New Year’s I got exposed to some new-to-me music, movies, games, and books. One game especially kinda pulled it all together. There’s a card
game named Slash in which you try to find the best mate for each character. All the character cards are from TV, movies, and books. This brought to my attention to how many cards I needed to discard since I was at a loss as to who or what the character was.

I would love to get recommendations for all types of media in the new year. It is so readily available but it’s like diving into the middle of the ocean. Where to begin?
It doesn’t have to be new media either. For example, I watched Die Hard just before Xmas for the first time. Alan Rickman makes a cool bad guy and I hope he’s enjoying some peace just now. Oh, and dear god, get that cop some shoes.

alan rickman

Photo: Buzzfeed

So, can you recommend some media to me?

  • Movies–I like comedies, romances, thrillers, action films. Not keen on angst ridden, artsy films nor horror flicks. Although, classic horror is good.
  • Television–Similar to movies. I like crime shows and comedies. Such as NCIS, Castle, and Parks &  Recreation.
  • Anime or Cartoons–I love all things Studio Ghibli. I am not into mech.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Mostly fiction/fantasy/sci-fi and some biographical nonfiction.
  • Music–I really like singable and dance-able music and sometimes I need chill background music.
  • Podcasts–I like em short, informational (somewhat), and funny.
  • Games–Solitaire type games, two person/small crowd, cards, dice, paper–I’m easy.
  • Recipes–I love cooking! I am not the most experienced, but I love playing with recipes!

Here are a few things I’ve been taking in recently:

  • Movies–Watch Die Hard if you haven’t. If only to hear Alan Rickman say “Yippie Ki yay, mother fucker” one more time. (Spoiler: https://youtu.be/7tKr5XRPGmQ)
  • Television–iZombie has been getting recommended to heaps of folks by me. I want to get into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series.
  • Anime or Cartoons–Last animated feature I watched was Animatrix (again)–some not so bad ones in there.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Reading Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.
  • Music–Uhm, I have been listening to same playlists for years…
  • Podcasts–Thrilling Adventure’s Sparks Nevada Marshall on Mars is great!
  • Games–I enjoyed King of Tokyo over the holidays among several others.
  • Recipes–I don’t know why but homemade chicken salad is so simple and worth every ounce of effort.

Please leave me some recommendations in the comments below. I would absolutely love all input! I can quickly do a search and read a quick blurb on the media you suggest, but I would much rather like to know why are you recommending this? I assume because it was good, but it is thinky, inspiring, funny, great for a party, perfect with a cup of tea?

 

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

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.**

Last Night’s Dinner: Broccoli Alfredo

I sorta followed this recipe I found on Pinterest: Fettuccine alfredo.
By sorta you can probably guess that I kinda fudged some measurements.

alfredo sauce with broccoli

Here’s my version–Mostly eyeballed

Cut 6 tablespoons butter into a soup pot on medium low heat. Saute a diced onion and 3-4 tablespoons of minced garlic in the butter. I added salt and pepper periodically through the cooking stages–To the onion stage and after the cream had thickened a bit. Grate 1 1/2 or 2 cups parmesan and set aside. 

While you’re waiting for the onions to go translucent, start boiling a large pot of water with an eyeballed amount of salt in it. Once the water began to warm I threw in a bag of frozen, chopped broccoli pieces. When the water comes to a boil add a whole box of fettuccine or whatever pasta your darn well feel like eating! Screw the rules of a specific pasta to a specific sauce. I almost made it with bow ties. Set a timer for al dente recommended on the box. Otherwise you’ll forget about it and overcook it….Not that I would ever do that.

Once the onions are ready, add 2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Bring to a super soft boil. Make sure you get tiny bubbles but that can be calmed by stirring, which I did almost constantly. I was terrified that I would burn it. All the recipes and cooks will tell you that the cream will reduce.  Folks, unless I had dumped it back into a measuring cup, I would not have been able to tell at all. And who dumps cream into a measuring cup to check? I  had my on a soft boil for about five minutes and the cream did seem thicker.

pasta in bowl

I turned the heat off but left the pot on the electric stove top–It was getting some residual heat. Slowly stir in the grated parmesan little handfuls at a time. When each little handful melts down, add another until your 1 1/2 cups are in the sauce. If you don’t think it will be too thick go ahead and add the extra half cup. I reserved mine as a topping for when I served my pasta.

Next, I used a smallish sieve to scoop the broccoli out of the pasta pot. Mostly the broccoli floated to the top and the pasta to the bottom so it worked out nicely. You may want to test a piece of broccoli for tenderness. Mine was done about four minutes before my pasta timer went off. I threw the broccoli straight into the sauce because it was ready just a couple minutes before my broccoli.

When the pasta timer buzzes, drain it and add it to the alfredo. Stir it around and serve as you like. I didn’t even notice any troubles reheating this on the stove later. There are so many fats in the sauce that I didn’t need to add anything extra. Heat on low with a lid to keep from scorching the pasta.

A quick tip on the parm. I bought a block and grated it myself. Typically store bought pre-grated cheese has added flour (or probably some evil chemicals) to keep it from sticking back together. This also means it can be harder to melt into a sauce. Use pre-grated at your own risk. I’m sure it would work in a pinch. Don’t use the foot-cheese AKA powdered parm tho. For real, just don’t.Pasta close

Okay, I realize how irritating it is to read a recipe in the middle of shitty narrative. So, for those who are simply skimming for a recipe:

Broccoli alfredo

6 tablespoons butter
1 diced onion
3-4 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups parmesan, grated (Grate it yourself!)
bag of chopped, frozen broccoli
1 box of fettuccine/pasta 


-Saute onions and garlic in butter.
-Cook broccoli and pasta (al dente) in a pasta pot together.
-Soft boil and keep stirring cream until slightly thickened approx 5 min.
-Turn off heat and add 1 1/2 cups parm at a time. Stir in until melted.
-When tender, add broccoli to sauce.
-Drain al dente pasta and add to sauce.
-Scarf it down!

It is ridonkulous that that is all it takes to make this amazing pasta.

Food Fotos

I have been trying to think of a lovely theme or nice way to tie my photos together for a blog. However, they would all be super short and simply saying: Hey, this is that one thing that I ate for dinner. And that sort of nonsense is for Instagram [which I also have].

So here are several food pictures of things I have been eating recently. If you’re interested in a recipe for it please let me know.

plate fish.rice.brusselI know this picture is a little fuzzy, my apologies. I was starved and wanted to eat immediately. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a good picture of it unless I snapped one right away.
We had fish with Catalina seafood rub, spiced rice from scratch, and Brussels sprouts coated in butter and nutritional yeast. This meal was orgasmic!

I followed this recipe as a basis for my plans, with some changes:

Soaking up the liquids--but not quite done

Soaking up the liquids–but not quite done

Tomato Rice Recipe Ingredients

  • Oil to saute
  • Onion – 1 large diced
  • Ginger Paste & Garlic minced – Eyeballed (1.5 tsp and 2 TBSP)
  • Chilli powder – eyeballed it
  • Dried red pepper flakes – eyeballed it
  • Curry powder – eyeballed maybe 1 TBSP
  • Bay leaves – 2 leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Tomatoes – 1 can diced
  • Can of black beans – rinsed and drained
  • Rice – 2 cups uncooked jasmine
  • 3 cups of water or chicken broth
  • NONE of the other ingredients listed on the website.

Saute onions with spices and a dab of oil. Add tomatoes, beans, rice and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is gone and rice is tender.

20131129_181217Don’t forget to make hill billy paella with your leftover rice. We cooked up chorizo and shrimp to put into it this time and served it on a bed of fresh greens. So much yummy!

20131128_113618I made entirely too many rolls for Thanksgiving, but it was good to share them for more family anyway. I made roughly sixty rolls and they made it to two family functions. The left-left overs are in my freezer now. I hope to pull them out for a good hearty soup night this winter.

20131128_113631Just take a gander at those luscious rolls! Next time want to brush them with egg or milk to give them a right nice sheen. Although, as pictured above they are perfectly appealing. Have I ever shared my fun bun recipe? I feel another blog coming….