Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Matters Most.....

A wonderful video that hopefully will remind us that happiness isn't measured in the fashions we wear, the house we own, the car we drive, fame, or the entertainment we enjoy.
May it touch your heart, as it has me. WHAT MATTERS MOST

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Enjoying the fruits of the season

What could be better than fresh bread warm from the oven? A nice big pot of creamy soup to go with it!
It's cooled down a bit here, which inspires me to come up with some cool weather dishes. We had some dutch oven chicken left over from a dinner last week, but not enough to take care of the both of us. So I took a boneless, skinless chicken breast and threw it in a 2 qt. pot with some fresh Rosemary, Sage, and 1 1/2 quarts of water, along with 1 cup of wild rice mix. I let that simmer while I sauteed 1 chopped onion in 3 T. butter and 1 of oil in a large soup pot. I also took half each of one very large green, and one very large orange bell pepper and roasted them in the oven. After the onion was nice and caramelized, I added the mixture in the small pot, as well as 2 more quarts of water. I cut up one large carrot, and cut the kernels from one ear of fresh sweet corn. I added 2 chicken bullion cubes, and one small can of diced green chilies. I seasoned with 2 tsps of seasoning salt, and 1/2 t. garlic powder. Then I added 1/2 tsp thyme as well as 1 tsp course ground pepper. One bay leaf went in as well. This simmers until the rice was done. I turned down the burner and pulled out the chicken to cut up. I added the leftover dutch oven chicken from last week, and that gave the soup a nice creamy consistency. I also chopped up and added the roasted bell peppers at this point. For anyone who would like to try this or a variation, I would add a can of either cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup since you probably won't have dutch oven chicken sitting around. I would also use 2 chicken breasts, plus 2 carrots.

The bread was a variation on my Italian bread recipe. I'll make this easier to follow here. The one thing I noticed about this bread is that it is so soft and delicious. I think it may be because we used actual best for bread flour instead of unbleached flour. My husband raved about it.
Place in mixing bowl of mixer fitted with a dough hook:
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. yeast
1 t. sugar
Let sit in bowl to proof or get foamy. Add:
3 T. oil
1 t. salt
1/4 c. corn meal
1/2 c. oats

3 cups of Best for Bread flour
Mix well. Gradually add more flour, 1/4 of a cup at a time, until dough forms a nice smooth ball.
Place in well oiled baking dish or casserole. Let rise until doubled and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

This bread is not only great for soups, but makes a fabulous french toast for breakfast. As an added healthy topping for our french toast this morning I took about 1/2 cup of maple syrup and warmed it up in a small pot, added a small chopped, unpeeled, granny smith apple, and a handful of walnut pieces. This was so wonderful over the french toast, you should really give it a try!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Minted Pear Lime & Apple Preserves

Minted Pear Lime & Apple Preserves

1 cup mint leaves, packed
3/4 c. water
4 cups unpeeled, grated bartlett pears
2 cups grated apple, any variety
zest of 2 limes
1/3 cup lime juice
7 1/2 cups sugar
1 box pectin
green food color

In a small sauce pan combine water and mint leaves. Bring to a boil, stir and take off burner. Let sit covered while you grate the pears and apples as well as zesting the limes. Strain mint water, squeezing the leaves to get all the juice. In a large pot combine the fruit, juices, lime zest and pectin. Make sure the pectin is dissolved before continuing. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 2 minutes. Add sugar, stir in and bring back to a boil over medium heat. Stirring frequently, boil for 4 minutes. Take off burner, stir in a couple of drops of green food color if desired and pour into sterilized jars. Yield 11 cups

Monday, September 14, 2009

Peaches, Peaches and more Peaches!

What a wonderful fruit! So sweet and juicy that I can't believe anyone would just let them go to waste! Well not me that's for sure. A friend had a tree loaded with peaches and didn't know what to do with them so I went over to help pick them. We were supposed to work together on canning them but she had a mishap and ended up at the doctors office. So my DIL came over and we canned some and made preserves with some and gave some away and I still have a box full in the fridge. So tonight I will be putting up the rest, perhaps mixing them with pears we picked up in Idaho that have decided to ripen all at once. I will share some very yummy recipes later, after I clean up all the goo from the fruit. Oh, I did dry some peaches as well as freezing some for smoothies and pies. You might say we are up to our noses in peaches, but ahhh, what a way to go....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Finally Done!

Beautiful scenery, but the house?! What initially started as prep for a new coat of paint....
turned into a home remodel. This little house was built in the 1950's and had no dining area among other things. After we discovered that the siding was thrashed, I received a wonderful windfall thanks to my grandparents. So we told a contractor that we wanted a bay window look dining area added on. He sent our ideas to an engineer and came back with a plan to add 8 feet on the most of the front of the house, which not only gave us the new dining area, but a nice wide entry with 5 foot long closet.
So here's the finished remodel on the outside, paint and all. We are so happy with the result! The contractor says that he gets lots of compliments and we do as well.
We have been so blessed with this little home. Not only did we get it before real estate went sky high, we have been able to pay for all remodel work out of pocket. We wouldn't have done it as soon otherwise though, as we don't believe in going into debt.
So now, on to leveling some floors, a bathroom remodel and then putting in all new flooring downstairs. Oh and a wrap around deck out front, and so on it goes.... I guess I'd better get back to work, huh?!
As an aside, I did get the new addition painted on the inside, but forgot to take photos. I will though after we get it all decorated. This has been so much more fun thanks to my wonderful husband who backs me on all my ideas, projects, and endeavors. I am truly blessed!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Families Can Be Together Forever

What a concept! It's true you know. If you want to know more just ask. This handsome little guy is my new grandson Brennan. He was born in Korea as daddy is a captain in the US Army.
I'm so grateful he has a good daddy who works hard, and serves our country. I'm grateful that his daddy takes care of my oldest daughter so well.
Now how's this for a good looking pair of men?! I have the best husband! He takes good care of me, is happy to see me at the end of a work day, and loves to be with me. Who could ask for more than that? We just celebrated our 9th anniversary and are looking forward to many more. And of course Emmett is such a delight, we are glad that his mommy and daddy live close by. Most of all I'm glad to know that someday I can be with all of them forever.