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Pumpkin Carving and Pesto!

October 24, 2013

October is nearly over and that means: Halloween!!!! It also means the later end of 2013 is here and its time to review the resolutions. So far, I have given it a good go on everything but the budgeted lifestyle. The easiest cure for that would be traveling less…but that sounds so contradictory to my resolution to travel! Oh well. I have made a significant budget leap this month as I have been trying to make pantry creations as much as possible, which leads me to: pesto!IMG_9437

I decided to use some of my fresh basil to make a pesto since I found a meager two-ish servings of spinach linguini in the pantry. I also found half a bag of frozen broccoli. So I mixed up the pesto (recipe below), cooked the noodles and the broccoli and then I tossed all of that with some pesto. Topped it with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and it was delish! IMG_9439

Pesto:

1/3 cup olive oil

½ cup pecans

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup spinach

5-6 leaves fresh basil

Directions: Blend everything together in a food processor and serve!

YUMM! I love pesto…and this made enough for a few meals, it was easy and it was comparably cheaper than buying store made pesto. Standby for my mothers famous pesto-raisin chicken!IMG_9432

In other news, I invited Megan and Peggy over last night for some chili, cornbread, margaritas and pumpkin carving! It was a glorious night. Peggy and I decided to stick with the dog theme for ours… IMG_9455

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Turnip Soup, Snow and Beer Bread!

October 5, 2013

SNOW! Yesterday, it was 70degrees and we were discussing the lake, this morning, we had at least 10″ of snow…and it kept.on.snowing. We capped out at 14″ and wow, is it glorious. Freezing, but amazing. It was the Mango dog’s first real snow and he absolutely loved it. He spent most of the morning sprinting around the fields and disappearing into the drifts. Of course, we know its all going to melt away in the next week or so, but its a great beginning to the winter times!

In preparing for the snow, Peggy and I have been digging up her garden and bringing the outside in. So a few days ago, we extracted a MASSIVE turnip from the ground…I am talking baby-head-size. AND I decided to make a soup!

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Turnip Soup:

2Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

2 Lbs of turnips, peeled and chopped

½ tsp crushed red pepper

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp fresh parlsey

6 cups vegetable stock

Directs:

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil with salt and pepper and cook until onion is fragrant and soft. Add turnips and the rest of the spices and stir well. Let cook for 3-4 minutes and then add the stock. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes or so until the turnips are soft. Now you can either use a submersion blender, household blender or choose not to blend it. I blended it about 50%, so I had a kind of chunky blend, which I recommend! Serve with cheese if you’d like! I used shredded sharp cheddar.

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I also made some beer bread to go with it. I haven’t made beer bread in a while and I forgot how tasty and great it is! Soft but it has an excellent crunch when toasted. Mmmmm. I think next time, maybe a sweet potato or two to bring down the bitterness, but then that could just be a result of the gigantic turnip.

And now for the

Beer Bread:

1/4 cup butter

3 cups flour

3 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 bottle of beer (I used a pumpkin ale)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and then add beer. Melt butter and pour half into the bottom of a 9×5″ loaf pan. Pour in batter (its a little sticky, so spread it until its kind of even) and top with the rest of the melted butter. Bake for 45min or until knife comes clean.

Soooo easy and yummy! You can add cheeses and spices as well. I usually sprinkle some salt and pepper and garlic on top of it.

Here are some shots of Mango at sunrise this morning.

IMG_9397A little confused… IMG_9400Wheeeee! IMG_9408

Mom…what IS this stuff?

Enjoy!

Bison Bisquick Doggy Delights

September 10, 2013

Last week, my sweet puppy came in from playing outside at the ranch and when he trotted up to me, I noticed a giant tennis ball sized lump on his right front shoulder that had not been there mere minutes before. Assuming at first glance he’d dislocated something, I felt around and realized it was actually a large lump under this skin. Since it appeared so fast, we decided he had been stung by a bee, so I gave him some benadryl and kept and eye on him for the day. When it was slightly larger the next morning, we headed to the vet.

Bloodtests showed all of his levels were dangerously high or dangerously low. Too many white cells, next to no red cells, too much sodium, no iron, tons of neutrocytes (infection fighting cells) and a fever of 105. The knot on his shoulder turned out to be an abscess full of infected bloodcells. Dr. Craig got right to work removing the abscess and nearly six hours after we arrived, I left the vet with a woozy, hydrated  puppy and four bottles of various pain meds, anti-inflammatory and antibiotics.

A week later, hes doing much better! In fact, he has more energy than ever and we have been enjoying lots of hikes. We go back next week for another blood test to make sure his weird levels were from the infection and hopefully not a genetic thing.IMG_9187

And since he is being royally spoiled, I figured what better way than to make him some treats! I wanted to find a recipe that involved red meat so we could do a little upkeep on his anemia. So I went out and got some bison…yes.IMG_9178

Bison Bisquick Dog Treats:

1 cup cooked bison (or beef)

1 cup quick cooking oats

1 ¼  cup baking mix (such as Bisquick)

½ cup pumpkin

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and stir well. Using a cookie scoop or table spoon measure, spoon out into round balls on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18min until golden brown. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Makes: 24

When they came out of the oven, I broke one in half so it would cool faster and then it was time for the test! He loved them. In fact, he spent the next half hour staring at the oven door from whence they came, wondering why more weren’t magically appearing in front of his mouth. I even tried one, and I give it my approval. For humans, I’d add some garlic and some cheese, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here. :]IMG_9172

Showing off “spin”IMG_9175“sit” IMG_9176

Enjoy!

Homegrown Tomato Pie!

September 10, 2013

Hello! It has been quite a while! Life has been busy as usual, also fun, amazing and maybe the best ever. I have spent the last few months in Steamboat hiking, biking and hanging out with various amazing people doing various amazing things. And then Alden, Mom, Scott and Dad came to visit for Labor day, which was super fun! We managed to hike around Fishcreek Falls, up to Thunderhead, soak in the springs, and even visit Sunpies for an afternoon of by-the-river-brews. Awesome. Plus, my art show at the Red Contemporary Gallery opened that Friday, so it was cool they were in town!

When they left, I was a little homesick, so I decided to whip up one of my favorite down-south summer recipes. Tomato Pie. For some reason, I decided to try a new recipe, rather than my go-to…but it was pretty good! Made better, I think, because I actually grew all the tomatoes. Yayyy! IMG_9158

Tomato Pie II

Cornmeal Crust

1 cup flour (I used WW, you can use AP)

2/4 cup yellow cornmeal

¾ tsp salt

1 stick cold butter cubed

¼ cup shredded cheese

5 Tbsp ice water

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. In a bowl, cut butter with flour and cornmeal, until fine and crumbly. Add cheese and water and mix (I use my hands) until it forms a dough. Press into greased pie pan and bake for 15min until golden brown.

Filling:

½ large onion, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

8 medium tomatoes, sliced

½ cup shredded swiss cheese

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

¾ cup mayo

1Tbsp fresh parsley

1 tsp pepper

Directions: (While crust pre-bakes) Chop tomatoes and lay out on paper towels to drain. Meanwhile, cook onions with olive oil over medium heat until they caramelize and then set them aside. Ina  small bowl, mix cheese, mayo and spices. When the crust is ready, layer tomatoes in the bottom, top with onions and then with cheese mixture. Raise oven to 375F and bake for 15-20min until cheese bubbles.IMG_9161

I think the biggest difference was the cornmeal crust rather than the usual pie crust. BUT it was yummy! I like the cheesiness. I also think the crust could use some more cheese…can you go wrong with cheese? Didn’t think so. IMG_9147 IMG_9150 IMG_9156

Enjoy!

Wild Rice and Sweet Potato Soup

August 10, 2013

As promised, pictures of the garden! Squash and zucchini doing well. Pumpkin and Spaghetti Squash seedlings have popped up! Tomatoes are slowly ripening and the herbs are flourishing!! We couldn’t ask for better. IMG_8942 IMG_8941 IMG_8940 IMG_8912

In some efforts to save the dollars and use up what I have, I got out some rice from the pantry and frozen stock from the spring and came up with this! There is something similar in the New England Soups book that I have, but they use barley, cellery and more parsnip and carrots.

Wild Rice and Sweet Potato Soup:

8 cups stock (I used turkey…chicken or veggie would work!)

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 white onion, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp dried dill

pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder to taste

1 1/4 cups wild rice (cooked)

Directions: Bring stock to boil in a large pot, add veggies and spices. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes. (This is when you can cook the rice). Add cooked rice, serve and enjoy!IMG_8949

Yummmmm! I loved this soup. I am taking it cold for lunch as well…I actually started it in the crock pot because I didn’t have a lot of time. Then I cooked the rice separate and mixed the crock pot with the rice in a larger stock pot right before I served it. Enjoy!IMG_8927

Flax Crackers

July 1, 2013

Happy July!

The garden is in full bloom and the puppy is finally settling in here in Steamboat! It took him  minute to get used to the cold mornings (poor Caribbean guy!) but now he complains about the heat! When we are out walking, he runs towards any shady tree or bush or anything he can find. He spends the rest of his day pitifully sleeping away his exhaustion. Obviously, its hard to be a puppy..IMG_8920

Anyways, summer camp also started and I am packing lunches a few days a week. Soooo along with some homemade hummus, I am trying to experiment with different types of crackers. These were pretty yummy!!!!!

Flax Crackers:

2/3 cup ground flax seeds

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Grease a cookie sheet (you can use greased aluminum foil or parchment paper too). Press or roll the dough as thin as possible on the cookie sheet. Bake for 20minutes. Let cool and break into small pieces.IMG_8908

I will definitely double the recipe next time. Soooo yummy! Nice and rustic with a good toasted cheese flavor. Crunchy and easy easy easy to make!

And just because he is cute…one more of the pup.

Mango!IMG_8939

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Party Round Two: Pie!

June 16, 2013

Mmmm! Pie. As I said, Peggy gave me a lot of rhubarb. I love this because I had plenty left after the compote to whip up a pie! I happened to have a pie crust in the freezer but it was a bit dried out. So I defrosted it, mixed in a little more flour and water, kneaded it and rolled it out into a brand new crust. Success! Pie crust revival we called it. Maybe its just because we live in what used to be a church, the pie spirits were definitely on our side. They were also on our side, it appears, during the pie making itself. Yum!IMG_8878

Rhubarb Crumble Pie:

Filling:

1 lbs rhubarb, chopped

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp flour

One pie crust

Crumble Topping:

1/4 cup butter, very soft or melted

1 cup flour

1/3 cup oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions: Chop the rhubarb into small 1/4″ or 1/2″ pieces and stir into a mixing bowl with flour, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside for ten minutes or so while you prepare the crust and the topping. Preheat the oven to 450F. Mix all ingredients for the crumble topping in a small bowl. It should be like crumbly cookie dough. If it isn’t add a little more flour and sugar. Pour rhubarb, and any juices in the bottom of the bowl, into the prepare pie crust and top evenly with crumble. Place in the oven at 450F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F for another 50min to an hour. Voila!IMG_8881

The pie cooling on our old stove in the foyer!

I had trouble knowing when it was done…so I just let it stay in the oven at 350 and made sure it didn’t burn. I also put a cookie sheet under it for spills, because it did bubble over a bit. Nothing wrong with a great summer pie fresh from the garden!

Our garden here at 345 8th seems to be doing well. We have lots of zucchini flowers and a few squash blossoms AND our pumpkin seeds have just poked up through the soil! I think I will get some set spray for the tomatoes, as our bees seem nonexistent. BUT the wildflower seeds we planted just started to come up, so maybe they will grow fast and the bees will come! The spices (rosemary, basil, parsley and mint) are flourishing in their pots. And I am composting again since I retained partial custody of the compost bins I share with the Cellar Ladies. Plus, Peggy and I have a zucchini trade planned. I give her zucchini, she gives me…asparagus, rhubarb and maybe later in the season some potatoes! Winning.

IMG_8901Chairs and table ($12 at the landfill)!IMG_8872IMG_8886 IMG_8885Enjoy!