Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My First Blog Award!

April of Angel Foods Kitchen awarded me the "Blogs With Substance" award.  This is the first award for this blog, so I just a little bit excited about it. 

When this award is given to you, there are a couple of things you are supposed to do:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award:
Thanks so much April!

 2. Sum up my blogging philosophy, motivation and experience in 5 words:
Good food, gardening and sharing

3. The final step is for me to choose 10 other blogs whom I think are"Blogs With Substance".
Each of these blogs has influenced my journey to be a better wife, mother and homemaker.  In no particular order...
1.  Life As Mom
2.  $5 Dinners
3.  Tatertots and Jello
4.  I'm an Organizing Junkie
5.  New Nostalgia
6.  Food in Jars
7.  An Oregon Cottage
8.  Hoosier Homemade
9.  Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Take some time to go check out these inspiring blogs. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Garden Party #6

Harvest Time

My Roma tomatoes are looking fantastic.  There are about 10 more on the vine in varying stages of ripeness.  I hope to dry these in my dehydrator and make sun-dried tomatoes this week.

The pitiful onions are the only ones I could rescue from the chipmunks.  They had eaten all the others. 

I found potato beetles on my potato vines this morning, so I sprayed them and then dug up a couple of potatoes to see if they were healthy underground.  Luckily, so far so good. 

Dinner tonight consisted of the potatoes and onions roasted with zucchini, yellow squash and baby portabella mushrooms.  I had to buy the squash and zucchini because mine keep getting infested with the squash vine borer.  UGGGHHHH!!!  I just can't get rid of those things.

10 Things in 10 Days

Shabby Chic Cottage is hosting 10 Tasks in 10 Days at her lovely, inspiring blog, while
I am a bit late to this party, I love making lists and the accountability they provide.  I am going to take this challenge on my own, beginning today and ending on July 8th.  We will see just how much I can accomplish!

10 Tasks in 10 Days

1.  Clean out Boo Boo's room - if I showed her room right now, my mother would disown me!
2.  Make 4 different types of jam - Hopefully with my dear friend Beth
3.  Inventory both garage freezers - I need to save some grocery money this month, so       knowing what is in the freezer will help.
4.  Put together garage organizers for shoes, bags, etc - I have had the organizer for over a year....
5.  Find a home for the plastic bins in the corner of my bedroom - just where I don't know, but I will find them a home somewhere
6.  Wash porch furniture and porch - to get ready for a little 4th of July bash we are hosting on Saturday
7.  Clean out Boo Boo's playhouse - this might be more than I can handle.....
8.  Stain bookcases for office - I have put this off far too long
9.  Make 4th of July decorations - 2 wreaths and paper flowers - for our party on Saturday
10.  Write and post 3 book reviews for my much neglected Book Blog - I am embarassed how long it has been since I have posted on this blog!

Bonus -
11.  Sew table runner for kitchen table - it is cut, pressed and ready to go, just need to sew it together
12.  Pedicure! - much needed!  I am thinking red for the 4th. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Favorites of the Week

These are just a few of the gems I found while perusing the internet.  Check them out!

How to Dehydrate Fruits from Kitchen Stewardship - I received a dehydrator for Christmas just so I could make dried tomatoes, but after reading this post, I believe I will be trying my own fruit as well.

Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken from Allrecipes - I made and reviewed this recipe this week.  We loved it, especially on top of a salad.

Garden Notebook from Penny Pinching Momma - this post reminded me of all the things I need to put in my much neglected garden journal!

Summer To Dos at eighteen25 - eventhough our summer is half over, I still want to to this. It is on MY to do list today!

M and M Cookies from Jamie Cooks It Up - I am sooooo making these this weekend.  I think my kids will LOVE them. 

 Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker - I REALLY want this!  I am hoping for a 20% off coupon in the paper this Sunday. 

What were some of your favorite finds this week?  Share them at It's a Blog Party!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing

One of the many email lists I subscribe to is the Daily Recipe from Allrecipes. Usually I skim and delete, but every now and then a real gem finds its way into my in box. Today's recipe is one such fantastic recipe.  Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken was the answer to "What's for dinner when it is 98* outside?"   I had planned on roasted vegetables to go with this, but it was just too hot to turn on the oven, so I served the chicken on top of a salad with a Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing I found at Our Best Bites.  

Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken

1/4 c lemon pepper ( I used Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper)
1 T dry mustard ( I used 3/4 t - it was all I had )
1 t dried rosemary ( I used 2 T fresh from my herb garden)
5 bonless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 T lemon juice
3 dry white wine ( I used a Pinot Grigio- about 1 1/2 c )
1. Combine all ingredients in a gallon ziploc bag or container.  Let marinate at least 4 hours. 
2.  Grill until meat is no longer pink.
3.  Let rest for at least 20 minutes.
Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing

1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (I used my homemade mix)
1 C mayo
1/2 c milk (or buttermilk if using Buttermilk Ranch Dressing)
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 c cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c green salsa (did not have, so did not use)
hot sauce

Place milk, mayo and ranch mix in a blender.  Juice the lime into the blender.  Toss in garlic, cilantro and green salsa.  Blend.  Sample and add hot sauce to taste.  Make several hours ahead to allow it to thicken. 

I liked the bones of this recipe, but it needs tweaking to suit my tastes.  I think I used too much of my Ranch dressing mix to start with.  I had to add 1/2 c sour cream to balance out too much spice.  I also wanted a more cilantro taste, so I think I will use an entire bunch next time instead of 1/2.  I will probably 1/2 the garlic too, especially if serving it with this chicken again as it has alot of garlic as well.  Not a green salsa fan, so we did not miss it, but it probably adds another layer of flavor to this really flavorful dressing.  I think it would make a great dip for chips as well. 

Linking up to
Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Say Cheese!

Bubba enjoying my favorite view of Washington, DC - from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument to the Capitol. 

Banana Nut Muffins (or Bread)

On occasion I leave a couple of bananas to turn really good and brown just so I can make Banana Bread.  My recipe is a really old one, from the original Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  You know, the one your Granny and your Mom had, the one every bride gets at her bridal shower -- the one with the red and white checked cover?  Well, if you don't have a clue what I am talking about , here is the recipe.  I like this one because it is not very sweet and is very forgiving.  I rarely follow they specific directions, just dump it all in and bake.  Turns out perfect every time.  I chose to make muffins this time so I can freeze them for quick breakfasts this summer.  Just freeze in a large freezer bag.  When ready to eat, throw on in the microwave for 20 seconds and you are good to go.  Enjoy. 

1 3/4 c flour
2/3 c sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 c mashed ripe bananas ( 2 - 3)
1/3 c shortening, margarine or butter (I have always used shortening)
2 T milk
2 eggs
1/4 c chopped nuts (I prefer pecans)

In a large bowl combine 1 c of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir to combine.  Add mashed banana, shortening, and milk.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until blended, then on high speed for 2 minutes.  Add eggs and remaining flour; beat till blended.  Stir in nuts.

For muffins -
Pour batter into 12 muffin cups.  Bake at 350* for 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack. 

For bread -
Pour batter into a 8 x 4 x 2 loaf pan.   Bake at 350* for 55 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack. 

Linked to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
It's a Blog Party Delicious Dishes
Crazy Daisy Tuesday Tastes

Tuesday Garden Party #5

15 Days away from home with my garden in the hands of my husband proved to be not quite as disastrous as I had feared.  DH did make sure everything was watered and he even pulled a few weeds, but pest control was just more than he could handle.  However, while I lost a few things, most of my garden is looking good.  I am looking forward to big harvests in the next 3 -4 weeks.

I had to replant my zucchini as grub worms had decided to make their home in the stalks.  I am the only person on the planet that cannot grow zucchini!   I planted my cucumbers very late, can't wait for them to start producing! See those little tomato plants?  They are volunteers from last year.  They are growing between my raised bed and garden box.  I am going to leave them there and see what happens....

My red, white and sweet potatoes seem happy enough.  There is however an ant colony in this bed that I have been unsuccessful at getting of.  I hope they are not wreching havoc on my lovely potatoes....

My broccoli fell victim to caterpillars while I was gone.  I am going to try again in the fall.  My Roma tomoatoes are doing very well.  They are a bit on the small side, but there are alot of them.  Four of them are just starting to turn, so I expect a homegrown tomato on my menu this week. 

To see more fantastic gardens, stop by and see Jamie at An Oregon Cottage

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 6/21/10

After being gone for 15 of the last 18 days, I was soooo glad to see my own kitchen!  I am tired of eating in restaurants, airports, banquet halls.  DH and the kids are glad to be eating home cooking again too.  Here is our "I am so glad to be HOME" menu for the week.

Sunday (Father's Day)
Fried Chicken
Green Beans
Mashed Red Potatoes
Corn Muffins

Panko Crusted Salmon (recipe at bottom)
Green Beans
Saffron Rice
Corn on the Cob
Corn Muffins

Stuffed Shells (this is a new recipe) and I am making Butter Yum's sauce too. 
Garlic Bread

BUNCO - family will have leftovers

Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken
Roasted Vegetables

Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Mac and Cheese, Fruit
Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken over Angel Hair, Roasted Vegetables , Garlic Bread
*** Depends on how late DH works on Friday Night

Supper Club at our friend's Lake House!

Dijon Crusted Salmon
from Southern Living 2009

4 6 oz. salmon filets
salt and pepper to taste
Dijon mustard (I was out, so used a coarse grain mustard.  It was a bit too strong, I highly suggest the dijon.)
Panko bread crumbs

Heat oven tp 450*. 
Season filets with salt and pepper.  Spread mustard on filets and top with panko crumbs.  Bake in 450* oven for 10 - 14 minutes, or until fish is done.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Fave Five (June 18, 2010)

I found Suzanne's Friday Fave Five via Katrina at Callapidder Days and decided to link up since I just got back from a great trip to Washington, DC with 4 students and my son.

1.  National History Day at the University of Maryland.  I had the opportunity to take 4 of the greatest students to compete at National History Day.  I admire the intelligence, determination and attitudes of these wonderful ladies.  Teaching young adults like this makes me so glad to be an educator.

2.  The Korean War Memorial - This is my favorite memorial in DC.  I love the concept, the reality of it and when you look at the faces of the individual soldiers, you see determination, anguish, pain, fear and love of country, all emotions that drive soldiers to do what they do.  More than any other monument, this one really brings home to me the sacrifices of the individuals who made the life my family and I have today possible. 

3.  Free Speech in Action - This is a protest against BP Oil that took place in front of the White House Wednesday when we were there.  The group was protesting the lack of response to the plight of the fishermen and shrimpers in the Gulf both from BP and the White House.  There as also someone there (the man in the blue Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Hat) ranting against President Obama in general.  The kids were fascinated by the entire event.  The media was there as well as several uniformed Secret Service officers.  One of my students was even interviewed after the protest.  It was a great opportunity for them to see the right to free speech in action.

4.  Triceratops Skeleton at the Museum of Natural History - the triceratops is my very favorite dinosaur!

5.  An unforgettable trip with my wonderful, not so little anymore, little boy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Southern Living Recipes for June

Still trying to get out of my cooking rut and trying to incorporate some new recipes into our rotation.  I once again consulted my Southern Living Cookbook collection and found these gems.

Stuffed Banana Peppers (2000)
Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts over Angel Hair Pasta (1997) -  I will sub feta for the goat cheese.  It is less expensive and the kids like it better. 
Grilled Fruit Kabobs (1997)
Lemon  Couscous (1996)
Salad Antipasto (1996)
Fried Green Tomatoes with Bread and Butter Pickle Remoulade (2009) - This one is on the menu for tonight.  I am going to mix cream cheese and a bit of feta with basil to put between two slices of tomato to mimic those from our favorite Southern Cuisine Restaurant - South City Kitchen