Monday, June 30, 2014

This Week's Basket and Meal Plan

This is what was in my basket this week. No add-ons t his week, I knew I would be going out of town so I didn't want to have too much and take a risk on losing some of it. Our baskets also had some bananas but I traded mine with someone so that I got extra limes.

My plan for everything else:

Lettuce-salads and sandwiches
Celery-freeze for making stock later
Corn--Skillet Corn (as a side dish to Spicy Honey Chicken)
Tomatoes- sandwiches, salad, sliced to top Caprese Chicken
Mangos--Mango Smoothie and Mango-Chili freezer pops
Asparagus-Steamed and served with Rosemary Garlic Salmon
Potatoes-- cheesey mashed potatoes served with the Caprese Chicken
Limes--will be zested and juiced to make limeade and cut up to add to glasses of water
Nectarines and plums will be eaten as snacks

It is an abbreviated menu since I will be traveling to my Mom and Dad's. Mom will begin her chemo next week and we would appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts.

Friday, June 27, 2014

In My Garden

 Most of my plants went into the ground a little late this year so I am just now getting a lot of blooms and growing food. I thought I would show you some pictures of what I have growing.

Welcome to my garden!

My sunflower is just starting to open up. This is the first year that I have grown a lot of flowers and most of them are mixed into my garden area.

I have four raised beds in my yard,the large one has a fence on the back of it so that my climbing and vining things have a place to go. My peas were growing there, I have pulled them out and have planted lima beans in their place, I also have some morning glories growing along the fence.

My first pumpkin! I have never tried to grow pumpkins before, so I was excited to see this one.

Ahhh, tomatoes, the number one reason for gardening. Nothing in this world beats a home grown tomato. I can't wait until these start ripening.

I also have some beans! 

Lots and lots of blooms.

As I mentioned, this is my first year to try and grow a lot of flowers. I have quite a few that are mixed in with my food bearing plants. I did this hoping to attract lots of pollinators to the garden. I also decided to add a flower bed to the side of the house. I started out with an 8-foot section, but it was kind of lost on that huge fence so I decided to add two more sections for a 24-foot flower bed. The Nicodemus plants in the middle have been blooming for a couple of weeks now and I am finally starting to see some other blooms too. I know now that I need to start my flowering seeds a little earlier than I did this year. I have lots of green in that flower bed, but not a lot of color yet.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blue Cheese Compound Butter

I went through a phase for a while where I made a lot of different compound butters and kept them in the freezer. Then for some reason, I stopped. This is my favorite, because I love blue cheese. I love to slice this on top of a steak that just came off the grill or added to grilled corn on the cob.

I start with 1 cup of softened butter, 2 tablespoons of chives, 1 tablespoon of parsley, 2-3 teaspoons of coarse ground pepper and 4 oz of crumbled cheese.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. 

After everything has been mixed, pour the mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Using the wax paper, I work the butter mixture into a log and then place it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes. After it starts to harden, I pull it back out and wrap a little more wax paper around it and then place it in a freezer bag, rolled to get out as much air as possible,

This also makes a great topper for a Blue Cheese Burger!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza happens to be one of my husband's favorite dishes. At first I really only made it for him, but it has really grown on me too. When we got married, a friend of mine gave me a gift card to Books a Million. She knew I loved cook books and she didn't want to even guess at a cookbook that I might not have. I found a book from The California Pizza Kitchen and knew it would be perfect since it had many of the recipes that Kip already loved. 

I started this recipe the day before I was going to make the pizza because I like to make my BBQ sauce ahead of time. I do make and can the BBQ sauce I use the most often, but the one that we like on this pizza is a little sweeter than the one I have canned.

(I also love that most of my condiments in the fridge are in mason jars!)

The next step is to cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces, cook until just done and then coat with BBQ sauce and let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

To assemble the pizza, roll out the pizza dough to the desired thickness. Spread about 3/4-1 cup of the BBQ sauce over the surface of the crust. Top with 1/2 cup of shredded  smoked Gouda cheese and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Arrange chicken pieces and red onion pieces over the dough. Bake at 475 degrees for 12-14 minutes. When the pizza comes out of the oven sprinkle with chopped cilantro. 

We were hungry and I forgot to take a picture of the pizza cooked and after adding the cilantro. Here is is right before going in the oven.


2 cups water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan over medium high heat and whisk till smooth.

bring mixture to a boil the reduce heat and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes until thick.

cool then store in air tight container in refrigerator.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bountiful Basket and Weekly Menu

This is my basket that I got this week. In addition to the basic basket I also gout and Italian pack. This is pretty much all the produce I will use for the week, I love the variety, just enough of everything to make a meal and not so much that we end up eating the same thing for a week straight.

As soon as I get home with my basket, I make my meal plan for the coming week to incorporate everything so that nothing gets forgotten and wasted. I typically plan five dinners for each week, and that leaves room for a leftover night, eating out or at a friend's, or an I-am-going-to-eat-popcorn-for dinner-because-Kip-is-working-late. I also have pantry staples that I can whip up a quick meal if I need another meal. Most weeks, I also plan one dessert.

This week's menu includes:

Salmon Patties, mashed potatoes, salad

Mushroom and Swiss burgers, grilled veggie kabobs, homemade potato chips

Ginger pork, rice, broccoli

Tuscan soup, rosemary bread

Grilled steak, baked potato, salad, green beans

Since yesterday was Father's Day I cooked dinner for Kip's family, making some of his Dad's favorite dishes. We had BBQ pork sandwiches topped with hot slaw, macaroni salad, baked beans, corn on the cob and jalapeno cornbread. For dessert I made banana pudding. He was one happy Dad!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Salad Bar at Home

I love going to a good salad bar. There are so many things that you can add, and I love all the variety that they offer. There aren't that many places around me that have one, and since we don't eat out as much as we used to I decided to make one at home. No real rules here, I just chop up whatever veggies I have on hand and set them all out. It is a great way to use up left over veggies or meats too. 

I bought those containers at the Dollar General a couple of summers ago and I love them. Each of the sections come out so that I can condense them as they empty. In the summer, I eat salads for lunch most days and I can keep veggies chopped and ready for a quick lunch. I am hoping they have these again this summer because I would love to have a couple of more for fruits.

I know I eat more veggies if I don't have to take the time to cut them for every meal. 

A couple of times a month, I try and plan a night of assemble your own meals. I still do all the prep, but then whoever is here can make their dinner to suite their own taste. I do Taco night, sandwich night, build a pizza night, a potato bar, and a nacho bar. I would love more ideas if you do this sort of thing at your house!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bountiful Basket and Meal Plan

Yippee, it is a Bountiful Basket week! This week in addition the the regular basket, I also got a picnic pack. When I get home each week, I take the time to sit down and plan my meals for the coming week. I find that if I do that, I make sure that every thing gets used and I don't find any unused food that gets forgotten and ends up in the compost bin. 

Here is how I will be using my basket this week:

Romaine and iceberg lettuce will both be used in salads and on sandwiches.
Asparagus will be steamed and served as a side dish.
Celery will be frozen for use in stock.
Bananas, apples, grapes and some of the berries will be eaten as is or in smoothies or mixed in yogurt.
Tomatoes will be used in salads and on sandwiches,
Squash will be in grilled veggie burritos.
Orange bell peppers will be in the veggie burritos, salads and some sliced for snacking.
Broccoli will be chopped for salads and steamed as a side.
Onions are used in cooking throughout the week.
Red Potatoes will be a potato dill salad on burger night.
Red Onion will be in salads and on BBQ Chicken Pizza.
Cabbage will be some type of slaw.
Watermelon will be sliced and devoured!