Greek Pasta Salad

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 No comments
I may never emotionally recover from my trip to Greece.  So, in order to heal my Greek Homesick Heart....I make variations of Greek food.  This was tasty.  The original recipe (from lecreamedelacrumb) called for tortellini, but I had cheese raviolis I wanted to use up....and it was really delicious.  This stays on my rotation.  I'll probably cut back on the apple cider vinegar for personal taste, but it really was good and it had all my favorite veggies!
Greek Pasta Salad
1 lb cheese tortellini pasta (cook according to package's instructions)
1 c. cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1/2 red onion (sliced thin)
1 large cucumber (peeled and sliced thin)
1/2 c. canned artichoke hearts (roughly chopped)
1/2 c. olives (whole or sliced)
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/3 c. fresh basil leaves (chopped fine)
Dressing Ingredients:  
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 c. apple cider vinegar, 3 t. minced garlic, 1 t. dried oregano, 1 t. dried basil, 1/2 t. dried thyme, 2 t. sugar, 1 T Dijon mustard, 1/2 t. salt, black pepper (to taste), juice of 1/2 lemon
1.  Combine the dressing in a jar, shake well.
2.  Mix all the other ingredients.  Pour dressing over the top and toss.
3.  Store in fridge (the original recipe calls for up to only 6 hours, but mine was great the next day as well).

(Vegan) Peach Pecan Crispy Cobbler

Monday, May 21, 2018 No comments
Last summer I was armed with some Texas pecans and peaches when I was invited to my brother's place for dinner.  He's vegan and I told him I'd bring the dessert, so I had to combine all of that together.  I found this recipe at Sally'sBakingAddiction and by substituting the butter for nondairy I was able to make this vegan.  The original recipe says it serves 8-12, but in reality-maybe 6 could eat unless your guest are all on a major diet.
It really was a delicious cobblerish dessert, and I loved the pecan and oat topping.  I used a combination of 'regular' and white peaches b/c I ran low on the regular and it tasted great.  I also had frozen some of my peaches in advance, and it baked up just fine, so fresh or frozen-I think you'll be pleased with the outcome.
Peach Pecan Crispy Cobbler
FILLING:  5 c. thinly peeled and sliced peaches (about 5-6 medium peaches), 1/4 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, 1/4 t. salt, 1/2 t. vanilla
TOPPING:  3/4 c. brown sugar, 2/3 c. flour, 2/3 c. oats, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. salt, 3/4 c. pecans (chopped), 1/2 c. dairy free butter (you can also use regular butter if you aren't trying to make it vegan).
1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 or 9 inch square (or circle) baking dish.
2.  Make the filling by gently tossing all the ingredients.  Spoon into the prepared dish.
3.  Make the topping.  Stir together all the dry ingredients, make sure to get out all the brown sugar lumps.  Add the butter and work it through the dry ingredients with a fork until it's crumbly.  Evenly sprinkle over peaches.
4.  Bake 40-45 inutes until the top is golden brown and peach juice is bubbling on the edges.  Cool slightly before serving.
*This is also great with (vegan) vanilla ice cream.

Honey Fruit Salad

Monday, May 14, 2018 No comments

Finally....fruit.  After a long winter and bitter fruits, I'm stocking my fridge with fruit.  When I'm indecisive.  I usually just toss together about five cups of random fruits and then squeeze a lime or lemon over top and drizzle with a few T of honey.  Toss and eat within a day.  If it does start to turn a bit, you can bag it up and freeze it in the freezer and blend it into smoothies later on.  I missed summer.  

Garden Party Hacks

Wednesday, May 09, 2018 No comments

The above photo is my overgrown garden....and a plastic bucket from the dollar store I sprayed to look like a galvanized tub.  
See that orange bucket?  I passed out Halloween candy from that random bucket that has been hanging around my house for way too long.  I bought  Krylon spray that has a primer built in and goes on plastic (I found it at Walmart for just over 5 bucks).  It only took one coat.  The great thing about this approach is it makes these buckets more affordable, and you can vary up the shapes and sizes of buckets you use to create a cluster of drink buckets instead of one large bucket.....and you can toss them after b/c it was a buck, plus a little spray.  I'm taking this quick trick and 7 more to Good Morning, Texas tomorrow.  I'll be live sometime after nine.  I'll post the video later on facebook as well.  

Repurposed Container Garden

Monday, May 07, 2018 No comments

I'm doing all the 'easy' things first on my list of 40 before 40.  A(nother) garden is on my list.  The truth is, I've planted....and killed, many fruits, veggies, and herbs through the years, but this year I wanted to plant something I was proud of that fit 'me.'  I can successfully grow jalapenos....this year I put two of those in the mix b/c I knew they wouldn't fail me.  This was one thing on my list-really GO FOR a garden again, and I went back and forth about creating a box and filling it up in the traditional way.  I may go back there again, but this year I tried this out.  I had all of these things, except for the baby bath, lying around my yard or house.  The baby bath is vintage from Hungary.  I bought it off of William Sonoma when they had a sale going on...after I saw one at my friend Kelly's house.  Each piece is upcycled in some old stand with the tabletop missing, an old galvanized pale I had my brother drill holes in, an old coke grate I'm hoping cucumbers will love hanging out in....
Next up I'm going to make a planting station out of an old door.  
In the meantime, I commit to not overwatering.  Not forgetting it's out there, and doing a little research when the plants protest their new homes.  

Homemade Jam

Friday, May 04, 2018 1 comment

     I'm working through the 'easier' things on my 40 before 40 list right now.  Some things are simple, but I've never taken the time to try them canning.  I've always wanted to can something, in particular, jam.  I didn't take this through the whole process of boiling this and sealing the jar b/c my plan was to A)  See if it was worth preserving.  B)  Eat it quickly. 
     Having made this recipe, I will definitely make more and boil it to seal the jar so I have jam past the strawberry season.  I don't think I've ever had homemade jam, I'm not sure I can ever go back to the store.
     I found this recipe at allrecipe.  I used the one with the fewest ingredients (and no gelatin).  See that foam at the top?  You can skim it off if you want-it's just air bubbles. do you.  The below recipe makes about 3 jars of jam, but I halved the recipe to start with....because there is nothing worse than three jars of grossness, but....having made it.....I'm going to go cut up the rest of my strawberries....and there will be gifts in the future for some of my friends.
Strawberry Jam
Ingredients:  2 lbs of strawberries (4 cups total of crushed strawberries), 4 c. of sugar, 1/4 c. lemon juice.
1.  Hull and roughly chop up strawberries.  Crush with a pastry cutter until the larger chunks are crushed and it's mostly juice.
2.  Add strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a pan.  Stir on low until combined until the sugar is dissolved.
3.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Stir frequently.  Allow jam to get to 220 degrees (I used a candy thermometer).  This took a few minutes (10 min), and the process helped break down the strawberries even more.
4.  Use a funnel to pour into hot (sterile) jars.  Leave 1/4-1/2 inch at the top.  Wipe off liquid from the top before adding the seal.
5.  Place in fridge if you are eating right away, or prepare in a water bath if you are saving these for later.
*Mine is a little runny, but it taste sooooo good.  I read to test to see if it's ready to gel, place a plate in the freezer.  After 10 min of boiling, place a teaspoon of jam on the plate.  Return to the freezer for 1 minute.  Pull out and run your finger through the middle.  If it doesn't pull back together-it's ready.