Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dorie Greenspan's Chewy Chunky Blondies would be off limits if I were only eating local

Dorie Greenspan's Chewy Chunky Brownies (note: after making the jump, scroll down) from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours...gooood stuff! Made these on cheat day. I knew they'd be really good, being a Dorie Greenspan recipe, but because they have coconut in them, I knew I would be able to resist them on non-cheat days.
If we sourced ALL our foods close to home in order to lower our carbon footprint, that would totally knock out some of the sweets we know and love. These brownies, for instance, contain chocolate and coconut...not the kinda stuff growing on trees here in western Kentucky!
THIS is how I ate one of Dorie's brownies on cheat day. I like coconut in only a handful of desserts, but it suited me fine in these brownies when topped with ice cream and drenched in dulce de leche. (Hubby likes coconut in anything, so he's a fan of the brownies as is.)
Hubby found a ripe persimmon for first!!
   Ever since reading "Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet" in Mother Earth News, I've been goaling toward replacing our lawn with edible landscaping. Hubby, who loves his riding lawn mower, is not on board with this idea. As you may know, my evil plan is to steal tiny bites of the lawn each year...y'know, encroach on his territory so slowly that he won't notice! ;)
    Okay, okay, time to come clean: Hubby's biggest complaint is...I plant more than I weed. Meaning, as we convert lawn to garden, he's stuck with more upkeep than the same sized patch of lawn would require. Mea culpa!! (Sue, of Sue's Garden Journal, has given me the key to overcome my lazy procrastinating: git 'er done early! Working on that!)
   While I continue to work on me and my laziness, I'll continue working on changing Hubby's mindset toward lawn vs. edible landscaping.
   Luckily, he's already on board with planting more trees. Six of our fruit trees planted in the last couple of years look like they're gonna make it. Yea! And now that I know I like the fruits, I'll be looking for a persimmon tree to add to the count, especially because the persimmon is native to Kentucky. All kinda reasons for going native; for one, native species need less water. Gotta love that!
   More sources on edible landscaping:
   Anyone else trying to add more native plants/shrubs/trees to their landscapes? 
   Think a locally-sourced fruit brownie could EVER make us forget a chocolate brownie or a blondie with choc chips?? (oh, the very idea!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meatless Monday: leftover veggie soup, quick cobbler

Made a quick veggie soup Saturday with a can of Bush's Black Bean Fiesta, a pint of my homemade tomato juice, sweet potatoes, peas, sweet peppers and a bit o' this and that seasonings. I know, I know, that's not many veggies, but I was in a hurry! And these raw cashews were leftover from our camping rations, so I tossed them into my bowl. Guess what? YUM! (Who'd have thought?)
Quick Cherry-Pineapple Cobbler. (NOTE: I used 20 ounces crushed pineapple, half a cup of nuts.) Had some of this gooey/crunchy sweet stuff on cheat day before freezing some, but the rest Hubby will eventually devour. Remind me not to post dessert photos at night when I'm feeling a bit peckish and cheat day's way too far away!
It's been a looong day but a good one. Just now getting to sit down.
   Hubby's watching Terra Nova on the boob tube. I'm watching it with one eye...while complaining about it out of the side of my mouth. Why do writers still write damsel in distress roles for so many females? C'mon, she looked fierce enough with gun in hand just before she cowered while some guy shot the dinosaur that was eating on their compadre's leg. Aarrgh!
   In fairness to the show, maybe I missed all the strong female roles while writing this? Anyway, too late to be on the PC anyway. I've found I get to sleep faster if I turn it off an hour before bed. Yeah, never too old for beddy-bye rituals! ;)
   Anything new on TV this season that we should check out? We usually turn the thing on a couple of hours at night, especially in winter. And if I'm not getting too--*ahem*--personal, care to share any bedtime rituals that ease you into Shut Eye Town?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lookin' for adventure at Land Between the Lakes

Marshmallows anyone?
What a dump! Airing linens after a night of pouring rain jacked up the humidity inside the camper.
Can you say "WORTH IT"? In my book, camping's good definitely outweighs the bad!
Let there be lunch!
Oh, yes, I DID shower under an open sky each night while camping at Hillman Ferry Campground on Kentucky Lake. Incredibly, these showers seemed cleaner than most parks', seems they use a pressure washer to hose them down!
LBL's The Homeplace is a dogtrot-style log cabin.
Definitely jonesing for that spider dutch oven!
That's what I was up to for the better part of last week. Now I hope to get caught up on what everyone else has been up to! Did I miss anything wicked or wild??

Saturday, September 24, 2011

On my soap box for everyday wine

First tipped off to the drinkability of Bota Box wines by Wine Spectator a few years back. We ditch the box and toss the bag in the cooler when we go camping. Nothing could be simpler. (Of course, my scale stays at home!)
Trust me, this stuff is not the Kool-aid sweet wines that used to be all you could get in a box. Last year we enjoyed Bota's Merlot. (Sorry, I forget which year.) Their Merlot isn't as good recently and neither is the Shiraz (at least what's available around here), so we tried their Pinot Grigio. Success! *Lucky for me, Hubby won't let the flops go to waste.*
   Unlike an open bottle, boxed wine doesn't get air, so it won't age once opened. As we don't polish off a whole bottle in an evening this stuff saves us money. Granted, we don't drink enough to save loads of money, but still...
   Also, the bag of wine is lighter for travel than a bottle would be, which makes it perfect for when we're hauling in everything when we're camping. So, is admitting I like some boxed wines even more shameful than the fact that I like Gorton's Tilapia? ;)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Teeny twist on tiny houses: a tipi!

Despite the fact that it rained on us now and again, we had a great time camping at Land Between the Lakes. More specifically, at Hillman Ferry Campground on Kentucky Lake. Definitely a fabuloso, unplugged time, and I hope to share some pics soon.
   Meanwhile, hope you like the video. Could YOU live in a tiny house...or tipi??
P.S. The latest copy of Mother Earth News magazine was in my mailbox today. Yea! Love that magazine! They have a homesteading blog some of you might enjoy checking out! It's where I found the tipi video, btw. If interested, see The Happy Homesteader. (Gotta's margarita/movie night!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mending my Amish bread recipe and my belt; Pioneer village

Amish Friendship Bread. This is my second baking; first recipe didn't have enough sugar in it to suit Hubby. This recipe is still not as moist as the one I used years ago...and lost along the way. I'll keep tweaking the recipe 'til it's the yummiest ever! Any advice??
Some stitching on one of my belts came out; for $10 bucks, it was good as new. Took it to a joint in town called Raine's Shoe Hospital. ALWAYS leave that place with a smile on my face, because the owner/operator always has a smile on his face. Somewhat of a cobbler philosopher, he says things like, "My daddy always told me that life's only hard if you take it hard."
Why NOT use every last bit?
It's paid for and what's fun about spending money on toothpaste!!
Met DD and the grandgirls at a local park on Saturday to check out a free event at its pioneer village. This re-creationist found her milk strainer at Goodwill. She said no one there knew what it was. Well, I didn't know what it was either. Does milk fresh from a cow have to be strained???
Couldn't get the grandgirls to try out this yoke, but this little fella was game!
   As camping days ARE cheat days, I'm hoping to be sitting around a fire roasting marshmallows sometime soon. Raining, raining for now. Wish me luck! Whassup in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Flopped pizza dough made a fine focaccia!

Thought I'd share the rest of the story about the other half of my pizza dough from the other day. First half didn't raise much, so I ended up with a thin crust pizza, which tasted great btw. Left second half of the dough out to see if it would raise if given more time, and guess what? I FORGOT it!! By that evening the dough was only slightly raised and somewhat crusty on top. Having nothing to lose, I went ahead and patted it into a pan and poked holes in it for focaccia. It worked!! (Usually sprinkle focaccia with oregano, but I ran out last week and haven't had the chance to replace it.) 
Sweet Potato Harvest 2011. Hubby says there are about 40 more potatoes out there waiting to be dug!
Hope to get in some camping this week! Anything fun on your agenda??

10 Tips for a Zero-Waste Household by Bea Johnson — YES! Magazine

Friday, September 16, 2011

This moment: A red sky, blue muffins kinda mornin'

Whoppin' Big Wild Blueberry Muffins with streusel topping AND icing. Breakfast anyone? I had a banana peach smoothie myself, but no worries, I'll be having a blueberry muffin mañana! My recipe was found in Martha Stewart Living Annual Recipes 2003, but here it is online. (I used wild blueberries for the fruit; regular all purpose flour, and 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in the batter. Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Recipe makes 12 regular or 6 whoppin' big muffins.)
Thought it was "Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning!"?
So far so good's GORGEOUS here in western Kentucky!
Thanks to Soulemama for this Friday photo sharing concept. Would love for you to leave a link to your moment!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On my mind: Doing vs. wish I were doing

Wish I were out bike riding, like this quintessential bike guy I captured a shot of the day we were coming home from the fair and our trip to Ohio. 
Making pizza is what I've been doing instead. Cool enough inside the house that my pizza dough didn't rise, so it ended up being a thin crust pizza. Forgot to buy any mozzarella, so I used Asiago and Parmesan cheeses instead.
This is what I wished I were eating at lunch. Mushrooms, red onions and pepperoni on three quarters of the pizza; plain pepperoni (for DD) on the rest. Olive oil drizzled on top.
   Tomato, cottage cheese and watermelon are what I ended up eating instead.  Hubby and DD must've liked the crust...only two pieces left. Cheat day is Saturday--can't wait!
   I'll go see now if the other half of that pizza dough has risen. Hope so, I'd like to try making some hot dog buns out of it. Guess the bike riding will have to wait for another gorgeous, breezy day. What's your doing vs. wish you were doing?
   Thanks, Rhonda at down-to-earth, for sharing this On My Mind concept. What's on your mind today? Share your link here or on down-to-earth. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Vegetable Frittata, adapted slightly. I modified the olive oil usage only 'cause I failed to read the recipe before roasting the veggies! Still turned out great, tho' I used less oil than the original recipe called for. For the Contessa's original recipe, check out Sidewalk Shoes' blog.
Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Vegetable Frittata was my lazy day choice. Taken from her book I love, love, LOVE: "How Easy Is That?," her frittata was as advertised...soo easy. Her original recipe using 12 extra-large eggs halved easily...soo yummy.
   I have yet to make a recipe of Ina Garten's that wasn't easily adapted to what's on hand yet still better than anything I usually come up with myself to use up "what's on hand."

Roasted Vegetable Frittata
1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices--halved (aiming for bite-sized pieces)
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and 1 1/2 inch dice
1/2 red onion, 1 1/2 inch dice
good olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 tsp. Goya Adobo All Purpose Saffron Seasoning (I'm just trying to use up the seasoned salts I have on hand. Contessa uses kosher salt)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 green onion, diced (note that I didn't roast these)
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
--To use less energy, I roasted the veggies in the toaster oven @ 425°F for 15 minutes; added the garlic and baked for 10 more minutes.
--Then I preheated the big oven to 350°F.
--In a medium bowl, whisked the eggs, half-and-half, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
--Popped my 10-inch iron skillet into the heating oven with the butter in it. Once the butter melted, I added the roasted veggies and the green onions to the skillet, drizzled it with olive oil then popped it back into the oven for a couple of minutes. Pulled it out just long enough to pour the egg mixture over the veggie mixture, then popped it right back into the oven for 20 minutes, until the frittata was nice and puffed up. Then added the Gruyère to the top, drizzled with a bit more olive oil and baked for another 3 minutes until the cheese was melted. Serve hot.

   Because I didn't have to cook yesterday, being at Mom & Dad's, I had to make today my Meatless Monday. So, this frittata was my meatless supper. Had a green salad for lunch. Baked a loaf of banana bread today too. Thought I'd already shared my favorite banana bread recipe, so I didn't bother to take a pic, but I couldn't find that recipe on this blog just now when I searched. Must share it one of these days, 'cause we love it!
    REALLY need to come up with some easy recipes that don't involve eggs for Meatless Mondays. Any ideas for me??

Monday, September 12, 2011

Longstanding love affair with Lincoln Boyhood Park

Lincoln Boyhood Living Historical Farm. This recreated log cabin is only one square foot larger than the one President Lincoln lived in as a boy in Indiana. The pegs jutting out of the wall to the left of the fireplace are steps up to the attic. Abe and his brothers climbed such steps to their beds each night.
Having visited many times since I was a little kid, I'd always called this place Lincoln State Park, but evidently the Lincoln Boyhood Living Historical Farm is a National Park.
This seasonal ranger said the shoes were made to be worn on either the right or left foot and that, back in the day, shoes were rotated from foot to foot, so that if something happened to one, a single shoe could be bought to replace it. Now, how frugal is that!?
LOVE these pegged shutters! Having finished installing my folks' new replacement windows, Hubby priced vinyl window shutters for them yesterday @ around $45 to $55 per pair. For some reason I couldn't convince him that he should make some pegged shutters instead. ;)
Lawn darts anyone? I managed to land only one of these corncob/turkey feather darts in the hoop lying on the ground by the tree.
How's that for a sturdy chicken yard fence? One of the rangers said that the eggs are the ONLY thing produced on the farm that they are able to share and take home at the end of the day, but I got the impression that eggs get wasted, because the workers can only use so many. *sigh*
Located in the memorial center, this may well be the largest braided rug I'll ever see.
Recent purchases of the truck and dishwasher really dipped in the till, so "brown bagging" lunch was the money-saving choice on this day's excursion. I keep forgetting to put some picnic flatware in our day cooler. We keep some plastic utensils in the cooler's side pocket and have washed and re-used them for ages.
"Labor is the great source from which nearly all if not all human comforts and necessities are drawn." Abe Lincoln
   On that note, time for me to go labor a little...laundry and ripe bananas are awaitin'! What labors await you today? Necessities or comforts?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: Around and about on September 10

Thanks to A Bit of Sunshine for this Ten on Ten Photo Project. This September 10, 2011, I will attempt to capture some element of our lives at the top of every hour. I will add photos throughout the day...might need to refresh the page if you visit again to see all ten photos.
Six O'Clockish: My first view of the day, taken out the master bathroom window. See me?
Seven O'Clock-ish: After having drunk my banana breakfast smoothie and read the morning paper, it's time to "put on my face." Back in the master bath, I notice this plant might need water.
Eight O'Clockish: Came out back to let the dog out of her pen for the day. Love it that the wisteria is still in bloom. I'm on the computer now...looking forward to checking out any comments left on yesterday's post.
Nine O'Clock-ish: Time to stir my Amish Friendship Bread starter. Found the recipe in a library book I'm reading: The Amish cook: Recollections and Recipes from an Old Order Amish Family.
Ten O'Clock-ish: Okay, I confess to taking this pic just 'cause I like taking pictures of food! Made my Aunt S's Chocolate Raspberry Brownies--a recipe out of the family cookbook--for the first time yesterday. Essentially just a brownie with layers of raspberry jam and chocolate glaze spread on top. Hope I can make myself wait 'til lunch to eat this!
Eleven O'Clock-ish: I almost let eleven slide by without taking a photo. Here's our first pumpkin from garden 2011!
Twelve O'Clock-ish: DD came over for lunch. (Hubby's in town.) Thought it funny that the two phones were on the table. Mine's usually in the other room, but DD always has hers near to her. As it's cheat day, I'm finally having a slice of that Yeast Corn Bread Loaf. Will definitely be making that again! My favorite chicken salad's on the bread: add 1 cup Miracle Whip, 1/2 cup Marzetti Slaw Dressing and roasted pecans to 2-3 cups leftover chicken. Yum!
One O'Clock-ish: See, I haven't killed the new plants yet...these at least. The ones planted in the dirt haven't fared quite so well. About this front yard view: just out of the frame is a neighbor's new garage going up across the street. Our backyard view is pretty much the same in that it looks very rural straight out, but there's a neighbor's yard just out of the frame of the pic taken at six o'clock.
Three O'Clock-ish: Feels like I just sat down yet here it is time to take another pic! So, here's my view from the couch...always a ton of library books sitting around just waiting for me to get off the durned computer! ;)
Four O'Clock-ish: Mark's post on encroaching water over on Our Simple Lives has me thinking "preparedness" yet again. As DD does not have room to store much water at their place, I need to rethink the amount of water we keep on hand here. This pic was taken out in the attached garage. Though I see it all the time, this is the first time in a long time that I've actually noticed this old tabletop. Always meant to do something with it! Wish everyone a safe and happy 10 on 10!!
   Please feel free to leave a link to your own Ten on Ten...or to whatever else you'd care to share!
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