Paper Plates and Take-Out

6 Sep
Take Out Food

Chinese, Thai, and Pacific Northwest Food Containers. No, 6.30 on the container is NOT the date, that is what time we wanted our Pad Thai ready to pick up last night.

Yep, that is pretty much where we are at with the moving stage. This weekend is the “big stuff move” while the rest of the week is clearing out the rest of the smaller stuff and figuring out what clothes goes to the condo and what goes with us camping.

Oh! You probably need an update on where we’ll actually be living the next couple of months. We won’t be able to close on the house we want to buy until mid- or end-October. Since we have to be out of this house by Friday, we are temporarily moving to my parents one-bedroom summer condo (which also has a murphy bed in the living room). For now the contents of our house are going into storage.

The only hitch with this plan is that my parents are still here for another two weeks. Since school has already started, we’ll get our daughter and her clothes moved over there, and hubby and I will then take off to spend a week relaxing at our RV river property at the coast. Salmon fishing and crabbing season are in full swing now! We’ll get back the day before my parents fly back to Texas and squeeze the five of us (and our dog) in there for a night, and then spend the rest of the weekend assessing what the heck needs to be done next.

Last, but not least, let me introduce you to another foodie blogger who found me recently. The only reason I bring this up is that we seem to be some kind of “soul-mates.” Why, you ask? Because we have led almost parallel lives! Our similarities are fascinating. We both have roots in Houston, Texas. Both our fathers worked in the oil industry and moved around a lot. We both went to the University of Texas and earned a degree in Journalism from there. We are both 51 years old. We both write foodie blogs. AND… our favorite book as a young child was “Harriet the Spy.” Let me introduce you to Stacy, from Food Lust People Love. As it turns out, we went to grade school together at St. Thomas More in Houston. We moved from Houston to Ohio just before 7th grade, and I lost touch with her after that. How we never bumped into each other on campus boggles my mind, as we both worked at the college newspaper at the same time. I am looking forward to reading her blog for inspiration to start cooking and blogging again after we settle into our new home. Thank you Stacy for finding me again so I could find you! :)

Homemade Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

27 Aug
Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Serranos and Peppers

Serranos, Jalapeno, and Pasilla Peppers

I am reblogging this recipe from last summer for you. I made another batch of this last weekend. This year, though, I had some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and my very own Serrano peppers that I grew to make it with! My husband said I didn’t make it spicy enough last year so I tossed in three Serranos this year instead of two, and one of them was the hotter fiery red and another one was already turning red. I also substituted the spicier Pasilla peppers instead of using Anaheim. He had no complaints this year. I hope you enjoy!

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

It was so much fun to get back into canning again! I have not canned anything in several years, but this year we have a bumper crop from my husband’s Hanging Tomato Plant Experiment. He got this crazy idea to plant a gazillion tomato seedlings (OK about 70) in hanging flower pot baskets upside-down, then sell them.

Hanging Tomato Plants on Side of House

Hanging Tomato Plants on Side of House

Well, the idea worked, except he didn’t sell nearly enough of them. We have about 50 of them left, all hooked up to this crazy hanging basket contraption on two sides of our house, with an automated watering system he devised, which thank goodness works because we do go out of town time to time.

Hanging Tomato Plants on Deck

Hanging Tomato Plants on Deck

That being said, I harvested a bunch of our ripe beefsteak tomatoes for this canning project. I looked up a bunch of recipes online, and settled on one that fit my taste but then of course adapted it. I barely eeked out 5 full pint jars of this, and was hoping for some partially leftover to snack on the day I made it fresh, but that will have to wait, as I wanted full jars. However, my taste test passed with flying colors! If you have an abundance of tomatoes this year from your crop, you can make some too! Here is what I did:

Basket of Ripe Tomatoes

Basket of Ripe Tomatoes

Homemade Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa
Adapted from Simply Recipes

5 to 6 pounds fresh tomatoes (I used 5 1/2)
3 large Anaheim peppers
2 large Serrano peppers
1 large Jalapeño pepper
1 large onion (I used sweet Walla-Walla), diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (this took about 2 largish limes)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped, including stems (fresh from my herb garden!)
2 teaspoons dried, crushed, Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground Sea Salt
1 teaspoon sugar

OK now you have the ingredients list.  Next is the prep for the canning process, which is the one of the longest parts. Here is the special equipment stuff you need:

Canning Equipment:

5 or 6 pint canning jars (I used 5 but prepped 6 of them just in case)
Large stockpot for for canning (mine is 15-quart or so)
Flat steamer rack to fit pot (so cans don’t touch glass on metal directly, which can crack them)
Canning tongs for adding and removing jars from boiling water (you can do without but be careful!)

First I started prepping the jars and lids. Fill your stockpot about three-quarters of the way full with water, then put on high heat to boil. Meanwhile, go pick those ‘maters! Since it takes a long while for that much water to boil, now you can inspect your just-picked tomatoes for defects, then core and score them. Core the tomatoes and stems, then cut/slice off any bad spots. Score them lightly through the skin in half to make peeling easier. Now boil the jars for at least 10 minutes. At that point, go ahead and turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for now.

Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno Peppers

Anaheim, Serrano, and Jalapeno Peppers

This next job I assigned to by dear husband Paul, who has been towing the line for me in the cooking category recently with my workload. Lightly grease a hot grill with oil, then roast the peppers on all sides until blackened and charred all over. Put them in a paper or plastic bag for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, (again) roast those tomatoes on broil in your oven on a large rimmed cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. I would have had hubby do them on the grill with the peppers but didn’t want to overwhelm him with the task at hand. I think it worked out better that way as I needed the juice from the tomatoes.

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Fire-Roasted Tomatoes

Once the peppers and tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, peel the skins off the peppers (with latex gloves!) then peel the skins from the  tomatoes. Dice both of them up now (you might need to reserve the juices from tomatoes when chopping, as you need a minimum of 7 cups of diced tomatoes and their liquid to balance the acidity) and add to a very large saucepan or skillet with all the rest of the ingredients. ( p.s. do not use an aluminum pot, as it can leach the aluminum from the acid from the tomatoes.) Bring all of this up to a good boil, then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.

While all that is simmering, place the lids and caps in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Oh yeah, put a teakettle of water on to boil about 10 minutes ago. Oops! I forgot that too. I hope you read this all the way through before attempting.

Pot of Simmering Salsa

Pot of Simmering Salsa

After simmering, place half the salsa in a blender and puree, then add it back to the pot. If you like chunkier salsa , then you don’t have to do this. I decided on half and half. The original recipe recommends tasting the salsa at this point to either add  more sugar if too bitter or more vinegar if too sweet, but I found this to be the perfect balance!

Now remove the jars one at a time from the canning pot and ladle the salsa into the jars, leaving  a half-inch or more head space from the lid. Wipe the rim of the jars to remove any spilled salsa on them (which is easy to do!).  Tighten the lids only hand tight, and do not over-tighten them. Place all the jars back into the canning pot still filled with hot water, then bring up to a roiling boil. Big boil OK? Not just a few bubbles.  Process at a full boil for 15 minutes for 0-1000 ft. altitude, 20 minutes for 1000- 6,000 ft. altitude, and 25 minutes above that. I fell into the second category in case you are interested.

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Canned Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

At your recommended boiling mark, turn off the heat and let sit five minutes.  Remove the jars from the pot, then place them on some thick towels to cool down. The lids will “POP” when they have cooled when creating the suction for the canning process. I did not get to hear this phenomenon this time as I had to go upstairs to my home office to work for the remainder of the day.

So there it is! This took me a little under four hours from start to finish. Yes, it’s a half-day project, but it was completely satisfying to turn our homegrown tomatoes into some delicious salsa for future snacks and meals.

How to Make a Tasty Low-Salt Chicken or Turkey Broth

21 Aug

anotherfoodieblogger:

Time for another reblog to tide you over until we move and settle in! I wanted to share some additional information for this recipe. I now try to simmer the broth at least 2 to 4 hours, as you get a really nice golden broth that way. I add a little additional water through the process if needed. Also, I’ve started using fresh garlic. Just smash the garlic with the flat side of the knife so that the skins will peel off in the cooking process. Last thing is to strain the broth through a cheese cloth after getting all the veggies out. This makes a nice, clear, golden broth without all the cloudiness from the spices and herbs. :)

Note: Do NOT feed your doggie any of the cooked onion or garlic if you save the veggies for treat, only the celery and carrots. Onion and garlic can make your dog sick.

Originally posted on anotherfoodieblogger:

Homemade Turkey Broth

As promised, I’ll share my secrets to making a soup base from chicken or turkey, that is both low salt and also deliciously rich and eye-pleasing. Well, there aren’t really that many secrets to it, but a few extra “ingredients” can go a long way in stocking your freezer with plenty of tasty soup stock in the months ahead.

When my husband was told quite a few years ago he had to take high-blood pressure medicine and go on a low-salt diet, I knew it was time to get serious about not using pre-processed canned or packaged items, including any form of chicken bullion. That went right out of the cupboard. Many years before that, though, I did make homemade chicken broth, but on a very irregular basis, and half the time I would forget about those containers in the freezer until they were so ice-crystal laden and freezer…

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Unorthodox Enfrijoladas

12 Aug
Enfrijoladas Adam Holland

Enfrijoladas ~ photo by Adam J. Holland ~ The Unorthodox Epicure

Well, these are not really unorthodox, they are actually quite authentic. But this new recipe came to me from my good foodie friend Adam J. Holland, who has a most interesting foodie blog called “The Unorthodox Epicure” with a fun sidebar called “Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob.” He is neither unorthodox nor snobby, that I can tell. But he’s a fellow Texan and cooks some great authentic Tex-Mex as well as authentic Mexican food, therefore he’s OK in my book, ya heah????

I made these last night, and hoo-boy, were they delicious! My entire family enjoyed them. It took hardly any prep time and cooked up pretty darn quick. That’s a win-win in my book! I halved the recipe since there are only three of us, but it still ended up making 8 Enfrijoladas (although I did add both grilled chicken AND cheese to the insides of them). There was one left in the end. All thumbs up. Thank you Adam!

I did take some initial prep photos thinking I might actually do a blog with my own photos on this, but a crazy thunderstorm rolled through as we were cooking this all outside on the propane burner/grill, so by the time we got it all moved inside there was no time with a hungry family to do any more foodie shots after having do all that and preheat the oven.

So sit right back, click on the link below, and enjoy his blog and recipe:

The Unorthodox Epicure Enfrijoladas Recipe

The Leftovers Dilemma…

7 Aug
Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

This is actually a new post! I started this post about a year ago and shelved it. Since I’m on a somewhat “hiatus” from blogging while packing up to move onto a new house, I thought I’d update this one and finally post it. And here it goes, written a year ago:

Start: “So we are having leftovers from the freezer. Hubby says, “Stop cooking so much, we have too many leftovers!” And I replied, “Now how am I supposed to have a foodie blog without cooking?” Well, the problem is, I grew up in a household of eight, and I don’t know any better. I can’t help it! Food, food, food, and then more food.

We have three in the household. I try to cook for four because that’s just how it works out with standard halving of recipes, but I usually end up cooking for six or eight because, well, I can’t help it. Add more of this, add more of that. Ooooh, I have some of this, just throw that in too. Then you just end up with a lot. For the freezer. We just have to remember to get it OUT of the freezer and actually eat it before it’s that unknown ice-crystal-laden frozen glob of something that may or may not be the leftover spinach lasagna rollups, or is that the chicken enchiladas we made with the red sauce instead of the green sauce last time?” End.

Well that is as far as I got with that post. But I can at least present you with a photo above of  what “said glob” looked like before it went into the freezer…

We are having a garage sale this weekend, so things are moving along pretty quickly with getting moved. We have an arrangement with the owner of the house we are buying to move our stuff into his garage beginning Sept. 1, but we won’t be able to close the loan on the house until mid-October (long story on that one) and we have to be out of our rental by Sept. 12. But my parents have a one-bedroom condo here with a Murphy bed too that they stay in during the summer to escape the Texas heat. They leave on Sept. 20. SOOOO, in order not to be too cramped for those 8 days, my husband and I will be taking a week’s vacation to our river property during that time frame. Our daughter will stay at the condo with our parents since she’ll be in school by that time. Busy times ahead, for sure! I hope you all stick around my blog until we get through this!

OH! Here is a link to the spinach lasagna Roll Ups, in case you missed that post in the past: Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Garlicky Parmesan Chicken Tenders

31 Jul

anotherfoodieblogger:

I promised to post some recipes from earlier in my foodie blog days while we transition to a new house. Yes! We found a house to move into, perhaps mid-to late October. I made these (sort of) last night but unfortunately had to work for 12 hours yesterday and dumped most of it on my husband. But I did get a lot of the prep work done.
Either way, these are a fairly quick weeknight meal, even if you can’t marinate the chicken for the full hour or so. And if you don’t have the Southwest seasoning, just use what seasoning flavor you prefer. Dinner!

Originally posted on anotherfoodieblogger:

Garlicky Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Garlicky Parmesan Chicken Tenders

One cannot make too many of these crispy chicken tenders! They are great as leftovers for lunch, and my daughter loves to pack these for her school lunch. Since these are baked, one of the tricks to getting them to come out crispy is to add crushed corn flakes to the bread crumb and cheese coating. And the wonderful garlic flavor comes from marinating the chicken for an hour in a garlic, milk and egg mixture. The marinade not only adds the garlic flavor, but it helps the coating stick to the chicken, and the meat comes out very juicy and tender. Serve these with some curly fries and a green salad, and you have an easy, healthy dinner!

Garlicky Parmesan Chicken Tenders

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle
Black…

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Trudy’s Style Huevos Motuleños

19 Jul

anotherfoodieblogger:

I am reaching way back into my archives to the first month of blogging. But this breakfast/brunch dish is so dang good I just had to share it again with y’all! Enjoy!

Originally posted on anotherfoodieblogger:

Trudy's Style Huevos Motuleños

I think this dish was my first attempt at recreating a meal I ate often when I was a waitress at Trudy’s Texas Star restaurant while in college in Austin. Yep, THE Trudy’s, the original one off of Guadalupe near campus that has been open since 1977. I had the pleasure of working the night shift on weekends, so got to serve crowds of blathering, tipsy college students with the munchies until four in the morning. Trudy’s serves breakfast all day and night, and this was such a satisfying meal to end my shift with in the wee hours of the morning. I just love the combination of oozing egg yolk with the surprising textures and tastes proffered by this recipe. And it looks pretty too, until you dig into it. It does get quite messy but don’t let that stop you from trying this. Just have a knife…

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Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

15 Jul

anotherfoodieblogger:

As promised, I am posting recipes from older recipe posts since I’m taking a hiatus while buying and/or building a house. This one is timely since, like last year, we went to the Bend Summer Festival, ate these type of sandwiches from a food cart in blazing heat, and then I bought the ingredients to make this again for last night’s dinner. We even had the cole slaw, too! This is a wonderful dinner idea for hot weather.

Originally posted on anotherfoodieblogger:

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

Oh my goodness, it’s been a week since my last post but this time you get a FOUR-FER! Yep, four recipes in this post. And, I think I may have found my new favorite sandwich! We had lunch two weekends ago at our annual downtown Summer Fest, where you get to peruse local artist’s crafts and maybe stop for a bite to at at local vendor’s food trucks. It was a really hot day so decided on a Mediterranean Chicken Wrap. It was quite delicious and figured I could make them myself.

And I did! Except I didn’t use regular flatbread, I used flatbread pocket bread, which is like a Pita Pocket except now it’s been renamed to the fancier Flatbread Pocket Bread and made with whole grain wheat, but really, who cares, right? Because it all holds the fillings the…

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I Caught a Shark and I Have to Move

12 Jul
Kathryn is now known as "SHARKWOMAN!"

Kathryn is now known as “SHARKWOMAN!”

It’s exciting to post that I actually caught a shark on my last trip to the coast a couple of weeks ago!!! (as seen in my header photo) Yep, I’m pretty proud! We threw him back in to continue his sharky life, as we were fishing for halibut, not sharks. (My husband caught a sting ray after that. We wanted halibut! That one went back into the ocean too.)

It’s also  melancholy when you have to announce to your readers that you need to take a hiatus from your recipe blog for other important matters. My post today is to let you know that our landlord is selling our the house we are renting and we have to be out by mid-September. We are on the fast-track to see if we can:

A. Qualify to buy this house (we have first refusal on it),

B. Rent something else.

C. Qualify and just buy a new house.The housing market is coming back in our small city, so I think it is a good time to buy. We potentially plan on moving to Texas in 3 years because daughter wants to go to UT Austin (my Alma Mater), and we might actually get some equity in that time-frame.

Longish story short, we have to find a place to live, either rental or buying, pack, and then move. I work a full-time pretty stressful job in between my blog. So I am going to hang it up for a couple of months until we are all settled wherever we end up. However, I do plan on re-posting some earlier recipes occasionally from when I had a handful of followers,  just to get something out there.

Just know I WILL be back at some point after the dust settles. Thank you my friends and readers for your support through this difficult time!

Summertime Heat Grilled Burger Sliders and Fries Meal

8 Jul
Grilled Burger Sliders and Fries Meal

Grilled Burger Sliders and Fries Meal

The heat has finally amped up in Central Oregon, and being in the mid-90s with no A/C means salads and outdoor grilling and cooking! Last night we had chef’s salad out on the back deck. The night before, more grilled tortilla pizzas with pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives and onions. (See, I told you we would be eating those grilled tortilla pizzas all summer!)

Tonight, my husband made this meal in its entirety, so I take no claim to it, but seeing as I haven’t posted a new recipe in awhile I decided to share with you.

If you have some hot days on the horizon, this is a great meal choice. And I just love King’s Hawaiian rolls as a slider bun choice. They are so moist, ever so slightly sweet, but still hold up well to a slider burger.

Since you can use any condiments/veggies you’d like on a slider burger and prep the ground burger any way you’d like, no recipe really but just some photos through his process. We had to wait for a sudden thunder-boomer to pass over to finally get this on the grill, hence some lower light photos. But it was all delicious!

Summertime Heat Grilled Slider Burgers and Fries Meal

Season and prep the burger into mini-patties, then slice up your veggies and fries. Put your veggies (we had mushrooms and onion) on a foil-made pan. Wrap King’s Hawaiian rolls in foil. Preheat your grill and if you have an outdoor burner and cast-iron skillet, turn the burner on too and preheat the oil. If not, you could use your indoor burner (at risk of heating up the house!) Put those fries on first at least 5 or so minutes before anything else as they’ll take longer.

Frying the Fries on Grill Burner

Frying the Fries on Grill Burner

Then put the burgers and veggies on the lower rack of grill, and the buns on the top rack. Monitor the burgers and veggies as needed, as well as the fries. Flip the burgers around the 5-minute mark, and stir the veggies and fries.

Burger Slider Meal on Grill

Burger Slider Meal on Grill

After you flip over the burger sliders, add any kind of cheese on top if you want. Hubby used thick chunks of Monterrey Jack cheese, but you could be more conservative on that if you want. (No, those are NOT slices of butter!)

Burger Sliders with Monterrey Jack Cheese

Burger Sliders with Monterrey Jack Cheese

When the cheese is melted and the burgers are done to your liking, remove them to a plate. Remove the warmed slider buns, too. Finish cooking the fries, if they aren’t already done, and let drain on paper towels. Dress each of your slider burgers up as desired. Aside from the onions and mushrooms, I added a light layer of mayo to each side of the bun, and a fresh tomato slice. Serve with fries.

Grilled Burger Sliders and Fries Meal

Grilled Burger Sliders and Fries Meal

 

 

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