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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Lavender infused Sugar

Lavender infused sugar

Lavender infused sugar

It’s always good when you are surrounded by Lavender blooms. I love this time of year. So instead of buying edible Lavender grow your own plant. It’s easy, it will come back year after year and there are so many delicious ways to use the flower buds. Here is just one of my favorite ways to use Lavender.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TB Lavender flower buds
  • 1 cup sugar

Remove the Lavender flower buds from their stem by gently stripping them with your fingers. I like to store them in a glass canning jar. In a small air tight glass container add the lavender and sugar, shake well and place the lid on the container. Let them sit for 2 weeks, shaking a couple of times. Using a sieve pour the lavender sugar mixture out into the sieve. The sugar should fall through the sieve and the lavender buds should remain in the sieve. Discard the lavender and your sugar is ready to use. Sugar flavored this way has a wonderfully delicate lavender flavor and scent. Great in cold or hot teas and fabulous in coffee.

Lavender flower buds

Lavender flower buds

storing lavender

storing lavender

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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Tips

 

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Yellow Zucchini, Sweet Corn & Avocado Salsa

Avocado Salsa

Yellow Zucchini, Sweet Corn & Avocado Salsa

It’s that time of the season, the beginning of summer and the fruits of our labor are coming into a time of their own.  I just love using fresh ingredients in different ways to create a new spin on an old favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 yellow zucchini, peeled and diced (that’s right, there is such a thing and its delicious)
  • 1 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
  • 2 tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup minced parsley, that’s about 2 handfuls
  • half a red onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 avocados

In a large glass bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the avocados. Using a smaller glass bowl, mash the avocado flesh with a fork until only a few chunks remain. Toss the mashed avocados into the larger bowl and mix thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Suggestions: Try frying some Spinach Flour Tortillas chips to serve with this salsa. Yummy!

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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Salsa and Chutneys, Snacks

 

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Quick & Easy Shrimp and Pasta

Shrimp & Pasta

Shrimp & Pasta

I’m sure many of you have these kinds of nights. I walk in the door from work, very hungry, but also very tired and just don’t have the energy to make the big ole dinner I want. So I have to think quick and easy on my feet. Here is one of those recipes I hope you will enjoy.

Ingredients:   yields a dinner for 4

  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 5 TB salted butter, sliced
  • 1 bag @ 40-60 count frozen medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced green and white parts
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • a couple handfuls of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Farfalle “Bow Tie” Pasta, enough to feed 4 people, boiled al dente
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese, divided use

DSC_1196Preheat your oven to 350

Use a medium baking dish, about a 8×11. Place the olive oil, butter, sliced green onions and garlic in the baking dish and bake in the oven just until it becomes fragrant and the butter has started to melt. Remove and toss in the frozen shrimp. Make sure it’s coated well. Return to the oven and bake until the shrimp starts turning pink in color. This may take 10-15 minutes. Now season with a good sprinkle of the Kosher salt and ground black pepper. Toss in the pasta, sliced tomatoes and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, mix well. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top of the pasta mixture and bake for another 7 minutes or so until the cheese starts to melt. Serve warm with some leftover “Cheddar Cheese Popovers”.

 

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Green Apple Vinegar Salad Dressing

Green Apple Vinegar Salad Dressing

Green Apple Vinegar
Salad Dressing

This weekend I was wonderfully surprised with a visit from my Son and Daughter-in-Law. They have recently moved from the west coast to the mid west which puts them within driving distance for weekend visits. Without my knowledge Mark and my son had planned this wonderful surprise for a couple of weeks. So at 1 am I was awakened by Mark telling me we had visitors. Imagine my surprise and joy when I walked into the entryway to see both my Son and Daughter-in-law standing there. Needless to say I had a glorious weekend of visiting with them both. There was only one setback. I went to make the “Loveless Cafe’s” tomato, onion and cucumber salad and found that we were all out of apple cider vinegar….what to do, oh what to do? Then I started thinking, I had 2 green apples and distilled vinegar. So I made the dressing for the salad with what I had. Below is the recipe that I will be using from now on.

Ingredients:

  • 2 green apples, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4 cup distilled vinegar
  • 6 TB sugar
  • 1 TB Olive Oil

Combine the above ingredients and process in your food processor until completely blended and smooth. Toss with about 4 cubed tomatoes, 2 sliced cucumbers, 1 sliced summer squash and half of an onion cubed. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Chill for a while before serving.

 

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Mark’s Lemon Strawberry Poke Cake

Lemon Strawberry Poke Cake

Lemon Strawberry
Poke Cake

I just love it when Mark decides to make dessert. He actually is a great baker, but this time I had to giggle at him. He regularly volunteers at a non-profit organization here in town. Every night different community groups make and deliver dinners for the guest of this organization. Well last week a group of ladies brought in a cake that he just loved. So he’s telling me about it, I get all the ingredients for him and as he starts putting the dessert together I realize he is making a poke cake. The cutest thing is he thought this was a very original recipe. I just hated to tell him that Poke Cakes have been around for many years. Try it you’ll love it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 2 cups Strawberry Crush Soda
  • 1 large box of Strawberry Jello
  • Cool Whip
  • fresh strawberries (optional)

Butter the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Prepare and bake the lemon cake as per the directions on the box. Let the cake cool completely before the next step.

Using the end of a wooden spoon poke several holes in the baked and cooled lemon cake. Whisk the strawberry soda and strawberry jello together until the jello is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the cake, cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Frost with Cool Whip and decorate with sliced fresh strawberries.

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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Desserts

 

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Black Bean & Carnitas Nachos

Nachos

Nachos

Here’s my stab at recreating the nachos I found at “The Rum House” in New Orleans. Try it with friends and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • freshly fried corn tortillas chips. see my recipe under “Corn Tortilla Chips”
  • Black Beans see my recipes under “Crockpot Beer Black Beans”
  • shredded pork, see my recipe under “Crockpot Pork Carnitas”
  • “Cilantro Jalapeno Crema”, see my recipe
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Red Onion, diced

Preheat your oven to 350 and spray a baking dish with pan spray.

Put a heaping layer of fried corn tortilla chips, then sprinkle the shredded pork carnitas and black beans over the chips. Drizzle the Cilantro Jalapeno Crema, then add the crumbled Queso Fresco and shredded Cheddar Cheese over all of that. Sprinkle with the half of the diced red onion then start the process all over.

Once completely assembled bake until the cheese is melted and starts to bubble a bit.

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Suggestions: Take this recipe one step further and serve with a dollop of sour cream, guacamole, slice jalapenos and diced tomatoes.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Beans, Rice, Casseroles, Pork, Snacks

 

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Steak Strips cooked in a Cast Iron Skillet

Steak Tacos

Steak Tacos

We have noticed that our grocery bills are creeping higher and higher. Have you noticed that beef prices are skyrocketing? Last year when the butcher told me the prices would increase due to the drought I really didn’t believe him. Yet here we are. So as many people I try to find ways to have my beef and still be able to pay for it. I’ve tried smaller portions and sizes of cuts. I’ve tried fillers, not my style. I’ve tried less costly brands, yuck. Out here our best bet is to purchase quarters or a half of a cow at way less per pound than you can find in any market, Bingo, hit the jackpot. But here also is a way to prepare and cook 1 Rib Eye Steak that will yield at least 6 tacos or fajitas.

DSC_1028Ingredients: yields 6 tacos or fajita.

  • 1 nice cut Rib Eye Steak
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 TB Mustard
  • 1 TB Worcestershire Sauce
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 4 TB salted buter

Using a knife pierce both sides of the steak generously. Place the steak in a gallon size zip lock baggy and and the Olive Oil, Mustard and Worcestershire Sauce. Let this marinade in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before cooking.

Preheat your oven to 350 (optional). Heat your cast iron skillet over high heat on the stove top. Once your cast iron skillet is really hot, add the salted butter. Season both sides of your steak generously with the salt and butter and add to the skillet. Cook without touching for 5 minutes on side 1, turn over and cook for another 5 minutes on side 2. Now if you like your steak more on the well done side, as I do, place the entire skillet with the steak still in it into the oven to bake for 5 minutes until ready to your liking.

Let the steak rest in the skillet for 5 minutes or so, then slice thinly. This recipe makes for a wonderfully flavored sliced Rib Eye Steak that works great in Tacos and Fajitas.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2013 in Beef

 

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