Sunday, February 20, 2011

Taking a break

Life is a little overwhelming right now and I'm in need of a break from a lot of things. If you could spare a prayer for our household, it would be much appreciated!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Meatless Fridays

My boys LOVE cabbage rolls! We eat a lot of them during the winter when the garden gives us now. Trust me, you'll never miss the meat with this one!
This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Lentil & Rice Cabbage Rolls

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 head of cabbage
tomato sauce

To prepare lentil/rice filling:
Place the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and sauté the diced shallot for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the broth and lentils to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rice, cumin and soy sauce. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan and cook for about 20 minutes, or until all liquid has absorbed.

To prepare the cabbage:
While the lentil mixture is simmering, steam the cabbage leaves for about 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Immediately remove the cabbage leaves from heat and shock the leaves in cold water to stop the cooking process. Cut the tough stems out at bottom center of each leaf.

Roll about two tablespoons of the lentil rice filling in each blanched leaf, jelly roll style, tucking in sides of the cabbage leaves as you roll. Place seam-side down in a large pan so that the rolls are all in a single layer, completely filling pan. Cover with tomato sauce and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More adventures from the shooting range...

'Cause I've got nothing else AND I'm working all week, I thought I'd bore you with more footage from the shooting range.
I LOVE this video of Danny, he's such a BAD ASS!

See you on Friday with another meatless meal recipe!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Boys and their toys

What is it with boys and guns?

We never gave our boys toy guns growing up but still they managed to make them from sticks, Legos, or what ever they could find lying around. It's like it's embeded in their DNA or something!
On Monday, yes Valentine's Day, we spent the afternoon at a local shooting range (any girl's idea of romance, right?). The boys fed their inner need to shoot to their heart's content! I have to say I was pretty nervous at first, but I watched in amazement as each boy took their turn to shoot. They loved it, they weren't scared at all, and they all turned out to be pretty good marksmen!

Me? I'll stick to shooting from behind the camera!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Meatless Fridays

This soup is perfect for cold days and lean budgets. It's also perfect for children who will NOT eat traditional split pea soup due to the color! Feel free to add other vegetables (kale or roasted peppers) and spices (curry powder) to your taste.
This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Golden Split Pea Soup

6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water, plus more if needed
2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups dried yellow split peas
1/2 t. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. ground red pepper
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Place the broth, water, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in a large stock pot over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the dried split peas, turn down the heat, and simmer for 35-35 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the peas are very soft. Add the salt, cumin, red pepper, and black pepper. Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, mash the peas for about 3-5 minutes, or until the soup is creamy, adding more water as necessary. (Alternatively, you can choose to puree a little more than half of the soup in a blender and then mix it with the un-pureed portion.) Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Grow box on the cheap!

I saw THIS IDEA on The Cheap Vegetable Gardener and thought it was brilliant!
My poor tomato seedlings were getting very leggy and definitely would not support their true leaves, I couldn't let all those weeks of growth go to waste so action was required STAT! I planted them up to their seed leaves and tucked them into this improvised grow box:

The idea is simple but effective! I just duct taped a string of Christmas lights to the lid of a plastic bin and tucked my plants inside. It's nice and warm and the light will be just enough to keep my seedlings from getting too leggy again. Keeping a small amount of water in the bottom of the bin will keep my plants moist and provide a bit of humidity in this dry, cold climate.

Plus, I just love the warm glow the box gives off!

The kids complain that the seedlings are getting better treatment than they do!

Hmm...they may be right~

I tell them that my little seedlings don't back sass, argue with each other, or leave their dirty underwear lying around for me to pick up!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Turnip Boy

The boys harvested the last of the turnips yesterday. Most of the greens were bitten by frost but we'll slice and blanch these roots to add to soups and stews. Once the cabbage is harvested, that'll be all of the winter garden. We'll start getting the soil fortified with compost and ready for planting in March.

I just love this time of year!

Monday, February 7, 2011

50 Years

This weekend my in laws were honored
with other couples from their parish for their

50th Wedding Anniversary

Doug tells me that his grandparents on his father's side were married for 60+ years, and for 48 years on his mother's side.

My dearest Doug E. Poo, you come from a long line of love....

looks like you're going to be stuck with me for a while!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Meatless Fridays

Diabetics shouldn't have pasta, but every now and then I absolutely CRAVE it! This week's recipe is nice because you still get a nice taste of pasta without eating a whole bowl of the stuff! Serve with a big salad and you've got a very filling and comforting meal. This week's Meatless Friday meal is:

Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
15-20 jumbo pasta shells

Boil pasta shells according to box, drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ricotta cheese and egg together until combined then mix in cottage cheese. In a medium skillet over a med-high heat, saute your chopped spinach, onions and garlic and salt. Cook until onions are translucent and spinach is wilted down (about 5 minutes)then let mixture cool for a few minutes. Mix spinach and onion into ricotta cheese mixture until combined and stuff shells.
In a large baking pan, pour a thin layer of tomato sauce and oregano on the bottom of the pan. Lay stuffed shells side by side and top with extra sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Homemade handwarmers

Last year we had snow here in south Texas, 3 inches to be exact which is a LOT for us! The boys played and played in the stuff and their poor little hands were red and raw from the cold. This year we are expecting another snowfall and I'm prepared! I made my boys handmade hand warmers!

Same premise as the rice bag warmers I've made before. Take a small square of scrap fabric (like 5X7 or 4X6), fold in half and sew up two of the seams. Fill the bag you just made with rice - about 1/2 full, then turn in the opening and stitch closed. We microwave them for one minute and the heat lasts a good 20 minutes!

These feel SO GOOD when your hands are cold!
And I'm hoping that it will make their play day in the snow a little more enjoyable.
Well, that and gallons and gallons of hot chocolate!

I may have to steal a pair from them and shove them into MY pockets for my long commutes to work this weekend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Busy little hands...

The boys are busy trying to complete 15 projects each for the
Wharton County Youth Fair this May.

At stake for the winners are cold hard cash, blue ribbons,
and most importantly ~ BRAGGING RIGHTS!

I'm very happy they are so eager to get started on their projects early instead of waiting until the last minute.

But our poor kitchen table won't be clear for some time now! We may have to start eating our meals at the picnic table in the backyard!