Cookies for the Neighbors

Just a few things about my neighborhood…..it’s the best.  We live on a quiet street, with amazing people and I feel comfortable letting the girls have the run of the neighborhood.  Jules has been wanting to do something for our neighbors for awhile…..so last week I got organized and we made cookies.   I found an Oatmeal Cookie recipe that I wanted to try, The Pioneer Woman’s Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies.  They turned out great.

IMG_1961IMG_1962We wrote a note for each neighbor and the whole family signed them.

IMG_1964I have a plethora of metal tins…..so Jules and I picked a few out and used those to package our cookies and notes.

IMG_1966Final step was for Jules and Jane to deliver to each of our neighbors.  The girls were beyond excited to have some to give our great neighbors.

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Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

My cousin made this for me years ago, and I begged her to find the recipe so I could make it for Dave and the girls.  She pulled through for me and searched through her plethora of recipes and found it!!  Click here for an electronic expanded (original) version. (jamieoliver.com)

I adjusted the electronic version for ease and for my family’s taste.

1 lb. chicken breast sliced into strips – or shredded chicken thighs

1 onion – sliced

1 serrano chile – seeded and chopped finely

fresh ginger (I used a piece 1 inch long and 1 inch thick) – peeled and thinly sliced

oil and butter

14 oz’s diced tomatos

14 oz’s coconut milk

1 jar (12 oz) tikka masala sauce – I used Seeds of Change (this is a time saver)

4 oz’s of sliced fresh mushrooms

handful of bean sprouts – use based on how much your family likes them

rice and/or Naan (I purchased pre-made in the interest of time as well)

lemon – if you like it

rice vinegar to taste

IMG_0064I placed a pat of butter and a glug of vegetable oil into a pot and started sauteing the sliced onions, serrano chile and sliced ginger.  Man does this part smell amazing.

IMG_0063Not kidding….this part smells so good.

Once the onions are translucent – add in your sliced or shredded chicken and the tikka masala sauce.  Toss that around for awhile, then add in the diced tomatos and coconut milk.  I simmer this for roughly 20 minutes – ensuring that it never gets dry (you can add water if needed).IMG_0065This is when I taste test……I tend to do it often….just to make sure the sauce is yummy.  Here is where I season to satisfy the family.   I added some salt, pepper AND rice vinegar……that is a specific taste and my kids love it…so in it went.  While this is simmering and between tastings – I made some rice and I pulled my small cast iron skillet out to saute the mushrooms and bean sprouts.

annnnnnnddddddddd.  Done.

IMG_0070I layered rice first, then the chicken tikka masala, and then the sprouts/mushrooms.  Naan to the side and a slice of lemon to squeeze if I so desired….and I so desired.

 

 

Garden gone crazy

I was out of town for 3 days….barely….and my garden went and exploded on me….in a good way.  I had a few potted vegetable plants that were looking kind of sad and a raised garden full of seeds that hadn’t made an appearance yet.  The Memorial Weekend treated my plants very well……….

Kale:

DSCN1883Cilantro:

DSCN1879Sweet Mint (hello – for awesome Mojitos):

DSCN1881Peas:

DSCN1882And here is a preview of the final garden area that is getting added:

DSCN1884Sweet, right?!  Those are some left over gutters that we had and Dave set up a drip line.  So pumped.

 

Surprise Morels

Out of the blue a friend of ours stopped by the house to surprise us with a few morels.

DSCN1756These are a first for me….ya know…cause of the cost….so talk about SURPRISED….and unprepared.  I decided to go the safe route and fry them.

I used milk/eggs in one bowl and Bisquick/Tony Chachere’s in the other.

DSCN1760I used 1/2 inch of canola oil in my smallest cast iron skillet.

DSCN1761and then….and then…..and then….there is eating.

DSCN1762Yum!!!!

National Grilled Cheese Month

Did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month?  I sure as heck did not!!  I stumbled upon it on a quest to find the one true crusty sandwich recipe, one recipe to rule them all.  And Let me tell you….there are so many recipes out there….and so many fancy ones.  I don’t want to make a special trip to the grocery store so I will need to create my own celebration of National Grilled Cheese month by making it up as I go!

DSCN1584I used the following:

2 Sourdough slices, 2 tomato slices, grated sharp and white cheddar, American cheese, Parmesan cheese and butter.

HINT:  Heat your pan before you even start making the sandwich – that way you are not tempted to put in the sandwich before it is properly heated.

DSCN1587Butter one side of each slice and press the Parmesan into the butter.  (Hence the reason for a sturdy sourdough – white bread would have been so squished)

DSCN1588Tap off the extra Parmesan cheese and get ready to place in the hot pan.

DSCN1589Add on your grated cheddar cheeses…….and wait for it to get a little melty.

DSCN1590I placed a tomato slice on each side and then put the whole pan under the broiler.  When I pulled the pan out, I put the American cheese slice on top (total fake plastic wrap cheese did not need to go under the broiler – the heat melted it nicely after I pulled the sandwich out).  I put the two parts of the sandwich together and Viola!!!!

DSCN1591See that awesome crust?!!  Cut that bad boy in half and if you feel so inclined – treat yourself to some tomato soup.

DSCN1592Ahhhh – National Grilled Cheese Month – I am so glad we met.

 

 

 

Seriously fast dinner

Have you ever had an evening where dinner needed to be super fast….with a limited fridge/pantry selection?  I have and this is what I ended up with during the last experiment……

I had the following in my fridge:

fake cheese

tortilla

tomato

olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Let’s do this!

DSCN1284Drizzle some olive over the tortilla and your cheese (or in my case…the fake cheese) and pop it in the oven at 400 for about 5 minutes.

DSCN1285Slice an amazing tomato…yummy!

DSCN1286Add those slices to the crispy yumminess…..and pop it back in the oven.

DSCN1287Wait till there is a little more melty-ness and then pull the whole thing out again.  Final step……balsamic vinegar….Yeah!  Now Eat.

Creating a tradition

Holiday traditions….ever sat down and really thought about the ones you grew up with and how they influence you now?  Quite frankly I never gave it much thought, until the girls.  Mister and I were pretty all over the board with what we did activity wise for Thanksgiving and Christmas….but for a few exceptions we always go to my SIL’s house in North Dakota for Thanksgiving and she comes to our place for Christmas.  Mister and I decided that some Thanksgiving (activity) traditions need to be started for the girls…..something that will remind them of the yearly, wintery trek to NoDak.  My mom gave me a Rosette iron annnndddddd SIL (sister in law) and mister have one that comes from their grandma.  Me thinks this could be it!

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SIL pulled out the trusty family recipe and went to work.   (if you want to adjust for vegan…use soymilk and Ener-G)

DSCN1255SIL and mister were in charge of the batter and the irons….

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Captain Destructo had the sugar station.

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Little Bit and I were the official taste testers.  I love my job.

DSCN1257This is Year 1 of 1….wish us luck in getting 2 of 2.