Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Very Yummy Supper.

I found this recipe a few weeks ago and saved it back because it sounded delicious--and believe me it was. As always I changed a bunch of things so my version isn't exactly the same as the given recipe. However my cakes looked just as perfect as the image Martha had, although I served mine with Orzo pasta that I cooked in homemade beef broth with mushrooms. Very tasty.
Image via Martha Stewart
My version is below.
Fish Cakes
(makes 14 cakes)
1 large Amberjack Filet--mine still had the skin on it
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
4 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
3 Tbsp. Mayo
14 Tbsp. Seasoned Breadcrumbs
A few dashes Tabasco Sauce
A few shakes Onion Powder
A tiny bit of salt
Then I just followed the directions of the other recipe. I froze 8 of them and served 6 last night. The ones I saved back froze very nicely, and will make us a quick meal some other night soon. It was a very simple recipe that I highly recommend. The serving size is two cakes, but they were so good I ate 3...oops. I would've photographed them, but last night we had a Tornado Warning with a hefty storm during supper and since my camera was in our house and I was over at my mother-in-laws I decided against running through the heavy rains with the Digital Rebel just to make record of our food--maybe next time. The only reason I used Amberjack instead of Cod is that my dad had caught the Amberjack on a fishing trip and brought us some a while back--in other words--I used it because that's what I had. It was a perfect fish for the cakes though--it flaked wonderfully.
If you try out the recipe tell me what you think, okay?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Couple Recent Meals.

I told you I was going to start photographing some of the recipes I've been trying out. I've found it remarkably hard to remember to take pictures because I'm usually too focused on getting down to the process of eating the food instead of prepping it for a photo session. Alas, I did remember to snap a few for a couple of my recent endeavors.

First off is my made up rendition of stuffed mushrooms. My husband had already had supper, and I thought I wanted something a bit special. I had some button mushrooms that needed to be used up, and I've always got eggs on hand, so stuffed mushrooms was my first thought. After I'd stuffed the mushrooms I had filling left over, so I just spread it on a slice of bread and popped them all in the oven to cook up all nice and pretty.A Quick Stuffed Mushroom Recipe:

Servings: 1 (but I was really hungry)

5 Button Mushrooms, stems removed, but not discarded
1 Egg
2 Tbsp. Butter, divided
2 Tbsp. Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Feta Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper
A piece of Bread for Extra Filling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Chop stems and place in a bowl. Add egg, bread crumbs, cheeses (a hefty pinch of each) into the bowl. Mix and add salt and pepper to your taste. Coat bottom of pie pan with some butter. Place mushrooms and bread in pan and put a sliver of butter in each mushroom cap. Spoon filling mixture in caps and leftover amount onto the bread. Put in oven for about 15-20 minutes or until filling is lightly browned.

Cheesy Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
Makes (2) 9-inch pies

(1) 9-oz. pkg. frozen spinach
2 pie crusts (I just bought Mrs. Wicks pre-baked variety)
8 mushrooms (I used 1/2 baby bello and 1/2 button)
6 eggs
Cheddar Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Feta Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup ground pork

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If you are using unbaked pie crusts, then poke the bottom of the crust and bake until golden brown, then set aside to cool. Cook pork in skillet, and drain on paper towel and set aside. Put butter in same skillet and saute mushrooms until golden brown. Return pork to skillet and add a dash of onion powder and garlic powder and salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add your cheeses to your taste (I put 4 dollops of cottage cheese, a handful of cheddar, feta and parmesan), and add spinach. Stir again to combine. Place evenly between the two pie crusts. Crack eggs in a bowl and add milk. Whisk to break yolks and mix whites. Divide this between the two crusts. Place some foil around the edges of the crust to keep them from burning and bake the quiches on the center rack for 40 minutes. Uncover edges and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Both of these meals were a hit. Very tasty. My problem with recipes is that I never really go by a set to paper recipe. I always add things that sound good, or not measure things exact, but they always turn out pretty well. I think you need that reckless spirit--at least it helps when you're cooking something new. I hope you enjoy these as much as my family did. And don't be afraid to make them your own.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Being a Mom is SOO Neat.

And I'll tell you why...because I've got this little person tagging along with me everywhere. Nothing more than that simple statement. Everyday is something new and exciting to her, and I love to see that look of total awe come across her face when she does or sees something for the first time. Never have I met a human being with such a happiness about her ALL the time. My favorite thing lately is that she is developing a sense of humor. Earlier we got to laughing so hard at each other for no reason except that we were happy. How awesome is that?

I want to make her into a strong, independent, fearless girl--and it's kind of daunting to know that how she turns out rests on my shoulders. Last night there was a little boy ahead of us at the Dairy Queen being held by his mother. He was about 4, and he was being a brat. His mom was looking at the menu and he grabbed her face in a very violent way to make her look at some kind of dessert that he wanted. She just let this behavior go without a blink of an eye. Then he threw a fit when they gave him white milk instead of chocolate--again, no reprimand--just gave him what he was yelling for. I looked at Joe and thought--no way, I'd have her butt back in our truck and we'd be hashing it out before she could even think about throwing the fit in the first place. I know all of you are saying, "Oh Julia, you say that now, but..." No buts--I help to raise my nephew a bunch when he was younger and he'd be the first to tell you that I didn't let him get away with bad behavior. I was called "Mean Old Aunt Ju-June" all the time, HOWEVER, you ask him who his favorite person was and he'd say it's not like I was evil or anything. I just have a high expectation level for kids. I'm strict but fair.

I was reading a forum yesterday about Exer-Saucers and one woman called it the "Ring of Neglect" and wanted other women to add their opinions. It amazed me how many moms out there feel guilty for not constantly interacting with their child. To me, it's not your job to entertain your kid. Joe has happily played by herself a portion of every day since she was just a couple of months old. I feel no guilt in putting her down on the floor or in her playpen and getting things done around the house. She's happy, she's got a clean diaper, she's been fed, she's fine.

I've had people comment on her ability to keep herself occupied at such a young age--and I'm proud that she doesn't need me all the time. Don't get me wrong--we play together and interact a lot throughout the day, but I give her space as well. It does us both some good. To hear the mothers in that forum talk though, I'd be considered a bad mom. What do you want to make a bet that a bunch of their kids will be like the kid ahead of me at the Dairy Queen? Kids don't have to wait for anything anymore--it's just instant gratification--hell some adults are just as spoiled, but I don't think Joe is going to have it that easy.

I think that is the benefit of being a farm kid--to start she's not going to get everything she WANTS (a) because we are fairly poor, and (b) she's a kid and kids are flaky, but she will have everything she NEEDS. She'll help us on the farm and around the house with chores as soon as she's able. She'll be responsible for her own livestock someday and she'll reap the profits from it. Also, she'll be helping us to raise our own food in the garden and from the livestock and that will teach her patience and that work really does pay off. In turn she'll grow into a sensible adult (I hope).

Most of all this kid is teaching me a lot too. She's made me slow down a TON. I see all the small wonders in the every day. I always put her before myself. I savor every laugh and smile she gives me. So as I'm trying to raise her into a well rounded adult she is sanding off my rough edges too. It's a pretty neat process. I'm so glad that Mike and I decided to have a baby--and I'm even more glad that the baby we had is such a beautiful and amazing little girl.

Food Websites and a New Horse.

So I finally found a horse to buy that has met all of my requirements: smallish, well broke, and most importantly in my price range (in other words cheap). She's a registered Quarter mare, and she's a beauty. I went and looked at her last night, rode her, and handed over the check. I'm picking her up tonight--Mike has to borrow a work truck since we sold our full-size pick-up before Joe was born. I'm really looking forward to having her here. It's been way too long since I've had a horse I could ride--plus I was pregnant all last year, so that kept me grounded too. Although I did sneak out around my four-or-five month mark and hopped on our ancient gelding for a bit (I got chewed out pretty bad for that).

Anyway, all that doesn't matter now because (insert excited little dance here), I've got a horse, I've got a horse, I've got a horse. I'm sharing her with my mother-in-law, but she doesn't intend to ride much. I sure do--I've told Mike that I get a half an hour of 'me' time each night to go ride. I've never asked for 'me' time since Joe has been born, and I'm cashing in my chips now. The best part about her is that she isn't Mike's horse--I know that sounds mean, but Mike has his way of riding and training and I have mine. I always felt a bit self-conscious when I was riding one of his horses because they just weren't mine. I had a mare when Mike and I were first dating and she and I got along great. Mike HATED her--and she felt the same about him, but she was my mare, so Mike didn't have a say in her daily matters. Just like I have no say in Mike's horses' goings-ons. It's kind of an unwritten law with us--everything else is shared except for our livestock. Odd I know, but it keeps us happy.

Here's my new mare!

On another topic entirely I've been obsessed with food lately. Cooking shows, websites, blogs, you name it and I'm there. I've been trying to get Mike to branch out in his eating endeavors, but he's worse than most five-year-olds about being a picky eater. I've inserted some new recipes into our meals with some success, and I'm going to continue to do so. I always think (after I've inhaled half my plate), "Man, I should've photographed this for the blog." But when I think of it--it's too late. Maybe I'll remember to do that from here on out and I'll do a little write up about how it tasted. I've got lots of recipes written and ready to try, so I'll have plenty to write about. Also I think I'll start sharing what I've found that potentially looks good--and where it came from--so you can possibly make it for your supper too. I'm reading all that stuff anyway, might as well let you benefit from it, right? Gotta go, Joe just woke up and so I've got to snap back into 'mommy-mode.' I hope everybody has a wonderful evening!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dead Chicken, Blooming Trees, and Tame Turkeys.

As I said before, life has been incredibly busy here lately. Last week I got lots of Joe's baby stuff together and took it to my sister-in-law's house for a garage sale--sad to say, but at almost 25 years old that was my first experience in helping to run a yardsale. My family just never was one to have them, but I have always enjoyed going to them. Anyway, I took a bunch of stuff over there last Wednesday and then went up to Martinsville to look at some chickens a guy had for sale because my mother-in-law wanted some Aracaunas.
Hen and Chicks Before the Storm

The guy was as crazy as a loon I think, but I caught and purchased 1 adult hen, and 4 half grown birds. It was hot and their pen had no water, but the birds appeared healthy. I brought them home, segregated them, and they settled down nicely. Fast Forward to Friday and a storm came through--when I went outside my dog was standing above something (never a good sign)--he'd caught my momma hen that my cousin had given me a few weeks back. Poor girl was still warm, but dead as could be. The coop door had closed and she was separated from her chicks and her frantic behavior was too enticing for my dog to ignore. Oh well, it happens. So, now I've got her chicks under a heatlamp and they are doing fine.
A VERY Hot Baby Joe and the Lap Turkey
On Saturday I took two of my turkeys with me to the garage sale in Bloomington because I was meeting their new owner later that day. As you can see from the picture they are ridiculously tame. If I was outside and Joe wasn't in my lap, then that particular bird was. They were actually kind of jealous of one another--you can see a bit of that in Joe's face. Back to the story--I'm not used to subdivisions or being around a bunch of people, but bringing farm animals into that environment is always entertaining. City people are hilarious. Two groups of kids came up saying, "LOOK DUCKS!" What on earth are they teaching kids today? I got lots of interesting questions about them, and the adults were just as clueless as the kids. Just another reason for people to understand and know where their food comes from. After a bunch of gawking drivers and humorous comments we met up with the new owner. I don't think they were any worse for wear--even with their little stay at the subdivision.

Yesterday I couldn't find the new adult hen and she was laying in a dog house that I'd put in the coop. It was almost dusk, so I just assumed she was going to roost there. But, alas, this morning she was laying next to the fence of the coop and wouldn't get up when I walked to her--essentially I imagine she's dying. I think she broke and egg inside of her. There was a broken, thin shelled egg laying on the ground so that's what I'm going with. She's moved since this morning, but I'm not holding my breath for her recovering. I've always had this rule about buying adult birds--it never seems to go well--and this just solidifies my beliefs. From here on out--never again--chicks ONLY. I rarely have trouble with any of the babies I've raised, but on more than one occasion things have gone awry when I purchased full-grown birds.

Catalpa Tree in our yard.

On a happy note my Catalpa trees are blooming. Catalpas are my absolute favorite tree, and we've got LOTS of them on the property. They are very striking when the white blooms fill the entire tree. I've taken quite a few photos of them the past few days. Also we've got a rose bush that came with the house that never bloomed before I came along--then it would have one or two blooms, but this year--Holy Cow--it has bloomed and bloomed. I blame it on Joe--she makes everything better.

The Roses by the Pasture Gate.