Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Granola Round II


I took another stab at granola making the other night and I think this batch is by far superior to the first (although Jeff's shock and exclamation about how much better this one was made me question how much he actually liked the first batch). Not only did I not burn it, but I changed up a few of the ingredients or modified the amount of them. This granola was not sticky at all like the first batch. Enjoy!


Georgia Peach Granola


1/2 cup canned peaches liquefied in blender (use a little of the syrup too)
1/4 cup honey
splash of no sugar added banana syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. walnut oil
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cardamom


2.5 cups of rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
2 cups chopped walnuts
dash of salt

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup dried cranberries


1.) Preheat oven to 300, and mix all ingredients in the first group listed above in a blender until liquefied and well mixed.

2.) In a separate bowl, mix together all the ingredients in the second group listed above. Then add the wet ingredients to the bowl and stir until the granola is evenly coated.

3.) Spread mixture onto two cookie sheets and place them on the rack/racks (depending on the size of your sheets and oven) farthest from the heat source in your oven. Bake for 20 minutes stirring three times.

4.) If you are using two racks, rotate the racks and cook for 10 more minutes stirring twice (you will still cook for 10 more minutes even if using only one oven rack).

5.) Remove from the oven once your granola is nice and golden brown. Immediately pour the granola into a large bowl and add the chopped fruit. Allow it to cool completely before placing it in an air tight container.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seed Sharing Part II


Well we might be starting a bit early, but this warm sunshine has inspired the Man and I to start a few seedling trays. Since we would like to try and organize some "Seedling Swaps" this year, we made sure to plant quite a bit more than we actually needed for ourselves. If the Seed Swaps end up not really being that sucessful, I'm sure we can always throw some of them together as presents or maybe even sell them on craigslist. Hey, there's a way to get out of looking for a real job....


(Blanket guarding the seedlings while we're away)

Anyways. Last night Jeffry planted some Rutgers and Mortgage Lifter tomatos, some spinach and made plans to grow large amounts of basil (pesto anyone?). After letting the seeds soak over night, I planted two different types of regular peas, 2 types of snow peas, mustard, Kale and borage (mostly as a chicken treat). I am going to have A LOT of peas this year so I will definitly have plenty to share. I have never sucessfully grown pea plants, but they are the closest thing to instant gratification you get in gardening since they germinate in a matter of days! I have a bit of a war going on with the pea world. I've tried every year since I began my gardening fixation to grow a big healthy pea vine only to never have them grown more than a couple inches tall. One of these years I'll get it right, and I'll be able to plop down on the cool grass with handfuls of freshly picked pea pods, feasting to my hearts content (imagine a child with a plate of cupcakes).

Aside from sharing my excitement over the first seedlings of the year, I wanted to take this opportunity to touch base again with anyone interested in doing the seedling exchange this year. If you still are, and you have a clearer idea of what you wish to contribute, or what you wish someone else would contribute, leave a comment here. Don't forget to pass this on to anyone else in the sacramento area you think might be interested in participating. I envision it working like a cookie party where you get to take as much as you bring, and any leftovers are up for grabs. Of course if anyone has any other ideas feel free to share them. Nothing is written in stone.
This would also be a good time for anyone with seed starting tips to leave a comment and share your secrets!

If you happen to be terrible at starting seeds or for some reason really just detest it, but would like to participate, try to think of something else you could provide at a seed swap. Perhaps some food since I would also like to make this a casual time for us gardeners to get together. Now get outside and enjoy the warm weather!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gut-Loaded Nachos or Lacking in Restraint

A few weeks ago I saw a post about making nachos for dinner as a quick, affordable and not too terrible for you meal. Her nachos were pretty, but a little scant on toppings so I thought I'd spice it up a bit. This is why I have trouble making affordable good for you food.

Her's





and mine...


Alright so this version was affordable for us because we had most of the ingredients on hand from Superbowl leftovers. If you happen to find yourself with an over abundance of vibrantly colored Mexican food ingredients, perhaps you are in need of a nacho night as well.

Gut-Loaded Nachos

Ingredients
avocado
onion (any type)
Roma tomato
jalapeƱo
chicken breasts
shredded Mexican cheese

Red Bell Pepper

sour cream
salsa
chips

olive oil
cumin
chili pepper
garlic powder
salt and pepper

1.) Marinate chicken breasts in a heavy dose of chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil.
2.) Chop all veggie into small chunks. To gage the amount to cut up, plan on a generous handful of each item for each person eating. That goes for the chicken breasts as well.
3.) Cook chicken breast either on the stove top or on a George Foreman grill until no longer pink inside. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into small pieces.
4.)Place the desired amount of chips on each plate, then sprinkle the veggies and chicken over the top. End with cheese.
5.) Place plates in the oven on high just until cheese melts. Remove from oven (don’t forget to wear mitts) and spoon the desired amount of salsa and sour cream on top of each plate.
6.) Consume with a beer and reckless abandon in front of the TV!


Notes
-This meal would also work great with ground turkey/beef. Just leave out the olive oil.
-To make this an extra quick evening meal you can cook the meat in advance and then just assemble the meal at night.
-Store bags of unfinished tortilla chips in the freezer to keep them from going stale.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Some Like It Dirty

I was ordered to do a new post by one of my adoring fans who also happens to be bored at work today. Luckily, I had snapped a photo of this little beauty late last night while catching up on the first Lost episode.

I discovered the tastiness of Kalamata Martinis one desperate evening when I realized I was out of olive juice but already had the vodka on ice in my cocktail shaker. What was I to do but reach for the kalamata olive and say c'est la vie! The result was a festively pink martini perfect for the soon to be upon us Valentines Day. With everyone still in recession mode this year, why not mix a few of these up and enjoy a romantic evening at home this February 14th?

Now I like it dirty so there is no vermouth in my "recipe." Feel free to coat your glass in vermouth and pour out the extra if you like yours, um, clean?

Pink Greek
(I made this name up myself. Delightful.)

Ingredients

2 shots of good vodka or gin (personally I recommend Finlandia vodka)
a health splash of kalamata olive juice
2-3 kalamata olives


1. Add the juice and vodka to a cocktail shaker that is half full of ice.

2. Shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds.

3. Pour into chilled martini glass, the drink should appear cloudy.

4. Garnish with olives and enjoy.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Daffodils

I love when daffodils come in. I never plant any spring bulbs myself because I've always felt its weird to plant something that blooms for so little time. Daffodils, however, are one little flower I do love, and I get very excited when they start popping up at my local grocery store.



I love their shape before they open. Knowing that under that tan papery skin lies a beautiful bright flower just waiting to break out. All they need is a glass of water to rest in and 24 hours later they burst open in a riot of canary yellow. Their petals remind me of scenes from Alice in Wonderland, nature's tea cups just waiting to be plucked and sipped from, or trumpets that I can only imagine play the clearest and tearfully beautiful tune.



I know as a partially employed recent graduate I shouldn't spend $7.00 on some cut flowers whose beauty is oh so temporary, but every morning when I wake up I see these happy little flowers waiting for me on my bed stand and I can't help but think, today is going to be good.