Hearty foods and fall musings

So much happens through the year, it can be very difficult to sit down and do nothing. Today is the first time in a long time I have been able to sit down and relax, and think about the things I enjoy doing, as opposed to what I feel I have to do.

So, why is there guilt? Regret at all the things you told yourself you would try, accomplish, finish, etc. Guilt that you want to do something that might be fun or because that voice in your head is telling you that others are judging and have found you wanting.

Many things in my life have caused me to review what I am doing with my life, from my job to a family member who is ill, to dealing with depression, grief, and the possibility of loss.

There is no way to prepare yourself, for when your self changes.

The hardest critic is your own self, and can sometimes be the thing that holds you back. That little voice in your head, telling you how you’ll never succeed, or how you should be happy with what you have, not dissatisfied with your own feelings of restlessness, can be the last, and greatest, hurdle.

When your mind churns, the simplest things can be the most calming, like sitting In front of a fire on a dreary day, or making a roast for Sunday dinner. With so much rain from the passing hurricane, I thought a venison roast would be perfect for a lazy Sunday dinner. I have been dreaming of a goulash I had while visiting Slovakia years ago, and plan to use the leftover roast meat to make that happen.

I think about seasoning the roast, and use the comparison of cooking low and slow to the process of making decisions that will ultimately change my life. From the seasoning of the meat, to the makings of the broth, I plan so that my flavors will still help bring multiple dishes together.

The fall weather and the changing leaves make it an ideal day to pair my roast with some roasted vegetables. Stirring together carrots, squash, onions, and potatoes, and simply seasoning with a little salt, pepper, and olive oil. Sometimes the simplest ingredients make the most memorable of flavors.

So while you enjoy your day, and dream of hot chocolate and snuggling, please make sure to schedule some quiet time for yourself before the coming holiday scrabble. Don’t jump the gun like the department stores, but enjoy yourself, that you might enjoy the seasons of well-wishing, so that you may mean it when you wish wellness to others.

Enchiladas revisited

its one of my favorite times of the year.  We’re getting the garden ready.  I’ve got plants sprouting in my sunroom, ready to be relocated, and the thunderstorms bring all that wonderful rain.  I just finished assembling a modified enchilada dish, and I’m sitting in my sunroom with my windows open, listening to the birds In the forest, and smelling the rain.  I just heard a frog a little while ago, and that is such a wonderful feeling, that I was grinning the whole time he was calling.  

When it rains, I get contemplative, and it never hurts to sit for a bit and not do anything.  Of course, my cat, Chester, views this as a monumental waste of time, when I could be doing important things, like petting him.

  
Between being told I have Carpal Tunnel by my doctor and having a bad situation happening in my husbands family, it has just been a little crazy here lately.  

Tax season has ended, and the husband is now home for dinner, so I’ve started trying the stuff I either haven’t made in a while, or wanted to fiddle with.

We had grilled chicken breasts earlier this week, keeping in mind we’d be using them for dinner later on.

I followed the guidelines from a recipe I linked to a while ago, that’s in my archives.  It was a good base, but I decided to just use what I had in the fridge and go from there.

I cubed the chicken after taking it of the bone.  I had one large chicken breast.  

I chopped about 1/2 a green pepper and about 1/4 cup of Vidalia onion and threw them all into a nonstick pot with olive oil.  After everything was warm, I sprinkled about 1 teaspoon each of chili powder and taco seasoning over the mixture.  

I stirred that for a minute and added about 1/2 cup of medium peach salsa, and about 1/3 cup of taco sauce, along with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and  a sizeabe dollop of cheesy quest sauce.   Stir like made when everything starts melting, and I ended up with this lovely smelling mess.

I also threw I. Some random sweet corn my husband had cooked with some Mexican spices and sliced garlic for an earlier meal.

 
Spray a sizable glass baking dish (9×13?), and spooned this mixture into tortillas, rolling and placing seam side down as I went.  Ended up with 6 fitting in there.  Drizzled with taco sauce, covered with more peach salsa, and then spooned some homemade jalapeño salsa on for my husband.  I threw on some leftover Asiago cheese, and then covered the whole mess with about 1/2 a lb of shredded cheddar and sprinkled with taco seasoning.

  
Bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes, until cheese is golden.  I like mine with crunchy bits but husband likes it more stringy.

 

Sweet, tangy, a little spicy, and really good! 

The Heartburner- my husbands dinner when I’m not home.

So my husbands says to me when I get home, “I can’t decide if you will be appalled by my dinner or want to try it.” Well, that is always an interesting start to a conversation.  Needless to say, my interest was piqued.

This is what he told me, all while smiling innocently in the hopes I wouldn’t bust him. For what, I’m not sure.  All I know is that look always makes me a little nervous when it is used at the beginning of a conversation.

This is what he told me.  All measurements are to taste & preference as he doesn’t remember measurements and trying to ask is like pulling teeth.  All of this was him going with his gut.

Directions: 

  • Mix 1/2 lb ground sirloin with seasoned salt, chili powder, black pepper, granulated garlic, diced Visalia onion, & diced jalapeño.
  • Take sliced white mushrooms & jalapeños & sauté in olive oil with Old Bay, & S &P.
  • Take a Vidalia onion slice and sauté with salt & soy sauce.
  • Grill the Burgers 4 mins each side, or until medium well.
  • When assembling the burger, place thick slices of Colby jack cheese on the meat.
  • Mix may, relish,clime juice, and Cajun seasoning.  
  • Assemble on a Kaiser roll with lettuce.
  • “Smush and try to eat.”

He says it was most enjoyable.  I christened it and there you have it.  Apparently, he ended up with two patties.  I am interested but also scared to try something with that many jalapeños,  we shall see!

Red Pickle Sticks – Cinnamon Pickles

I don’t need to tell you how busy you can get and not realize how much time has past! I haven’t posted since July, and I apologize for that. We had several family emergencies and issues all hit at once, it seemed. It took me months just to get to the point of being upright again, and I wasn’t even any of the people stuff was happening to.

I tried to keep sane with mentally thinking about the garden for next year, the Christmas presents I was sewing, and things like that. So it was, bad things do pass, thankfully.

I promised I would post a recipe I got from my husband’s family, Cinnamon Pickles!

That would be the jar with the red contents in the picture below.

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After the garden dropped its final batch of produce, the end numbers were staggering. My last post was in the midst of our 1st picking of green beans. At the end of the total, our numbers were something like:

4 (yes, 4!) HUMUNGOUS pickings of green beans that were big enough to be snakes – I gifted away something like 6 -5 gallon bucks, and took 2 bucks to the local food bank so that the beans wouldn’t go bad. We canned some 70-odd jars of green beans, froze around 20 lbs out of the ones we didn’tgive away.

Same amount in the Hungarian wax pepper department. I was begging people to take peppers, and we made batches of pepper jelly and so did our friends.
The spaghetti squash ended up being rather terrifying in size, and I think we got 9 of those, and we ended up cutting several in half and freezing them, while also gifting away to anyone who wanted one. The zucchini were also terrifying, and my friend has a picture of her daughter posing with one that is as long as she is. I have a zucchini relish recipe that is suppose to take something like 3 small zucchini (6 cups shredded) – that didn’t even go through a 3rd of one of my smaller ones!

The cucumbers were just as terrifying in numbers. We did so many types of pickles and went through every Mrs. Wages packet and recipe book we could.

Just in pickles alone, we did:
– lime pickles
– bread and butter pickles
– dill pickles
– spicy dill pickles
– polish bread and butter pickles
– cinnamon pickles, etc. plus a few more I can’t remember off the top of my head.

My heirloom tomatoes were gigantic, I literally had, at one point, a single tomato that was about 2 lbs. It had a rough diameter of > 6 inches! Sadly, with the rain, my biggest problem was the tomatoes rotting, even though they were tied up!
At the end, the corn and the lima beans didn’t do so well.
We had a great amount of rain, and that definitely helped.

My husband topped all of this by randomly showing up with 12 dozens ears of fresh corn from his grandparents one weekend

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The Monster Garden of Doom

So my husband and I are starting to reap the benefits of a 2,500 sq ft garden. Sadly, our corn may not produce anything this year. We are planning on sending in a soil sample to the college, where they can tell you what is needed to make your garden happy! Ours use to be a field, so I have a feeling it is missing a lot of good nutrients.

Due to impending loss of sanity this winter, I started a large amount of seeds just to see what would happen. What did, in fact happen, was a 95% germination rate on 75 hungarian wax peppers, some of the most mutant radishes we have ever seen, and a 100% germination rate on the tomatoes I started.

The tomatoes haven’t ripened yet, but the wax peppers are yielding with a vengence! I already have plans for a pepper jelly to help with the several gallons we have already picked, let alone the several gallons yet still to be picked. We still have canned pepper rings from last year, so I cannot make more if we aren’t going to use them. This is an effort for us to be smart gardeners. We don’t want to plant for plants sake, we want to actually save money with a garden, and anyone who has one knows, you can sink a lot of money into them really quickly, what with seed purchases, fertilizer, buying the plants already started, and so forth. I’m not even counting the netting and wire I use to hold my tomatoes up. I do find the stakes for free in the local wood working warehouse, as they leave dumpsters of their scraps out for enterprising individuals to paw through and make off with.

Anyhoodles, we just did the first pick of greenbeans. 20 gallons! We are overrun with zucchini and cucumbers, and several spaghetti squash that look like they could feature in their very own sci-fi horror movie are still not even ripe yet!

So what do we do with all of this?

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We store what we cannot eat fresh.
I have already made one batch of bread and butter pickles, cinnamon pickles, and raspberry jam. We will end up with several batches of canned green beans, which we go through like crazy. Fried green beans is a standard staple on our dinner table.

I am still planning what to do with the heirloom tomatoes I ordered and germinated, so I cannot speculate on them as of yet.
I am hoping to get something off of our potatoes and lima beans, but it is too early to determine yet.

I will start posting my favorite canning recipes, and the one new one I tried that is really time consuming, but worth the effort…. Cinnamon Pickles!