> hey what's for dinner mom?: August 2009

8.31.2009

Oh me oh my

And the winner, with the noshstalgia voters, is:

Thanks Michelle at Honest and Truly for sending in your delicious photo for everyone to drool over. I have a question for you, did you finish the 40# box of bananas? Heh. Drop me an email with your address and I'll send you some chocolate.

Actually thanks to everyone who has sent in photos and helped spread the word via twitter and blog posts. I enjoy seeing what everyone is making and it inspires me to get off my duff and cook for goodness sake!
This weeks prize is Chavrie Cheese and Alouette Cheese! I'll be sending the winner coupons for a wedge of Brie and a package of Fresh Goat Cheese, you'll thank me for it I'm sure.

And then of course fall is here, nights are a bit nippy and trees are dropping golden leaves faster than they can blow away. The gardens are winding down, it's time to pick apples and dig potatoes. I picked some onions the other day and made a fairly cool onion braid, with all the onions I have I will be making quite a few more.

The youngest boy is turning 4 on Thursday. When we asked him what kind of party he wanted he answered, honest to God, "hmmm how about a Titanic party?" I gently explained that I thought it was best if he picked something happier. He thought about it a while longer and said "Ok a Bismarck party" Bismarck ring a bell? Largest Nazi warship? Yes, he heard the song on YouTube with his older brother who really enjoyed it and they sing it all the time. Its a good marching song. Unfortunately the video is filled with swastikas and we had to resort to listening and not watching. Again I had to gently prod him on to happier themes, finally he decided on an airplane theme, non-deadly, lethal or otherwise horrendous. Whew. But then again he wants an aircraft carrier for a cake. HA! Cake Wrecks here I come.


I had someone ask for beet advice so beets are a coming in the near future. And can I just say I adore beets, good, I adore beets.


Peace and Love,



8.29.2009

It's The BFF Contest, come and vote

I'm beat so we are going to get right down to it this week. I trust you all are having a great last weekend of August? I am!


#1 is from Erin of The Sweet Life Lime Meringue Pie




#2 came from Angel in the Kitchen Cheddar Garlic Biscuits




#3 Michelle at Honest and Truly made a Girl Scout favorite Banana Boats




#4 is another shot of the Lime Meringue Pie from The Sweet Life




#5 is from Cookerati Lamb and Garden Veggies




#6 is another one from The Sweet Life Glazed Peanut Butter Bars


Choices choices! Good luck to all the entrants but only one will win the chocolate. Who will it be?
Want to see your photos here? Anyone who appreciates good food or likes to snap photos of good food is welcome to enter. Simply send a link to your favorite shots of the week from your blog to my email address under my profile and presto you are entered. Then next Sunday all your readers can vote for the best shot from you or anyone else they happen to like. It's more of a collection of good photos but with voting and prizes.

Peace and Love,


8.28.2009

Wanchai Ferry Review and Bff Reminder




I live in the middle of nowhere. We don't have take out or delivery service except pizza and it's chain pizza at that. I always wanted to live somewhere with Chinese takeout in little paper cartons but by the time that part of my life rolls around those paper cartons may be obsolete. Oh well.


I do enjoy not having to cook every once in a while and when I was given the chance to try Wanchai Ferry frozen meals from My Blog Spark, I said bring it on. Free food, hell yeah. I received one frozen meal and a coupon for another so we had two to try. I put them away in the freezer and forgot about them, life is like that.


Of course then I had the 4:30 freak out, what's for dinner?!?! And it was nice to walk to the freezer and pull out 2 bags of dinner, pre-made dinner, that I only had to heat up. Last time we had pre-made dinner was in February for Hero's 16th birthday dinner. You know, they get to choose what they want and he wanted Totino's crisp n tasty pizzas and hot wing chicken strips, so yeah 6 months ago is the last time we had a pre-made dinner. I liked having the 4:30 freak out easily solved with time to spare. I even had time to figure out what to do with microwavable rice. You know the whole microwave free thing.

The results? Good. Very good. We tried Sweet and Spicy Shrimp and Orange Chicken both over basmati rice. My husband and I liked the Sweet and Spicy Shrimp, we didn't even give it to the kids. Not that it was too spicy but they can't take any heat. I like a bit of heat and my husband is the "quiene mas macho?" drink straight Tabasco kinda guy so it was barely spicy. But we both enjoyed it and the spice, tang and thickness of the sauce was great. The Orange Chicken was also good but not as good as the shrimp. My kids don't like meat very much and they each ate a bit but they really liked the sauce over rice best of all.

Overall I'd say they are a nice way to feed your family fast. Not something I will buy weekly but I might keep them in the freezer for those days when 4:30 just leaps out and screams "Hey what's for dinner Mom?" and I don't have an answer.


Peace and Love,



7th week of the Best Food/Foodie Foto contest is open for business. Send 'em in and make sure you give me a shout out on your blog so we can keep up the weekly contest. Email me with questions or if you want to sponsor a future prize. jinxyjune@gmail.com

This weeks prize.............CHOCOLATE

The rules are easy:
  • simply send a photo or 2 of your best shots of the week and their link/s
  • enter as many photos as you would like
  • photos MUST be from a post during the 'week'
  • the 'week' starts Sunday 12:01 AM and runs through11:59 PM AST
  • the shots will be collected in one main post and voting will begin at high noon Alaska Standard Time (AST) on Sunday and run for 24 hours until noon Monday (AST)
  • the post will include all photos and links
  • voting will be in the comments section, encourage your friends to vote early and often
  • the winner will be announced Monday evening after counting has finished
  • if the winner does NOT contact me within 2 days of the winner announcement they forfeit their prize and the runner up will then receive the prize
  • the prizes will vary week to week and may be provided by sponsors or myself or both
  • email if you any questions or want to sponsor a prize jinxyjune@gmail.com




8.27.2009

Root Bake, Basil Oil and Cookie Shots

Hi all. Today we are heading out to the fair to check on our entries and ride a few rides. I'm pretty sure we'll eat something on a stick too, or deep fried dill pickles...must resist pants tightening foods at all costs so maybe coffee only. I wanted to post the shots of the cookies the boys made and a few working shots. Enjoy.

and really who needs a washcloth when you have a tongue?


Also I found a great way to use up all my basil, basil oil. I have had basil going ape-o for months and we ate it every which way and froze pesto too so it was nice to say goodbye to the basil and hello room in my dining room. I found this on Bread+Butter last week-ish and I have been enjoying it on roasted chicken, steamed corn and on salads. It's kind of like pesto light, no garlic, salt or cheese just oil and basil.

Basil Oil or Pesto Light
1 cup of basil
1/2 cup good olive oil

in a food processor whirl basil until chopped
pour in oil and whirl until mixed together
I wondered about straining it but didn't see the directive to do that so I didn't
I could be wrong, it happened once, but it is fine like this. Pretty much bail flavor that is easy to spread. Great condiment to have on hand. I don't know how long it will last but I plan to keep an eye on it.

I have been hearing and reading about root bake for a couple weeks now. It seems to be a key phrase in the letter from our CSA and I finally decided to try it. Basically roasted vegetables, same basic instructions using only root vegetables. Oh yum. Good eats. I peeled and cut into 1x1 inch squares a rutabaga the size of my kids head ( we grow mega vegetables up here) I washed a pound of red french fingerling potatoes, if any of the potatoes were too big I cut them in half, the rest I left whole. I tossed them all with olive oil and baked them at 400˚ for 35-45 minutes turning 1 halfway through. My kids loved these and the 3 year old cried when I said "no honey those are for daddy when he gets home" "WHY?" he wanted to know. I appeased him with another 1/2 ear of corn and quickly put daddy's dinner away. While basically the same as roasted veggies the root bake sounds cooler and it was side dish and vegetable in one. You apparently can use any and all combinations of roots so next I'm thinking of turnips, carrots and beets.

OK one more thing, I have a new label which I think is awesome. I apparently dropped my receipt the other day at the store. The cashier who always works Tuesdays (yes I am a creature of habit) put it in her pocket to give me next time I came in. Well the next week I went in on Monday, the first day of school, and missed her. I went this Tuesday because Monday didn't work for me (freak, yes I know, deal) and here is the cashier and she says "Oh my you dropped your receipt 2 weeks ago, I thought you might want it" I thanked her and looked down and written on the top of the receipt is 'Green Woman' she turned red and said "well you always buy real food and organics so that's how I think of you" I thought it was great. I love it. A compliment. Thanks Fred Meyer! Also I read about Fred Meyers in the lower 48, not up here, having one of those crazy brand sales. You know the one where you buy five of this or that brand and you save 5 bucks! We don't have this going on up here but someone else might find this useful.

Love and Peace

the green woman

8.26.2009

All right you people get OFF your duffs

I did. Now it's time for you, and you to enter my Best Foodie Foto contest this week. This very week! I am giving away chocolate, now that it's cooling off a bit I think it's safe to send it through the mail. OK maybe you'll get a box of hot chocolate but just know it started out chocolate. If you don't want to enter that's cool too. NO PRESSURE HERE.

My 2 little boys made cookies to enter in the fair. Union, 5, made the current BSI winner (who should have received a REAL prize, but I digress) Guilty Kitchen's Idle Hands Bars. They truly were easy and so so so good. Sirprize, 3, made Butter Bites from Donna at My Tasty Treasures. Also too good to be true. I'm the mom who does not help except if there is heat, reading or chopping machinery involved. We learn and cook and laugh, their cookies look like a 5 and a 3 year old made them. And they always win a blue ribbon or Grand Champion (2 year old last year!) for their KIDS efforts. Those perfect bakery looking cookies? They are always kind of shoved to the back and forgotten, thankfully. I love to see real kid projects prevail over parents overbearing ones.

I have pictures, cute ones, a 3 year old licking the powdered sugar off the counter and all. But I think I'm sick. I feel cruddy so I am going to bed and I plan to sleep in. Hey guys be thinking about me as I wade into an attempt at getting corporate sponsorship to get to 2 food blogging conferences. I just need a wee bit o' help with airfare because Alaska is so damn far from the lower 48. Good thoughts? Please? Thanks!


Peace and Love,


8.25.2009

Snow Peas are the NEW Edamame

It's true. At least at our house anyway. I have peas, literally 3 pounds every 3-4 days, like nobodies business. My freezer is full. We will not be starving to death this winter our freezer is full to the top with salmon and peas and we'll always have fresh eggs...and soon fresh meat(but I'm not going there because I don't want freak anybody out)
So in my food preserving frenzy I discovered that steaming is the way to blanch. Period. End of story. No boiling water super saturating fresh veggies and having them soggy and nasty when they are cooked. The steam blanch method is quick and easy. It is simply steaming vegetables for 1-2 minutes, depending on the vegetables, and plunging them into a cold ice bath until they are well chilled.

Why blanch? Blanching preserves the crunch and integrity of vegetables. It also kills some enzymes that can continue living in your freezer, even when the food is frozen, that can lead to a nasty surprise when you go to use your foods later. Blanche now, enjoy later.

So anyway where the HELL was I going with this lecture, er post, oh yeah PEAS. I was happily blanching and draining when I discovered this and that is why all that^ is relevant. Blanched peas? Freaking rock. I popped one in because I am a cook and cooks do that. And in no way does that have anything to with my current fat self, that is pure gluttony and self medication at work here people NOT tasting my own creations. Damn perhaps I shouldn't drink coffee at night, I think I am vibrating in my chair (Donna!)and I am typing so fast my fingers are a blur and damn damn damn I'm off track again.

AHEM

Blanched peas are delicious. Simply prepare a large pot for steaming. Add sugar snap or snow peas, cover and count down for a minute. Plunge into cold water. Repeat until all your peas are used up. Drain the peas when they are cooled completely, taste test if needed. Blot dry sprinkle on a minute amount of kosher salt or even better sea salt(hoity toity optional)

Thanks for all your kind words on our paint job in our son's room. We are loving the tree house room. Here is my answer to those of you who wanted us to paint your room. The going rate for us to paint your room, 400$ per room plus 2 round trip first class tickets from Anchorage to your hometown plus lodgings in the nearest 5 star resort plus unlimited room service contact me for openings. January is free, just get us the hell outta here!


Peace and Love,




8.24.2009

Dreaming in the Trees

You may have noticed a lack of posts from me regarding real food I actually cooked. No? Well I have been busy getting ready to paint and painting our 5 year old son's bedroom. He wanted a tree house in his room. I know weird, right? But being that I am the one who came up with the idea a while back I was excited to get painting. No really. OK I lie, like a dead dog. I was not enthused but I HAD to paint the room, it really needed it. I am glad it's over and it turned out really cute.



the leaves are all stamped from real cottonwood leaves from our yard

my husband painted this by hand, he sings a song about a knight who lives in a castle in the sky so I suggested we paint a fake window with a view of the castle I think it's the best part that and the tree I painted which doesn't photograph well
So while I didn't want to get off my duff and paint I'm glad I did. Funny how that works sometimes.

Peace and Love,

8.22.2009

Quickles Update

How are they? Great! We all enjoy them, especially the kids who are pickle maniacs. They definitely don't taste like store pickles but we don't mind. I wanted to address a couple questions I got about them.

Did I use pickling cucumbers? Yes and no. I had 1 pickling cucumber on hand so I used that. The other 2 were plain old cucumbers. In the future I will try to find and use picklers because it's a firmer pickle.

How long will they keep? Hmmmm I really don't know the answer to that one. I suppose at least a week? Maybe 2. I mean they are in vinegar, salt and sugar the 3 biggies for preserving foods. But then on the other hand you have not started with boiled jars (I did but I'm a freak) and they were not given any sort of sealing in the end. So officially 1 or 2 weeks.

I hope you try them. For being so quick and easy they really do make great pickle.

Last day for best foodie foto entries to be turned in! Off to paint my son's room like a tree house wish me luck!

Peace and Love,




6th week of the Best Food/Foodie Foto contest is open for business. Send 'em in and make sure you give me a shout out on your blog so we can keep up the weekly contest. Email me with questions or if you want to sponsor a future prize. jinxyjune@gmail.com

This weeks prize..............mmmm stay tuned to find out!

The rules are easy:
  • simply send a photo or 2 of your best shots of the week and their link/s
  • enter as many photos as you would like
  • photos MUST be from a post during the 'week'
  • the 'week' starts Sunday 12:01 AM and runs through11:59 PM AST
  • the shots will be collected in one main post and voting will begin at high noon Alaska Standard Time (AST) on Sunday and run for 24 hours until noon Monday (AST)
  • the post will include all photos and links
  • voting will be in the comments section, encourage your friends to vote early and often
  • the winner will be announced Monday evening after counting has finished
  • if the winner does NOT contact me within 2 days of the winner announcement they forfeit their prize and the runner up will then receive the prize
  • the prizes will vary week to week and may be provided by sponsors or myself or both
  • email if you any questions or want to sponsor a prize jinxyjune@gmail.com

8.20.2009

When Chickens Give You Eggs

make quiche. We have so many eggs these days! I'm selling them, eating them, giving them away and still we have EGGS!! I love my chickens, love having them, watching them (hey don't knock it they are interesting!) and getting eggs from them but we never seem to reach the end of the carton. I use 4 and damn if there aren't 6 more in the nest! So this week I am getting rid of eggs!

I'm thinking of pickling some, although fresh eggs don't make good hard boiled eggs so that might waste them and that's worse than letting them rot! I made scrambled eggs, quiche and I'm making cookies tomorrow. I'm plugging away at them. I think I need more egg buyers though especially with all the new layers coming on soon. Thankfully!! the ducks and goose are NOT laying too because that would be just. too. damn. much. seriously.

I haven't made quiche in years, literally. I have convinced myself I don't care for eggs and while that's mostly true I forgot how good a quiche can be. I made 2 actually one a manly affair with cheese and bacon. The other a more veggie-centric version with kale, zucchini, onions, ham and cheese. I only ate the veggie one but I heard things, good things, about the bacon and cheese. And my 5 year old ate 2 1/2 pieces.


If you are going to make a quiche I highly recommend making your own crust. Why make a fabulous egg pie and wrap it in a garbage crust? If you have a food processor pull it out and give this pie crust recipe a whirl. Literally. Honor your quiche and yourself. Your family will thank you for it and the foodie street credentials will make you feel like you are walking on air. If you really wanna go over the top make it completely by hand but even I have my limits and kids.






Basic Quiche oven 400˚ then 325˚
pie dough for a 1 crust pie
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper


roll pie dough flat and place in pan crimping edges as you like, DO NOT PRICK THE BOTTOM
cover with foil, bake 5 minutes remove foil and bake another 5 minute
reduce heat to 325˚
beat eggs and milk and spices together
sprinkle flour on cheese and then mix in to egg mixture
pour into hot crust and bake for 35 -45 minutes


add ins
#1 bacon cheese quiche--6 slices cooked bacon crumbled and 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese tossed with 1 TBSP flour
#2 veggie-centric--1 zucchini sliced, 4 leaves of kale, 1 small onion saute all until water has released then add to eggs, add in 1/2 cup chopped ham, mix in 1 cup of grated sharp cheese mixed with 1 TBSP of flour


8.19.2009

Quickles=Quick Pickles

I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs Dinner at Christina's. The original recipe was called refrigerator pickles but I like the make up new words so I called them quickles. Hey, my kids liked the name!
Anyhoodle they are quick, easy and use up summer produce so you know I'm interested. I'm all about using my organic, homegrown veggies any way I can. They are chilling right now in the fridge but I can just tell that quickles are going to a favorite of ours.

Quickles

3 small cucumbers, sliced thinly
1 Hungarian wax pepper, sliced seeds and membrane removed
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 Tbsp raw sugar
3 Tbsp fresh chopped dill or 2 tsp dried dill
3 tsp mustard seed
1 TBSP kosher salt

divide cucumbers, pepper slices, garlic, and bay leaves between 2 wide mouth quart jars
combine vinegar, water, sugar, dill, mustard seed, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer
stir until the sugar dissolves, then pour this over the cucumbers
cover the jars with saran wrap and a rubber band, let cool, and refrigerate for 12 hours


I'll be checking after 12 hours to see how they taste and then decide if they need longer or if we should start snacking right away. I can't wait. I always want to make pickles but the recipes seem so daunting with the fermenting and scum removal that I always decide fresh cukes taste great to me.

Peace and Love,

8.18.2009

My BSI entry-Thai Pesto

This weeks BSI is hosted by Kim of Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet! The blogger secret ingredient is a weekly cooking challenge hosting by a different bloggers each week. The host also provides a small prize for the winner. The secret ingredient this week is peanut butter. Uhhhh, yum?!? I decided to enter a recipe I came up with a few weeks ago that I really really love, Thai Pesto.
Here is my recipe again and some drool worthy pictures too. Go check out Kim and be sure to enter your best recipe creation!


Thai Pesto

1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts
1 cup Thai Basil leaves, washed and dried
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 inch chunk of ginger root peeled and cut in matchsticks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter
salt optional

toast the peanuts in a small skillet over medium heat until they are lightly browned, cool before using
add the peanuts, garlic and ginger root to the bowl of a food processor pulse 4-5 times and scrape down the sides, repeat until everything is well ground
add the basil and pulse until mixed
with the processor running add the oil and run until it is well incorporated
add the peanut butter and pulse until well mixed
taste for salt and add some if needed, I added some but your peanuts may be salty enough to carry it


Peace and Love,


8.17.2009

Herbal Infusion

Last week in our CSA 1/2 share we got a sprig of Anise Hyssop. Anise what? Now you may be thinking 'oh yuck I hate anise flavor' but let me tell you that it is delicious! It is not the heavy flavor of black licorice but rather lighttly sweet and a bit piney. I didn't know what to do with Anise Hyssop last year when we got some in our share but a quick internet search quickly help me decide on an herbal water infusion. Well it tasted to so nice last year I was excited to find it again this year.
this photo courtesy of Herbal Companion

08-03-054-HerbsToKnow01.jpg


Anise Hyssop is a member of the mint family and many people consider it a culinary herb. It's actually an American wildflower native to central North America and it's hardy in zones 4-9. Why am I not growing this? Well it's not my zone but obviously it is hardy here or our CSA wouldn't be growing it. I'll have to plant it close to my house where I can sometimes get a zone 6-7 plant to live.

this map courtesy of the USDA
Hardiness Zone Map of AlaskaZone Color Key


Herbal Infusions are easy. Boil a small amount of water, slightly crush your washed herbs, add them to the pot and remove from the heat. Let them steep for as long as you want. I like to transfer the herbs and water to a carafe, add more water as needed and set it in the sun to brew on a hot day. Now some times herbal infusions will get a bitter taste if left to steep too long but I haven't found this with Anise Hyssop. There are some reports of 'sun tea' making people sick but they are not pre-boiling their water so I think any dangers of this method making anyone sick are pretty slim.
Sunshine and organic herbs does it even get better that this?

Peace and Love,