Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Right Kind of Eggs

So I stumbled across this brand of eggs when I was visiting my girlfriend and her husband.   We had an afternoon of cooking, laughing, drinking wine (of course) and baking.   Needless to say, we failed at the baking part but when she pulled out these eggs, I was amazed at the information!   I mean just look at the container.   Now these are the RIGHT kind of eggs to buy.   Am I right?   Vitale Farms is located in Texas.   Click here if you want to read more about them!   Their website is full of information...the RIGHT kind of information we need to know about how hens should be raised and respected.   Granted, the eggs are a bit more costly, but if it gives me the peace of mind I want...then I will spend the money.


I love the colorful, fun and happy packaging.



They even had a profile of the Bird of the Month! I love it!   I mean come on...gotta give credit to these beautiful birds that are providing us sustenance, right?   Also a profile of one of the farmers.  :)



Now this is the kind of pasture they deserve.  



Check them out, especially their website.  It was worth it for me.   If the human race can learn a little respect, love and kindness to each other and animals, this would be a much happier and much different world to live in.  :)


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cooking Egg Rolls with my Sis!

I recently flew to California to visit my family, mainly to watch my niece compete in an equitation event, to which she ended up being the grand champion.  I was so proud of her and so happy it happened while I was there.   It was a two day event that included lots of hard work, a lot of driving, practice and mom and dad focusing on her the entire weekend.   She deserved it. She worked hard and she won.  I also love spending time with my sister....so we can do girly things together, shop, eat, cook.  :)

Soooo...while I was there sis and I cooked some of these delicious egg rolls!   It's actually fairly simple.   Sometimes you see some recipes that have TONS of ingredients and steps that it really just turns you off to even trying it.  You really can have something as simple as this that tastes just as amazing.   I'm all into simple and easy these days.

Chicken Egg Rolls

1 lb. ground chicken (or beef/turkey)
1 can water chestnuts (cut in small bite-size pieces)
1 bunch of green onions (chopped)
1 package of shitake mushrooms (already sauteed)
1/2 onion chopped (already sauteed - can saute with mushrooms)
About 1/2-3/4 soy sauce
About 4-5 Tbsp. sugar
Egg Roll wrappers
Water
Olive or Vegetable Oil for Frying

Saute the onion and mushrooms together until cooked.   Drain if need be and set aside.   Cook ground chicken over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked, tossing in mushrooms and onion with it.  Slowly pour in soy sauce and sugar.   At this point I'll typically just keep adding both until I get the taste I like.  It should be both salty and sweet, oh and savory.   When you think you've reached your desired taste, set aside to cool.  To speed up cooling process I'll just put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.   Once cooled, throw in the green onions and water chestnut and mix together.

Now comes the rolling.   Place about a 2 Tablespoons of the mix at one corner of the  egg roll wrapper and start wrapping.  If you've never wrapped before, this is a great demonstration here.  It's good to have a small glass of water set aside.  You'll want to wet the opposite corner of the egg roll from where you're wrapping to seal it shut at the end.

Now you're ready to fry!   You can also bake these at 450 for 20 minutes after you've brushed them with oil.   I'll admit, though, I prefer frying.  Sometimes you just have to be bad.  :)  I will usually have the oil heated at about a medium heat to avoid oil splashing onto you.  Remember, the meat is already cooked on the inside so frying is basically to brown the outside.   Once brown, you're done!






We had a few leftover egg roll wrappers and my sis had a great idea...we filled them with string cheese as an appetizer for everyone!


Autumn is in the air, I can feel it.   I think autumn has become my favorite time of year.   I used to be a summer girl but now I look forward to bundling up in my favorite sweaters and scarves and donning my favorite tall boots (okay, I have about six pair, really.)   The leaves haven't quite changed yet but they will turn an iridescent red, orange and yellow and line the streets I drive down.   I think it might be time to start baking and crocheting.  :)

Hope you're all enjoying the end of summer!   xoxo

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wine Tasting! Making My Way Through Washington State One Wine Taste at a Time.

This past weekend I finally had a chance to go wine tasting.  Yea, I've been here in the Northwest over sixteen years and still have not gone wine tasting. Bad me!  Anyway, a friend had her 40th birthday and decided to hire one of those tour buses to take about 20 of us on a wine tour!   We toured three wineries in Washington State (Ridgefield and Battleground to be exact.)   It was so much fun!   On top of visiting wineries I had never heard of, the drive through the countryside of Washington was beautiful.

Gouger Cellars was the first stop.  I'll be honest, I didn't care for too many of their white wines but their reds were amazing!   He even had a red wine with chocolate in it.  I didn't care for that though.  The classics....Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel....all were very smooth.  Oh wait!  I take that back..he had a Voignier that was lovely so there was one white I liked.  :)


The owner himself served the wine.   He was full of great information on how the wines were made and combined.    He even had his own ice cream made with wine.   Dangerous territory for me, right there.   Picture it....me having a glass of wine with a bowl of wine ice cream add a few more servings and then me, collapsed in bed.  Yea, that's exactly what would happen.


Now the next vinyard was Three Brothers.    For this one I chose to taste all white.   There were only two white wines I liked and I was pleasantly surprised with them.   A Riesling and a Dry Riesling were the two I tasted.   I'm not much of a Riesling fan but these were amazing.  I see I'm going to have to reconsider my opinion.  Also goes to show that it's not so much the kind of wine but the vinyard that makes them.




My dream is to have one of these. :)



Such sweet grapes.


I'll take every last barrel!


Now the last vinyard was also very nice but I stopped the wine tasting at this point BUT....I hear they have great Pinot Grigio (which is my favorite of all.)  Being a migraine sufferer (and combined with the heat of the day) I had to really be careful so I drank water the rest of the way.   If it were a cooler day I wouldn't have stopped.  I just know what sets off my migraines.  :)


All in all, I really, really enjoyed it!   I want to try the Oregon wines (Willamette Valley).   I'm thinking fall would be a great time of year to go wine tasting.


I'm headed home to California for a visit with the family this week but if I have time I will post a delicious eggroll recipe I just made recently!   

Until then...enjoy every minute of your life!  xoxo



Thursday, August 21, 2014

~Swooning over Small Spaces~

So I've been daydreaming lately about small houses and cottages.   Seems so often I hear people dreaming of mansions and bigger homes but who wants to clean all that space?   I can barely clean my 1300 sq. ft. condo!   Let's get serious here, the older I'm getting the lazier I'm getting about cleaning.     I really only probably use half the space in my condo anyway. I want efficiency.  I want small.  I want practicality but still cute.  :)  In fact, I'd rather have a small cottage (Eco friendly) and room for chickens and a garden to live off of.  One year my girlfriend and I lived off her garden for an entire summer! The veggies were fresh, organic and they tasted like nothing I tasted that came out of a store.   So, I'll continue to dream of a goal of having this all one day.  

Here are a few ADORABLE cottages I can see myself living in.    I love, love, love the idea of a screened in porch for the cats and here in the Northwest since it rains a lot, it will be a nice way to kind of relax in the outdoors without getting wet.


(click picture for source link)

(click picture for source link)

Now this is a prefab home.    I wouldn't mind purchasing a prefab home, paying it off quickly and be mortgage free.  


(click picture for source link)

The inside is sweet!


 Its own screened-in porch on one side.





Another prefab!   Only 777 sq. ft.  Serious swooning here!

(click picture for source link)

Who would have thought a prefab home could be so cute!  My alternative way of thinking is dreaming of an alternative way of living.  :)  Conformity is overrated anyway.  At least in my opinion.

Mr. Fancy Pants says hi.  


Hope you're all having a wonderful week!   xoxo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lavender Everywhere!

While I haven't grown lavender myself this year on my little deck garden, I did get to harvest TONS from a friend's yard....and I mean tons!   



So I found this really cute idea of using the dried buds once I get them off their stems and stored in jars.   


Or I could do this....


I know...I will go for the drink first, make the candles, light them and put them on my deck, kick back and enjoy a nice summer evening.

Hope you're all enjoying the wonderful summer weather!  Perseus is.  :)


xoxo

Monday, August 11, 2014

Quick Samosas!

So my relationship with cooking (and food) has moved to the next level. We've blossomed into a new stage.  I no longer fear it.  I no longer run from it.  I no longer believe it tries to tie me down.  I dare say that I may have committed to this relationship.   Probably the only relationship (besides my crazy cats) I've been able to commit to in a long time BUT that's another story.

I've made it my goal to try to make something new at least once a week aside from my usual dishes and yes, I'm one of those Pinterest fanatics who has to post to the Pinterest-Success board all the time.  In fact, I get most of my recipes from Pinterest and I kinda go from there by either adding some of my own ingredients or taking out the ones I don't like.  I was always so afraid to veer from any recipe, thinking I needed to stick exactly to what it says, but I have broken free of that and I'm so proud of myself!  Baby steps.  :)

I made these Indian goodies the other night.

Wonton Samosas

I got the base recipe here.

However....when I was making the filling, I did add about a tablespoon of curry powder and a little more salt and pepper to taste.  I also upped the cumin another tablespoon.  :)   It was more of a pinch and dash until the taste was just the way I wanted it and it was so worth taking my chances on my ability to pinch and dash.






Of course I had to have it with rice...and a dollop of cilantro on top!   I set some leftover aside and made another batch of appetizers for a hair party with the girls.   It was even amazing as leftovers!

Quincy and Perseus wanted to drop in and say hi.   Quincy is still a pill as usual but a LOVER as always and Perseus has become a mama's boy.  :)  Hope you're all doing wonderful and well.   Apologies for the long break.  Trying to get back into the swing of things on blogging is harder than I thought with a busy life!  

                                                                                   
xoxo



Monday, February 24, 2014

Stuffed French Bread!

I thought I'd bless you all with the most delectable, most gooey and the most savory yummy goodness I know of.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  When my friends get together, this recipe comes up quite often. The preparation is easy and it's a great quick appetizer to throw together. If you don't like artichokes, garlic or cheese, first of all you are strange, second...then this recipe isn't for you because it's chock full of these!

STUFFED FRENCH BREAD

1 long loaf of French bread, unsliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. sesame
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 cups jack cheese, cubed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 can (4 oz.) artichoke hearts
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (topping)

Slice bread loaf in half horizontally.  Hollow out each half and tear insides into small pieces.  Combine butter, garlic, and sesame seeds in a small saucepan until butter is melted.  In a bowl, combine all other ingredients. Mix thoroughly.  Add bread pieces.  When the butter is melted, pour over bread mixture and mix well. Place mixture back into the hollow bead halves.  Place bread on baking sheet and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Slice and serve!  How much easier can a recipe get?






 
 
On that last picture, I meant to take a picture of it before tearing through it like a starving beast...but oh well. Who says life is perfect?  ;)  Enjoy!

A cute little side note.   I had to interview for new cat sitters.   Quincy was relentless with the questions but he loved her in the end.   Yay for a new cat/house sitter!  Lol!

So where are your references? What are your hobbies? What kind of car do you drive? Do you like cat hair? Do you understand the word fish flakes?