Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Slow Cooking

I love to slow cook! It's like the best invention ever! I mean what can be bad about putting food in a pot, turning the pot on, and then having a meal ready to serve in a few hours!  I want to share with you my favorite slow cook author/blogger. Her name is Stephanie O'Dea. She has written two books on slow cook and has a recipe on just about anything you've imagined cooking in a crock pot. Check out her blog A Year of Slow Cooking.  Do you use a crock pot? If so what's your favorite recipe? Here's my family's favorite slow cooking recipe Cream Brulee
Crock Pot Creme Brulee
-2 cups heavy cream
--5 egg yolks
--1/2 cup sugar (baker's or fine sugar is better so the granules disappear)
--1 T good vanilla
--1/4 cup raw sugar (for topping, add later)

The Directions:

Find a heat-resistant dish that fits inside of your stoneware insert. Fit it in, and using a cup or pitcher, pour water around the edges so there is water 1/2 - 3/4 of the way up the sides of the dish. Push it down with your hand if it starts to float up. Take the dish back out. If you have separate dessert ramekins, do the same thing after nestling them all inside.

--whip the 5 egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl
--slowly add the cream and baking sugar while mixing
--add the vanilla

pour mixture into the dish and carefully lower into the stoneware without sloshing water into the dish.

Cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours. If you are using little ramekins, check after an hour; I'm not sure how long they will take. Custard should be set with the center still a bit jiggly. Touch lightly with your finger to check. Unlike an oven, it will be difficult to overcook this. Try not to worry.

I cooked the one above for 4.25 hours on high.

VERY carefully (use oven gloves!) remove dish and let cool completely on counter, then chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of raw sugar evenly over the top of the custard. Move your oven rack to the top rung and broil for 3-10 minutes, checking often. The sugar will boil and brown.

Cool again in the fridge for a few hours.
Recipie posted from A Year of Slow Cooking
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Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Reeses

I love Reese's! What else can I say other than they are the perfect blend of chocolate and peanut butter.! Here's a recipe for homemade peanut butter cups. Enjoy!

Easy Peanut Butter Cups

  • 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips)
Line two 12-cup mini muffin pans with paper liners; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave, until almost melted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place semisweet chocolate in another microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted, 2 to 3 minutes total.
Dividing evenly, use a spoon to layer semisweet chocolate and peanut-butter mixture into liners, beginning and ending with chocolate. Place muffin pans in freezer or refrigerator until peanut butter cups are firm, usually15- 30 minutes. Store in refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. These are best at room temperature.

recipie from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

What's your favorite candy?

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quinoa

Basic Quinoa
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient food that is not yet well known in North America. It has been cultivated in South American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C. and has been a staple food of millions of native inhabitants. The ancient Incas called quinoa the "mother grain" and revered it as sacred. Each year at planting time it was traditional for the Inca leader to plant the first quinoa seed using a solid gold shovel! Quinoa was used to sustain Incan armies, which frequently marched for many days eating a mixture of quinoa and fat, known as "war balls." Beginning with the Spanish conquest in the 1500s, there was a 400-year decline in the production of quinoa. It became a minor crop at that time and was grown only by peasants in remote areas for local consumption. 
Technically quinoa is not a true grain, but is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of it's cooking characteristics. The name comes from the Greek words, chen (a goose) and pous (a foot). This is due to a resemblance of the leaves of the plant to the webbed foot of a goose. The leaves are lobed or toothed and often triangular in shape. The succulent like plant grows from 4 to 6 feet high and has many angular branches. The flower heads are branched and when in seed looks much like millet, with large clusters of seeds at the end of a stalk. The plant will grow in a variety of conditions but favors a cool, arid climate and higher elevations. Beets, spinach, Swiss chard, and lamb's quarters are all relatives of quinoa.
Before cooking, the seeds must be rinsed to remove their bitter resin-like coating, which is called saponin. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use to remove any of the powdery residue that may remain on the seeds. The presence of saponin is obvious by the production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water. Placing quinoa in a strainer and rinsing thoroughly with water easily washes the saponin from the seeds. In South America the saponin which is removed from the quinoa is used as detergent for washing clothes and as an antiseptic to promote healing of skin injuries.
The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa's protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Quinoa is 12% to 18% protein and four ounces a day, about 1/2-cup, will provide a childs protein needs for one day. The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. Quinoa also contains albumen, a protein that is found in egg whites, blood serum, and many plant and animal tissues. The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone's diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition. The seed is also excellent feed for birds and poultry and the plant itself is good forage for cattle.
Toasted Quinoa Salad
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced parsley or cilantro
2 sliced green onions
juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime (or 1 - 2 tablespoons of each)
1-1/2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
1 teaspoon chili sauce (tobasco) (or use a pinch of cayenne, a few red pepper flakes, etc.)

Rinse quinoa and drain. Put in a pot and dry toast until a few grains begin to pop. Add 1-1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
Mix carrot, red pepper, parsley and green onion in large bowl. Add cold quinoa and toss to combine, Whisk together lemon and lime juices, tamari, garlic and chili sauce. Pour over salad and combine well. Chill until serving time.
This recipe can be fun. Try throwing in a few fresh raw peas, some fresh raw corn, fresh sliced raw green beans, etc.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Pinterst

Pinterest Logo 

What makes Pinterest different from the others?

You may have heard of the social network, Pinterest - a virtual pin board which allows users to “pin” images from the web and other users’ boards, or as Pinterest describes itself:
…lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.
Yes, another one to add to the list of networks to join, through fear of missing out or being left behind. But I can’t help but think there could be something more to this latest platform that plays on human motivations that other networks don’t tap into, and that set it apart from the rest.
It’s all about me
Pinterest is simple; in its design, functionality and user experience. But the key thing that this network has over others is that it’s all about the user. There is no need to have friends in order to get involved. All boards are open and users can view any image pinned anywhere on the network. Of course, connections can be made, either by following people you know or those who have created boards on a topic that interests you.
Pinterest provides, for some, a welcome break from newsfeeds populated with mindless status updates and drivel. In this case, pictures really do speak a thousand words, evoking an emotional response which can be left via a comment.
The collector within
Collecting is a basic human motivation, and Pinterest unleashes this instinct by allowing the user to instantly, easily and neatly showcase their collections. Pins are automatically arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way. Pinning is also inspirational, with one board or pin inspiring the next, and each creation can be constantly tweaked until the user is happy with their masterpiece, and they can gain recognition and approval from other users with similar interests.
A brand’s best friend
Pinterest has worked well for early adopters such as those in the arts, design, architecture, crafts, food, travel and fashion categories. It allows users to create boards to represent how they want to be perceived, or the status they feel it gives them by associating themselves with that brand or image. This could be a certain fashion that they like or even the images they pin on their home decor board. It goes a whole step further than just “liking” a brand’s fan page.
So what do you think about Pinterest? Is its simplicity going to work in its favor against other social networks? Or is this just one network too many.
I'd love to follow me on Pinterest. I'll be happy to follow you back too! :) 

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Okra

 It's scientific name is "Abelmoschus esculentus" and also "Hibiscus esculentus". In various parts of the world, it is known as Okra, Ochro, Okoro, Quimgombo, Quingumbo, Ladies Fingers, Gombo, Kopi Arab, Kacang Bendi, Bhindi (S. Asia), Bendi (Malaysia), Bamia, Bamya or Bamieh (middle east) or Gumbo (Southern USA). Apparently Gumbo is Swahili for okra. In Portugal and Angola, okra is known as Quiabo (plural: Quiabos), and in Cuba, as "quimbombo". In Japan it is known as okura. Patrick Taylor adds: "Okra has found its way to Taiwan, where it's called "qiu kui" (pronounced cheeoh kway). That's the Mandarin Chinese word for it in Taiwan - which might be the same in the PRC, or might not."Here's my favorite okra recipie: Roasted Okra


 Roasted Okra

Roasted Okra

about 1/2 pound of small, whole okra per person
salt to taste
pepper to taste
olive oil spray
First, start with the smallest okra you can find. Larger okra tends to be woody, which wouldn’t work in this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Spray a shallow baking dish with olive oil, add okra, and season to taste. Give the okra one quick (1/2 second) spray with olive oil, and put them into the oven. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until okra is browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Serve hot out of the oven.
You can also jazz these up with spice blends such as garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, Creole seasonings, or jerk seasonings–whatever your taste demands. But simple salt and pepper is amazingly good and allows the fresh flavor of the okra to shine through.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nature

N is for Nature
 Nature is truly God's handiwork. I can not even beging to do justice to God's handwork."He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. By his power he churned up the sea.... By his breath the skies become fair.... And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! How then can we understand the thunder of his power?" (Job 26:7-9, 11-14) I  am just going to post some pictures of nature I have taken. Enjoy! post signature

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

M is for Made to Crave

Made to Crave Participant's Guide: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food [Book]

Sorry I'm a little behind. I'm in the process of getting caught up and actually trying to get ahead. So here's my post for the Letter M-Made to Crave

Made to Crave  is a book written by Lysa Terkeurst. The back of the book reads like this :Craving isn't a bad thing. Has food become more about frustration than fulfillment? Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman's desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. This book is not a how-to manual or the latest, greatest dieting plan. Made to Crave is a helpful companion to use alongside whatever healthy eating approach you choose-a book and Bible study to help you find the "want o" in how to make healthy lifestyle changes. 
 I had a friend of mine raving about this book so I decided to pick it up and give it a try. What she told me was true. This book helps you change your thinking about food. It points out one possible reason for our over eating is that we love and rely on food more than we love and rely on God.  That statement hit me liike a ton of brings .I know that is the case with me. I haven't finished the book yet. I just go it last week but I can already tell a difference. Making a priority to fill my life with Him instead of food! They also have a devotion to go along with the book. You can find out more about Lysa Terkeurst and Made to Crave  by clicking herepost signature

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