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Category Archives: TaMara

Spring Gardening Continued…

When we last left the side garden it looked like this (click here).

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Above you can see I’ve started to add rocks. I did a few a day…

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And this is how far I’ve gotten this week:

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Next I’m going to plot out where the plants will be and create little areas for them and I’ll fill the rest in with rocks…of which I still have plenty.

Stay tuned…



 

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A Little Unexpected Help

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I was cleaning up more of the yard today and found this little unexpected guy. I think he will live in my window box for the foreseeable future.



 

Valentine’s Day Cornish Game Hen Dinner Menu

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I think going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day is a fool’s errand. Better a quiet dinner at home. This is surprisingly quick and easy for a weeknight holiday. Flourless Chocolate Torte (above and recipe here) is on the actual menu tonight.

In case you’re feeling really ambitious, click here for JeffreyW’s wonderful stuffing recipe.  And if you’re looking for a more elegant dessert for Valentine’s Day try this recipe for Raspberry-Chocolate Cupcakes in Raspberry Sauce.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cornish Game Hens w/Stuffing
  2. Buttered Peas and Carrots
  3. Tossed Salad
  4. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Cornish Game Hens

  • 2 pkgs. stuffing mix
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup boiling water or chicken broth
  • 4 Cornish game hens, cut in half *
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

9×13 glass baking dish

Add stuffing mix, 2 tbsp melted butter and boiling water to baking dish, stir & spread evenly over bottom of baking dish. Lay hens cut side down over stuffing (it’s a tight fit, but you should be able to get all 8 halves in the 13×9 pan). Melt remaining butter, add spices and mix well. Brush some over hens and continue to baste every 10-15 minutes while baking. Bake at 350 to 375° until internal temperature is 175 ° about 45 minutes. Remove, cover loosely with foil and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 4

*Hens will have to thawed completely and you’ll need a sharp knife to cut them in half. You can check with your butcher to see if they’ll cut them for you. If you don’t want to cut them in half, cook them whole and allow 1 hour 10 minutes cooking time.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Preheat oven to 375°

  • ¾ cup chunky peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 13-16 oz bag Hershey’s Kisses

2 bowls and baking sheet

Combine peanut butter, butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in bowl. Beat with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add egg, beat until blended. In small bowl, combine flour, salt & soda. Add to creamed mixture at low-speed until just blended (don’t over mix). Scrape sides and bottom and make sure all flour is mixed. Drop by heaping teaspoon full onto baking sheet, unwrap kisses and press 1 into each cookie. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove to racks and cool.

Shopping List:

  • 2 pkgs. stuffing mix
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 Cornish game hens, cut in half if possible
  • chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 13-16 oz bag Hershey’s Kisses
  • 1 egg
  • 16 oz bag frozen peas and carrots
  • Tossed salad ingredients

Also: rosemary, sage, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, milk, flour, baking soda, chicken broth

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Friday Dinner Music: Then He Kissed Me, The Crystals

I’m Not Sure What To Say Here…

bixby-bottle



 

Let The Spring Gardening Begin

I was lying in bed the other night and the full plan for the garden beds came to me. So the first nice day this week, I began to implement the vision.

Here is phase one of  the side garden:

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This bed is home to two Aspen groupings that are struggling at this altitude. My first order of business is to turn this into a rock garden with ice plants, black-eyed Susans, ornamental grasses and some flax for good measure. Hoping by clearing out all the high water plants, it will take some of the stress away from the Aspens. I’ll probably contact an arborist for tips on getting them healthy again.

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Turning the bed into a rock garden will be easy. It appears it was a rock garden in a previous incarnation, before soil and mulch covered the rocks and plants added. The former owner collected rocks and fossils, so the yard (and by yard, I mean every inch of the yard) is full of some beautiful and unusual specimens. This was from phase one. I more than doubled it during phase two today.

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Phase two – before!

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An hour later, rock, mulch and plant free.

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Making good progress with just a couple hours of work. I think I’ll have it completely scraped by the end of the week. Then I can begin to add the rocks back. After that, I’ll start pulling some of the larger unique ones from the backyard and add them.



 

Kitchen Is Coming Along Nicely

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The kitchen is shaping up. The table and chairs still need a coat of paint, but that will wait until the days are warm for more than just a few hours. The planters need to be hung, but not until we finish the crown moulding.

Took down the old vertical blinds, painted my old wooden rod white and hung my old panels. They are too short, but will do until I decide what I really want on the window.

Bonus  puppeh picture:

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Why I never get any work done. My faithful staff. They are part-time and trade shifts with the feline helpers.

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Bailey is still choosing to sleep in most mornings. Can’t say I blame her.



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Dinner Menu: Pork Roast and Tangy Lemon Pie

Reposting by request. I hear the Girl Scout Lemon Cookies make great crust.

Lemon Pie plates_Snapseed1

When things get hectic, as they can be during the week, stir frying can be the quickest way to get dinner on the table. What I love about stir frying, along with the speed, is the freshness of the vegetables. Done properly, they are crisp and full of flavor. You can substitute chicken breast or tofu for the pork in this recipe if you desire.

And for dessert, a quick and easy lemon pie with a secret ingredient to make it extra tangy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pork Bowl
  2. Tossed Salad
  3. Tangy Lemon Pie

Pork Bowl

  • 5 ounces rice sticks or noodles
  • 12 ounces boneless lean pork
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dried lemongrass or 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • ½ to 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 green onions
  • ½ ea red and yellow sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 to 4 ounces snow peas, washed
  • 1 medium orange, peeled and thinly sliced

3 bowls, wok or large skillet

Prep rice sticks or noodles according to package directions.  Slice pork into thin strips.  In a bowl, combine pork with fish sauce, lemon grass, sesame oil, crushed red pepper and garlic. In a separate bowl, stir together broth, soy sauce and cornstarch, set aside. Heat olive oil in wok over medium heat, cook onions, pepper strips and snow peas for 2 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp.  Remove from wok.

Add more oil if necessary and add meat mixture and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until pork is no longer pink.  Push to sides of the wok, add soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. Stir in pork and onion mixture. Drain noodles and add to meat mixture, toss until well coated. Add orange slices and serve immediately.

Tangy Lemon Pie

  • 12 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 9 inch graham cracker pie crust (or Lemony Crust, recipe below)
  • 4 oz whipped cream (whip your own or use a pre-made real cream whipped cream)

Combine milk, yolks with mixer or blender until well mixed. Add 6 tbsp lemon juice, mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 250° for 20 minutes. When pie is cool, top with whipped cream and refrigerate. Decorate with lemon slices if you like and serve.

If you have time, I made a perfect crust to go with it that really enhanced the lemon flavor and was a big favorite with everyone.

Lemony Crust

  • 2 cups of crushed lemon sandwich cookies ( I actually used a mix of lemon sandwich cookies and frosted lemon cookies)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 9-inch pie plate

It took about 1/2 package of the sandwich cookies and a handful of the lemon frosted cookies to make 2 cups of crumbs.  Combine with butter, mix well and press into and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes and let cool thoroughly before adding pie filling.  Bake as directed above.

Note: You can use bottled lemon juice, but I found the taste was better with freshly squeezed lemon; it takes approx. 2 lemons for 7 tbsp of juice.

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2014 Copyright What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Spring Edition

I Am Not Pleased

bailey-and-jake