Friday, February 28, 2014

Random 5 Friday


Bleeding Hearts - I hope to see them again soon.

I've been without our laptop for 6 days now. All because I didn't have an "I" key anymore. It's been a long 6 days, but it gets easier every day. Kind of like breaking an addiction

With the harsh winter, I have started filling our bird feeder. It seems like it gets emptied faster and faster each time. Not sure if they are getting hungrier or word is spreading on where the little birds can find food.

It was Truckin' Mans birthday on Thursday, so I baked him a cheesecake, that was his birthday wish. My first time ever baking one. As of my time writing this post, he isn't home yet, so the verdict isn't in yet on how well I did. I can say say that it sure looks yummy!

We lost our little bantam hen last week. All my fault for not realizing what this winter is doing to wild critters appetites. I left an opening for a critter, and he took it. Shame on me, but lesson learned, and that mistake won't happen again. RIP, Butterscotch.

With the whole laptop thing going on, I have been trying out Instagram on my phone. I am really liking it. Much better than some of the other social media's. So far anyway. Are you on Instagram?

Linking up with Nancy at A Rural Journal.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Authentic Mexican Rice

Do you pin? I love to pin, and I love Pinterest. Another thing I love is seeing what other people repin from me. I get the daily recap email, and I really like seeing what is getting everyone's attention. Usually it's something new, or something that is trending because of  holiday, football game, or who knows why.  The other reason I love these emails from Pinterest is sometimes it reminds me of a pin I had forgotten.

A while back, I pinned a recipe for Authentic Mexican Rice that was from O Taste and See. It really grabbed my attention since I love Mexican Rice and we have such a poor selection of options around here for Mexican, and as simple as it is, I love the rice served at Mexican restaurants.  And, almost everyday someone would repin that pin. Never a huge response, but steady. So it is always there in front of me, never letting me forget about it. Yup, it was destiny. I finally made it. Super simple, and ya know what? We loved it!

It was not spicy, so Truckin' Man loved it. Don't tell him, but next time I am going to add just a tiny bit of the jalapeno and see if he can't love it that way. If he doesn't like it, no worries, I'll take care of the whole recipe!

Authentic Mexican Rice (Source: O Taste and See)

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cilantro, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse rice in mesh strainer under running water, until water runs clear. Let rice stand in strainer for excess water to drain. Meanwhile, add tomatoes and onions to blender and process until smooth. Pour out exactly two cups of the mixture, add chicken broth if needed to measure two cups.  Mix with 2 cups of chicken broth, stir to combine. Set aside. Remove seeds and ribs from jalapeno, dice and set aside.

Over medium high heat, heat oil in dutch oven; add rice. Cook rice in oil until it is starting to turn golden, stirring often.  Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and jalapeno.  Continue stirring while the jalapeno and garlic saute, for a couple minutes.  Add tomato mixture and salt to rice, and bring to boil.  Cover dutch oven with lid, and transfer to oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and stir.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. 

Remove from oven and let set for five minutes.  Serve with cilantro.

Sharing this at:

Weekend Potluck

Monday, February 17, 2014

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

For Christmas, my sister and her family sent me several cookbooks.  The cookbooks were different from any I would have ever bought for myself.  Different cooking methods and foods that I typically seek out.  That made these cookbooks fun for me as they are all new recipes!  I sometimes need that little push to break out of my comfort zone and try something new.

One of the new cookbooks is  Moosewood Cookbook.  Very healthy recipes, but don't be scared by that, they are amazing recipes! For my first test, I settled on Brazilian Black Bean soup, it had so much flavor packed in it, I had to try it!! I googled some comments on this recipe, and it was everywhere online, and the reviews all convinced me to make this ASAP!

We loved this soup! I love my winter "warm you up" and "feel good" soups.  As much as this one filled that need, I can tell you that this would also be a delicious soup in the summer.  The orange juice gives it such a bright flavor.  And, the cilantro adds so much to this soup.  The day I went to the store to pick up the cilantro for this soup, I was just amazed at how wonderful the store smelled! Even when I was by the flour picking up my baking supplies, there was such an amazing smell in the store.  I thought maybe I was just REALLY hungry since it was after work. Nope, not the case. The  amazing scent that followed me everywhere, was the cilantro in my shopping cart! I think this is a sign that this snow needs to go away so I can get my garden planted!

So, go on. Get your shopping list made, and make a pot of this soup.  Wait, one more thing.... add a loaf of crusty bread to your shopping list. It will go perfectly with a bowl!

Brazilian Black Bean Soup (Source: The New Moosewood Cookbook)

2 cups dried black beans
4 cups water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups onion, chopped
10 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. cumin
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 carrot, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups orange juice
black pepper
cayenne pepper
Cilantro (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)

Pick through the dried beans and remove any stones or broken beans.  Rinse beans.  In large pot or bowl, cover beans with 3 inches of water.  Cover and let set overnight, or 10 hours.

Drain beans, and add them to dutch oven with four cups of water.  Over medium high heat, bring to a boil, and cover.  Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about one and a half hours.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet.  Add onion, 5 crushed garlic cloves, cumin, salt, and carrot.  Saute over medium heat until the carrot is tender.  Add remaining garlic, and the bell pepper.  Saute until all veggies are tender.  Add the veggies to the beans, after they are done cooking.

Stir in orange juice.  Add black pepper, and cayenne pepper, to taste.  Remove from heat, and puree soup with immersion blender.  Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Serve with cilantro and sour cream.


Sharing this recipe at:
In and Out of the Kitchen
Treasure Box Tuesday
Weekend Potluck

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chocolate Waffle Cookies

I was going to share this recipe over the weekend, but a horrible thing happened to my laptop. The "I" key broke off. That really makes typing words correctly more than a challenge. I will do my best to get this typed out correctly. The "I" still works as long as you press down really super firmly... 
maybe I should try a hammer?

I was going to let this recipe hang in limbo while I get things fixed, but my mom is going a little nuts waiting for it! That's what I get for putting a teaser picture online ahead of time!

These cookies are awesome! Couple things though... Tip Number One, They are definitely best on the day you make them. Even though I stored them well, on day two they really lost their awesomeness. Tip Number Two on making these is to make them when you aren't short on time or patience. It took a gentle hand and some patience to get them out of the iron, not something I would be good at when in a hurry! Also, my waffle iron is a Belgian Waffle Maker, so if you have a different type of iron, your timing will be different! You may want to use less batter, also.

Chocolate Waffle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Powdered Sugar

Preheat waffle iron. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla, mixing until light and fluffy. Blend in the melted chocolate. Add flour, mixing until completely incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop 2 tablespoons of batter in each section of waffle iron (my iron has 4 squares). Bake for 4 minutes*** Carefully lift cookie out and cool on wire rack. After cookie has cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

***Note**** I used a Belgian Waffle Maker for these cookies. If you are not using Belgian style, I suggest using less batter, and decreasing your baking time.

Sharing this recipe at:
Treasure Box Tuesday
Weekend Potluck

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Keepin' it Local

We did something new a couple months ago, we ordered a pig from a local farmer. We really try to eat local as much as we can. And knowing where our food comes from, and what goes into it, is becoming more and more important to us. I mean really, did you know what you were eating in your Subway bread until the news stories this week? I didn't, but that's a whole other story, if you want more on it, click here.

I thought it would be fun to see the pigs, so we checked in with Farmer George to see if we could visit. The next time Truckin' Man was home, we headed over.

We only ever had one hog when I was growing up on the farm, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The "hogs" were so friendly, I got to go in the pen with them! 
I was having so much fun, I never did count how many pigs there were, but I think there were eight.

 Aren't they cute?

 They were really intrigued by my boots!

 I did learn something while we were visiting.....

I could never raise hogs ..... I would get to attached.

 We also got to see some cows while we are out. It's been many years since I was up this close to any cattle. 
My dad used to milk dairy cows until I was 13, so lets see.... Just a couple years ago!

 And of course, there were some barn cats!

 Have a great day!

Sharing this at:
From the Farm Blog Hop
Clever Chicks Blog Hop 
What'd you do this weekend?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Random 5 Friday


  • Our outdoor dog and two barn cats have become permanent residents in our basement. I hope someday it's warm enough for them to be outside full time again. 

  • I am starting to think about our garden, and what I want to plant this year. Every year we try a new vegetable to help us eat new things. I have been buying beets lately, and I think those will be our new garden veg.

  • Words I never thought I would say. "Hold the milk, I need to get pickles out of my pocket"! In my defense, we had been out to eat and had pickles left on our plates (neither of us eat pickles). I wondered if the chickens would eat them, so I brought them home.

  • I finally went in for testing on my allergies, the tests revealed several mild allergies. The most interesting result I got back was that I have a sensitivity to egg whites, 
apparently that was my strongest  reaction. I am really bummed out about that,
but better to be "sensitive to" than "allergic to", right?

  • Super excited for my blogger friend Mandy today. She made the announcement that she has been to Food Network! How cool is that?! I am so excited to see how this adventure goes for her. If you have been following my blog long, you know that I love love love her cooking!
 If you don't know Mandy, check her out at here!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cranberry Valentine's Cookies

It's time to "Fill the Cookie Jar"! This month I am bringing a Valentine cookie. I really was excited for this theme, as it gave me the push to try a recipe I had stumbled across quite some time ago at Love.Peace.Happiness.Cooking.   You know the recipes you find, fall in love with, pin, but then forget? I never forgot this one, it was safely tucked way far back in my memory. I am so glad my memory didn't fail me this time!

Truckin' man and I really did love this cookie. With the coconut and cranberries, there was so much more flavor than a traditional sugar cookie. They are soft and chewy, just how I love my cookies! And they are just plain fun, and so perfect for Valentine's Day!  The cookie cutter was a little more work than normal with the cranberries and coconut, so keep your cookie cutter clean. And if you need to, gently pull the coconut and cranberries out from around the edge to keep a cleaner cut.

If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.
We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Cranberry Valentine's Cookies  (Source:  Love.Peace.Happiness.Cooking)

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
Red food coloring

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing until completely combined. Add several drops of food coloring until you reach the shade of pink you like (I used 4 drops).  Stir until food coloring is completely incorporated. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mixing until flour is completely combined.  Add coconut, and cranberries; mix well.

On floured surface, roll dough out to between 1/8" and 1/4" thick, and cut with cookie cutter.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or just until a hint of golden-ness around the edges.

Cool on sheet 4-5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.