Thursday, May 31, 2012

Peas and Beans and Cucs, Oh my!

We ate the first of our peas yesterday!  I love when my peas are ready, it's the perfect kick-off to harvest time.  I love that we can go out and pick and eat right off the plant, and still have enough for steaming or stir frying for dinner. 

Aside from the snacking on peas, I've been busy sowing in my garden too!  Last week, I planted my tomatoes starts, and sowed Black Beauty zucchini (which popped up a couple of days ago).  Yesterday I planted Lemon Cucumber seed, more broccoli seed, and my Kentucky Blue pole beans (which by the way, look just like Good N Plentys).

 My columnar apple trees have a few apples on them and look great, and a friend dropped off a Meyer Lemon plan for me yesterday, with two lemons on it...which I am incredibly excited about...hopefully I can keep it alive!

It's time to get out there and get your plants and seeds in the ground and play in the dirt and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies

If you like lemony desserts, you will LOVE these cookies!  I generally don't even really enjoy lemon desserts,  just leaves less room for the chocolate.  However, these were so good, they will definitely be going on regular cookie rotation in our house.  They are light and chewy, and pretty much just melt in your mouth.  Here is the recipe:

Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
Zest of one large lemon, finely minced
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, I used a Silpat.   In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and lemon extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.  Refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes.  Roll dough (about a teaspoon) into balls and roll in sugar. Place on lined cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned.  Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. 

Recipe adapted from

Friday, May 25, 2012

Black Bean Hummus

I had planned on making some hummus the other day, and was really looking forward to it.  I started to get out all of my ingredients, and I realized that I had no garbanzo hummus for me....but then I realized that I had an entire pantry of black beans.  So it ended up being a black bean hummus kind of day for me, and I think I liked it better than my garbanzo bean hummus, at the very least it was just as tasty!

Black Bean Hummus:

1 can black beans(drained and rinsed)
2 tbsp  lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed butter)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like your hummus)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 hot water

Combine all the ingredients in the food processor except for the water and blend until smooth.  With the processor running pour in the hot water.  Taste the hummus to see if you need to adjust the flavor.  Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Almond Maple Cookies

A friend made some yummy cookies the other day with basically just almond flour, oat flour, and maple syrup.  They were so good, I had to find the recipe myself.  I found a few recipes and went for it.  These are so good and gluten and refined sugar free (for those of you on special diets).

Here is the recipe:

1 cup almonds (whole)
1 cup oats (whole
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet by either greasing it or using parchment (I use a silicone mat).  Grind the almonds into flour in a food processor and set aside, then grind the oats into flour and add to the almond flour, add salt and mix.  Add maple syrup and vanilla and mix together.  Form the dough into balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten a little with your hand.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.  Enjoy!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

BLTA Sandwich...Sweet Simplicity

Only one word is needed to describe the tastiness of this sandwich....yum!  I served this sandwich on Ciabatta bread, with mayonnaise and spicy brown mustard.  It's simple and seriously tasty.  All you do is cook up the bacon (I used Turkey bacon), slice a tomato, rinse and dry some lettuce, and slice an avocado.  Dinner is ready in about 15 minutes!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Berry Semifreddo

You CAN make ice cream without an ice cream maker, and it doesn't take forever!  This Italian dessert is decadent and so much easier to make than ice cream.   I've seen a few versions out there that use eggs, but this recipe is a bit more simple.  You only need a few ingredients, it's a perfect Summer treat!  You can make this with your favorite berry or a combination of all of them.

 Berry Semifreddo

4 cups berries ( I used strawberries)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup heavy cream

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside.  Place the berries, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor and puree.  Reserve one cup of the puree, cover and refrigerate, and put the rest in a large bowl.  In another bowl beat the cream until soft peaks form when you take the beaters out of the cream.  Gently fold the whipped cream mixture into the berry puree until all of the cream is mixed in.  Pour mixture into loaf pan and freeze for at least two hours.  When ready to serve, pull the semifreddo out of the pan onto a plate, and remove the plastic wrap.  Cut into slices and top with reserved berry puree.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Slow Cooker Garlicky Lemon Chicken

Slow cooker, how I love thee...especially on crazy busy days like today.  Don't be alarmed when your rice soaks up all of the juice, it won't be like a normal slow cooker meal that's swimming in liquid. At the end, all of  the liquid should be absorbed.  So get outside, enjoy the sun, and take a day off from cooking....let your slow cooker do the work for you!


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup wild rice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/4 cups water
10 fresh parsley sprigs or 2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tablespoons lemon thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme

Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Add the garlic and rice. Add the lemon juice to the water and stir. Pour this mixture over the rice and chicken. Stir once to coat. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours. Serve chicken with rice on top.  So easy, so good...enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Patience is a virtue

Just a friendly reminder, to all my fellow Northwesterners, especially in the midst of all of this nice, sunny weather to wait to put in your tomatoes.  It's so tempting to get them in early, but it was freezing this morning (it was 32 degrees a few minutes earlier, I just wasn't up in time to get the picture).  I'll be putting mine in sometime between Mother's Day and the end of the month.  Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rhubarb Crisp

This is my first dish made from food growing in my garden this year!  Unless you count the carrots that overwintered underground...but who's counting?  I'm so excited about my garden this year, can't wait to cook, bake, and preserve away as Summer is quickly approaching! 

A picture of my HUGE and massively prolific rhubarb plant. 

This is hands down the best recipe I've found for a Rhurbarb Crisp.  I found it here. The only change I made is tripling the topping.  That's right, I said husband likes a little fruit with his crisp!  Enjoy!

Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb Filling
  • 4 cups chopped fresh or frozen (thawed) rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Place rhubarb in an 8×8 pan or divide between 6 ramekins.
  2. Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan, stir in water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over rhubarb.
Crisp Topping
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Mix together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt and walnuts. Stir in melted butter until even distributed. Crumble over filling.
  2. Bake at 350ºF for 45 min or until rhubarb is cooked through and filling is bubbly.
Makes enough for an 8×8 inch square (9 inch round) baking pan or 6 ramekins.
To Make Crisp Topping Ahead
  1. Mix together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt and nuts.
  2. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag. (If you’re worried about the nuts going rancid before use, you can store the mixture in the freezer)
  3. To use: Mix in melted butter and crumble over top of fruit.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stove Top Chili - FAST

This isn't my normal "cook all day" chili, but it was a pretty tasty substitute.  I had to make a pretty quick dinner one night, and already had some ground beef thawing, so I whipped up some yummy chili using a few shortcuts in just about 30 minutes.  Here's what you'll need:

1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
2 cans Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilis)
1 can tomatoes
2 cans beans ( I used pinto, but you can use whatever you'd like)
2 cups frozen corn
2 tablespoons dehydrated onions
1 tablespoon dehydrated garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried parsley
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I know weird...but trust me)

Brown the beef (season with a little salt and pepper) and then add in the onions and garlic.  Cook for about 1 minute and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, taste and add any additional seasonings it may need.  Serve with sour cream and/or shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stir fry lettuce wraps

These were so good, even my two year couldn't get enough.  I just stir fried some meat and veggies added a little soy sauce and we had a tasty meal wrapped up in some romaine lettuce leaves (that's all I had, I would normally use butter lettuce).  Also, I just used whatever vegetables I had lying around, you could substitute with whatever you prefer.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
2 carrots (chopped)
3 green onions (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 cups chopped kale
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 tsp ginger
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
Lettuce for wraps

In a large skillet, add olive oil and turkey, season with salt and pepper. After the meat is cooked through, set aside in a bowl.  Add vegetables to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, add ginger and soy sauce and then the meat back into the pan.  Cook for another couple of minutes and take off the heat.  Fill the lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Green Chicken Chili

This hands off meal, is so tasty and easy.  I serve it over rice, with sour cream and tortilla chips.  It's perfect for a busy day, when I don't really have the time to cook.

Green Chicken Chili over rice:


Whole Green chilis (28 ounce can)
1/2 onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 yellow tomato
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 frozen corn

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour sauce on top.  Cook on low for six hours, with about 30 minutes left, shred chicken and add corn.  Serve over rice and enjoy!