Thursday, January 21, 2016

Continued Adventures in Life and Food

An update and my food gallery...

Hi all!  It's time to get back to blogging and now that I've joined the planner community, it is something that I will be adding into my weekly planner to stay consistent.  Last year was quite an adventure.  We had an up and down season in our business, we wanted/needed to move from our home in Maryland and we were just so ready for change and had been for awhile.  We prayed about and begin to make trips to Charlotte, NC and through many trips and many house tours we moved into our new home in July of 2015.  I'm still homeschooling my four kiddos and still baking, cooking and feeding my obsession with all things food. My newest food craze is watching the miniature food cooking videos on YouTube. Have you seen them?  Makes me want to build a mini kitchen and cook tiny food for a living. Ha! I'm also looking forward to posting some of the awesome recipes that I've created and just experimented with as well.  So for now, as to not overwhelm you, I will post a gallery of highlights from 2015!  Enjoy! Please leave me any comments or questions and I'll be sure to answer quickly.  And you can click on subscribe by email just to the top right and you'll never miss a post.  Thanks again for your support!

My Happy Planner! This will keep me on track with my planning!


Our family now loves to hike!

My teens!
(Click Read More to see The Food Gallery)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No Ordinary Grilled Cheese Sandwich...Fig Jam and Honey Make This Special

Crispy, Buttery, Gooey, Sweet, Salty Goodness.

This is an adapted Wolfgang Puck recipe.
"A twist on a classic."
I was making only two sandwiches so I didn't measure or follow his measurements exactly. This is my, no measuring tools version.

White, Sourdough or bread of your choice (I used Panella Bread)
Fig Jam
Unsalted Butter
Sharp White Vermont Cheddar
Mozzarella Cheese
Sea Salt
Step 1:  Preheat your skillet on Medium low heat and spread fig jam on one slice of bread and drizzle honey on the other.  I just put the amount I thought I would like of and it worked out fine.

Place two slices of cheddar on the slice with fig jam and place mozzarella on the honey slice.  I used Boar's Head Sharp White Vermont cheddar and since we always have mozzarella for my pizza addict son in the fridge, I just used that.  It was Wegman's brand low moisture shredded (obviously) mozzarella.
Spread Unsalted Butter on one side and place buttered side down on the heated skillet and let cook for 5 minutes.  Butter the other side and after the first side has finished cooking, flip your sandwich and cook for 5 minutes.  You don't want to rush this process. You may be tempted to crank up the heat and cook it fast and smash it with the spatula, but don't!!  Letting it grill slowly, ensures perfection.  Leave it alone. 

Now put it on your plate, sprinkle with sea salt, let me say that again...sprinkle with sea salt!   Do Not skip this step.  This adds just the right balance of salty, sweet to this sandwich.  Now pick it up and eat it and you'll never eat a plain grilled cheese sandwich again.  And if you don't have fig jam, try it with whatever jam you can get your hands on. It might still be great.  I loved it with the honey, my hubby doesn't really like honey so I left it off of his sandwich and he still thought it was amazing.  This will be put on the regular lunch rotation. Yum!

Yes, it's delicious!

Monday, December 15, 2014

How to Make Homemade Kimchi the Easy Way

Why buy it when you can make it at home?

     I love Kimchi but find that it can be on the pricey side and it's not always at the spice or flavor level I want.  I also find that sometimes it's more sour than I want because I generally like to eat it as a side dish and don't really need sour unless it's for kimchi pancakes or fried rice.  I took a trip to this amazing market, Great Wall Supermarket, after driving by it a gazillion times.  I usually go to Hmart for my Asian food needs and so I just never bothered.  Boy, was that a mistake!  Let's just say that I spent almost two hours in there walking up and down every aisle and taking a mental snapshot of all the things I wanted to go back for one day.  They have absolutely everything, including live turtles and eels in dozens of tanks filled with everything you can imagine.  Anyhow, I decided it was time to make kimchi and so I bought the ingredients and decided to make it on a slow and boring day in December, today! 
    I looked up recipes on line and watched videos on google and made my own modifications based on Maangchi's technique and Danny Mac's Kitchen.  Danny Mac's Kitchen was the most basic and easy to follow with great directions and so this is my version.  I will post a link to his video for those of you, who like me, like to see things demonstrated.  And it smells sooooo good!  Can't wait for it to be ready. 

Ingredients you will need...
3lbs of Napa Cabbage
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1 Cup Water
1 3/4 ozs garlic
1 3/4 ozs ginger(or cut down to 1 oz if you're not a big fan)
1 1/2 tsps of Sugar
1 1/4 cups of Korean Pepper Powder(I had coarse flakes)
1 tsp of Fish Sauce (use soy if you want vegetarian version)
2 cups of cubed daikon radish (shredded/ matchstick sized if you prefer)
7 stalks of green onions
2 carrots

One large head of cabbage was just over 3lbs. I quartered it and then chopped it into bite size chunks.  The bottom two pictures show the size of my cabbage pieces.  I placed it into a large bowl poured 1 cup of water over the cabbage and 1/2 cup of kosher salt all over the cabbage and tossed it thoroughly with my hands. You want to make sure you get salt on all your pieces.  At this point I would let the cabbage sit for 25 minutes and then thoroughly mix it again.  Repeat this 3 times for a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes.

While you are waiting for you cabbage to get nicely salted and you can make your paste mixture.  I put the garlic and ginger in a food processor and it came out looking like the top right photo.  Then, add your 1 1/4 cups of Red Pepper Powder into the bowl with the ginger and garlic and stir to combine.  Next, pour your cup of water into the mixture but use just enough to create a paste like consistency.  Pour a little at a time until you get it.  Finally add 1tsp of your fish sauce to the paste mixture and set aside.

Now, chop your veggies!  I used Daikon Radish, Green onions and carrots.  Typically they are shredded but I like the cubed radish and to tell you the truth, I hate julienning and took a short cut.  I know this because I watched a documentary on Kimchi. 
Check it out!
Top left...after an hour and 15 minutes this is what it looked like and you can see all the water that comes out of the cabbage.  Now it's time to rinse!  Strain the mixture and then wash with cold water 3 times. I filled the bowl with water and swooshed it around real good, strain and repeat. Bottom left sitting in cold water waiting for cleaning.  Bottom right:  All done and that is what it looked like.  Squeaky clean and ready for a paste bath.

Throw your veggies in the bowl with the drained and nicely salted cabbage.

Now toss until it looks nicely combined.

Massage that red pepper paste deliciousness into the veggies like a massage therapist looking for a hot date!  Yeah, baby!! (In my Austin Powers voice)  "Me likey when you rub me like that", says your veggies!

Now stuff everything into your jar and pack it as tightly as you can.  I used this glass jar and there was just enough head space in it that it didn't bubble over from the fermenting that was taking place.  Put it on a plate or in something so if it does, you won't have such a mess on your hands.  This is my kimchi after one day of sitting on the table.  I checked it this morning(day two) and I will most likely put it into the fridge tonight and that will make it 48 hours.  You can put it in the fridge right away if you're skittish about leaving food out but it will take longer to ferment.  I tasted it twice yesterday and it was sooooo good.  I will taste again today because I don't want it too sour.

I look forward to eating it with some rice and my Korean Steamed Egg.  And don't forget to scroll to the bottom for the video on "How to make Kimchi" from Danny Mac's Kitchen.  Great for those of you who prefer some visual assistance. Would love to hear from you if you try it.  That is all!

How to make Kimchi.....

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Waffles...Getting Creative with Leftovers

Who says waffles need to made with waffle batter?

     I know I've been away from my blog for a long time and I decided to get back to it without over thinking everything.  So, here is my first back to blogging post. Me getting creative with Thanksgiving day leftovers.  First up, the Thanksgiving Waffle!  It was my daughters idea.  It was delicious. I'm hooked. Here it is....
This is the finished product.  See how to make it on the pictures below.

Top Left...Take about two cups of leftover dressing/stuffing and add one raw egg to it and combine.  The mixture does not have to be super smooth, just incorporated nicely with the egg.  Add dressing mixture into waffle well, filling all corners and gently press to form with your fingers. Close heated waffle iron and let it cook for about 5 minutes or until golden like the picture on the top right.  Bottom left...add cranberry sauce (yes, mine is canned Ocean Spray) and then add your turkey on top of that.  Keep scrolling for the rest.

Drizzle lovingly and generously with gravy and try not to drool on it in the process.

Add green onions.

Sprinkle with dried cranberries or Craisins, like I did. And add a side of deviled eggs sprinkle with smoked paprika.

A close up for your viewing pleasure!  Trust me, this is yummy!  Add your own variations to it to make it your own and I promise you will be pleasantly surprised and if you're not, get your taste buds checks.  That is all!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Forget Wonder Bread, Make Your Own Sandwich Bread

     What do you when you've been snowed in for days, your driveway needs a fleet of at least 8 to shovel and you run out of sandwich bread in a house full of kids?  You go online, find a recipe and make it yourself!  I found this wonderful recipe after a Google search and after reading the instructions and comments.  This seemed to be the recipe I was looking for (link on bottom of page).  It was easy, it was pretty fool proof and with a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, it was even easier.  The instructions for hand kneading are also included.  This recipe has a total of six ingredients; water, sugar, yeast, AP flour, salt and butter. If you take a look at your grocery store bought bread you will see 4 times that amount of ingredients.  This recipe makes two 1 pound loafs, is easy to slice after it is completely cooled, and tastes great!  The pictures below show what a beauty this bread is and it's really worth a try!

Top Left, after an hour in the bread pans they were ready to go in the oven.  Top Right, the loaves fresh out of the oven. Bottom left, the loaves must sit for 5 minutes and then you turn them out on the cooling rack.  Do not slice while still warm unless you are really desperate but you will smoosh the bread.  Bottom right, a close up of the bread beauty.

I know, not the best picture, but this is what the first loaf looked like after slicing. I used a serrated knife but I really need a real deal bread knife. Saw back and forth when cutting, do not press down.  Looks good, right?!

Ingredients in Wonder Bread...

Woke up this morning and made two more loaves. My family of six almost finished both loaves.  If you have bread loaf bags from the grocery store, save them and use them to store this bread in after you slice it. Not my brilliant idea. Got it from the original recipe post.  Go ahead and click on it and free yourself from store bought bread. You know you want to.

 Sliced with a steady hand!  And the 2nd loaf was easier after being in the refrigerator overnight.  And the picture below is a ham sandwich I split with my hubby.  Note to more ham!

Just in case you missed it!