Cucumber Salad with Dilly Ranch Dressing

Please forgive my pictures. Sometimes in life you just have to go with what you’ve got!

I love cucumbers, which is a good thing since I have an over-abundance of them in my garden 🙂

This is a little somethin’ somethin’ that I threw together at the last-minute, and it was a hit!

My dd who claims she hates cucumbers, couldn’t get enough!

Cucumber Salad 

2 4 in cucumbers peeled

1 Tb red onion diced

2 Tb (approx.) Dilly Ranch Dressing- recipe below

1. Roughly chop the cucumbers in a medium dice. Place the onion and cucumber in a bowl and toss.

2. Add enough dressing to coat cucumber/ onion mixture. Serve immediately or chill covered in the fridge until ready to eat.

I hope you enjoy this simple creamy goodness!

Dilly Ranch Dressing

1.5 Tb of mayonnaise (preferably homemade)

4 Tb of  creme fraiche

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp of dried dill weed

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

fresh cracked pepper

1/8 tsp of cumin

1. Combine all ingredients, taste and adjust salt/ pepper to your preference. Use right away or chill in the fridge (covered) until ready to use.

Advertisements

Warm Asian Bacon Salad

Please excuse the paper plate. With being due any day I am trying to cut down on chores. Last thing I want is to come home to a sink full of dishes! I love this dish as it is naturally sweet…..but no sweeteners are added in it! Here is it shown served with Coconut Rice for a nice filling meal.

Dressing:

6 Tb sesame oil

3 Tb Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

2 Tb Soy Sauce

1/4 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp powdered ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cumin

1/4 cardamom

1. Combine ingredients and set aside

Salad:

2 large bunches of Tai Soi or bok choy~stems finely chopped and leaves in 1 ” slices

2 small/ medium carrots shredded

1/4 c diced onion

1/2 c bell peppers cut into strips

1 c frozen pineapple chunks

1 pkg of bacon (I used beef bacon)

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.

2. In the same skillet add in frozen pineapple, bell peppers, onion, tai soi (bok choy) stems, and shredded carrots over medium heat. Stir until the onions are soft and the pineapple is heated through.

3. Add in the Tai Soi (bok choy) leaves and continue to stir until the leaves are wilted about 5-8 minutes.

4. Chop bacon, add back into skillet, pour dressing over salad, toss, and serve!

This is apart of the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop on the Penniless Parenting at www.pennilessparenting.com

This is apart of the Homestead Barn Blog Hop #64 on the Prairie Homestead at http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2012/06/homestead-barn-hop-64.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ThePrairieHomestead+%28The+Prairie+Homestead%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

Greek inspired quinoa salad

“More! More!”…”Me too! Me too!” Those words are music to a mother’s ears….especially when heard at the dinner table! I’ve put off making quinoa because the last time I made it the kids wouldn’t eat it. I decided to give it another go this time using the white quinoa instead of the red. The white is more mild in flavor, which seems to be a hit 🙂

Ingredients:
2 cups of quinoa soaked overnight and rinsed until water is clear*
3 cups of water
olive oil
1 cup of cucumber de-seeeded and diced
1 Tbsp of minced red onion
1/2 c of diced & de-seeded tomato
10 olives (your favorite) cut in half or quartered
1 1/2 cups of baby spinach sliced into ribbons

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 c olive oil
1 Tbsp of greek seasoning
salt & pepper

*Make sure you rinse your soaked quinoa until the water runs clear….if this step is skipped your quinoa will be BITTER! For more information on soaking your quinoa visit http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2012/01/basic-quinoa-soaked.html

1. Place quinoa in a pot on medium heat with the 3 cups of water. Cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork, and drizzle with olive oil to prevent clumping.

2. In a bowl add the quinoa and the rest of the salad ingredients. (Other optional veggies could be colored bell peppers, artichokes, or even capers.)

3. In a separate bowl prepare dressing. Squeeze in lemon juice, add greek seasoning, and SLOWLY pour in olive oil, whisking until emulsified. It should take about 1/3 c of olive oil, but watch carefully! Add a pinch of salt and black pepper.

4. Pour dressing over salad, toss, then taste to adjust salt & pepper to taste. **tip the more salty the olive you use, the less salt you will need to add in, the same goes with the capers 🙂 Enjoy!

This post was shared as a part of the Pennywise Platter. http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2012/01/pennywise-platter-thursday-119.html

Asian Noodle Soup

So my church is currently on the Daniel fast and everyone is trying to find recipes. I don’t typically do meatless meals as my body personally does not function well on that type of diet. I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out recipes that I can share. I don’t like recommending things that I have never tried, so now my goal is to adapt recipes that taste great to fit the need. Here is a take on my Asian Noodle soup that is Daniel Fast friendly 🙂 As you can tell the only changes that have been made is substituting the chicken stock for vegetable and omitting the chicken all together. You still get the great flavor, just slightly different 🙂

Ingredients:
1 Tb sesame oil
1 medium onion,diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
6 c vegetable broth
1/2 c hoisin sauce
1/4 c soy sauce
crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
16 oz frozen bag of asian vegetable medley (defrosted)
8 oz soba noodles (make sure they are made of wheat or rice)
3 green onions sliced thinly both white and green parts.

1. In a stock pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onion garlic cloves, cook until soft. About 5 minutes, stir as necessary.

2. Add the following : broth, hoisin, soy sauce, pinch of pepper flakes, coriander, mustard, ginger, pepper, and salt. Allow this to heat to a simmer.

3. Add vegetables, cooking until soft. About 8-10 minutes.

4. Allow soup to simmer until you are about 15 minutes away from serving. Bring soup to a boil, then add the soba noodles and cook for about 6-8 minutes or according to the package’s directions. Throw in green onions a few minutes before the noodles are cooked through.

* Salt and pepper can be adjusted to taste. If you desire more heat, just add more red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

** If you are allowing fish on the diet, you can add 1-2 TBSP of fish sauce to the recipe for more flavor, just taste before adding in the tsp of salt so that the soup doesn’t become too salty!

Reflections of 2011, Goals for 2012

Looking back at this past year we have made some great strides. We doubled the size of our garden, and the produce picked at the peak of freshness has been carrying us through the fall and winter months. We purchased a large deep freeze for this purpose and to put our purchase of a 1/8 of a cow to good use. We have started purging items we don’t need, selling them to make some extra $$ and organizing the rest. We were blessed to be able to purchase a mini van in great condition for cash, so no car payments!! Praise God!

Andrew learned to walk, climb, and get into almost everything! His vocabulary is expanding and he is speaking in short sentences. Vivian is now reading and has completed level 1 of Hooked on Phonics. She also can count to 100, count by 10’s, and do basic addition. Her handwriting is improving tremendously, and is using her memory verses as copy work. I am so proud of both my children, growing and learning new things! I feel so blessed that I am able to stay at home and watch them grow in knowledge and stature.

Dan started working at a new job around the time Andrew turned one. I feel so happy and blessed that my husband is working in a new job that he loves. He works fairly regular hours compared to his previous job, and the new one has a lot less stress involved. If any one has been in that situation where you or your spouse were in a stressful job situation you understand how much of a relief it is to get out from under it! God has been faithful every step of the way and we are trusting in Him. We aren’t perfect and still stress out about things, but I hope at least that we are getting better. There are still times that we look back where we didn’t see Him in the situation, but once we were through His hands were visible all over it. Thank You Lord for being so good, faithful, and true!!!

Of course the biggest change that happened this year, and will carry over to the next, is we are expecting a new baby! I am currently 17.5 weeks as I am typing this 🙂 I have been starting to feel kicks and twists a little more frequently as the days go by. It is such a blessing to feel the new little one moving inside me! The recent urge to purge and organize has started with this little one. It seems that I go through this with every baby I have sometime in the 2nd trimester. That way I can focus on cleaning, cooking, and last-minute details in the 3rd. This week we have been organizing and packing up the kids old clothes.

We have purged our least favorite outfits, and ones that are stained. The worst will be turned into rags, and then we will donate or sell the rest. Since Vivian is so much older than this baby we are only saving our favorites and classic style clothes. If this baby turns out to be a girl, a lot of the clothes will not be in style when she is old enough to wear them. In my defense we do try to buy mainly classic clothes for this very purpose, but I won’t deny her a few trendy items. Thankfully with boys their clothes don’t go out of style very quickly so we have saved the majority of those. We are very blessed to have the space to store these items because in the long run it will save us money! Soon we will be focusing on purging and organizing toys.

Dan and I have started on our goals for this new year. Not surprisingly it mainly has to do with the baby and saving money. Dan wants to make an effort to not eat out as much, and to cut back on his junk food. I am very proud of my husband for making this a priority! We are also discussing how to more efficiently plant our garden for optimal use. I won’t have as much time this summer with a newborn, but I don’t want the land to lie unused. Even with the baby coming we need the produce that Lord can provide to help with groceries! We are cutting out the pumpkins and squash this year. They take up a lot of room, and we didn’t use them as much as we thought. In their place we will try fruit: strawberries, honeydew melon, and possibly huckleberries.

On the baby front, we are investing in more cloth diapers, so that I can cloth diaper exclusively. That will save us hundreds, even thousands of dollars over the course of this baby’s life (until they are potty trained). In addition I will be trying to line dry our clothes to save on energy. It’s also better for the diapers to be in the sun! I’ve been busy sewing cloth wipes, and as soon as I know the sex I will start on burp rags and receiving blankets. We have been blessed to receive the money to purchase a new infant car seat (ours expired), replace the play gym that was ruined, and purchase a bouncy seat! The bouncy seat was the only used item, and the family before hardly used it, so it is like new! We are trusting in God to provide the finances for the double stroller, cloth diapers, high chair, etc. that we still need. He has provided thus far, so I will continue to trust!

I am praying for another good nurser, so that we won’t have to use formula. I know that some people aren’t able to nurse even if they want to. I had this problem with Vivian, no matter what I did, it was too difficult. Even trying to pump I couldn’t get enough milk, and she would take 30 minutes to drink 4 ozs out of a bottle!!! So believe me if you are in that boat, or have been, I understand!! I am so thankful that God answered my prayers with Andrew and we had minimal problems on that front. I am praying and believing for the same for this little one. Not only will it save us a lot of money, but it helps create a special bond between mother and baby.

In addition we have decided to scale down on birthday parties this year. Just cupcakes and ice cream with the family. Each child will get 1 small toy, the rest will be either clothes, books, or handmade items. Some of those things will not be necessarily new, but new to them. My daughter wants baby blankets, cloth wipes, and cloth diapers for her baby doll. So I will be making those for her. Also she has saved up her money from chores and presents to purchase an American girl doll. I am very proud of her because 1/2 that money she actually worked for and the other 1/2 was gifts. So I will test my skills to see if I can make some outfits for it. She needs a few new dresses as she has outgrown the ones she has. As for Andrew and the other people in our life that we love, I will be busy praying about hand-made/ home-made items to give them as well. We are attempting to scale down as much as possible. As Dave Ramsey says, live like you don’t have money! Oh and my other favorite…beans and rice!!

My personal goals is to become more crafty, expand my sewing skills, be more frugal in the kitchen/ home, be organized, and to make an effort to post more to share!!! Hopefully that will start this week, I would like to share our experience in purging/ organizing clothes & toys. The importance behind it and why it will make your life easier! Then my new project will be menu planning to make the best use of my pantry and freezer. God willing I will do better managing my home for Him this year, and I will be able to share my journey!

Planting season

Kneeling down the smell of rich loamy soil fills my senses. Then a sweet warm smell over takes it, as I pull a bright orange carrot from the ground. Satisfaction wells up inside me as I view the rewards of my hard work and patience. My mouth waters because it smells as sweet as I know it will taste! * sigh* Perfection, there is nothing better than eating veggies that were in the soil less than an hour ago.

There has been so much rain lately that it has been hard to get into the garden, but we have finally hit a dry patch! I am taking full advantage of it, believe me 🙂 My lettuces are coming up, I’ve planted more varieties, along with cabbage, kale, broccoli, onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, cucumber, zucchini, and squash. Our old garden has already been filled, and now we are starting to enlarge it! We still have to plant green beans, swiss chard, sugar snap peas, potatoes, radishes, parsnips, turnips, more squash, tomatoes, peppers, and I’m not sure what else.

My dear friend from Satisfied Belly has been coming over to help in the garden. It has been a huge blessing for me, and when the veggies start coming in it will be for her as well 🙂 I enjoy listening to the girls giggling and playing. They take breaks and come over to see what we are doing or to help. Andrew toddles after them enjoying their antics, however he spends most of his time next to me in the garden. I, on the other hand, spend too much time having to make sure that he isn’t eating the dirt he is digging up. Oh well he’s a typical boy and seems to enjoy every minute of it!

In addition to expanding the garden we are making other changes as well. I’ve expanded the herb garden adding new herbs to enjoy. Some of the seeds that I’ve panted are coming up and I am itching for them to be big enough to pick. We have also planted 2 pear trees (my mother’s day gift) and we will be planting a blackberry and blueberry bush this week as well!

Sauteed Thyme Greenbeans

These green beans are a staple in my house. I have some picky eaters, but this is a hit with everyone.

1/2 lb of fresh or frozen french green beans, ends trimmed, and left whole.
2 pats of butter
1 clove of garlic finely minced, or put through a garlic press
1/2 tsp of dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. Turn stove on to a medium heat. Melt the 2 pats of butter. When melted add the garlic, stirring to keep from burning.

2. When the garlic turns a golden color, add the green beans, and saute. Then add the thyme when the green beans are coated in the garlic butter mixture and have turned a bright green.

3. Cook until the green beans reach an al dente. about 10-15 minutes depending on fresh or frozen. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.