Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Update to Dress a Girl!

A while back, I told you about sewing for others, specifically Dress a Girl around the World.  (see post here)

A team from Resonate Church went to Tijuana over spring break.  I just have to share this picture with you:

She's wearing one of our dresses.  Isn't she a cutie pie?

Want to learn to make sourdough?

A friend of mine has come up with a great new sourdough cookbook.  You can order it from his website, here:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Simple Sausage, Pasta & Kale

Sometimes you really need a simple recipe.  One that has very few ingredients, and can be made in under 20 minutes.  The other day, we were hungry, I was tired, and this was in the cupboard/refrigerator:

To make the dish, start by boiling water for the pasta.  Our city water smells horribly of chlorine - so thank goodness for the PUR filter we installed:

You can add salt and olive oil to the pasta water as you wish.

Cut the sausage into 1" pieces, and brown the pieces on medium-high heat while the pasta cooks.  I use a wok in order to have enough room for all the ingredients, but a large frying pan works ok, too.  The sausage pieces will resemble little meatballs.

While the sausage is browning, and the pasta is cooking, cut the kale into small pieces.

Before you drain the pasta, keep about 1/2 cup of the pasta water:

Put the kale in with the sausage after it is brown and cooked through.  Stir the kale around until it is bright green throughout, and starting to wilt:

Drain the pasta, (reserving the liquid, above) and add the pasta to the sausage and kale.  Stir in the 1/2 cup of pasta liquid.

Dish up!  Add a bit of parmesan cheese on top if you have it.  Enjoy!

If you don't use all of a package of pasta because your family is small like ours, keep the remainder in glass jars in your pantry.  I use canning jars or cleaned spaghetti sauce jars:

Happy Eating!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Legumes Part Deux (Smoky Garbanzo Treats)

Smoky Garbanzo Treats

Dried Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
Chicken Broth or Water
Olive Oil
Smoked Paprika
Dried Parsley

There isn't a lot of measuring to this recipe - so there aren't any amounts listed above.  This is a shoot-from-the-hip type of recipe.

First, put about 2-3 inches of dried garbanzos in the bottom of a crockpot.  Add water or chicken broth (or mixture of both) to within 1 inch of the top of the crockpot.  Add some salt - 1/2 to 1 teaspoon is enough, unless you used chicken broth - then you might not need salt.  Cook on Low all night, or all day, depending on your schedule.

Drain the beans.  You can save the broth for soup or some other culinary wizardry if you want.

Place the beans in a large bowl, and sprinkle with olive oil, coarse salt, dried parsley and generous amounts of Smoked Paprika.  

The Smoked Paprika is the star of this show.  Relatively new to the spice shelves, if you haven't discovered this, you are in for a treat.  i use it for many things, not just this snack recipe.  Baked pork chops are heavenly with a liberal dash of smoked paprika.

Anyway, after you stir up your beans, spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake them at 350 degrees until slightly crispy.  You can experiment with how crispy you like your bean snacks.  Some people like them still a little "mushy", some people like them really crispy.  However you do them, they won't last long!

Legume Love (or, cooking with peas, beans and lentils!)

We have all heard how we should be adding more fiber to our diets, cooking with more whole foods, and generally eating better.  One of the easiest and most cost efficient ways to do this is to use whole dried legumes - the dried peas, beans and lentils of the legume family.

I'm going to show you two of my family's favorite legume recipes.  They are easy, yummy, and a great substitute for meat!

Lentil Tacos:

2-3 cups dried lentils
6-9 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion
2 T olive oil
2 T powdered cumin
2 T powdered coriander
1 T paprika (plain)
1 T chili powder
1/2 T dried parsley
1/2 t garlic powder
salt to taste

I like to use Red Chief lentils - they are colorful, and look fresher when cooked.  But any kind of lentils that you can get your hands on will work for this recipe.

First, chop the onion into medium sized bits, and saute it in olive oil until tender:

Next, add the spices to the onions.  Yes, you read right.  It is 2 TABLESPOONS of each spice.  You want this recipe to pack a serious taste punch.

Stir the spices in with the onion until very fragrant.  Add the dried lentils, and stir around:

Add the chicken broth, stir, and cover.  Turn down the heat and simmer until done.

The rule of thumb is three parts liquid to one part lentils.  So you can adjust the recipe to how many people you are feeding.  Check the lentils every 10 minutes or so, and add more liquid (it can be water at this point if you are out of chicken broth) if the lentils are still not quite soft.  It should take about 45 minutes for the lentils to be thoroughly cooked.

Use this mixture as taco meat.  My favorite tacos have soft corn tortillas warmed on the gas burner and charred a bit, with lettuce, peppers, cheese and a bit of lime: