Friday, June 24, 2011

Chard to Figure Out & Other Recipe Adventures

We have been diving into our CSA veggies every Tuesday exploring the new additions and contemplating uses for the repeat veggies.  This week our share included chard (week 2), Kale (week 2), radishes (week 4), garlic spirals (week 2), STRAWBERRIES (week 1) and red leaf lettuce (week 2).
(this is a photo of chard, aren't the colors AMAZING!)

Before we began CSAing (this is our first year) I have never been in the same room with, let alone cooked things like chard or garlic spirals... However, in the last several years I have become much more of a confident cook and now don't always need to follow a recipe and I can usually whip something together pretty quickly just from our pantry. This fact has helped me thus far with the CSA adventure. Also what ALWAYS helps me is to create a meal plan and shopping list for the week (this is my sanity and BUDGET SAVER!). 

We pick-up our veggie share on Tuesday, meal plan and go grocery shopping on Wednesday. This has also resulted in finding lots of great new recipes which is always UBER FUN! So now, when I am using my favorite cooking sites ( and I can use NEW ingredients in the handy "recipe finder by ingredient tool" (sorry chicken maybe next time, lets give the other guys a few hu?)

So far we have had only one MAJOR CRUNCHY CSA blunder, eegggh hu yea, red leaf lettuce needs to be washed really really REAAAAALY WELL or you might find yourself enjoying a side of dirt with your salad (sorry honey, thanks for still eating it). However we have had MANY successes!  Here are two of my favorites:

Kale Chips:
Rachel Ray
   1 large bundle kale, cleaned and stemmed, leaves very coarsely chopped
   Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
   Salt and pepper
   Freshly grated nutmeg

Pre-heat the broiler to high. Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and arrange half of the kale on it. Drizzle the greens with EVOO and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg.

Broil the greens until crispy at the edges, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a platter and repeat with the remaining greens.

For extra fun serve with Ketchup for dip!!

Our two year old C, thought these were so fun! He couldn't get enough, he just kept asking for more! The next day I asked him what he wanted from breakfast and he said "kawl chips" so cute!

Chard Rice Pilaf:
Yours Truly

   2 cups brown rice (instant or reg)
   1 handful spaghetti noodles, broken into 1 inch pieces
   1 large bunch of chard, stems finely chopped, leaves diced
   1/2 t garlic spirals
   Extra Virgin Olive Oil
   2 + cups Chicken Stock

Put a few drizzles of olive oil in bottom of pan over med heat, add spaghetti, chard steams and garlic spirals, cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Add rice, chard leaves and enough stock to completely cover rice and chard, bring to a boil. follow rice cooking instructions, i.e.  for instant rice once boiling remove from heat and cover with lid or for regular rice cover and simmer for 25 to 35 minutes.

C was also a very big fan of this also. The rice was really flavorful and with the chard cut so small the texture couldn't interfere with the taste. 

Spinach-Stuffed White Fish with Lemon-Chive Sauce
Better Homes and Gardens adapted

   4-6 frozen or fresh white fish fillets about 1/4 inch think
   Salt & pepper
   1 bunch of spinach or kale, chopped
   1 beaten egg
   1 cup bread crumbs (add herbs of choices like thyme and rosemary) or herb-seasoned stuffing mix
   2 T slivered almonds toasted
   1/3 cup sour cream
   1/3 cup mayo (you can sub plain yogurt too)
   1 t dried thyme
   1 t finely shredded lemon peel
   1/2 t prepared mustard
   1/4 cup whipping cream or 1/2 & 1/2  or milk if you don't have either
   1 T fresh chives

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry. Season with S&P, set aside. For filling put a small amount of evoo in pan, throw in almonds, add spinach or kale to wilt, saute 3-4 minutes on med heat. In a med bowl mix egg, stuffing mix add spinach and almonds.

Spoon filling mix onto widest part of fish, roll up. Secure with toothpicks. Place fillets in a greased casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 - 35 mins or until fish flakes easily and filling is heated through.

For sauce in small sauce pan combine sour cream, mayo, thyme, lemon peel, mustard. Cook and stir over low hear until heated thru, do not boil. Add whipped cream.  Put sauce on top of finished fillets, top with green onion

This was the Hubs FAV! He really like this..I did to, it was a really nice way to cook fish and to change it up. The sauce is a delicious tarter type sauce and would be good over fish cooked any way.

It has been so so fun to cook with new ingredients that are filled with LOTS of nutrition to boot!! We will see how I fair when we get the 40 LBS of squash coming our way..... GET READY FOR ZUCCHINI BREAD kids!

That's my Shiny -


Monday, June 13, 2011

Late Spring Seasonal Recipe JACKPOT!

Our family has joined a CSA this year, which means bounties of seasonal veggies!! This is super FUN but it can also be a challenge to find ways to incorporate say, TWO LARGE BUNCHES OF RADISHES into our meal plans THREE WEEKS IN A ROW (so far we have only given away one bunch and have managed to eat the rest, we haven't wasted anything yet)! Last week we had a major success on Thursday night with three veggies: spinach, green onions and spinach all in one dish, yes a recipe with THREE seasonal veggies, WINNER WINNER STIR-FRY DINNER!!!

Orange Beef Stir-Fry or Szechwan Beef
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden cookbook

   12 oz beef top round steak
   1 t finely graded orange peel
   1/2 cup orange juice
   1 T cornstarch
   1 T  low sodium soy sauce
   1 1/2 t sugar
   1 cube or 1 t beef bouillon
   4 green onions, bias slice into 1 inch pieces
   Garlic 1 clove minced or 1 t dried
   5 cups coarsely shredded fresh spinach
   1 cup thinly sliced radishes(8 -12 radishes)
   1 cup carrots, cut into small matchsticks
   3 cups cooked brown rice

1. Cut veggies as instructed above, in a large skillet or wok heat oil over med-high heat. Add green onions, spinach, carrots, radishes and garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes or until spinach wilts and carrots and radishes become slightly tender. Meanwhile, trim fat from beef, thinly slice beef across grain, into bit size strips. Once veggies are tender set aside in a separate bowl.

2.  Add more oil to pan, add steak to same skillet. While steak cooks make sauce, in a small bowl stir together orange peel, orange juice, cornstarch, soy sauce, sugar and bouillon, set aside. Cook steak 3 - 5 minutes or until desired doneness, push beef to side of skillet and add sauce to pan. Cook and stir until think and bubbly. Return veggie mix to pan. Stir together to coat with sauce. Cook 1 more minute to combine. Serve over hot brown rice.


That's my Shiny -


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Rescue of a Throw Pillow

I was in the aisles of Target looking for double sided place mats to turn into throw pillows, one of my very favorite bloggers posted (<~ here's the link) the how to;

so I thought I would give it a go.  I looked for the perfect place mat..... of course I found nothing that tickled my fancy. While standing there looking in wonder at the place mats for far too long I became AGITATED!! I started thinking of all the throw pillows just sitting in my basement that we used previously but don't fit our color scheme or needs now...AGGGGGH why do I need ANOTHER PILLOW!! So I went down the throw pillow aisle looking for pillow covers, found none.... (I had also already looked online several times for pillow covers and found some great ones for GOBS of cha-ching cha-ching, not an option). I went back to the place mats... stared... and then.... INSPIRATION was hanging right next to the place mats!! As lighting hit me square in the gut I thought, NO NO THERE IS NO WAY THAT DINNER NAPKINS HAVE THE SAME DIMENSION OF A STANDARD THROW PILLOW..... so you guessed it, I broke the rules and carefully opened a package of four beautiful dinner napkins and headed for the throw pillow aisle and VUALA..... magic!!!

So for $6.50 I bought a set of four dinner napkins to cover two of my down throw pillow inserts. Yes, the beautiful robins egg blue with circle detail dinner napkins sat for about 4 months (don't judge). I am not an expert seamstress and I bought a super cute vintage Singer at a garage sale last summer that I was too intimidated to use... so it took me some time to get up the gusto.  But GUSTO came and I sewed, not perfectly but because I already had perfectly cut and square fabric with seamed edges, this was a MAJORLY forgiving first project to start with (I hadn't used a sewing machine since middle school). Our "backroom", as we call it, is now outfitted with two beautiful throw pillows for $3.25 a pop that work perfectly.  HURRAY!!! I do love a good pillow, I'm just glad I was able to rescue two from an early basement grave.  I am hoping to rescue two more pillows with a similar project from another favorite blog with felt in the very near future. 

Here is what I did:
1. Bought Napkins

2. Line up two of the napkins with detail smooching inside out
3. Sewed three sides right along the already existing seam, (talk about easy peasy)

4. Sew a few inches on both ends of your fourth side for a clean corners
5. Turn pillow right side in, so your seams are on the inside of pillow

6. Stuff in your old pillow
7. Hand sew the remaining opening


That's My Shiny -


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's a Girl!

The day after Thanksgiving my sweet little daughter made her entrance into this world. We waited to find out if we were having a boy or a girl and oh boy, WE HAD A GIRL! One of each, can this be, what a blessing! My heart stopped when I heard my Hubs say, it's a..... it's a GIRL!! I think I would have been just as thrilled with another sweet little boy, but I'm so grateful that we get the opportunity to also raise a girl!

With this amazing blessing of bringing up a girl, I have already had many moments of looking back on some of the challenges I faced as a female. As ladies we sure do have a lot to overcome!! I have also already found myself protecting her differently and being very aware of my behavior around her. I know she will look to me and my actions as the marker for her own as she grows (GULP.... talk about accountability).

As women we have been given so much responsiblity by our Maker, and by this world we have been given so many obstacles. I want to teach our daughter grace, the power of being a GIRLS GIRL (come on ladies lets cheer each other on!), her value beyond physical apperance, her strength, her kindness, her sense of humor, her creativity, the power of knowledge and her natural ability to nurture! Just to name a few.

We have even recentley taken some larger steps to protect our entire family and especially Q by making healthier food choices. Don't girls have enough to deal with growing up, the last thing they need is to throw developing super early in the mix (read this article)!! I know that this isn't "proven" and there is no "proof" that the hormones, pesticides or antiboitics in our food can cause this, but in my opinion it can't hurt to eat more naturally the way God intended. So our family has joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and we are picking up our organic fresh veggies once a week! (more to come on this soon) We are also looking into getting beef and pork from a local farm. So far it has been super fun to see what is in our share each week, C even gets excited for it and has a new found LOVE of radishes, I love that boy!!!

Ultimatley we just want our sweet baby girl to have the childhood God intended for her so she can be her true self the rest of her life!

That's my Shiny -