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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday-Video Blog #4 Boiled Carrots

Now I want to shred some more beets and make another beet salad, and also make another salad that is a carrot salad! :D  Anyways,  I will be posting on and off (or not at all) for the next week.  I will return to my normal schedule soon!

Boiled Carrots with North African Spices (but I went with the Asian variation)pp.82

Monday, August 23, 2010

Da Beets...

The stars!!
I was introduced today to The Beets!  No, not Nickelodeon's 'Doug' "The Beets",  but the root vegetable.  I never really thought about preparing this vegetable.  I mean,  oh the uses for it!  It's healthy for your body, it's red, and it makes a great food dye.  But I never thought about eating it before.

   Most people avoid eating it because their first experience to Beets were of the can/jar variety.  Although I did not roast any today,  Mr. Bishop says that they taste really good roasted.  Today's dish was made with raw beets.

beet fingers!
freshly peeled beet
Trust me,  it's beet juice.
They are not kidding when they say that beets make a dye.  My fingers were stained,  when the kids ate theirs, they rubbed their hands on their clothing (GRRR!).  Everything was coated in a nice shade of beet red.

The sauce!! So yummy.
Anyways.  Mr. Bishop had me make a dressing for this Beet Salad using Dijon mustard and olive oil and my choice of either Tarragon or Parsley.  Since I know I will not have my tarragon much longer,  I went with that herb,  and I do not regret it!  It was perfect, blended well with the taste of the beets.
Next time I might use just yellow mustard for the children's sakes.  They felt it was a little too spicy.

You should try this one!  Order the cookbook or find a recipe online for a beet salad and bring it to your next gathering.  Make it for your family and show your kids that if they dip their food in it,  their food turns red (my kids got a huge kick out of that). 

Grated Beet Salad pp. 32

Tomorrow is Video Blog!  CARROTS :D

Friday, August 20, 2010

Linky Love Friday #7 and Chicken Broth

So, I did not cook tonight.  But it is always good to take a break.  I had to go to the eye doctor to find out what was going on with my eyes.  Apparently,  I now offically need glasses.  I guess I'm getting old!

Anyways,  the good news is that my chicken broth congealed perfectly!  I love it when it gets this thick,  all the good minerals and collegian is in there.   Yes, that is me almost holding the jar upside down.  That is how thick it was.  So happy!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

French Onion Soup

Sorry about the missed post yesterday.  I ended up taking a really bad picture, and I was too exhausted to fix it.  And a few other reasons why.  So,  here is the bad picture.  I did have the joy of burning a few hundred fire ants that were in my grill for some reason.  I took great pleasure in doing that.
Oh, that was the grilled onions.  I couln't eat them.  But My Beloved and Chef Turbo enjoyed them.

    Tonight, I made for the first time "French Onion Soup".   I did not have any cognac on hand, so I used Red wine vinegar.  Sadly, that kind of runined the soup.  I am happy to say that after watching tons of videos on how to cut produce,  I almost got even cuts on my onions!  I was inspired to learn after watching the first three episodes of Masterchef.  I realized I did not know how to really cut things, and if I were put up to the challenge,  they would kick me off the show after seeing me just hold the knife... not anymore!   YAY for youtube!

  Anyways.  I think the soup to onion ratio was off.  There were to many onions.  When I was in France,  I could have sworn that there was more broth and that the onions were few and had room to move in the sauce.  So either Mr. Bishop loves onions,  or I put too many in.  Oh well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meatloaf and Onion Rings

Sites I got the topping recipes:
Yellow mustard and ketchup #1:
Ketsup #2:

My very own topping recipe!  Ketchup, red wine vinegar, and brown sugar.  Adjust for your own taste.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Avocados, Mangos, Pancakes, and Onions

Different Avocados
Well,  this week is going to be interesting.  I will tell you later why.   Let me tell you of a few other things that happened over the weekend first.

   1) I found another species of avocado at my vegetable store.  So I bought both the Haas Avocado and the Florida Avocado to compare.  The Haas is smaller,  has a smooth seed, and more flavor.  The Florida has less flavor and a large seed that danced inside the avocado.  My cat's paw has nothing to do with this experiment.  I now know that I will stick to the Haas all the time.

Mango Seed
Tree and Bear Pancake
I finally got the guts to purchase a Mango.  I was more afraid of having a reaction after handling the fruit, but nothing happened.  I had fun asking Chef Turbo "What color do you think is on the inside?" He guessed green.  All the other questions he got right, "it's sweet,  there is a big seed inside."  We enjoyed the flavor.  I learned that mangoes pair well with anything tropical, avocados, and lime.  I ended up making a little compote with pineapple, blueberries, and mango.  It was really good!

   This morning I made pancakes.  One of the things I love to do is to make things out of the batter.  Today I made a tree and bear.  Ok,  now onto the dish I made out of the cookbook.

red onions are perfect for roasting
In Mr. Bishop's cookbook there is a whole chapter on onions.  Ever since starting I have dreaded this chapter,  and I thought now would be a good time to just get it over with.  This week I am dedicating to getting over this chapter.  I'll still have one more recipe to finish next week,  but I am willing to do this.  Are you ready for a fun week?  This is also part of my challenge to "fall in love" or even just tolerate onions.

Tonight I made Roasted Onions with Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary pp.231-32. 
    I kind of sat there reading the directions wondering cut through the polar regions??  I knew what that meant.  But all I could think of was that the ends will stay there.  So I cut them off.  How foolish was that?  Very foolish.  I needed the ends to stay on to hold the quarters together.  At least I am pretty sure they were supposed to stay on there.  Anyways,  I cut them off,  which made it challenging for Chef Turbo and I to get the olive oil on them intact.

 This might have made a great Wordless Wed. Photo.   I was trying to convey how I feel about this.  When it finally came down to trying one,  My Beloved ate them up.  I wimped out.  My Beloved said these were really good,  but that was not enough for me to get over the pain of thinking of eating just an onion.  I have finally gotten to the point of eating onions in stew (tiny tiny little pieces).  This is extreme!  Tomorrow night... Grilled Onions! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Marx Food's Palm Plate Review

Palm Plate, Paper Plate, Styrofoam Plate.
**Disclaimer: This is not valid scientific research. I took a “scientific approach” to my review just for the fun of it.  I only found one article per plate (except the palm plates) to back up my claims.  Also, I was sent these plates for free to try them out. **

     Marx Foods has come up with a great design of plates.  Made from the fallen leaves of the Adaka Palm Tree, they are washed, stretched, dried, and then heated into these plates.  What makes them really cool is that you can compost them when you are done, which also means, if you just throw them away, they will disappear in no time at the garbage dump.

     The night we tested these plates, I had some friends come over for ‘The Test’.  I wanted to approach this review in a somewhat scientific way.  Which meant, we needed to have different types of plates to compare to the Palm Plates.

The Approach
     Some of our guests had the traditional paper plates.  One guest had a Styrofoam plate (that has been sitting around for years in my cupboard).  Finally, some got to use the Palm Plates.  Amazingly, there was a little dispute on who got to eat with the Palm Plates.  With these plates being new on the block, everyone wanted to try them out.

The Dish
    Obviously, the typical dishes that paper plates encounter are dry.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, other dried foods...but I wanted something that was a meal in it’s own, but also damp and wet.  In comes Chili.  You basic, everyday, red chili.

The Results:
Chili and corn muffins on test subjects

The Paper Plate

Soggy factor
     The paper plates did not hold up to the chili.  Thankfully I gave my guests a few of them or else they would have worn a hole through their plates.

Weight Factor
     If we were standing,  these plates could not handle the weight of the chili.   They would have needed the help of another object to stay firm.

Toxic Factor
     I did a tiny bit of research and one site said, “Paper plates may also include dyes that include toxins and emit volatile organic chemicals (VOC's) in manufacturing.(1)”  This does not conclude that they are toxic,  but there still is a chance.

Coolness Factor
     These plates have been around forever.  They are as plain as plain o’le janes can be.  They are not cool.


The Styrofoam Plate

Soggy factor
     The plate was not soggy after her meal. In fact is looked really good.

Weight Factor
     If we were standing and eating,  the plate would have held up without assistance.

Toxic Factor
     According to this article “As for you, chow time with Styrofoam could mean ingesting a bit of styrene with your rice. Research on whether polystyrene chemicals "migrate" from container to food is hotly debated, but it's a fact that styrene has been present in our fatty tissue and breast milk for the past 30 years. We might not be clear on what that means yet, but it can't be yummy for baby.(2)”  Everyone also know,  there are dangers in microwaving with these, and they take forever to decompose in the garbage dumps.

Coolness Factor
     Although they can handle carrying heavy foods while standing,  everyone is going to think bad thoughts because of all the evil connotations that come with eating off Styrofoam.
Results are in!

The Palm Plate

Soggy factor
    It held up to the chili.  Although it did seem to get a little gooey towards the end, I was still able to wash it and use it one more time.   It even held up to me washing it.

Weight Factor
     If we were standing and eating,  the plate would have held up without much assistance.

Toxic Factor
     Because they steam these into shape, by not using any glues and adhesives,  these plates are safe to use.

Coolness Factor
     These plates peg the coolness factor.  Not only would someone be cool using such ‘green’ plates.  The different shape options also add to the coolness factor.  The fact we are eating off a palm leaf is also very cool.

Now for my final thought...
    I think these plates can be used again.  Instead of throwing them in your compost (be sure there is nothing fatty on them or else it might stink up your dirt),  use it to grow future plants.   I think next spring I would love to try to reuse my palm plates by drilling holes in the bottom, filling it with dirt, and then planting a few seeds in it.  Then when the plants are ready to go in the earth,  I will make a hole big enough for the whole plate to go in.  I am no master gardener,  so give me a break if the idea is insane,  but it’s worth the idea, eh? 

Final final thought...
     Go try these plates for yourself!  It’s a whole lot of fun,  and your guests will enjoy it too!

1) Read more: What Are Paper Plates Made of? |

Friday, August 13, 2010

Linky Love Friday #6 and Cheesy Zucchini

     Tonight was dubbed Pizza night,  Chef Turbo was just begging for some pizza.  So I caved in (because I love him so much!).  I still made my fifth and final side dish for the week out of James Bishops cookbook "Vegetables Everyday" .  Tonight we made _____. 
     Chef Turbo got to help out by putting the Parmesan cheese on the zucchini.  He always loves trying to find ways to help in the kitchen,  and this was the perfect job for him.  
     I thought these tasted great.  It seems that the Parmesan takes center stage here in the recipe, because Zucchini is naturally bland,  but I really enjoyed it non the less.

Ok.  Ready for some Linky Love??

1) Cookie Truffles made out of Nutterbutters or Oreos!!
2) How to Roast Beets and clean the beet color off your hands.  (I'll be making beet recipes soon!)
3) A whole website on cooking eggless, and in particular, an apple cake.
4)  And in case you missed my second post this week on eating eggplant,  I wanted to re-mention This Little Green Book.  A really awesome blog.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Drowning Basil in a Bowl of Tomato Soup

So,  I had lots of ideas on how I wanted to write my post tonight,  and then I got distracted.   Part of being a mom?  I don't know,  but at least I have a picture of tonight's meal.  Sadly my basil kept drowning.

Fresh Tomato Soup for Summer pp.333-334
    I made this two days ago.  I thought about eating it,  and then changed my mind.  Tonight I made some fresh pasta (which the kids love because it means they get to use the pasta machine) and thought I would use this as a makeshift spaghetti sauce.  Well,  the kids not only ate it as a sauce,  but as a soup and loved every bite.  My kids hate the Spaghetti-O's (which is fine because it is processed).  It warms my heart to see them guzzle down spoonful after spoonful of this soup.  I thought it was alright. 

     This soup is making me think of carrots in a new way.  I know, I know,  I said carrots.  But this soup has not only tomatoes,  but also carrots and celery.   The soup was sweet.  I cannot remember how My Beloved likes his spaghetti sauce,  but I if he likes it sweet,  I'll have to remember to add some carrots into the mix the next time I make spaghetti sauce.

Here are some more photos of the same bowl of soup.  I just was learning how to install preset filters into my program tonight:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday #6 Green Beans in Yogurt-Dill sauce pp. 172 YUM

   Did you take a food picture for Wordless Wed?  Leave a link here first and then leave your link below so I can see it too! :D

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Grilled Eggplant Day 1

     It was a cloudy, rainy afternoon,  and then it dawned on me,  I planned my whole dinner around the grill, and that was not going to happen.  Around 3pm we were hit by a thunderstorm with strong winds.  After that,  it just rained and rained.  I feel bad for those who have no rain,  they could have had some of this.  But then again,  I prayed for another cloudy day, and I guess God answered it.

Grilled Eggplant with Italian Flavors pp. 135
     I had some baby eggplants left from a week ago,  so I grabbed those to use them up (or the ones that were still "good" to use).  They were so small, they fit in the palm of my hand.
  I ran out of thyme (the herb), I had none that was fresh nor dry.  I did some research on what other herbs could taste like Thyme.  Sadly,  there really is no subsitute.
Thankfully I had a bottle of Italian herbs, so I dumped some into my pot of marinate.

     Now, I had two options,  I could broil the eggplant OR use my George Forman grill that I got at a garage sale.   I chose the later.  It worked.  But I am pretty sure that the grill would have worked better. 

    Our cat, Nika,  could smell the chicken that I "grilled".  She does tricks for chicken, beef, and fish.  I wish I had a wider lens so that you all could see that she was standing for her treat. :D     

Anyways, back to the eggplant...

      It was very bitter.  I think it was because I used some old eggplant.  Even the kids did not like it.  It was worth the try.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Linky Love Friday #5?

I am not sure what linky love this is... but for kicks we'll say it's number five.  I've got some plans with the chefs tonight that will be taking the time I normally cook,  sooooo, I leave you all just some links to enjoy today!

1)  I loved this lady's idea so much,  I did it too!  Build your own veggie box!
2) How to crack the coconut question?  This person has a whole post on their experience and a link to an awesome video.
3)  Some awesome cookie and cakes with a science theme! 
4) Sweet potato muffins that sound absolutely delicious! 

Have a great day my readers!  Looking forward to seeing you all again on Monday!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

     Well... good thing I did a double recipe earlier this week.  I ended up not cooking at all, so the photograph you get today,  is the dish I really disliked this week!  If you love lists,  here are the things I hate:
1) Cucumbers
2) Onions
3) Watermelon.

   Guess what,  they are all in this recipe.  But I made it, and tried it.  YES,  I still tried it,  you never know when your dislikes will become likes.

Anyways,  we went to the bookstore  (we love books in this house!) and I bought a new cookbook tonight.  It's called "Clean FoodClean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You".  I am really looking forward to making some of the recipes because I have been learning about soaking grains and stuff,  and this book looks like a good match for me.  I'll let you all know how it goes.

Well,  that is all for tonight.  I hope you all have a great night.  I will still post a linky love,  but I am not sure if there will be a recipe review,  I have some awesome plans tomorrow night with the chefs. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday #5 Grilled Okra pp.

     Did you take a food picture for Wordless Wed?  Leave a link here first and then leave your link below so I can see it too! :D

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dressing a salad and how horrible cucumber/watermelon salsa is

 Today was interesting.  As are all my days.  Always an adventure.  One of these times I need to stop saying about "today" and jump right into the story.  I am just so tired now.

   I made the salad dressing today because it was easy (Leaf Salad with Classic Vinaigrette pp. 202).  It tasted great on my salad,  and I think I will keep making this from now on.  It's just a basic dressing,  1 T. of red vine vinegar and 1 T olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Mr. Bishop stated that I could use some garlic,  but I just wanted the pure notes of the other flavors. 

   To make the other recipe (I will not be writing a post on Friday, but will have an automatic linky love for all y'all!),  I needed to purchase watermelon.  Now,  Chef Turbo is the only person in the whole house who eats watermelon.  For that reason I buy the personal sized ones.  Well... watermelon season is almost over,  and all they have for sale at the veggie store is these humongous watermelons.  I bought one,  and the lady asked me if I needed assistance taking it out to my car.  I declined, being as I would have to take it into my house on my own anyways (That is how heavy this thing was!)

    No one liked the Cucumber-Melon Salsa (pp.128).  Chef Turbo said it was too spicy (it had pepper flakes) and I just do not like the flavors or any of these items: watermelon, cucumber, or onion.  BLECH. 

  The salad dressing was most defiantly best part of the night.  Super good.  Super suggested.

Oh, I did some research on what to do with the rest of the watermelon:
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