Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chocolate Chip Almond Quinoa Cookies

This is a quickie recipe post. I got a hankering for something sweet at lunch today and decided to make cookies. I had some cooked quinoa in the fridge (I was planning on using it for pancakes but the pancakes have not yet been made) so I decided to look for a recipe on Pinterest. Finding that most people that use quinoa make a "cookie" that resembles a granola bar, I decided to make up my own using my mom's classic cookie recipe.

NOTE: I have nothing against granola bars. Love them, make my own. I was looking for something, let's just say, not healthy.

Chocolate Chip Almond Quinoa Cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 c. cooked quinoa
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1/2 c. chocolate chips
(you can add up to 1 c. chocolate chips, my husband prefers less)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, mix well. Add flour, baking soda and salt all at once then mix. Stir in quinoa, then almonds, then chocolate chips. Roll into tablespoon-size balls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Busy Busy!

Sorry for the lack of activity, but things have just been a little busy lately. Between kindergarten graduation (heh heh), and a combo holyday/holiday weekend, my time for blogging is little to none at the moment. To top it off, Summer Reading at the library is coming up within a month and Ryder's birthday is right after that.

I'll probably be posting some projects soon, sewing and cooking alike. Got some cool squash recipes which are appropriate for the harvest season. Also have some dress and T-shirt ideas. Just gotta have the time to work on 'em.

Here's some cool country pictures for your enjoyment. I love the country.

I'm a sucker for mushrooms.

This rabbit was chillin' in our driveway for a while.

Enjoying the evening when it's cool-er.

Ryder loves to be outside.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Squash the Squash Bug!

If you've grown squash in Texas, most likely, you've been there. Healthy plants, good produce. You walk out one morning, and boom! The plant is lying there dead, with no warning! You have been slammed my friend. Slammed with the infamous squash bug.

These little buggers are absolutely horrible! They can take out your plants soooo fast! I've struggled with them every year except my first. Here's what these evil beings look like.

I'm telling you, they're the horniest bugs I've ever seen! This is basically how I always find them.  

Here's what they look like as babies. The eggs are usually found on the leaves of the plant.

They have been the bane of my existence when it comes to gardening. The one thing I can grow well in my iron ore soil is squash, but these buggers have kept me from having a decent crop.

But, those days are gone. Well, sort of. I have found what seems to be the best natural method of killing them. I actually tried some poison, but it only drove them away. As soon as the poison washed off, they were right back. Plus the poison doesn't kill the eggs, and the babies can wipe the plant out overnight. 

What works best is soapy water. It's a little tedious, you have to go out and turn over all the leaves and spray each bug, but it works. Only put a couple squirts of dish soap in the bottom of a sprayer, then fill the rest up with water. You don't want to put too much soap in it because it will burn the leaves. But this soapy water method works well, killing the adults and babies within a minute. Apparently the oily-ness of the soap clogs the pores on their skin, causing them to suffocate.

The next step is to take care of the eggs. The soapy water doesn't affect the eggs, just the live bugs. I've found that a torch works well for this, heh heh. If you keep the torch on low, all you'll do is kill the eggs, not the leaves.

Hopefully doing this will help me have a good crop this year! And I hope these bugs become extinct soon!! Happy carnage!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Essentially Oiled Shelf

YES! Finally! It's taken me waaaayy longer to finish this project than it should have, but here it is, completed!

Do you have a bunch of essential oils shoved in a drawer, making it difficult to find that one you need right that second? Well, we did, and now, we've got a functional, yet eye pleasing, way of storing our natural remedies.

I got this shelf at a local resale shop for about $2.

It's basically a trinket shelf, which you can find at pretty much any resale shop. They always seem to have at least one, if not many.

I decided I wanted to give it a crackle finish. I started out by priming it with the color I wanted to show through. I chose black.

Then, I slathered plain elmer's glue on in sections, then painted my color right on top while it was still wet. I did pretty much immediately after I put the glue on, but you can wait a little bit till it's just tacky if you want.

I wanted to put something across the front to keep anything from sliding off while shuffling things around. So with the help of my mom, this is what we came up with. 

I took some silver upholstery tack that I had on hand and hammered them in place on the side.

Then I wrapped some wire around the tacks, brought it around front and wrapped the other end on the other side. Then I put some tacks on each inner slat, hammered them down, making sure the wire was underneath.

Ta da! Finished! I ended up replacing the bracket on the back because the original wasn't strong enough, but once that was taken care of, it was complete!

As you can see, I still have some holes in my oil collection.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's Just Peachy!

PEACHES!!! Yes, it's that time of year! We got a box of peaches from a local orchard, and I couldn't wait to make some jam!

This recipe came from the fruit pectin package. It had an amazing chart with simple recipes and cool options. So next time you open a box of pectin, make sure you're not throwing away a perfectly good recipe!

Peach Jam
(makes about 7 half pints)

4 lbs of peaches
1 box fruit pectin
1/3 c. lemon juice
1-3 cups white sugar (I used 1 1/2c. and it was perfect)

First, get your water bath canner filled and working on a boil. Then prepare your jam jars by washing them with hot soapy water. When your canner comes to a boil, place your jars inside for 10 minutes.

Score an "X" at the bottom of each peach (a little time consuming, but oh so worth it). Boil some water in a big pot. Once it's got a good rolling boil, drop about 5 peaches at a time into the water, and boil for 30-60 seconds. 

(see the "X")

Remove. In a matter of seconds, the peel will start pulling away from the peach, making it that much easier to peel. Remove peels and cut fruit from pit. Now depending on the texture you want, you can either puree the peaches to be really smooth, or just mash them like me so they still have a little structure.

Place fruit in a large pot. Add lemon juice and pectin. Let mixture sit 5-10 minutes, then bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar, return to a full boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Spoon jam into hot, sterilized jars. Screw on the lids and rings.

Process in your water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Remove from canner and allow to cool. The lids should start sealing as the jam cools. Sometimes you'll hear them pop. Make sure your label and date each one!

Oh, so good!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

While We Were Gone...

I was nervous that our garden suffered greatly while we were gone to Florida. Even though we had a timer on the sprinkler, I wasn't sure the bugs didn't devour everything. When we got back, this is what we found...

Growth! Of plant and weed!

Corn, okra and beans.

Our first little squash!

Muscadine grapes.

Tomatillo blooms.

My best radish crop I've ever had!

We've got all kinds of blooms on our pomegranate.

Pickings from our strawberries and blackberries.

Before we left, Nick had picked some mulberries. There's only a few left on our other tree.

There were a few casualties. Only one of my celery plants is going to pull through, and my cilantro is probably gone. The squash bugs are running rampant, so I broke down and got some sevendust. It better work.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Forida Trip & Anniversary

Last week we embarked on a journey to see family and get away from the day to day regular-ness of life. Our plan was to visit Nick's cousin in Mississippi on our way to see my brother and sis-in-law in Florida. We had a great time and definitely got a much needed break.

Uncle Trevor's house is a beautiful old house with so much charm on a nice piece of property. There's a big creek in the back with an amazing swing. I kick myself now for not really going on it, but I imagine we will get another chance someday.

The porch that we spent most of our time on.

The staircase was so cool and the old piano was really neat.

   Rustic table Nick's Uncle made.
                                      The top of the swing!

While we were at Jake and Kelly's, we mostly chilled. We did a few things but for the most part we just layed around the house all day.

 We went to this awesome zoo that had an aviary where you could play with the birds. Ryder was totally jazzed.

Ryder watching the wolf.

Jake getting to know the giraffe.

Ryder leaning on Aunt Kelly. So cute!

While we were there, we celebrated our 4 year anniversary. Nick happened to see that Tom Petty was in town, and ended up acquiring tickets! You have to understand, I like my music, but I've only ever been to one other concert when I was 18, and the sound was terrible. I was so stoked!!

Nick and I at the concert.

Needless to say, the concert was amazing!!!


Ryder started crawling while we were there!!! Finally! He's pretty good at it already. He also got his second tooth.

We also found that Ryder has a look-alike...

The first picture is a current one of Ryder, and the second  is a picture of my brother Jake as a baby.


Here's one we took of them while we were down there.

We ate like kings. Kelly and Jake fed us well.

Chicken Bryan

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

 Flourless Chocolate Torte

Thanks so much Jake and Kelly!! We had a great time!!