July 29, 2011

Shabbat Menu..

Today's preperation day. :)

I thought I would share some of our preparations and our menu :)

Yesterday I scrubbed the kitchen down, emptied all bowls of fruit and such and cleaned them out, moved everything and cleaned under, etc.. So it would be done before today.  It really helps Friday out to get a big task out of the way.  I did not clean the stove however cause well... we cook all day on friday and that would be pointless LOL.

So we got up, had our tea (I had a chai mate tea latte.. hot of course)

and I made pancakes (I was oddly awake this morning.. not sure why)

I then went and took my clothes OFF the line since it rained yesterday and has been misting all morning.  No way they are going to get dry before shabbat, so I threw them in the dryer.

After the kitchen was cleaned from breakfast I made my bread.  I usually make Challah but I'm in the mood for regular sandwich bread so I made this recipe..

I'll shape one loaf as challah for tonight but the rest will get made into cinnamon rolls, and loaves of bread to eat for lunch tomorrow as sandwiches. 

It's rising now. :)

Our menu tonight is to bake 2 chickens (no clue how we are seasoning them yet), I'm making onion rings, we'll make up beets, have challah, and rice.

Breakfast tomorrow will be cinn rolls.

Lunch, sandwiches with sliced carrots on the side

Dinner.. I'm making a spin off of this recipe. 

We don't have lasagna noodles but we do have manicotti noodles.  
We also don't have almost any of those types of cheeses so not really similar at all LOL
So, I'm making up a bean/ cheese mixture well seasoned to stuff the noodles with.
Then I'm making up tomato sauce since we don't have canned tomatoes (I'll chop some as well to have pieces in the mix)

It's just a blender full of tomatoes, some garlic cloves, an onion, and fresh cilantro.. blended together.  Then I simmer it until it boils down to a thicker sauce.  

While that boils down Tammy was making hot sauce which made me flee the kitchen before I died of the heat in the air LOL.

I can't even LICK one of those peppers without my mouth catching on fire.. and there are about 20 of them in that bowl.

It boiled for a bit and then looked like this..

She always makes the rest of us a separate batch with less peppers and more mangos.  It's awesome stuff.   I just finished a lunch of rice, beans, and salsa.. It's so good.  

And that's where we are now :)

In about an hour I'll shape the bread, put it into bread pans, and make the cinn. rolls, then it all has to rise again.   Then I'll make up 2 of the manicotti dishes and put them in the fridge to heat up for tomorrows dinner.

After that we'll get the chicken in the oven, clean the house up, then I'll make onion rings.. And shabbat is ON! :)

And yes.. the hot sauce is finished, bottled, and ready for consumption :)


July 27, 2011

Solving a bug mystery..

On one of our trips to the farm Jesus found this strange looking bug in the water..

Today we got a big icky looking bug out of our living room.

(that thing is about 4 inches long)

Turns out they are the same type of bug.  They live 2-3 YEARS in the water as the larvae, crawl out, and after they get their wings/ fly around/ mate they die after a few days.

Check out the pinchers on this bug!

If bug things fascinate you (or you have kiddos).. here is an interesting link.


July 26, 2011

Giveaway time!

It's time for another giveaway!

This time I'm giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card.. 
(think of me when you use it sniff.. sniff..)

AND a bag of Costa Rican coffee. :)   This is one of the HIGHLY talked about brands here and everyone seems to love it.. it's made right here in Costa Rica. :)

To enter...

You get one entry for liking the facebook page HERE.  If you already have done that leave a comment saying so. :)

One entry for leaving a comment telling me what you like best about the blog (is it the pictures, the recipes, the commentary??  )

One entry if you link to this giveaway on your facebook.  (leave a comment with the link to your post)

One entry if you link to the giveaway on your blog  (leave a comment with the link to your post)

One entry if you link to the giveaway on your twitter (leave a comment with the link to your post)

I will post the winner on August 1st :)


Plantain Canoes

This was a fun dish to cook :)

 Before starting this part of the process you need to cook black beans and if you would like ground beef, cook your beef as well.  (we skipped the meat and it's fine)  Season it well with onion, pepper, garlic, cilantro,  oregano, vinegar and sazon (this is a seasoning uncommon.. we make our own multi purpose seasoning out of blended peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, etc.. and dump some of that in.  It should be nice and savory.

Now, on with the process..

Okay, first peel sweet (turning black) plantains.

 Fry them for about 8-10 min's.  I didn't want to use enough oil to cover them so I turned mine over when browned a bit on the bottom

When slightly browned remove from oil and let drain/ cool.

When cool slice down the middle (but not all the way to each end).   Open it up kinda like a hot dog bun.

Put a layer of cheese in each gash.   (We used tico cheese.. any type would work well)

Fill up with your bean (or beef) mixture.

Sprinkle again with cheese and bake for 20-30 min's until the cheese has melted.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro.  Serve right away. :)  We made up a big pot of rice and topped it with the extra beans.  And of course healthy amounts of natilla, homemade ketchup, and homemade salsa.. that goes with everything! LOL

Plantain Canoes

Cooked and seasoned ground beef (if desired)  then add it to your beans

cooked and seasoned black beans (I used about 3 cups of uncooked black beans and we had enough extra to top the rice with.. use less if you are using ground beef)Season it well with onion, pepper, garlic, cilantro,  oregano, vinegar and sazon (this is a seasoning uncommon.. we make our own multi purpose seasoning out of blended peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, etc.. and dump some of that in.  It should be nice and savory.

1 plantain for each serving.. 1/2 for each kiddo.  (I made up 7 plantains so the beans will be portioned to that)

oil for frying 

 2 cups of cheese.

fresh cilantro 


Homemade Ketchup

This is a harder one.   I've always heard ketchup is one thing that's just not as good from scratch.  Add to that the fact that we live with a Pureto Rican family.. which means  we use a LOT of ketchup and we've picked up the habit.   Ketchup and it's chemicals didn't bother me as much when we were just eating it rarely.. but when we can go through a bottle a week.. it's time for a change.

Add to that the fact that we will be going to a grocery store about once every 2 months.. we need to learn to make more from scratch.  So on sunday I made ketchup as well.   It turned out really good.  It's not the same texture as store bought..  or the exact flavor but it is good and everyone liked it.   Next time I might add some corn starch to thicken it a bit more.  but thinner means we use less LOL.

Homemade Ketchup

Recipe from Saveur

1  28-oz. can tomato puree   (we don't have canned tomatos..  so I just cut whole tomatos in quaters, put it in the food processor, and made my own)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
1/2 fresh jalapeño, stemmed and seeded  (do not have those.. but we do have a hot pepper plant in our yard that I used instead)
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar  (don't have this.. we just have raw sugar which worked fine.)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water  (I would only add this if you use the canned puree which is thickened.. with fresh tomatoes leave it out)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch celery salt  (don't have this.. left it out with no problem :) )
Pinch dry mustard
Pinch ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves    (only had fresh.. worked fine)
Pinch ground ginger           (only had fresh.. worked fine) 
Pinch ground cinnamon
Kosher salt         (used reg. table salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
Yields about 4 cups of ketchup (that’s about 3 1/2 pint jars)

First I placed the homemade tomato puree, onion, garlic, ginger, clove, and hot pepper in the food processor and blended till liquid.  Then I added the rest of it and blend well.

Pour into a pot and cook/ simmer until the desired thickness.   Pour into jars.  Very good!  And no GMO soybean oil along with all the other sure to give you cancer stuff!


July 25, 2011

Did I mention..

Jesse decided to surprise me and is putting in a bathroom in the bodega?

That means no outhouse and bathing in the river.

Yes, I was prepared to do that.. but oh..  I'm SO stoked that I won't have to!


Homemade Mayonaise

I finally got around to making homemade mayo again yesterday.  So good!

It's also super easy.   If you've never made it before you've got to try it. :)

To make mine I first put 3 garlic cloves
3 egg yolks
squeezed in half of a lime (lemon would work as well)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard (I used reg. mustard as that's all we had)
1 teaspoon salt

Blended until mixed well.  If I HAD a hand mixer handy I would then switch this to a bowl.. it would work better than the blender I believe.

Slowly (VERY VERY slowly), while the mixer is running pour in 3 cups of olive oil.  
VERY slowly.. if you add it to quickly the egg yolk will stop absorbing it and the mayo will be ruined.  Like just a few drops at a time at first.

Put into a container and into the fridge.. then enjoy!


July 23, 2011

More sewing..

I found another album of stuff I have sewn.. sharing for that.. and for the cuteness factor of my girlies when tiny!

Little Lorien!!

I had made Brianna a matching bedskirt, spread/ sheet/ pillowcase set, a cover for the little couch, a nightstand cover, and curtain :)


A mei tai baby carrier

Another mei tai baby carrier, made with a pillow cover on the front for some "bling"  Ugh.. I was so much skinnier!

Little Lorien dress

Little Lorien skirt

After Lorien moved in, I took the 2 crib mattresses and tied them together, then padded it.. then I made a fuzzy cover for it and a fuzzy blanket.  They loved it.  Made the pillow cases too :)

And Brianna's jammies :)  she has the shirt on backwards of course LOL

More brianna jammies

A little Lorien dress

This was a dress with a wrap jacket on top




A gift for a friend :)

Matching jumpers for the girls made out of pillow cases (loved the fabric)


A swim dress I made Brianna.. see that big bump on her head?  Apparently Rohan inherited his "knock his head on everything syndrome" from Brianna :)


Another little fleece dress.. I loved these.  So easy, snuggly, and warm

Fun little set I made and sold
Loved this one on Lorien!

Little swing dress.. not the best picture of Lorien LOL


skirt I made myself.. super comfy!

Another of the fleece dresses :)

sling I made to wear to a wedding

This was such a cute fabric!

And I loved the retro feel of this fabric

Another few baby carriers.. don't worry .. I won't bore you with the dozens of one's I made LOL



And the one I was most happy with designing.. sold several of them.  The LOTR tree.  5 points if you recognize what's on that sling.