Greens For Dinner!

A favorite at our house is sauteed fresh spinach with red onion and bacon. And it is so convenient that it comes bagged and ready to use . . . maybe. Yes, most fresh spinach products claim to be freshly-washed but I never feel it is freshly-washed up to my expectations!

I’m making spinach this evening and decided to show you what you can  expect if you don’t wash and soak your spinach.

First of all, always clean twice as much spinach as you think you will need as it cooks down drastically. My cleaning method is to put it into a very large bowl, fill the bowl with water to cover the spinach leaves and then pour in a half cup to a whole cup of cider vinegar depending on how much I’m making for dinner. I stir it around a bit and let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes while I work on other dinner prep. When I’m ready for the spinach, I put a colander in the sink and put in several handfuls of spinach into it, rinse, and place on a triple layer of paper towels, usually about four ‘sections’ of paper towel long. I continue this way until I have rinsed off all the spinach. Now, look at the water left in your soaking bowl. Doesn’t look too great, does it?

 

Playing the Memories . . .

The priest stopped Mass when the cell phone went off, waiting for the person to turn it off. It kept beeping, buzzing, and ringing. The priest asked again. The noise continued. Finally, the priest narrowed it down to one woman in the congregation and said, “Would you please turn off your cell phone now?”! The woman calmly said, “My cell phone isn’t ringing . . . It’s my son’s Nintendo game.”!
We had a rat in our garage. We named him Willard and then went shopping for whatever it would take to close down Willard. A few days later, I was coming in the garage and there was Willard, passed on to his final reward. I called the children to view the body. My older daughter wanted to know why I wanted them to see a dead rat. Before I could say anything, she answered herself and said, “I guess it was to give us closure.”!
My  ten-year old daughter was working on a novel for English class. I asked if she would be done by the deadline I had set. She said, “Don’t worry. Tell me the day before and I will just kill all the characters off and end the story.”
Morning Mass must be a bit early for many. At the end of one Mass, the priest said, “Our Lady, Queen of Vocations . . .” and the congregation replied, “Pray for us.” Father then said, “Immaculate Mary, page 109.” And the obviously sleepy congregation replied, “Pray for us.”!
And once when attending Mass, the celebrant looked at the congregation across and said, “The Lord be with you.” One dear old lady looked at the other and explained helpfully, “That means ‘Dominus vobiscum’.”

Rosary Suggestions

More Rosary suggestions . . . translation: I found a new place to buy interesting beads for making Rosaries.

I enjoy making Rosaries and since there is a great demand for them all over the world, I spend a couple of hours a week working on them. However, having a bushel basket of one type or color of bead would soon have me very bored and my production would fall off drastically. SO, when I’m browsing the Internet, one of my most frequent searches is for 8mm and 10mm beads, the sizes for Hail Marys and Our Father   beads on a Rosary. AND, I’m looking for inspiration, new colors, new shapes, etc. Fortunately, there is quite a variety available but not in the price range for ‘wholesale’ Rosary output. I have two sources on Amazon but was still looking for Rosary adventure!

One day, I came across DoreensBeads on-line – https://www.doreenbeads.com/ They come from Hong Kong so I researched a bit with ordering from that far away, etc. I read the reviews and most everyone was pleased with the service and the prices. I was pleased to find a huge variety of beads for reasonable prices. I also incorporate bead caps on my Our Father beads and they had exactly what I wanted with some bags of 100 or more going for under a dollar. I found them about two months ago and have already ordered from them four times! The picture included with this post is of Rosaries made from these beads.

 

Gluten-Free, Believe It Or Not!

Sometimes, I look back on the ‘olden day’ and remember when a quick pasta dinner was . . . well, quick! Now, when the family gets a hankering for pasta and sauce for a Friday meatless meal, my current recipe begins with, “First, make the pasta.”! I usually end up making the sauce and preparing the vegetables for steaming before making the pasta.  That way, I can concentrate on the pasta without worrying about getting the rest of the meal ready. Although I have been known to whimper a bit, I really don’t mind doing it. Homemade pasta just tastes better. And, as I mentioned a few postings ago, companies have been kind to the ‘gluten-impaired’ and there are a lot of great gluten-free flour blends that make things almost back to normal.

This evening, my husband liked the idea of having a tomato/mushroom sauce over pasta. My daughter agreed only said to make it so she doesn’t bite into a mushroom. She likes the taste of mushrooms but isn’t crazy about the texture.

My favorite flour blend these days is Authentic Foods Steve’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend. BetterBatter Gluten-Free Flour Blend works well, too. All can be found on-line. Check the on-line Walmart store as they often have items you can find in their stores.

The recipe for homemade pasta? I’ve probably mentioned it before but just figure on about a half cup flour per person eating and then add one more cup to be sure! Add a good pinch of salt and the eggs. Now, eggs are definitely a variable in this so add them, one by one, and mix until it comes together and then knead. Roll out on a floured board (use either rice flour or the flour blend mix. Cut into strip about half an inch wide and as long as you want them to be! Spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet and let sit for about 30 minutes until needed. Bring a big pot of water to an energetic simmer, add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the pasta gently as you add it to keep them separated. It takes about four to six minutes depending on how thick you rolled them out. Drain and rinse with cool water. Serve with your sauce of choice.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

As I was busy with my weekly chores before starting on the regular chores of the day, I realized I had pictorial proof of how my day goes. I now have pictorial proof when my husband comes home from work and asks, “So, what did you do today?”

What To Do With a Brussel Sprout!

I never even saw a Brussel Sprout until I was in my teens. At that point in my life, vegetables were something to either avoid or craftily hide before  escaping the dinner table. I asked a friend once what Brussel Sprouts tasted line and he grimaced and said, “They taste like nasty, little cabbages . . . only worse!”

After years of marriage, I found a recipe that called for Brussel Sprouts and decided to try it . . . and the family loved them!

Although I have several ways to prepare them these days, my go to recipe is simple and tasty – never a problem with leftovers! Simply put, you trim the sprouts removing the wilted leaves and stem, slice them in halves or quarters (Your call here!) and put them all in a big bowl.  Splash in about a quarter cup of olive oil, salt, pepper, and any spice or herb you have in your cupboard that sounds good. I also put in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for the mild cheesy taste it imparts. Add a tablespoon of either cinder vinegar or  Balsamic vinegar. Toss the sprouts so they are coated with the oil and spices, etc. and place in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until they are browned around the edges and tender.

The ending result should look like this:

 

Ethnic Food Appropriation Night?

Not sure with the craziness of the world, but I think that we are still allowed to cook any kind of food we want in the privacy of our kitchen. Being of German heritage from my mother’s side of the family, naturally, I’m making fajitas and homemade tortillas for dinner!

Anyway, I learned a long time ago in my family meal preparation, homemade is better and less expensive. I’ve been making flour tortillas forever and no longer even follow any set recipe. When my husband had to be declared a gluten-free zone, I just switched the flour ingredient in my recipe to a gluten-free blend. Authentic Foods Gluten-Free Bread Flour Blend is currently my favorite although I still enjoy using BetterBatter Gluten-Free flour.

We decided we had a yearning for fajitas for dinner this evening. My husband only has one or two Saturdays a month off so we decided to celebrate this. I spent the afternoon with food prep and he cleaned the house for me. Since I’d rather cook than clean house and he’d rather clean house than eat the mediocre dinner he might venture to prepare, it was a good deal for both sides!

My recipe for flour tortilla? Basically, I put around three or four cups of wheat or gluten-free flour in the bowl, add a teaspoon of baking powder, a teaspoon of salt, combine, and then add hot tap water slowing to the dry ingredients until a workable dough evolves. I use an ice cream scoop to parcel out the amount of dough to roll out for each tortilla. I have a cast iron pan but most any frying pan would work for cooking them on both sides or until some bubbles and browned blisters show up. You want them baked but not crispy!

Hard as I try to roll them out to a beautiful, uniform circle, I usually end up with what looks like various countries removed from the map. I do have a tortilla press (More of that German heritage!) but it only makes small one and, sometimes, you need a larger size.

This is also a fun kitchen activity for mom and the children so they can see what goes into fixing a meal and be proud of the results of their efforts.