Friday, April 25, 2014

Meatless Friday - Brussel Sprouts Soup

Wow, it's Friday again! Time to cut down on meat ;-) 

Please, don't hate on this vegetable! It is very yummy steamed and it makes great and easy soup (you noticed I am all about easy lately)! Try it, you will be coming back to it often!

You will need:

1 bag of Brussel Sprouts (or 1 stem if you are buying fresh from the market)
1 cube Vegetable bouillon 
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons of Flour
Heavy Whipping Cream

First put water, brussel sprouts, and bouillon into a pot and boil it till the veggies are soft.

Then scoop them up into a blender with some of the stock and mix them until they turn smooth. I like to let it cool down a bit before ethos step so I don't get accidentally burned. 

When all your brussel sprouts get mixed, pour them back into the pot and bring it back to boil. Now it's time to thicken the soup using flour and whipping cream. I put 4 tablespoons of flour into a blender and pour cold water over it (cover the flour). Blend and check if the consistency is too thick - in that case, pour more water and mix again. We like it to be a bit runny but not completely a liquid. Pour the mixture into the pot. Boil for 5 minutes. 

Now add the whipping cream and boil for one more minute. Taste it and add salt according to your liking. All done, enjoy with bread or just by itself! 

 Let me know how you liked it!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Meatless Friday - Buckwheat with Egg Sunny Side Up

Welcome to my weekly Meatless Friday post! I hope you will find some inspirational menu ideas for your busy week. Eating without meat at least on occasion actually proves to save you money and keep you healthy. Here is another yummy and quick recipe from my family's Friday menu. It is originally from Poland and it was my husband who requested it. 

Here is what you need:

2 cups of Water
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 cup Buckwheat Groats (I buy mine in a Polish store, it is also called Kasza gryczana)

Boil water with salt. Add the buckwheat and boil on low heat for about 15 minutes or until all water evaporates and the buckwheat reaches desired consistency).

Now make your eggs sunny side up - heat small amount of oil on a pan and brake an egg on top of it. 

Turn the heat down. I add salt and pepper to taste.

It takes only few minutes for the egg to be ready... Take it out and place it on a plate next to a portion of buckwheat groats and a pickle. 

This recipe is a no brainer and takes very little time, but trust me, that the combination of all three sides is to die for! Try it and experiment! Make sure to leave a comment with feedback and suggestions!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Start Your Garden this Year - Part 3. Garden Beds

Now, that you found your location, it's time to plan what kind of garden beds best suit your particular location. Some things to consider are: How much space do you have? What is your budget? And what is your styled in general?

I decided to go out of my blog post today and redirect you to my Pinterest board called "Garden Beds". I have been collecting images of different kinds of beds and gardens in general and I hope that will help you visualize your options available for your space. Here is the link you can click on... and get inspired... There are some pins that have detailed instructions about how to build those particular beds. And when you are there, you can follow me ;-)

My personal garden beds style is called raised beds (photo above), which are great for small space, but my absolute dream layout would be this one - "never-ending" rows of produce in the middle of a meadow or forest.

Because of our lack of space, I sometimes go outside the box and create a garden bed in some odd places, away from the actual garden. Like this corn/pumpkin bed. I dug up some grass next to our porch and it turned out to be the best spot out of the whole yard - best soil and great sun! One year I had great corn and pumpkins and last year I had giant sunflowers. So don't feel like you are limited to just one spot! Go out... outside of the box ;-)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Meatless Friday - Pasta with Red Sauce

Hello, and Happy Friday to all of you! Here is to another week of my Meatless Friday Linky Party. Last week I had one person link up to the party and share a great recipe that I will sure try very soon. I love to get inspired and I sure need help with my weekly menus - I don't want our meals to be always the same. Here is another one from me... Pasta with homemade red sauce. I hope you enjoy it! And please, share your link underneath my recipe! The more the merrier!

Here is what you will need:

1 Tablespoon Oil
1 Can Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup Water (possibly more)
1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Whipping Cream

Start boiling your pasta according to the package instructions.
Heat up the oil in your frying pan (I use cast iron pan) and add the whole can of tomato paste. Turn your stove to medium heat and stir the tomato sauce around.

Add 1/2 cup of water and keep mixing the paste and water together. 

Add more water if needed until you reach this consistency (kind of thick apple sauce-like consistency).

Add basil and parmesan cheese to your own taste. Every year I make this basil/parmesan cheese mixture and I use 2 handfuls of it for my sauce. You can click here for the recipe, it's wonderful to keep it in your freezer if you make lots of home made pasta sauce like me ;-)

Mix and keep stirring the sauce.

This is the time you add your garlic salt and sugar. You can also use fresh minced garlic and salt separate - in that case you use 1 clove of minced garlic and 1/2 of teaspoon salt.

Now add your whipping cream and keep stirring. At this point I look at the consistency again - does it need more water or maybe whipping cream? Add it. The mixture keeps on cooking itself down and that is why you need to keep stirring and adding liquids. This ends up being such a quick process, you  should be finished by the time your pasta is done boiling ;-)

This is my personal favorite pasta sauce! You can also make the regular red sauce version without adding the whipping cream. That would be the only ingredient you would leave out.

I serve pasta with this red sauce, accompanied by parmesan cheese, and Naan bread from Trader Joe's. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Night Life at the LBF

This is just a fun post on the night life in our back yard. Some of you might have seen me post a picture of the fire bush that is in our side garden. In case you missed it, here it is.

Yup, it got trimmed by none other than Mr. Bunny... guess how I figured that out ;-)

My husband hunts and there for he has some equipment available... like for example this camera. He decided to install it so we know what is going on...


I have seen him/her around... especially when he/she hopped in front of our dog's face while he was resting in the backyard. (I am rethinking the dog's job around the yard)

But we caught other visitors, which was very exciting especially for the kids. Take a look at who is strolling around while we sleep :-)

I hope she is here to catch that bunny ;-) 

And this one especially makes me cringe... See I don't feel like cleaning the dog if he gets sprayed ;-)

Fun Fun Fun!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Meatless Friday - Homemade Tortillas

Hello and Happy Friday to everyone! Here it goes - my first Linky Party! I would love for all of you to share any of your posts on any meatless recipes that are your favorite - from soups, salads, main dishes, to desserts, drinks and anything under the Sun! We all love to get inspired over here!

Under this post you will find a link to the Linky Party... click on that link and follow instructions. I hope it will work. It is my first try, so please be patient just in case there is a glitch...

Here is my recipe for this week:
On my Facebook page you saw a picture and a promise that I will post a recipe for these yummy looking homemade tortillas... Warning ahead!!! After you try them, you will never enjoy store bought tortillas again. 

This is a part of my Meatless Friday series but of course you can use it for any of your favorite dish, meat or no meat...

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup hot tap water (about 110°F to 120°F)
(I am doing double batch in these pictures because I had some guests over that night... in case the amounts seem larger ;-)

First mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter.

Work the butter into the flour using your fingers, until it completely blends into the flour. It should look like this.

Slowly pour in the water. I stopped about 3/4 of the way and made sure it's not too much. Then I added it even slower.  

Mix it all using wooden spoon or fork (watch out, water is hot!)

Once all of it is connected, take out onto a floured surface and knead it around. Add more flour if the dough is sticky. When finished, it should look like this.

I made an oval and cut it into strips.

Then I cut those into smaller pieces. I was making soft shell tacos, so I needed smaller sizes. However if you would like large tortillas for burritos, leave them bigger. Play with the size as you go, you will get the hang of it - whatever works for you! You can always connect it back and start all over.

The good thing about this dough? It doesn't stick to anything. You don't need any more flour. Take one cut piece and flatten it using your hand.

Roll it out thin, while turing it around and over to keep shape in the circle. This was a bit funny - I ended up with all sorts of shapes at first ;-) so I just started over... Bingo!

YOU DON'T NEED TO GREESE YOUR PAN! I use cast iron pan and it works great, doesn't burn or stick.

Nice bubbles...

Watch it and flip it over after about 30 seconds (yes, it's that fast).

And you are done! You might want to make double or triple batch and freeze these. Even though these are easy, it's nice to have them ready when you are on the go!

Here is the link - let's hope this works!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

How to get rid of air holes in your homemade bread

We all love this homemade bread... don't we? (if you came to this post from search engine, click here for the original recipe post). It is so easy to make and and even easier to eat ;-) Some of you asked me personally if I had a way to get rid of the giant air holes, that seem to appear inside every loaf. Look at the picture below and you will see what I am talking about. If you like your loaf fluffier and you don't mind these holes, stick with the original. But if you would like to have a fuller bread, keep reading!

When you use the bread flour, it helps the bread fluff up. So what if you add some all purpose flour? Bingo! I tried this 3 times and it worked each time! The bread came out without the air holes and it still wasn't too tough. Go ahead, try it and let me know if that fixed the problem! I would love to hear either way so we can all learn from each other mistakes... Here is the revised recipes...

Beginning stays the same:

2 tablespoons of dry yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup of very warm water

Here is the change:

4 cups of bread flour
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of light beer (corona or bud light for example)
1 cup of sparkling water (such as Perrier or Pelegrino)
2 tablespoons of vinegar
3 teaspoons of salt

You can follow the instructions by clicking here

And here is the final "fixed" product... no holes! Enjoy...