Saturday, March 30, 2019

Hawaiian Rice


I like to use jasmine rice. One evening, when I was making a slow-cooker Hawaiian pork, I thought that I might sex up the rice a bit. 

Diced carrot, pineapple, celery and cilantro and added some dashes of soy sauce and hot sesame oil. That will be added to the steamed rice near the end of its cooking time. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

How To Use Figs in Recipes


This year, my garden is growing a LOT of produce. One thing I'm super excited about is the fig tree. I adore figs. Here's some facts about this amazing ancient fruit - 

high fiber
potassium (lowers BP)
calcium (increases substantially if you dry the figs)
antioxidants
can be added to gargle for sore throat

What to do with figs?

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and honey
Slice on pancakes
Put in oatmeal
Dehydrate
Make jam
Make chutney
Wrap in proscuitto and grill
Put on Bruschetta with ricotta, thyme and pecans
Put on salads
Put in fruit salad
Put on pizza with carmelized onions, blue cheese and balsamic vinegar
Spread with oil and grill, adding balsamic vinegar 


More ideas - LINK

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Tropical Salsa



It's that time of the year when it's heating up here in the desert. It makes me want to have something tropical and sweet, spicy and chilly. There is nothing better than a good tropical salsa.

Make it your own, but include items like - 
pineapple
cilantro
jalapeno
red pepper
red onion
mango
papaya
green onions
salt and pepper

I save some of the tropical fruit and put in a plastic bag in the freezer to make smoothies with some greek yogurt and coconut water, but the rest goes into the salsa.

It's great on wrap sandwiches, with blackened fish or chicken, on salads, and with chips by the poolside.




Wednesday, March 27, 2019

It's Mojito Weather!



Mojitos generally contain lime, mint, white rum, sugar, and club soda. But, variations of that mix can be done with other citrus such as watermelon or orange. Be creative with other items like watermelon, cucumber, and berries.



Muddling: Crushing items to release their flavors and oils. 

In the case of a mojito, you take about 10 mint leaves and about a half a lime cut into thin wedges and about a tablespoon of sugar or more and crush them together in the glass. As I don't have a mortar pestle, I utilized a Japanese tea cup bottom to crush the mix in a bowl and then transferred it to a glass. 

Now, you add about 1-1/2 oz of white rum and fill with ice, add club soda to top it off. 

Variations: 

Pineapple crushed, simple syrup, lemon juice, white rum, club soda. 

Strawberries, mint, lime, white rum, sugar, club soda. 

Mango, lime, mint, white rum, sugar, club soda


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

All Things Ginger!


Ginger as a color, a scent, a flavor, a healer, and a drink. It is a very versatile rhizome. Here's a short synopsis of all that is ginger and how to gingerize your life!

Growing Ginger


Soak the ginger root in warm water overnight to prepare for planting. Fill a shallow, wide plant pot (ginger roots grow horizontally) with rich, well-draining potting soil. Place the ginger root with the eye bud pointing up and cover it with 1-2 inches more of soil. It prefers the southern climates.


GINGER SCENTS

4711 Acqua Colonia Lemon and Ginger 
Origins Ginger Essence
Terranova White Ginger

GINGER ALE

1-1/2 oz of minced ginger root
6 oz of sugar
7-1/2 oz filtered water
1/8 tsp active dry yeast
2 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Put ginger, sugar and 1/2 c.water in saucepan over medium high heat. Heat until sugar dissolves. Remove, cover and let steep for an hour. Pour syrup over cheesecloth over a bowl to strain. Press to squeeze all the liquid out. Put over bowl of ice in fridge to chill. 
Funnel into a clean bottle with the yeast, other 7 c. of water, and lemon juice. 
Cap it and gently shake. Leave at ROOM TEMP for at least 48 hours, check for amount of carbonation. Once you are pleased with the amount, refrigerate it. Will last 2 weeks in fridge but open it once a day. LINK

CANDIED GINGER


Cut ginger into 2-inch pieces and slice lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices. Score ginger slices by pricking with a fork. Combine ginger-sugar mixture and water in a large skillet or wok; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts into a syrup and starts to crystallize, about 1 hour.



Ginger is great in chutneys, jams, Asian food, candied ginger, pickled ginger. LINK

In the summer time, I put some chopped root into water with fruits or cucumber, cilantro, and have a refreshing drink. Ginger is fantastic as a tea or in tea. I make a tea using ginger, blueberries, honey, and cinnamon. I like to eat it raw. Candied ginger is my favorite candy. Pickled ginger is amazing with sushi and Asian food! 


NAUSEA AND MOTION SICKNESS

Ginger tablets are used for nausea or motion sickness. If you are queasy, there is a reason folks recommend ginger ale. What you really want is the tablet. It is as effective as dramamine. 


ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

LINK Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and shown to have effect on those with osteoarthritis. 

COLOR

True Value Ginger Root Paint B176

Guerlain Ginger Rouge Lipstick

OPI Ginger Bells nail polish


It's hot and spicy, sweet and earthy, crisp and colorful. You can feel the vitality the moment you taste it, smell it, see it! 

Ginger - the cure for soul's melancholy. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

How Healthy Are Your Intestines?


Ever wonder about your intestine's transit time and if you're healthy there? 

Eat beets.

Once you eat beets, watch your stool until you have a BM that is maroon. That will show you transit time. Consider it a tracer agent. 

Average for men is 33 hours, women 47 hours (horrible).

Standard American diet can mean a transit time of 60-100 hours. That's insane! 

12-24 hours is considered great (I'm 19 hours and proud!).

Ways to add fiber

Utilize whole grains (not whole wheat). Eat Muesli cereal for breakfast. Increase your veggies and fruits. Take a fiber supplement. Eat oatmeal or add oats to your smoothie. Don't avoid beans - they can be added to casseroles, roasted meats, in tortillas, chili....


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Shepherd's Pie


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Preheat oven to 400. 2 T. of butter in saucepan on medium high. Add 1 c. onion diced, 2 carrots diced. Cook a few mins. Dice 2 cloves of garlic and add. Add 1 pound of ground beef, salt and pepper. Cook several minutes. 

Sprinkle meat with 2 T. flour and toss to coat. Add 2 tsp tomato paste, 1 c. chicken broth, 1 tsp worstershire, 2 tsp rosemary and 1 tsp thyme. 

Bring to boil, reduce heat, put lid on and simmer for 10-12 mins. Add 1/2 c. peas. 

Grease an casserole pan and put meat mix into it. Top with mashed potatoes (I use instant, but if you make them, mix mashed boiled potatoes with half and half). Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mix. Seal the edges so it doesn't bubble over.

Place the pan on a cooking sheet and put in oven for 25 mins. Cool 15 mins before serving.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Cilantro and Grapefruit-Infused Watermelon Sorbet



Watermelon sorbet with cilantro and grapefruit infused simple syrup. Heat up 1/3 c sugar and 1/3 c water until sugar melts. Add cilantro and 1 T grapefruit juice. Let sit while you cut up individual size watermelon. Remove cilantro and process watermelon and syrup into puree. Pour in pan and freeze. Every few hours take a spoon and scrape up icy contents and keep freezing until it's all frozen. Can also do this with liquor and simple syrup and melon.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Cheeseburger Soup


This exceptionally tasty meal is worth the effort.

Dice up 3/4 c. carrots, 3/4 c. onion, 3/4 c. celery. Brown a pound of hamburger in a pan and remove hamburger and put in crockpot or stove pot (depending on how quickly you want to prepare it). 

Now, in that pan, put in diced veggies, 2 T. butter, and 1 tsp parsley and 2 tsp Cowboy Spice Company Old Texas Trail Steak Dust and heat 10 mins until tender.

Add this mix to the hamburger in the pot with 3. chicken broth and 4 c. tiny diced potatoes.

Cook until tender. Then, mix 2 T butter with 1/4 c. flour in pan to make golden roux. Add that to the soup with 1-1/2 c. milk. Add 8 oz diced Velveeta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until warm and melted and thick. Then, turn off heat and add 1/4 c. sour cream.

This soup is off the charts in taste. Everyone adores it - a super winner! 


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Country Chicken on a Rainy Day


It was a rainy day and I was able to tuck inside and work on writing book 3 of my 3-book paranormal romance series - 
Book One:  Ghost of a Chance!
Book Two: (going to publication soon) "Tall, Dark and Elusive!"
Book Three: "Threshold Bound!"

And also got to write some posts on my primary blog Ghost Hunting Theories.


I took half chicken breasts, placed them in a baking pan, covered with whole cloves of garlic, about 6! And, onion, broccoli, carrot, and other veggies with aromatic qualities. I added some bits of jalapeno for some zip and then ground pepper, salt, lemon thyme, and rosemary. I covered it with tin foil and put in a low temperature oven at about 250 degrees for a few hours until super tender. It will be served with wild rice.

You can add sherry, butter, Herbes de Provence, or mushrooms.








Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Growing Fresh Herbs and Health Benefits


I am a HUGE fan of Cowboy Spice Company's mixes because they are healthy, clean, natural sources for the herbs and spices and the mixes allow you to not only have amazing flavors, but the benefits of the amazing healthy world of herbs and spices. 

Sometimes, however, you want to grow fresh herbs and you wonder just what each herb and spice can do for your health. 

I'm going to share how I herb garden and what I know about how to use these fresh items in your cooking and your health from teas to smoothies.

Here's the basic ones I always have on-hand. Sometimes, I add others or interesting varieties, such as lemon thyme, but these are my staples for cooking and health - 

Italian Parsley
Reducing cancer risks, helps immune system, fights inflammation, protects blood vessels, digestive tract help, reduce prostate issues, high in vitamin K.
How to make parsley tea from fresh parsley (LINK). I put it in smoothies with raw fruits, veggies, and roots for super powerful antioxidants and clean flavor. I also put it into chopped salads.

Thyme
Thyme adds a wonderful earthy taste to what you cook. Great for sore throats and viruses, wound healing, diuretic, heart health, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-inflammatory. 
How to make a powerful healing thyme tea from fresh (LINK). Add to salads or smoothies for raw ingestion.

Rosemary
Rosemary is a potent and aromatic herb. I like adding it to baked meats and also mixed with Italian dressing to enhance it. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, enhances memory and concentration, brain protection, anti-cancer, helps protect from macular degeneration. 
Recipe to make healing tea (LINK)
It is great in salads and smoothies for raw ingestion.

Basil
This fantastic herb we often consider synonymous with Mediterranean cooking, spaghetti sauce and pizza, is fantastically healthy. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, natural antibacterial, cancer fighting. 
Recipe to make basil tea from fresh basil (LINK).
Once again, great raw in smoothies and salads. 

Cilantro 
Helps remove heavy metals from body like mercury and lead, helps balance blood sugar, helps anxiety, helps brain function. This is found in a lot of Asian and Mexican food, in salsa and a very clean bright taste.
How to make tea from fresh cilantro (LINK)
I love it in smoothies and salads. 

Explore more about the health benefits of fresh herbs (LINK).

If you are looking for serious hardcore health benefit, consider growing turmeric and ginger. I go through so much of them, I am now growing!








Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Beer-Batter Fish and Chips


I love fish and chips. I do it the way my mom did, but I added the perfect spice - Cowboy Spice Company Coconut Fins and Feathers. 

This one is as simple as 1-1/2 c. flour mixed with a can of beer. Add seasoning to taste. Pat the cod dry and rub and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Get oil hot to 375. Dredge it flour and then in the batter. Cook about 4-5 minutes. You can keep these cooked ones on a pan in a low temperature oven, like 275, until you finish cooking each batch.

Some folks fry the french fries too, but I like to do them in the oven. 

Sauce - I mix 1 part horseradish sauce to 2 parts ketchup. Some folks do tartar sauce, but this one is great! 





Monday, March 11, 2019

Gardening For Cooking



Just some of the organic heirloom edibles growing in my garden right now - 

corn
watermelon
cantaloupe
goji berries
prickly pear
ginger
sunflowers
chamomile
gourds (to make bird houses)
rainbow carrots
rainbow beets
herbs
aloe vera
grapefruit
navel orange
purple potatoes
dandelion

Why grow dandelion? The roasted roots of dandelion are exceedingly healthy in a tea. The greens are also great for you. It helps joint pain, eczema, gallstones, and great for digestion. The roasted root made into tea has anti-cancer properties.

Aloe? I eat aloe vera and it has many health benefits. It is an antioxidant, antibacterial, that reduces dental plaque, improves skin, helps constipation, and lowers blood sugar levels. 




If you have blood sugar issues, consider grapefruit, aloe vera, goji berries, and prickly pear.

What about goji berries? These grow on a bush and are slightly tart berries that are higher in antioxidants than other berries. They help prevent cancer growth, help blood sugar levels, help improve cholesterol levels and help with weight loss.

The unbelievably fragrant and beautiful flowers on the chamomile plant make a tea that is very relaxing and the ideal bedtime tea. It has antioxidants that are great for cancer and heart disease prevention.

The prickly pear is high in antioxidants, fiber, decreases blood sugar levels, anti-inflammatory, and high in vitamins and minerals. Ironically, this tasty fruit (cross between watermelon and bubble gum flavor) makes a great margarita and also a cure for hangovers.

Gardening has tons of benefits:

Recycling 
Composting scraps of egg shell, coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, fruit skins, newspaper, etc. Check local landscaping companies and city utilities to see if they offer free wood chips/wood mulch. Many shred up limbs and trees and end up with tons of mulch that they will take to your driveway and dump for free. 

Water conservation 
Utilizing drip systems and wood chips/shavings to protect the soil and keep it from drying out.

Exercise 
Nothing like digging, reaching, tying, building raised platforms, picking, mulching, composting to make you strong.

Vitamin D 
The natural form of vitamin D, from the sun, is ideal for mood and health.

Stress relief 
The time outdoors in a quiet, peaceful area with the wind, the rain, the breezes, and scents all make you feel relieved of the weight of the world. There is something very spiritual about seeing the process of life and feeling responsible for clearing the way for it to do its thing. A tiny seed becomes a giant sunflower. There is nothing more humbling than witnessing that process. The senses are stimulated outdoors, your breathe deeply, your muscles are in use, and the stress release is immediate.

Robust health from vitamins, minerals, fiber
Health benefits of eating what you garden are extensive and the nutrients are fresh and live and not sitting in a store dying off and having been picked too soon to ship.

Protecting environment 
Utilizing heirloom seeds and propagating the seeds for next season is a good way to avoid the awful GMO sterile seeds from store-bought produce. As well, not utilizing weed killer and bug sprays is a huge boon. You also attract wildlife and beneficial creatures like geckos, grasshoppers, lady bugs that eat bugs, as well as a wide variety of birds.

Amazing taste
Fresh fruits, veggies and herbs are amazing compared to the bland store-bought stuff. Fresh, crisp and flavorful makes your meals a thousand times better and encourages family members to want to eat raw and fresh)

Think outside the box for possible growing areas - 





Regional gardening channels on YouTube are a huge help. Here are two of my very favorite gardening channels that show the viability of it, the passion, the beauty, and the benefits.

Roots and Refuge Farm
Late Bloomer


Expect to see me showing some cooking utilizing these garden grows coming up this springtime. I will include videos, recipes, and photographs, advising on how varieties grew and their advantages and disadvantages.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Bruschetta Canapes Party


A restaurant that truly understands how to do bruschetta, Postino in the Phoenix Area is a fantastic adventure in taste and class. 





Some wine and amazing ingredients and you have a great spread for folks to make their own bruschetta canapes. Make a buffet spread and even leave out some recipe cards for ideas if they aren't terribly creative.

Slice the Italian bread or other loaf into 1/2" slices, spread with olive oil and bake to crispy. Put in a basket.

Base ingredients
pesto
marscapone cheese
ricotta
soft goat cheese
tomato jam
red pepper jam
chutney
smoked salmon spread
fresh mozzarella 

Meats
bacon crumbles
prosciutto
smoked salmon
very thinly cut pepperoni cooked until crispy
blackened chicken
tiny shrimp 


Toppers
capers
chopped dates
mushrooms
pistachio nuts
fresh basil
tomato
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
dill
roasted garlic
cilantro 

Pull out some good wines to mix with the spread and you have a party everyone remembers! 






Herbed Chicken on Mashed Yams

Pretty easy but fancy meal with very complex exciting tastes. The lemon acid and the sweet yams mix well together. Cut up and peel one ...