Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Forcing Paperwhites

Forcing Paper Whites is a fun way to begin Holidays. I have been taking part in this tradition for about a decade. I remember I did this with my son when he was very young. Nicolette enjoys this and love watching how these guys grow inside during holiday. 

Although I am not a big fan of it fragrance because it could get very strong we continue to force them. 

I perform this ritual in my classroom as well. Children love watching them grow and producing beautiful flowers. This is my drive for gardening during harsh winter months…

Monday, December 29, 2014

Canning Cranberries...

Canning has become part of my cooking rituals. I like the fact that I could easily make a gift while I am cooking. Because it tis the same time I would spend in cooking a meal and I can do the canning as a part of cooking. End of the day I had made a gift, which I could tuck away for the right moment. Sometimes, if I am visiting someone in a hurry I can always take a canned item. This cut my time in half so I don't have to look for a gift or stop halfway through a drive. 

Not only that we get to enjoy some of the fresh fruits off season. Which we have come to love specially the pickles and jams. I am still a novice when it comes to jams. But I have tested all my boundaries making many kinds of jellies. 

Some might say I enjoy cooking but actually I don’t when I come to think about it. Certainly enjoy feeding my family. I know when I was young my mother stayed at home and often surprised us with many treats which to today I dearly hold those memories to my heart. 

Being isolated from many family members, its hard to ask someone to recreate those dishes. Although, I have come to recreate my own dishes with what is readily available to me at my finger tips. I often go through few blogs which is close to my heart to recreate those dishes which I have come to love. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Menu 2014

Hearts of Romain 
with Crisp Red Apples, Celery, and Cider Vinaigrette

Main Menu

Spatchcocked Turkey Roasted with Lemon, Sage, and Garlic
with Gilbert Gravy

Linguiça Sausage Stuffing 
with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

Sizzliń Corn and Jalapeño Bread 
with Bacon

Sweet Potato Purée 
with Pecan Streusel

Green Beans with Lemon-Butter Bread Crumbs
and Toasted Almonds

Cape Cod Cranberry Compote

Lemon Tart

Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake 
with Cream Cheese Frosting

Honey Rosted Bosc Pears 
with Sticky Toffee Pudding Ice Cream

Monday, November 24, 2014

This year Niegel had run two 5K’s before Thanksgiving. I volunteered for one at the campus and the other was at our town. Both of us decided that could be our tradition before Thanksgiving. We usually plant bulbs after Thanksgiving it was a tradition that we have kept for two years. 

This year we decided that we would make an attempt to run at least one 5K. If we can’t run we will attempt to walk. In addition to this we make a donation to the local food pantry. 

November is a month that we are conscious to be thankful to simple things around us including our own family members. I enjoy taking part in these activities with my children. 

Little Nicolette has been asking me to buy her sneakers so she could run a with her brother. I promised her that we are going to participate the FrostyK.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wide Rice Noodles

I remember when I was a kid I would ask my mother to make noodles. It was such a big preparation, because it needed vegetables to thinly cut and cook the meat. Getting all the ingredients together was a such a big task. I can recall to this day I was so eager to help her to make this dish because it was one of my favorite; which my mother prepared. No one to this day was able to make this lovely dish for me, but I am not complaining glad that I can cook. 

I decide to make this one pot meal to my children. The feedback is not so great but I know they liked it. My oldest really liked this because it includes his favorite meat and fish. I have make my own twists to this but still stick to the main old recipe which was handed me to by my mom. I knew how to make this by watching and helping her. 

I feel like I always make this extra because it takes a long time to prep. 

1 leek white and green part
1/4 of white cabbage
2 carrots thinly sliced as matchsticks
1 medium white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 ripe tomato diced
choice of your meat chicken/pork/beef thinly sliced drizzled with soy sauce and extra sauce for cooking
shrimp coated with soy sauce
egg omelet cut into stripes
salted fish cut into thin small piece for frying (salted cod works fine)
1 pkt of wide rice noodles
Oil for frying and cooking
sesame oil
Chili oil 

Add two tablespoons of oil to a big wok and fry the salted cod and place aside. Add beef with soy sauce to the pan and cook until  brown and turn over to cook the other side. Once this is cooked move to another bowl. Cook shrimp  and set a side. Basically cook meats and the omelet and set a side. To the same pan add two more tablespoons of cooking oil and brown the ginger and garlic mixture. To this add the carrots, cabbage, and leeks white and the green part. Cook the vegetables until they are wilted then add all the cooked meat including the omelet. Do not add salted fried fish at this point. Mix them well and add the noodles. At this point drizzle some soy, sesame, and chili oil to the mixture and add the salted fried fish and serve hot.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Planting Garlic

I skipped planting garlic last year for no apparent reason. I knew I was disappointed that the first year when I planted them I did not get any garlic scapes. This is the reason number one I did not plant them last year. Garlic scapes are simply beautiful and elegant. I would arrange them as flower arrangement because for me they are so much full of character. I use to buy them from the farmers market when I was a resident in the state of VA. 

So this year, I decided to go to town with panting garlic. I bought few bulbs from the store and ordered few from an online seed company. They came from west coast so I do have my doubts on them. We will see how well they are going to do in this east coast climate. 

I am planting five varieties this year including a hard neck which is bound to give to garlic scapes. The varieties include Elephant Garlic, Regular soft neck garlic, Harry’s Italian Late, Rosewoods, Broad Leaf Czech soft neck.  I will be panting them soon. We have dedicated a raise bed only for garlic this year. I am very keen on Elephant Garlic, I don't know for what I might use it yet. The store kind wont produce any scapes for sure I know this from practice, but I am eager to see what will happen to the elephant garlic will it produce any scape, or not? The other kinds are from a certified organic farm which gives some informations about its characters. Have to wail till mid June to find the results. I might not have to buy garlic from the grocery store who knows… 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Above is a picture of our garden before we decided to pull all our green tomatoes. Yes, with some help before everything freezers we thought it was a good idea to pull our tomato plants and add them to the compost. The result, I ended up with so many green tomatoes. Again I have not make fried green tomatoes. Because I have been making salsas and chutneys. 

First I made a batch of green tomato chutney then salsa and then chutney again. That is exactly how I finished all our green tomatoes. One reason not to have fried green tomatoes. I have not yet, open any of my chutneys. Mainly I think it needs some curing time to get all the flavors to blend in.

That being said we had our first snow showers this past weekend, and our chicken did layed eggs on that day. I think we have two ladies on the clock laying eggs for us. Yeah!!! For the Rhode Island Reds they are the best layers. 

Back to green tomatoes, This years salsa has some extra heat from habanero chillies and jalapeños. I have been using the left overs to add heat to curries and sambols we make constantly to keep us warm. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pear Vanilla Jam...

It is the season for pears, apples, pumpkins, and in few months oranges. I remember couple of weeks back we had too many pears in our fruit bowl and some were getting bruised. Pears are one of my favorite fruit next to figs. Yes, I love figs but I don't get to enjoy them a much. Mainly I have not found a good reliable source to get good figs to enjoy. I have not found them in huge quantities to jam them yet. I am being hopeful that one day I might. 

I decided to jam my batch of pears. We love it. I followed a recipe from “Food in Jars” which I have come to love very much. It was a great recipe amazingly I had everything I needed at my finger tips. That is a one reason to can. Second reason I have become extremely sensitive to throwing food away. I enjoy donating to the local food pantry whenever I can. I am big on donating during Thanksgiving month which I get to do a lot. I have notice that I use all my produce before going to the grocery store more often. 

I know Marisa, the canning queen is working on a, more of a smooth textured jam on pears. But I do like the texture in this and the combination of pears and vanilla, it is almost equal to heaven, Yes, it is that good. I will be baking more homemade wheat breads this winter to spread this delicious jam. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I feel a bit unbalance not making any entries in my blog. We have been so busy lately mainly running around to get things done during weekends. When I look back my blog entries for me are collection of activities I get to get done. One day I can look back at my energy level, and say ah yes, I remember I use to work on this project a lot. Not that I am not making any projects but something gets in the way. 

I promise to myself I will be blogging more in 2015. I will continue to blog for the rest of this year as well. That is a promise I am going to make for myself and I dearly hope that I will be able to make it.

That being said this, I wanted blog a bit about this past weekend. It was a bit crazy weekend for us actually on a second thought it was a lot more crazy weekend, events, cooking, meets, and fair play time. I was toasted on Sunday and decided to do nothing. Which I could say, that I spent one entire day doing nothing, watching movies with my children, connecting with teenage friends, and a bit of reading. 

I like to think having few minutes a day to blog will make my schedule more organized so I can still keep a somewhat detailed record of my activities to look back in later years. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tomato and Peach Jam,

This is my second year of making jam, I guess you become more seasoned as you go along. I had few tomatoes from the garden and two peaches sitting on my fruit bowl almost mocking at me. 

I hate to throw away vegetables, and I have become really good at not practicing to waste food. 

I know as I write there are many countries cannot have access to fresh water and fruits and vegetables. I use to toss vegetables all the time but I have become a better person. 

I happy to have our flock, so somedays nothing goes to waste. Back to jam, recipe I followed is from Food in Jars, but I add two peaches to this jam and cook the living daylight out of this batch of tomatoes and two peaches. I slightly burn a bit as well, which I am not that happy though. 

I have to admit, the final product with some undertones of peach is just divine on a piece of toast. I tried a bit on baked fish it was delicious. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Simple Fleece Blanket...

Little bud has been getting blankets from me often. When she was a baby, I made her a lot of blankets, because I like making them. It was my way of wrapping her with love. She enjoyed them very much I know for sure. 

She still use them when she can. Now that she has become this tall gal, I had to keep up making bigger blankets for her.

I love the remnant rack at the fabric store. Few weeks ago, I bought this and it was just sitting,I wanted to make her something with owls this season. 

I made this simple blanket with fleece, this was my first time using the serger, and I did it! It is a very simple way to make a blanket and can make it easily within few minutes. I simply straighten edges, by cutting the selvage and the rounded the corners using a plate. This is a very simple blanket, to transfer towards fall. Another project made at home. 

I had made blankets for few other friends who wanted receiving blankets. I wish I knew how to do these before I had my little one.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Making yogurt @ home

Making yogurt at home has become an extremely a fun project to do. Plain yogurt satisfying our less sugar craving desires, while adding benefits to our health. But it was hard to get, little one to eat, because she has tasted the store kind. 

She would say, but, “I like the kind with the fruit on the bottom.” Yes, I agree if I am six too. In order to satisfy her I would try to mix in a small amount of jam into the plain yogurt but she would insists she likes the fruit on the “Bottom.”

In order to get her to eat without complaining, I decided to make few with our tiny weck jars it was an adorable and successful attempt! 

Why not add a bit of honey, says a voice in my head, so it was honey. I love it and my older guy gulp it down. Hmm… I don't know how I am going to keep up with him. 

Making yogurt was a really good thing that had happened to us. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Becoming a Lady...

Yesterday, evening, I went out to take a little breather after a busy day. Pasta party, meets weekends, art sessions, and a playdate a lll crunched up into few hors we were all engaged in something. During my quick outside trip to make sure chickens have clean water and wanting to give them kale ribs. I peaked inside to find out one of my chickens have becomed a lady! 

Yes, just that, I think peanut has begun to lay eggs. They were all in a some kind of a conversation and I felt like I was in the middle of it. But only downside of it was I couldn't understand what they were ranting about. 

Being super excited I rushed inside to grab the camera and asking Nigel to find the answer to my riddle. I head outside to snap few pictures. It was a super exciting I even had to share it with my neighbor who was heading inside after a long day of work. I quickly took the egg out and and pluck few other garden crops and headed inside to finish the rest of the evening which was pack with activities to the brim!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall is upon us...

Fall has approached us quietly, adding a dryness to the air. The garden is prepping for winter by itself. I can see the leaves falling gently on the ground. Our grass has become so brittle due to the lack of rain this year. I miss seeing the green patch outside. We added few mums to our annual containers. Chickens are enjoying the cooler breeze as much as I do. 

August was really hot for us and some days I felt like it was astronomically high may be due to the heavy canning in our house. Capturing the garden under the dapple sun was fun few days ago. 

Chickens have got use to the treats that I bring to them with a pleasant welcome. I like to think at this point they are all hens, but I have my doubt on Noah. 

Soon it will be time for me to pull the rest of the tomato plants and make a salsa verde or a chutney with it. I am looking forward to prep the raised beds for this spring. 


Craft a day, I don't think it a good way to start my day as I feel like I have to make something everyday. I do recall reading an interview of a photographer who gave up her job to create. I can see my self easily doing doing something like that. I am excited begin 2015 and kind scared of the uncertainties it will bring to us.