Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Favorites

Outdoor Blanket - love this idea to use for picnics and just sitting in the lawn
DIY Outdoor Movie Get Together - links to lots of ideas to use at an outdoor movie party
Out of the Box Food - a site that gives you alternatives to processed "kid" food
Chicken Stuffed Poblano Pepper - looks like a good recipe
Board and Batten - DIY Board and Batten

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Community Shared Agriculture - Week 5

It's hard for me to believe that not only is it June, but that we are already into the 5th week of this seasons CSA share.  I feel like time is flying by and while that means we are entering into the best part of the CSA season (summer time in NJ) it also means that we say goodbye to some of the springtime favorites like asparagus, strawberries, and once the weather turns warmer many of those spring time greens.

My family enjoyed the asparagus while it was here and we will be sorry to see it go, but we are looking forward to the summer squash varieties and fresh tomatoes from the vine, and all the delicious summer fruits, and most definitely summer corn.

That to me is one of the best parts of the CSA box, is learning to truly enjoy the moment and what is in season and at the peak of freshness during that season.  Sure we miss some of our favorites and could easily pick them up from imported sources at the local grocery store.  Yet it wouldn't be the same as when we get them picked fresh from the farm.

So this week because it was raining so much my children didn't get to spend time at the farm and we only went to pick up our box.  In our box, however, were some delicious items.  We were once again presented with an abundance of strawberries (the pick your own season for strawberries will be coming to a close in about 3 weeks in NJ), several varieties of lettuce, some onions, radishes, broccoli, leeks, tomatoes, kale, turnips, kohlrabi, and a cilantro plant.  I learned this week while at the farm that the variety of cilantro plant that we received is considered to be chinese parsley.  who knew!  not me that's for sure.

I am going to be challenged a bit this week to find uses for my turnips, kohlrabi, and radishes.  Last year I gave most of those to my neighbor and didn't really try them out on my family.  This year I plan to source up some recipes (I'll share those with you next week) and use my root veggies to their finest extent.  (and of course pray that my family eats them!)  If any of you have some good cooking tips for these or a recipe to share, please do.  I would appreciate any input.

My oldest daughter informed me that we have far too many strawberries and before they go bad she wanted to make a pie.  So we did.  Below is the recipe for strawberry pie that we used.  It turned out really well and was simply to make.  We will also be making some jam from our strawberries this week.

I took the recipe from strawberry pie from Cooking Light Magazine.


  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry gelatin (sugar free)
  • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • fresh mint


  1. Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until slightly cooled.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange strawberries in the crust. Pour gelatin mixture over berries. Refrigerate until set. Garnish with mint if desired.

**note**  I did not choose to use my own pastry shell this time around as I had a pre made one already in the house, but you certainly could use your own pastry shell recipe if you have the time and desire.  Because I was baking with littles, it was easier to use the pre made pastry shell.  I use pillsbury brand.

**Note**  you could also use regular gelatin if you didn't want to use sugar free jello, but the strawberries were already so sweet on their own there was no reason to use the regular jello in our pie.  

Crockpot Honey Chicken

I love using the crockpot in the summer because it doesn't heat up the kitchen as much as using the oven.  I also can put stuff in and let it cook all day and not have so much of a rush around dinner time.   

I found this recipe via Pinterest but I am not linking to the recipe as there were SO MANY blogs that posted this recipe and all of them were just a little bit different.  So I just kind of  pulled things from several of the recipes to get this version.  I have to say when I first started seeing this on Pinterest, I was thinking it looks so good that I was ready to make in the moment but when I looked at the ingredients I was stopped up short because one of the ingredients is ketchup.  I just couldn't imagine the combination of ingredients would work well.  But it worked. It doesn't taste like ketchup and honey in the end. It just has a slight sweet flavor but it is hard to tell where that flavor comes from exactly. Master loved this - he was saying  "more" - instantly after eating a serving of it. He said he wants me to make it again soon.  We did also notice that the flavors got even better the next night.  It was really good the first night, but it was even better with the second night. 

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs work too - it ended up being 2 LARGE chicken breast to make a pound and it made several meals for the 2 of us)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon olive oil (could also use vegetable oil or canola oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce or red pepper flakes (doesn't really add heat, just adds more flavor)

Put chicken into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and hot sauce/pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high 3 – 2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve over rice or noodles.

I served with rice that I tossed with some steamed peas.  This doesn't make much sauce so if you are wanting more - I would I think add some chicken broth towards the end with some cornstarch to thicken it and mix with the other sauce already in there to get flavor.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Simple yet Delicious Breakast

This morning I was looking through my pantry to see what I could possibly feed everyone for breakfast, as it is slim pickings on pantry items right now in our home.  My girls got up far too early (insert before the birds chirp) so breakfast came very early as well (it's not even 8am while I type this and they have eaten breakfast and I have cleaned it up!)

I realized I had just enough ingredients to make popovers.

I couldn't remember the ingredients for them so I wound up using this recipe from the food network website.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 teaspoon room temperature for pan
4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a 6-cup popover pan with the 1 teaspoon of butter.
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the cups of the popover pan, each should be about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce each in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm.

**note**  I was too lazy to break out my food processor so early in the morning so I used a wire disk and everything came out just great!  

We served the popovers with warm honey butter and fresh berries from the farm.  Everyone ate and no one complained!  That's a WIN at our house.
The added benefit of popovers is they are a great addition for any meal.  Serve with fruit for a light breakfast, or serve as a savory bread dish instead of a dinner roll with a nice dinner.  Or stuff them filled with some lunch meat or veggies for a quick on the go lunch.

Enjoy  :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Favorites

How do I go Green? With Sustainable Baby Steps  -  a website devoted to going green - even have a free ebook

Baked Asparagus Fries with 3 Dipping Sauces  - I can't wait to try this and the dipping sauces!

Cut Your Spending by $400 a month - some budget cutting ideas - not that you can use all of them or all of them every month even but there are some ideas here that might help cut some spending

Messenger Bag Tutorial - I wish I could sew well enough to make this - love it and the fabrics used

Sunburn Solution - solution to sooth sunburned skin. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge


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