July 30, 2010

Picture This.....

Picture this;  it's about 7:30PM, the sun is still shining, but beginning its decent behind the trees producing shadows across the fields. I'm inside looking out the big windows towards the fields.....  

My eyes and mind started seeing and thinking in 'quilt'. It was kind of like dreaming in a foreign language for a few minutes! I could see the clear blue sky in the top section, then the field was alternating strips of darker greens and lighter greens (for the shadow effects) and then about 2/3 of the way down was gray and browns for the rock wall. Going up one side is white and dark gray and dark greens for the huge birch tree and on the other side is edging in a barn red color with a splash of yellow & green for the barn & sunflowers and at the bottom are browns & varieties of green for the garden. 

Can you see it in your mind's eye!!???  (It's ok if you don't!) It was a really awesome experience! I'm going to try to capture it in a picture and maybe make a SMALL quilt of it!! Just so you get an idea of what I'm talking about, you have to visit Kara's blog! I was visiting her blog earlier in the week and was so taken by her quilt I'm sure this is where these thoughts came from! Her mom has given her an incredible gift in teaching her how to make these beautiful pieces of art! She is an amazing young lady and a blessing to know!

July 29, 2010

Best Ever Texas Caviar

After trying a delicious new bean dip at a my friend Cathy's house a couple weeks ago, I set out to make it myself! YUMMY is the only word to describe this wonderful creation! (Ok, maybe fabulous, scrumptious and awesome would work too!)

I went into search mode to find this recipe on a few 'recipe sites' and came up with one that worked for me!! Out of respect, I didn't want to post my recipe until she posted hers...  but now, I can't wait to share it with you!

As it turns out, our recipes are almost the same! Naturally, I made a few adjustments to suit my family's taste buds... but here it is (my changes are in color).

Best-Ever Texas Caviar

2 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed    (I used one)
2 (15 oz) can white corn, drained & rinsed
2 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained & rinsed     (I used one)
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies, undrained  (omitted)
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded & diced
1 red bell pepper &
1 greem bell pepper, seeded & diced  (I used green peppers)
1 small red onion, diced     (I used 1/2 of a Vidalia onion)
1 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped  (I used dried)
1/2 Cup rice vinegar
1/2 Cup olive oil (I used canola oil)
1/3 Cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

After dicing & chopping put the veggies in a bowl. Put the vinegar & sugar in another bowl & put it in the microwave to disolve the sugar. Add the oil & spices... blend well then mix in with the veggies! Serve with tortilla chips or scoops!! I served them with lime tortilla chips....  THEY WERE INCREDIBLE! (Next time, I'll definately use the green & red peppers for more color variation!)

This 'Texas Caviar' is being proudly being displayed with a dear friend's Texas colors.....   THANKS AGAIN Kristy!  I know, I know, I can hear you now; "WHAT?? You left out the green chilies!!"  Yes, my friend... I did indeed! I'll leave that up to you and your 'hots' loving friends to add back in!     :)   ENJOY!!

July 28, 2010

Check This Out ... PURPLE BEANS!

We've grown them before and they are alot of fun! I wish they'd can or freeze purple... but that just isn't gonna happen! These beans grow dark purple... they are picked, washed & eaten raw as purple, but as soon as you add them to hot water.... shazzam, they become green! :) I took pictures to show you...  it is true!!

Here they are freshly picked, cut & washed! We have two varieties; yellow 'wax' beans and then the purple 'green' bean!

Here is the pot of hot water....  I just put them in!

Now, it is only a couple of minutes later.... check this out!

OK, now it has been maybe 8+ minutes......

Voila.... ready to eat!!   (And yes, they are scrumptious! Salt & butter are NOT needed!)

July 21, 2010

Here's a Rather Funny Sounding Word.... "Cucurbits"

Here's a rather funny sounding word; "cucurbits"! This word refers to cucurbitaceae, which is the plant family  more widely known as melons & gourds!! (Including cucumbers, zuchinni, watermelons, pumpkins etc.) Who knew that?? I sure didn't! This month's 'Can-Jam' was chosen by 'Laudry Etc' .... thanks for the vocabulary lesson!

What a hard choice.... but, it is WAY TOO EARLY for pumpkins (that would have been fun) so that gets crossed off the list. I did find a delicious looking watermelon jelly recipe that I hope to try later in the summer, but for now I have to stick with cucumbers or zuchinni and the hard choice between 'Dill Pickles" (an annual event in our home!), zuchinni relish (also VERY yummy!) or the pickles that we have dubbed "Audrey Pickles"!! The boys' favorite are the dills but Audrey's favorite is the "Crisp Sweet Pickle"!! By default, since we don't have alot of cucumbers yet, the zuchinni wins!

In 1991, we traveled down to Charleston, SC and my mother's wise advice was; "Be sure to always buy a cookbook from the areas that you visit....." While we were checking out the area I found this delightful cookbook called, "Caterin' To Charleston"! It has lots of fun recipes but this one caught my eye and has been a family treasure ever since!

As with EVERY good cook, I make my own changes! The basic change that I've made to this recipe is that instead of slicing the cucumbers or zuchinnis, I use rinds. This way, I use the smaller cucs for dill pickles and the ones that get away from me, I use to make these pickles!! (Rind: peel the cuc or zuc then slice it in half, scoop out the seeds and cut the rest into bite sized chunks) BRAINSTORM: I'd LOVE to try this with recipe watermelon rinds.... I bet that would be amazing!!  **NOTE** The lime the recipe calls for is a pickling lime...  I've found the "Mrs.Wages" brand in the local feed & seed stores and in larger chains of dept. stores that carry canning supplies!

The second change I made is water bathing!!  This recipe doesn't call for water bathing, but from what I've been learning this year.... I now waterbath my pickles for 10 minutes!! 

The best thing about these pickles is that they don't need the curing time as dill pickles do!! They are ready to eat immediately! Delicious on your plate or cut up even smaller and added to potato salad!! :)

July 5, 2010

The Adventures of Tweak....

Tweak loves going outside! Today he learned about rabbits & chickens....
The rabbits was nibbling grass & clover and Tweak wanted to play!
I wish I snapped the camera quicker then I did, he had his paw
in the cage and was trying to engage this guy to play!
Poor Tweak... after a while, I'm sure he was thinking.... BORING!
On to the next adventure....   wait, what was that? A BIRD... a BIG BIRD!!
Hmmm, i'm just gonna watch for a minute or two!
Oh No... she saw me! Maybe I can still catch her!
This was hysterical!! The hen ran and Tweak ran right after her...
She was squawking for all she was worth and alarming the others
and Tweak was rather bewildered at the noise and her
being so fast for only having two feet!!