Friday, October 9, 2015

The Red Tent review

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, book image is from Goodreads site. 5 stars.
This novel has been around for a while and on my list of books to be read for a few years now.
This is the fictionalized story of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob from the Book of Genesis. Anita Diamant does a beautiful job of bringing these women to life. The red tent was where the women went during their monthly cycles, as they were not to be around men when they were considered "unclean", where they delivered their babies, and lived a good part of their days with each other. An interesting and informative look into the lives and practices of the midwives who were truly gifted doctors and healers really, who were taught by the generations of women before them. If you have a hard time keeping track of the lineage, the Bible does a pretty good job of telling you who begat whom :)
Am looking forward to the film version, hope they do a good job with this one.

Fall Porch Decor

The start of my fall decorating! I love this time of year with the cooler sunny days and turning leaves. So beautiful. I made the wreath on the door, not sure if I love it but not too horrible for my first attempt at a wreath. The cinnamon broom behind the basket of flowers smells really wonderful, warm, and welcoming (welcome if you are friend or family and not selling something :)
The basket was some annuals I rescued from my summer garden and I padded it up a bit with some mums and glacier pansies. On the lookout for a life sized skeleton to recline in the chair.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Organic Vegetable Broth

What to do with an abundance of vegetables hanging out in your refrigerator? This is really easy to put together, you don't need fancy knife skills or special equipment. A large stockpot, a strainer lined with cheesecloth if you have it, and you're all set. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. For this batch I used all organic produce: 3 parsnips, 5 celery stalks leaves and all, one leek, 7 carrots, 1 large sweet onion, small bunch parsley, some thyme sprigs, 4 smashed garlic cloves, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I gave all of this a quick saute in 2 tbsp. olive oil, then covered it with water and simmered until the veggies were tender, approximately 45 minutes. Strained and stored in containers for the week's various recipes.    

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

These were seriously the best pancakes I've ever had. I found the recipe in the Le Creuset Cast Iron way to cook Cookbook.
For the pancakes: 1 1/3 c. sifted AP flour, 4 tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 c. buttermilk (I used lowfat), 1/2 c. milk (I used whole), 3 tbsp. melted butter, 2 large eggs.
For the topping: 1 can pitted cherries, 1 tbsp. sugar, finely grated zest of 1 lemon (this totally made the sauce), 2 tsp. cornstarch. Drain the cherries and reserve juice. Put cherries, sugar, lemon zest and 4 tbsp reserved juice in pan over medium heat. Bring to gentle boil. Mix cornstarch with a little bit of water and add, simmer until thickened. If you want to splurge, add a bit of cherry brandy. I used Royal (Queen) Ann cherries, easy to find here in the Pacific Northwest. Oh my....
I had a few and stopped myself from going for more by freezing the rest of the batch individually in the freezer, ready for another day or for when Billy comes home for a visit. This will be my "go to" pancake recipe from here on.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

End of Summer Soup

 This is a wonderful soup if you have an abundance of summer squash and tomatoes. The recipe is from Bon Appetit's Fast Easy Fresh cookbook. Peel and dice a small yellow squash and a zucchini and saute' in a tablespoonful of olive oil. I added some butter here, 1 tbsp. Add 4 oz. diced ham, a can of your favorite white beans, 2 chopped tomatoes, 14 oz chicken broth, and 1 tbsp. basil pesto. So fresh and delicious. Feel free to add more vegetables, I'm thinking a bit of fresh sweet corn would be awesome.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Nectarine Crisp

I had a box of nectarines going ripe faster than I could eat them so I found this pretty amazing recipe for Peach Crisp on Pinterest. Usually I stay away from most baked good recipes from there and stick to my tried and true recipe books. For some reason 4 out of 5 Pinterest recipes have been flops that look much better than they taste. This one was an exception! I didn't use quite as much butter as called for and it still came out delicious. Next time I am going to add a cup of blueberries. Mmm... I am going to add a generous scoop of this to my oatmeal in tomorrow's breakfast.

Chicken Noodle Soup

We are starting off our fall season trying to eat a bit better every day. The summer was so busy with the move that we had way too much fast food and have been feeling crappy because of it. New season, new habits! I found this recipe in Paula Deen Cuts the Fat cookbook which has just been released. So simple and delicious. Honestly, homemade broth is so much more flavorful and less expensive than anything you can buy in the store, I'll be making it this way from here on. I changed up the noodles and added some egg and parsley to mine but kept the rest of the recipe the same.
Basically a whole chicken, 8 cups water, celery, carrots, onion, and garlic that were sauteed in olive olive first, fresh thyme and a bay leaf, salt and pepper. Slow simmer to cook chicken.