Tuesday, November 30, 2010

butternut squash and carrOTT soup

This past weekend I made a delicious soup from a butternut squash.  It is such a warm and tasty autumn soup that I just had to pass along the recipe.

I cooked down the butternut squash, carrots and onions then pureed them in a food processor.

 You can garnish the soup with toasted pumpkin seeds.  Serve and enjoy!!!
This post was linked to: Tasty Tuesday Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Tuesday at the Table with All the Small Stuff, Hearth N' Soul with the Girl Chef, Delicious Dish at It's a Blog Party, Anything Related Tuesday at All Thingz Related.

Monday, November 29, 2010

don't let the pumpkin seeds go to rOTT

While I was scooping out the pumpkin I used to make Ott, E's "Just Fine" Pumpkin pie.  I kept the seeds and coated them with some olive oil to make toasted pumpkin seeds.  I made four varieties of toasted pumpkin seeds.  For all the varieties I coated with olive oil and placed on a greased cookie sheet in the oven for 7 minutes at 350 degrees.

The first batch I coated with just olive oil and left plain.  The second batch I sprinkled salt on half of the tray, and taco seasoning on the other half.

 And the last batch I sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

My good bloggy buddy Katie over On the Banks of Squaw Creek is expecting her second child and I wanted to pass along this little nutritional fact about Pumpkin seeds as they are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for baby’s brain and nervous system development as well as the mothers health.  Please stop by On the Banks of Squaw Creek and check out what all Katie and her growing family are up to, as well as how their Turkey farm operates.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Connoisseurs aka The Ott's

Ott, E and I have a New Year's Resolution!!!!!  Although it is quite early to start thinking of Resolutions we have an awesome one that we couldn't wait to get started on.  Unlike the normal Resolutions which require eating better and exercising more which then all too quickly fall to the wayside, this Resolution is certain to last. 

Ott, E and I want to become........... Breaded Pork Tenderloin Connoisseur!!!!!

That's right we want to travel the state of Indiana and eat Breaded Pork Tenderloins.  (See I told you this would be an easy Resolution to keep.)  Breaded Pork Tenderloins are very common in the Midwest especially in Indiana.  This is probably due to early settlers from Austria who made Wiener Schnitzel which was traditionally made of veal, coated in breadcrumbs and fried.  Now it is often made of pork, and they are delicious.  Ott, E and I are on a quest to try as many in the state as we can find, and from time to time we will blog about them to let you all know where we found them and how they tasted.

We have three rules for our Tenderloin Resolution. 
1.)  They have to be breaded
2.) They have to be in Indiana.
and 3.) They have to be made at a privately owned restaurant.  (No chains.)

So our first stop on Tenderloin Trail was the Chocolate Moose located in Farmland, Indiana.
Farmland, Indiana is your quintessential rural small town Indiana.  A quite main street with a few small shops and this tasty restaurant.  Ott, E had been to this restaurant numerous times before as it is located near one of Purdue's Research farms, but this was my first time and I loved the look of the older building and the feel of a 50 style diner on the inside. 
Our Tenderloins were lightly battered and had some salt, pepper and a special Chocolate Moose seasoning that complimented the pork taste.  We also order some homemade potato chips that were equally just as tasty.

We have a list of other locally owned restaurants we are going to try, but if you have a favorite let us know and we will be sure to add it to the list.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ott, A's got plenty to be thankful for

As I get ready for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend I was thinking of what all I am thankful for and this song from the musical "Holiday Inn" came to mind. Here is a clip of Bing Crosby singing "I've Got Plenty To Be Thankful For".
To all of you I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

If you haven't seen this old musical I highly recommend it. I try to watch it every year around this time, as I think it is far better than White Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

crock pOTT lasagna

This is another one of those crock pot recipes that I got really excite about when I found.  I never thought of fixing lasagna in a crock pot, but once I did I thought it was the quickest, easiest and tastiest lasagna recipe ever.  I mean it cooks right in your crock pot.  Ott, E is a huge fan of how it taste and I am a huge fan of how easy it is to make.  Simply layer your ingredients in the crock pot; turn and a cook for 3.5-4.5 hours on low and then enjoy.

Of course I used my own homemade canned pasta sauce and then Red Gold for my tomato sauce.  I like to use Red Gold products because they have such a great taste and they are processed right here in Indiana.  You may not know this but Indiana ranks 2nd in tomatoes grown for processing. 

 Arrange the lasagna noodles to cover the layer in the crock pot.
1 lb. browned hamburger
1 can tomato sauce
1 can pasta sauce
1 can Alfredo sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
uncooked lasagna noodles

Spray crock pot with no-stick cooking spray.  Place 1/2 cup of tomato sauce in bottom of crock pot.  Place lasagna noodles on top sauce to cover bottom.  Sprinkle 1/3 meat, 1/3 Alfredo and 1/3 mozzarella cheese on top.  Then repeat that pattern two more times topping off with remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Turn crock pot on LOW and cook for 3.5 - 4.5 hours.  Serve and enjoy.  Yield: 8 servings.

This post was linked to:  Hunk of Meat MondaysTasty Tuesday Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Tuesday at the Table with All the Small Stuff,  Hearth N' Soul with the Girl Chef, Delicious Dish at It's a Blog Party, Crock Pot Wednesday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

plOTTing and planting: mulching the leaves


This will probably be our last edition of "plOTTing and planting" for the year since fall is here and winter is quickly approaching.  The garden is done for the year, the bulbs are planted and the trees are dropping their leaves. 

This brings about a dilemma.....to rake or blow or mulch all those leaves that in the yard.  Well I can tell you that mulching in the answer for our yard.  We do this by mowing the leaves that fall on the yard with the lawn mower.  Not only is it a lot easier and less time consuming it also returns essential nutrients to the soil. 
 These are some pictures showing the leaves in our yard and what the yard looks like after the leaves were mulched.
This post was linked to:  Making Friends Monday, Follow Us Monday Morning,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

phOTTography: Sunset

Ott, E took this picture in San Diego two weeks ago.  With all the cold weather back here in Indiana this picture makes me want winter to hurry up and be over with already.  (Of course technically it winter hasn't offically begun, but you get my drift.)

This post was linked to: Outdoor Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday at Live and Love Outloud.

a whole lOTTa shepherds pie

This past weekend I got together with some of my blogging buddies for a giant FREEZE-O-RAMA. 
12 Bloggers
12 Recipes
6 Hours
1 Kitchen
No Mercy
That's Right!  Twelve bloggers each brought a recipe and all the ingredients needed to make it as well as all their pots, pans, spoons and spatulas into one kitchen and for 6 hours baked up a storm.  Each person made their recipe 12 times and put them in a disposable freezer container to trade with the others to be taken back to their homes and frozen.  These freezer meals could then be thawed and cooked at a later date. 

Since my family raises sheep I decided to make Shepherds Pie with lamb from our freezer. It was my hope that this would be a great way for some people to try lamb for the first time or try a new way to prepare lamb. I got this recipe from my brother (of all places) when he returned from Ireland after studying abroad.

Now I cook a lot, but normally that is for 2 people, so I'm not used to buying food in bulk, or making large quantities at a time.  My trip to the grocery store resulted in 4 pounds of mushrooms, 5 pounds of carrots and 15 pounds of potatoes.  I'm also used to spreading out when I cook because I have a lot of counter space in my red kitchen at home, so sharing counter space, stove tops and a strainer was a bit of a challenge for me at times.  But the farm girl in me recognized the task at hand and pulled back her hair, pushed up her sleeves and settled in to slaving over a hot stove for the afternoon.

Here is the recipe for how I make my Shepherds Pie.  You can make this with either lamb burger or hamburger and can click on this card and print off your own recipe. 
I started with chopping my vegetables.  And then browned my lamb burger and onions.

 Next I mixed up my pie filling and added the Burger and onions to it.  I then let it simmer for 20 minutes.
 Then I prepared my freezer pans by spraying them with cooking spray and ladeling in the shepherds pie.
 I then topped it with mashed potatoes and sprinkled cheese on top.
 To prepare my meal for the freeze I put press and seal wrap down on top of my shepherds pie to keep air for getting to my food.
 I then wrapped aluminum foil on top and labeled it as to what it was.  Now it is ready to be put in the freezer.  When you are ready to eat simply take it out of the freezer and allow it to thaw for about 24 hours.  Then take the press and seal wrap off and stick in the over for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
At the end of the day I had prepared all 12 meals and I was exhausted.  But I had a great time cooking with my blogging buddies and have a freezer full of meals to try and recipes to make them again for myself.  Be sure to stop by Cris's blog to see what the others made and more pictures of the fun times we had.

This post was linked to:  Hunk of Meat MondaysTasty Tuesday Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Tuesday at the Table with All the Small Stuff,  Hearth N' Soul with the Girl Chef, Delicious Dish at It's a Blog Party, Anything Related Tuesday at All Thingz Related.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ott, E's "just fine" pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin (with maple bourbon whip cream)


Today I am sharing a recipe that has developed into somewhat of a tradition for Ott, E and I.  We have quite the story to tell about why we like to make a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin. (That's right, no cans of pumpkin in my kitchen this is the real deal!!)  But before I get to that story I will share how I make the pumpkin puree', pie filling and a yummy maple bourbon whip cream topping. 

Did you know the average can of pumpkin pie filling can be as little as 10% pumpkin with the rest being squash? Check the label the next time your at the store.  I use a sugar pie pumpkin which is a smaller 3-5 pound pumpkin with a soft skin.  I take the stem off the pumpkin and cut it in half.
I then scoop out the seeds and rub vegetable oil on the flesh and skin of the pumpkin.  I place the pumpkin flesh side up on a baking sheet and put in the over for 1 hour at 425 degrees.

I then let the pumpkin cool for about 30 minutes before I scoop out the insides.
 Next I use a hand blender to mash and puree' the pumpkin to a smooth and creamy consistency.
 Then I add the rest of my ingredients and pour the filling into a pie crust.  And bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Here is a recipe card with all the details for you.

Once the pie comes out it of the oven I let it cool on a cooling rack.

For a yummy whip cream topping I make a Maple Bourbon Whip Cream.  The maple and Carmel flavors really bring out all the spices in the pie and make for a nice compliment to this dessert.
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T. Maple Syrup
2 T. Bourbon

Directions:  Add ingredients in a bowl and mix until stiff peaks form. Spread on Pie.
Now for story I promised you about why Ott, E and I make our pumpkin pie this way.

Ott, E and I had just started dating and he mentioned one time that his favorite food item was pumpkin pie. So naturally I wanted to impress him with my culinary skills and I had this great idea to make him a pie from a real pumpkin. I had never done this before, but had baked lots of pies and in my mind this was the ultimate to baking something from complete scratch. I mean any one can open a can of pumpkin and pour it into a shell but only a true modern day susie homemaker could take a pumpkin and turn it into a pie. Right?!?!?

So I went over to his place with my baking supplies, and started to make it. He helped and watched a football game while it baked.  Everything went according to plan and out of the oven came a beautiful pumpkin pie. I sat it on the counter top for awhile to cool and then we cut it. He took a bite or two and I asked him how it was.  He said....... fine.

Fine????? Fine!!!!!! JUST.........FINE?!?!?! (In my head I'm thinking only woman like Martha Stewart even attempt to bake a pie from a pumpkin let alone pull it off. I slaved all day on this, it taste amazing it would win hands down at any county fair. It's got a flaky crust, a spice tasty, great color, holds it shape, creamy texture.....and all you can say is..... fine.) At this point a few of those words might have gone from just thoughts in my head to actual words that I spoke. So he might have sensed I was a little tense at the thought that this pie was just fine and not the best thing he has ever tasted.  In Ott, E's defense he said he likes his pumpkin pie cold and this was still a little warm so maybe that was throwing off the taste.

So I suggested sharing a piece with my brother who was on campus at the time.  We drove over to his place and on the way there I said; I bet my brother will love this pie and he will probably think it tastes a lot better than just..... fine.  Sure enough I hand him a slice and he raves about the pie.  He thinks it taste even better because it's warm.  He went on and on and on about how good this pie was and the whole time I just smiled. 
When we got back in the car and drove back to Ott, E's place I said, "See he liked the pie." 
Ott, E said; "I never said the pie was bad." 
"No." I said.  "You said it was "just fine"."

This post was linked to: Love the Pie party on Tidy Mom, Sunday Recipe Swap on Remodelaholcis, Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch, Just Something I whipped up Mondays on the Girl Creative, Made by You Mondays on Skip to my Lou, Motivate Me Monday at Keeping it Simple, Made it Mondays at The Persimmon Perch, It's a Blog PartyAnything Related Tuesday at All Thingz Related, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday at New Nostalgia

Friday, November 12, 2010

remOTTeling: our red kitchen cabinets

Now that it is winter and I can't be outside working in the yard or garden, I can start working on decorating the inside of our house.  One of the first things we did after we bought our house, a little over two years ago, was paint our kitchen cabinets red.  I always wanted a red kitchen and the house that we bought had cabinets with a darker wood.  So before we even moved in I had Ott, E take all the cabinet doors off.  We sanded them down.  Painted them with a gray primer and then painted them red.  It took two coats of "Breakfast Room Red" satin paint.  But it worked and we think was well worth our time.

Here is a picture of our kitchen before.

And here is a picture of if afterwards.
Of course I like red because it looks great with all my chicken and roosters I use to decorate with. But in general I think it updated the room and gave it some country charm.

This post was linked to Friday Remodelaholics, Saturday Night Special @ Funky Junk Interiors, Sunday Showcase @ Under the Table and Dreaming, Make it 4 Monday @ Cottage Instincts, Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch, Before and After @ Thrifty Decor Chick, Power of Paint @ Domestically Speaking, Crafts, Show and Tell @ My Romantic Home

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

spOTTed soaking up the San Diego Sun: Day 3-7

On my third day in San Diego I met up with my Cousin who goes to San Diego State University.  He took me on a tour of campus, the beach and we went to In-and-Out Burger for Lunch.

Day 4: I went to a Spa, ate ice cream for lunch and did some shopping.  A well deserved TLC and RNR day!

Day 5: Ott, E and I (along with some of his co-workers) went to the San Diego Zoo. 
Day 6: It got up to about 97 degrees (which broke some records) and I did some more shopping.
Day 7: We flew out of San Diego back home.  Ironically, that evening on our drive from the airport to the house there was snow blowing around.  Of course it didn't accumulate, but it made us both realize it was back to reality.
This post was linked to: Outdoor Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday at Live and Love Outloud.

Monday, November 8, 2010

crock pOTT teriyaki chicken wings

Lazy weekends in the fall, call for football and appetizers at our house.  Ott, E loves chicken wings and sometimes we've been known to run to a BW3's for take-out, but when I found this recipe for Teriyaki Chicken Wings in a Crock Pot I said so long to take out and we've been fixing these at home ever since.  I have a couple of different chicken wing recipes now and for last years Super Bowl we had 3 crock pots going with 3 different recipes so we had our own version of BW3's at home.  But for today I am sharing the Teriyaki Chicken Wings recipe. 

First place your chicken wings on a broiler pan, 4-5 inches from the heat, and cook for 10 minutes on each side. 
Then place the wings in your crock pot and add the other ingredients.  (See Recipe below.)  Let sit in the crock pot for 5-6 hours on low or 2 hours on high.  Here is a quick and easy recipe card for you to click on, print off and keep handy for your next pre-game party.

 Hunk of Meat MondaysMaking Friends Monday, Follow Us Monday Morning, Tasty Tuesday Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Tuesday at the Table with All the Small Stuff,  Hearth N' Soul with the Girl Chef, Delicious Dish at It's a Blog Party, Anything Related Tuesday at All Thingz Related.