Monday, February 28, 2011

Winner of Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge: Lamb Chops

There were 9 delicious recipes posted during Febraury's "Iron Chef Challenge" with lamb chops as the themed ingredient. The guest judge from the American Lamb Board had a tough time picking a winner. The recipes, pictures, and stories of families eating lamb (in some cases for the first time) were of such variety and diversity in ingredients and preparation.  The winner will receive 6 servings of Fresh American Lamb chops.

The Winner of Iron Chef Challenge Lamb Chop is........

From the blog: My Merry Cooking

This recipe was crowned winner for the "ewe-nique" use of seasonal ingredients, mouth-watering flavors and modern spin on classic lamb loin chops. Merry showed her love for lamb by sharing her story has a member of a 4-H club and her impressive shout out about how American lamb is a healthy meat full of protein and other wonderful nutrients.

Big Thanks to the American Lamb Board for being our sponsor!!!! Be sure to check out more recipe and facts about lamb on their twitter and facebook pages.

And thanks to all the chefs (aka bloggers) who linked up!!! I hope you will be back next month for "Iron Chef Challenge: canned tomatoes!"

This post was linked to: Mingle Monday, Tuesday Blog Trail, and Making Friends Monday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

a lOTT more recipes to encourage and inspire you to try lamb in your own kitchen

If you're a regular reader of this blog you know I cook with lamb a lot. In fact I even own a bumper sticker that says, "Try Lamb; 50,000 coyotes can't be wrong."

So in today's post I am going to list all the lamb recipes I have shared in one place to help encourage or inspire you to consider cooking lamb for yourself.  These are for all kinds of cuts of lamb, not just chops even though that is what this months Iron Chef Challenge themed ingredient is.  I think you will find lamb to be quite tasty and can be used for special occasions or just your average family dinner around the table. It will make a nice new addition to your dinner plan selection. Just make sure you check the label while you purchase lamb in the store to ensure it is fresh American Lamb.  I think you will find all of my recipes easy and delish and I've posted some great tips for cooking all these as well.  Enjoy!!!

Honey Cumin Lamb Steaks

Shepherds Pie - Great for your St. Patricks Day Feast

Rosemary Apple Lamb Chops  - Nice fall dinner for your crock pot

"South of 70, North of 40" Lamb burger - Great for those summer cook outs.

Terriyaki Lamb Chops  - Probably my favorite lamb chop recipe of all

Leg of Lamb Steaks

Mediterranean Lamb Steaks -Very versatile, you can either grill it, bake it, or throw it in the crock pot.

And for even more inspiration be sure to check out the lamb chop recipes on this months Iron Chef Challenge linky party, sponsored by the American Lamb Board.  The winning recipe will receive 6 servings of fresh American Lamb Chops. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

crock pOTT: mushroom lamb chops

I have been using my crock pot so much this winter.  It has been a real time saver to get dinner on the table quickly after work.  So I thought; why not incorporate my crock pot into the Iron Chef Challenge going on this week, where the themed ingredient is Lamb Chops.  With that I made Mushroom Lamb Chops, which have that homey, stick to your rib goodness to them that taste great on a cold winter night.

Mushroom Lamb Chops
4 T. Bacon Bits
8 Lamb Chops
2 1/4 cups sliced, peeled potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. each salt & pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup milk
1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained.
Add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion and garlic to a greased crock pot.  Place lamb chops on top.  In a small bowl combine soup and milk.  Pour over chops and sprinkle with bacon.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Yield: 2-4 servings

Here is a tip I found about cooking with your crock pot that I wanted to pass along.  Refrain from lifting the lid of the crock pot unless the recipe instructs you to stir or add ingredients.  Lifting the lid while cooking allows steam to escape and you add 15-30 minutes of cooking time.

For more great recipes for Lamb Chops be sure to check out this months Iron Chef Challenge Linky Party, sponsored by the American Lamb Board. 

This post was linked to: Tasty Tuesday Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Hearth N' Soul with the Girl Chef, Delicious Dish at It's a Blog Party, Delectable Tuesday on Home Sweet Farm, Tasty Tuesday on 33 Shades of Green, Made from Scratch Tuesday on From Mess Hall to Bistro, and Hunk of Meat Monday on Beyer Beware.

Monday, February 21, 2011

why nOTT lamb?

February is National Lamb Lovers Month so what better ingredient to have for this months Iron Chef Challenge than Lamb chops. The challenge is off and running, so be sure to check out all the fabulous recipes for lamb chops in this month's linky party.

I'm guessing Lamb is something many of you don't cook with on a regular basis. I actually have a poll set up at the bottom of this blog collecting votes on how many of you have eaten lamb before. So as a way to encourage you to give lamb a try I offer some hints and tips for eating and cooking Lamb.

There are approximately 70,000 sheep producers in the US, who produce 3.75 million sheep for consumption each year. Although the meat is called lamb, don't let that fool you, while the sheep is under one year of age it is fully grown when ready to take to market and can weigh around 120-140 pounds. The next time you are at the grocery store be sure to check the label as to where your lamb comes from. Make sure you are buying American Lamb as I'm sure you will find it is far fresher than lamb from other countries.

Lamb is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin zinc and selenium. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lamb has only 175 calories. While cooking Lamb don't cut into lamb to check done-ness as it releases the juices leaving the lamb dried out. Instead use a meat thermometer and cook until lamb reaches 160 degrees.

If you are interested more in the various cuts of lamb check out this website for a chart. And you can always check out the American Lamb Boards website for more tips and recipes.
This post was linked to: Mingle Monday, Tuesday Blog Trail, and Making Friends Monday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge: Lamb Chops


The themed ingredient for February's Iron Chef Challenge is.............
Lamb Chops

Rules: Chefs (aka bloggers) will prepare something using Lamb Chops, post a recipe along with pictures and any tips on cooking the lamb chops. Posts must include Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge Badge (code found in sidebar.)

The winning post will be announced on this blog on February 28th and the winner will receive 6 servings of  Fresh American Lamb Chops, provided by our sponsor the American Lamb Board.

Big thanks to the American Lamb Board for sponsoring this event. Be sure to check out them out on facebook and twitter for lots of other great tips and recipes on cooking with lamb.

The Linky will be open from February 18th - 25th.
Good luck and may the best chef win!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

lamb lOTTery

It's February!
Do you know what that means on my family's farm?????
It's Lambing Season!

I wait all year for this. If you'll recall last fall we put the ram in with the ewes, and here we are 5 months later with baby lambs on the ground. I'll share lots more about our baby lamb crop later this spring, so stay tuned!

This post was linked to: Outdoor Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday on Live and Love Outloud, Wordless Wednesday on a Beautiful Mess and Wordless Wednesday on Pinke Post and Farm Friendly Friday on Verde Farm.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ham, bean & pasta soup in the crock pOTT

I have a great recipe to share today that's great for using up leftover ham from your Sunday dinner, or a great to throw in the Crock Pot before you head out the door for work and then come home to eat right away. A Ham, Bean and Pasta Soup! It's got great flavor and tetters on the edge of being a chili, (yet still isn't) and will taste great on a cold winter day.

Here is a recipe card for your reference.

Be sure to check back next week for February's Iron Chef Challenge where the themed ingredient is Lamb Chops. Feel free to link up a recipe of your own or come and get ideas for your next special meal. And remember everyone who links up gets a free apron from the American Lamb Board and the winning recipe will win 6 servings of lamb chops!!!

This post was linked to: Tasty Tuesday Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Hearth N' Soul with the Girl Chef, Delicious Dish at It's a Blog Party, Delectable Tuesday on Home Sweet Farm, Tasty Tuesday on 33 Shades of Green, Made from Scratch Tuesday on From Mess Hall to Bistro, and Hunk of Meat Monday on Beyer Beware.
Tidy Mom
Come join Soup-a-Palooza with TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers

Monday, February 14, 2011

my shoe & boOTT obsession

It's no secret if you know me. 

It's wouldn't even come as a surprise if you saw me walking down the street.

My husband, family and friends have all learned to live with it.

So today on my blog I share with you; my dear readers, about..... my..... obsession. 

My obsession....... with shoes!!!!!!!

You see..... I love shoes.  When I'm in a shoe store it's just me and the shoes.  I am in a zone.  A trance really.  I don't hear other things.  I don't see other things.  My mind has one thought and one thought only........ if I bought these shoes..... what would I wear with them?

While I'm being completely honest I should admit that I have been know to buy a pair of shoes and then go buy an outfit to wear with them.  (That's right I will carry the shoes, in a bag, around with me in the mall to find a blouse or skirt that matches them.)

I love my shoes and have a story behind most of them.  You see those pink pumps in the picture above?  I went to the store three times drooling over looking at them.   When I bought them I ended up buying a purse and suit to match. 

Then there's the story about the purple shoes in the picture above. The ones in the upper left corner with the sparkles on just the toe. I had a lovely purple dress and another pair of plain purple shoes to wear with it. That was until I saw those purple shoes sitting on the rack at Macy's. When I saw those beautiful purple shoes I felt sorry for them. They were just sitting there.  Looking lonely.  And I realized, I could give those shoes a good home. I could wear those shoes with a purple dress. I could show those purple shoes a great night out on the town. So of course I had to buy them.

I like shoes with a pointy toe and shoes with a round toe.  I like stilettos and wedge heels, sling backs and peep toes.  You see the cream colored shoe with the brown round toe and little brown bow in the lower right corner of the picture above.  Those were the shoes I wore on my wedding day and they have a long story that will one day get it's own blog post.
I've been known to buy shoes for special occasions.  Those gold peep toe shoes on the left of the picture above.  These shoes have a sling back with a narrow heel.  When Ott, E graduated from Purdue with his Masters degree I bought these gold shoes to wear with a cute gold top and black skirt.  (For those of you who don't know Purdue's colors are black and gold so I wanted to be festive and give the Golden Girl a run for her money.... it's a Purdue thing.... you wouldn't understand.)  Anyway, I purposely parked close to the hall the graduation ceremony would take place in because these shoes (as cute as they were) were not the most comfortable things to wear.  What I didn't plan for was after the ceremony...we walked around campus taking pictures and going to receptions.  These cute shoes were cutting into my toes and heels and giving me horrible blisters.  (Yes sometime I do experience pain for my shoes.)

I like shoes that are every color of the rainbow. It just gives me all the more clothing options.

I like shoes with some bling.
And shoes with some bows.  I even like shoes with flowers.
Now you may be wondering where are the boots, the flip flops, the scandals?  Well I can only pull so many shoes out of my closet at a time.  So soon I will do posts on those as well.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

phOTTos of Portland

Scenes from Portland, Oregon.

For breakfast one morning we ate at VooDoo Doughnuts.  This is a place we saw on the show Man vs. Food where they offer 70 varieties of doughnuts.  (70 Varieties!!!!)  Although it is a hole in the wall type of place; the doughnuts were amazing.  Ott, E ordered one as big as his head called the Memphis Mafia, and I ate one with chocolate, peanut butter and Oreos on it.

This post was linked to: Outdoor Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday on Live and Love Outloud, Wordless Wednesday on a Beautiful Mess and Wordless Wednesday on Pinke Post.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ott, E's Gametime Pizza Appetizer

Today I'm sharing a recipe for fun.  This is an Ott, E original and if he had his way would fix this concoction every weekend for while he is watching the big game.  Although it may look and sound odd, I have to admit it is pretty tasty, so without further ado here is Ott, E's Gametime Pizza Appetizer.  It's like chips and pizza all combined.

The Recipe:
1 Pizza Crust
1 Avocado
1 lime (juiced)
1/2 lb. sliced cooked chicken
handful of spinach leaves
1/2 cup sliced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup onions (optional)

Place pizza crust on a pizza pan.  Mash up avocado and add the juice of one lime.  Spread this Guacamole like mixture on top of pizza crust.  On top of that sprinkle chicken, tomatoes, spinach leaves, (onions if so desired) and then top off with shredded cheese.
Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Slice and serve. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ott Family Tree

Winter is a great time to work on inside projects and one of the projects Ott, E has been working on is his family's geneology.  If you think about it each generation probably only knows the two or three generations before them.  Unless you actively seek to find out more about those previous generations, there is a good chance they could become forgotten.

Ott, E had a good start on his family's tree because his paternal grandmother had some excellent records and pictures stored in a book which organized the families lineage.  So while he worked on a couple obsecure relatives from his family, he also set out to work on mine.  I must admit he has found some really cool facts about my family that I never knew; from exactly where my ancestors came from to when some of them changed the spellings of their last names.  It has been a fun searching the internet and looking through boxes of old photos, letters, and important documents.  He has also been working on scanning a lot of these pictures and documents so they will be stored digitally and future generations will have access to these same records.

So if you have any interest in tracing your family roots; Ott, E has some helpful tips to pass along to get you started.

1.)  Start with what you know and right it down.  You probably know your parents names, birthdates and birthplaces.  You may also know your grandparents or even great grandparents.

2.)  Talk with your family and ask them names of relatives further back.  Chances are they can recall another  generation back or fill in some dates and places you might not know.

3.) Get all your information organized and then you can start to dig deeper.  Use the internet and do some random google searches for the names and places you have.  You may find some additional random facts about your ancestors from where they lived, went to school, worked, etc.  This kind of information can give you a better feel for what they did or where some of your interest come from.

4.)  Finally there are several great websites that can assist your research further.
http:// (too find a family history library near you.)  County and State historical records (Can try for free for 14 days)

Hope this helps you as your build your own family tree!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

chocolOTTe cupcake fondue dessert

This past weekend we hosted a large dinner party at our house. And in true Ott, A hostess style there were fun invites, appetizers, a fabulous meal, games and of course....Dessert!

While I was planning the party I knew I wanted to do something fun and different for dessert. I wanted something that would be another activity for people to do while they were over, so I came up with this idea.

A Cupcake Fondue

I baked up a bunch of mini cupcakes and displayed them on a 3 tiered cake stand. By using the mini cupcakes guest could eat 2 or 3 and not feel guilty.

I then whipped up my icing and put it in my fondue pot.
My icing recipe consisted of:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 T. light corn syrup

I had the fondue forks layed out for guest to use to dip their cupcakes. I also had several different toppings in individual bowls for our guest to select from to put on top of their cupcake after it was dipped in the icing.
There were chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, marcino cherries and nuts.
Our guest really enjoyed this after dinner activity. It was pretty easy to set up and I think you'll agree a lot of fun.
If I do this again I would make more than one variety of cupcake giving guests yet another option for their fondue creation.

Please note I got this idea off of the Bake it Pretty Blog featured on Tip Junkie

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

phOTTos of the icepocolypse

When I moved from Northern Indiana to Indianapolis a couple of years ago I said to someone, "At least I won't have to deal with Lake Effect snow anymore." That person responded with, "ya, but Indy gets a lot of ice." Ugh! (I hadn't thought of that.) Were they ever right. There is 1/3 of ice on the ground now and another inch or so on the way. I sneaked outside to take a couple of pictures.

This post was linked to: Outdoor Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday at Live and Love Outloud, and Wordless Wednesday on a Beautiful Mess.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winner of Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge: Duck


There were 26 delicious recipes posted during January's "Iron Chef Challenge" with Duck as the themed ingredient. Guest Judge Scott Swaidner from Maple Leaf farms had a tough time picking a winner. The recipes, pictures, and stories of families eating duck (in some cases for the first time) were of such quality and creativity that Maple Leaf Farms decided to award two prizes; a 1st place and a runner up. The winner will receive the $150 worth of duck products and the runner up will receive four boneless duck breasts.

The Winner of Iron Chef Challenge Duck is........
Lazy Girl's Cassoulet
Posted by: Girlichef
Guest Judge Scott said, "I selected this recipe as the winner for its hearty and creative use of a traditional roast whole duck, plus all of its good tips for cooking with duck."

And the runner up recipe was..........

Posted by: My Merry Cooking
Guest Judge Scott said, "This recipe is refreshingly simple and light with great emphasis on flavor. Excellent use for boneless duck breast."

Big Thanks to Maple Leaf Farms for being our sponsor!!!!  Be sure to check out more recipe and duck cooking tips on their twitter and facebook pages.

And thanks to all the chefs (aka bloggers) who linked up!!!  I hope you will be back next month for the next round of the "Iron Chef Challenge!"