Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Slow Cooked Rosemary Lamb Shanks with Dried Tomatoes

The endless rain has put a damper on our grilling out.  So I fired up the crock pot the other night for a new dinner entree'.  Rosemary lamb shanks with dried tomatoes.  The house smelled great when I came home and Ott, E was happy to be able to eat right away.

And this recipe called for sun dried tomatoes which as you'll recall I dehydrated several last summer from our garden so I'm always happy to use them in recipes.

2 Lamb Shanks
1 can beef broth
1 T. fennel seeds
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. Mustard Powder
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup dried tomatoes
1 T. Rosemary
1 T. Thyme
Mix ingredients in crock pot. Add Shanks. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Serves 6
As you can see the tomatoes plumb right up and give the lamb a nice savory flavor similar to what you think of with a tomato based pot roast.  The rosemary and thyme add a zing to the taste of the lamb that compliment it's rich flavor.

This post was linked to: Hunk of Meat Monday, 2 Maids a Baking, Tasty Tuesday on Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Hearth N' Soul with A Moderate Life, Delectable Tuesday on Home Sweet Farm, Made from Scratch Tuesday on From Mess Hall to Bistro.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Morning in my Garden

This morning was beautiful outside with 72 degrees of sun shine. As I walked out to my garden the dew was still on the grass and plants in our garden so I snapped a few pics to give an update on our garden.
I love this picture of our Kohlrabi as you can see the little drops of dew hanging off each point on the leaves.
 Above is spinach which I plan on making a salad with for lunch.  Below is our first potato bloom.  This means the tuber initiation is occurring beneath the surface.

 Above are Green Bean plants and below is a zucchini plant.
Above is an eggplant and below are rows of green beans in the sunlight.
 Above are rows of potato plants and below is one of my volunteer sunflowers.

Be sure to check out a new feature on the Real Farmwives of America & Friends blog called "Home & Garden". Each Monday they will be showcasing tips on gardening, home decor, craft projects and much, much more.

This post was linked to Tuesday Garden Party on an Oregon Cottage.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Frangos and Shoes.... it's like heaven

This past weekend Ott, E and I were in Chicago, but we each arrived at different times. You see Ott, E was out in California for work that week so he few into O'Hare.  I was at home that week and drove to Michigan City, Indiana and then took the train from there to downtown Chicago. My train got in at 11:30 while his flight landed at 12:00 and then he took a taxi to our hotel downtown.

Well, you can do the math and realize this leaves me time to go..... shopping!!!
And when you are downtown Chicago where else would you go to shop but Macy's in the old Marshall Field's Building on State Street. (Here's a tip if you ever stay in downtown Chicago; Ask your hotels Concierge if they have any discounts for shopping at department stores downtown. I've stayed downtown twice in the past 6 months and both times they gave me shopping passes for Macy's for 10% off your purchases all weekend.)
My first stop at Marshall Field's is always the basement. Why the basement? Because that's where the Frango Mints are!!  Although they sell Frango's in lots of flavors I love the original Mint Chocolates. (They are like little Chocolate drops from heaven.)
Next stop it's up to the 7th floor. Why the 7th floor? Because that's where the Walnut Room is. The Walnut Room is a restaurant in Marshall Fields which holds some family nostalgia of mine. You see my Great, Great Grandmother lived in Chicago and would go to the Walnut Room for lunch each day to meet with friends and catch up on all the latest news. So I always like to stop by and take a look around whenever I'm in town.
Lastly, I take the escalators down to the 4th floor. Why the 4th floor? Because that's where the shoes are!!! While I was looking at the shoes I found this really cute pair of flip flops with a big colorful rhinestone bug on them. I had just found a sales clerk to get the shoes in my size when my cell phone rang..... it was Ott, E.  I said hello and he told me he was in a cab and on his way to the hotel. While he was talking I was covering the cell phone with one hand and asking the shoe sales clerk if they had these shoes in brown. Apparently Ott, E could somewhat hear my conversation and asked if I was shopping. I quickly took my hand off the cell phone and changed the subject by asking how his flight was.  He went on to tell me about it as the sales clerk came back with the brown flip flops I had requested only they were in the wrong size. I again cover the phone and told the clerk what my size was.  Again Ott, E must have heard me and this time he asked, "Are you shoe shopping?" Not quite wanting to fess up to the fact that I was out spending his money I again changed the subject by asking; "Have you had lunch yet?"  He said he ate something at the airport and at that same time the sales clerk handed me a box of shoes in the correct size and color. This time I could answer "Great!" to both of them. I slipped the shoes out of the box and onto my feet as Ott, E told me he should be arriving at the hotel in 20 minutes and that I should meet him in the lobby with the room key since I had already checked in. At this point I was somewhat mesmorized by my new shoes and respond back to him by saying "That will work out great...Marshall Fields is only two blocks from our hotel." .............silence
"I knew you were out shoe shopping." he says. ........................
Busted!..........................But I did get a pair of really cute shoes and met Ott, E at the hotel on time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Winner of May's Iron Chef Challenge: Ham


The Winner of May's Iron Chef Challenge Ham, sponsored by Dakin Farm is......

Cooking with Sara and her recipe for Wild Rice Quiche

Judge and President of Dakin Farms Sam Cutting IV had this to say about the winning recipe. "While each recipe looked great and there are several favorites, I chose #3 Wild Rice Quiche w/ham as my favorite submission. There are several reasons why this is my top pick. First off, I love all of these ingredients and how these flavors work together. Whole grain wild rice is such a special food with its crunchy, firm texture and nutty flavor. It goes so well with our smoky sweet Dakin Farm ham, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and Swiss cheese in a quiche. Also, I feel this a relatively healthy choice with the combination of nutritious whole grain, vegetables and lean protein. It is a filling and hearty recipe which is also extremely delicious!"

Congratulations to the winner who will be receiving a $50 dinner ham from Dakin Farms. And, big Thanks to Dakin Farms for being our sponsor this month. Be sure to follow them on facebook for some great products and recipes. I hope you will all come back next month with some great recipes that call for Milk as June is National Dairy Month and Dean Foods will be our sponsor!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the windy city is mighty pretty, but is sure don't got what we've got

Ott, E and I spent the weekend in Chicago, and I must say the city was beautiful this time of year with tulips blooming everywhere. Here are some pictures I took of the downtown area. (Oh and bonus points for you if you know what musical those song lyrics come from?)








This post was linked to Outdoor Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday on Live and Love Outloud, Wordless Wednesday on a Project Alicia and Wordless Wednesday on Pinke Post.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a new side dish recipe: Broccoli Casserole

Sometimes side dishes are a challenge to come up with in my kitchen, especially after putting time into my main dish, by the time I get to the vegetables I usually just heat them up and maybe sprinkle with some pepper. (Woo Hoo, exciting I know!) But why should my side dishes being boring?  My side dishes should compliment the main entree' and be equally as enjoyable and tasty.  On my quest to find some new ways to jazz up my side dishes and I found this recipe for Broccoli Casserole.

I rounded up the ingredients in my kitchen and set out to make this dish.

Here is the recipe I used.  (Feel free to print it off and keep for yourself to make, simply click on the recipe card to make it bigger and then click print.)
Pour the soups over the broccoli and stuffing.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and serve along side your entree'.  The herb flavors in the stuffing along with the onion powder compliment the broccoli well and make for a warm and tasty side dish.

This post was linked to: 2 Maids a Baking on 2 Maids a Milking, Tasty Tuesday on Beauty and Bedlam, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace, Hearth N' Soul with A Moderate Life, Delectable Tuesday on Home Sweet Farm, Made from Scratch Tuesday on From Mess Hall to Bistro.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My adventures in yard work

One thing you have probably figured out by now is that I do not mind getting a little dirt underneath my fingernails.  I enjoy doing yardwork and gardening, heck I even enjoy mowing the yard.  Now most times Ott, E mows the yard at our house, but this one time last summer he was gone for a stretch of time and I decided to hop on the mower and do it myself.
In fact I even have a signature style as my way to mow the yard..... I mow it diagonally.  My brother even commented one time at my yard and said, "Oh you're one of those people who mow there yard in patterns."   

But back to my story about mowing the yard......

I got the riding lawn mower out of the shed and started mowing.  I did about two swipes in the front yard and for some reason the mower died.  I thought that was odd, but I remember Ott, E telling me this happened last time, but he had been on it for quite a while and just let it cool off for a while and then when he got back on it started right up and he finished.  We thought it might have gotten overheated and chalked it up to that.  So I waited an hour came back to start it up.... and.... nothing.....
I flipped up the lid and checked the gas...Full.
I check the oil... Full.
I checked the air filter... pretty clean.
I checked the battery... fully charged.
I cleaned dirt/grass clippings off the blades and mower deck. 
Everything I could think of to check I did and it still wouldn't start.
By now it's starting to get dark so I pushed the mower into the shed.  (Mind you my yard has one small area that's been mowed while the rest is still not.)  But the next day I thought I would try it again.  I put the key in, turned it on and it started right up.  So I started mowing again.  Another two swipes in the yard and wouldn't you know it.... it dies again.  Ugh!

Well by now I'm mad.  The lawnmower was new and still under warranty.  I went into the house and pulled out my paperwork from Sears and called the number listed.  I had the receipt, I had the model number, warranty number and rattled those all off the person on the other end of the line.  They were able to pull up all my information and after I explained what was wrong and everything that I have checked so I knew it wasn't something silly and the customer service representative said..... they wanted me to troubleshoot a few things for them.

Troubleshoot?!?!?!  I said to the lady: "look here, I have checked everything and you need to send someone out here to look at it and fix it, because it is still under warranty."  The person on the other end explained that they had to know more of what the problem was before they would send somebody out.  At this point I'm still thinking this is ridiculous, but I went along with it.

The customer service Representative asked me to locate the gas tank.  I flipped up the lid and mentioned to the rep that yes I have a full tank of gas and the gas cap is screwed on tightly.  Then the rep says, "the gas cap should be loose so air can flow through the gas line to the engine."  In my mind I'm thinking this is crazy, every gas cap on any thing I've ever used I have always put on tightly.  But I loosened the gas cap and then I turned the key and it started right up.

I couldn't believe it.  Something so simple had caused me so much trouble.  I thanked the service rep. hung up the phone and finished mowing the yard.  whew!  What a relief.    

This post was linked to: Meet Me Monday on Inspiring You to Save and Tuesday Garden Party on An Oregon Cottage.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I like a Latte this week

What I like a Latte' this week is......

Chocolate, Working out in the yard and Pinterest.

So I sent Ott, E to the store and he came home with these.  At first I was like... ok if that's what you want... but then I ate some.  And oh my gosh they taste amazing.  They are like a super mint m&m.  Now I'm addicted and sending him back to the store to get more.  I've never been a big fan of York peppermint patties but these York pieces taste great!

Up next, yard work.  It was such a long cold winter, that when I finally had a chance to get outside in warmer weather I loved working outside.  I didn't want to come in and got lots of outside projects done.  Our patio furniture is out.  The garden is planted.  My flower pots are planted.  My hummingbird feeder is full.  My yard is edged (I have a blister to prove it.)  And I enjoyed every minute of it.
Lastly, have you checked out Pinterest?  I've been playing around it this week, and it's a lot of fun and a great way to keep track of ideas you have for future projects.  Check out my sunflower obsession board or my canning board.  Let me know if you are on Pinterest and I'd be happy to follow you.

This post was linked to What I love Wednesday on Lollipops and What I'm Loving Wednesday on Little Daisy May.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More flowers in our yard


The weather was so nice here on Saturday, I spent the whole day working out in the yard.  We finished planting our garden, planted some flower pots, worked on a new perennial flower garden and edged the driveway.  Now, there are more flowers blooming around our house, in the landscape and flower beds and I am anxious to share pictures of them with you all. 

Firstly the flowers in our landscape.
 Lilacs above and Weigela below.  The Weigela are great for attracting hummingbirds.
I have planted a lot of Iris's, but here are some the previous owner planted.
 And this is Phlox I planted in a new flower bed I am creating that is just for perennials. 

 And then for our garden, while it isn't blooming yet.  It is all planted and some things are really starting to take off.
 Tomatoes pictured above and eggplant below.
Above on the left is our kale and arugula and on the right is kohl rabi.  Below you can see our Green Beans are just popping up through the soil.
And lastly, our Burr Oak is growing.  If you'll recall Ott, E transplanted this little seedling 2 years ago and refers to it as our marriage tree.  Because Oaks are sturdy just like our marriage.  (Awww....isn't he just the sweetest.)
This post was linked to Tuesday Garden Party on Oregon Cottage,  Outdoor Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday on Live and Love Outloud, Wordless Wednesday on a Beautiful Mess and Wordless Wednesday on Pinke Post.