Three days of warm weather was just too much for the broccoli. Today it was showing some signs, that it would bold soon. So I just cut the florets off, and used them for tonight’s supper. It was delicious. For the last couple of weeks, I pull some leaves from the lettuces, spinach, and herbs on a daily basis. And Sara sits in the garden and nibbles on some salad and watches the sunset, every night.
Last week, I’ve been sowing some cucumber seeds in a couple of raised beds. So far, I can see two small plants. Hopefully, the other seedlings will pop up, soon. It would be excellent, if we can add fresh tomatoes and cucumbers to our salads, in late Spring and early Summer.
After a Two-week-break, Katelynn and Sara are back in school. Katelynn started her second semester as a Freshman. When she came home, she said, her interests are mixed and well balanced. There are two subjects she really loves, and two she is not so font with them. She usually loves Mathematics. But she doesn’t like Algebra. I remember, first I wasn’t a fan of Algebra either. But once I figured it out, it wasn’t so hard anymore. But it took a bit to click in my head. Katelynn is going through the same struggles. She’s excited for Science. She can’t wait to talk about her collection of dinosaurs. Then there is another semester of Band in this school year. And English Language Arts is the other subject, she’s raising her eyebrows. She was never a fan of ELA. 😀 But Katelynn has a lot of fun in High School. And that’s also very important. Sara said, she had an amazing day in school, too.
An apple a day, keeps the doctor away! 😉
School is back in session.
Kevin celebrates his 44th Birthday, today. We were considering going out for his big day. But I could talk him into, me cooking a nice meal for him. Since the weather is in the 70s, I decided to cook some German Hamburger Patties, which are nicely seasoned. And as the side dish I made Potato-Cucumber Salad. Kevin agreed, my food tastes so much better. And it is much cheaper and healthier to eat at home. Our New Years Resolution is to reduce the days eating out and rather spend the time on cooking a decent meal at home. We are planning a trip to Seattle/Vancouver trip for this Summer. And in Spring 2020, we would like to go back to Walt Disney World. These trips cost a lot of money, and therefore I always need to find a way to save more $$$.
If we didn’t have 25 mph winds, this had been a very nice day, today. The wind was chilly. So, I decided to spend my day in the house and cook a good “Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Soup”. First I made my chicken broth from scratch, before I cooked the rice. When Katelynn and Sara came home from school, they were very happy to see Momma’s soup. But first they had to help me cleaning up some trash across the street. The wind knocked over the neighbor’s trash cans, and most of the trash landed in another neighbor’s yard. Those were some strong gusts. Tomorrow supposed to be a beautiful day, with only a light breeze. It will be a warm start into the Winter Season.
As a German, I love my breads. And therefore I also love to bake my own bread. Several years back, I learned how to bake bread in a Dutch oven. I was thrilled, how great the bread turned out. From that day on forward, I baked my bread only this way.
The bread turned out nice and crusty in the new Dutch oven. (2012)
This morning Kevin mowed the lawn, before the girls could play in the sprinklers. Katelynn got bored with it a little bit. She rather sat next to me and talked about her transition from Middle School to High School. Sara couldn’t get enough of jumping back and forth in the sprinkling water. While Sara played in the cool wet, Kevin and I were discussing what we have for dinner tonight. We decided on grilled chicken with potato salad.
Sara loves playing in the sprinklers.
Hmmm! Grilled Chicken
Hmmm! Smoke is released from the grill.
Kevin got the grill ready and heated up; Katelynn went inside to play her computer game for a little bit; Sara tried off with her towels; and I watched the dogs rolling around in the grass. Lexi and Luis were staying close to Kevin, when he was tending the grill. Man, that chicken meat smelled so good. Of course, the dogs noticed it as well. Lexi looked at Kevin: “Daddy, are you dropping something for us, soon? My mouth is watering from this good smell!” They got a better and more healthier treat, once we all went back inside. Hmmm! The chicken and salad taste so good on this beautiful, sunny Spring Sunday.
“Man, my mouth is watering from that good smelling grilled chicken.”
“Daddy, do you have a treat of an ol’ shaky dog like me?”
Sara and I were making Cheese-Pumpkin Pie filling and decorated it with phyllo dough. Sara really enjoyed helping me with the pie. She and Katelynn enjoyed it even more having a slice of pie, today. It turned out good. But we decided we make everything from scratch, next time. It will make it taste even better. 🌞
Today is a perfect day for snuggling with a blanket on the couch and watch a movie or read a book, while the fire is crackling in the fire place. November is definitely showing its face. It is raining and cool outside. The girls and Kevin will have homemade Chicken Vegetable Rice soup with sandwiches for lunch in school/work. In the meantime, I make another good soup with meatballs for dinner. Hmm, I can’t wait to have a bowl of hot soup tonight.
Kevin had some chicken thighs on the grill, while we were working in the garden. And it smelled sooo good. It made us hungry.
I got more cabbages and mustard greens planted in the first raised bed, due to Mrs. Rabbit and Mrs Cottontail “mowing” the first batch down, which I planted in January. They left my onions alone. That’s a plus point. Since I’m tired of replacing vegetables plants, Kevin helped me to put some chicken wire around the garden beds. If a rabbit wants to get to my cabbage, it will get to my cabbage. But it will take the rabbit some mathematics and good back legs to jump over this obstacle.
I also sent Kevin to the store to get more soil and mulch for the third raised bed. In the meantime, I’ve got some weeds pulled up, and laid out more card board, before the bed got filled in with: six bags of manure, six bags of topsoil, and one big bag of Miracle Gro. Now, the bed is full and can settle over the next few days. I will plant more cool season plants in that bed, before Summer is coming, and I’ll use it for some sunflowers, cucumbers and other goodies.
When we were done with the raised bed, the chicken legs were done on the grill. We had some mashed potatoes and vegetables with it. Now, I’m happy! The work for today got done, and our tummies are full. 🙂
About three years ago, I discovered something very essential for my diet. Something I still haven’t figured out, how to pronounce it: Quinoa (maybe it is pronounced ‘kinwa’???).
Quinoa is a grain that grows in the South American Andes, where it was domesticated about 4,000 years, ago. The seeds contain important amino acids like lysine, and good quantities of iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It is the so-called ‘Superfood’, since it is high in protein and a great substitut in a vegetarian diet.
Since I wanted to cut back on eating meats, I gave Quinoa a shot. After looking for some recipes on the internet, I started cooking my first breakfast meal, “Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa”. It was very hearty and nutty. And it gave me lots of energy throughout the day. Yes, this was exactly what I needed. Here is the link for the recipe: http://damndelicious.net/2013/09/13/blueberry-breakfast-quinoa/
The rest of my family is not so fond of it. They rather prefer a steak or some chicken breasts with their meal. But in the future I will cook more recipes with Quinoa, as well. I just have to divide it in vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals.
When I don’t feel like cooking, Kevin brings a rotisserie chicken home for dinner, sometimes. Most of the time, we eat only one meal from it. So, most of the breast and the legs are gone. The rest ends up in the pot immediately, or in the freezer for a later use. I ran out of chicken broth/stock. It’s time to cook up another batch. My broth is made of:
1 rotisserie chicken leftover (meat and bones)
4 carrots, cut up in 1-inch pieces (they can be peeled first, I only wash mine)
3 stalks of celery, cut up in 1-inch pieces
1 big onion, quartered (if onion is big, cut in half and then quarter both pieces)
3 sprigs of fresh parsley
dried thyme, basil, sage
salt & pepper
2 bay leaves
12 cups of water
I put all ingredients in a large pot, fill it up with water and let it simmer for two hours. Usually I don’t measure my herbs and spices. I learned to go by my own tastes.
After two hours, I turn off the stove to let the broth cool down a little bit, before I strain it through a fine mesh colander, into a big bowl. Naw, I don’t use cheesecloth, because I don’t mind having small pieces of herbs in the broth. It adds some extra color to it.
Next, after I discard the chicken-vegetable leftovers (if there is still a lot of meat on the bones, I pick it and use it for dinner), I pour the broth in my Ziploc® glass container, which are designed for extreme cold/heat. When the broth is almost room temperature, I freeze it and use it as needed.