Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Soul Of Stewardship

God doesn't need you money,
but you need to give our money to God.
This is a good barometer for telling how you feel about God: money. This isn't about how much you give. God is more interested in your attitude about giving than the amount you give. Your attitude about money revels much about our relationship with God.
"Stewardship" is the way in which you handle what God has given to you. You want to be  a good steward of His blessings, but stewardship means much more than being wise with your money and then throwing a few bucks into the offering plate. Stewardship involves realizing that everything you have comes from God. Stewardship requires that you give to God the firstfruits, not the leftovers. And you should consider stewardship a privilege, not a chore.
God won't force you to give back a portion of what He has given you, but He promises to bless you if you do.
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse
so there will be enough food in my Temple.
If you do, "says the Lord Almighty,
"I will open the windows of heaven for you ."

Saturday, March 24, 2012


hello family and friends bare with me with posting i have a new samsung gallexy tablet and really no nothing about it. quick up date here garden tilled four rows planted peas,beetgreens,spinach. good bless

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Mayo

Leslie Arthur is today's guest blogger. Her recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Mayo can be served as an easy and healthy appetizer or finger-friendly side dish.
Thanks, Leslie, for a great recipe!
Asparagus (which is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber and vitamin B6) has only 4 calories per spear! With all that going for this delicious vegetable, its no wonder asparagus has landed itself on menus everywhere.
Start by rinsing off a pound of asparagus in a colander.
After a thorough washing, pat the spears dry with paper towels to get off any excess moisture. Now, break one stalk where it is naturally the weakest. This will separate the tender top part of the asparagus from its tough and fibrous stem. You will end up discarding about one third of the stalk. (Kathy shows how to peel asparagus here )
You can now use the new shorter "broken" asparagus as a guide to cut the rest of the bunch.
Spread the spears evenly on a baking sheet. For easy clean up, you can cover the sheet with a layer of tin foil before baking.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the asparagus. Top with a few turns of freshly cracked pepper, and one half teaspoon of coarse salt.
Bake in a 425-degree preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
While the asparagus are roasting, take a moment to make this simple and delicious dipping sauce. Just two ingredients are needed to make this sauce - garlic and mayonnaise. (The lemon is for garnishing the roasted asparagus.)
Start by peeling and grating one small clove of garlic.
Then add the garlic to 1/3 cup of your favorite mayonnaise. I used low-calorie mayo and didn’t miss a thing!
Stir until well blended and transfer to a decorative serving dish.
After 10 minutes in the oven, check the asparagus to see if it’s done. Look for slightly browned and caramelized stems, and a fresh bright-green color. Don’t overcook the spears, or they will become an unattractive, dull shade of pea-green.
Next, transfer the asparagus to a serving platter and sprinkle it with about a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. 
Garnish the sauce with a bit of lemon zest (optional). You can serve Roasted Asparagus as an easy and healthy appetizer or finger-friendly side dish.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Garden Brews Plants Love

Sure you can buy fertilizers and soil additives to help boost your garden’s production, but did you know you can also take advantage of waste from Mother Nature and household scraps that you’d normally toss? These too can promote blooms and plant growth and they’re so simple to make!
Watering GardenHere are a few recipes to try, basically all you need is one or two items, a bucket, some water and a bit of time. Allow to brew outside and voila! You have your own secret garden food that your plants will thank you for ;) .
Seaweed/Kelp: If you live near the ocean, lucky you! Collect dried seaweed from the beach (near cold-water only), rinse well to wash off salt then put in a barrel. Cover with water (to the top), cover with a lid and allow to brew for at least two months. To use: dilute with water to make a spray. Can help speed up flower and fruit production.
Boiled Vegetable Water: (always unsalted) After boiling vegetables, allow the water to cool then pour it on soil around your plants. The water is infused with goodies that the veggies have left behind.
Kitchen Scrap Infusion: Save vegetable peelings in a small bucket, cover with boiling water and allow to steep overnight (up to 2 days). In the morning, strain and use to water your plants. Use only plant based scraps and not meat or dairy.
Yard Refuse Infusion: Same idea as the kitchen scraps, this time using grass clippings (if pesticide-free), leaves, twigs, dead flower heads and anything else that you rake up or prune/deadhead. Store in a pail, cover with water and allow to steep for about a week or so (covered). When ready to use, strain out the bits (add them to your compost pile if you have one) and use the infused water in your garden. The downfall with this recipe is that it may contain seeds that the straining doesn’t catch.
*Tip: Feel free to combine both the kitchen scraps and yard refuse items into one big brew pail, it’s all good!
Manure Tea: This can be used as an all-purpose fertilizer and applied every 2 to 3 weeks. Add a shovelful of well-rotted manure to a 5-gallon pail, fill with water then leave it to sit overnight. Apply to soil only and don’t let it come in contact with leaves or stems. Mentioned previously on this page.
Compost Tea: Rich in nutrients, all you need is a pail full of water, a shovelful of compost and some time (from 3 to 7 days). You’ll find all the details on this page.
Boiled Eggs Water: After eggs have boiled, there will be traces of calcium left behind in the water. Wait till it’s cool before using. I come across this tip frequently in vintage household articles and is especially recommended for African Violets. It’s thought to help with bloom and plant growth (previously mentioned on this vintage tips page:Old-Time Tips For Garden Tenderfeet).

Maine Maple Syrup Production... (wick good)

Maple Syrup Production

Maple trees being tapped for sap; photo by Edwin Remsberg, USDAUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension provides expertise and resources to help large scale and small scale maple syrup producers.

Facts on Fiddleheads cleaning, picking ,recipes

Facts on Fiddleheads

The man in the picture is David Fuller  is a friend and I took a Master Garden Class from Him... Great guy... Really knows his stuff...

Originally developed by Extension Professor Mahmoud El-Begearmi.
Revised and updated by Food Science Professor Alfred Bushway, Extension Food Science Specialist Beth Calder, and Extension Professional David Fuller.

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit more of our publications and books at
Fiddleheads, an early spring delicacy in Maine, are the young coiled leaves of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Nearly all ferns have fiddleheads, but those of the ostrich fern are unlike any other. Ostrich fern fiddleheads, which are about an inch in diameter, can be identified by the brown papery scale-like covering on the uncoiled fern, as well as the smooth fern stem, and the deep ”U”-shaped groove on the inside of the fern stem. Look for ostrich ferns emerging in clusters of about three to twelve fiddleheads each on the banks of rivers, streams, and brooks in April and May. Make sure that you have landowner permission before harvesting fiddleheads.

Harvest the tender little rolls of ostrich fern as soon as they are an inch or two above the ground. Carefully brush off and remove the papery brown scales. Thoroughly wash fiddleheads in clean, potable water several times until the wash water appears clean. Then bring a small amount of lightly salted water to a boil, add washed fiddleheads, and cook them at a steady boil for 10 minutes. Fiddleheads can also be washed clean and steamed for 20 minutes. Serve at once with melted butter or vinegar. The sooner they are eaten, the more delicate their flavor. They may be served, like asparagus, on toast. Cooked, chilled fiddleheads can be also served as a salad with an onion and vinegar dressing.

nutrition facts for canned fiddleheadsd

Due to the short season for fiddleheads, some people like to preserve them for later use. To freeze fiddleheads, clean them as you would for the table. Blanch a small amount at a time for two minutes in 4 to 6 cups of water. Cool and drain in cold water or in an ice water bath (half water and half ice). Pack into moisture- and vapor-proof containers and freeze. Thaw and boil for 10 minutes before serving.
Remember to keep fiddleheads refrigerated until you are ready to cook or preserve them. Because process times have not been established for home-preserved fiddleheads, we do not recommend pressure canning as a method to preserve fiddleheads.
Many people are interested in pickling fiddleheads. In cooperation with the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Maine, UMaine Extension staff have tested some pickling recipes for fiddleheads. The most successful of these in terms of flavor, keeping quality, and safety are included in this fact sheet.
Special Note: Our tests showed that the pH of these pickled fiddleheads ranged between 3.35–3.74 (liquid) and 3.38–3.78 (solids). This is important to ensure microbiological food safety. It is also important that you follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to assure the safety and quality of the pickled fiddleheads, including sanitation and sterilization of jars and lids. All fiddlehead products should be hot-packed and processed for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has investigated a number of outbreaks of food-borne illness associated with fiddleheads. The implicated ferns were eaten either raw or lightly cooked (sautéed, parboiled or microwaved), which was what caused a food-borne illness outbreak in British Columbia in 1990. Although a toxin has not been identified in the fiddleheads of the ostrich fern, the findings of this investigation suggest that you should cook fiddleheads thoroughly before eating (boil them for at least 10 minutes).

Shrimp and Fiddlehead Medley
1 pound fiddleheads
6 ounces linguine, uncooked
6 cups water
1-3/4 pounds Maine shrimp, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon margarine
2/3 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cut off ends of fiddleheads. Remove scales and wash thoroughly. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan; add shrimp and cook three to five minutes, or until done. Drain well, and set aside. Cook fiddleheads in boiling water for ten minutes. Drain. Coat a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add margarine. Heat until margarine melts. Add onion and green pepper and sauté until crisp-tender. Stir in fiddleheads. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed, without salt or oil. Drain well, set aside and keep warm.
Add sliced mushrooms, thyme, pepper, salt and celery seeds to vegetable mixture; stir well. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat three to four minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring often. Stir in shrimp and lemon juice; cook until heated through, stirring often.
Place pasta on a large platter. Spoon shrimp mixture on top. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Fiddlehead Dijon
1-1/2 pounds fresh fiddleheads
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Clean and prepare fiddleheads. Remove scales and wash thoroughly. Place fiddleheads in a vegetable steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam 20 minutes or until tender, but still crisp. Set aside, and keep warm.
Combine cornstarch and buttermilk in a small saucepan; stir well. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in mustard, lemon juice, tarragon and pepper.
Arrange fiddleheads on a serving platter. Spoon sauce over fiddleheads. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Plain and Pickled Fiddleheads
cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon each of pepper, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and celery seed

Pour enough vinegar over the fiddleheads to cover; then strain it off into a pan. Add 1 cup sugar for every gallon of vinegar. Add a large pinch of each of the spices and celery seed. Boil this syrup for 7-8 minutes; then pour over the fiddleheads in pint-sized jars. Seal and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water process canner.

Sweet Pickled Fiddleheads
1 quart cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Mix vinegar, sugar and salt in saucepan; bring to a boil, pour over fiddleheads in pint-sized jars; seal; process 10 minutes in boiling water process canner. Makes 6 pints.

Sugar-Free Fiddlehead Pickles
1 gallon vinegar
1 teaspoon powdered saccharin (if desired)
1 teaspoon powdered alum
1/2 cup salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 teaspoon powdered allspice
1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 cup dry mustard

Pack fiddleheads into jars; pour enough liquid to cover fiddleheads; seal at once. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Let stand at least two weeks before using. If the product is to be sold, it may be necessary to check with the Food and Drug Administration on the use of saccharin in this type of product.

Mustard Fiddlehead Pickles
1 quart button onions (peeled)
1 quart fiddleheads
2 cups salt
4 quarts water
1 cup flour
6 tablespoons dry mustard
2 cups sugar
2 quarts vinegar

Wash and prepare button onions and fiddleheads. Mix salt and water. Pour over fiddleheads. Let stand overnight. Bring to boil, and drain in colander. Mix flour and dry mustard. Stir in enough vinegar to make smooth paste. Add sugar and vinegar. Boil until thick and smooth, stir constantly. Add the fiddleheads and cook until they are just heated through. (Overcooking makes them soft instead of crisp.) Pour into jars and seal immediately. Process 10 minutes in boiling water process canner. Makes 8 pints.

Quick Sour Fiddlehead Pickles
1/2 gallon cider vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mustard seed

Mix ingredients, bring to boil. Pour over fiddleheads in pint-sized jars; seal; process 10 minutes in boiling water process canner.

Bread and Butter Fiddlehead Pickles
4 pounds fiddleheads
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup salt
cold water
3 trays ice cubes
5 cups sugar
5 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds

In 8-quart enamel, stainless steel or glass container, stir fiddleheads, onions, salt and enough cold water to cover fiddleheads until salt dissolves; stir in ice. Cover; let stand in cool place 3 hours. Drain fiddleheads and rinse with cold running water; drain thoroughly.
Measure sugar, vinegar, turmeric, celery seeds and mustard seeds into 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy saucepan. Over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered 30 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, prepare jars and caps. Add fiddleheads and onions to Dutch oven; heat to boiling. Spoon hot fiddleheads into hot jars to 1/4 inch from the top. Immediately ladle syrup over fiddleheads. Process 10 minutes in boiling water process canner. Cool jars and test for air tightness. Makes about 6 pints.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Pat Pierson, Extension educator, Waldo County; Evelyn Boynton, Hartland, Maine; and Al Bushway, UMaine professor of food science and cooperating professor of entomology, for their valuable contributions in testing these recipes.
For more information, see Bulletin #2540, Ostrich Fern Fiddleheads, or contact your University of Maine Cooperative Extension county office.

Dandelion Greens how to cook them

 Dandelion Greens
  • 1 pound dandelion greens
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 whole small dried hot chile pepper, seeds removed, crushed
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese


Discard dandelion green roots; wash greens well in salted water. Cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Cook greens uncovered in small amount of salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile pepper in oil. Drain greens; add to onion garlic mixture. Taste dandelion greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve dandelion greens with grated Parmesan cheese.
Recipe for dandelion greens serves 4. Landscaping: Dandelion Greens Information
Here you'll find more about dandelion greens, including other culinary uses, along with ways to get rid of them if you don't want the weeds in your yard.

Your Love

There is nothing you have that is of any interest of God except your love.
It's impossible to love God as much as He loves us, because by His very nature, God is love. He doesn't have to try to love us. He can do nothing else. On the other hand, our love is fickle. We love when we feel like it, and that includes loving God. Yet we are commanded to love God. In fact, loving God is the most important instruction that Jesus ever gave (Mark 12:30).
Your love for God should not be halfhearted. You should commit yourself to it completely:with your heart (feeling), your soul (spirit), your mind (intellect), and your strength (action).
Loving God is a lifelong process that involves the entire being. Nothing should be held back. Is there some part of you that hasn't yet been given to God? Are you loving Him halfheartedly?
his is real love. It is not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son
as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 JOHN 4:10

Chocolate/ Chocolate Chip Muffins..

Post image for Chocolate Muffins
Although I am not the biggest chocolate fanatic around, there are times (ladies, you know what I’m talking about) that I develop a seemingly insatiable craving for its delectable goodness.
When these urges occur, an ordinary chocolate chip cookie simply won’t cut it. I’ve come to terms with the idea that when these cravings hit, I’ve got to pull out all the stops. I’m talking chocolate ice cream with Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce, Symphony Brownies or these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins.

I’m a little obsessed with muffins in general – they are my go-to breakfast for lazy Sunday mornings. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a freshly baked muffin, fresh fruit and a cup of hot tea to welcome you to a new day. Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins? Ecstasy on my breakfast plate. You’re sure to have a good day when you start it out this way.
These delicious, dark chocolate muffins aren’t over the top sweet, so you won’t feel too guilty about indulging in one as a mid-morning snack. The addition of espresso takes the chocolate experience to whole different level while the semi-sweet chocolate chips offer a little texture and added sweetness.
If you like a little crunch in your breakfast, add some walnuts, sunflower seeds or pecans. They’d all be a wonderful addition to an already pretty phenomenal breakfast experience.
I’m thinking they’d be pretty great on your Easter brunch table too.


Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons instant espresso granules dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin, or line with 12 paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, oil, egg, dissolved espresso granules, and vanilla; whisk to combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter may be slightly lumpy – that’s okay.
5. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin wells. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top of the muffins.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.


- I sprinkled the tops of my muffins with a little coarse sugar for added sparkle and texture.
- The muffins are best served the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 day.
- If you don't have dark cocoa powder, you can substitute regular unsweetened cocoa powder.
- If you don't have instant espresso granules, you can simply omit this ingredient.

Chocolate Muffins

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Hello family and friends.. I just finished this apron its from a new pattern.. There are a few things on here I will change. I finished it up this morning..Couldn't find the hanger I use to display my aprons so I had to hang it on the door.... The pattern says fits most.. I'm selling this $15.00 that is with shipping.. So if your interested please let me know.. Have a great day God Bless

Spring Cupcake with cookie toppers..

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Cupcakes with Cookie Toppers

Last month, when I made some fun lollipop cookies as cupcake toppers for my daughter's candy party I started thinking of all the other cute mini cookies I could make for cupcake toppers all year round.  Since we're right in the middle of spring here in California, I thought some little flowers would be the perfect way to celebrate the season. 

 I've had lots of questions as to how I made the little lollipop toppers, so I'll start with a little how-to.

First, prepare the cookie dough then chill and roll out the dough (recipe and instructions HERE).
It is important that the dough is nice and cool and firm.
For the lollipop cookies I used a 1 1/2 inch circle (from this set).  For the flower shapes, I used cutters from the Wilton Easter 12pc Mini Metal Cookie Cutter Set.

When I'm making mini cookies to use as cupcake toppers, I use Wilton(R) 4 Inch Lollipop Sticks (also available at Michael's and Hobby Lobby).   

Once you have your dough chilled, rolled out and have cut your shapes...

Turn the cookies back over, and bake right side up at 350*F until the are just beginning to take on a golden tone.  These smaller cookies usually take about 8-9 minutes. 

Transfer to a cooling rack, and as soon as they are cool they are ready to decorate. 
These cookies also keep very well, so you can bake them one day, then keep them covered (on a plate covered with plastic wrap, or in a large Ziplock type bag) for a couple days before you decorate them. 

Anatomy of a cookie decorating table

Once you're ready to decorate, prepare Royal Icing (recipe below). 

Royal Icing Recipe

4 Tablespoons Meringue Powder (I use Wilton Brand)
4 cups (about 1 pound) powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form.
*Make sure all bowls and utensils are totally grease-free or your icing will never reach proper consistency.
Spoon some of the thick white icing into individual bowls and add coloring (I use

For these simple cookies, I used the same consistency icing to outline and flood the cookies.  This allows me to only make one bag of each color of icing.

Gather supplies and prepare a work area (as pictured above).

Using a #2 or #3 size tip, outline your cookie with icing.  If you're outlining a very detailed shape, you may need to use a thicker consistency of icing (so the icing doesn't just run off the cookie, or lose the shape you want).  But if you're doing a simple shape, you can use the same icing to outline and flood (a medium-thin consistency).

After outlining, (immediately) go back and "flood" the cookie with a medium-thin consistency icing.  Pipe the flood icing back and forth inside the shape of your outline.  As you can see (below) it doesn't have to be perfect.  The icing will begin to fill in on it's own, and then you can use a toothpick to guide the icing to any unfilled areas.

For these cookies, I wanted to create a two toned effect, like some varieties of real-life tulips.  You could skip this step and have single color cookies. 
For other cookie designs, this would be the time to use of another color of flood consistency icing and add little drops onto the cookie, creating perfect polka-dots. 
This technique is call "wet on wet".

Set the cookie on a tray to dry.  Depending on the temperature and humidity level in your home, the icing will take 2-12 hours to dry.  Do not attempt to wrap up the cookies until the icing is completely dry.  To speed up drying time a bit, set up a fan to gently blow on the cookies. 

Once the icing is dry, add a ribbon around the stick (if you like), and insert into frosted cupcakes. 

It's a cookie and a cupcake... what more could you want in life?  Well, what more could you want in a treat at least?

For the centers of the daisy shapes I added a mini M&M when the icing was still wet (and before I sprinkled on the the sanding sugar).

Happy Spring
Happy Baking!

Make Manure Tea

If you’re growing your own food you need your plot to be as fertile as possible.  Manure is the small-holders best tool for improving fertility quickly.  If you have a supply of manure then making up some manure tea or manure water is a quick way of ensuring plants have a soluble supply of all the nutrients they require.

Make Manure Tea / Manure Water

  • Fill a bucket 1/3 full of manure.
  • Fill up with water and put on a not too tight lid.
  • Leave the manure water for two weeks to ferment and allow nutrients to dissolve.
  • Dissolve the manure tea with ten times as much water and use.  The brew applied to plants should look the colour of week tea.
  • Keep topping up the manure water bucket with more water as you use it to ensure a continual supply.
This is a great ‘pick me up’ or reviver for plants which have gone through ‘troubled times’ such as club root or bad weather.  It is also useful to apply as crops first start cropping as a booster feed.  We use it on tomatoes, aubergines and peppers until fruit starts to set.
In the long term a self sufficient gardener would be looking to improve the soil en-mass with regular compost and manure applications so this ad-hoc feed would be rarely needed.  But as you start to improve your soil’s fertility this quick-fix solution can be invaluable.
To make compost water or seaweed tea use exactly the same method described above.  You will need to rinse some of the salt from your seaweed haul before making the seaweed tea.  Seaweed tea is probably the best as seaweed seems to contain every nutrient a plant could want.  But as ever, use whatever you can get your hands on.
Basically you’re making your own liquid fertilizer which can even be used as a foliar feed (though not on the bits you want to eat any time soon).  Even if you were buying or bartering in manure this is a very cheap way of making liquid feeds which are ecologically sound too due to the absence of chemicals.  And, if you’re using compost or manure produced on your own vegetable plot, or seaweed picked locally yourself, this is a free organic liquid feed.  You can’t get better than that.
For a more self sufficient future
If you find our site helpful why not make your Amazon purchases through our US link or our UK Amazon links? It costs you nothing more and means we can buy a new pair of Boots!

Don't Neglect Your Life

Anything within the scope of your responsibility will decay without your attention.
There's a great principle of the natural world everyone needs to know. It's called the Law of Entropy, and it goes like this :Over time, things naturally lose energy, decay, or move from order to disorder. To illustrate this principle, picture your desk. From time to time you clean your desk, and the reason you clean it repeatedly is because it doesn't stay clean. It moves from order (neat) to disorder (cluttered) for reasons no one really knows.
There are many more examples we could use (garages closets, cars, hair), but let's focus on the some of the intangible things of your life, things like character and integrity. If you leave these areas alone and fail to give them attention, they will lose energy, decay, and move from order to disorder. In fact, anything that requires your time and energy-such as your relationship with God will go backward if you neglect it.
you must warn each other every day
so that none of you will be deceived by sin.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Colombian Empanadas

Colombian Empanadas

Do you spin? Do you go to spinning class?
Today is the first day I’m attending a spin class in four years. Four years!! Four years ago a spinning class scarred me…literally.
It all started when I was trying to lose 5 pounds, which I feel is the sentence that gets me in the most trouble…
My friend invited me to join her take a class at her fancy gym. You know, those LA gyms that sorta feel like a club, where girls are just wearing sports bras, and dudes are super muscle-y and stare at themselves in the mirror as they work out. Gross. Yeah, one of those gyms…

First of all, what they don’t tell you is that you need the right shoes. Shoes and spinning go hand in hand. You need those I’m-on-a-stationary-bicycle-shoes that clip in. You know what I’m talking about? The shoe situation was the root of my problem that evening.
Okay, so I entered the class. The room was dimly lit, just black light. Techno music was thumping. Everyone was half-naked. You know, just the usual gym class.
The dude that was conducting the class was wearing one of those Madonna-head-piece-microphones. He liked Madonna a lot, I think.
So we started…spinning. First it was like the warm-up, a lot “up-hill,” with inspirational talk about reaching the mountain or something. I dunno. This is another topic of conversation, but don’t get all cheesy on me as I’m sweating. I don’t want to be preached to about life, or whatever, at a spin class, OK?!

Then it really started. We went faster…and faster…and fast.
As I looked around the room, nothing but skinny, model-y girls totally killing it. Like, they do this all the time, clearly. So there I was, spinning as fast as I could, trying to keep up. And guess what? I was keeping up. I was killing it–I was totally proud of myself.
This is a good time to mention that there are apparently brakes on stationary bicycles? I did not know this. Nope. Didn’t know.

So, there I am, spinning away…super fast. Like a pro, really feeling legit, like I belonged. And then…omg…and then…my not-spinning-shoes slipped out of the shoe socket and the momentum lunged me forward, throwing my body practically over the bicycle handlebars.
People stared. Actually, everyone stared. And then the music lowered and I hear over the loudspeaker, “Everyone keep going. She’s fine.” The instructor was talking about me, if you didn’t know. ME!!
He jumped off of his bicycle, ran to my aid and mouthed, “ARE-YOU-OKAY?” Totally mortified, I nodded like a lot. I was fine. It was cool. Stop staring, everyone. Thanks. Come again.
But I wasn’t fine. My leg hurt really really really bad, but I was too shy to get up and leave. My leg had hit the water bottle holder and a piece of plastic sliced my thigh open. “Sliced” might be a tad bit of a dramatic word–but it hurt and there was blood and I was hurting, OK? But I couldn’t see my leg because it was dark in there and I guess blood doesn’t glow in the dark under a black light.
When I left class I looked down and was whoa. This might be the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to me. I fell off of a bike THAT WASN’T MOVING! And now I’m bleeding…from a stationary bicycle.
This is basically the gym version of hitting a parked car. Which I have also done, actually, but I’ll save that for next time…

Let’s talk empanadas. Specifically, Colombian empanadas.
I was totally inspired to make these when I saw Kelsey and Nicole make their versions of Argentinian empanadas.
Basically, Colombian empanadas are made with a corn-based dough and fried; versus Argentinian (and Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc.) empanadas which are made from a traditional pastry dough and baked.
The dough is drastically different; the filling nearly the same. The filling is called “picadillo.” And about every country in South America has their own way of making it. Some put olives, hard boiled egg, raisins, fried cubed potatoes…the list could go on…
This is a combination of ground beef, some spices, tomato, aromatics and mashed potato. I love the filling so much that I like to eat it with just rice. Delicious.
The dough isn’t hard. It’s just Masa flour (a.k.a. corn flour) mixed with water, a little olive oil and salt. You divide the dough into balls and roll it out in between two pieces of plastic wrap.
Fill the empanadas, crimp the edges and fry. Not going to lie, the process is a little time consuming, but definitely not hard. And very worth it.
Let’s hope I don’t fall of the bike today. If I do I know what I’m making again…

Colombian Empanadas
Print this recipe!
2 3/4 cups yellow corn flour, 2 tablespoons
3 cups warm water
1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium russett potato, peeled and diced
Olive Oil
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper
12 ounces ground sirloin, lean
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. In a medium bowl, add corn flour, warm water, olive oil and salt. Mix until dough forms a ball. If dough is still wet, add a tablespoon of corn flour at a time until the mixture comes together. Wrap with plastic wrap and allow to rest on the counter for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the diced potato and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. When done, transfer to a colander to drain. Mash the potato lightly with a fork and set aside.
3. In a medium skillet, over medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions and cook until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add red bell pepper and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Place minced garlic atop vegetable mixture and cook for an additional minute. Add tomato paste, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt and mix.
3. To the skillet, add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat browns, mixing it regularly, about 7 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the mashed potato. Mix until combined and salt to taste.
4. Alright! Now it’s time to roll out the dough. Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough onto your palm and roll into a smooth ball. Place the ball in between two pieces of plastic wrap and gently press into a circle using a rolling pin. Place a heaping teaspoon or two on one half of the dough circle. Using the bottom plastic wrap, lift and fold the dough over, creating a half moon shape. Repeat process until you’ve gone through all of the dough. Using the tines of a fork, crimp the edges tightly.
5. In a cast iron skillet (or medium pot), add enough vegetable oil until it reaches about 3 inches, and heat until a thermometer reaches 350F. If you don’t have a thermometer, not that big of a deal–add a tiny bit of scraped dough and if it sizzles, it’s ready for the empanadas. Carefully add three empanadas at a time, being sure to not overcrowd the pan.
Simple lil’ salsa
3 Roma tomatoes, de-seeded
1/4 cup white onion, diced
1 serrano pepper, de-seeded and diced
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.
Yields 20 Empanadas