Sunday, June 28, 2009

Food Day Friday (on Sunday)

this is one of Husband's absolute favorite foods. Fried vegetables. how can you go wrong? This is my vegetable hash recipe. (Like most of my recipes, it involves a lot of "as much as you want" "whatever fits in the pan" and "-ish") I decided to take pictures last night when I was making it, so I could better share the fabulous-ness of Vegetable Hash.

What you need:
2-3 yellow squash (depending on size)
1 onion (vidella or white)
3-4 green tomatoes
frozen bread okra (my short cut that turns this into a "semi homemade with sandra lee"
cooking oil (I've used vegetable oil and olive oil. bc of the high temperature Grapeseed would probably be best. but it's not really budget friendly)
salt, pepper, garlic powder

first: slice all the vegetables. with the squash I try to slice as thin as I can, but there's always thicker peices in there. no big deal.

Onion: I cut in into rings and then half the rings. If your onion is too small it'll pretty much disappear in the finished product.

tomato: I just gut the tomato, discard the insides and cut the outside into bite sized pieces.

next it all gets stirred together. add garlic powder and pepper. (I don't add salt here bc I had a good bit at the end, but feel free to add it in this step)

now flour.

I just try to use enough to get everything lightly coated. it usually takes a little more or little less than two scoops of that little yogurt cup in the flour. stir everything well to make sure it's coated.

put cooking oil in your pan, enough to liberally cover the bottom (MAN, I did not notice how scratched up my cheap wal-mart skillet was until I put a flash on it!)

heat on high. give the oil a minute or two to heat up.

put the vegatables in and add the okra on top. now just leave it alone for 10 to 15 minutes. (feel free to use fresh okra. it'd probably be better.)

when the bottom starts browning, flip it.
When the hash is almost as brown as you like it, I drain the oil out and let it finish cooking for the last 3-5 minutes with just the oil that's already on the vegetables. I drain it because I leave it in the pan to serve. if you'd rather serve it in something else, you can drain it then (whatever)
done. add salt to taste.
sadly, none of the vegetables used were from our garden. but soon.

the race: Husband's first 5k

YaY! I was so proud of Husband. He finished in record time (about 30 seconds faster than his practice time) AND he never walked. He did great. The guy that won finished right at 18 minutes. Yes. someone ran over 3 miles in 18 minutes. that just blows my mind. I told Husband he was probably a marathoner that decided to take it easy for the day and enter a 5k. before the race, ready to go!
what daughter did during the race. Handy Manny came along.

What son did during the race. What I did during the race (sweat!)

The prize table. all proceeds went to the downtown YMCA.

Husband finishing. He looks better than the hunched over guy in yellow, but not as good as that woman in front of him!

He did great. I was really proud of all his hard work.
The banner at the Y.

Son and Husband in his race shirt.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

more produce

Husband came in from work last night carrying our first (albeit odd shaped) cucumber. We haven't decided what to do with it yet, so it's sitting in the fridge. waiting. patiently.

in completely unrelated news, Husband is running in his first 5k race this weekend. (The Race to the Courthouse in downtown Birmingham) and I'm running one tonight to see how much my time has improved in two weeks. fun stuff.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's NAPTIME. I can answer some questions

Rita asked me to flesh out my gardening snipit on a previous blog. So now I am actually answering the questions that I said I would. (I heart naptime)

Husband and I talked about having a garden for a few years. both of our families had gardens growing up. I definitly remember snapping beans and eating tomatoes right off the vine at my house and helping pick okra and corn at my grandparents house.

nostalgia wasn't the ONLY reason we decided to garden. When our Farmer's Market isn't open our only place to purchase produce is Super Wal-mart (or we can drive 30 minutes to go to Winn-Dixie or Publix OR an hour for Whole Foods). we were spending a lot of money on vegetables that were an okay quality or we were spending even more money on gas and vegatables that were better quality. Plus the idea of growing our own food sounded really appealing.

but we don't have a huge yard and gardens are supposed to be pretty big, right? we don't even have a tiller. how are we going to have a garden?

Then Jennifer recommended _Square Foot Gardening_ by Mel Bartholomew. Husband and I headed to Books-a-Million straight away. We ended up getting the revised addition_All New Square Foot Gardening_. It talked more about "raised beds" which we were interested in because we were worried about poor soil quality and having to 'work' the ground.

This book is really great. I read it cover to cover that night then passed if off to Husband to browse through. Then the next day we sat down and made a list of everything we'd need to buy. basically, what a square foot garden does is compact your garden into a 4 feet X 4 feet square. (we actually decided to put two squares together for ours).

We decided what we wanted to plant based on two things.
1. What vegatables do we eat and buy a lot?
this one was easy. we just thought about what we like to eat and what we wish we ate more often but it's just not in our budget to purchase on a regular basis.
2. What will grow well in our very hot and sometimes dry summers?
this one was a little more difficult, but luckily the book helped us out, again. There are 70 easy to read and understand pages in the book detailing what grows best in what weather and what the growing seasons are for each vegetable. plus we googled a little just for extra information. (did you know it takes 5 years from when asparagus is planted until you actually get asparagus? I didn't. My mother knew. Martha Stewart told her.)

we decided to plant tomatoes (heirloom), green bell pepper, red bell pepper, squash, cucumber, eggplant, onion, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, banana pepper and basil.
our biggest gamble was the spinach. it's not doing well and we probably won't try it again.

our biggest mistake was starting with ALL seeds. that was Husband's idea. I'm not blaming him, but I definitely lobbied for plants at least for tomatoes. alas, Husband won and now we're still waiting on tomatoes to bloom. I think next season we'll mix and match plants and seeds. clearly, we didn't need squash plants, they grew quickly from seeds. But I only say ALL seeds was a mistake because it takes longer to have produce. and I am a tiny bit impatient. (we bought all our seeds at Lowe's)

The spot we chose in our yard is in the fence. it's the flattest part of our slopped yard AND gets a decent amount of shade because of two trees.

When we were shopping of the lumber we compared Marvin's (in our town) and Lowe's (30 minutes away by Publix). Marvin's ended up being about $3 cheaper. note: it's also cheaper to buy the LONGEST piece of lumber avaliable and have them cut it down for you. We also decided not to treat the wood at all (even with something safe for gardening) We figured, hey, we only spent about 20 dollars on all the lumber, if we have to replace it in 5 to 6 years because it's not as strong anymore, we definitely got our money's worth.

we did deviate a little from Mel's book when we DUG the garden. yes. he recommends only using a mixture of peet moss, vermaculite (from our local co-op) and compost (that we got from various gardening stores for variety). but we deviated and decided to dig about 6 inches down and mix our soil in with "Mel's Mix" (we decided this after we started poking around in our dirt and it was really black and FULL of worms)

Also, we have Daughter's wading pools out in the yard to collect rain water. After a big rain we got our there with our empty milk jugs and fill them up with water from the pool. and use rain water to water the garden instead of using the hose pipe.

that's all I can think of, but if all my ramblings spark any questions, feel free. I'm no expert in gardening. I just know what we do in our garden.

you didn't think I'd leave you without any shots of our garden, did you? I just got in from take these. so they're completely current.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

gardening payoff

we spent all day at Desoto State Park at the Falls yesterday. So much fun. lots of pictures. Son slept through most of the water fun. On the way home we started talking about what we wanted to dinner. Once home, Husband goes down to the garden to see if there's anything down there and comes back with this squash. yay. we ended up having it that night.
Husband made a pizza with pesto, pine nuts, squash, onion, feta and mozzarella. He uses one of Alton Brown's pizza crust recipes that I'm a big fan of.
I used the rest of the squash to make one of my husband's favorite foods: vegetable hash. sliced squash, onion, green tomato and okra breaded in flour and then pan fried with a little olive oil.
of course we didn't get started until after our 5k training. meaning we didn't eat dinner until 9. it was worth the wait though.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lettuce Eat!

yay for homegrown food!

Saturday, Husband and I drove down to Farmer's Market (yes, that is it's actual name) in Birmingham for some cheap fresh produce. We got eggplant, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, red tomatoes, green tomatoes, onions, potatoes, squash, apples, bananas, and peaches and only spent about 30 bucks. it was fun walking around and picking produce at a place that's not a grocery store or super walmart (yuck).

Anyway, this post isn't about my love for all things Farmer's Market-eske. It's actually about our garden. Husband and I decided this is the year we'd stop talking about having a garden and actually have one.

First, we had to pick a place in the yard, decide what we were going to plant and how much or it. after all that was answered, it was time to begin the planting and maintenence phase.

currently everything is growing well, but these are the notables:
we have baby squash growing
the cucumbers are blossoming
the onions and potatoes are near harvest

AND that lovely head of lettuce at the top of the post was pulled and washed and eaten last night for dinner!

When Husband came in last night with it, I squealed. yes. pretty excited.

I'm sure as the season progresses, I'll write more about our garden and the method we used. so, be on the lookout for more vegatables on the page!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Food Day Friday

if you have a television, you've seen the commercial. if you don't have a television, count yourself lucky. (for more reasons than one)

as soon as I saw the catchy commercial, I had to have one. the advertising firm definitely made their money on this one. that's right.

The Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty.

I have three words for you. yum yum yum.

Dave Thomas is dead but his frosty goodness lives on.

on Monday, Husband and I decided to treat ourselves on Friday after a long week of 5K training. Yes, after running until I wanted to throw up, I digested this:

I have three words for you. yum yum yum.

de ja vu? yes. me too.

Anyway, I'm not a huge chocolate/sweets fan but I liked it. a lot. little coffee flavor, little toffee flavor, little chocolate flavor suspended in the frozen treat we know as the frosty.

I'm not going to ruin your day and bore you with all the tedious nutritional details. but it you want to check it out here

we actually had to go to two Wendy's restaurants because the first one was out of the mix. We definitely got weird looks when I said, "ok," and walked out. but I was hoping it would be worth it. and it was.

(yes. we had fries with that)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not ME Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I definitely did NOT bribe my daughter with goldfish crackers to get her out of the tub after I bribed her with Crayola Bath Crayons to get her in the tub. I never bribe. nope, nope, nope. not me!