Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pesto for David

If you've read any of my older posts, you will have read about David's tree nut allergy. I have pretty much stopped cooking with nuts which doesn't bother me too much, except I really like to make pesto when basil is in season. So I was happy to find a sunflower seed/basil pesto recipe over at FeralKitchen. Her recipe is pretty much a basic pesto, but it's made with sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. Here's my take on it-

David's Pesto

4 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
4 cloves garlic, cut into chunks
2 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, cut into cubes
1 t. Kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place basil, sunflower seeds, garlic, cheese and salt in food processor. Pulse until combined. With food processor running, drizzle in oil; continue running until smooth. May be kept in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks. Delicious over pasta or mixed in scrambled eggs or mixed with mayonnaise for a sandwich spread.

Mangia Mamma's Five Favorites- week 4

Mangia Mamma's Five Favorites- week 4

1. Mangia Mamma Dirty Chai

My favorite mug from friend Annette!

I usually have at least one cup of coffee in the morning, most of the time made with either a little half and half and demerara sugar or my homemade flavored creamer (the latest being Irish Cream~ yummy) and served in my favorite mug. Once in a while, however, I gotta have me some dirty chai. We had been buying the dry mix at Cash & Carry, but it was way too expensive for my taste. Leave it to Pinterest to have a bunch of recipes for a homemade mix. I found one I liked from although I know there are numerous recipes on many sites. It makes for a great regular chai, but I put three spoonfuls in my favorite mug and pop it under the Keurig for a great dirty chai. It also makes nice gifts!

Chai Mix
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Working with about half the mixture at a time, process in a food processor until fine and smooth.  Store in a cool, dry place, in an airtight container.
To use, put three heaping tablespoons into coffee mug; add 8 ounces of hot water or coffee. Stir well. I like to add just a drop of half and half to the chai and coffee for a bit more richness!
2. Hosanna House
I always loved the movie, It's a Wonderful Life. The part where George and Mary look at the "old Granville place" and she say how much she loves it has always made me smile. When she's shown fixing the place up after they've moved in, I have often thought of our home. You see, we live in a 1912 farmhouse set in a neighborhood of much newer houses. It's a great old house with all that old houses come with- the history, creaky floors and no insulation. With all that being said, I am so grateful it's ours. We found out the area of where our home is located was called the Hosanna Division when it was first put into county records. I had decided then our home would be known as the "Hosanna House" as I've always felt our home would be used for whatever the Lord would want. We were able to meet some of the family that built our home and have them share with us about their family who lived here. Not only was it great to meet them, but we found out they were Christians too. Needless to say, it is truly a joy to live in a house that's so full of history and happiness!
3. Pallet Projects
Frugality is something I have been trying for longer than I can remember. I love to reuse things in everything from sewing to crafting to stuff for the house. Hence my newest project list of things made from pallets. I've been able to collect 6 pallets so far, and project #1 is going to be started this week. It's going to be shelving for our garage and laundry room. I am planning on making some outdoor furniture too, but I promised my family I wouldn't get more pallets until we use what we already have. Be assured I will be posting photos as soon as the stuff is done!
4. Dr. Ray
My early days of motherhood were filled with many days of listening to Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family. Josh has commented that the kids turned out okay not so much thanks to me and their dad, but because they listened to Adventures in Oddesey. For the last couple of years, we've started listening to Dr. Ray Guarendi. He's a Catholic psychologist with a lot of chutzpah as he shares wit and wisdom while throwing in a bit of sarcasm here and there. I've been really glad to have found him on both KBVM and EWTN radio plus he's got a t.v. show - Living Right with Dr. Ray- on that we watch on   

5. Midsummer's Night Cream
Although I try not to buy very much stuff from Trader Joe's because a lot of it is just too expensive (not to mention I would go spending crazy if I don't watch it), there are a few things I think are a good deal and work great. One of these is their Midsummer's Night Cream. It is non-greasy, great for all year round and smells nice too. The best part is you get 16 oz. for $3.99 and it lasts for about 3 1/2 months or so in our house with a few of us using it at least once most days.

Be sure to check out Moxie Wife as well as these other blogs for their five favorites~

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunday BBQ recipes

I wrote on Friday about the birthday BBQ we were having at my folks Sunday, and that I'd share what recipes I made. It ended up being a nice time as my almost 91 year old Grandpa Aziz regaled us with more awesome stories of his younger years as we sat around mom's dining room table enjoying dinner. We had turkey kielbasa dogs and turkey cheeseburgers that Dad grilled along with various dips and chips as well as a fresh veggie tray my sister, Alicia, had brought. I ended up contributing roasted russet potatoes with Grandpa Aziz' Greek seasoning for dinner plus some hummus and crackers.
Here's the recipe for the Greek Seasoning that is delicious on lots of stuff!

Grandpa Aziz' Greek Seasoning
(This recipe is great as you can make it in small or large batches- I've written it down in tablespoons, but you can use smaller or larger measurements as long as you follow the ratios)
2 T. each of the following-
1 T. each of the following-
Black pepper
1/2 T. each of the following-

Mix all spices/herbs together and store in jar. Use on vegetables, chicken and in salad dressings.
For roasted potatoes- Preheat oven to 425 degrees; peel and cube russet potatoes. Place on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with desired amount of Greek seasoning and roast for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and can be pierced easily with a fork. These are especially delicious when served with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

I was trying to figure out what to make for dessert when I realized there was a bake sale at St. Joseph's Sunday to raise money for priests and religious sisters to attend at Catholic camp this summer. Even though I didn't have any cash or the checkbook, the kids all bought a couple of things. We ended up eating the very yummy scotcharoos before we ever got home but saved the lemon bars for the BBQ. I added the leftover brownies and lemon yogurt blueberry bread from the other day which made for a dessert tray. I also wanted to make something gluten free, so Imade vanilla panna cotta with Marionberry mousse. Everyone who tried it said it was the perfect ending to dinner. Light and not too sweet with just enough berry and vanilla flavors was the verdict. Try this recipe and judge for yourself!

Vanilla Panna cotta
1 cup heavy cream
2 ¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin (1 envelope)
3 tablespoons cold water
1/3 cup sugar (or evaporated cane juice)
2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
Marionberry Mousse
2 ¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin (1 envelope)
2 cups frozen Marionberries, thawed
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
Thin strips of fresh mint, for garnish

To make panna cotta, place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top, let soften for 3 minutes. In pot, bring cream and sugar over low-medium heat. Bring to simmer, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scalding. Turn off heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla. In a larger bowl add yogurt and stir until creamy. Stir carefully with whisk until cream mixture is fully combined with yogurt. Pour panna cotta into 6 ramekins or glasses, refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

To make the mousse, place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top, let sit for 3 minutes. Then heat in microwave or in small pot, stirring often, until gelatin is fully dissolved. Place berries in blender and pulse until well crushed. Add dissolved gelatin mixture and pulse again. Let cool in refrigerator.
In larger bowl, whip cream with electric mixer with whisk attachment until small peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue to whisk until you reach stiff peaks.Carefully fold berry/gelatin mixture into whipped cream mixture and mix gently. Refrigerate for 2 hours until set. To serve, spoon a dollop of mousse on top of set panna cotta. This may be garnished with thin strips of fresh mint.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mangia Mamma's Seven Quick Takes


--- 1 ---
Work has been so strange this week~ not in a bad way, but just strange. I've started having Mondays and Tuesdays off while adult fencing league is going on which has been nice for me and helpful for David, who has taken over my Monday foil tactics class (remember, it's fencing, not how to make swans or other animals out of aluminum foil). My boss and I met Wednesday to work on curriculum which was exciting as it's been needing to be done for a while. I am used to teaching two to three classes a night which is what happened Wednesday, but last night I ended up having only one class- nice job, 5:30 Musketeer Class- show up. Usually this would be disappointing, but it was nice to be able to come home earlier than usual. We figured out it was mostly due to the end of the year school events which goes to prove our SCF youth fencers are terrific kids who are involved in some great stuff in their schools as well as being terrific fencers!
What the salle usually looks like

--- 2 ---
Most of the folks in Salem are wondering where Spring has gone, and I am right there with them. After having a few weeks of quite lovely weather, it feels like winter is back. Yesterday it was 50 degrees at noon. Besides the cold, it's been rainy all week. Yeah, I know Salem is in Oregon and Oregon is so green because of the rain, blah, blah, blah...Sorry, I feel better now. It is really green outside and as far as I know all of the crops in the Willamette Valley are still okay, including the strawberries and blueberries at my friend Annette's family farm- Fordyce Farms. So, I guess I shouldn't complain too much since the grass is green, our yard looks nice and 
the berries should be ready to pick soon!

--- 3 ---
A close up of the fabric
I used for my wrap
With the rain comes more time inside. With more time inside comes Pinterest ideas time. I spent yesterday baking for a few hours then made a wrap out of some ivory knit fabric I've had up in fabric storage. I think it'll be nice to wear to Mass instead of a jacket. I'm trying to use up my fabric stash before buying anything new (not to mention, I shouldn't be buying any), and this was project #1. I am planning on making some skirts next week which I'll be sure to share photos!
--- 4 ---
Tea at Ten is a tradition I learned from Table Talk- a book from Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson who wrote Once A Month Cooking. The concept involves family time in the evening a bit before everyone goes to bed usually with tea and perhaps goodies. We used to do it when the kids were younger in order for us to all unwind from our day and just hang out together. With Joshua home from school for a couple of months, we've started up the tradition again. Last night after a late dinner (we generally eat as soon as I get home from work, around 9:00), the kids got out the teacups and some brownies I had made yesterday for our "tea at ten". Along with the goodies, Joshua brought down his penny whistle for some family music time. We sang, talked, drank and ate for about an hour when it was time for family nighttime prayers. We all went to bed with the last strains of melodies in our heads while I pondered the joy my kids bring me and how our "tea at ten" is so valuable to all of us.
--- 5 ---
We have chosen as part of our being Catholic to not eat meat on Fridays as a sacrifice for us as part of remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross. With this being said, I have had a good time finding new meatless recipes to try. Tonight, however, we are doing a family favorite- mac and cheese. For a long time when the kids were little they would only want mac and cheese from a box- you know, the stuff with the "cheese powder". Finally, as they got a bit older they realized that homemade is better. I have a feeling that our time of watching Food Network might have had something to do with it. I've made lots of different recipes, from Rachael Ray's to Alton Brown's. While these were delicious, the recipe I go back 
to most of the time is good old fashioned macaroni and cheese. 
Here's a simple recipe for you to try: 
 Mangia Mamma's Mac and Cheese 
1 lb. dry pasta (I like using elbow macaroni or gemelli pasta)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable broth
4 cups shredded cheese, divided (this is where you can be creative- use what you have at home or try something new. for example: a mix of Gouda, Romano, Fontina and Cheddar)
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add salt and pasta. Cook for 9-11 minutes, or until al dente. Drain. Melt butter in the pot; whisk in flour and spices to make roux; cook for 3 minutes. Add milk and broth. Continue to whisk until thick and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in 3 cups cheese until melted. Add drained pasta (and optional flavoring ingredients, see notes) to sauce, and stir until everything is well combined over low heat. Stir to heat through, and thin with a little water if the sauce is too thick. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in 350 degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

--- 6 ---

We usually start BBQ'ing this time of the year and 2013 won't be an exception. We will be at Mom and Dad's Sunday to celebrate May birthdays- Joshua's plus my sisters' Alicia and Holly are turned a year older this month. Hopefully the weather will be nice, but even if it's still rainy, we should have a nice time being with the extended family. I am bringing some kind of potato dish and dessert. Since it is the beginning of strawberry season and Joshua just happens to be working tomorrow, I think I'll try something with berries for dessert. Cheesy potatoes of some sort will most likely be on the menu too. I'll be sure to post photos and recipes after Sunday!

--- 7 ---
Memorial Day is Monday which means two things. 1)We, like so many people, have the day off, and 2) Oregon Wine Country open houses- hopefully the weather will be nice enough to go to a winery or two with the family for wine tasting with the older two and picnic with everybody. I really want to try a couple of wineries we haven't been to yet, but as Brian is the wine expert, I'll just be happy to try something new and be with the family. Hope your Memorial Day weekend is fun and relaxing! God bless!!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Here are some other seven quick takes to check out: