"Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Monday, September 23, 2013

~ Fast & Slow Cooking ~

Yesterday was officially the first day of Autumn...so, I thought I would bring out my slow-cooker and simmer something aromatically delicious. 

Using my Make if Fast, Cook it Slow cookbook (which I picked up at a used book sale), I found something that I could make using the ingredients that I had on hand.  I omitted/added a couple ingredients:  It called for corn, I used carrots.  It called for cumin spice, I did not have any on hand, so I used rosemary, thyme, and celery seed.  Just a pinch or two of each.  Although it is suggested to use chili powder as a substitute, I omitted because of the salsa I used in the ingredients.  It was plenty spicy!


The Ingredients:
2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken pieces
4 cups chicken broth
16 oz. salsa
1 cup frozen corn (I used fresh carrots)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup sour cream
Optional garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, fresh cilantro

The Directions:
Drain & rinse the beans, place in stoneware.  Add the chicken, broth, and salsa.
Next, add the vegetables & spices.  Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or high for 5 to 6 hours (I did high for 3 hours and low for 2 hours).  Mix in the sour cream before serving, and garnish with cheese, avocado & cilantro if desired.

My children loved it...even my picky one enjoyed it.  Depending on the spiciness of the salsa, will (of course) make your soup either mild or zingy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

~ Ganache Icing ~

Easy as 1 - 2 - 3!

Baking can be very satisfying...especially when you top off your simple cake recipe with a decadent and incredibly easy ganache recipe like this!

You only need two ingredients:
1.  One cup of heavy whipping cream and
2.  Nine ounces of bittersweet chocolate. 

I use the chips, only because it saves the step of breaking up the bar. 

Your cake should already be cooled and ready to be topped with the ganache icing.  You can drizzle in the middle and the top, or just the top.  I have placed fresh raspberries in between the layers of cakes to offset the chocolaty icing with a touch of tart. 

In a pan, heat the whipping cream on the stove top.  Watch carefully because is heats quickly and you don't want it to boil over...heat until boiling, then remove from heat.

Pour the hot whipping cream over the chocolate and whisk away until you get a smooth and creamy ganache.  It will be thick, but easy to pour.

Starting from the center of the cake, pour the icing, working your way out toward the sides.  It will drip slowly.  You decide if you want the *drip look*...

or the *complete coverage*... 

 This recipe should make enough to do either.  This cake was covered by pouring alone...I did not use a spoon or spatula to ice the cake; however, you can use the back of a spoon or spatula to help spread your ganache.

Personally, I like the "drip-look" on this particular cake and for this particular occasion...

Monday, September 2, 2013

~ A Random Walk... ~

...into my garden this morning led to this small harvest.

If you have access to any patch of soil, or a any type of (raised) garden bed, or even just a large pot - Do yourself a favor and plant yourself a little garden.  Seriously!

Plant something that you will use...or something that you would find useful to have fresh, daily.  In other words, do not plant a gourd if you do not plan to use it...and do not plant something (like a gourd) to use as a decoration.  Plant it.  Grow it.  Eat it.  You will be satisfied.

Do not say that you do not have a green thumb!  Things grow with soil, water & sun.  So you see, thumbs are extremely helpful, but not mandatory.  :o)

It is such a treat to find these treasures waiting for you to find...

hopefully before little wild creatures get to them first!


 Tomato plants making a comeback after serious decapitation from a rabbit.

"Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who
were good little bunnies, went down
the lane to gather blackberries;
But Peter, who was very naughty,
ran straight away to Mr. McGregor's
garden, and squeezed under the gate!
First he ate some lettuces and some
French beans; and then he ate some
radishes..."  ~ Beatrix Potter