Tuesday, June 8, 2010

FARMER FAVORITES WEEK

Well a big HI THERE and HELLO to all my faithful followers! How are you doing this absolutely horridly humid morning? LOL… I am well. Full of summertime spunk and craziness!

To address some comments… First I figured MOM would be excited when I said it was FARMER FAVORITES LOL! She is a veg-a-holic! LOL! Sorry it rained on your tree day mom… but be patient… your tree day will come! And MOJO sauce is something you can buy in a jar at the store or make it yourself. Here is something I found on tasteofcuba.com for you!

The authentic mojo is made with juice from sour oranges. It still has that little orangy taste, but its very acid and tart. You can come close by mixing equal amounts of freshly squeezed orange juice with lime juice (*). If you live in areas with large concentration of Latinos you will probably find bottled Mojo (Goya brand makes one) or their produce department might have the slightly bumpy, thick skinned sour oranges. This recipe makes one cup.

1/3 cup olive oil
6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
2/3 cup sour orange juice or lime juice
(or equal portions orange juice and lime juice)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly toasted. Don't let it brown or it will be acrid tasting, just about 30 seconds should do it.

Add the sour orange juice, cumin and salt and pepper. STAND BACK; the sauce may sputter. Bring to a rolling boil. Taste and correct seasoning, if needed

Cool before serving. Mojo is best when served within a couple of hours of making, but it will keep for several days, well capped in a jar or bottle, in the refrigerator.

Use with Cuban sandwiches, boiled yucca, grilled seafood and meats, fried green plantain chips, etc.

*I have seen recipes for mojo using cilantro in it, but that is not traditional to Cuban Cuisine.


To Tabitha- ok dear, I am not trying to offend, but where on earth do you live to think MY life is interesting?? LOL… I do thank you for the compliments though… you are too kind! Yes I took my lotto bag to the casino, but ya know I got more compliments about the money scrub top than the bag LOL… go figure! I got a lot of compliments on it at the mall though! And I am so glad you have had good experiences with the Farmers Market. Just remember not to buy overboard LOL cause you don’t want things to go to waste!

To the Carter Family- I am sorry to hear you are having garden problems, but I CAN say this… DO NOT GIVE UP! Sure you may need to doctor and baby the plants, change the dirt, or other vegatative first aid actions, but it DOES help! I rescued what I could, disposed of what was dead, made a better dirt mixture, added some nitrogen rocks/food, and prayed! Be vigilant about the watering and care and maybe even research the specific problems you are having online for more advise. And your lucky, part of what I occupied my time with yesterday was my gardening and plants, so guess what you get to see today! LOL and here we go!



OK let’s start with my bell peppers. What once were mere sticks are now thick thriving stocks of green goodness! Look at the size of those bell peppers! And the best part is that these plants are COVERED in them! I have at least 10-12 fruits and/or blooms! WOOHOO! I got my mojo back I think LOL!



These are the cucumber plants that I need to get a trellis for and get put in the garden! They are a rich green and have huge leaves. They are very healthy… let’s pray I can keep them this way! I have some yellow squash plants which are green and crazy similar to these too!



My strawberries are sprouting back up YAY!!!! They are so healthy and green! Simply Beautiful! They are putting off fruit again too and now are even sprouting some runners! YAY! The berries you see are about the size of my thumb down to the first knuckle. Aren’t they lovely! Hopefully I can get them growing great guns again! That would be awesome!



OK, so you want to see the craziest thing? I had brought back a couple of pieces of cactus from the field behind Mom & Dad’s house… intending to get them planted (seeing as you can eat them and all!). Well I never got around to it. In fact, I FORGOT the pieces were on the top of a box sitting under the outside portion of the window unit! Well… apparently these dang things don’t need any dirt to grow LOL… just a little bit of water! Look at all the new green growth on that thing! Growing in a condensation puddle on top of a Rubbermaid box on the porch under the air conditioning unit… INSANE! Anyway, I will get them potted… eventually LOL… but at least I am not as worried about them as normal plants now LMAO!



Open my door and what do I see? Not one, but 2 pretty topsy turveys! LOL! Yes I got the dirt mixed, the anchors into the beams, the baby tomato plants in the containers, nitrogen rocks/food in, and hung up! They are cute and I hope that they bush out and give me pounds and pounds of beautiful red tomatoes! Those things are very heavy… LOL especially when you are standing on a chair on the porch! I thought I was gonna fall over the railing! LOL… I was a weeeeeee bit nervous for sure! But I got them up and they look super spiffy!



What you see here is an eggplant bud! Yes, after fixing the dirt, my eggplants shot up into gigantic leaves and tall shoots! They are much healthier now… all 9 plants are showing a great amount of progress! And they are beginning to bud! They will put off these cute purple flowers and then it’s on to fruits! YAY! I see some eggplant Parmesan in the future! LOL!



These are my Husky Cherry tomato plants that I saved. They are a rich green now. Still no fruit, but that’s ok… It started lightning and thundering while I was working on planting these, so I had to stop gardening for the day. 4 cherry tomato plants sadly have had to be put out of their misery… the last of the tiny tomatoes turned red and I disposed of them.



I also didn’t realize that I have a smaller/younger cherry tomato plant so that leaves me with 5 if I can get them all to flourish again! We shall see! I repotted each Cherry tomato in their own pot and gave it fresh dirt mix and nitro rocks, so here’s keeping our fingers crossed that they thrive and produce for a good long time! Ya know what I thought would be cool? Buying a bunch of these bigger pots and planting a big tomato bush in each one and lining each side of my driveway with them! OMG that would look super cool… but sadly we don’t exactly live in a neighborhood conducive for that kind of thing. Oh well, it was a thought!



This is the beginning of the Toy Story Duffle Bag I am making for Alex. I had to stop once I got the handles attached though because I didn’t have a color coordinating zipper to match that was long enough! All I had were pink zippers and I don’t think that would’ve looked very good with this LOL! Needless to say, I plan on getting a zipper today so I can finish the bag! All this cuteness from an old stained and ripped up sheet… crazy huh?



Then my lovely DD tells me that she wants to go with all the centerpieces for her party in the glasses. I cocked an eyebrow and went “WHAT?” SOOO we played around and came up with these 2 centerpieces to use… all in the glasses! I got 8 of them done (minus one photograph on the note) and now I need 4 more. UGH! Oh well… good thing they weren’t expensive or too hard to make!

Then I had the heart attack of a lifetime! While I was crafting, I had put my dinner in the oven to cook. About 13 minutes into it, I was sitting at the table crafting and all of the sudden I hear this buzzing… kind of like you hear a neon sign or a bug zapper doing. I walk into the kitchen and the inside of my oven is crackling and on fire! I was scrambling for the extinguisher and I was shaking so badly, I couldn’t get it unhinged off the wall, so I shut down the oven and immediately unplugged it from the wall. I watched as the flames went away and I saw this orange glowing heating element that had split in 2! OMG once I quit shaking like a leaf, I called my dad who is the all-knowing electrical man and asked if that “normally” happened. He assured me I acted correctly and when you cook as much as I do it does tend to happen… especially with an older stove. So that helped me calm down a little… THANKS DAD! But my blood pressure and heart rate didn’t get back to normal for an hour or so… basically when the oven was cool and I knew everything was ok, I was good to break down and cry then LOL! Needless to say, I don’t think my landlord is gonna be happy about this one… first it was a new breaker box and breakers, then that was followed by a water heater, a fridge, an air condition, and now the stove? LOL… what can I say… when I do it, I do it right! LMAO! Anyway, after that, the craft mojo was so incredibly gone… sad too cause I was starting to get into it!

Ok so let’s talk crafts. Now the late Spring through summer season offers a few patriotic holidays. Many people have celebrations and decorate in the Red/White/Blue theme. Well we covered a lot of Patriotic crafts during the May Memorial Day weekend, but here is another that is just so cute, I couldn’t “can”tain myself LOL! I don’t like regular fireworks, but this one really pops with pazzaz! LOL!



Craft Idea of the Day: Firecracker Cans

Materials:

1 round can with lid - Can made from cardboard, hot beverage cans for things like coffee or cocoa work well. You can also use cans from items like raisins or nuts.
4 pieces - Medium or Large Construction Paper (2 blue, 1 red, 1 white)
Star Confetti (any firework like decoration kids can paste onto the paper, like confetti, stickers, buttons, beads, or cutouts)
Star Tinsel (any kind of shiny, colored, wire tinsel)
Star button/bead (any medium sized, single star decoration)
Glue
Scissors
Ruler
Pencil (for tracing and rolling paper)

Directions:

1. Take your clean, round can and remove the lid. You need to cover the can with paper, but the size of paper will depend on the exact size of the can used.

Measure out your can and add about 2-inches extra to the length. This will give you enough paper to cover the can and create those neat "firecracker" rolls.

So, cut blue paper (2 inches longer than can) rectangle out. Have children cut into paper at the bottom, making 2 and 1/2 inch cuts in, spaced about 2 inches apart, all the way along the bottom of the paper. Then take a pencil and roll each paper strip around it, then release. Now the ends of the paper are curled.

Cut out a white piece of paper, the exact same size as the blue, only two inches shorter. Repeat the cutting and curling process.

Take the red piece of paper and make it two inches short than the white paper, or four inches shorter than the blue. Repeat cutting and curling.

2. Take the curled, blue piece of paper and wrap it around the can tightly, letting the curls fall to the table. Make sure the paper starts right below the opening rim on the can, and glue on.

Take the curled, white paper and glue it around the can. Start right below the opening rim on the can. Let the curls fall down onto the blue paper. Repeat with red paper, starting it right below the rim and letting the curls fall onto the white paper.

3. Take star confetti, or other decorative items, and glue them onto the can. Remind children to get both on top and under the curls of paper around the can.

4. Take some decorative star tinsel, garland, or other shiny and linked decorations to twist around can body. Glue ends to can once wrapped, making sure the lid will still fit.

5. Take a pen, pencil or pair of scissors and poke a large hole in the middle of the can lid. Have children cut 5-8 strands of tinsel, each about 5inches long. Twist each strand of tinsel into a loop, twisting the ends together.

6. Push ends of tinsel loop into hole in lid and glue into place. Create a firework flower pattern on top of the can with the loops. Glue a single star button/bead in the middle of the lid.

7. Let can dry, then use to store trinkets or treats! Makes a cute "exploding firework" can for any child to enjoy.

This craft lets kids use the firecracker/fireworks theme without being tangled into problems of safety or policy. At my summer school (and most schools in my area) we are not allowed to make rockets, or real looking fireworks, because of safety issues. Therefore, instead of a rocket, we made colorful firecrackers that were already "exploding."

I used some "Star Spangle Banner" saltwater taffy to fill the cans with, making a cute gift for kids to give their parents. Some of my students decided they liked storing crayons and markers in the can instead. One family made a bunch more "exploding firecracker cans" and a huge mountain of homemade fudge. They filled the tins with fudge and gave one to each teacher with an adorable card that read "For my teacher, a firecracker exploding with sugar!" I have to admit that I just loved that gift, and that fudge!

Okie dokie, now with summer here and heating things up, the last thing we want to heat up is the house, right? So natually, we gotta have a great garden grilling item or some BBQ or something during the FARMER FAVORITES WEEK! I have a couple of items here that I am pretty sure you will enjoy out on the grill or in your house!



Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Ingredients

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
3/4 cup bread crumbs or crushed whole wheat Ritz crackers

Directions

If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, rinse the black beans thoroughly and then make sure to dry them off completely! Then mash the black beans with a fork until thick and pasty. (The trick to keeping a good patty together is to drain as much of the excess water as humanly possible!)

In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Strain to remove excess water. Then stir into mashed beans.

In a small bowl, stir together eggs, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.

Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.

If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

(NOTE**) You can also add corn kernals to the mixture for an added oral adventure! You can also freeze formed patties and cook them at a later time or even grill them frozen! I personally recommend the whole wheat Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs, but whatever is to your liking… This is a very versatile recipe!)



Crispy BBQ Tofu

Ingredients
1 (16 ounce) package extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg white
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce

Directions

Drain tofu, and slice into strips. Place in a plastic bag or container, and freeze overnight. This will give the tofu a meatier texture. Thaw tofu strips, and blot with paper towels to dry.

Bake tofu on a non-stick sheet at 350 degrees for a few minutes on each side- until they are golden brown.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of barbeque sauce. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Dip the tofu slices into the egg mixture, then into the flour mixture, shaking off excess flour. Fry in the hot oil for about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Just fry enough at one time so they are not crowded. Remove from the oil to paper towels to drain and cool.

Preheat the oven's broiler. Brush tofu slices with additional barbeque sauce, and allow to marinate while the broiler heats up. Arrange them on a broiler pan, or wire rack set over a cookie sheet for best results.

Position the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Broil for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned and crisp, watching closely so as not to burn them. Serve warm with the remaining barbeque sauce for dipping.

OK gang, I am gonna get off of here and skidaddle over to mom’s house. She has therapy today! After chillin with her for awhile, I am not sure what exactly I am going to do, but I am hoping it is severely interesting LOL! So I hope you enjoyed your visit today and will join me again tomorrow for more of “The life and times of the Frugal Mom” LMAO! Until then… HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. I have been in your position with my oven before. While I was roasting a chicken once my electric oven heating element just broke in half. I didn't have a fire but it did buzz and scare the heck out of me. I use a natural gas stove now and just love it. And I am being more energy efficient now too. Your landlord has to replace things as years go by and apparently he hasn't replaced these things in a while if they are all breaking down on you now. So dont blame yourself, blame him for not keeping up to his end of his landlord duties.
    I love going to the farmers market. It always is fun and there are always all kinds of fresh, new, plentiful products and produce to see and buy. They are getting more common too. People are starting to go to the markets in protest to the high prices and low quality produce that the grocery stores are trying to sell. And I dont know about ya'll but I like my food without pesticide, wax, other peoples germs ,and other dirty things I dont even want to thank about on my food. Just think of how many people have touched that tomato you just picked up. Did they wash their hands lately? Have they picked their nose? Oh, its so gross to think about!!! Yes, I confess, I AM A GERMOPHOBE!!! I wash my food before I use it. And I trim fat off meat. And I check my boxed goods for weevils. And I double wash all my pots and pans, plus rinse them again before I use them in case there is dust in them somehow. I know, call me weird, but I very rarely catch colds or flu, unless someone comes around me with germy coughs.LOL
    I am glad your veggie garden is coming back. My garden is showing some improvement as well. I HAVE BABY CORN AND OKRA. I am still getting tomatoes. There are eggplant blooms, new peppers sprouting after the caterpillars ate my plants, they are coming back, and my tomatillos are growing good. And my lemon trees are full of little baby lemons. Its the cutest thing to see!
    Thanks for the scoop on the mojo sauce. I will have to either look for some premade or better yet, make some fresh. I really want to try that wing recipe. OK. I got therapy this morning. Til next time.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ken "The Lurker Dad"June 8, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    OK, I lurked - TOFU, YUCK!!!! LOL!!!

    ReplyDelete