Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thai Basil Rolls (Vegetarian)

Tonight I made some Thai Basil Rolls.  I didn't look up a recipe or anything because you can sort of fill these rolls with whatever you would like.  Sometimes grocery stores have them already made that you can buy in the deli section and you can order them at Thai restaurants.  I love avocado, so that was my main ingredient.  I just put some salad leaves, avocado, Thai basil leaves from my garden and that's it.  It takes like 10 minutes to make.  Easier than grabbing takeout from McDonalds!  :)

What I used:

  • Organic mixed greens 
  • Organic Thai basil from my garden
  • Avocado
  • Rice paper 
  • Organic Peanut Sauce
I boiled some water and poured it in a large plate that would hold the water.  I soaked the rice paper for about 2 minutes.  Put the basil on the rice sheet, then layered the avocados on top of those, then added the salad greens.  I started by folding the rice paper from the bottom, then folded over the sides on top of the filling, then continued to roll it all the way up.  You can probably find tutorials on youtube that show you how to roll them.  I didn't feel like making the peanut sauce from scratch, so I keep some already bottled here for times like this. You can find the rice paper and peanut sauce in the Asian section of your grocery store or an Asian supermarket. Sometimes people add carrots, shrimp, cilantro, bean sprouts, onions, etc., but it's up to you.

How it turned out.

I drank some tea with it, one of my favorite teas is this green tea by Yogi. It's the super-antioxidant one, it has lemongrass in it, which I think is what gives it the amazing flavor.

I also picked a few more things from my garden today.  I have ripe tomatoes now!  This is so fun.

Look at those wonky cayenne peppers! They are so long and wrinkly.

I made a little before bed time snack. 
This is the first time I've ever bought or cooked an artichoke.
I steamed it and dipped the bottom of the leaves in a tad of some Horizon organic butter.
Does this look right?  It sure tasted good.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Authentic Salsa Recipe

Here it is, I have been promising pics of the authentic Mexican salsa made from banana peppers.  It's very simple, just use banana peppers, jalapeño peppers if you like it a little spicy, scallions, cilantro and tomatoes. I didn't use that whole big can of tomatoes, I only used half of it. Those banana peppers are all from my garden!

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and chop.

There you have it, delish salsa!

Here is the recipe if you would like to write it down or you can just copy and paste it into Wordpad and print it.

Authentic Mexican Salsa (passed down by MaryAnn)

  • 10 Yellow peppers
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers (only if you like it hot, otherwise substitute banana peppers)
  • 2 or 3 scallions
  • 6 to 8 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 can of 16 oz. whole tomatoes
  • sea salt (optional)
Slice peppers in half and hollow out the seeds (wear gloves!) and throw everything in the blender.  If you would like it to be more chunky and chopped, don't put the juice from the tomatoes in it. You can also use a food processor instead of a blender.  If you would like a more runny texture, use more of the tomato juice.  You can just play around with it until you get it to the texture and taste that you like.

One time I made it and it almost turned into soup because I blended it too long and used way too much of the juice.  My friend in FL just recently made it and she said it turned out too soupy, too.  So don't use the juice from the tomatoes next time Bec Bec.  :)

I also must say, I can not take the credit for this recipe.  It's from a friend who lives here in NC. She got it from a relative named Maryann and she said it has been passed down from many generations.  It doesn't really have a name, so I just call it authentic salsa.

I made fish tostados for dinner.  This is my own little recipe that I made up.  I guess I should have looked up a recipe, but I like to get creative when I cook and try to come up with my own meals.  When I was in Myrtle Beach this past weekend, we went to a Mexican restaurant and I ordered fish tostados and they brought me shrimp tostados!  I ate them anyway, but I really wanted those fish tostados so I've been craving them ever since.  I finally got my craving satisfied.

I am not sure what kind of fish I'm suppose to use,  I just used some flounder I had here.  (I love fish, I don't eat much other meat, but do try to have fish 2 or 3 times a week.)  I made some pico de gallo yesterday morning for my scrambled eggs and just used the leftovers.  Then I added some of the Authentic Salsa, avocados, and a squirt of lime.

Jolie's Fish Tostados

  • Flounder (or whatever fish you want)
  • Pico de gallo (You can make your own or buy it already made)
  • Salsa
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • Crunchy Corn Tostado shells (You can buy already made or cook your own soft corn tortillas until they harden)
I cooked the flounder in some olive oil and seasoned.  After the flounder was cooked, I chopped it in the skillet and added some Pico de gallo in the skillet with the fish just long enough to warm it up.  Then I put it on the tostado shells, added salsa and cut up some avocado pieces on top.  It turned out great!

Just in case you're wondering about the Pico de gallo, here is a quick recipe for that, too.

Pico De Gallo
  • 2 fresh ripe tomatoes
  • 2 or 3 scallions
  • 4 sprigs of cilantro 
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 clove garlic (or just sprinkle some garlic powder in it)
  • 1 jalopeno pepper (optional)
  • sea salt (optional)
Chop up all of the ingredients and add together in a bowl.  I try to get as little of the juice from the tomatoes as I can in it.  You can use this on so many things.  Enjoy!


I love cooking and may start adding a lot more recipes to my blog.  After watching the movie Julie and Julia, I wanted to turn my blog into a food blog! I love watching any kind of movie about food. I just recently watched No Reservations and it was really good.  I even love the cartoon Ratatouille :)   If you know of a good food movie, please let me know. 

A Little About How I Eat:
I try to eat healthy. I don't follow any certain diet or rules. I guess the closest thing you could describe the way I eat to is Clean Eating, but I think even with that, clean eaters don't eat anything from a can or box, which I think is ok to do if there aren't a long list of ingredients or unnecessary sugars, MSG, trans fat, etc. in it.   I do try to stay as close to nature as possible and  not eat a lot of processed foods.   I love veggies, lots of green leafy ones! Kale, spinach, collards, mustards, turnip greens, swiss chard, arugula, I could go on forever.  I was raised on collards.  I also eat a lot of fruit and make a lot of smoothies, one of my favorites is my green smoothie.  Like I said, I don't eat much meat besides fish/seafood.  Other meats sparingly. 

I don't eat white processed sugar, which means I'm not a big sweets eater.  Every now and then I will and I also love dark chocolate.  :)  I don't have a sweet tooth, but if I do want something sweetened, I will substitute a natural sweetener instead.  I don't drink cows milk and eat very little dairy.  I love coconut milk, rice milk, and almond milk! 

Do you have a special way of eating or a certain type of diet you follow?  I never did before I traveled to Thailand, but I got sick a lot through my life and when I was in Thailand I got sick even more.  I promised myself when I got back to the States I was going to try everything I could to get my health taken care of.  I went and bought a bunch of health and nutrition books and taught myself about how food nourishes you and the correct ways to eat and it changed my life. I hardly ever get sick anymore and I feel great and have a ton of energy.  This is one of the reasons I have such a passion for food. Not just any food, but healing foods that add health and strength to my life.

Hope you enjoy these healthy recipes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

About Me

I'm a Florida native and have spent the last few years living in NC and just moved back to Florida again. I'm so glad to be back in the Sunshine State!  I have the sweetest little dog in the world. His name is Little Foot, he's a Border Collie mix.  I adopted him from a shelter almost 6 yrs ago in Atlanta, GA.

I just purchased my 2nd home and am in the process of remodeling, this blog is my journal along the way. Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I'm getting ready to start working on it again, so there will be many more posts to come!

An Island off Thailand with friends.

On a beach in Pattaya, Thailand.

One of the highlights of my life was living in Thailand for 2 years.  I was there teaching English, learning Thai and doing outreach work.  I automatically connected with the Thai people, culture and lifestyle there.  I have never met so many warm friendly people.  Thailand is called the Land of Smiles.  All you have to do is smile at someone and they will befriend you!  I couldn't believe how much I had in common with them, it was very hard for me to leave this place.  Thailand has a HUGE place in my heart and I will go back again one day.  I think sometimes my friends that know me probably get tired of hearing me talk about Thailand all the time  :)   I can't help it, it's part of me.

Mom, Dad and Me

As for the creativity aspect of my decorating, photography, writing, my moms side of the family is very artistic. My mother can draw, paint, sew... she is amazing! My grandfather was very artistic, too. He could also paint beautifully and use to be a sign painter. He painted everything by hand, no fancy technology like they use today.

My dad was quite creative as well, he built on a whole room to the house I grew up in by himself.  I grew up watching him make cabinets and furniture, refinish antiques, building things from nothing.  As a teenager, I would refinish little dressers and fancy them up, just from watching my dad. We never took any classes or read the first book about it.
So I guess I credit it to genes :)

I've moved once a year since I was about 19 years old, I love to travel and experience new places and people.  I have never stayed in one place long enough to put down any roots, and here I am again moving. My goal is to try to stay in the current house I just bought in Merritt Island for 5 years..  

Please don't hesitate to comment or send me an email. 

With Love,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cottage Kitchens

I just spent the last 3 days in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Didn't do much but hang out on the beach.  The pic above is the only picture I even took of the beach while I was there and that isn't  like me. It's from the hotel room.  I did however bring with me a Cottages and Cabins magazine.  I love this magazine because there aren't really any advertisements in it, the whole magazine is nothing but beautiful photos of adorable cottages that you can hardly stop looking at.  I couldn't find the magazine online or anything to show a link for it, but I bought it at my local grocery store.

Here are just a few pictures from it.

This last kitchen is so cozy looking, something about it feels so familiar to me. Love the wallpaper on the ceiling.  There are more than just kitchens in this magazine, but these were the ones I was drawn to the most.  One of the  houses I looked at when I was trying to find my house had red laminate counters just like in this 2nd photo.  Every one cringed at the red counters and I remember thinking  how cute they were and that I thought I could work with them.  I would have probably tried to do something similar.

Ok, back from vacation and time to get back to real life again!  I need to start working on some projects.  I want to paint the cabinets in my kitchen because they are very dirty and dingy.  I'm also going to try to focus on getting my patio area fixed up and revamping my guest room a little since I'm sleeping in the guest room now.  Stay tuned!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Big Dresser Before & After

I started working on this project weeks ago (or maybe months, I  lost track) and just got lazy for some reason and didn't get around to finishing it until now.  I bought these faux bamboo dressers about 4 years ago and after I got them, I decided I didn't like them anymore.  I wanted to get rid of them, but they cost me a pretty penny.  So I decided to just refinish them in a way that would make me like them more.



I made a post already showing some of the steps I used to refinish the dresser.  You can find that here.

Here is a quick meltdown of the steps.

The bottom part of the dresser:
  1. Scuff sanded.
  2. Primed with Olympic VOC free primer.
  3. 2 coats of Olympic Crumb Cookie 
  4. Replaced handles with Gatehouse Aged Bronze Pulls from Lowes.
The top part:
  1. Removed varnish with a varnish remover.
  2. Sanded all the way down to the white pine with an orbital sander.
  3. Conditioned the wood with Minwax pre-stain conditioner.
  4. Used about 3 coats of Minwax dark walnut stain.
  5. I started sealing it with tung oil, but switched over to what I used to seal my butcher block counters because it doesn't have a strong smell like the tung oil. (Now I can cut veggies on my dresser, haha) 
It doesn't seem like too much, but it was a lot of work.  So much harder than doing the smaller nightstand like it.

Dark walnut stain.

My bedroom continues to look more complete, still a few more things I want to do yet.