Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mexican Black Bean Salad Tostada


1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp red onions minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 medium jicama, peeled and diced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup frozen corn kernals, sweet, rinsed under hot water to defrost
1/4 cup avocado, diced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 Tbsp canned green chili peppers, diced
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, from 1 large lime
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
4 small corn tortillas

Combine all ingredients, except tortillas, in a large bowl, mix to combine.
Toast tortillas and top each with 3/4 cup of salad; serve. Yields 1 tostada per serving.
Recipe can be doubled for larger gatherings.


This is a Weight Watchers recipe I found on their site. Lou and her husband have been doing the Weight Watchers diet and had really great results with it, so I thought I would pick out a WW recipe this week for her.
The link to the recipe is here.  Mexican Black Bean Salad Tostada

Ok so I forgot to get avocado! I was so upset because avocados are one of my favorite foods.  I also looked high and low for a jicama, but there were none to be found in this little town.  Lou couldn't find any jicamas either.  I've never had one,  nor do I know what they taste like.  Hopefully I'm not missing too much?

I used fresh corn from the farmers market instead of frozen corn.

I also made some of my own salsa to put on the tostada.  I just love experimenting with salsas and this one turned out nice. I added habanero instead of jalapeƱo.
Here is the recipe for the green salsa.  Tomatilla Salsa Verde Recipe

The tostada recipe was very good, I love all Mexican food though.  This sort of seemed like bean salad and just putting it on a tostada, which isn't bad, but you could probably easily eat this like salsa and use chips instead.

This is my Tuesday night dinner across the miles with Lou, if you're wondering about what I'm talking about. Every Tuesday evening my friend Lou (in FL) and I (in NC) make the same meal. I'm going to be at the farm canning grape juice tonight, so I made my dinner last night instead.  You can click on the recipes link on the right side of my blog to see all the other Tuesday recipes we've done.

Here is how Lou's dinner turned out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bathroom Wallpapered!

Here it finally is.  I didn't think this project was ever going to get done.  I will firmly say that I do NOT like to wallpaper.  I was so bad at it. My mom came over and helped me do a little at first, but I tried to do the rest by myself and I made sooo many mistakes.  I would accidentally cut it wrong or something would go wrong.  After all of that, it turned out looking great and I am glad I wallpapered it instead of painting it.  I tried so many paint colors and  nothing looked right in this bathroom against this odd colored beige tile.

(This is the only bathroom in the house by the way.  I have a tiny 2 bedroom, 1 bath home.)

The fruits of my labor...








Love my cast iron bathtub.


It's not really a complete before and after bathroom makeover.  I still have a few more things I would like to do before it's finally finished, but I think I'm going to wait and do those projects next year.  I am on the hunt for a white roman shade to replace the plastic blinds right now though.  I ordered some from Ebay and had to return them because they got all bent up during shipping. They were JC Penney brand and I didn't like them. They didn't hang right.

I would eventually like to:

  • Get bamboo floors to replace the old vinyl.
  • Get a marble countertop to replace the laminate counters.
  • Re-tile the  bottom of the shower floor.

The wallpaper I got was by Kathy Ireland Home.  The print is called Garden Silhouette, the item ID is NL58196. I got the first roll from Sherwin Williams, then had to order 2 additional rolls from Total Wallcovering.
It's environmentally friendly, prepasted, breathable, washable and fully removable.

I would just like to say, I wouldn't have purchased this wallpaper had I known how much waste there was going to be. I had to cut off so much in order to get the next row to line up as I was putting each sheet up.  As you can see, there is only half of a wall to do in a tiny bathroom. It took 3 double rolls! Now I know why people don't wallpaper anymore. lol  I am just so glad that project is over.  I'm surprised I didn't wallpaper myself to the wall!

Some of the wasted wallpaper that didn't get used.

I love how it turned out.  I like the organic feel and look it gives the bathroom.  I wasn't sure what to do with such a dated room.  When anyone would walk into my bathroom, I would say, welcome to 1963.  I mean, how do you update something like this? lol  I changed out the light fixture over the mirror and I replaced the faucet for the sink. Remember my bathroom flood?

Slowly but surely each room is starting to fall into place.  I can't wait to get my bedroom, I mean the *guest* bedroom finished now!  I have so many fun ideas for it!  I'll post pics of what I have been doing in there next, so come back.  :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Imam Bayildi Recipe


The title of this traditional Turkish recipe means "the imam fainted," referring to a holy man who passed out with pleasure when presented with this dish, perhaps because of the wonderful aromas.

Imam Bayildi
2 eggplants 10 1/2 oz each
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions chopped
2 large garlic cloves crushed
2x 14oz cans chopped tomatoes
3 Tbsp raisins
3 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
lemon rind finely grated
2 Tbsp lemon  juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Step one: Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Using a knife scoop out the flesh leaving about 1/4 inch shell.

Step two: Chop the eggplant flesh and place in a colander,sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 30 min. Rinse and pat dry

Step three: Heat olive oil in large skillet, add onions and fry, stirring until softened, add garlic and stirring for about 2 minutes.

Step four: Add tomatoes, eggplant, raisins, parsley, lemon juice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring until mixture has thickened.

Step five: Spoon the mixture into the eggplant shells, mounding it up slightly. Place the filled shells in an ovenproof dish.

Step six: Cover the dish with foil, roast in a preheated over at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Serve hot


The recipe turned out great. This is definitely not something to make if you're in a rush or want something quick. This meal took about 2 hours to complete.  This is really an amazing Turkish dish.  I had no idea it would take so long to make, I saw the bake for 45 minutes, but didn't realize how long it took to prep for it.  Sorry Lou!  Lou is my friend that I make a Tuesday night meal with across the miles. She lives in FL and I live in NC.  

Here is how Lou's turned out.

As I was waiting for the meal to bake, there was a little left in the pot that I didn't use in the  eggplants.  I rarely test taste my food as I'm cooking it, I don't know why.  So I tasted it and all I tasted was cinnamon and thought, OH NO!!  Lou  is going to KILL me!  I thought, she hasn't called me back, maybe she's mad and never speaking to me again. LOL  So I called her and she had just finished eating hers.  She assured me the final outcome was delish.  She was right, when it was finished baking all the flavors had run together and had such a neat smell and taste.  Maybe that is why I don't test taste my food while cooking.  :)

I waited so long for this meal,
 I had me a little spinach salad before hand.

I got the recipe from this cookbook.
What's Cooking Mediterranean


My dad canned some grape juice.
It looks different than what you buy in the stores,
 but it tasted really great.

Here is his wine fermenting, it stays in this bottle for a month or two.

Sorry if this posts layout is all messed up, blogger is having some major technical difficulties, I will try to fix it later.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Making Homemade Wine

As you know from my previous posts, my parents live on a huge farm in the mountains of NC.  They grow their own food, can their own food, my dad makes his own bread, and something I like that he does is make his own wine.

I thought I would take you through a few of the steps as he makes the wine.  I wasn't able to catch every step because it takes months to make it.  There is a lot of fermenting involved.  The photo to the left is some of the wine he's bottled.

There are a variety of different kinds, but I know muscadine is one of the main ones he bottles.  I love muscadine grapes, they are my favorite!

Here are his grape vines, I had posted this in an earlier post, but just in case you missed it!  He has grape vines scattered around throughout his property, which is close to around 100 acres.  Each year they just keep getting bigger and grow out farther.  I think they're so beautiful. I love vinyards.

These aren't exact step by step instructions on making wine, just an overview, because the task is a little involved.  You would need to speak to someone who knows a lot about this if you wanted to get started making your own wine.

1.  First off you pick the clusters of grapes from the vine. Then you sit and pull each grape off the clusters.

2.  Then you wash the grapes.

3.  Then Mash up the grapes and put them in a big bucket.  After the grapes and grape juice are in it, you add some water and sugar. Then you put some yeast in it.  Put a cloth on top of it so the bugs can't get in and let it sit for a week to ferment.

4.  He hasn't got to this step yet for this batch, but you then strain all the pulp and such out and pour it into this big bottle.  You let it sit for another month or so.  Take it and strain it again to get the very last bits of pulp that may be remaining and continue to let it sit for another month or so.

5.  Pour it into wine bottles and seal it with a cork!  Tada!   Here's some of the wine he's bottled already.  He would have more, but we like to drink it and give it away to people.

This year we're going to do some grape juice without making it into wine.  I'm just going to can it and put it in Mason jars.  So delicious!   Hope you enjoyed the little wine making tour.

I'm out at my folks farm for the next week or so, that's why I haven't been able to work on any projects around my house lately.  My dishwasher and freezer are being delivered today!  I have someone at my house there waiting so they can deliver it.  I'll get pics of that as soon as it's all hooked up. I did decide on a color for my kitchen cabinets.  I'm going with Olympic White Cream.  I was having a hard time finding something that didn't clash with my yellow walls in the kitchen.  The creamy white is a tad lighter than the yellow so I think it will work.  I painted a swatch from a sample can onto the cabinet and really like it.  We'll see!  I know the plan was to start painting this past Monday, but I haven't been home long enough to get started on it.  Maybe I'll start this weekend.  That's all for now  :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Salad Bar Pad Thai

Salad Bar Pad Thai

1/4 lb rice sticks or thin spaghetti
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbs fish sauce (can substitute with soy sauce)
1 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp peanut oil
8 scallions, slice
1 garlic clove chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked snow peas, halved
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
3 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped basil
3 Tlbs unsalted dry-roasted peanuts chopped

Step one:Place rice sticks in a large bowl; add enough warm water to cover and let soak until softened, about 10 min. OR prepare thin spaghetti according to package.

Step two: in a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and crushed red pepper

Step Three: In a large wok, heat oil. Saute the scallions and garlic until softened, about 3 min. Add the rice sticks and toss to coat. Stir in the vinegar mixture and cook , tossing gently until heated through about 2 min. add the snow peas, tomato, and bean sprouts, cook tossing gently for 1 min. 
Sprinkle with eggs, cilantro, mint, basil and peanuts before serving. 


This recipe was from my friend Lou.  It was her turn to pick the recipe for our Tuesday night dinner.  She knows I love Thai food  :)  She got the recipe from her Weight Watchers Cookbook.  (6 WW points)

The dinner turned out great! It's not the original Pad Thai, it's sort of a salad bar version of it.  
If you're not use to the strong taste of fish sauce, I suggest you substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce or use half soy sauce and half fish sauce.  

A couple of things I did was add double the amount of red crushed pepper that the recipe called for, plus I added some cayenne peppers from my garden.  I like it hot!
I forgot to buy peanuts!!!  Peanuts add that final touch, I'm so mad at myself for not having them.  I'm not a huge peanut fan, but just a little sprinkled on top would have been nice.  I used Sugar in the Raw instead of regular sugar.  I usually substitute sugar with honey, but this time I think the honey wouldn't have given it that special flavor it needs.

If you noticed, there's a spoon in the plate of the final Pad Thai dish in the first photo.  I ate the dish with a spoon because they use spoons in Thailand to eat with, not forks.  The smells and everything just brought back so many memories of Thailand as I ate it.  Good times.

I will say one thing, when I make this in the future, I'm going to leave the boiled eggs out. I didn't really like the way they tasted in it.  I need some thai peppers, too. Cayennes are nowhere near as hot as the little Thai peppers they use.

In Thailand, instead of having salt and pepper on the table like we do here in America, they have a little caddy of 4 different condiments.  Crushed peanuts, sugar, hot vinegar, and crushed Thai red peppers.  I think I'm going to put one of these together so when I have my Thai dishes, I can just adjust the flavors as needed.  They are on every table of every restaurant in Thailand, yet, I've never seen them in the Thai restaurants here in America for some reason. I've always wondered about that.

Thai Condiments.

Thank you Lou for picking this recipe, I really enjoyed it.  It's my turn to pick for next week, so I will get to work on finding something and not waiting until the last minute this time! :-D

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Painted White Barn

I'm over at the farm today, will be coming over here for the next couple of weeks.  I just wanted to show some before and afters that my dad has been up to.  I have always loved this old barn.  He decided to paint it white this past weekend.  What a difference it looks painted white.

Can you see the cows in there?  Well let me take you around back for a better look.

Here's how the barn looked before he painted it, this was taken quite a while back.

I also had taken some pics of it in black and white and I have this framed on the wall in my living room.

Here's his shed he had built. There use to be an old house here that he tore down and built over it.  That is the original well that's next to it, I'm so glad he left that there.

Notice he painted the shed all white, too.  Now do you see where I get it from?  It's the genes that make me paint everything white! :-D

Here are the grapevines back behind the shed.

They keep getting bigger each year, he's going to have a nice vineyard soon!

He makes wine with the grapes.  I need to take pics of him making it, it's really neat.  He started making some this weekend, but I missed getting pictures of it. Maybe the next batch he makes I can sneak over and get some pics of it.  He's still letting the grapes ferment right now so I don't think he's ready to start anymore yet.
I'm also trying to get him to can me some grape juice so I can have to drink.  How yum would that be?!

My parents home.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Canning Tomatoes

1.  Get a bunch of fresh vine ripe tomatoes from a garden!

I've spent some of the weekend and last night canning tomatoes from my dads garden.  He's canned about 90 something cans of his own and between my friend and I, we've canned about 50 and I'm planning on canning a lot more. I'm also wanting to can some home made salsa in the next week, so if anyone has ever done this, I'd love some advice.  It will be my first time doing salsa.

2. Blanch them in some boiling water for 1 minute.

3. Quickly toss them in some cold water.

4. Cut out the stem part and peel off the skin.  (Blanching them and putting them in cold water is what makes the skins slide right off the tomatoes.)

5. Cut up the tomatoes and boil them a little, this is what makes stewed tomatoes.  If you just want them left whole or don't want them stewed, you don't have to boil them. We left some out that we didn't stew to can also.

6. Fill the jars with tomatoes. Then put back in the pressure cooker for a moment and remove.  This is what seals them.  Every time one seals, you hear it pop.

7.  Store away for winter. Nothing like home grown canned tomatoes cooked in yummy soups while sitting by the fire.  Okay, so I'll probably sneak a couple of cans out to use before winter like I have the green beans.

Little Foot always enjoys going to the farm with me when I can veggies.  The Border Collie starts to come out in him and he tries to stalk the cows.  He still isn't sure what to do with them yet, but he knows it has something to do with charging toward them. He's so funny about it, the cows just aren't threatened by him at all.  Not yet.

There's a lot of corn ready now, so next is corn! I'm going to freeze the corn, I don't really like how canned corn tastes.  My dad has this neat little gadget that you use to remove the kernels and it turns it into creamed corn. You don't add any cream or additives at all, and it still tastes so creamy and yummy!  I just bought a freezer at Lowe's last week, so I'm hoping it will be delivered by Friday.

If you've been wanting to can your own veggies, I would encourage you to do it.  It is so satisfying and tastes so much better than the vegetables in store bought cans.  It's pretty easy, too. If I can do it, anyone can.  :)