Monday, October 26, 2009

Making Tortillas

On a recent Saturday, I was out shopping in a Mexican grocery store when I came across this tortilla press priced at around $12.00. I asked some "how to use" questions of the clerk and he took me back to the kitchen part of the store and had one of the cooks show me how to use it. It looked easy, so I bought one. Purchased a 4lb. bag of masa for $1.99 and tonight I made a batch of corn tortillas for a dinner of tostadas.
It's so easy to use. I didn't even measure the masa, just scooped some in a bowl and added enough water to make a ball and then separated the dough as I went into smaller balls. Taking a small ball I opened the press, layed down a piece of plastic wrap, put the ball on top, covered it with another piece of plastic and then closed and pressed. With the plastic on top and bottom the tortilla is sandwiched between. This way it doesn't stick to the press and then you just peel the top plastic off and place the tortilla in an oiled skillet, cooking both sides until done.
The 4lb. bag of masa will last me a long time and I like the idea of being able to make my own.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Try It, You'll Like It

With little room left in my freezer, I realized it was time to use up some of the bags of grated zucchini I had stored away from the abundance of my garden.
So, I decided to make some zucchini bread. Most of the recipes call for alot of oil which means higher calories and I wanted us to enjoy it without so much added fat.
I found a recipe and then instead of a cup of oil it called for I replaced it with a cup of applesauce instead. Then for a different twist, I added some chocolate chips, not too many, though, because I still wanted it to be low in fat.
The recipe made two delicious loaves of the moistest bread! With the addition of the chocolate chips, it's over the top. A success here at home.

3 eggs
1 cup of applesauce
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of grated zucchini
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 cups of flour
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 to 3/4 cup of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Mix in applesauce and sugar. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, soda, baking powder, salt and nuts, chocolate chips, stir into the egg mixture. Divide batter into prepared pans. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until done.

A tip my oldest daughter recommended was to prepare the loaf pans, using parchment paper instead of oiling and flouring them. You cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit into the loaf pans covering the bottom and sides then filling the pans with the mixture. When the loaves are done and cooled you then lift the bread out by the top of the paper. Clean up is then so easy!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nice Find

I found this gadget at a yard sale and love it! It's called a Le Presse, and I paid an amazing price of only $5.00!
It comes with many attachments, but I am stuck on just one of them. One of these days I'll try the other ones, but for now I'm enjoying the attachment that makes french fries.
Today, 14 year old Alex pressed 15 unpeeled potatoes through this in 10 minutes, brushed olive oil on, sprinkled with seasoning salt and put them in the oven for about an hour. Sooo easy!! I love easy and kids that can cook.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October Garden Update

The garden has wound down to a stop. Today, I picked the last of the tomatoes, alot of them were still green. Last year I wrapped them individually in tissue and they ripened nicely. So, I will be doing the same with these. I sliced the red ones and put them in the dehydrator to dry over night. I will use them this winter for my stews and soups. So convenient.

I also picked the rest of the peppers and the few onions that were left. I cut up the peppers and froze them for omelettes and set the onions in the sun to dry out for a few days. Also went out to the herb garden and cut basil, mint and oregano. I froze the mint leaves in water in ice cube trays for winter tea. I have discovered hot mint tea with stevia, so good on a cold night. Did the same thing with the oregano, but with the basil I used my food saver and sealed in bags and refrigerated. I need to do some researching and find out how long it will last this way. I'm new to growing my own herbs and still have alot to learn.

Chuck turned the compost pile for the last time before winter and rototilled the garden beds. I had the boys clean out the garden beds and it was put into the compost. I'm still in awe how plant matter is recycled back into rich soil. All year I've added our fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc. and I'm amazed how much waste goes into the compost bin instead of the trash can!

I've enjoyed my gardening season, but am ready for a winter's rest. Like all she bears, I'm tired and need to hibernate.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Some Yard Sale Finds

I just love decorating with my yard sale finds. It's amazing what I find for such a small price. Found this picture at a yard sale and loved the colors and flowers in it. I thought the frame was very pretty, also. I decided it would look good on one of my dining room walls. I chose one of the colors that were in the picture and then matched it to a paint color. This was last years find so it's hard to remember exactly what I paid, but it was under $10.00 because I'm cheap. This lamp was a recent find, I payed $7.00 for the base as it didn't come with the shade. I like the shape and bronzed color, and it's a good reading lamp.

The wall decor on the burgundy wall was one I found a few weeks ago. It was $7.00 and gives this wall so much character. At first my husband thought it was ugly, but once we got it up on the wall he likes it.