Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mediterranean Panini with Heirloom Tomato Gorgonzola Salad

Here is installment number two of the cook with what you have recipe list.  We got a Panini Grill from my Brother and Sister-in-law a few years ago, and we LOVE it.  It is the Griddler Gourmet. They carry it at Costco.  If you don't have a griddler, try a George Foreman grill (I see them at thrift stores for cheap all the time), or a regular frying pan will work, you just won't get the grill marks. 

Panini Recipe

1 chicken breast split flat to make thin flat pieces of chicken
or 6 tenderloins split flat to make 12 pieces
Montreal steak seasoning (or salt & Pepper is fine)
8 large basil leaves
1 1/2 cups shreaded Mozzarella cheese
1 large heirloom tomato sliced thin
2 thin slices of onion of your choice
4 slices of sliced sourdough.  I usually use San Francisco style, or Shepherds Bread

Brush 1 side of each piece of bread with olive oil and set aside.
brown chicken with montreal seasoning until cooked
place 2 slices of bread on heated grill, sprinkle light layer of cheese, then add chicken, basil, onion and tomato in layers, top with more cheese.
Place top breads on sandwich and grill until golden brown

While sandwiches are grilling, cut up various style heirloom tomatoes to make 3 cups, chop 6 basil leaves, add to tomatoes.  Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your liking, we do a 3-1 ratio 1 tsp balsamic 3 tspns olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add 1/3 cup chopped Gorgonzola cheese, toss together, serve with hot Panini.

This is a quick easy dinner for a hot summer nite.  We are enjoying all our tomatoes fresh from the garden.  And keep experimenting with new recipes.  Lets see what we can come up with next week.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Funky 80's party dress re-do

I bought this dress for $2.92  I don't get the pricing system at this store, it is the wierdest thing... Bit I figured the fabric alone was worth $3...

First thing I did was remove the top and pick it apart carefully.  That gorgeous purple sparkly fabric is going in my secret for Karan only stash of purple fabrics to make a purple crazy quilt with one day when I have enough fabrics.  I have been collecting a while, but still don't have enough to make a whole quilt.

I was left with a lovely flirty little skirt that I was going to make an apron out of.  Instead, I decided to put a waistband and a zipper on it.  I added this cute hot pink jacket I bought in the dollar bin a while back,  and it looks darling.  I am on the hunt for some black silk to make a halter top that can attach and detatch from the skirt, making it a dress and jacket, cocktail dress or skirt and jacket.  Talk about getting to most bang for you $3,92!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Who do I admire most

I made this piece for the Creative Therapy website in 2008 when I was a contributing artist. You can see the post here.

The person I admire most is my mother. She has gone through so much in her short 62 years. Married at 17, a mother to 3 kids by age 24. She was my everything growing up. My best friend, the one I told all my troubles to, the one who was always there for all my personal triumphs. Like the time she came to see me get an award at a color guard awards ceremony the same day she got out of the hospital after a month in there for major abdominal surgery. She was weak and pale, and I had to make the fruit salad, but she was there, cheering for me and smiling from the crowd with big tears in her eyes.

She is the go to person for many people. She learned in her 40′s that she has the gift of empathy. Before she thought it was a curse, but when she learned that she had the ability to feel other peoples pain, and show them how to heal it, she became a minister and spiritual counselor, and started exploring her psychic gifts. Now she teaches classes and does readings by appointment for people, and really helps them. She is not one of those crystal ball carrying, chime ringing, patchouli wearing hippie psychics. Just a normal lady with an incredibly abnormal gift.

I love this photo of her. She does a lot of inner child work in her classes. This little girl went through a lot, lost a mother to a nervous breakdown for a year, was sent to live with different family members, had all her hair cut off by an aunt who didn’t know how to fix “girl” hair because she only had boys. She didn’t see her parents or siblings for weeks at a time, in fact they had all moved into a new house, and she found out about it from a kid at school who asked her why she wasn’t with her family, and she said because they don’t have a house, (they had lost it in foreclosure) and the kid told her, “Yeah they do, they live next door to me, and your sisters and brothers are there, how come you’re not?” She was molested, and abused, and forgotten so many times by people. Put in the trash can upside down as a freshman and everyone saw her underware. She was picked on and teased for being little, and sensitive… the list goes on and on… Knowing these things about her, and seeing that in spite of all these horrible things, the beautiful look of bliss on her face in this photo. Wearing her older sisters bikini 3 sizes too big, her smile and dimples lighting up her whole face as she beams and radiates pure joy.

The things she experienced turned her into the person she is today. She says they were all gifts. All these experiences have enabled her to help so many people. The mother in me wants to take that little girl and protect her from all those hurts, but I know that like a fine tapestry, all the threads of all our experiences make up the sum of who we are as beings on this planet. She wouldn’t be who she is today without those experiences. I am so proud to call her my mother. I am so proud that she has passed on some of her beautiful gifts to me. Every day I strive to be more like her. I ask every day WWJD? What would Judi do? The answer usually comes to me… loving and gentle, just like my mom… “Just focus on the love. Let the love in, and the rest will work itself out.”

This was made with a recycled chipboard letter box and wood circles from a placemat. Photograph popped up with recycled foamcore.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fun in the garden

We planted a vegetable garden in March.  It is really growing, and we are learning in the process.  We planted a lot of things, but only half of them grew.  We have a holy ton of Zucchini, and other squashes that are the size of watermelons.  The tomatoes are coming in great now, and the lettuce and other things have grown and gone to seed already and need to be replanted.  I keep telling Pascual, "We need to plant more seeds".  He gives me the look that all husbands give their wives when they use the Royal we.. so I say, "well, um.. the YOU part of the WE team needs to plant more stufff. " 

We have never planted a garden before.  This is all an experiment.  A couple of years ago our next door neighbor took out her lawn in the front yard and planted a garden.  Everyone would stop and talk to her, and say what a great idea.  Her thought was, if she was going to water something, she would rather it be something she could eat.  She provided the whole neighborhood with veggies, adopted our cat Persephone who hung out in the garden all day, and generally brought a sense of community to our little neighborhood.  I have had a dream for a long time of creating a community garden where people can come and garden and plant things and share in the harvest.  Maybe some day in the future we will have a yard large enough to do that.  I find if kids participate in planting and caring for a garden, they have more interest in eating what they have grown.  They become more adventurous eaters, and try things just because they grew them. 

Here are some photos of the things we have picked.  Even if you just plant a few herbs in a container, there is nothing like the taste of home grown.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kayleigh's Easy Enchilada Soup Recipe

So here is the deal.  I am in a sling, and my family has been cooking, which doesn't happen often.  My husband and daughter are both good cooks.  Kayleigh is a baker and Paskie likes to do home style cooking.  I usually do all the cooking, cleaning and shopping.  Limited as I am right now with my mobility, they are pitching in.  We decided to see how long we could go without a trip to the grocery store for anything other than milk and bread. Like most people, we have a stockpile (AKA pantry) full of dried foods, boxed foods, canned items, and sauce mixes...  I will be posting recipes here for things we invent as we deplete the stockpile and save $$$ in the process.

I have been teaching Kayleigh how to cook with leftovers and what we have in the cupboards...  so she made this with my supervision and it turned out delicious.  It was supposed to be tortilla chicken soup, but it was thicker and tasted more like an enchilada, so we called it enchilada soup instead.

3 cans chicken (mine was the large cans from Costco) or 3 chicken breasts cooked till tender
1/2 large bottle spicy v-8 juice *
1 tbspn powdered chicken broth
1 white onion chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped
8 green onions chopped
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 tsp garlic powder
3 tbspns dried or fresh cilantro
1 can black olives
1 can mixed veggies which contain carrots, peas, potatoes, green beans (or 2 fresh carrots sliced)
8 corn tortillas
4 cups water

Break chicken up into shredded chicken.
Add to pot with V-8, water, taco seasoning, garlic powder, chicken boullion and simmer.
In frying pan, cook onions and celery (and fresh carrot if you use it) until tender.  Add to pot. 
Add olives and canned veggies.
Slice tortillas into thin strips and throw into pot.  Let simmer for 1 hour.  Tortillas will cause soup to thicken.  Can be served immediately without simmering 1 hour, but will develop more flavor if cooked longer.  Tastes delicious the next day.  When serving, garnish with cilantro and cheese.  If soup thickens too much, thin with water to desired consistency.
Makes 12 cups of soup.
* you can substitute the spicy v8 for a couple cans of tomato sauce, tomato juice, or 1 lg can of stewed tomatoes that you puree in a blender.
You can easily cut this recipe in half for a smaller batch.  We freeze it and it holds up well.

Sorry there is no photo.  We forgot to take one.  Will post one soon.