Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Greek Salad - Recipe of theme for the month

Our local Greek gyro place makes a wonderful salad with no lettuce that I just adore.  The vegetables are served with a great Greek dressing. This is my version of that salad. 



Greek Salad
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges, or 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces) 
1 recipe Greek Vinaigrette
2 small pita bread rounds, cut into wedges (optional)

 In a salad bowl combine salad greens, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, and crumbled cheese. Add Greek Vinaigrette, toss to coat. If desired, serve with pita bread wedges. Makes 2 meal salads or 3 to 6 side-dish servings

Greek Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a screw top jar combine olive oil or salad oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cover and shake well.

RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.


The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - Stir Fry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)
December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Friday, July 3, 2020

Lemon Healing Bath Mix - Bath Blend of the Month

This nice flower rich lemon herb-centered salt blend is soothing to the skin and the scent is healing to the body. It will help you relax and clear away the funk of garden work in the hot summer.

Lemon Healing Bath Mix

1/4 cup sea salt
1/4 cup chamomile
1/4 cup roses
1/4 cup lemon peel
1/4 cup calendula
1/4 cup lemon verbena
3/4 cup lavender
3/4 cup lemon balm

Blend the herbs and salt together and place in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well before using.

TO USE: Place 1 Tablespoon of the mixture in a tea ball or coffee filter.  Place the blend in the bath while filling and swish to dissolve the salt.  Soak and enjoy.  For a stronger scent use 2 Tablespoons.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Vegetable Stir-fry - Meatless Monday

This vegetable stir fry is a blend of colorful veggies cooked in a sweet and savory honey garlic sauce that is two quick steps to make.  You won’t heat up the kitchen too much and you can enjoy fresh veggies.   You can use this as a side dish or serve over rice for a complete meal.  Remember to cut the veggies about the same size so you can insure even cooking.


Vegetable Stir-fry
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup bell peppers sliced, I used red and yellow
  • 1 cup snow peas trimmed
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts drained and sliced
  • 3/4 cup baby corn drained and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth can also use water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey (try an herb-infused honey for a richer flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Directions:
Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat. Add the carrots and mushrooms and cook for 4-6 minutes or until tender.  Add the broccoli, bell peppers, snow peas, water chestnuts, baby corn and 2 tablespoons of water to the pan. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and water has mostly cooked off.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

In a bowl, whisk together the vegetable broth, soy sauce and honey. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the vegetables and cook for 30 seconds.


In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water.  Add the cornstarch and bring to a boil; cook for 1 more minute or until sauce has just started to thicken. Serve immediately, over rice if desired.

RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.


The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - Stir Fry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)

December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Spicy Chicken Stir-fry - recipe theme

I just cannot get into cooking all of sudden.  The thought of cooking and eating is unappealing.  I get that way when it gets hot sometimes.  I drink ginger ale with bitters and water and find myself wanting pasta salad and egg salad to eat.  This recipe is tasty served cold. So I tried it and it worked for me to get a bit more protein.

Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry

4 oz. pasta, your choice; spaghetti, angel hair, fettuccine all good choices
12 oz. lean ground chicken
1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cup thawed frozen peas
1 cup lower sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. salt
Olive oil cooking spray

Directions:
Cook pasta as label directs.

Heat 12-in. skillet on high until very hot. Coat ground chicken with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring. Add garlic, crushed with press, and crushed red pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring. Add thawed frozen peas; chicken broth; basil leaves, finely chopped; cooked pasta; and 1/8 tsp. salt. Toss to combine.

RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.


The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - Stir Fry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)

December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Vegetable Stir-fry to start the monthly recipe theme

I cleaned my desk and as fate would have it misplaced (filed) the folder of stir-fry recipes I had collected for this month.  It took me until yesterday, while I was fighting with my scanner, to find them.  

So the first in the set for June is a vegetable stir-fry using in nice firm tofu.  I like stir fry in the summer because it is fast and tasty.  You can pre-cut the veggies and then when you want to cook you just toss everything into a skillet or wok.  We have a real wok and an electric wok.  I find pros and cons with each.  A real wok will get much hotter, but the electric keeps the heat even and is great if you need to wait a bit after cooking to serve because you can keep it on warm.  My husband, on the other hand does all his stir-fry in a skillet.  He likes the handle and the ease of use on the stove.

Later in the month I will share some stir-fry sauces and some techniques.  But for now a simple stir and eat using tofu and broccoli as the main ingredients.


Vegetable Stir-fry (serves 2)
1⁄2 cup cubed tofu* processed with calcium sulfate
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 cup broccoli florets
4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped Chinese cabbage or bok choy 
1 cup shredded kale 
2 tablespoons tamari - a Japanese sauce made from fermented soybeans. It has a thicker consistency and a more balanced flavor than Chinese soy sauce, making it a good choice for a dipping sauce. It's also vegan and gluten-free. (if you can't find it, just use soy sauce)
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds 
*Or substitute a 3-ounce serving of chicken (sliced and sautéed)

Directions:
Sauté tofu or chicken in 1 tablespoon oil until golden. Remove from pan. In the same pan with remaining oil, sauté garlic, ginger, broccoli, and mushrooms until mushrooms are soft and florets turn bright green. Return tofu to pan and add cabbage and kale. Stir in tamari and simmer 1 to 2 minutes. Top with roasted sesame seeds and serve immediately over brown rice or rice noodles, if you wish.

RECIPE THEME
Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.


The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - Stir Fry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)

December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Hair Rinse perfect for Blond Hair - Bath Blend of the Month


This month I am posting a hair rinse made with calendula.  It is no surprise this herb is being used on hair and scalps. Calendula extractions are often used to hydrate dry scalps, remove dandruff, and improve the condition of the scalp. With its regenerative properties it helps the hair follicles grow abundantly allowing for a thicker mane, and the antioxidants help protect the hair and scalp against cell-damaging free radicals. It is believed to promote stronger hair by the increase of collagen production and circulation in hair follicles. The benefits are similar to a scalp massage that increases blood circulation to the hair follicles. This plant is soothing to sensitive scalps and quite popular in hair rinses for adding shine, calming irritated scalps, and bringing out naturally warm highlights in blonde hair.



Calendula Hair Rinse
1 ounce of calendula petals (about 1/2 cup)
3 cups water
1 Tbls plain vinegar or calendula herb vinegar
3 to 5 drops rosemary essential oil

Bring water to a boil, then add calendula petals to water and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.  Combine 2 cups of resulting tea and add vinegar and essential oil. Makes 2 treatments for short hair, 1 for long.

To Use: Pour over hair after shampoo, leave on for a few minutes and rinse.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Four Herbs you can still grow from seed in June


Herbs are often easy to grow from seed, but planting early is the key to getting a harvest the first year.  However, there are a few herbs that you can grow later in the season to enjoy a harvest this year and next.

flat-leaf parsley

Parsley is top of my list, for it improves so many dishes and is packed full of healthy vitamins and minerals. Italian, or flat-leaved parsley, is gaining in popularity over the more decorative, curly kind, for it has more flavor.  Parsley is a flavor enhancer, making it a great companion in dried blends.  However, if when dry it turns brown, discard as the flavor is gone.

I buy mine as nursery plants, for there may be some truth in the adage that the seeds of parsley go to the devil and back six times before sprouting, and I haven’t the patience to wait that long.

To speed up germination, soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight, or place them in the freezer for a day. Then, pour hot water over the soil before sowing. The seedlings should be transplanted at the 4-6 leaf stage. Parsley likes a rich, moist soil and can be grown in sun or semi-shade. When harvesting, pick the leaves from the outer edges first.

Cilantro with seeds (coriander)
Cilantro is either loved or hated. My husband, for instance, cannot stand the smell of its fresh leaves, but likes their taste in salad, while I find my appetite activated when I am merely within sniffing distance of the plants. Cilantro bolts (goes to seed) in hot summer days, so to enjoy a longer harvest, sow seed every two weeks to give you a continuous crop.  And save the seed – called coriander to sow or enjoy as a spice.

Sow it at regular intervals to provide a constant supply, and close together, allowing the plants to support each other. Cut the leaves right down when harvesting, then leave the plants to produce another crop. Cilantro does not like full sun and needs to be grown in light, well-composted soil.

Dill Weed and Seed
Dill has fine, feathery leaves with a taste of caraway seeds. It resembles a small fennel, but the two are not related and should not be grown together. Plant dill in slightly acidic soil that is well-drained. It is the perfect accompaniment to many fish dishes and can also be used to flavor soups, cheeses and butters. In Illinois our soil tends to be alkaline due to the limestone everywhere, so I top dress with pine needles around the plants once they emerge from seed to provide a bit more acid for them to flourish.  It is not required, I just like a lot of foliage. 

Like Cilantro you want to sow seed every two weeks to get a continuous crop of dill weed. The seed should mature just in time for pickling season.


Chives will spread by seed if you do not cut off the flower heads, making it an easy herb to grow from seed.  The narrow leaf common chives have an onion flavor and the flat leaved garlic chives have a mild garlic flavor.  Both make great vinegar. Give them a sunny location in a pot or in the ground and you will have plants for years to come.  They winter over in zone 5 very well.

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