Sunday, February 27, 2011

10th anniversary

We celebrated our 10th anniversary. We are planning a weekend trip to the Smokies in a few weeks so we didn't do much on our anniversary. We went out to eat after work at a nice Italian restaurant and brought dessert back to the house to eat with the dogs since they hadn't seen us all day. Adam brought these flowers home for me. They're so colorful ad full of different textures.

The last 10 years haven't gone the way either of us ever imagined they would. We've had some good times, some hard times and some disappointments but we have been blessed with happiness and the ability to move on with our lives despite not having things the way we would like them. I'm so glad that Adam is my husband and that we are able to support each other and keep each other happy. I love you,'s to a few more of these 10 year milestones.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Corn tortillas and chili verde

Last night, I made dinner for tonight so I could eat before 9. Turns out that I didn't walk the dogs because I wasn't feeling too hot so I would have had time to cook but it worked out well anyway. I made the chili last night and the corn tortillas today. This was my first time making corn tortillas. They are even easier to make than flour tortillas which also are not hard to do. The flavor is much more subtle than store bought so I liked these better. Next time I will make them thicker and cook them for longer to make them more stiff. We have a tortilla press somewhere but I have no idea where so I just used a rolling pin this time. Even when using the press, I use a gallon sized ziploc bag with all but the end seam cut off. The dough doesn't stick to the bag. I am not good at getting circles even when I use the press so they are "rustic" shaped.

I once made pitas and these reminded me of that since they puffed up. But once off the grill, they fell.

Like I said, next time they will be thicker.

I put a little sour cream and mashed avacado on mine to help temper the spiciness of the chili.

Chili Verde

3/4 lb boneless pork, cut into 1-inch cube (I used chicken breast)
1 large onion, thinly sliced (didn't use)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb fresh tomatillos, coarsely chopped
1 15-oz can chicken broth
1 4-oz canned diced green chilies
1 tsp ground cumin
1 15-oz can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup loosely chopped cilantro
sour cream

Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook until browned on all sides. Combine cooked pork and all remaining ingredients except cilantro and sour cream in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently press meat against side of slow cooker with wooden spoon to shred. (That didn't work for the chicken so I just left them cubed.) Reduce to low. Stir in cilantro and cook 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

I was concerned that Adam wouldn't like it because he mentioned that he doesn't like verde sauces but I had already planned on making it so I gave it a shot. He really liked it and said he would definitely eat it again if I made it. He polished off 6 of the 8 tortillas as well. Dinner was a success.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kishk from Nourishing Traditions

Here's another recipe from "Nourishing Traditions". I LOVE that book. It is a cookbook but it's so much more. Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist in the early 1900's. He noticed that people from different cultures had better teeth and were more healthy than people of other cultures. He had a theory that diet had a lot to do with that and began traveling the world, researching people's diets, mostly concentrating on people who were still eating their primitive diets. He studied not only what they ate but how they prepared foods. The healthiest groups of people had certain things in common in their diet. I don't know the list off the top of my head but those similarities included fermented veggies/fruits, soaking grains and beans to release phytic acid (some even ferment them as well), they included animal fat in their diet, and whatever I'm forgetting. I first learned about this guy when I was on the raw diet. There is a whole book that comprises his findings, and this book is like the how to of his findings. The first pages give a brief overview and each chapter has information on that particular subject. And on the side of each page has more information. It's the kind of book I could sit down and read...and often do. It's my night time reading. It's a great book but can be very overwhelming when I think about all I'm supposed to be doing.

Like any change, it's best to take baby steps. So my first step was to do some lacto-fermenting. I've made several batches of sauerkraut and a couple of dilly carrots. I've not mastered it in any way, shape or form but I have started. So, now that I am comfortable with fermenting, I can add to it. I have chosen to add soaking grains. For some reason, it's the most intimidating of all. I'm not really sure why. So, my first attempt at soaking is actually one that also ferments. Kishk comes from the Middle East. And it's a super simple recipe...a good one to start with.

4 cups bulgur
4 cups plain yogurt
(I cut it in half in case I really didn't like it)

Mix them together in a bowl and put in a dark place to ferment for 24 hours, covered. Make sure there's extra room in the bowl because it will expand to about twice the original volume.

Spread the mixture on cookie sheets and put in the oven which should be set to the lowest setting. I would dry it that way for an hour or two then just leave them in the oven for several hours to continue drying. The recipe says 12 hours but I didn't need nearly that long.

You can store it on the shelf in an airtight container after it dries but if you plan on having it around for months, it might be better off in the fridge/freezer. For me, I plan on replacing my bran flakes with it so one batch won't be around long enough to have to worry about the fridge.

I tasted it for the first time yesterday. It has a subtle sour flavor to it when eaten alone but when mixed with fruit and milk, you don't really notice it. It does not get soggy at all! It takes a lot more chewing to get through this bowl than it does to get through a bowl of bran flakes...which is probably a good thing anyway since I tend to inhale breakfast.

Next batch (which will be very soon), I will try it before I dehydrate it. If I like that better, than I'll forego the dying step. I can keep a container of it in the fridge to slow down the fermenting process so the flavor doesn't get too sour.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thirfty find of the year

Last year, in the summer, I found this bike at Goodwill. It's got flat bars, like a mountain bike. It's a name brand, Fuji with low end Shimano parts and both wheels have quick releases. Frankly, the bike confused me a little. It had skinny tires but flat bars. I couldn't figure out what it is. It was only $30 so I bit. I figured, I could strip the parts off it and give them to my mountain bike which is in serious need of working shifters and derailuers. But when I got it home, I looked at both bikes and instantly knew it just wasn't going to work for swapping out parts. The frame was too big for me though so I couldn't just use it instead of the mountain the tires are so skinny that it wouldn't ork with the dogs too well anyway.

So, it's sat in the basement, gathering dust. Adam tried to get me to take it back to Goodwill and while I was gone on vacation to Utah, he hounded me about it so I told him that he could take it if it was that big of a deal. I had decided I could just fix it up to sell and make a bit of money. It currently has a few mechanical issues that I think I can handle. Well, he never took it to Goodwill even though he was acting like it was a huge deal.

Tonight, I finally went down there to take a look at it and to decide what I'd need to buy to work on it. Funny thing is, the bike actually seems to fit me. Bizzare, I know. There's no pedals on it currently and it's pouring out rain so I can't ride it to make sure. But I think I solved my problem of not having a lighter weight bike. It's not my first choice, or even second choice for a bike but beggars can't be choosers. Anyway, I don't know when I'll actually get the repairs done on it but now I know it may work for me which is pretty cool.

I did some reasearch on it and turns out it actually is a road bike just with flat bars...interesting. This year's model (I have no idea what year this one is) is selling for $459.99 .
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