Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas and all its projects!

Christmas has officially taken over my life.  ; )

I am actually done shopping for my children's gifts and for my family exchange...and thanks to a fundraising teenager in my neighborhood--they are ALL wrapped!!

But I still have many projects that I am working on for friends.  Today I spent 2 hours cutting out satin,  and now I have been hand-stitching it all together.  (I have to be vague in case certain friends follow my blog... ; )  I have also been painting and I have 2 knitting projects currently on needles that I try to take with me anywhere that I might have a free minute!

Darn...I should have taken one with me to Recipe Club last night! ; )

Speaking of Recipe Club...I thought I would share the recipe for my favorite holiday treat that I took to share last night.

Peppermint Eggnog...yummm! friend Anna introduced me to this about 10 years ago, and it was LOVE at first sip!

It's so simple and so delicious.  Bring it to your next holiday party...that way you won't drink it ALL by yourself.

1/2 gallon Peppermint Ice Cream
1/2 gallon store bought Eggnog
2 liters Sprite

I mix half at a time in my punch bowl. Place scoops of ice cream on bottom of punch bowl.  Pour eggnog over the ice cream and then add Sprite while you stir.   Use a potato masher just to break up the largest chunks of ice cream...but you WANT small to medium chunks because that is the YUMMIEST part!

(Not my picture...but looking at it makes we want more! ; )

Hope you are ENJOYING this Christmas season...and most of all remembering the true reason we celebrate and give gifts to those we love!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Farmhouse Corn Cakes

{Meatless Monday}
At 6:30 pm tonight, I had no idea what I was making for dinner.  I only had 3 eggs, a tiny bit of milk, no tortillas, only 3 pieces of bread and we've had pasta the last 2 when I saw bags of frozen corn, I quickly ran upstairs and googled Corn Cakes.  They were delicious and seriously about the only thing I could have made with what I had.  I amazingly even had an avocado (not the norm for me!).

On a side note:
I officially HATE my point and shoot camera!!  My SLR is in the van that my husband has and my little camera only takes a decent photo in really good lighting....but in low light--it STINKS!!
So here's the best shot I could get ; )...  (they really were delicious!!)

Farmhouse Corn Cakes
about 3 cups frozen corn, mostly thawed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 T melted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup of your favorite cheese, grated (I used cheddar and pepper jack)
2 T chopped chives
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper

Pulse first 4 ingredients in a food processor 3-4 times until corn is coarsely chopped.  (I just used my blender and briefly blended it until it was about half creamed)

Stir together flour, cornmeal, cheese, chives, and salt and pepper.
Add corn mixture and blend until moistened.

Cook in buttered skillet about 3 minutes each side, until browned and firm.

Serve with Salsa, sour cream, and diced avocado.

They were a quick and EASY thing to throw together for dinner with just me and the kids.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Teriyaki Bowtie Spinach Salad

 {Meatless Monday}

This is the MOST amazingly delicious salad!!  I was not sure what to expect. It is a mix between a pasta and a spinach salad, but it is so scrumptious.  There are just so many goodies in it, what's not to like??

Here's what you need:
1 16 oz package bowtie pasta, cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained
1 bag of baby spinach
2 cans of mandarine oranges
1 cup craisins
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions
1 cup cashews 
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted if you want

1 cup oil
2/3 cup white wine vinegar--I used 1/2 Rice Vinegar and 1/2 regular Vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2/3 cup Soy Vay Teriyaki sauce (you MUST use this is SO much better than Kikkoman's)
5 Tbs sugar 
I was able to find this brand at my was just over $3, I think.  It really is a GOOD teriyaki one you would make at home!

I mix up the dressing while the pasta is cooking.  Then combine the cooled pasta with the dressing and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.  Once I have that in the fridge, then I chop up the red pepper and green onions and put them in a container in the refrigerator.  All you have to do now is throw it all together about 10 minutes before you are going to serve it.  It makes A for my family, I "marinated" all the pasta with all the sauce, but then I only mixed up half of the salad for our dinner.  Then, the next day, I was able to mix up the other half for lunch with friends and everything was still fresh.

I recommend making this is so yummy...I think it will become a favorite salad for you too!

Friday, November 19, 2010

My New Laundry "Room"'s more of a closet...but now it makes the most of every inch!

In our house plans, our laundry was originally placed right inside the back door.  So you would walk by it every time you came in from the garage.  That was the first problem...the second problem was that there was no pantry.

So I opted to move my laundry upstairs into the "loft" area and leave the space open downstairs to build in pantry cupboards (which I did back in 2007).

I have DREAMED of doing this built-in laundry system for all the years that we have lived here.  Once we had our 5th child, it really became important to me.  The biggest obstacle was that I would have to buy new machines: Front Loaders.  When I found a pair in the online classifieds for a great deal, I knew it was time to get this project done!  I bought the cabinets (IKEA), the sheets of MDF (Home Depot), and the paint (Sherwin Williams)...then just waited for the countertop to be installed.  That was the one thing I couldn't do myself!

I love how the countertop turned out.  It is Formica "Smoke Quarstone" and it has the Radiance Finish...which means it has tiny spots that reflect light almost like fish scales....I love it and I love how it sets off the blue walls.

Here's what it looked like before: ( just so you can appreciate the difference!)

I found this divided tray at TaiPan Trading.  I fell in love with it and actually had NO idea what I would use it for...but it became the inspiration for the whole project.  I put my Spray and Wash in the clear spray bottle and my Ajax Orange dish soap (it works wonders on stains!!) in the glass bottle.  I use the other cubbies for the random things that come out of my children's pockets.... ; 0

I also have this little sign that I found at Hobby Lobby.  I love it because it reminds me of why I have SO much laundry to do...and that it really is a great blessing! ; )

And here's what it looks like IN REAL LIFE...each of my kids has their own cubby.  I have ALWAYS wanted cubbies so my kids can put away their own clothes and most of all, so that laundry NEVER has to be moved to another part of the house!  I LOVE it!

The silver bins are used for a garbage bin, a recycling bin, and to store plastic bags.  I have a plastic bin inside one cupboard for lonely brings me such joy to find them each their match! ; )

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quick Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

Hello!  Another crazy Monday has come to an end, and I realized that I hadn't done a post.  And it has to be quick because I have to wake up in 7 hours and 20 minutes from right now!  ; )

This is a very quick, very hearty bread that I found on a blog called New Nostalgia.
This is before it was is very crusty and delicious with soups.

My family loves it and I added a few things to the original recipe, so I thought I would share it here.

Quick Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread
1 cup rolled oats, blended to flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T flax seeds
2 T sunflower seeds
2 T whole rolled oats (not blended)

Combine dry ingredients together.  The last 3 on the list are my add-ins. Those measurements are very approximate, since I just dump a little in from my containers! : 0

1 1/2 T honey
1 T. vegetable oil
1 cup milk

Steel cut oats, for top

Warm liquid mixture slightly in microwave (30-40 seconds) and add into dry.  Add a little more flour to make a sticky ball.  (It can take up to another full cup of flour)  Sprinkle cornmeal on your pan to prevent sticking.  Place ball on pan and press steel cut oats into the top, if desired.

Bake at 400* for 20-22 minutes.    ***I like to make it into two smaller balls so that they cook in the middle a little easier.  Or I double the recipe for my whole family and make 3 balls.***
I never got a picture of it cooked....but it is yummy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Three Cheese Skillet Lasagna

{Meatless Monday}

Just a quick and easy one today.  I've got a whole book to read by tomorrow night! ; )

This is from Martha Stewart Everyday Food...

Here's what you need:
  • 43 ounces canned whole peeled plum tomatoes (from a 28-ounce can and a 15-ounce can  (I just used one quart of my own canned tomatoes and one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 16 oz box lasagna noodles, boil according to directions
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until coarsely pureed. In a large deep skillet (I used my very largest skillet that came with my set.  It is BIG--about 14" across), bring tomatoes, garlic, and oil to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer and cook on medium until thickened, about 12 minutes (you should have 5 cups marinara sauce).

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together egg, ricotta, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

  • Carefully pour sauce into a heatproof bowl and return 3/4 cup to skillet; spread sauce evenly. Add a single layer of noodles, cutting them to fit.  Top with half the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly. Follow with a second layer of noodles, then 1 1/2 cups marinara. Add a third layer of noodles, then remaining ricotta mixture. Follow with a final noodle layer, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan over top.

  • Bake lasagna until golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

  • ***Again, be super careful when you take your skillet out of the oven!!  We now cover the handle with a huge oven mitt just to make sure that no one can possibly burn themselves!

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Burritos with Squash and Goat Cheese

    {Meatless Monday}

    Since ours did not turn out looking quite as yummy as they really were, I thought I would share the picture from Martha Stewart...maybe that will help you want to make them more! ; )
    If you make them, and they actually LOOK this good...please tell me your secrets!!

    1 T vegetable oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 package (10 oz) frozen winter squash, thawed ( I used a fresh butternut squash***)
    2 cans black beans, drained
    1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    salt and pepper
    8 Tortillas
    5 oz. crumbled goat cheese (I found some at Walmart for the same price as feta!)
    1/2 cup salsa

    ***I cut the squash in half, placed it in a 9X13 pan with a little bit of water, covered it with foil and baked for 35-40 minutes at 350*.  Then I let it cool and scooped out and chopped the squash.

    In a large skillet, heat oil and add onion, garlic, and cumin.  Cook for 5-6 minutes until tender.  Add squash and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in beans and spinach.  Cook until warmed through, 4-6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

    Steam tortillas in the microwave (with damp paper towels).  Take a tortilla, sprinkle goat cheese and then salsa down the middle of the tortilla and then fill with bean mixture.  Wrap into a burrito.  Cut in half and serve with salsa.
    These had a yummy creamy taste to them.  I really liked the goat has a milder taste than feta, which would be fine in these also!  My older kids really liked these.  Even my oldest (who doesn't love veggies much) thought they had a good flavor.  They were an unexpected combination--that is what made me interested to try the recipe.

    As my husband was finishing his up, he said, "Well...that one's a keeper!"  And our daughter looked at him with the most horrified expression...I guess she didn't agree.  ; )

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Roasted Vegetable Minestrone

    {Meatless Monday}

    This was so delicious...but because it contains no less than 8 different vegetables, it didn't go over too well with most of my children.  Oh well...that's nothing new! ; )

    This is another recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  I always love the recipes I make off of her site!

    Here's what you need:
    • 2 whole Zucchini, Halved, Cut Into Strips, Then Cubed
    • 2 whole Summer Squash, Halved, Cut Into Strips, Then Cubed
    • 8 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Stems Removed And Quartered
    • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • Kosher Salt To Taste
    • 2 Tablespoons (additional) Olive Oil
    • 2 whole Carrots, Washed And Sliced (not Peeled)
    • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
    • 3 stalks Celery, Sliced (leaves Included)
    • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
    • 2 cans Cannelini Beans, Rinsed
    • 1 cup (heaping) Cut Green Beans, Fresh Or Frozen
    • 1-½ cup Medium Or Small Pasta Shells, Uncooked
    • 1 can (14.5) Diced Tomatoes With Juice
    • Salt And Pepper, to taste
    • ¼ teaspoons Turmeric (optional)
    • Parmesan Cheese, Shaved

     Preheat oven to 500.

    Mix cubed zucchini, squash, and mushrooms in a bowl with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Pour onto cookie sheet and roast in the hot oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned.  Remove from oven and set aside.

    In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, and celery and stir to cook for 3 minutes. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes.
    Add cannelini beans and green beans.
     Cook on low for five minutes. Add pasta and cook for an additional five minutes. Add canned tomatoes, stir, and cook for an additional five minutes on low heat. Check for seasonings, adding salt, pepper, and turmeric.
    Add roasted vegetables at the very end. Stir and allow to simmer and heat for a few minutes before serving.

    Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

    This made a TON, so I think you could cut down on the amounts and still have plenty to serve your family!

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Italian Bread with Herb Dip Recipe

     Here's the recipe for the Italian Bread.  It really is a quick bread...takes about an hour from start to finish and we LOVE this bread!  I posted this recipe on a very early post, but I thought I would post it individually.

    Italian Bread with Herbs

    1 T. yeast
    1 T. sugar
    1 cup very warm water
    2 T. oil
    1 tsp. salt
    2 1/2 cups flour (I always use half white/half wheat)

    Mix yeast and sugar into water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Mix in oil, salt, and flour (one cup at a time) until soft dough forms. Knead lightly until smooth. Cover in bowl and let rise 20 minutes. Shape dough into round loaves (each batch makes 2 loaves...I always double or triple the recipe) and cut three small lines in the top of each loaf.

    Cover with towel and let rise 20-25 minutes. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes.

    Cut into thick slices and serve with this:

    Here's how you make it!

    Italian Herb Mix
    2 tsp. crushed red pepper
    2 tsp. ground black pepper
    1 T. dried oregano
    1 T. dried rosemary
    1 T. dried basil
    1 T. dried parsley
    1 T. garlic powder
    1 T. minced garlic
    1 tsp. salt

    Mix all ingredients together with the back of a spoon. The minced garlic helps it clump together a little. Put 1-2 tsp. of mix on small plate and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with warm is heavenly! My kids eat so much of this stuff...they all love it.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

    {Meatless Monday}

    This is a recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  It was delicious!

    If you want to see all her beautiful photos...head on over to her site!  : )

    Here's the recipe:

    • 3 whole Red Bell Peppers
    • 2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts (optional)
    • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • ½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
    • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
    • ½ cups Heavy Cream
    • Flat Leaf Parsley, Finely Minced
    • Fresh Parmesan, Shaved Or Grated
    • ½ pounds (to 1 Pound) Pasta: Orecchiette, Penne, Fusilli, Etc.
    Roast red peppers, and then place in a Ziploc bag to allow to sweat. Peel the charred skins from the peppers, then removed seeds. Set aside.
    Lightly toast pine nuts in a skillet. Set aside.
    Puree peppers with pine nuts. Set aside.

    Cook pasta according to package directions.

    In a skillet or pot over medium heat, drizzle in olive oil. Add diced onions and garlic and cook until soft. Pour in pepper puree and stir together. Add plenty of salt.
    Pour in cream and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Add cooked pasta, and then stir together.
    Place pasta into a bowl, top with chopped parsley and plenty of shaved Parmesan.
     I served it with these corkscrew noodles...they were very good.  Serve with bread...this would work great!  We made Italian bread...I thought I had put the recipe on my blog, but apparently I haven't.  It is a very quick bread that turns out perfect every time...I'll post that recipe soon!

    Mediterranean Macaroni and Cheese

    {Meatless Monday}

    This is definitely a keeper!!  It was absolutely delicious and very simple to throw together.  It was in the oven in under 15 minutes!

    Here's what you need:
    The original recipe called for just 8 oz pasta and baked in an 8 inch pan.  I essentially doubled most here is what I did:

    16 ounces elbow macaroni (I used large elbow)
    1/2 cup butter
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup flour (I used wheat, as always)
    4 cups whole milk ( I used some half&half and some 1%)
    4 oz feta cheese
    1/2 cup pepper jack (the recipe called for 8 oz feta, but I used both kinds of cheese)
    1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (it said drained, but I just poured in the whole can)
    1 cup chopped olives (I used 1/2 black and 1/2 was SO yummy)
    1 tsp. dried oregano
    Salt and Pepper

    Preheat oven to 400.  Cook pasta 2 minutes less than instructions.  Drain and return to pot.

    Combine in bowl: tomatoes, olives, and oregano.  Set aside.

    While the pasta cooks,  melt butter in medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.   Whisk in milk and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and whisk until the sauce thickens, 3-5 minutes.

    Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 the feta and all the pepper jack.  Stir in tomato mixture.  Pour over pasta (I did this in my huge made a very full 9X13...Love leftovers!!).

    Pour pasta into buttered 9X13 and top with 1/2 feta (I used about 2 ounces on top).  Bake until bubbly and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. 
    I never got a picture once it was cooked.  It was one of the craziest nights for our family schedule...I really needed a couple clones of myself to be everywhere I was supposed to be!!  We each ate whenever we could...I actually ate on the way to pick up some kids from choir practice.  It was too bad I couldn't sit down and enjoy it, because it was delicious!

    If you wanted to make a smaller amount of pasta, just make a smaller batch of white sauce...that's pretty much what I doubled.

    I really liked having all the tomato sauce in was very creamy and flavorful.  My very favorite tomatoes EVER are the Western Family Petite Diced Garlic and Olive Oil.

    They make everything taste better.  I use them in ALL my tomato recipes and I love their size and flavor!

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Spinach and Feta Pasta

    I got this recipe off of Our Best Bites.  They have so many yummy recipes...way too many to ever try all of them that look delicious!

    Here's what you need:
    8 oz. Penne pasta
    1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes ( I used one small store-bought can with some of my home canned)
    3 c. fresh spinach
    1 onion, finely chopped
    5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
    2-3 fresh mushrooms, chopped
    4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Cook pasta and drain.  Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a skillet.  Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until tender.   Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Add tomatoes, heat through, and then add drained pasta and crumbled feta.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Heat through and serve; you can crumble a little feta on top if you want! 

    I threw this together pretty quickly, so I only got a picture at then end:

    I liked it...but my little kids did not.  I just LOVE feta cheese!!  Too bad for them, because we have a lot leftover, so they will be seeing it on their plates again! ; (  Our noodles were falling apart a little.  That might be that I had to leave my 12 year old in charge of deciding when they were done or it might be that they are out of our food storage.  Next time I use them, I'll have to make sure they are cooked right and see if they still break up.

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Spaghetti Frittata

    {Meatless Monday} it's been a month since I've posted anything.  Sorry!  Honestly, I have been in a total cooking rut the last while and have not made anything new AT ALL...just old standbys that are already on the blog.

    I had planned on making these tonight, but as I was looking at our schedule, I realized I didn't have enough time.  I quickly tried to think of what I had on hand.

    I knew I had this:

    And I knew I had lots of these (we have chickens!)

    So I decided to throw together a frittata.  I think of a frittata as having more mix-ins, especially pasta.  I would never mix pasta into a quiche.  To me, the eggs are the MAIN part of a quiche, but in a frittata, the eggs are simply holding together the main this case, noodles and veggies.

    I grabbed lots of vegetables from my fridge:
    1 cup spinach
    1/2 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
    1/4 cup diced bell peppers
    4 cherry tomatoes
    3 mushrooms

    I sauteed all the veggies....

    (I didn't toss in the spinach until the end, after these were tender.)

    Stirred in the leftover spaghetti noodles....

    Then poured the egg mixture over the entire pan.   You shouldn't stir after pouring.  Just try to pour evenly over the noodles.
    Egg mixture: 6 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Beaten together.

    Cook on stove top, covered, for about 8 minutes over medium heat.  Until eggs are set.  It will get a little dark on the bottom, but not too bad.  If you turn the heat lower to avoid that, just increase the cook time by 3-4 minutes.

    Then put the skillet into the oven under the broiler. Broil for 2-4 minutes until it is browned on the top.  Then be very careful when you remove the skillet to remember, remember, remember(!!) that the handle is PIPING HOT!!

    Lon and I have learned our lesson on this one.  The last time I made a frittata, I took it out of the oven, set it on the stovetop, got distracted for a second and came back and wrapped my hand around the large metal handle. makes me shiver just to remember.  I screamed out, ran over to the sink, and JUST as I am turning on the cold water, I hear Lon scream out in pain!  He had come downstairs and saw the handle pointing out from the oven and tried to move it.  We were both plunging our hands in cold water and even though we were in pain, we were laughing hysterically.  So this time, he took one of our oven mittens and just put it onto the handle of the we wouldn't have a repeat! ; )

    This was a super fast meal and I really liked how it turned out.  It would be good with any kind of cheese...even some cottage cheese thrown in there would help it be creamy.  I just used cheddar.  Oh, I almost forgot.  My favorite thing about this was that we ate it with our home canned salsa and it was divine!!

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Smashed Potato Soup

    {Meatless Monday}

    I have had this recipe for a long time.  I think I printed it out at BH&G.  And today, I was organizing my cupboard and came across it and luckily had (almost) all the ingredients.  AND it was a crock pot recipe--which was a MUST because my oven element totally burnt out the other day!!  It was really weird...flames and sparks and everything--and then when it was all cooled off, I reached down and touched it and it fell apart.  Crazy.
    Thankfully, my mom and dad's house down the street is empty right now and I have been able to bake a couple of things in their oven...but other than that there's been lots of boiling and saute-ing going on around here!

    This soup wasn't as good as I had hoped.  It needs something more...the next time, I think I will add in some onions and some seasoning salt. It calls for green onions at the end, but I think some regular onion cooking with the potatoes would help.  It just needed more flavor.  So I definitely suggest adding those things to the ingredient list!

    Here's what you need:

    3 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
    1/2 cup chopped yellow and/or red pepper
    1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (could use more...or maybe fresh garlic)
    1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
    4 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used my vegetarian broth...I think it is not as salty as regular broth,
                                              so I added about 1/2 tsp. salt)
    1/2 cup whipping cream, or light cream ( I used milk with a little light sour cream mixed in)
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese---ooooh, some pepper jack would be super yummy too!
    1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

    In crock pot:
    Combine potatoes, sweet pepper, garlic, ONION, pepper, and seasoning salt (1/2 tsp?) .  Pour broth over all.
    Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hrs OR on high for 4-5 hrs.
    Mash potatoes slightly with a potato masher.  Stir in cream, cheese, and green onions.  If desired, garnish with more green onions and cheese.
     It is very colorful and pretty and it would be a lot more flavorful with the yummy additions I suggested.
    Depending on how you like your soups, you can thicken this one a little with a small amount of flour whisked with water and then added for the last 20 minutes.

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Spicy Cucumber Slices

    {Meatless Monday}

    These are fairly easy to make and my husband and I really liked them.  They are a great side dish for a yummy summer meal.  We got some cucumbers from the Farmers Market and they were fresh and crisp.  They do have a little bit of heat.  Some bites there seemed to be a little more red pepper than others ; ).  Hope you enjoy them!  This is such a better way to use up cucumbers than making pickles! ; )  I hate pickles!

    3-4 medium cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
    1 tsp kosher salt (recipe called for 2 t. and it was a little too salty)
    1/2 cup rice vinegar, seasoned or regular
    1/2 cup water
    3 T. sugar
    1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
    2 T. minced red onion

    Place cucumber slices in a colander sitting over a bowl, sprinkle with salt and stir well.  Let sit in refrigerator for about an hour.

    Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and red pepper in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat a little and cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and add onion.  Let mixture cool to room temperature.

    When the cucumbers are done resting, combine cooled reduction with them.  Refrigerate until well chilled.