Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mediterranean Many Layered Salad



Mediterranean Many Layered Salad

Over the past few weeks I shared with you the basic "7-Layer-Salad" recipe and the "Mexican Layered Salad".  The layered-salad recipes still to come in posts later this year are:   


Asian Seven Layer twist

and

Spring Life Layered Salad



 Today I am sharing the Mediterranean Many Layered Salad version that I created.


Romaine Lettuce (washed, drained and chopped)
1 can of black olives(drained) (green olives or stuffed olives are both great options)
1 jar of banana peppers (drained)
1 red onion (peeled and sliced into rings)
1 block of feta cheese (cut or crumbled)
1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken (cooled and cut into bite sized chunks)
1 package of garlic couscous (cooked according to the package and cooled)
1 large container of greek yogurt (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups) (it must be the thick greek yogurt)
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 of a burpless cucumber (peeled and washed) (Optional- see NOTE)


Prepare the ingredients as listed above.  Mix the greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt/pepper(add to taste but remember the cheese & olives are salty - I only added a dash of salt) and cucumber in a food processor until well blended (NOTE: I think it is too runny with the cucumber but my husband thinks it is too thick and dry without.  It's up to you whether to use the cucumber or not).  I like to see the beautiful layers of this salad so I use a large glass bowl (However, if you don't own one then any large serving bowl will do - stainless steel, ceramic - whatever). 


All ingredients have been prepared according to the instructions above and are now ready to be layered.

Begin layering the salad and start with the lettuce first. 

The order doesn't really matter but this is the order in which I build this salad (going from the bottom of the bowl to the top):

1.  Lettuce
2.  Red Onions
3.  Chicken
4.  Yogurt mixture
5.  Banana Peppers
6.  Couscous
7. Olives
8.  Feta Cheese




When you are dishing up this salad - make sure you serve all of the layers and scoop all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. 

I like to serve pita chips or just plain pita bread with this salad.


ENJOY!! 

© (2012)



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Monday, January 30, 2012

Special Post: Versatile Blogger Award


I have just been awarded the "Versatile Blogger Award" by Lynette from "Sweet Posy Dreams" (Please visit her blog - It's fantastic)
It is so wonderful to know that my blog is appreciated and that the information that I share is helpful to others.  This Award is really a way to share appreciation and encouragement. 


Pinned Image

This is how it works:

1. Thank the person that nominated you, and give a shout out to them on your blog with a link to theirs. 
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself. 
3. Send the blog award to 15 other bloggers whose blogs you love and appreciate, and let them know they won the award.

In other words - the 15 bloggers that I have nominated will appreciate 15 other bloggers and those 15 bloggers will appreciate 15 more bloggers each, which equals 
exponential encouragement!

7 random facts about myself:
1.  I am a Canadian married to an American
2.  My favorite book is the Bible
3.  I love to garden but hate the heat
4.  Wearing a hat throws my neck out of line
5.  I am distantly related to Chief Pontiac
6.  I’m a little OCD and I don’t like my food to touch
7.  I have an extra sesamoid bone in both of my feet

Here are the 15 talented bloggers that I have awarded the "Versatile Blogger Award":


A super duper sparkling "Thank You" to Lynette at





Sunday, January 29, 2012

As White As Snow

"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."  Isaiah 1:18

Have you ever really looked at newly fallen snow?  It is truly amazing how white snow is - blinding white at times.  I especially enjoy staring at snow in the moonlight - a sparkling wonder. No man-made glitter can glisten, twinkle and shimmer like moonlit snow does.  Newly fallen snow is so utterly clean looking.

Scarlet & crimson were dyes used in ancient times.  These colors are deep red and It was impossible to get fabric white again after being dyed scarlet or crimson.  Even in modern times there are certain stains that are impossible to make white again.  The stain in this verse is our sins and God has cleaned our soul.  Our sins have been washed away and our soul has been made as white as snow through the saving blood of Jesus Christ.

Let's praise and thank our heavenly Father for making our souls as white as snow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

NEW! - God's Garden Gems



New item:  "God's Garden Gems"

Garden Gems, by Angie Ouellette-Tower

I created these gems using pictures that I took from my garden (many of these pictures made it to this blog).  Each pendant has a miniature photo that I painstakingly placed inside a metal bezel and then I protected the photo with a resin finish.


The subject of these photos was taken from God's Growing Garden - His beautiful creation made into jewelry. 



I have 1 piece of "Garden Gem" Jewelry for sale in my Etsy shop right now and there will be more to come - Please check it out by clicking here: GOURDONVILLE



Each piece of God's Garden Gem Jewelry comes with a Bible verse wrapped in a homemade box - ENJOY!



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mexican Layered Salad



Mexican Layered Salad

A few weeks ago I shared with you the basic "7-Layer-Salad" recipe.  The layered-salad recipes still to come in posts later this year are:   

Mediteranian Many Layered Salad


Asian Seven Layer twist

and

Spring Life Layered Salad

 Today I am sharing the Mexican Layered Salad version that I created.




Romaine Lettuce (washed, drained and chopped)                    Printable Recipe
3 tomatoes (washed, cored and chopped)
2 avacados (peeled and chopped)
2 tablespoons cilantro (washed and chopped)
3 green onions (washed and chopped)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Pepper cheese are all great options)
frozen corn (thawed, rinsed and drained)
1 small sour cream (16 oz)
1 packet of dry guacamole mix
2 tablespoons salsa

Prepare the ingredients as listed above.  Mix the sour cream, guacamole packet and salsa together until well blended.  I like to see the beautiful layers of this salad so I use a large glass bowl (However, if you don't own one then any large serving bowl will do - stainless steel, ceramic - whatever).  Begin layering the salad and start with the lettuce first. 

The order doesn't really matter but this is the order in which I build this salad (going from the bottom of the bowl to the top):

1.  Lettuce
2.  Beans
3.  Green Onions
4.  Tomatoes
5.  Sour Cream mixture
6.  Corn
7. Avacado
8.  Cheese
9.  Cilantro

When you are dishing up this salad - make sure you serve all of the layers and scoop all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. 
ENJOY!! 


© (2012)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Seed Catalogs - 2nd Review

You know you're a "Garden Nerd" when.......you bundle up in bed at night with a seed catalog in hand instead of a good book.

Over the next few months I will be reviewing and grading some of the seed catalogs that I have received for 2012.

Here's how it works - There are 4 categories:
A:  Variety of seeds and plants
B: Unique Items - original items that I have not seen in any other catalog
C: Visual - cover and content - graphics
D: Organization - are the items easy to find? and does the overall catalog flow well?.


The grading system:

0=Bad
1=OK
2=Good
and an extra Bonus Point for excelling in 1 area

Each category will be graded using this system making "9" the perfect score (including the Bonus point).

Please feel free to participate - if you have ever ordered anything from any of these catalogs then please feel free to comment.....good or bad.  Afterall - I am giving these companies free advertisement.  ENJOY!



Seed Catalogs - 2nd Review (Jung Seeds and Plants)


A:  A good variety of flowers, veggies, fruit and tools.
2 points
B:  Light Yellow Raspberry - "Anne"
      Yellow Beet
      Yugoslavian Fingers Gourd
      Blood Shot Eyeball Pumpkin
1.5 points

C:  The catalog is a nice size - a little larger than normal.  Other than the size there is nothing visually appealing - I don't like the graphics or the cover layout.
0.5 points

D:  The organization is totally mixed up and confusing.  It's as if someone twirled around blind folded twenty times before organizing this catalog.
0 points

Winner of the Pumpkin Award - I've never seen such a variety of pumpkins in one catalog.

1 point

That makes a grand total of 5




Sunday, January 22, 2012

Food To Spare

"Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare." Proverbs 20:13

This is the time of the year when we all start to hybernate for the winter.  Napping throughout the day and bundling up inside avoiding any outdoor work (or any indoor work for that matter).  This verse is not literally talking about staying awake all the time, afterall sleep is very important to our health.  However, this verse is talking about laziness.

I believe that this verse is even talking about "spiritual food" and "spiritual laziness".  There have been many times throughout my Christian walk when I have become lazy - putting off spending time in prayer, being too engrossed in a movie to spend time reading God's Word.   All of this laziness creates a spiritual hunger inside.

Let us try - daily - to spend time reading scripture and spend time in prayer so that we will avoid that spiritual hunger and have spiritual food to spare.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cream Of Asparagus and Rice Soup



Cream of Asparagus and Rice Soup

If you like Asparagus then you'll love this soup!  It is full of creamy goodness - from the whipping cream to the cream cheese.

Also, I was able to use some of my garden fresh Frozen Asparagus (I know - "garden fresh" and "frozen" can't really mean the same thing - but if you are using a Vacuum Pack Machine - then it really does taste "garden fresh").



Step #3 - the stock and asparagus have been added.

1 onion (peeled and chopped)                                                Printable Recipe
1 large celery stalk (washed and chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups asparagus (fresh or Frozen Asparagus) (chopped)
4 cups Ham Stock (or chicken stock - if you use chicken stock then add 1/2 cup chopped ham to give the soup that smokey flavor)
1 cup basmatti rice (brown rice or wild rice is also good - not instant rice)
ground black pepper (to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Basil
1/2 block of cream cheese (cut 1 package of cream cheese in half)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1.  Prepare the ingredients as listed above.
2.  In a large stock pot - Saute the onion and celery in the olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes.
3.  Add the asparagus and stock (NOTE:  if you are using chicken stock then add the chopped ham during this step also).


4.  Add in the seasoning (basil and black ground pepper) and bring to a boil.
5.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.
6.  Add the basmati rice (see picture above) and simmer the soup until the rice is cooked to your desired texture (I like the rice best just before it is fully cooked - when it is a little chewy).
7.  Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in 1 cup of the whipping cream.



8.  In a smaller sauce pan - combine the remaining 1/2 cup of whipping cream with the 1/2 block of cream cheese and whisk together over medium heat (until combined - see picture above).
9.  Slowly stir the cream cheese mixture into the soup.
10. Return the soup to the burner and heat for another 5 minutes (while slowly stirring).

Serve immediately and ENJOY!

© (2012)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Basics - Growing Your Own Bean Sprouts



The Basics - Growing Your Own Bean Sprouts

The best things in the world are either homemade or homegrown - even sprouts.

These mung bean sprouts are great in salads, on sandwiches or in your own Homemade Egg Rolls


The outer shell begins to split and the sprouts begin to grow


Instructions:  Use a quart size canning jar.  Pour 1 cup of dry mung beans into the canning jar and cover with clean filtered water (see the first picture above). Soak the beans in this water for 1 day and then drain.  (To drain you can buy a mesh lid that fits a canning jar as seen in these pictures or just hold a mesh strainer on top of the jar when draining the water).  Cover with a cloth - the sprouts need to be in the dark.  For the next 4 to 5 days rinse and immediately drain the beans 3 times each day (and keep the jar covered with a cloth when you are not rinsing). 
Now your sprouts should be ready!

Important:  Some experts have found that mold can grow on sprouts (homegrown and store bought both have this mold possibility).  I always rinse my sprouts with a little hydrogen peroxide and then thoroughly with water before consuming.

 

NOTE:  I used 2 cups of Mung beans and that ended up being too much for a quart size jar.  In the picture above I had to put the sprouts into 2 jars before they had completely finished growing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seven Layer Salad with Peas



Seven Layer Salad with Peas

About 15 years ago I was at a potluck dinner and one of the dishes (brought by somebody else) was "Seven Layer Salad."  It is so simple but yet so special.  Since then I have created new twists on the oldfashioned 7-Layer-Salad:

Mexican Layered Salad


Mediteranian Many Layered Salad


Asian Seven Layer twist

and

Spring Life Layered Salad

I will share these 7-layer-salad versions in posts later on this year.  Today I am sharing the regular 7-layer-salad that I fell in love with so many years ago.


1 cup Bacon (fried, cooled and crumbled or chopped)                Printable Recipe
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 package frozen peas (thawed, rinsed and drained)
3 green onions (washed and chopped)
1 package fresh mushrooms (washed and sliced)
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1 container of sour cream (16 oz)
1 package of dry ranch dip seasoning (or dry ranch salad dressing mix)

Prepare the ingredients as listed above.  Mix the sour cream and ranch dip packet together until well blended.  I like to see the beautiful layers of this salad so I use a large glass bowl (However, if you don't own one then any large serving bowl will do - stainless steel, ceramic - whatever).  Begin layering the salad and start with the lettuce first. 

The order doesn't really matter but this is the order in which I build this salad (going from the bottom of the bowl to the top):

1.  Lettuce (both the iceberg and romaine)
2.  Shredded cheese
3.  Ranch sour cream
4.  Green onions
5.  Peas
6.  Mushrooms
7.  Bacon

When you are dishing up this salad - make sure you serve all of the layers and scoop all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. 
ENJOY!! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Soar on Wings Like Eagles

... but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:31

This verse is so visual - almost like a 3D movie - I can feel myself soaring through the sky as I read.  This is what forgiveness feels like - total freedom.  Just think - eagles have no roads that they must follow ....... no street lights or stop signs needed to soar, fly and glide through the air. This is the same feeling as being forgiven - running and not growing tired, walking and not becoming weak - absolutely free.

This forgiveness freedom is for everyone!  Jesus died for our sins that we might be forgiven and have everlasting life.  This is God's gift to everyone and all we have to do is accept it - simply pray to God and say that you believe in Jesus Christ and thank God for His gift of forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not mean that we are free to do whatever we want - we must still live according to God's will.  Our Christian walk is a daily struggle and we need to be refreshed and strengthened - No matter where you are in your Christian walk (a new Christian or an older seasoned Christian).  Our spiritual strength needs to be renewed daily through prayer, scripture reading, worship and fellowship.

Let us hope in the Lord and renew our strength daily!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Miracle Blackberry Bush



I was quite disappointed when I received this newspaper clipping as a Christmas gift......that was until I read it! - Two of these Miracle Blackberry Bushes are on their way this spring. 

This Miracle Blackberry Bush seems too-good-to-be-true!



"World Famous Doyle's Blackberry Bush" is:

-thornless
- yields 10 to 20 GALLONS per plant
- grows in USA & Canada (needs extra protection in -20 degrees or colder)
- doubles as an ornamental bush since the blossoms are so numerous
- very large berries
- ripe fruit for 4 to 6 weeks

Sounds too-good-to-be-true - it takes about 3 years for the plant to be fully established - so I will let you know if it lives up to it's description in a few years.
- 



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to Make Homemade Egg Rolls



Making Egg Rolls

I'll say it again - "Nothing is better than homemade" - that even includes egg rolls.  For years I would crave an egg roll and buy it either in a Chinese restaurant or in the freezer section of the grocery store - after eating I would always say to myself:  "It needs more ginger" or "that would taste better with chicken".....etc.  Until one day I decided to create my own Chicken egg rolls.

My recipe makes a large amount (about 40 to 45 egg rolls).  After frying I will freeze them in packages of 5 egg rolls.  Then, whenever I get that egg roll craving - I simply warm up a frozen egg roll in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes (flipping half way through) - delicious!


Prepared (chopped and peeled) ingredients needed for making egg rolls

2 cups cooked chopped chicken                                                Printable Recipe
2 cups shredded carrots (peeled first of course)
8 cups shredded Napa Cabbage
8 cups regular green Cabbage (shredded also)
3 cups (peeled and chopped) Vidalia onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger/garlic paste
ground chili pepper (to taste - I use about 2 teaspoons - spicy is good)(a red chili powder from India is what I use)
Soy sauce (to taste - about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
2 (plus) tablespoons olive oil
8 cups mung bean sprouts (rinsed and drained)
canola oil for frying
2 packages of egg roll wraps (found in the produce section of most large grocery stores)
                                                                                                                                                       ©


Step1: Prepare the ingredients as listed above
Step2: In a large frying pan or a large wok - Saute the onions, celery and ginger/garlic paste in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.


Step3: Add both types of cabbage, the shredded carrots, chili pepper, soy sauce and teriyaki sauce and continue sauteing for another 7 minutes (gently and slowly stirring or flipping all the time).
Step4: Now add the sprouts and cooked chopped chicken for only a couple more minutes (gently stirring again) - (see picture above) everything should be "al dente" cooked by now.
Step5:  Allow the egg roll filling to cool to room temperature.







Step6:  Now it is time to wrap each egg roll:  Place 1 wrap on a plate with one point facing towards you (see top left picture) and place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of egg roll filling on the bottom portion of the wrap.
Step7:  Fold up the bottom point of the wrap (see top right picture)
Step8: Fold in both the right and left sides and now it should resemble an envelope (see picture directly above)
Step9:  Lightly moisten the remaining open tip of the wrap and gently fold down (the filled egg rolls should look like the picture below).


IMPORTANT:  You should try to wrap the egg rolls tightly - However - too tightly will result in ripping and tearing the wrap - a happy medium is the best.


Step10:  Deep fry each egg roll for a couple minutes on each side or until desired golden brown color is achieved (see picture above)
NOTE:  I used a "deep fryer" - however you may also use a frying pan directly on the stovetop -

ALWAYS BE CAREFUL WHEN FRYING ANYTHING!


ENJOY some fresh out of the fryer and freeze any remaining egg rolls!

NOTE: Allow the egg rolls to completely cool before freezing.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Seed Catalogs - 1st Review

After this post the word will be out - I am a GARDEN NERD.  Over the next few months I will be reviewing and grading some of the seed catalogs that I have received for 2012.

Here's how it works - There are 4 categories:
A:  Variety of seeds and plants
B: Unique Items - original items that I have not seen in any other catalog
C: Visual - cover and content - graphics
D: Organization - are the items easy to find? and does the overall catalog flow well?.


The grading system:

0=Bad
1=OK
2=Good
and an extra Bonus Point for excelling in 1 area

Each category will be graded using this system making "9" the perfect score (including the Bonus point).

Please feel free to participate - if you have ever ordered anything from any of these catalogs or just want to state your opinion- then please feel free to comment.....good or bad.  Afterall - I am giving these catalogs free advertisement.  ENJOY!



Seed Catalogs - 1st Review (Vermont Bean Seed Catalog)


A:  The name says it all - a wonderful amount of green beans, wax beans, pole beans, dry beans, runner beans etc.   A good variety of all other vegetables.  Only 2 pages of flowers.
1.5 points
B:  French Bean Slicer
     Purple Watermelon
     Galeuse D'Eysines - warty pumpkin
     Cobra Head tool
2 points

C:  The cover is a work of art but the inside was just normal - clear but nothing unique.
1.5 points

D:  Not on the top of my list - a little cumbersome.
0.5 points

Winner of the Green Bean Award - I know it is their name but I was so impressed with the variety of green beans that I gave this catalog a Bonus Point
1 point

That makes a grand total of 6.5






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