Saturday, March 31, 2012

Strawberry Lime Linzer Cookies



Strawberry Lime Linzer Cookies

I have a bit of a cookie cutter collection and this Easter/Spring Linzer Cutter set is one of my favorites.  You can see the cookie set in the picture below on the left - it includes middle cutout shapes of a rabbit, duck, basket, butterfly, egg and a daisy.

I created this recipe with the purpose of using some of my home canned Strawberry Jam.  Most of the cookies that I make seem to be very soft - I wanted a crisp cookie for a change and this fits the bill.  Also, the flavor combination of strawberry and lime is a burst of spring freshness!

NOTE:  Apologies to my Gluten-Free readers - this recipe is NOT for you. 

_______________________________________________________________________ 


 
This recipe is available in my ebook:
 




 


 



ENJOY!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Basics - How to Cut an Avocado



The Basics - How to Cut an Avocado

Step 1:  Cut the avocado around the long way/vertically as seen in the picture above and then twist both sides -  the avocado should separate into 2 quite easily.


Step 2:  Remove the pit - I use my fingers but I have farm-girl hands and don't do anything with my nails - so if you prefer you may use a spoon to remove the pit.  (Some people recommend whacking a sharp knife into the pit to remove it that way - I NEVER recommend flailing around a sharp knife).



Step 3:  Cut the inside of the avocado into a grid pattern as seen above (NOTE: When I cut the grid I held the avocado on a cutting board - I am only holding it that way for the picture)



Step 4:  Scoop the avocado chunks out with a spoon and use in a salad or mash for guacamole.

ENJOY!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Parsnips - How Would You Describe The Flavor?



Parsnips - How Would YOU Describe The Flavor?

Parsnips have got to be the most unique vegetable.  They have the same shape as carrots, they grow like carrots but I don't think they taste anything like carrots.
I've asked many people to describe the taste of parsnips and everyone seems to have a totally different portrayal. 
So, I thought it would be fun if we all shared our descriptions of the Parsnip Flavor.  Please feel free to link up below and type in your version of what a Parsnip tastes like. (To enter: "Linky" requires a "url" link so with your description you can link up your blog or any item from your Etsy shop)


Parsnips in Your Garden:
Plant - in early spring after danger of frost
Grow - partial shade is fine - I have not had any problems with pests.
Harvest - Parsnips are Biennials and I let them winter over in the ground just like I do with my carrots (see Mulching Carrots)
Preserve - I will be sharing some of my own Parsnip recipes - next week "Creamy Parsnip Soup with Tarragon" and one recipe that I've already shared: 





Sunday, March 25, 2012

Honored with Palm Branches

"The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

"Hosanna!"
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Blessed is the King of Israel!"
Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,

"Do not be afraid,
O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey's colt."

At first his disciples did not understand all this.  Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him."
John 12:12-16

I know that next Sunday is Palm Sunday but I wanted to study these verses today so that we can meditate on this Bible passage throughout the coming week.

After reading these verses I couldn't remember what the historical significance was behind the Palm Branches - so I looked this up in my Bible Commentary.  During Biblical times, the common practice was to honor a victorious person by carrying Palm Branches.  It's amazing that this "great crowd" knew that Jesus was the Messiah.  Even the disciples were confused by this greeting that Jesus had received.  The disciples were confused because "Easter" had not yet happened and in their minds Jesus was not "victorious."  It wasn't until after Jesus had risen from the tomb that the disciples understood the meaning of this event.

It is also important that Jesus rode on a donkey - fulfilling the prophesy in Zechariah 9:9.  Every single little detail was significant.....from the Palm Branches......to the chant: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!.......to Jesus riding on a donkey.  God is in control of every tiny aspect in all of our lives.  

Let's not ignore the little things in our lives.......God has a wonderful purpose for everything.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Grapes 'n Grain Chicken Salad



Grapes'n Grain Chicken Salad

This recipe is also one of my successful gluten free creations.  This chicken salad is sweet and savory with with a nutty twist - the walnuts are toasted with a crunchy, buttery, brown-sugary coating.

I like to serve a scoop of this salad on top of a bed of fresh greens - the greens that I used are a mix of Swiss Chard, Baby Bok Choy/Pak Choi, Arugula and Tender Spinach. 



Mixture of greens (baby bok choy, spinach and swiss chard) (washed and drained)
2 cups cooked white chicken
1 cup special sweet'n savory toasted walnuts (see recipe below)
1/2 cup dry millet (boil in 2 cups of water and a dash of salt - cook on slow/simmer for 20 -30 minutes or until tender.  Then cool before adding to this chicken salad)
3 tablespoons flax seed (grind the seed in a coffee grinder just before adding to the salad)
1 1/2 cups carrots (peeled and shredded)
3 large celery stalks (washed and finely chopped)
3 green onions (washed and chopped)
1 cup seedless grapes (washed and cut in half or cut into quarters) (you may substitute raisins but I prefer fresh grapes).
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup Mayonnaise or Sour Cream
Spicy ground red pepper (or ground black pepper) - to taste


Step 1:  Prepare the millet as described above (1/2 cup dry millet , 2 cups water and dash of salt - bring to boil & then simmer for 25 minutes or until desired texture is achieved) (allow to cool)
Step 2:  Prepare the toasted walnuts as listed below:

Special Sweet'n Savory Toasted Walnuts
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
A few dashes of ground black pepper
salt to taste (I used the large grain sea salt)
2 tablespoons melted butter
Drizzle the melted butter on top of the walnuts and then stir in the salt, pepper and brown sugar until the walnuts look covered.  Spread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15 to 25 minutes (or until desired crispness is achieved) Make sure you check every 5 minutes and turn the nuts so they will be toasty crispy on both sides.
Allow the walnuts to cool before adding to the chicken salad.



Step 3:  For the chicken: I have used leftover cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken or I have sauteed my own chickens strips with a little white wine and garlic salt (the wine sauteed is my favorite).  Once the chicken is cooked and cooled - then shred or finely chop.
Step 4:  Prepare the vegetables, grapes and flax seeds as described above.



Step 5:  In a large bowl - with a wooden spoon - mix together all of the prepared ingredients (chicken, walnuts, vegetables, flax, grapes, millet, mayonnaise & pepper). 

IMPORTANT: If you need to be strict about all food being "gluten free" then please make sure that the chicken you use in this recipe is NOT breaded also make sure that the mayonnaise is gluten free ....etc.

Serve a large scoop of "Grapes'n Grain Chicken Salad" on a bed of fresh greens!
ENJOY!
 
Linked to:
 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Themed Blog & Shop Hop: The RESULTS


I would just like to thank all of you again for either visiting or participating in my first "Themed Blog & Shop Hop" - It was so much fun and a great success! 

There were 2 items tied for the most "clicks"

Sparkly Green and Silver Frog Charms with Deep Brown Lake Michigan Beach Stones Earring and Pendant Set

Sparkly Green and Silver Frog Charms with Deep Brown Lake Michigan Beach Stones Earring and Pendant Set

Yellow flower wall art - Mixed Media Mosaic

From Margalita
Yellow flower wall art - Mixed Media Mosaic

and then 2 items tied for the most "likes":



P.O.P. Life Cross, Old World-style decorative wall art, weathered green and earth tones, collectible

P.O.P. Life Cross, Old World-style decorative wall art, weathered green and earth tones, collectible

Olive Beaded Leather Wrap Bracelet - Silver-Lined Olivine Czech Glass on Tan Leather

From Wrapology
Olive Beaded Leather Wrap Bracelet - Silver-Lined Olivine Czech Glass on Tan Leather

Next month's Blog & Shop Hop is scheduled for Monday April 16th, 2012 - Please join us if you can!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gluten Free Cheddar Salsa Crackers



Gluten Free Cheddar Salsa Crackers

When my husband was in college, he & his friends used to take a handful of raw wheat berries and chew them.  After the first few minutes of chewing the chaff and bran would separate from the inside core of the grain - what remained was a chewable substance like gum.  That's what they did - they chewed it for hours as a natural chewing gum. 

It is this gooey, gummy gunk that goops up our guts
Gluten occurs in most grains like wheat and rye and the theory is that consuming Gluten causes problems for our digestion and can even add to an overall inflammatory situation in our bodies (NOTE: I am NOT a doctor - this information is what I learned from researching this subject).
Just recently my husband asked if I could start cooking Gluten-Free - neither one of us have "Celiac" disease but he wants to see if we might notice any change in our health (eg maybe less joint pain etc).  As always - I try to create my own recipes and I have had many Gluten-Free-flops but this recipe that I am sharing with you today is one of my successful creations.


                                                                                                        Printable Recipe
1/4 cup butter (softened)                                                                     
1/2 cup corn meal (make sure it is 100% corn meal & does NOT contain wheat flour)
1/4 cup rice flour
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup salsa (at room temperature)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded & at room temperature) (or Colby cheese)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

With an electric mixer - combine the butter, salsa and egg yolk just until mixed.  With a wooden spoon stir the corn meal, salt, pepper and rice flour into the butter mixture.   Then, knead the cheese into the dough by hand on a clean flat surface until the cheese is blended into the dough (about 5 minutes of kneading).  The dough should look like the picture above.


I'm using  my squirrel, snail & porcupine cookie cutters

Cut the dough in half and then Roll out the dough on a floured surface (Remember - use RICE flour to dust the rolling surface) - about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut the crackers using your favorite cookie cutters (I used my squirrel, snail & porcupine cutters).  Keep rolling out the scraps until all of the dough has been used   (NOTE:  After rolling the scraps 3 times the dough starts to become very dry & brittle - so I just baked the scraps in whatever shape they were in).  Repeat with the other half of the dough. 
 Place each cracker on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and prick each cracker with a fork to prevent "puffing."

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes (or until desired golden brown color is achieved).


Crackers are ready to be baked

Allow to cool and ENJOY!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seed Catalogs - 7th Review

If you have ever waged a war against the Colorado Potato Beetle.......then you might just be a "Garden Nerd".

Over the past few months I have been reviewing and grading some of the seed catalogs that I have received for 2012.  This is the last review for this year.

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 - 7th Review (Pinetree Garden Seeds)


A:  This catalog has a great variety of veggies and flowers.
2 points
B: Peanut Seeds
     Dyeing Herbs
     Tobacco Seeds
     Loose Teas (Dried and ready to use)
     Cover Crops
     Garden-Opoly Game
     Many Books on gardening
2 points

C:  Nothing special - a pleasing cover.  The pictures inside were clear but nothing original.
1.5 points

D: Jumbled Content - the Table of Contents somewhat made up for the confusion.
1 point

Winner of the Heirloom Award- I've never seen so many Heirloom seeds in 1 catalog - wonderful!
1 point

That makes a grand total of 7.5



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reap with Songs of Joy

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." 
Psalm 126:5-6

In Biblical times "sheaves" were bundles of grain stalks and it was part of a harvesting technique.  These bundles would have been piled high for weeks before finally "threshing" to get the grain (or seed) out of the chaff.  This was a lot of work - even today sowing, plowing, gardening and farming is hard work - even physically draining at times.  After persevering the entire season growing and working hard in the garden  - then comes time to reap.  The harvest is so full of joy!  Just so exciting to see all the bounty of our hard work!

All of this symbolizes how we as God's children need to persevere in doing good........in sowing the eternal seed......in doing God's work.  It will not be easy but with Jesus anything is possible.  Through prayer and supplication - any new problem that comes our way equals new acts of God.

Let us sow the seed of everlasting life through Jesus Christ with joyful hearts.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chocolate Covered Fritos



Chocolate Covered Fritos

If you like that salty-sweet combination - then you must try this delight!
I think it comes close to the chocolate covered pretzel.  Nothing more to say - the pictures speak for themselves.

Stirring the Fritos until covered with the melted chocolate mixture.

1/2 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cups fritos

Melt the chocolate chips, butter and peanut oil together (the purpose of adding the oil & butter is to make the chocolate a little softer - if you add too much butter or oil then the chocolate will never harden).  In a mixing bowl - stir together the fritos and the melted chocolate mixture until all of the fritos are covered.  Spread the chocolate covered Fritos on a wax paper lined plate and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes (or until chocolate hardens) - remove and
ENJOY!!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Themed Blog & Shop Hop - GREEN or "G"



WELCOME to the
"Themed Blog & Shop Hop" 
for March 2012! 
I'm so glad that you stopped by!

For those of you who are not familiar with "Hops" (a.k.a. Linky party) - a Blog Hop &/or Shop Hop is an event where viewers/followers can upload links onto my blog......Links to their items in their Etsy shops or links to their Blogs.  And then we can "hop" from blog to blog or shop to shop.


The theme this month is: GREEN OR "G" 
My favorite color is green and my favorite letter is "G" (as if you couldn't tell - "God's Growing Garden" is my blog, "Gourdonville" is my Etsy shop and when you pronounce my name you are saying the letter "G":
"An-G" (Angie). 

So, that means if you have an item in your shop that is green in color (or primarily green) - then please share it with us. 
If you have an item that is "green" or environmentally friendly, then you can share that with us also. 
Or any item or blog post that starts with the letter "G" - for example - maybe you work with Gourds
-or paint pictures of Canadian Geese
- or maybe you wrote a blog post about God's Grace
..........you get the picture

Although I would love it if everyone joined my blog or became followers of my blog - that is not a requirement to participate in this "Hop".  All I ask is that you keep your submissions decent - no offensive content please.

Well, actually there is a second rule:
only 2 submissions per person please.




If you do not have a blog or a shop then please still stop by and take a digital walk through our virtual mall.


I will be having a "Themed Blog & Shop Hop" once a month - the middle of each month.  Next month's hop will be on: April 16th, 2012

ENJOY!!


To Etsy shop owners - please only upload links directly to the items that you would like to share with us - not a link to your entire shop - Thanks.

To Blog writers - you may submit any post that fits into the theme - it can be an old post from many months ago (it does Not have to be a recent post).  Also, please submit the link directly to the post and Not a link to your homepage - Thank you!
I will be "tweeting" about the submissions throughout the week to come.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Invitation to Attend: Themed Blog & Shop Hop





I would like to invite all of you to join my
"Themed Blog and Shop Hop" on this Thursday March 15th (2012)

For those of you who are not familiar with "Hops" (a.k.a. Linky party) - a Blog Hop &/or Shop Hop is an event where viewers/followers can upload links onto my blog......Links to their items in their Etsy shops or links to posts on their Blogs.  And then we can "hop" from blog to blog or shop to shop.

If you do not have a blog or a shop then please still stop by and take a digital walk through our virtual mall.

This will be a monthly feature on my blog - around the middle of every month (there will be a different theme each month and the submissions will fit into that theme).

ENJOY!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Baked Potato Dinner with 4 Toppings



Baked Potato Dinner with 4 Toppings

This is a fun dinner for four with 4 Toppings. 
I like to quarter my baked potato and then add the 4 different toppings separately.  I have a few OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) tendencies and do not like my food to touch (seriously).  (My sectioned plate only has 3 compartments so I couldn't use that plate for this meal......therapy didn't help).

All kidding aside - this meal is also very inexpensive - my local grocery store just had a 10 pound bag of Idaho Potatoes on sale for $1.88!  Also, I bought many of the toppings when there were on sale.

The first thing to do is scrub and bake 4 large potatoes.  While the potatoes are baking prepare the different toppings listed below:

 




Topping #1 - Bacon & butter
I chopped and fried 1/2 pound of smoked bacon.
Butter at room temerature.

 

Topping #2 - Sauteed Mushrooms & Onions
1 small package of mushrooms (washed & chopped or sliced)
1 small onion (peeled and minced)
olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
(saute the onion in a little olive oil until transparent and then add the mushrooms and Worcestershire Sauce & cook for another few minutes)



Topping #3 - Sour Cream & Green Onions (or Chives if in season)
Wash & chop the green onions (or Chives)
Scoop as much sour cream as desired




Topping #4 - Broccoli & Nacho Cheese Sauce
2 cans of Campbell's Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup (regular cheese soup may be substituted)
1/4 head of broccoli (steamed)
(pour the Cheese soup into a medium size saucepan and warm.  Add in the already steamed broccoli and stir - the broccoli should come apart as seen in the picture above)



Serve of the toppings while they are still warm  - each person can build their own baked potato as they desire. 

ENJOY!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Invitation to Attend: Themed Blog & Shop Hop






I would like to invite all of you to join my
"Themed Blog and Shop Hop" on this Thursday March 15th (2012)

For those of you who are not familiar with "Hops" (a.k.a. Linky party) - a Blog Hop &/or Shop Hop is an event where viewers/followers can upload links onto my blog......Links to their items in their Etsy shops or links to posts on their Blogs.  And then we can "hop" from blog to blog or shop to shop.

If you do not have a blog or a shop then please still stop by and take a digital walk through our virtual mall.

This will be a monthly feature on my blog - around the middle of every month (there will be a different theme each month and the submissions will fit into that theme).


ENJOY!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Heavenly Rain and Snow

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."  Isaiah 55:8-11

God's word is so powerful, purposeful and effective. When we compare God's word to rain & snow - the rain transforms the earth and makes it "bud and flourish" & His word transforms us....transforms our souls and our personality.  God's word might work in us very slowly - just like the rain and snow slowly changes our world into spring life.

These verses remind us how God's ways & God's thoughts are so different from ours - we have such small expectations.  God is in control of the "big picture" and we only see the here & now.  We are comforted in verse 11: God's word will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which it was sent.  We are not to worry - God will take care of us with "seeds for the sower and bread for the eater."

 
We need to be careful.  Our heavenly Father is mighty, glorious, omnipotent, infallible (I could go on and on).  It is amazing and wonderful that God now allows us to easily approach Him through His son Jesus Christ  - HOWEVER - that is not the same as us being on the same level as our Heavenly Father.  He is God - not just a peer - not a "buddy" that would ask our opinion or advice - He is God and we must respect, revere and worship Him.  We walk a fine line between thinking that God is totally unapproachable to thinking that he is the dude next door.

God wants us to love Him and spend time with Him but let us do this in a way that is respectful and worshipful.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Flower Friday - Sunflower Jewelry




The necklace shown above is still available in my Etsy shop click Yellow to view more details.



Flower Friday - Sunflower Jewelry

All of the sunflower pictures that I used for these Sunflower Garden Gems are photos that I took from my garden.  I grew some unique sunflower varieties last year:
Autumn Beauty
Royal Flush
Black Velvet Queen
The variety in the picture above is just your basic yellow sunflower.



The sunflower in this necklace shown above is called "Royal Flush" and it is still available in my Etsy shop click Royal to view more details.




"Autumn Beauty" is the name of the sunflower shown in this necklace.   If you would like to see more pictures then click Autumn .





I would also like to invite all of you to join my
"Themed Blog and Shop Hop" on Thursday March 15th (2012) (That's next Thursday).

For those of you who are not familiar with "Hops" (a.k.a. Linky party) - a Blog Hop &/or Shop Hop is an event where viewers/followers can upload links onto my blog......Links to their items in their Etsy shops or links to their Blogs.  And then we can "hop" from blog to blog or shop to shop.

If you do not have a blog or a shop then please still stop by and take a digital walk through our virtual mall.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jiggs Dinner with a Swedish Twist



Jiggs Dinner with a Swedish Twist

Nothing says the month of March like Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner.  This is my husband's favorite dinner.   He asks for this dish every year on his birthday - it has been a tradition since my husband was a child. 
Jiggs Dinner is an Irish dish that is really very simple.  However, this version that I am sharing with you today has a Swedish twist.  The superiority of this recipe comes from the glaze which was the mastermind of my husband's Swedish Grandma.  My mother-in-law passed this recipe down to me and now I am going to share it with you - she said that there is no real recipe but that it was just something that her mom did (I do have her permission to share).




1 Corned Beef Roast/Brisket (2 to 3 lbs - raw)                  Printable Recipe
7 to 8 large carrots (peeled and quartered)
7 to 8 medium potatoes (peeled and cut in half)
1 small head of cabbage (cored and cut into 6 large wedges)

Take the corned beef out of the package and place in a large stock pot or dutch oven.  Cover with water - about 1 inch over the meat.  There should be a small package of herbs and spices included with the corned beef - sprinkle that into the water also (if there is no package included then add 1 tablespoon of pickling spices) (see the top right picture).  Place on the stove and Bring to a boil and boil the meat 1 hour per pound (the corned beef that I cooked was 2 1/2 pounds so I boiled it for 2.5 hours).


While the beef is boiling - prepare the vegetables as described above.  After the beef has boiled for the appropriate amount of time, remove the beef from the water (DO NOT DRAIN THE WATER - you will need this water to boil the vegetables).  Place the piece of meat on a buttered (or sprayed) ovensafe glass pyrex dishNow add the vegetables to the boiling water and boil for about 20 to 30 minutes.


It is time to glaze the meat while the vegetables are boiling.

Glaze:
2 to 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
about 1/3 cup brown sugar (you might need more depending on the surface size of the corned beef)
a couple dashes of ground cloves

Simply drizzle or spread the yellow mustard on the top of the brisket (see picture below on the left) - spread it with a knife.  Now sprinkle that mustard topping with brown sugar - enough to cover the surface (see bottom right picture).  Finally top with a few dashes of ground cloves and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes (or until desired color and texture of the glaze is achieved).  Once baked the glazed meat should look like the very top picture - "caramelly-goodness."


Both the meat and the vegetables should be finished cooking at the same time.
Drain the vegetables and take the meat out of the oven.

Cut......Serve.......and ENJOY!









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