Thursday, August 20, 2015

Meatless Meals #6: Roasted Butternut Squash

Maybe I should rename these posts to "what can I make with my fresh garden produce?" But what better way to go meatless than with yummy garden-fresh produce?

Today's feature: our overflowing butternut squash plant.

Oh yes, and I have to include a picture of today's little helper :-)

I was mostly intrigued by this recipe because of the way it was cooked--upside down in a roasting pan water bath. Huh. 

First of all you generously drizzle olive oil, and shake some salt and pepper on there. 

Then you put them upside down in the roasting pan, and pour about 1/4 cup or a bit more of water into the pan. This helps it caramelize. 

Then stick it in the oven on 400 for about 30-45 minutes. Keep checking and add more water if it's all gone fast. 

Remember the veggie pizza I made? Well I had some left-over dough that I saved, and decided to make some bread sticks with it. I thought this picture was funny because it looks like lungs....bread stick lungs.... 

The squash done...excited to see how they turned out!

And the bread sticks done! I tried the braiding thing, and then got lazy, haha! They are just brushed with melted butter (you could do olive oil) and sprinkled with garlic salt.

I put together a quick salad and there you have it! And holy cow, one half of a squash is A LOT. Robert and I ended up splitting one of the halves for dinner, and that was plenty! Very sweet and wonderful texture. Robert added brown sugar which was a nice, sweet touch.

And there you have it! Happy Eating!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Meatless Meals #5: Veggie Pizza

Home made pizza is one of our very favorites at our house. 

And with all this fresh garden produce, veggie pizza was a no-brainer.

First of all, I made the pizza crust.

My recipe for this delicious crust is at the bottom.

Since my tomatoes are coming in, I decided to try some home made marinara sauce. 

I heard that if you roast some garlic, tomatoes, and onions and put them in the blender then you have an amazing mariana, so I tried it.

I roasted my zucchini at the same time. Don't worry there were more tomatoes I just forgot to take a pic at first!

It tasted ok, but it needed a little something extra to add some flavor and some density. So I added some salt, some basil, and one can of tomato paste to the blender.

Soon it was time to shape the pizzas! 

Here's my little helper brushing some olive oil on the crusts. Then sprinkle some garlic salt on top of that before you start "decorating" your pizza.

Then we added our marinara. After marinara I put spinach. I always put the spinach on before the cheese, because I have a few picky eaters who tend not to eat spinach if they see it...but if it's hidden under the cheese, they eat it all up!

After cheese we added roasted zucchini, banana peppers, and fresh tomatoes.

Looking good!

And here's Tommy enjoying the pizza!

Yum, yum!

These pizzas are enough for a whole meal. I had one corn on the cob leftover from the other day, so I cut it off the cob, added some salt and butter, and served it as a side. I could have added it as a pizza topper, I guess!

We're still enjoying our summer meatless meals!

The Best Pizza Crust (Makes 6 individual pizzas)

1 ¼ cup warm water

2 Tbsp yeast ( I like SAF yeast)

1 Tbsp honey

3 Tbsp olive oil

4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp kosher salt.

Add the water and yeast to a mixer, give it a few twirls, then let sit till you see

bubbles. Add honey and olive oil. Then add 3 cups of flour. Turn the mixer on low,

and add the salt. Then slowly add the last cup of flour until the dough starts coming

off of the sides. You may not need the whole cup of flour—you don’t want it to be

too tough. Keep kneading on a low setting, and knead for 10 minutes. Then turn off,

cover the dough, and let sit for 45-60 minutes. After it has raised, divide it up into 6

pieces of dough, spread those out, and add your favorite toppings. (I like to brush it

will olive oil and sprinkle some garlic salt before adding sauce.) Cook in oven at 500

for 12-15 minutes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Meatless Meals #4: Carrot and Ginger Soup

This came out of our garden:

So naturally, I had to find something cool to do with all of this deliciousness!

When I had Scarlet, someone brought us a dinner of carrot soup. I had never had it before--and it was amazingly delicious! I decided we definitely needed to try some!

So I went with some carrot ginger soup.

You just melt some butter in your stock pot, then once it's bubbly add the onions until they are soft. Then add the garlic for about 30 seconds. Put in the (peeled and roughly chopped!) carrots and a pinch of salt, coat the with the mixture, and add about 2 cups of chicken stock. Then bring to a boil. After it hits a boil, bring it down to a simmer and cover--cook for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

After that you can stick it all in a blender. OR! You can your your totally awesome immersion blender to do the same thing in a very easy way! That is what I chose to do :-)

After it's blended to the desired consistency (I actually really like a few chunks!) add 3-4 more cups chicken stock and some ginger zest. 

Garnish with some creme fraiche or sour cream and parsley. Yum yum!

I also toasted some whole wheat rolls to dip in the soup. Just stuck them in on broil for a few minutes. 

Soup, bread, and a little fruit makes an amazing meatless meal!

Even the baby loved the soup!

Here is the recipe from Home with Her

12 carrots (peeled and roughly cut)
2 tablespoons of butter
1 sweet onion (diced)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
6 cups of chicken stock
salt + pepper (to taste)
ginger (grated)
creme fraîche
Slowly melt the butter in your stock pot.  Add the diced onion and cook until it becomes soft and translucent (aka "sweating").  Add the garlic, stirring often for about 30 seconds.  Toss in the carrots and a pinch of salt, stir to coat the carrots well with the mixture.  Add about 2 cups of your stock to the pot (the stock should cover the carrots, if not add more stock).  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Once it begins boiling lower to a simmer.  Re-cover and cook for about 20 minters or until the carrots are tender when pierced with a knife. Uncover, remove from the heat and let the soup cool.  Once cooled transfer to a blender and blend well until everything is well pureed.  Reheat the soup, add 3-4 cups of stock to thin the soup out (amount based on personal preference--we liked our soup a bit on the thicker side so adding 3 cups of stock was perfect).  Stir in the ginger zest (to taste).  Top with a dollop of creme fraîche, sprinkle of parsley and a couple grinds of pepper.  Serve with some toasted baguette for dipping.  

Happy Eating!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Act 5; Scene 34: Thomas Turns 3...a Month Ago!!!

Sheesh. It gets a little crazy around here with two kids and a house to clean, not to mention two gardens and church callings and whatever else we decide to say yes to!

I blame that on why it's taken me so long to post about Tommy's birthday.

That, and Tommy's birthday was kind of like a saga this year--a caravan of events before and after the grand day.

Around here, 3 is the magic number. 3 and under is a free ticket to just about anywhere. But once they hit 3 years old...BAM! They need a ticket. 

So we decided to do as many things as we could BEFORE that magic day hit.

We started out with the Living Planet Aquarium.

He does love whales. And this one is a KILLER whale, so it's especially awesome.
checking out the sting rays and starfish

I guess these high rope bridges are the newest thing!

He was too nervous to try to touch them

The jungle had a lot of cool birds

Giant river fish! (and giant bum, haha!)

Seriously, the river fish were HUGE

Sharks swimming above us!

Checking out some sharks
Do you see the sponsor of the shark teeth? That might be my favorite part
The Aquarium is really neat. And they even have a nice, large mother's room (my favorite amenity). The only problem was, Tommy is in such a hurry all the time. Half-way through he just wanted to run everywhere. He may have enjoyed running more than actually looking at the fish. And his favorite part was definitely the penguin roller coaster toy running on display at the gift shop.

You win some, you lose some, right?

The next Tuesday, the day before his birthday, Grandma McFarland and I took him to the Hogle Zoo.

The zoo just happens to have a "Zoorassic Park" display of life-like, noise-making, moving dinosaurs on display all over the place. Let's just say, the man-made dinos took the cake over the real-life, exotic zoo animals!

 Tommy had a fascinated-but-kind-of-scared approach to the dinosaurs. We kept trying to interest him in the monkeys, elephants, sea lion show, and he kept taking us back to the dinos!

But you have to admit, those dinos are pretty cool! Just imagine this T-Rex opening and closing its mouth while growling, and its eyeballs moving around while it's neck and arms move, too! It was so life-like! And hey, if there's one area where the animals are hiding or resting, no worries! There is a talking, moving dinosaur right next to it! No disappointment here! 
The polar bear doing laps
Riding the cheetah on the merry-go-round
We must have stopped by this stegosaurus at least a dozen times!

Can you see how this gorilla is sleeping? Hilarious!

Giant tortoise

Crocodiles--Tommy loved seeing these bad boys!

The lioness came right up to where we were at the glass!
My little dino explorer!

The giraffes have so much more room than they used to!

African Savannah
I have to say, the zoo is SO MUCH COOLER now than I remember it being the last time I went. The enclosures are bigger and laid out so nicely! There are zoo workers and volunteers at each place, telling you about the animal(s) and about that specific animal, and you can ask any question. There are tons and tons of things for kids to do, from sand boxes to play lands to the train to the merry-go-round to the awesome bird and sea lion/seal show--not to mention the actual animals which is pretty cool, too. I was so impressed with the zoo! Can't wait to go back!

After all of the partying and a trip to St. George planned for the next day, Tommy's actual birthday may have felt a little anti-climactic!

We of course opened presents in the morning before Robert left for work:

His 2-3 year "Tommy book"

And his very own swimming pool!
He was pretty stoked about the swimming pool. He played in it for the next four hours. (And about 1 of those hours he was playing BY HIMSELF. For an whole hour!)

That afternoon we had funfetti cupcakes. And I totally spaced on getting birthday candles....at least we had this one left over from my 23rd b-day!

Do you love how the candle is as big as the cupcake? And notice the dinosaur sprinkles

Later Uncle Luke brought over a present. Tommy loved the bag it came in. He just sat and looked at it for a while!

 A puppet AND a dinosaur. How did Luke know? Tommy LOVES it. 

The next day we headed down to St. George--kind of for Tommy's birthday. Thomas considered it his birthday trip. In fact, everything we did for about two weeks was "for me birthday!"
We had a lovely time over the holiday weekend in St. George. We went on a hike:

Our sleeping muffin. Or mushroom.
Scarlet resting her head against the bar of the backpack to sleep
We played with the dogs

This is more like tease the dogs. Poor Roy.
Went to a parade

We ate lots of yummy food

I think this one is a strawberry
 And did fireworks! 

Thomas kept warning Dad that he was going to get burned. I think I had him appropriately scared.

a little light for fireworks, but what do you do??
 All in all, a lovely, long, celebration of Tommy and our Country.

Let's do it again next year!