Sunday, July 31, 2011

What to do with a Tough Piece of Meat

Have you ever cooked a steak or piece of meat that was too tough and it was hard to eat? We’ve all done it right? Well, my friends, don't throw it out or give it to the dog. Just chop it real small and fine, and cook it up with some eggs. By cutting it up real small, it's like you're breaking through all that toughness. You can throw in onions, shrooms, other veggies, cheese - anything you want and you have another meal. I’ve done this with tough meat that Jim won’t eat and it works. This works great as a base for fried rice too.

I’ve even used it as a base for soup. Saute leftover tough meat and add veggies of choice. Then open any Pacific brand soup in a carton and pour over meat mixture - instant soup.

So, next time you over cook your steak, just chop it up real fine and add it to other ingredients for a great meal.

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Necklaces Anyone?

Necklaces are a simple and easy way to accessorize anyone's wardrobe and they come in all varieties from beaded to just simple chains. I love to make the beaded ones where I get to mix and match colors and types of beads to create a unique necklace. Here are just a few I have made:

Pink Tiles Necklace

Purple Brown Spikes Necklace

Crystal Red Baubles Necklace

These have charms:

Meditation Prayer Necklace

Penguin Necklace

Gold Starfish Necklace

These necklaces would be a great accessory to anyone’s wardrobe. It’s dressy enough for the office or casual enough for a date. They are made with gold or silver findings. These come mailed in a recycled jewelry box for safety. Soon to come will be necklaces for men.

For more detail on these and to see others, just visit my Etsy shop.

Thanks for looking!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Brown Rice Salad Recipe

**I am sorry - the pic for this post was accidentally deleted and cannot be retrieved**

Years ago, I went to a local restaurant called First Street Haven and had a brown rice salad. I don’t remember what it had in it other than rice, but I do remember how simple it was that I have replicated it many times my own way.

You can use anything you want, but of course, the base is brown rice (could use white, but brown is better for you) and you need some kind of vinaigrette. I usually make this with whatever I have on hand. Today I made this with:

Brown rice (instructions below)
Vinaigrette (recipe below)
2 slices of chopped bacon (great base ingredient)
Beet greens, stems seperated and chopped
Artichoke heart
Small zucchini
Small piece of tomato
Chicken stock

To begin, you will need to have or prep the first 2 ingredients, if you don't have it already.

Here is how I cook my brown rice - my ratio is 1 cup of brown rice to 2-1/4 cups of water. I grew up eating rice cooked in a rice cooker, but for several years made it on the stove. I don’t rinse the rise, add it to my pot with the water, cover and bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for about 40 minutes or until the water evaporates. It is very important to let rice sit covered for 5-10 minutes to finish the cooking process - if not, the rice on the bottom gets gummy. I’m now back to cooking rice in a rice cooker, I missed the texture of how rice is from a cooker. If using cold rice, mic it for 1 minute.

Basic vinaigrette - Why use store bought when you can make your own? In a small container with a lid, add about 2 tablespoons of mustard (I mix Dijon with whole grain), several splashes of red wine vinegar, double that amount of extra virgin olive oil, pepper, granulated garlic & onion. Put the lid on & shake to combine. This could also be whisked in a bowl.

To make the salad, I first saute 2 pieces of bacon with about ¼ cup of onions. I then add whatever takes the longest to cook next, in this case, it was the beet green stems. I let that cook for a several minutes, then I chopped up the zucchini and added that to the pan and let that get brown. Next was the artichoke hearts, this time I even chopped up the meat in the stems - it's good stuff, don't waste it. I had a little bit of tomato, so that got chopped and included. Mix everything well then add the warm rice.

By now, everything has created a nice brown crust on the bottom of your pan. Don’t think of that as being a chore to scrape when you have to wash the pan. All that browness is like gold, it has a lot of flavor in it and if left, would be a waste. Instead, use this technique to get all that great flavor incorporated into your salad.

Pour in about 1/4 cup of your vinagrette depending on how much salad you have, you may need less - don't drown it. Mix it in well and you're done. Can be served warm or room temp, serving this cold would not work because brown rice is hard and not tasty when it's cold. The finished dish looks very similar to fried rice, but the flavors are different.

Like I said in the beginning, you can mix and match your favorite ingredients. You can do this with smoked salmon, lunch meat, chicken, beans, other veggies or even leftover dinner - you are only limited by your palate.

This took less than an hour to make, unless you need to cook the rice and make the vinaigrette - everything else is already done (minus cooking the bacon). This makes a great light lunch or a perfect summer dinner, just add some side dishes of your choice and you have a great light and healthy meal.

So, there you go, another easy recipe that takes no time to make.

Happy eating!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this recipe or any of my other posts. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Frozen Strawberry Dessert Recipe

I LOVE ice cream - I love all that creamy goodness in a little cup, and who doesn't? I used to enjoy having a small amount of vanilla ice cream after dinner, but the last time I did, my body didn't like it. There are many who can't digest it well and have sadly not been able to enjoy it anymore. If you are one of those people, I've come up with a great solution that I think works great as a substitute for ice cream. Here's what I do.

I take frozen organic strawberries, almond milk or any milk will do, and canned whipped cream (yes, I said canned), optional sweetner. I use a mini food chopper, a very well loved food chopper, but you can use a blender if you like - the consistency will just be different.

First, I take 6 to 8 strawberries (package says 1 cup is the serving size, but 6 to 8 is fine for me - I look for the biggest ones), cut them in quarters, then place them in the food chopper.

I add some milk, not too much, you don't want a milk shake (you want to keep some of the frozen goodness after processing it). Add your optional sweetner if using - I don't use any. I tried honey, but because the berries are frozen, the honey gummed up my chopper blade. I just use the little bit of sweetness from the whipped cream.

I process it till it looks almost slushy, still a bit frozen - you can leave it however chunky you want adding a little (just a little, I said) more milk if need to.

I then spritz some whipped cream into the bottom of a mug, pour in the frozen goodness and spritz more whipped cream on top. If you have some fresh, organic strawberries, chop that up to sprinkle on top - blueberries are great. Sliced or slivered almonds are wonderful as a topping too. Dark chocolate shavings would make a yummy topping. Get creative.

To eat, I just mix it all together and have at it. The texture and consistency is just like eating ice cream, it's sorbet like - cold, creamy and a little sweet from the whipped cream. I have just the right amount I need - no worries about eating too much, altho you can't go wrong with eating strawberries mushed up in some milk, can you? This would work great with other berries or fruits, peaches would probably work great - **note to self, buy some organic peaches**.

So if you're avoiding your beloved ice cream for whatever reason, give my recipe a try - I know you'll love it as much as I do.


Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this recipe or any of my other posts. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Keeping Hydrated during Summer

Summer’s here and in most parts of the country, it’s the hotter part of the year. School’s out, vacations or staycations are widespread during these next few months. It is very important to keep hydrated while doing any kind of outside activity. A person can get deyhydrated as soon as 30 minutes of being exposed to extreme heat. Illnesses from heat exposure can cause serious damage to our bodies. Those in the know say that we should start increasing our fluid intake about 2 hours before partaking in any kind of outside activity and continue taking in fluids as we go along.

Water bottle holder
By taking in fluids, that usually means water - not soda, juice or energy drinks, which have sugar and empty calories that don’t benefit our bodies. It isn’t always convenient to carry a water bottle wherever you go, so I have designed an over-the-shoulder water bottle holder, which leaves your hands free for participating in any activity.

I’ve even designed one that has a pocket on the outside for your keys, notebook and pen or whatever you need to keep handy.

It will hold a 500 ml. bottle as well as a 1.25 pt. bottle; it is lined w/Insul Brite which has been quilted to help keep your water cool. The fabric is cotton and should be handwashed. The strap is adjustable w/the longest measurement at approximately 60".

Approximate water bottle dimensions are:
Water bottle hold w/a whatever pocket
7 1/4" long for bag
2 3/4" wide
10 1/2" around

Approximate pocket dimensions are:
5” long
3” width
1” side pleat

This would be great for family trips where walking is necessary, this would also great for hiking or traveling.

For more pics and details of how to purchase one, click on My Etsy shop. I can also custom make these in any color you would like, just email me to discuss.

So this summer, always have water on hand to prevent dehydration and carry your water in style with my water bottle holder.
Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Repurposing Fabric

Ever see something in a store like a man's shirt or shorts and liked the fabric, but didn't like what it was made to be? I did - I was in Goodwill (a thrift store) and I was in the little boy's section, and I saw this shirt and really liked the print, I had to buy it.

Little boy's shirt
This was months ago and knew I had to make something with it, but didn't know just what. Well, with recently making my pursellet bigger, I thought this print would work great and I was right.

Large Pursellet

Inside view

I like the lining fabric, I was lucky to find a blue that matched the accents of the main fabric. It's kind of fun thinking of things that can be made from other pieces of clothing. I once took a ladies large gaucho pants (really wide legged cropped pants) and made a bag out of part of the leg, I had lot's of fabric left over.  It came out kind of cool.

So next time you're out thrifting, be sure to check out the clothing section to see if there is anything that calls to you, begging to be made into something else.

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chicken Adobo Recipe Plus Adobo Flavored Fried Rice

**I am sorry - the pics for this post was accidentally deleted and cannot be retrieved**

I grew up in Chinatown, Honolulu, Hawaii. Where I lived, there was a melding of several different cultures: Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Caucasian and a few others. Along with learning about these different cultures and how they lived, I learned about their foods. I ate Filipino food a lot growing up and enjoy eating it.

Adobo means to stew, marinade, or season and is a Filipino dish that is very simple to make, yet is very tasty if you like vinegary dishes. Basically, it’s stewing your meat in a vinegar/soy sauce mixture that comes out tender and delicious due to the cooking process in the vinegar.

Other cultures have adobo too and each has different spices and methods of cooking their meat. The Filipino version is very easy to make and takes no time to cook.

Simple Chicken Adobo

4-5 lbs. chicken thighs (pork can also be used) ½ c. white vinegar
½ c. shoyu (soy sauce), I use wheat free tamari sauce
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp. black peppercorns
3 bay leaves

Brown chicken on both sides in a large pot with some oil (I always like to brown my meat before stewing).

Combine the rest of the ingredients the rest in the pot along with the chicken. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 1-3 hours stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until sauce is reduced and thickened, and chicken is tender, about 20 more minutes.

Serve with steamed rice - macaroni salad makes a nice side dish or serve your favorite salad. Add some of that sauce to your rice - it's really good. Save some chicken to make the fried rice recipe below.

You can also bake the chicken in the oven. It takes 45 minutes with less tending, and yields a different texture to the chicken:

- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil that’s been sprayed with cooking oil.
- Put in your chicken (I take the skins off ½ of the chicken, you can take them all off).
- Pour in the vinegar/shoyu sauce mixture then add the other ingredients.
- Turn the chicken to coat well and place skin side down.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn chicken over, then place back in the oven to bake for another 20 minutes.
- If you left some of the skin on, you can broil for about 3 minutes to get the skin nice and crispy.

Serve as above. Both methods make 6-8 servings.

While the adobo is cooking, cook your rice (make extra) and also make your salad - I made a broccoli, pea, and onion salad.

Usually when you make dishes that simmer in their own sauce or marinade, you end up with a lot of leftover sauce. Don’t throw it out - along with the flavor of the marinade, you now have extra flavor from the meat that was cooked in it. Even if you don't make the fried rice recipe, save the sauce - put it in a container and freeze it. You can use it the next time you make adobo or use it anytime you need a little bit of shoyu or want additional flavor in another meal. Here is a simple and flavorful recipe to make with the leftovers from your adobo.

Adobo Flavored Garlic Fried Rice

3 tb. oil
½ to 1 head garlic, peeled and diced
4 c. cooked rice, refrigerated overnight
Leftover adobo sauce (maybe 1/4 c.)
Leftover chicken, I had 2 and 1/2 pieces of chicken (chopped finely)
Frozen peas or mixed veggies

Rice from the frig will be clumped and hard, break it up so the grains are seperated and set aside. In a nonstick pan, heat oil over medium heat and gently brown garlic for about 30 seconds - also use the garlic you put in the sauce.

Add rice and mix thoroughly until rice is evenly coated, then add the chicken and a handful of peas and stir till combined and peas have thawed.

Pour in the adobo sauce (not too much, you want just enough to flavor everything - not drown it) - it'll be gelled from being cooked with the chicken.

Cook until heated through. If there is not enough sauce, make more - equal amounts of shoyu to vinegar. Serve warm with leftover salad.

**Note: these are not my recipes - they were retrieved from the Internet and adapted by me.**


Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this recipe or any of my other posts. Thanks!