Fall Specimen Art

Remember my Halloween Specimen Art? I wanted to jazz up a couple of the frames for the upcoming Celebration of Thanks (Thanksgiving, but doesn’t upcoming Celebratin of Thanks sound fun and fancy all at the same time?!?!?!). I only needed to make inserts for two of the three frames since my entryway has a cornucopia, candles, and some Little O Thanksgiving art on it. So, I got some fall-ish scrapbook paper and Hobby Lobby (50% off), my Silhouette SD, and got to work to make these two cuties for the kitchen :)

Aren’t those turkey’s fun!? You could do this with stickers and scrapbook paper if you don’t have a punch or machine cutter.

This one is a little hard to read because of the reflection, but it says “thankful.” You could also do this with sticker letters. I just cut out letters from the different papers I used for the turkeys and cut the frame out of the same orange and white polka dot paper that is backing the turkey specimen art. It was a simple, but cheerful way to add some “thankfulness” and “turkeyness” to our kitchen! As thankful as I am for so, so many things this year….sadly, I am anxiously awaiting decorating for Christmas. Is that crazy?!?!? I hate to wish away such a beautiful, meaningful season such as Thanksgiving, but my Pinterest board for Christmas is continuing to fill with ideas and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to wait to get a big tree put up in our foyer!!!!!

Mrs O

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CSA Share #2

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being a part of a CSA. Did I mention I love it?! Seriously….I was smiling all day yesterday (not just because of a great coffee/soup date with my friend Krystle, although that also contributed) because I knew I was getting our second share from Elmwood! I got a dozen eggs, organic chicken necks and backs (I have no clue what to do with these….), organic sirloin tip, organic chicken wings, and two boxes of gorgeous organic veggies :) The first box I opened looked like this

The tomatoes were picked before our first frost, so they need a couple weeks to ripen, but I appreciate that the farm was trying to get food into our boxes and give us some tomatoes. They’re so thoughtful and hardworking! :)

Let me lay out what we have for you

Rainbow swiss chard, kale, radishes, stripetti squash, tomatoes, butternut squash, two HUGE sweet potatoes (and we haven’t even finished the sweet potatoes from the last share–good thing they’ll keep for a while!), delicata squash, garlic, white, red, and sweet yellow candy onions…

a bunch of red potatoes, 5 green sweet bell peppers, two huge heads of bok choy (yay!)….

3 heads of lettuce, 2 beautiful watermelon radishes, 3 beets, a stalk of celery, and a large bunch of collard greens!

More than enough to get us through the next 2 weeks as we will have a few things leftover (some potatoes and the butternut squash, but those keep for QUITE a while). So, here is our menu plan (no–it doesn’t include sauteed grated beets :/).

Friday- Salad with Radishes and Skirt Steak & Bok Choy Stir Fry with Rice

Saturday- Zucchini Pesto Pizza with homemade Dr. O pizza dough

Sunday- Chicken Caesar Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Fries

Monday- Roast Beef and 15 minute Collards

Tuesday- Caesar Salad and Rigatoni with Swiss Chard

Wednesday- We’re attending an interview dinner for residency applicants, so Little O will have to fend for herself ;)

Thursday- Bok Choy and Carrots Stir Fry with Roasted Radishes

Friday- Leftover Roast Beef and Balsamic Swiss Chard

Saturday- Lemon Garlic Spaghetti and Roasted Brocolli

Sunday- Stripetti Squash Pesto

Monday- Chicken Packets and Roasted Carnival Squash (this squash is from our first pickup)

Tuesday- Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken and Baked Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday- Lasagna Roll Ups and Roasted Delicata Squash

Thursday- Chicken Wings and Roasted White Potatoes and Carrots (This is also the day we will pick up our next share :)

I’ll post any recipes that are stellar (or horrible) as they come about, but if you’re antsy for any now, feel free to comment below and I’ll share!

As always, the kale will be used for kale chips (or as I’m affectionately referring to them now…superfood chips). I usually eat the crust from Little O’s sandwich, some Quaker Rice Cakes, and half an apple for lunch, but in an effort to save money (those Quakes get expensive when Little O and I each go through a bag a week! She loves the cheddar cheese ones and I love the ranch!) and boost my daily veggie intake–I’m replacing Quakes with superfood chips :) And considering the last bunch of kale (which was smaller) made 6 or so servings of superfood chips…this bunch should get me through to the next share pick up :) The bell peppers usually go with Dr. O to work as a snack…I’m sure the celery will also be a good snack. I’m thinking add some raisins and peanut butter and Little O might be having ants on a log as snack for a couple days! We’ll see whether or not she likes it.

If you have any other great ideas for things I can do with my delicious farm fresh goodness, please comment below! I’m always open to new ideas :)

Mrs. O

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Autumn Wreath

I wanted to make an Autumn wreath for November until we bust our Christmas decor out, but I didn’t want to spent a lot of money :/ So, I bought a skeen of thick yarn, a few sheets of embellished felt and a straw wreath on sale. I use pins to secure the yarn because of the heat that gets trapped between our glass door and the black door, but you could use glue too :) I wrapped the yarn around the wreath. I used one full skeen for a 12 inch straw wreath. Then I cut different sized circles on the felt (I just traced ribbon spools). The smallest ones I made orange and I pinched the middle and pinned it onto the layered felt circles of other colors, then I pinned that onto the wreath. I made a few extra circles that weren’t orange, pinched the middle, and pinned them around the larger felt flower. I tied some orange ribbon on to attach it to the wreath hanger (because the straw wreaths are too thick to fit straight onto our wreath hanger) and VOILA! It was a very simple, but cute wreath! Here area  few close ups

I think the mix of cranberry, brown, khaki, cream, and the pop of orange just screams Thanksgiving :) I love it! And for your viewing pleasure here’s a picture of a sweet little kitty cat that absolutely loved trick or treating on Halloween!

She really got into it and had us running around the neighborhood saying “Hurry! A light!” We had such a blast together!

Mrs O

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Roasted Radishes and Halloween Fun

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Little O had a pumpkin-shaped sandwich with chocolate chip jack-o-lantern face for lunch (when she ate all the chocolate chips she said “I want more chocate pwease!” and I said, “No, dear, you’ll get quite enough tonight!”), decorated a pumpkin with Halloween stickers, and will have a sweet bell pepper carved to look like a jack-o-lantern filled with spaghetti before trick or treating tonight! It has been a very festive day :) I just hope she can calm down enough to nap!! Yesterday, we carved our free pumpkin that we got from the market a few weeks ago. Little O and her daddy had LOTS of fun :) I’m planning to cut up the pumpkin the day after Halloween and use it to make pumpkin puree. I didn’t know you could do that, but I’ve found a website (junk mail gems) that really gets full use out of everything she buys! I think it’ll make a yummy pumpkin pie and a few other pumpkin treats during November!

I caught her eating some of the pumpkin….gross, right?! Also, don’t mind her insanely wet shirt. She has had some bad drooling and runny nose so we think she’s cutting ANOTHER 2 year molar. I swear this girl has been cutting teeth nonstop since 3 1/2 months. How many teeth can one little girl have?!?!?!?

It’s a winking hillbilly pumpkin :) And Little O didn’t want to pose, she just wanted to look inside!

On another note, I tried an unconventional recipe for radishes this past weekend and thought they were DELICIOUS, so I thought I’d share. After my beets fail, I was slightly worried about doing this, but they really turned out quite yummy as a side dish. Also, they will go very well with the skirt steak and bok choy stir fry. It’s SUCH a simple recipe! Preheat the oven to 425. Wash radishes and cut up into cubes. Then toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper (Is it me or do a LOT of the recipes I post on here start this way…?!). Roast for about 25 minutes or until radishes are beginning to brown. Then toss with 1-2 tbsp soy sauce and a few sesame seeds. Roast another 5 minutes and VOILA! I don’t have a picture for you because it was a little crazy in the O house Saturday night. Dr O and I were each trying to cook in our small kitchen and Little O had boycotted her nap that afternoon so she was QUITE the handful. I also realize that there probably aren’t very many of you rushing out to buy radishes and try this recipe BUT if you happen to be a part of a CSA and get some radishes in your next share, give this recipe a try!

As a sidenote, I’m proud to say that we are just a few days away from picking up our second CSA share and have yet to waste a single thing from our first share! And everything has been delicious (except the yucky grated sauteed beets)! I can’t wait until Thursday gets here so I can see what deliciousness we’ll be getting :)

Mrs O

 

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Skirt Steak and Bok Choy Stir Fry

I got this recipe from the beloved Martha Stewart :) I mean, she’s a little off her rocker, but the woman can cook and decorate…and plant flowers…she’s got a lot of talents. Anyway, this dish was YUMMMMMMMMMMMY! Here’s your line up

1 lb. skirt steak (cut into 1/2-3/4 inch wide strips)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp corn starch

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp peanut butter

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

salt and pepper

1 large head bok choy (cut into inch wide pieces…it’s going to cook down A LOT)

carrots (as little or as many as you like, cut into inch long halves or quarters)

chopped peanuts

cooked rice (I use our rice cooker to make brown rice)

First head the olive oil on medium high. Meanwhile, toss the steak, cornstarch, and salt and pepper to taste in a baggie and shake. Get the steak nice and evenly coated. Then cook the steak in the oil until it is browned (just a few minutes). While that’s cooking, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, peanut butter, and garlic. Once the steak is browned, set it aside and mix sauce into the oil. Put the sauce into the olive oil on medium heat and mix on heat until peanut butter dissolves. Then add bok choy and carrots. Cover for 5 minutes (stirring a couple times). Then add steak back in and cook (uncovered) for another 5 minutes. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts for a nice crunch :)

This is the yummiest stir fry and the bok choy had a great flavor! It smells SOOOOOO delicious while cooking. I hope you’ll try it soon!Mrs O

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Simple, Fun Ghost Pretzels and Beets Fail

I promised I’d tell you about my great creations…and my not so great ones fails. I made sauteed, grated beets last night…FAIL. :/ I got the recipe from a Garden Fresh cookbook and thought, “Eh, I’ll give it a try.” Maybe I shouldn’t have! I grated the beets (which stained my hands-EWW! For any Office fans out there, I felt like Dwight in the episode where he tries to buy that wizard from the fancy store at the mall, but they don’t let  him in because he had beet-stained hands and it looked like blood…), then sauteed them in melted butter and a bit of orange juice for about 10 minutes. Dr O’s statement concerning the beets, “These taste like the earth.” I took one bite and that was enough…amazing he ate ALL of his even though they were in no way yummy AT ALL. :( I guess I’ll try a different recipe next time. Dr O found one online for beet apple soup–maybe it’ll be less “earthy.” The main course last night was a very, very yummy and simple skirt steak and bok choy stir fry (which I’ll post about within the next couple of days) so the whole dinner wasn’t a fail…(that’s my glass half-full side :))

Now, on to my sweet pretzel ghost treats. I saw these on (da, da, da, daaaaaaaaa…) Pinterest. Of course. I really like making treats for Little O’s teachers about once a month and I usually do it towards the end of the month. They are the sweetest women and Little O ADORES them. I can tell that they adore her as well and any person that chooses to spend 4 mornings a week with a room full of toddlers is someone that deserves a treat every now and then! I’ve given them candy-filled jars, Fall mix (chex, m&ms, reese’s pieces, pretzels, cheez-its, candy corn, mellowcreme pumpkins), and now ghost treats. These were so simple and would be fun to do for and with kids (Little O had the extras for snack and proclaimed them “Alicious [delicious]!”). All you need is white bakers chocolate (I used 12 squares), pretzel rods, and mini chocolate chips.

First, melt your chocolate until it’s nice and smooth :)

Mmmmmm….

Then dip the rods into the chocolate (I did it as far as I could, but obviously couldn’t get the whole…or even the majority…of the rod in there). Lay them on wax paper and while the chocolate is still in liquid form place 2 eyes and a mouth near the top to create the ghosts’ face (with the chocolate chips).

You’ll end up with all these….

Isn’t that easy?!? Let them set at room temperature or put them in the freezer if your antsy to eat one soon!

I grabbed some cellophane treat bags that I had leftover from…something…and placed 6 in each bag (she has 3 teachers). I still had 5 or 6 left so this made plenty of them! Almost the whole bag of rods!!! Then I secured the end with a twisty tie and tied some ribbon around that. I wanted to make my own tags, but it was getting close to time for Little O to wake up from her nap and I wanted to be finished with these treats, so I cheated and printed some from the internet (I just googled “free printable halloween circle tags”..there were PLENTY of choices).

I cut them out with decorative scissors, punched a hole in the side, tied it onto the ribbon and TA DA!

Aren’t those fun?!?!?!?!? They were cheap, simple, but they are super cute and ALICIOUS :)

I hope you can have fun making some of these with someone special this weekend in honor of Halloween!!!

Mrs O

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Our tomatoes from our share were getting pretty ripe and it was time to do something with them or lose them….I’m not a fan of wasting money, so I had to suck it up and make some spaghetti sauce. I was also able to use an onion from our share and some fresh basil that I had in the fridge :) I found a cooks.com recipe (and made a few adjustments to it) that made a nice, light sauce that I think will work well for us. I used about 2 lbs of tomatoes. Here’s the rundown of your ingredients:

2 lbs. tomatoes (peeled, cored, quartered)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion chopped

2 cloves minced garlic

1 cp. water

6 oz. tomato paste

1 tbsp sugar

2 tsp beef bouillon granules

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

4-5 crushed basil leaves

1/8 tsp pepper

First, I heated up the olive oil in a saucepan (on high heat) and chopped up the onion (this literally made me bawl…Little O was asking Dr O “Why Mommy cwying [that's how she pronounces it...I thought you needed the real effect of her language skills]?!”) and minced the garlic in my awesome garlic mincer.

I added the onion and garlic to the oil and cooked them both through–until the onions were translucent. Then I added the rest of the ingredients, mixed it up well, and continued to cook on high until boiling (this didn’t take long, maybe 5-10 minutes).

I turned the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Then I put it all in the food processor (this is, obviously, an optional step, but the texture of tomatoes is just not one that I can eat so I can’t even have chunks of tomato in my sauce) to make it nice and smooth. Dr O and I both taste tested and thought it was pretty yummy and light–just like the O family likes it :) Then I canned it. As you can see, I have a large glass container and about 1/3 of a small glass container. This should last us for quite a while since we like to go light on the sauce!

We’re thinking we won’t get any more tomatoes in our shares since it is getting further into the Fall weather, but if we do…I’ll probably just make more of this sauce to last us through winter :)

Mrs O

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