Monthly Archives: September 2011

Bagel fail, Camera fail

Picture this: I’m pumped about honey wheat bagels because Dr O and I made some kick butt bread flour bagels on Sunday and I was looking forward to making a healthier option all. by. myself. I took pictures of the dough in the mixer, took it out and began kneading it. I thought, “This would be a good picture.” So I got my camera, and *boom* battery is dead. The battery has been on it’s way to dying for over a month now and I had no idea how to charge it (Dr O always took care of that-I didn’t even know where the charger pack was!). So, no pictures of the bagels.

AND, to top it off, the bagels were A. MAJOR. FAIL. I’m talking didn’t rise, didn’t plump up, dense, not tasty, yucky, disgusting bagels. Dr O tried to be kind and try one before I trashed them (What? It’s where they belonged.) and he didn’t eat more than two bites before feeding it to the dog. IN. FRONT. OF. ME. It’s okay, I knew they were a fail.

So, we’ve checked out Peter Reinhart’s book about the art of whole wheat breadmaking. We’ve got a biga and soak going and should have good wheat bagels by tomorrow morning. Let me emphasize-SHOULD. I’ll let you know how it goes :/

Mrs O

PS- Today I’m trying out a recipe from www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com for Chocolate Chip Blondies. There is no flour and the main ingredient is (da, da, da, daaaaa) chickpeas. I can’t wait to let you know how they turn out! Here’s the link if you can’t wait for my post to tell you how they taste and you want to try it on your own πŸ™‚

You will be amazed how these

become these (click on the link…it’s worth it!)

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/05/18/chocolate-chip-blondies-and-theyre-good-for-you/

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A B C D F G….wait a minute…

So, here in Kentucky it’s been getting quite chilly for fall (I’m from South Carolina, where you don’t feel an ounce of fall until late October-if you’re lucky.). In the morning, our house is so cold that I struggle to get out of bed. STRUGGLE. It’s a daily 20 minute battle I have with myself. I try to get up before Little O, so I can shower and look decent because if I shower when she’s awake, Dr O’s med mags mysteriously begin to disappear and he is SERIOUS about those medical magazines journals.

I’m lucky enough to have a little girl that stays in her bed (knock on wood!) until I go into her room. So if she wakes up early or while I’m in the shower, she just entertains herself for a bit. I know. I. am. so. lucky. This morning, after the 20 minute mind battle, I finally got out of bed to shower so I didn’t look like a scrub when I dropped Little O off at nursery school. As I’m walking onto the frighteningly cold bathroom tile, I hear “Tinkle (don’t judge, that’s how she says twinkle!), tinkle stars. Tinkle, tinkle stars. Tinkle, tinkle stars.” You get it, right? She was using her singing voice, which unfortunately she gets from Mommy and we need a little voice coach work, but I think it is beautiful and the most precious thing in the world. After a round of “Tinkle, tinkle,” she started singing her ABCs. Which usually go like this “A B C D” and she’s usually screaming them at us when she’s mad. I don’t know what she has against the ABC’s, but we only really hear them when she’s angry :/ She wasn’t angry this morning as she sang them, to the tune of the song, “A B C D F G, A B C D F G, A B C D F G.” So she skipped E, who nds that lttr anyway? (Get it, I left it out…ok, enough of that). Little O is really taking her time with learning her ABC song, but I think instead of just memorizing a song and jumbling letters together, she’s trying to soak in each letter because this song process has been going on for a year and we’re only 6 letters in (skipping E, of course). But, she is precious and perfect and I love hearing her sing. It made losing the 20 minute battle to get out of bed this morning so worth it to see her cute little face πŸ™‚

Is your heart melting? Because it totally should be πŸ™‚

Mrs O

 

PS- During naptime today I’m making honey wheat bagels, so stay tuned!

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Kale chips…what?!

So, I’m sure that you (just like myself) never know what to do with kale. I have only ever used it as a cheap garnish on a veggie tray, but in my search for how to use whole foods and cook using the veggies that will be coming to us in our CSA box next month..da, da, da, da (Sing that, outloud. Come on, don’t feel foolish! Do it!) …I found a recipe for kale chips. Now, make no mistake–these are no bag of Lays. BUT, they have a great crunch and with proper seasoning are a much lower-calorie, healthier option for a snack.

Ingredients are

1 bunch of kale

1 tablespoon oil (olive oil or canola oil)

Parmesan

Salt

Pepper

That’s it πŸ™‚

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then take your bunch of kale and rinse it thoroughly in a colander. When you’re finished, lay it out to dry on a kitchen towel or paper towels. I flipped mine a couple times because those curly edges did not want to dry (If you’re really in a hurry to try this out, you can pat the kale down with another towel on top).

Once they are completely dry, tear chip size pieces off of the stem and place in a bowl. Now…throw those pesky stems away!

There is my bowl full of chip sized kale. Now mix in one tablespoon of oil. I used canola oil and a friend of mine mentioned using an olive oil mister (this sounds like a product I need. Christmas is coming. Hint, hint, Dr O). I poured the tablespoon of oil on top and then dug my clean hands in there to mix it all around and be sure each piece of kale was completely coated. Try not to be tempted to put more than 1 tablespoon oil per bunch of kale. You’ll think you need it, but this will result in soggy chips that won’t crisp up. Trust me πŸ˜‰ After each piece is nice and coated, spread them out on a baking sheet.

Now sprinkle whatever toppings you like to your hearts content. I only used salt for my first batch, but a friend (the same friend from above) and Dr O said parmesan would be a nice touch. Not grated…you know, the white stuff that comes in a bottle by the spaghetti sauce? πŸ™‚ Also, Dr O has demanded very thoughtfully said that he would like some black pepper as well. I saw online where people used cayenne pepper, too (if you’re into that—I am not!) After your sprinklage is complete, pop those bad boys in the oven for about 13-15 minutes. Check on them those last few minutes. You want the curly edges to be such a dark green that they look brownish-black. Take them out and let them sit for a minute and promptly transfer them to a bowl for munchie time πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

I made two bowls. The first was mine (for trial, of course, not greed or the fact that I’ve been dying to try these for a week now) and the second was Dr O’s. His were a little better because I had perfected the art after 3 batches in the oven πŸ™‚

Mrs O

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Light Eggplant Parmesan and Julia Child’s Fresh Green Beans

First, let me say that Dr O is not a fan of most chicken or eggplant parmesan dishes. He feels the breading gets too soggy in all of the tomato sauce and had thus written off the dish…until now. I bought a few small eggplants at the local farmer’s market last week and they were getting PRETTY ripe so it was time to use them! Being terrified of eating eggplant (remember I’m a notorious picky eater!), I wanted to try a dish that might mask the flavor, in case I didn’t like it. So, I looked online at a few dozens of recipes. I used a bit from each one it seems and came up with the one below. It’s very light and SUPER DUPER delicious!

Here’s the rundown of ingredients:

eggplant (as little or as many as you like, I used 2 small)

salt

flour (enough to lightly cover your eggplant slices)

egg and water

oil

tomato sauce (as much or as little as you like…we’ll get to why later)

shredded Italian cheese (I used mozzarella and parmesan)

First, cut off the tip and bottom of the eggplant and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Place your colander in the sink and put a layer of eggplant on the bottom. Pour salt onto the top of each piece–a very generous amount. Continue to layer eggplant and salt until you have no eggplant left and let it sit in the sink for 30 minutes. There seemed to be a lot of varying opinions to salting eggplant. I read on this site: http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/2008/08/salting-eggplant.html that it helps to get the bitter flavor out of very ripe eggplants (such as mine). I think it also made the eggplant easy to work with when sauteing. After the 30 minutes is up you will have what closely resembles this

You can see the beads of bitter juice coming up from the eggplant. Rinse off all the salt. I rinsed the group of eggplant and then gently ran each side under the water as I placed them on a paper towel to dry completely. Once your eggplant has dried completely, heat up some oil in the bottom of a skillet on medium-high heat. You don’t want the oil to be so much that you are deep frying the eggplant, but you want to saute each side. Mix one egg and about a tbsp of water, dip each piece of eggplant in the egg-water mixture, then place it in the flour to coat both sides. Dr O suggested that next time we use wheat germ instead of flour, simply for health benefits. I’ll let you know how that goes. Once you’ve floured a few pieces, place them in the pan with oil and allow them to just brown on each side. Place them on a paper towel to drain and dry.

Once all your eggplant rounds have been sauted, drained, and dried, you are ready to prep your dish for the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. This is where the tomato sauce debate may come into play at your house. At the O House, we are not fans of heavy amounts of tomato sauce. We like it, just in small, light quantities. So, I just barely covered the bottom of my casserole dish with tomato sauce (the thinnest layer ever!). Then place a layer of eggplant rounds. If you love heavy amounts of sauce, then pour a ton of sauce on top. If you’re like the O Fam, place a teaspoon on top of each eggplant round and spread with the back of a spoon. Cover with Italian cheeses and repeat until you have used all of your eggplant.

Bake this in the oven for 30 minutes and it will come out looking like this delicious goodness…

The O Family promptly consumed this entire dish! (Except Little O–who I am very proud to say at least tried the eggplant parmesan and then pulled it out of her mouth–maybe its an acquired taste or I should put more tomato sauce on hers next time?!) Anyway, Dr O (who as I said before is never really impressed with chicken or eggplant parmesan) literally talked about this dish until we went to bed last night! And the best thing to have with it are Julia Child’s Fresh Green Beans πŸ™‚

Also at the farmer’s market, I found this bag of beauties

They don’t look like much here, but let me tell you: they. were. amazing. I’ve been using this method of making fresh green beans for a couple years now and every time I make them I want to hit myself for ever serving my family a bag of steam in the microwave green beans! First, snap both the ends off the green beans.

Then put them in a colander and get a pot of boiling water going. A large pot of boiling water. Just as the water is getting to a rolling boil, you’ll need to get an ice water bath ready. So grab a bowl, fill it halfway with ice, top it off with cold water–BUT don’t fill it all the way because you’ll want room for the green beans to go in without pushing water over the top of the bowl! Once your water is at a rolling boil, at in some salt (I never measure, just put a hunk in because it depends on how many green beans you’re making). Just before you put the green beans into the pot wash them with hot water. Put them in the pot and cover until the water comes back to a rolling boil. Allow them to cook for about 3-5 minutes until bright green, cooked through, but still have a good crunch!

Look at those beauties!!!! Now, turn off the stove, drain them in the sink, put them back in the pot and fill it halfway with water. Drain them again and put them in the ice water bath. Let them stay in the bath until completely chilled (about 5 minutes usually does it). I always prepare them ahead of time and place them in the fridge so I’ll give those instructions in just a second, but if you are serving them immediately then scroll past the storage instructions πŸ™‚

Have a container lined with paper towels ready to go:

Drain the green beans and pat them dry. Place them in the container, cover them with another paper towel and place a lid. Plop them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve dinner.

These take just a few minutes to reheat, so I usually plate my dish, cook these, add them to the plate, and serve. Get a large frying pan out, along with some butter, salt, and lemon (optional). Place green beans over medium heat in the pan and toss with tongs to get rid of excess moisture. Then add about a half tablespoon of butter to the pan and continue to toss. Once they are heated through (just a few minutes), sprinkle with salt and top with lemon (if you like) and plate! So yummy and easy πŸ™‚

A delicious, healthy meal and (as Dr O pointed out) vegetarian meal. He said, “This is the second night we’ve eaten veggies only…are we vegetarian now?” No we aren’t πŸ™‚

Mrs O

 

PS- Stay tuned for a recipe for kale chips

PSS- I know I keep promising the delicious avocado recipe, but when I went to the store today there were no avocadoes (GASP!), but it’s still coming…one day πŸ™‚

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Sweet Cheeks Baby Gifts

My younger cousin welcomed her first child, a sweet boy, into the world on Sunday, September 25th. She had the largest of all baby showers I have ever seen and got what looks to be everything and more that a first time parent could need! So, I decided I’d make her a couple gifts to send after the baby was born. When Little O was a baby, I took monthly pictures of her and just wrote how many months old she was on a piece of paper, decorated it, and snapped. However, this became increasingly difficult as she grew. Evidence below:

So, I’ve recently seen throughout the blogoverse (as I like to call it) some really cute monthly onesies. So, I grabbed some long-sleeved onesies (1 newborn, 1 0-3 month, 3 3-6 month, 4 6-9 month, 3 12 month) and some iron-on printable transfer paper and got to work. I chose long-sleeved onesies because he will spend the majority of his first year of life in the cold weather, but you could do it with colored onesies, short-sleeved, etc. I began to create my own image in Microsoft Word (which is very simple, but a little time consuming and all the choices of things I could do were overwhelming me; plus, I wasn’t quite sure of what she would like so I needed to go simple) and then decided I’d just use some from another site. I found printables from parties by hardee here : http://www.tipjunkie.com/baby-photos/. I printed out the red and cut right along the circle’s edge. Then I ironed them on with no steam. Let them cool complete before tearing transfer paper off. **~TIP~** Make sure you pay attention to whether your image needs to be reversed or not before printing! Some transfer paper requires that the image is flipped, others don’t. Here is the finished product:

I think they turned out pretty simple and cute! It’ll be good with the same stuffed animal or in the same place each month, so you can really see the changes in baby. I hope she likes them πŸ™‚ I also wanted to make her a blanket with his birth stats on it. We got one when Little O was born and I loved it. I didn’t want to give her a “baby size” blanket that would only last for 6 months, so I decided to make a tie blanket of minky and fleece and use my embroidery machine to embroider his stats onto the minky fabric. I’m sure you remember these blankets, they were quite popular a few years back and JoAnn actually sells kits to make double-sided fleece ones now, but I love the texture of minky fabric and I think it complements the fleece well. I made it pretty large (large enough to just cover the top of a crib/toddler mattress because I know that way they will be able to use it for a longer time). So the first thing I did was purchase some minky (on sale or with a coupon) and fleece (on sale or with a coupon). I used 1 yard of each, lined themΒ  up, cut the edges so they were basically the same size:

(sidenote, don’t mind the materials in the chair….you’ll see those in later posts!) Then I embroidered baby’s birth stats into the minky fabric. I used a stiff, tearaway stabilizer behind the minky fabric since it is stretchy and that worked really well. I chose to embroider in a color that would pop–green πŸ™‚ I thought this way the blanket wouldn’t be too boring. I chose the fabric patterns because of their texture and simplicity. This way they would go with anything and he would be able to snuggle with it for many years to come!

Once I finished and tore away most of the stabilizer, I placed the minky against the houndstooth fleece on my table and began cutting strips along the edge.

The strips were about 1 1/2 inches wide and 3 1/2 inches long. Also, the last two strips on the corners need to be cut off (only one two sides, not all four).

Then tie your knots. I tie a good tight not and pull the opposite fabric up during the last knot. This way the part of the knot showing on the minky side was houndstooth and vice versa.

Continue with your knots down the side of the blanket. When finished, they will be tight and bunched together, like this

Gently pull the opposite sides of the blanket to stretch the fabric back out, it will begin to take more of a rectangular shape when you do this.

Big difference, right?! Then complete the other 2 sides, doing one side at a time. And you will have this

Here is my finished, folded blanket

Ready to ship to sweet baby! I know that both of these projects are very simple and maybe didn’t need that much of an explanation, but this is my very first tutorial so I wanted to make it with something simple. These are wonderful, personalized baby gifts that anyone would love. Don’t forget to become a “Follower” of My Mint Julep so you can be updated on my newest projects, recipes, etc.!

Mrs O

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SIKE…name change

So, after some debating in the shower (isn’t that where you do YOUR best thinking?!), I decided to change the site name to My Mint Julep. Here are a few reasons why (1) we just moved to Kentucky (2) I know that I will not be 100% whole food 100% of the time (3) cooking, crafting, sewing, parenting are all things that I love and enjoy about life….just like I love and enjoy a Mint Julep :).

Mrs O

PS- I know I promised a delicious recipe post, but I forgot to take pictures while I was making it last time and so it is postponed until I can get to the store for more avocadoes, but it’s coming…I promise πŸ™‚

PSS- I also have a new addition to my extended family, as of this morning and I’ve been working on a sweet blanket for him. Pictures and post coming soon!

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Not just food and a little about me

Yes, this blog is called bluegrasswholefoodadventures, but it isn’t JUST about food. I tricked you into being interested ;)However, for a while it will probably be a lot about food because of my fun new adventure…

I am a notoriously picky eater. Hardcore. picky. eater. Like, don’t get pickles on my sandwich because I can taste the pickle juice on the bread kind of picky eater. It’s a pretty intense and embarrassing flaw I possess. I have been this way as long as I can remember and I hate it!

Fastforward to having my daughter and her turning 6 months old. I decided to make her baby food so that I would know exactly what was going into her body. I made her all sorts of things–the usuals (apples, carrots, peas), but I also made her butternut squash, avocados, and all other types of food you can’t find in a jar on the baby aisle at the grocery store! I NEVER TRIED ANY OF IT! Can you believe that?!

So, here I am…26; super picky eater; desperately wanting to help raise awareness for local, organic agriculture; desiring to become healthier and eat the same foods my daughter does. After a few months of my husband making me watch some Netflix documentaries on whole foods, local farming and agriculture, etc.;Β  researching the whole foods movement; and working up the guts to try new things I find…..(drumroll) a local CSA. CSA is community-supported agriculture. You basically buy into a share of the farm’s crops for the season and pick up your box of locally-grown vegetable goodness each week. Glass half-empty perspective: you never know what is going to be in the box! It could be vegetables I have never even heard of or things I’m terrified to try (tomatoes…yes, you read that right.). Glass half-full perspective: If I’ve already paid for it and it’s sitting in my veggie basket, I will be forced to find a recipe for it.

So, the O family has made the decision to jump into a whole foods movement. I sent in our registration and check yesterday and I can’t wait to get started. We are not only getting a regular share of fruits and veggies, but we’ll also be getting organic chicken and beef and a dozen eggs every 2 weeks. I was so excited to try new foods that I went to the local farmer’s market with a good friend yesterday. I bought bell peppers (never tried them), eggplant (I *think* I had eggplant parmesan once in college, other than that-none!), and butternut squash (never tried it, although it smelled great when I made it for Miss Priss). I dove into the bell peppers as soon as I got home from the market (Little O was at school). Chopping them carefully I took a bite and to my surprise—they weren’t terrible! I did bust out some ranch dressing (come on, don’t judge…I’m taking baby steps here!) and found them to be even more delicious. I ate an entire bell pepper as a mid morning snack. Dr. O was uber-proud of me!

A little more about me, I love to craft and diy. I am a former early childhood teacher, but now stay at home with Little O (2 years old and a spitting image of her mommy). Dr. O is a resident here in Kentucky with aspirations of owning his own primary care practice, raising cattle on a farm, and many, many other dreams that I can’t even begin to list (he’s a dreamer, it’s one of the things I adore about him). Check back in a few days for a fun recipe for Chocolate of the Gods Mousse (primary ingredient=avocado, end result=delicious!)

Mrs O

 

**~EDIT as of 9/26/2011- I changed the name of the blog after this first post, so don’t feel silly if you’re confused. My Mint Julep was a little more creative and fit the theme of the blog better. Plus Dr O thought bluegrasswholefoodadventures was a silly name for my blog and as much as I hate to admit it–he was right!~**

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