Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adventures With Rice: Herbed Basmati Rice

I love rice. I love it as a side dish, I love it on it's own. I love it in salad. And I love all kinds of rice, prepared many different ways!

Years ago, the only rice I made was Minute Rice or Rice-A-Roni, but as my cooking skills grew, I ventured out and realized that homemade rice doesn't take THAT much longer and the taste is just SO much better! In a pinch, or when I'm feeling very lazy, I still rely on those old favorites. :)

With all that said, let me show you how to make one of my favorite rice recipes:

The Goods:
  • Uncooked Long-Grain Basmati Rice
  • Water
  • Kosher Salt
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Minced Fresh Parsley
  • Minced Fresh Dill Leaves
  • Minced Fresh Scallions - White and Green Parts
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
Grab a big stock pot,

And melt some butter.

Then throw in the rice,

Mix it with the butter and toast the rice.

Once toasted, add the water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer and cook until water is absorbed.


But wait - it gets better!!!

Add the Parsley, 

A little bit of Dill too, 

And finally the Scallions.

Mix it all together and enjoy!!!

This rice is so fresh and can easily go with many different meals. I'm sure you could also substitute other herbs, but I haven't given any others a try!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tomatoes, Limes, Herbs & Flowers Galore!

Ohhhh yeah folk. My garden is LOVING this warm weather and is rewarding me with awesome things. Let me tell you about some of the highlights!

I'll start with the tomato plant that's doing amazing! I knew I'd have a ripe tomato soon and sure enough, today was the day! In addition to the first ripe tomato, there are TONSSS of other little tomatoes just waiting to ripen soon enough!

Lottttt of tomatoes!!

Tomatoes Ripening!

I picked the first one!

And ate it!!!


Now onto the wonderful lime tree that I thought wasn't really producing. I thought I'd have to wait until at least next Fall/Winter to get some more key limes, but nope - that's not that case! Why? Because I have 30 little baby limes growing all over that tree. I know that not all of them will make it, but I'm hoping that I'll get to enjoy quite a few!

Look how BIG it's getting!
This thing doesn't seem "dwarf" anymore, huh?!?

Little Liiiiiiiiimes!

And another itty bitty lime!

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again - but I have more fresh herbs growing than I know what to do with. They too are loving the warm Southern California weather and are rewarding me with bountiful growth.  


Flat Leaf Parsley 

New Additions - Garlic Chives and Dill
Old Favorites - Lemon Thyme, Sage and Rosemary

Lastly, my flower are all doing so great and I even added a few more to the luscious garden this afternoon! The new additions not only look amazing, they both smell wonderful too.


And Climbing Jasmine.
I can't wait to these to start climbing and filling out!
Oh yeah - and they smell AMAZING!

I'm pretty much out of room on the balcony for now, but I'm sure things will continue to change. That's how it's always been and that's how it always will be. I love my garden for the goods I get from it AND for it's amazing beauty!

Happy Father's Day!!

To all the fathers out there...

Hope you all have a very relaxing day and are treated to the absolute best!

And to my wonderful father - I love you very much and miss you like crazy!
You're the best and I'm so glad that you're MY dad!!! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reorganizing The Garden!

Instead of getting something new, I moved things around in the garden, made use of what I had on hand and the end result was better than I'd imagined. I'm really happy with the over all look and I'm anticipating even better things in the coming weeks. Until then, take a look at a few of the highlights from earlier this evening.

I was going to get rid of this old TV/Media Stand that I'd already repurposed more than once, but right before taking it downstairs I realized it could make a really good plant stand for the corner of my balcony. I've been looking at a new plant stand for awhile and little did I know I had one right in the next room all along! 

All of my flowers are really doing well. Even the ones I though were dead are coming back and I can't believe it. Here's a look at two of my railing window boxes that are thriving.

All of the herbs I'm growing are doing great and I can't seem to use or give them away fast enough. I love having them available, but just wish I used them a little more often! Oh well, that doesn't stop them from growing like crazy!!
Dill, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary and Sage


Flat Leaf Parsley

The tomato plant continues to impress me and I cannot wait for the first tomato to start to change color. I am anticipating the delicious taste and I don't want to wait much longer! Until then, I enjoy seeing these awesome CLUSTER of little tomatoes!!!!

And lastly, in sad new, I think the poor jalapeno plant is done. :( The little pepper is pretty much done growing and there aren't any other new peppers in sight. I've been holding out hope, but I think I may just need to go buy a new one...

Fun With Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - Take 6!

It's been awhile since I did a Fun With Pillsbury Crescent Rolls post, and I had plans to make something else with the dough, but yesterday I used it to make something equally as tasty for a friend.

I made...
Breakfast Pizza!

I've never actually made this before, but I've had it many times. My Sister-In-Law introduced me to it because it's always been part of breakfast on Christmas morning in her family. I did things a little different than my Sister-In-Law does, but I made use of what I had on hand and it turned out just as good!

I'm sure Breakfast Pizza can be made MANY different ways, but here's how I made mine last night! 

Yes, I said night because we had this for dinner. I LOVE having breakfast for dinner. YUM!

The Goods!
Seamless Crescent Dough
Chicken Sausage
Cheddar Cheese
Green Chilies

Shred a whole bunch of cheese. 
MMMMmmm cheeeeeese!

Cook the sausage.
Or in this case - warm/crisp the sausage 
because these ones were fully cooked!

Beat the eggs with a lil bit of milk.
I used skim because that's what I have.

Roll out the Crescent Dough and press it up against all sides.

Put down sausage and cover with eggs.

Sprinkle the cheese and green chilies on top.

Bake at 325 for about 35 minutes.
You'll know it's done when it no longer jiggles.

We were SOOOO hungry when it was done baking,
and I completely forgot to take picture of the finished product 
UNTIL after we were done eating...


So here's what it looks like with two pieces missing! :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

GG's Sour Cream Banana Bread: Revisited!

Yup - I'm posting about my Great Grandmother's Sour Cream Banana Bread AGAAAAAAAAIN, but there's a good reason! 

Recently,  a friend from High School asked me if I had a good Banana Bread recipe. I knew I'd posted about my Banana Bread recipe at least once, but when I went to send her the link I realized I never posted the ingredient list OR the directions! How could I be so dumb? How would anyone be able to make the delicious recipe for themselves if I don't explain how?!?

So - without going on and on about the amazing bread (it really IS amazing - trust me!) - here's how you make the dough to bake into bread loaves OR muffins:

3 Tablespoons Butter - softened
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg - beaten
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Banana - Mashed up
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer.
2. Add egg and sour cream beating thoroughly.
3. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix, followed by half the bananas and mix, and then repeat.
4. Add lemon juice and mix.
5. Pour into greased loaf pan(s) or lined muffin pan(s).
6. Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes. (I usually check on it about halfway through).

As you can see from the previous Banana Bread Blog - I add Chocolate Chips almost every time! :) They aren't necessary, but are an added little treat! 


Herbs, Tomatoes & More

As the title suggests - this will be all about my thriving herbs, amazing tomato plant and all the other goodies in my garden! Everything is requiring more water, but I'm seeing the rewards in how well everything is growing. 

My herbs are just going crazy!!! My Basil is already HUGE, the recently transplanted Flat Leaf Parsley is really filling in, my Rosemary is bigger than it's ever been, the Dill took off after I planted it in the huge container, my Sage is doing so well I have to keep cutting it back to prevent it from taking over, and lastly, my thyme seems to be doing just fine. :) I love cooking with fresh herbs and I love it even more that I grow them myself. I have room for one more, but I'm not sure what I'll end up with. Any suggestions?!?! 

Now let me tell you about my tomato plant that's doing so well. I counted the other day, and I currently have somewhere around THIRTY little tomatoes in various stages. These are cherry tomatoes, so I'll get to enjoy them soon...but not soon enough. I really can't wait because home grown tomatoes - right off the vine - are simply delicious!

And finally - the other goodies and wonderful things I'm growing. 

My lime tree is really filling in and I hope that means better protection for the little baby limes, which in turn means more limes for me to enjoy! 

The jalapeno plant seems a little stunted, but the one pepper that did grow is continuing to get bigger so I'm holding out hope for the little plant. I want more peppers already!!!

My little yellow roses seem to be happy and are so tiny. I wonder how big the plant will end up getting. I've never grown any type of rose before... 

The flowers in the window boxes are doing great! I even had two new Gerber Daisies sprout when I thought the plant was dead all along. What a nice little surprise!!

And lastly, the little corner in my garden that one of my cats likes to crawl over to get to his favorite thing - fresh cat grass! In addition to the grass, there are marigolds, pansies, and dahlias amongst other really cool plants that I have no clue what they are! :)

I still plan to add a few more things so keep your eye out for an update on my ever changing garden.