Friday, October 26, 2012

Simply Stew

There is nothing more satisfying than a hearty bowl of stew on a cool autumn evening.  Here is a simple version featuring one of my favorites from The Pampered Chef recipe collection.  You can find this and other amazing creations on

Caleb, 4 years old, raking leaves with Dad

Moroccan Vegetable Stew

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3/4 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 in piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder (to make your own, check out my curry recipe on
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 28 ounces vegetable broth
  • 15 1/2 ounces canned garbanzo (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 14 1/2 ounces canned diced tomatoes in sauce
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • 2 c hot couscous
  1. Cut zucchini and carrots in 1/2 lengthwise.  Cut zucchini into 1/4 inch sections and carrots into 1/2 inch sections; set aside.  Dice the onion and gingerroot.
  2. Heat oil in casserole over medium heat until hot. Add onion, ginger, pressed garlic, curry powder and cinnamon; cook and stir 3 minutes
  3. Stir in the flour.  Add broth, beans, tomatoes, carrots and zucchini, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir in raisins and then remove from heat.  
  4.  Serve hot with the cooked couscous.  Sprinkle with slivered almonds if desired.
Makes 6 servings (8 cups)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Simply Pizza - Rosemary and Garlic Crust

Chicken Pizza with a Rosemary and Garlic Crust,

I love the crust with this pizza.  It is the closest thing I have tasted which reminds me of a small town restaurant in upper New York.

Here is what you will need:


2 cups flour
1 packet of pizza yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp Finley chopped garlic


1 boneless chicken breast ( cooked soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and lemon pepper )
1/2 medium red onion chopped
3/4 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tomato sauce

  • Combine all the crust ingredients and mix well, once mixed knead on a floured surface for 3-4 minutes.
  • Roll out on a pizza stone and add the toppings, then place on a greased pan in a preheated 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. If using a pizza stone, cook for an additional 4-8 min.

Simply Re purposed !

Re purposed - Cresolene Lamp

I love having old things in my house, I have several old fans from the 50's that remind me of the fans I would see in my grandparents house growing up. The same goes with oil lamps, I have one in every room of my house, not only are they functional when the power goes out, but they bring back the wonderful memories of my childhood.

Recently I got an old cresolene oil lamp at an auction, these lamps were the vaporizers of the 19th century, once day it came to me why not use this as an wax warmer. I often have little bits of wax left in the bottom of my Yankee candles. I can simply scrape a few pieces out, place them in the top of the cresolene lamp and within a few minutes a wonderful scent is filling the room.

Share your re purposing stories with us today....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Simply Recycled

Marley, our Sonaan/Boer cross Male Dairy Goat
So what do you get when you take a free curbside solid pine entertainment center and reconstruct it?
At our house, you get a fantastic little goat palace!  We were looking for a solution to the increasingly cool nights that our Sonaan/Boer cross goat will be facing this winter, and while goat droppings may be gold for your garden, they are not so great in your basement.  Thankfully, we were coming home from church this past Sunday, and saw not one but 2 such pieces by the roadside labeled FREE.  Needless to say, we hauled a U turn and loaded up the Suburban.  I also liberated 4 fairly hard to find Syracuse china plates, but that is a side note.

To make the goat house, we took the shelves out of the top and bottom halves of the center.  Then we joined the 2 pieces together to extend the box shape using scraps from the trimming even.  We repurposed the larger TV shelf and bisected the opening to provide some additional shelter from the winds.  And because the shelf on the upper half sat slightly higher than the base, it created a natural step down for extra layers of bedding to be put in.  The back is some standard 1 inch plywood, and will eventually have a hinge placed so that we can easily muck out the bedding.  The wire slits in the original entertainment center were strategically lined up so that if need be, we can hose out the inside of the structure and it will drain well.

Total value of the wood we used:  around $150 at
Total $$$ we put into the project:  about $4 in screws and 2 kwH of power
Reusing something discarded for something new:  PRICELESS

Lydia, the crew and Marley the Goat

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Simply Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin - with rosemary, honey and mustard sauce

This is one of my favor things to bake.  It's quick to make, has lots of flavor and feeds a good size group of people.

Here is what you will need

1 lb bacon
1 medium to large size pork tenderloin
1 tsp fresh rosemary
2 heaping tbsp of honey
2 heaping tbsp of Dijon mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp of brown sugar

  • Combine the rosemary, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic and brown sugar in a bowl, mix thoroughly.

  • Place the bacon in the bottom of a pan, place the tenderloin in the center, pour the mixture over the top and pull the bacon over, hold it in place with tooth picks.

  • Place in a 325 degree preheated oven for 1 hr and 20 minutes, cover to keep bacon soft or leave uncovered for more crispy bacon.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Simply Hot Toddies for the Body

When the weather turns colder, there is nothing more comforting than a warm drink by the heater or fireplace.  So, here are 3 of my tried and true favorites....enjoy!

 Hot Chocolate (REALly)

  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • Optional:  1 tsp flavored extract, whipped cream for garnish
  1. In large saucepan, heat the first 3 ingredients until piping hot but just under a boil, STIRRING CONSTANTLY to prevent scorching.
  2. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of mint, raspberry, vanilla or orange extract in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Serve piping hot, topped with a generous dollop of real whipped cream.

Spiced Cider

  • 1/2 gallon fresh apple cider
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • cheesecloth and butcher's twine (available in most supermarkets)
  1. In large pot, add the cider.  
  2. Take cheesecloth and place all spices in the center, gathering the edges to form a packet and tying with kitchen twine.
  3. Place the spice packet in the pot and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Serve warm with doughnuts, cookies or on its own for a refreshing taste of autumn.

Old Fashioned Milk Punch

  • 2 cups 10 year aged whiskey (I love Jameson's)
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mace or allspice (both are the same seasoning)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients except the whiskey in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat STIRRING CONSTANTLY.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low, and add the whiskey.
  4. Simmer another 5 minutes before removing from stovetop.
Serve warm to your 21 and over crowd.  If you want to make this non-alcoholic, it is a delicious treat for people of all ages.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Simply Chili !


Its fall its getting cool outside and there is nothing better to warm you up than a nice hot bowl of chili. I can remember coming in as a child from a day of sledding or playing outside in winter, it was great coming in to a hot bowl of my moms chili.

Here is what you will need

1.5 lbs of cooked ground beef
28 oz of crushed tomato's
30oz cans of kidney beans (drained)
14.5oz fire roasted diced tomato's
14oz cans of mushrooms (drained)
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin

Combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil for 15 minutes, then let simmer for an hour, this is to let all of the ingredients mix together, stir every few minutes, top with sour cream and shredded cheese, enjoy !

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