Saturday, July 14, 2012

Foodie Friday

I really should change the name to Foodie Saturday, since that's often when I post these, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.  Oh well, on to the food!

Last Sunday night, we tried out a recipe for Rosemary Salt-Crusted Venison with Cherry Cabernet Sauce.  About the only thing we ever do with the deer backstraps is fry them.  While they are delicious, I would like to find another way to fix them.  I found this recipe searching on the internet.  It was originally featured in Cooking Light.  Overall, the sauce was good.  Two problems though - I used too much salt on the "salt crust," and we overcooked the venison.  We even pulled it at a lower temperature than the recipe called for, but it still bypassed the perfect "medium."  This was our first time cooking with juniper berries.  Definitely an interesting flavor and I look forward to cooking with them again.  I would try this recipe again and try to correct the problems, but next time I make backstrap, I want to use a recipe my friend Mary has been raving about.

This recipe for Italian chicken came from Taste of Home magazine.  I got a subscription to the magazine really cheap so I tried it out.  I chose not to renew it however, because it encouraged my recipe hoarding tendencies!  You pan fry the chicken tenders, then make a sauce to go over it.  It's good and reminded me a little of chicken cacciatore but much easier.  We decided this one was a keeper.

On Wednesday night, Cameron grilled some boneless skinless chicken thighs (our grilling chicken of choice) and I made caprese salad to go with it using fresh vegetables from our garden.  Yep, are garden has actually produced some food!  It's a little out of hand in fact.

I didn't quite realize how much the plants would grow.  I cut back the cucumber (for the 2nd time) before I took this picture.  It was just overtaking everything.  Next year I will be better about my space planning - the plants start so tiny, it looks like there is a ton of room!  And we have basil coming out of our ears!

After harvesting the tomatoes and 1 bell pepper that have ripened so far...

I put together the salad.  I just layered the tomatoes, basil, & mozzarella then drizzled balsamic vinegar over the top.  Next time, I will cook the vinegar down into more of a sauce

Last night we made a marinade for grilled chicken from Southern Living including rosemary (from the garden), Dijon mustard, honey, and garlic.  Pretty good and simple.  Then I made these Zucchini-Corn Fritters from Food Network Magazine.  So good!  But does it count when your vegetables are fried??

Cooking with Cameron on Friday nights is one of my favorite things we do.  We cook a lot together during the week. but on Friday night we always turn on the music, have a glass of wine or a beer, and really enjoy cooking together.  It's the start of a weekend and we plan to enjoy every minute!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Spice jars

Everytime I look for a spice in my cabinet, I get frustrated.  I buy all different brands, so therefore all the jars are different sizes.  The tiny ones always seem to hide, then I end up buying more, only to discover it was there the whole time.  I feel like I pull half of them out to find one.  Enter Pinterest with a solution! 

I saw on Pinterest where someone had cleaned out baby food jars and spray painted the lids with chalkboard paint.  I have a shallow drawer next to my stove that is the perfect size for those little jars.  I don't have a child, so baby food jars are I not something I buy.  I hated to waste all that food so I went looking on Ebay.  Who knew that you can buy clean, empty baby food jars sans label and everything??

I used this paint:

Rust-Oleum 1913830 Chalkboard Spray, Black, 11-Ounce

And I opted for a liquid chalk paint pen instead of traditional chalk.  The paint pen doesn't rub off as easily.  They say you have to use a wet cloth to remove it.  So far no smudging!  I bought mine through Amazon.  I'm sure you can find them at craft stores, but since I have free shipping through Amazon Prime, sometimes it's just easier than running all over town!
NeoChalk Liquid Chalk Marker Chisel Tip - White

I'm really happy with how my spice jars turned out!  No more searching!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

No Snapper For Us

We tried yet again to catch some red snapper this weekend, but our plans were ruined by the weather for a second time.  We left out of Dauphin Island Saturday morning in what looked like beautiful weather, but as soon as we got away from the island, we could see dark storm clouds on the horizon.  It was a weird feeling to look to the East and see sunshine & blue skies, but look to the West and see dark, ominous clouds.  Cameron & Poe checked the radar and it looked like the storm was moving North so we decided to stay close to the land and fish off the rigs while we waited for the storm to pass.  We waited and waited.  It never rained on us, but it got windy and choppy, so we were all hesitant to head off shore.  So no red snapper for us, yet again!

We caught quite a few fish, but no keepers.  A tiny cobia, a big redfish (too big to be tasty anymore), and tons of baby sharks.  We all still had a good time out on the water, even if it wasn't quite what we had hoped for!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Foodie Friday

Alright so there are 2 weeks of recipes in today's post.

Last Sunday night I had planned a quick & easy dinner - Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken & Conecuh sausage.  I thought I had a jar of alfredo sauce in the pantry, but discovered I was wrong once we started cooking.  A quick search on Food Network found Emeril's alfredo recipe and I actually had all the ingredients to make it.  Overall it was good - reminded us of some of the cajun pasta recipes we have made.  Doubtful that it will replace the good ol' jarred sauce.  I definitely prefer the creaminess of the sauce out of the jar.

I made another apricot glazed pork chop recipe - what is it about fruit & pork?  This one came from Better Homes & Gardens and included onions and Dijon mustard to give it a little kick.  Definitely a hit.

I have been loving these corn/avocado summer salads lately.  I think I have at least a half dozen variations pinned on Pinterest!  I made this one last weekend to go with Cameron's smoked butt.  Yum!

 Last night, I tried out a recipe from Pinterest - Cheesy Rice Bake.  It was originally for chicken, but I decided to switch out the chicken for ground deer meat (always looking for ways to use it up!).  Another adjustment I made was to add taco seasoning when browning the meat.  I feel like it would have been way too bland without it!  Completely forgot to take a picture of it - honestly it looks much like any casserole with cheese on top! :)  Overall, it was good, but not good enough to be a keeper.  We are starting to get pretty picky around here about what constitutes a "keeper!"

That's it for now.  Happy cooking!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Double Weekend

That's what I felt like we had this week.  It was amazing!  First, we had our normal weekend of Saturday & Sunday, we went back to work Monday, then both Cameron & I took off Tuesday as well as July 4th.  Definitely a nice break. 

 Our first weekend started off Friday night with a little birthday celebration for our nephew, Daniel's 5th birthday.

The rest of weekend #1 included the start of some DIY work around the house, cooking out, and a little board game action.  We started with Scene It 80's edition.  Harry and I dominated with very little help from me.  Let's be honest - I remember more of the 90s than 80s.  Then we played a little Balderdash - perfecting the art of "BS"

And we got in a quick trip to the beach in the scorching heat!

And if you notice the inclusion of some water pictures...

Yep, we replaced the underwater camera - with a Panasonic Lumix TS20.  In fact, I think I like this one better.  The indoor pictures look better than my old Fuji.  Certainly nothing like our Nikon D40, but it's perfect for what I wanted.  Cheap, durable, & waterproof.  This camera got the best reviews in the budget category - so far I love it!  And every Auburn fan likes a little orange!
 Panasonic Lumix TS20 16.1 MP TOUGH Waterproof Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom

Weekend #2 was a little more laid back.  I finished up painting one of our upstairs bedrooms...

The green color was there when we moved in.  Not horrible, but a little "muddy" and I never loved it.  Especially with the lime green bedding I had.  So I decided to repaint.  The striped fabric in the after picture is what the pillows & curtains will be made out of.  Eventually.

And Cameron got in a fishing trip in his new kayak!  Trust me, it was not the first trip, but the first with some pictures courtesy of Lance.

Independence Day was very stormy down here, but the rain cleared up in time for fireworks.  We met a group of friends at Ed's Seafood Shed on the Causeway for dinner on the back deck.  From our view, we could see the Mobile city firework show over the water, as well as Daphne & Fairhope's shows (albeit small) on the other side of the bay.  Perfect spot with great food & great company!
 I hope that everyone had a wonderful Fourth celebrating our wonderful country and took a little time to think of those who protect our freedom!