Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers

I think my family is a lot like other families in the way that we are trying to eat healthier.  But it's easy to say that you are going to eat healthier but actually doing it is another thing.  I have a brother who was just diagnosed with high cholesterol and has made the decision that he wants to lower it by changing his diet and not through medication.  It's something that I understand and that I applaud.  The next challenge has been what he can eat based on the dietary restrictions his doctor has given him.

It's hard because I am from an family that I swear can't go without a meal of meat and potatoes.  It has really been a challenge for my dad who prides himself on putting together a menu for the week and the shopping list.  Yes you did read that right my dad LOVES to go food shopping and likes to help out by putting together a menu for the week and the shopping list.  I think the hardest part of this for him is that he'll send me his menu that he puts together and I'll go a rework it because I'm trying to help my brother be successful. I know what it's like to have to make a dietary change on my own.  My brother unfortunatley isn't the type of person who can do it on his own.  He needs all of the support that he can and that means that we all have to be a part of it.  It will be good for all of us.  I've always been raised that family takes care of each other and that if one family member needs help than everyone is there for them.

This is a meal that Rambo LOVES!  And I have to admit that I do need to make it more often and that it is very easy to make.  The thing I love so much about it is that it is very easy to change up so that you can use whatever you have on hand.

2 cups Jasmine rice, uncooked
3 cups water
1 lb lean ground beef (an even better choice is ground chicken)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp mined garlic
1 reduced sodium taco seasoning packet
2/3 cup water
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp ground chipotle 
7 green peppers tops cut off and seeds removed
1/2 cup water

1.  Preheat oven to 350*.  In a large saucepan with a lid add rice and 3 cups water.  Bring it to a boil and reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

2.  In a skillet over medium heat brown the ground beef cooking it until it is no longer pink.  Add diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, cilantro, 2/3 cup water and chipotle and reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

3.  While the beef mix is cooking now would be a good time to prepare the green peppers.  All you need to do is cut the tops off and remove the seeds from the inside.  You want the pepper to act as a cup for the filling.  Don't waste the green pepper from the tops that you cut off.  I like to chop the tops up and add them to a salad to go with dinner.

4.  One the meat mix is finished simmering mix the meat mix in with the rice and mix well!

5.  Put green pepper cups into a casserole dish and fill the cups with the rice and meat mix. 

6. Before you put the dish in the oven add 1/2 cup of water to the dish so that the green peppers are sitting in the water in the dish.  Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes or until the filling has a crust and green peppers are hot.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to Knit the Embossed Leaf Stitch

Knit the Embossed Leaf Stitch

This was a neat stitch I found in a stitch guide that I think would look really pretty as a scarf or even a blanket with a garter stitch border!

Abbreviations & Skills You Need to Know
k= knit
p= purl

The Embossed Leaf Stitch is knit in multiples of 10 sts.  For this sample I casted-on 30 sts.

Row 1: k all sts
Embossed Leaf Stitch is knit in mult of 10. I CO 30 sts and worked 16 rows.                     Row 1: k all sts

Row 2: p all sts
Row 2: p all sts

Row 3-4: k all sts
Rows 3-4: k all sts

Row 5: *p5, k5, rep from* to end of the row
Row 5: *p5, k5, rep from *

Row 6: *p4, k5, p1, rep from* to end of row
Row 6: *p4, k5, p1, rep from *

Row 7: *k2, p5, k3; rep from * to end of row
Row 7: *k2, p5, k3, rep from *

Row 8: *p2, k5, p3, rep from * to end of the row
Row 8: *p2, k5, p3, rep from*

Row 9: *k4, p5, k1; rep from * to end of the row
Row 9: *k4, p5, k1, rep from*

Row 10: p all sts
Row 10: p all sts

Row 11: repeat row 6
Row 11: repeat row 6

Row 12: repeat row 7
Row 12: repeat row 7

Row 13: repeat row 8
Row 13: repeat row 8

Row 14: repeat row 9
Row 14: repeat row 9

Row 15: *k5, p5; rep from* to end of row
Row 15: *k5, p5, rep from*

Row 16: k all sts
Row 16: k all sts

Repat rows 1-16 to continue the pattern.

Friday, April 5, 2013

1x1 Rib Stitch

Knit 1 x 1 Rib

You usually see this stitch being used on cuffs, hems and necklines.  This is a reversible pattern cast on an odd number of sts.

For this swatch I cast on 15 sts.
Row  (RS)1: k1, *p1, k1; repeat from *to end

Row 1 (RS): k1, *p1, k1; rep from * to end

Row 2 (WS): p1, *k1, p1; repeat from * to end

Row 2 (WS): p1, *k1, p1; rep from* to end

Repeat rows 1 & 2 until piece is desired length.  This swatch is 6 rows.

Repeat rows 1-2 until desired length. This swatch is 6 rows. 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you...  Jer 1:5

Apple Cinnamon Donuts

One of the things that I miss the most since I've had to go dairy-free is going to our local, well maybe not so local now that I live 30 minutes away, bakery Wall's.  I remember going there when they were in Waldorf and they were, and I'm not kidding you, in a building that had one end shaped like a teepee.

Unfortunately this building no longer exists.  I remember as a child going in there and it being a strange but lovely place.  It was like you took a gift shop filled, wall to wall, with all sorts of Native American items, knick knacks, and put a bakery counter in the middle of it.  I don't think we ever bought any of the gift items but I can remember many Saturday or Sunday's when we would go in for a dozen yummy donuts and on holidays or special occasions we would get pies, Long Johns (really big eclairs that are cut in half lengthwise and filled with custard, strawberry pie filling, and fresh whipped cream with chocolate on the top), eclairs, etc..  The thing I always thought was funny was you had all of this Native American stuff and it was run by a family from Germany.  I fondly remember when the owner who was a sweet little old german woman would work the counter.  You almost always got an extra donut or two and you never paid full price when she ran the register.  It saddend me when we found out that they were closing and again when they tore down the building.  The great suprise that I received recently was when I was driving north on route 301 and happened to look over at the Indian Head Rail Trail and low and behold what did I see?  The county had taken the iconic sign that anyone who grew up in the area remembered and put it as the marker for the head of the trail.  They had taken the original sign and removed the part that said Bakery Walls. 

Well about 3 years ago we found out that Walls bakery had reopened but in one of the business parks in Waldorf.  We found it in a small business part off of Old Washington Rd near the old Sheriff's office substation.  The baked goods are still the same quality because it is the daughter of the original owners who is running it.  Everytime my dad takes MJ there to get some donuts one of the nice ladies that works the counter always gives her a butter cookie.  

Ok I think I took the long way of explaining that since we found out all of their baked goods have dairy in it in some fashion or another I can't eat anything from there.  Well, that means that if I want a donut I have to make it myself.  I think it was last week I received one of the many weekly emails that I get from King Arthur Flour and it happened to be for dessert donuts.  I checked out the recipe ready to make any necessary adjustments to make it safe for me and boy was I surprised when I found that it was dairy-free.  So Easter morning I pulled out my rarely used donut pan and made some donuts.  I think the only change that I made to the original recipe was that instead of using vegetable oil, I'll have to try that next time, I used virgin coconut oil.  They were fantastic and I'm ashamed to say that I ate 3 on Sunday and had just about one a day since then.  Thank God I have a large family so I can happily say that I didn't eat all 15 of them.  These donuts are really easy to make and are a great recipe to do with little ones.  

Apple Cinnamon Donuts
adapted from King Arthur Flour Recipe for dessert donuts

1/2 cup Virgin Coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup Applesauce (or any other pureed fruit)
1 1/2 tsps Vanilla Extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp Unbleached All Purpose Flour 
Plus extra cinnamon and sugar to toss the donuts in if you choose to
cooking spray

1.  Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease donut or muffin pan.

2.  In a large bowl mix together everything but the flour until smooth.

3.  Add flour and stir until just combined.  Becareful not to over mix.

4.  Pour the batter 1/4 cup at a time into each donut mold.

5.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6.  With a knife loosen each donut in the pan and then let cool for 5 minutes.  After they've cooled for 5 minutes remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

7. If you want to toss in cinnamon and sugar you will need to do this while they are are still warm but not fragile.  Put cinnamon and sugar in a bag, sorry I don't have measurements because this was one thing I didn't measure.

8.  Put donut in bag and toss to coat.

9.  Enjoy!