Bree: "Mom, I have a present for you."
Me: "What is it?"
Bree (as she hugs me): "Love."
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I've been looking for new cupcake recipes to try, and I came across a recipe for orange cupcakes with gorgeous two-toned frosting. I'm still working on the frosting skills, but I think they turned out really pretty. The cake recipe itself was a little dry, but the frosting was delicious. It's the same buttercream that I usually make, but with orange juice and orange extract in place of milk and vanilla:
1 cup butter (substitute up to 1/2 cup shortening to keep frosting soft)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange extract
Beat together until fluffy and smooth.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Chad decided to make dinner on Saturday. Perhaps he knew that I wasn't in the mood to cook. He may have been motivated to come up with his own alternative to the inevitability of another leftover night. Whatever the reason, we had the most delicious teriyaki steak and chicken kabobs, with squash from our garden, onions, and yellow peppers. Some guys volunteer to cook, and you get a gloppy spaghetti. Chad volunteers to cook, and you get kabobs. He sure is nice to have around.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
During years where we get a good amount of rain (good means we're no longer measuring annual rainfall in single digits), the cactus fruit is plump and juicy, and this year's harvest was a good one.
Wash/sterilize and then heat 5 half-pint jars in a warm oven. Heat 5 lids in water that is barely simmering.
Mix the following:
2 1/2 cups prickly pear juice
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package pectin
1 tsp butter
Bring to a boil.
Stir in 3 1/2 cups sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil, and boil for three minutes. Ladle into hot jars. Wipe rims of jars with a clean damp cloth.
Place hot lids on jars, centering to ensure a good seal. Screw lid bands on. Turn jars upside-down onto a towel for five minutes to "process" (no need to mess with a boiling water bath). Turn right side up and allow to cool and seal (you'll hear the lid pop when the seal is successful). The jelly will keep in a cool pantry for at least a year.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
It may sound strange but we buy all of our steaks from out of the back of some guy's truck. A couple years ago I was working in my yard, and a man stopped his truck in front of my house, and very politely asked if I was in the market for a good deal on beef. Normally I don't give door-to-door salesmen the time of day, but it just so happened that at that time I had been very disappointed with our local supermarkets' lack of ability to provide my family with high quality steaks for a good price. Chad likes his steak. And I'm pretty picky about steak quality. So I gave the guy the time of day, and it turned out to be so worth it. Meet Dan ("Just call me the Meat Man," he said). He showed me his price list, and pulled a huge box of meat out of a freezer in the bed of his truck. He opened the box, showed me all the types of steak that were inside, and talked about the benefits of the individually wrapped, vacuum-packed, flash-frozen steaks. Guaranteed to taste fresh after a year in the freezer. I was sold. I love having a freezer full of food, but I hate to have food and money go to waste because of freezer burn. So I wrote a check, and Dan carried the box down to the freezer under the house. And oh, how we have enjoyed the beef. Delicious T-bones and Kansas City steaks, tender bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon, my favorite New York strip, and the best hamburger patties I've ever tasted. Honestly. I don't have to stress at the grocery store, wondering if the steak I'm buying will taste any good, or if I'm just throwing my money away. And I'm always just a quick grill away from a juicy steak dinner (you can even put the frozen meat on the grill if you have trouble planning ahead enough to defrost). The huge box lasts us almost a year, depending on how carnivorous we feel, and by that time Dan has either made his rounds again, or I just call him up to ask for more. Thank you Dan, for coming into our lives. Our arteries may not thank you, but our taste-buds do.