Chili

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Homemade Chili
Nothing warms your tummy on a Fall evening better than a hot bowl of chili. Here is an easy recipe that everyone seems to love.

Chili

2 T. oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 pieces celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 -16oz. cans chili beans
2 C. water — start with 1 C. and add more if too thick
2 t. salt
½ t. pepper
½ t. sugar
½ C. ketchup
1 t. chili powder
½ t. cayenne red pepper or hot pepper sauce*

Heat oil in skillet. Lightly brown the meat, push to side of pan. Add onion, garlic, and celery. Cook until soft. Drain excess fat**. Mix in remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 – 45 minutes.

* I don’t add the red pepper while cooking to keep the chili mild, but serve it on the side for those who want it hotter.

** I use lean grass fed beef, so I don’t drain the fat, therefore I don’t need to add much or any water.

Enjoy,
Simply,
Mary

Gluten Free Brown & White Rice Bread

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047Here is a fairly easy recipe for gluten free bread.

Mix in a 1C. measuring cup:
1/2 C. warm water (110 -115 degrees)
1 T. sugar
2 1/4 t. yeast

Put the yeast mix aside and let it get all bubbly.

In your mixer bowl put:
2 1/4 C. white rice flour
1 C. + 2 T. brown rice flour
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T. sugar
2 1/2 t. xantham gum

Start the mixer on low to stir up the dry ingredients.
Then add, mixing after each addition:
3 eggs
The bubbly yeast mixture
1/4 C. oil (you can use the measuring cup you just emptied from the yeast mix)
1 t. vinegar (you can combine this with the hot tap water)
1 C. hot tap water (about 130-135 degrees)

Beat with mixer at medium speed for 4 minutes.
Put in greased 1 pound bread pan (I still use Crisco to grease my pan because it seems to stick the least) I think olive oil would work, just grease well.
The dough will be a thick batter so spoon it into the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon, spreading it evenly.

Get the oven ready:
I turn the oven for about 1 minute at 200 degrees to take the chill off, just make sure you turn it off. Then put a pan of hot water on the lowest shelf to keep the dough from drying out.

Put the pan of dough on a rack above the pan of water.
Now here is the important part……raise the dough for about 30 minutes till it comes to the top, but not too big so that it overflows the pan when you bake it. It will raise a little more while the oven is preheating.

Take the raised loaf out and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread for 40 minutes. It will be pretty brown, but that’s a good thing. Turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack and if it doesn’t come out easily, run a knife all around the edges and try again.

Good luck and enjoy!

Simply,
Mary

Broccoli Casserole

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broccoli casserole
Here’s a recipe that has been a favorite at our house for special holidays so I’m making it for Easter this year.

2 or 3 bunches of broccoli, 1 C. grated cheddar cheese, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can evaporated milk, dash of garlic powder, dash of Lawry’s seasoning salt, 2 T. butter and paprika

Cook the broccoli until it is bright green and not mushy. Arrange it in a greased 9 by 13 inch pan (I like to use a glass one). Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the broccoli. Mix together the soup, evaporated milk, garlic and salt. Pour this mixture evenly over the casserole, dot with butter and sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Simply,
Mary

Muffin in a Mug

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Muffin in a Mug
Here’s a way to make a quick muffin in the microwave that will fill you up without all the carbs that flour would add. It has at least 8 grams of fiber, 13 grams of protein and I’m pretty sure it would be gluten free too!

Muffin in a Mug

1/4 C. ground flax seed
1 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. coconut oil
1 egg
1 t. sweetener, hopefully a natural sugar or honey
1 t. shredded coconut if you like

Mix all ingredients and put in a coffee mug. Microwave on high for 50 to 60 seconds. Cool for a few minutes and dump your muffin out of the mug. You can put some jam or butter on while it is still warm and enjoy!

Simply,
Mary

Eggplant Parmesan

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Last Sunday I made this in my sun oven and it turned out real yummy.

Eggplant Parmesan

1 large or 2 small eggplants, sliced.
I fry the slices in olive oil (you can dip them in Italian breadcrumbs first if you like).
Drain the slices on paper towels and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
I use a jar of spaghetti sauce with cooked sausage sliced into it, but here is one you can make from scratch:

Sauce
2 (28oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (16 oz.) can peeled tomatoes
1 (16 oz.) tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T. oregano and basil
3/4 C. sugar to taste

Let sauce cook for 10 hours; simmer slowly. After sauce has simmered for several hours, you may put a pound of sweet Italian sausage (cut into bite sized pieces) or ground beef into it.

Layer a 9 by 13 inch glass pan with fried eggplant, alternating with heavy spoonfuls of sauce. Top entire dish off with grated mozzarella cheese. Place in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!
Simply,
Mary

Sun Oven Cooking

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Why not use some of this summer sun and heat to make supper? We purchased a sun oven after we saw it demonstrated at our local farmer’s market. We bought it to use when camping, but quickly found that it can be the most efficient way to cook at home too. I love the portability of the oven and you can check it out at www.sunoven.com. Most stove top and oven recipes can be adapted to be cooked in a sun oven and it is a great feeling to use solar power in this way. I have had luck baking my brownies and even yeast bread in mine.
Simply,
Mary

Egg Muffins

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Here’s a simple way to make a bunch of individual egg omeletts, perfect for brunch:
Egg Muffins
6 eggs
1/2 C. milk
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 C. chopped zucchini
1/4 chopped red bell pepper
2 T. chopped red onion (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl until blended. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
Spoon evenly into 12 greased muffin cups (I line mine with silicone liners, because this mix REALLY sticks!).
Bake just until set, 20-22 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes. Remove from cups; serve warm.

These are great to bake the night before and refrigerate. Quickly re-warm in the microwave in the morning for breakfast.

Simply,
Mary

 

Circles, Cycles and Soap Dishes

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I get lots of satisfaction from seeing something go full circle. There is a song sung by Joni Mitchell called “The Circle Game” which I enjoyed singing to my children as a lullaby and they loved to hear it too! It tells of a child going through life as the seasons turned and cycled using the image of painted ponies going up and down and round and round on a carousel. Just getting back to where you came from is satisfying and you can use the analogy everywhere. Who doesn’t feel at least a little joy when you are listening to a catchy song and the chorus repeats allowing you to sing along even when you haven’t caught on to the other words yet. Then there is the whole cycle of life of all living things. Whether it be us humans like in the song who live out our hopes and dreams through life until the last revolving year is through or the kitchen scraps that end up in the compost bucket to be returned to the earth to grow our vegetables next year, the circles and cycles never end……….

Which brings me to soap dishes. I am a retailer’s nightmare! I can usually find a use for any raw material and it saves me from buying something new for my purpose. At some point, a number of years ago, we switched to using liquid hand soap instead of bars. Since then, there has been some mysterious business going on in the drawer where I keep soap bars, because those little ones that we’ve gotten at hotels have multiplied to a quantity that could keep our hands clean for a few years! So to keep these little pieces from just sitting there, I needed to get them busy on their cycle of cleaning hands. For soap dishes, I tried sponges, which get all slimy and stinky or small plates and bowls, which the bars liked to get glued to as they dried. Well, on Sunday I had used my last lemon for a chicken marinade and the little yellow plastic mesh bag caught my eye. I cut off the paper label and folded it up under my soap. It is so airy that it lets the soap dry fast and at the kitchen sink, it makes a wonderful scrubber for plates and pots, cleaning as it goes with the soap that is left in it. Then it rinses right out and goes back to work as a super soap dish. Just put a small plate under it if you want.

So there you have a way to recycle those little mesh bags………I’ll have lots more recycling ideas to keep those circles moving so we can all play the circle game!

Simply,
Mary

Meet Alice

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Whether it’s because I got to name her, or the fact that she has stayed so tiny, or because she is the one clucking to me above my head on a perch as I am cleaning the hen-house, Alice is my personal favorite. Since we were empty nesters for the first time in 35 years, the week before Easter in 2011, we decided to fill our nest with chickens. Dave and I drove to a little poultry farm and hand picked six little baby chicks, just 4 days out of their eggs, all different colors and breeds. They proceeded to hop, peck and chirp their way into our hearts and by six months later we were enjoying their delicious and nutritious eggs. They keep us smiling each time we go out and observe their behavior, whether it be hen-pecking, chicken fighting, being cocky, or brooding, we now have a much better concept of what that all means when someone accuses us of it!

More on our backyard hens later,
Simply,
Mary

Cabbage Leaf Sandwich

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cabbage sandwichI have been trying not to eat so much bread, so I designed this sandwich using cabbage instead:

Cabbage Leaf Sandwich

Large cabbage leaf

Slice of Swiss cheese, pepper jack, cheddar,or any favorite

Ham, chicken, turkey or beef, either sliced or cubed

Salsa (optional)

Spread the cabbage leaf out and fill with everything except the salsa. Fold leaf over the filling. Grill on a panini sandwich press or George Foreman grill for 5 minutes. Transfer to your plate and top with salsa and a side of black beans if you like.

Delicious and nutritious!

Simply,
Mary