Thursday, July 22, 2010

The One With All the Pictures...

Ok, so this post is actually a combination of my "normal" Wednesday and Thursday posts. On Wednesday night, I felt like being crazy and cooking a meal with my tomatoes from the garden AND THEN making and canning some tomato juice after that. Whew. I was tomato-ed out after that. But, I remembered to take pictures and so, voila, here are both recipes on my blog!!!

Cast of Characters: 8 oz. mushrooms, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 red pepper, 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup red wine, 2 teaspoons (or so) Italian seasoning, 1 onion, 2 Roma tomatoes, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 package of cheese-filled refrigerated tortellini, and a large yellow squash (or 2 or 3 small zucchini, whatever you have on hand).

Heat your 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat.

Chop your red peppers, onion, and mushrooms.

Heat your garlic in the oil.

Add your first round of chopped veggies. Let it cook down for 5 minutes, until the onion is tender and the mushrooms have begun to shrink.

While the first round of veggies is cooking, chop up your tomatoes.

After 5 minutes has passed, add your tortellini and tomatoes.

Add the red wine and water.

And, add the Italian seasoning.

Stir, then cover for 10 minutes to let the veggies cook down and let the tortellini get al dente.

While that's cooking, slice up your yellow squash (or zucchini).

Add to the mix. Stir and let cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes, until the squash is crisp-tender.

Lastly, remove from heat and add the parmesan cheese. Now you're ready to enjoy. It was REALLY good and REALLY simple, which, if you ask me, are the very best recipes!

*Here's the recipe in case anyone wants to look on the website: Tortellini and Veggies.*

Okay, now we're switching gears a bit. It's now time for "Things I've Made (at Home) Thursdays." And, I realize it's on Friday, but see my previous post for an explanation.

First things first, you need 3 pots. One large one for the tomatoes. One medium filled with hot water, for the jars, and a small one, filled with hot water, for the lids.

And, you need tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes.

Roughly chop the tomatoes, making sure you cut off all the bad parts.

Now, put them in the large pot and turn it on to medium heat.

Cook the tomatoes down, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes (until they look like this).

Then get out your food mill or sieve or fine mesh colander (whatever you need to use to separate the peels from the "meat"). Process all the hot tomatoes (careful not to burn yourself, like I did) until all the juice is extracted.

It should look like this.

Put it back in your large pot and bring to a boil. During this time, add some salt (a couple teaspoons), some sugar (I used about 2 tablespoons) and a little vinegar.

Bring the water in the other two pots to boil.

After a top secret process, you have canned tomato juice! Actually, it's not so much that it's super secret as it is impossible to take pictures during the canning process because I was at the house by myself. Here's the secret process: Take the boiling water in the medium pan and pour it in your jars (sitting in the sink, not pictured) until they're completely full (overflowing is nice.) Using potholders, carefully grab the hot jar out of the sink, pour the water out into the sink, take the jar over to the tomato juice, fill the jar with the juice, and wipe the rim off with a wet paper towel (you don't want it to be sticky). Then, using a pair of tongs, take the lid (2 parts: rim and sealing lid) and put on top of the jar. Screw the lid on (but not too tight) and set down on a kitchen towel. After you hear the pop (the seal, you know, sealing), you know it's good to go!

Confusing? Yes! Possibly painful? Only the first few times. Worth it? Oh, yes!

Thanks again, to my great, wonderful, amazing friend Dacia who taught me how to do this. We always can together, but she was on vacation this last weekend, and I was up to my ears in tomatoes, so I had to try canning myself. I did okay, but I'm more comfortable when Dacia is near! :)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Consignment Store Finds

My mom and dad were in town this past weekend. We had an amazing time. On Saturday, we went to the new College Street Diner downtown and then went to the SKY Farmer's Market and got the most amazing watermelon and cantaloupe (but food is not the point of this blog, so I'm getting back on subject). After that, the guys and girls split off to do our own thing. The guys went and killed time at Best Buy (and came home with a new television and blu-ray player, I might add!), and Mom and I went (where else?) shopping!

I took her to Beverly Hills Bargain Boutique because she hadn't been there for a long time. Well, we hit the jackpot. I found 2 The Limited tops for $10 each, and Mom found Cache and New York and Company tops for $10 each and a Talbots skirt for $12. Now, while these may not be truly high-end designers, the fact that we got all 5 items for a lower price than we could have bought the skirt new (even on sale) at Talbots says a lot. I can't wait to wear my new tops.

Then, we went to TJ Maxx...another favorite of my mom's and mine. My mom bought me a shirt. It's so cute. I can't wait to wear it, either!

So, I'm back in the swing of things, blog readers. I am going to Lake Erie for a week coming up soon, so I need to find some cute "beach" wear: sleeveless tops, long dresses, skirts, etc.. I know exactly where I'm going to go, too: Beverly Hills Bargain Boutique! I'll post more about my findings (you know, after I actually find them!) :)

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mid-Century Modern Monday

So, there's this place outside of Bowling Green. It's actually really close to Barren River Lake State Resort. It's so cool. And, it's got all sorts of mid-century modern furniture. Amazing.

The owner came over to our house last week to look at maybe purchasing our couch (which, yes, I love, but it's just really time to move on and get a new couch) and she told me all about some places to shop for mid-century modern furniture. Yay! Next time I'm up in Louisville, I'm most certainly hitting up 2023 Antiques to see what I can find.

But, blog readers, you would be wise to take this advice: next Saturday, get in your car and take a nice, leisurely drive to Paradise Point in Allen County. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What We've Cooked Wednesday (I mean, Thursday).

Still trying out title ideas for my weekly recipe blog. Work in progress, sorry.

I found this recipe and had to try it.

Sorry that there is no cast of characters this week. I was sick on Monday when we made this, so John David cooked and I took pictures. Don't I just have the most wonderful husband? He cooks and cleans and does the laundry! I just love him so much!

Anyway... back to the recipe.

First, you take 4 Roma tomatoes and chop them.

Open a can of sliced ripe olives. And a can of artichoke hearts (not pictured). Chop those.

Heat some oil and garlic in a skillet.

Chop up 2 chicken breasts.

Cook it in the oil and garlic.

After the chicken is cooked, add the tomatoes, artichokes, black olives and some italian seasoning. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes.

These are the final three ingredients: romaine lettuce, feta cheese and fresh basil.

Add the final three ingredients, let the lettuce wilt down and there you have it. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

It was really VERY good. And, very easy. It only took about 20 minutes, tops.

In other news: we have finished painting our guest bedroom, and I will be decorating it tonight. And, soon, we will start on the study. We have chosen a color called Bear Claw for the study (which looks nothing like it sounds). Can't wait to see it. I will post "after" pictures of the guest room and "before-and-after" pictures of the study. Why only "after" pictures of the guest room? Because "before" it was a non-room. Not even worth the picture space. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I promise I'll be posting a recipe and pictures tomorrow.

I was sick on Monday, so I've been really busy at work and haven't had the opportunity to blog.

Plus, we're painting some rooms in our house, so I've been busy at night as well.

But, be assured, blog readers, that I'll be blogging soon. Tomorrow, actually.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dill Pickles, Sweet Pickles and Salsa...Oh My!

So, about 2 1/2 weeks ago, I made dill pickles. They had to "age" about 10 days before we could eat them, and let me tell you, they are absolutely delicious!

After I went to Kroger last night, I was feeling especially brave (not to mention completely overwhelmed at the number of tomatoes and cucumbers I had filling up my tiny kitchen) so I made both sweet pickles and salsa.

I haven't tried the sweet pickles (they will be ready tonight), and the salsa was WAY too hot (in my opinion because I like mild to medium salsa), but it still tasted good. If you don't mind searing heat on your tongue. :)

Recipes are as follows:

Dill Pickles

Sweet Pickles:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 tablespoon mustard seed
6 cups sliced cucumbers

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.

Pack the sliced cucumbers into jars, pour vinegar mixture over the cucumbers evenly so there's the same amount in each jar. Put the lids on and store in refrigerator. Ready to eat in 1 day (I hope).


5 or so San Marzano tomatoes (or romas or regular or a bunch of cherries...whatever you like)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1 onion (I used Vidalia)
2 jalapenos with seeds (if you want it really spicy). 1 jalapeno with or without seeds (depending on how spicy you want it).
Juice of 1 lime.
Handful of cilantro.
2 teaspoons or so of salt (once again, to taste).

Put it all in your food processor and pulse until the desired consistency.

I will DEFINITELY use this recipe again (considering I made it up...but I'm not bragging or anything).

There you go. No pictures because my camera's batteries are dead, and I had NONE in my house. Probably should have picked some up at the grocery. Oh well...

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Change (Part 2)...

So, this is what I looked like up until last night at, oh, around 11:00:

And, this is what I look like today:

Yep. It's a big change. But I like it. John David likes it. Guess that's all that really matters! :)

I am going to stop apologizing for not updating my blog (because it's my blog and I can write what and when I wanna...), but I'm going to let you know that I have been slacking on my homemade duties. I haven't been out working in the garden in about a week. I haven't cooked in longer than that. I haven't made anything from scratch. But, I'm going to the grocery tomorrow night, and I also have so many tomatoes ripening that I have already started preparing to make some meals with them. Here's what's going to be served for dinner soon in the Ryan household:

Chicken Mediterranean Pizza Skillet
Tortellini and Veggies
Sauteed Tomato and Onion Sandwiches

And...lots of homemade salsa and pesto and pickles. Yep. I'll take pictures and be a good blogger once again. I just have to get back in the cooking saddle. So, sorry (darn it...there I go apologizing again)!!