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Posts from ‘August, 2010’

An update from the convalescent home


Things are improving here at our convalescent home. Nora is regaining strength and mobility. She still tires easily and knows when she has done too much, but her pain level has greatly diminished. Thanks to all who have prayed for her and sent her greetings and other evidences of care and concern.

Last week Rob and I ventured out for supper one evening to the Pita House, which is one of our favorite places to eat. We both had the lentils and a Greek-style salad and then did a bit of shopping in the Middle Eastern grocery part of the restaurant. I think I have mentioned before that I like to get some of my spices there and I always get some kalamata olives and some of their domestic feta. They also carry a good selection of dried beans and seeds such as poppy seed and sesame seed. Another thing I purchased was a small container of their fresh hummus, which is delicious. When we got to the check out counter I discovered that we had purchased enough to qualify for a free package of pita bread.

I did a little research and decided to make pita chips to serve with the fresh hummus. They were very easy to make and they stayed nice and crisp in a Tupperware container for several days after I made them. Here are the directions:

picture of Oiling Pitas

Pita Chips

Pita bread
Vegetable oil

Seasonings of your choice (I used Goya Adobo all purpose seasoning from the Hispanic section of the grocery store. You could use seasoned salt, garlic powder, cumin, or a blend of your own.)

Cut the pitas in half and then separate the halves into single layers. Cut the individual layers into quarters (you can stack the layers if you would like.) Place the pieces on a baking sheet and brush them with oil. Sprinkle them with the seasonings. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 mins. or until they are slightly browned and crisp. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Let cool and serve with the dip of your choice.

picture of Seasoning Pitas

Enjoy your tasty snack!

Becka


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A local bargain


Here's a quick shout-out to my readers in the Greenville, SC area: The Rite Aid drug store on Wade Hampton Blvd. (across from Dunkin Doughnuts) has a big sale going on right now with many, many products for 50% off. I heard one of the salespeople saying that they are going to reconfigure the store and will be carrying more groceries and fewer other things. So, if you are nearby you might want to check it out.

Becka


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My favorite eggplant


When we were first married DH planted a pack of six eggplant plants in our little garden. This resulted in nearly 100 large Italian type eggplants. After that summer I didn't want to face another eggplant for a number of years.

More recently I have become rather fond of the longer, thinner oriental eggplants. The dark eggplant is one from our garden and the cute little striped ones are some that our neighbor grew in a pot on her deck.

picture of Eggplants

We were served eggplant in China that was really quite tasty and I have discovered a way to prepare it here at home that is similar to what we had there. The secret ingredient is: Hoisin Sauce:

picture of Hoisin Sauce

Rather than slicing the eggplant you cut it into small wedge-shaped pieces by turning the eggplant a quarter turn with each cut.

picture of Chopped Eggplant

Next you saute it in a bit of oil until it is tender. Then stir in a bit of the Hoisin Sauce and if you like it spicy you could add some red pepper or something else to give it a little kick.

picture of Eggplant Macaroni

If you have ever watched the film Ratatouille you may remember the signature dish that won the little rat respect as a chef. This is a link to a delicious recipe using eggplant. It is one of our summer favorites. (If you are interested in this recipe and can't get to this link please email me and I will give you details.)

Do any of you have any favorite recipes for eggplant?

Becka


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This and that


It's been a busy week at our house trying to tie up some loose ends before teacher meetings start next week at school and Nora has her back surgery on Monday. We would appreciate your prayers for her and for us as we try to help her in her recovery.

About the only new recipe I have tried recently is this delicious Spinach Orzo Salad. I used some orzo I purchased locally at the Pita House. It's a little larger than most orzo and it didn't have cooking directions in English on the package so I had to guess on the cooking times. My orzo was a little al dente, but we enjoyed it anyway.

picture of OrzoSalad

I found this recipe over at Tammy's recipe blog. She has many delicious recipes on her blog and if you enjoy cooking you will want to check it out.

Another salad recipe from her blog that we have tried a couple weeks ago is the salad like they serve at Olive Garden. The dressing was good, but next time I plan to substitute lemon juice for the vinegar. We thought it was a bit strong with the amount of vinegar in the recipe. It was amusing to me that DD Megan also tried this salad and posted about it on her blog! I guess we are both fond of Olive Garden salad and Tammy's Recipes.

So, if you are looking for a new salad for dinner one of these hot August nights I would recommend that you check out some of Tammy's recipes.

Becka


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Tiramisu


Update on Nora: Nora finally got through to the doctor who gave her the epidural last week and was told she could double up on pain medicine and come back on September 15th for another procedure. Her boss, who is an orthopedic surgeon got her an appointment with another doctor for this coming Wednesday to discuss surgery. In the meantime she is staying here with us and is in quite a bit of pain. Her most comfortable position is lying on her stomach on the floor. Her dog, Paisley, has been staying with Nora's boyfriend, but has come here for a visit for a couple of days to help cheer her up. Here is a picture of Paisley:

picture of Paisley

Here's a picture of today's recipe:

picture of Tiramisu

A friend at work gave me this recipe for Tiramisu. I'm sure this is not an authentic Italian version, but it's pretty quick and easy to make and we find it quite tasty. You can start with a bought pound cake or bake your own.

Tiramisu

slices of pound cake (enough to line a 9" x 13" glass dish)
3/4 cup coffee, cooled
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate syrup (Hershey's is good)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 small carton whipped topping
Toffee bits for garnish

Arrange cake slices on bottom of a 9" x 13" glass dish. (Use a fairly deep dish.) Drizzle coffee over cake.
Beat sugar, cream cheese, and chocolate until smooth. blend in whipped topping. Spread on top of cake. Chill several hours before serving. Top with toffee bits to garnish. Note: You can easily substitute low sugar, low fat products for the regular ones in this recipe.

Becka


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