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Posts from ‘June, 2011’

A whole lot of cooking going on

picture of Jennifer Beans

There was a whole lot of cooking going on here this weekend. A friend invited us out to pick green beans and blackberries from her large garden on Saturday. It was a bit cooler than it has been and we were able to pick a large bucket of Italian Flat Beans and a little over a quart of wild blackberries. I worked on freezing up the berries and the beans Saturday afternoon, saving out enough of the beans for lunch on Sunday. The beans were very good--nice and tender.

picture of Blackberries Sauvages

I've been trying to use up things in my freezer the last couple of months and discovered some frozen bread dough I had purchased right before Nora's wedding in April. I had never used purchased dough before then, but thought it might come in handy during the busy weeks before and after the wedding. We all agreed that it does taste good. My only complaint is that it's a bit hard to roll out into another shape if you are trying to use it for something other than a loaf of bread. Do any of you have any tips to share about using frozen dough?

picture of Stromboli 6-25-11

I made some stromboli from one of the loaves using this recipe:

One of our favorite muffin recipes calls for grated orange peel, so whenever we eat oranges I try to use my trusty little Sunkist grater to grate the peel and stick it in the freezer for future use. I usually grate and peel a couple at a time so the oranges are ready to eat.

picture of Grating Oranges

Last week I ran across a recipe for Banana Pudding from a website:

picture of Assembling Banana Pudding

It made a nice cool and easy (but very rich!) dessert for Sunday dinner. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. Everyone, that is, except Ryan, who is thriving on his limited diet. 🙂 I had some whipping cream I needed to use up this time, but I do want to try to "lighten up" the recipe the next time I make it.

picture of Banana Pudding

Here's an updated picture of Ryan:

picture of Ryan 6-26-11

He has started grasping at things and he really focuses on toys and ceiling fans at the moment. We are looking forward to the next couple of weeks when our two grandsons will get to meet each other.

Hope you had a blessed weekend.


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Economical main dish #4

We've been busy lately around the house working on a few small projects. Next week is my last week at work, so I've been trying to remove all my personal items and leave things in good order for my replacement. We have several family anniversaries and birthdays that we will be celebrating in the next couple of weeks. After things settle into a more normal schedule I hope to post with a bit more regularity. 🙂 Anyway, here's another good ground beef recipe. My photo isn't the best, but the finished product is very tasty. We love meatloaf and I have several different recipes for it. This one came from Pillsbury and it's pretty enough to serve for company.

picture of stuffed meatloaf

Layered Italian Meat Loaf

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
8 oz. tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. garlic powder
pepper to taste
Italian Seasoning to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella
9 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained (I wring it out in a dish towel)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with foil (directions follow.) Spray with pan spray. In a large bowl mix the ground beef 1/2 cup sauce, egg, bread crumbs, garlic powder, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Pat half the mixture into the loaf pan and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Spread the spinach over the cheese, sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese, and then add the remaining meat in another layer on top. At this point I like to carefully remove the loaf from the loaf pan using the ends of the foil and place it in a 9" x 13" baking pan or roaster. I don't like to bake meat loaf in a loaf pan because I prefer that the fat drain off of the meat rather than accumulate in the bottom. Bake the meat loaf for about an hour and 15 mins. or until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees. Carefully place the loaf onto a platter and slice and serve. Heat the remaining tomato sauce and pour on top of the loaf. (I usually slice the loaf and then arrange the slices nicely on the platter if I care about the presentation.) This is good with mashed potatoes.


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Weekend update

We went to the lovely wedding of our daughter-in-law's sister Friday night. It was held at a beautiful location called the Acanthus on Lake Lyman in Greer, SC. There was a bit of delay at the start of the wedding because of a thunder shower, but eventually things could proceed as planned.

The owners built the house with the intent of using it for weddings and other receptions. Here's the front of the house:

picture of Front Of House

They have this old car which they use to speed the bride and groom away after the reception:

picture of Old Car

Here is Elizabeth, the bride and her father, David walking down the lawn toward the lake where the wedding was held:

picture of Liz And David

Here are Mark and Katie:

picture of Mark And Katie

The reception was held in a pavillion there on the property. It was a dessert reception and the food was beautifully presented. The groom just graduated from Clemson and this was his cake:

picture of Clemson Cake

Here are a couple more shots of some of the other food items:

picture of ReceptionFood1

picture of ReceptionFood2

Since Mark and Katie were both in the wedding Rob and I were given the task of watching Ryan for a while before and during the ceremony. He was very good and actually slept during most of the ceremony itself. Here he is with his doting grandpa:

picture of Ryan Rob 6-10

Here he is with his doting grandma:

picture of Ryan Becka 6-10

Here's another shot while we were waiting out the rain storm:

picture of Ryan6-10

And, finally, here's a picture of the newlyweds as they were about to leave for their honeymoon in their own vehicle.

picture of Michael and Liz


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Economical main dish #3

picture of Hamburger Stew

I have to admit that I love potatoes. We don't eat them as frequently as we used to, but I really do enjoy them. They are especially tasty in this dish.
This recipe is sort of a compilation of several that I have tried over the years. You can vary the meal by using what you have available.

Ground Beef Stew

*1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 stalk celery, sliced (optional)
4 medium red potatoes cut in half and then sliced
2-3 carrots, sliced
**1 can tomato soup
1-2 cups water (you can adjust the amount to make your desired consistency)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 heaping cup frozen peas

In a large skillet cook ground beef, celery, and onion until beef is no longer pink. Drain off grease. Add the tomato soup and water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook until tender. Season with the thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the frozen peas and continue cooking just until they are heated through. Add fruit or salad and bread and you have an easy meal to put on the table.

*I like to buy large packages of ground beef and cook the meat with some onions, drain, package and freeze. This makes meals like this go together in a flash.

**If you don't have tomato soup you can use 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and a bit more water.

**If you don't care for tomatoes you can just use 2-3 cups of water or beef broth. This will still be very good in MHO. 🙂


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Economical main dish #2

I know I said in my last post that I would be posting some ground beef recipes, but then I remembered this tasty dish. 🙂 I saw a recipe similar to this awhile back and tweaked it to my taste. It is very colorful and delicious.

picture of Roast Veg Primavera

Oven-Roasted Pasta Primavera

1 medium zucchini, sliced
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium red or yellow pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz. smoked sausage sliced
8 oz. dry pasta
Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place vegetables in a large shallow roasting pan. Add oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bake 15 mins. and then stir and add sausage. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to package directions. Top the cooked pasta with the sausage and vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4-6 servings.

This reminds me of another tip I have been wanting to share. Until just the last couple of years the only Parmesan cheese I ever purchased was in a green can. While this was O.K. and helped with a tight grocery budget I have discovered that freshly grated Parmesan is tastier. It is quite expensive and I had worried that it might mold and have to be thrown out before I would use it all. I have learned that since it is a very dry cheese it keeps quite well for several months. I buy a large wedge and then cut off a small piece that is more manageable for handling and then wrap the pieces in plastic wrap. I have not yet had to throw any away. So, if you can afford the initial investment I would encourage you to take the plunge.

picture of Fresh Parm

On Sunday Mark, Katie, Ryan, and Nora came over for lunch. Unfortunately, Topher had to work. We all enjoyed seeing Ryan who is now eight weeks old, weighs about thirteen pounds and has been sleeping through the night.

picture of Ryan 6-2

While he was here he ate, slept, and had a much needed diaper change. We had set up the pack'n play in case it was needed for a nap. I started taking it down Wednesday while I was fixing supper, but didn't finish. When we returned from church we kept hearing muffled meows and Clementine had jumped in and since the upper layer was partially unhooked she landed in the bottom and couldn't climb or jump out. Here is a fuzzy shot of a ruffled cat:

picture of Clemmie Trapped


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