Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Haunting!

In honor of All Hallow's Eve, later called Hallowe'en, and now Halloween, this post is a short list of Halloween cards that I have gotten in the past:

Card 1:
When the orange moon is glowing
and the monsters roam about,
When you hear the distant echo
of a scream and then a shout,
When you sense a creature near you
even though it is unseen...
Then bolt your windows-
shut your door-
It's time for Halloween!
*This poem actually tells some truth about the origins of Halloween.  According to Irish Celtic tradition, the ghosts (aka spirits) of persons past were better able to wander Earth and "communicate" with the living.  People did not want bad spirits to harm them, so they would dress up as the opposite gender or as scary creatures to confuse or even scare the bad spirits.  Hence the idea of dressing up for Halloween began.

Card 2:  A Halloween Wish
Autumn leaves
that dance in flight,
jack-o'-lantern light,
everywhere tonight...
Have a Wonderful Halloween!

Card 3:
spooky tales
eerie sights...
Halloween is always always filled
with magical delights,
So enjoy all the fun,
and have a spooky, good night!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween and that your new year (according to Medieval tradition) is as good or better as the last!

Luana ola!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Going Green!

I made my first batch of vegetable broth for the season.  My "recipe" is so easy (and sorry for the lack of pictures, it's late and I didn't feel like getting out my camera...) I simply collect scraps of veggies from throughout the week such as:  broccoli stems, the hard vein of greens, carrot tops/shreddings, and leftover uncooked vegetables that are about to go bad, and anything else on hand (especially lots of herbs and spices).  I throw all of it into a large stock pot, cover with water, and simmer for about an hour.  This week, I had some cranberries leftover (story to follow) so I added those and t gave the broth a nice pink hue and a little bit of a stronger taste.  After the veggies are finished, I strain the broth and freeze it and chop the super soft veggies to put in a pocket pie.

Cranberries:  My first attempt at drying cranberries was a major fail, but I learned how to do it right for next time.  I thought that I could just stick the berries in the dehydrator and let it do its thing.  Well, the berries got dry alright; after 3 days and the insides were hollow!  I learned that before dehydrating, you need to either cut each cranberry in half or blanch them to break the skin.

Pocket Pie:  I like to make my own version of pies (like the ones you hear about from old London times).  Basically, I take unbaked bread dough (like the sourdough that I have been religiously using), roll it out to about 1/8" thickness, spoon the veggies in with some fresh herbs/spices, garlic, a little salt, and sometimes tomato sauce/cheese.  You can also play with the flavors.  Adding teriyaki sauce and pineapple would be good.  It all depends on your taste preference and what you have on hand.  This is one of the best quick and healthy dinners that practically cost you nothing!!  Please try and let me know what you did and how it turned out :)

I am also going to try to make my own homemade vanilla extract!  I found a great recipe from here!  A customer from my work said that you only need 3 pods per cup of alcohol!  This can make so much vanilla extract!  Yes, the initial cost is pricey, but the outcome is amazing and will actually save you a great deal of money.  Not to mention the fact that this would make a great gift for the holidays to those of your friends that bake a lot!!!!

Whew!  I guess I had more to say tonight than I expected, but it's time to retire and hit the books one more time before bed!

Luana ola!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkins pumpkins everywhere!!

Tis the pumpkin season!   Although the weather is definitely getting colder :( I am happy for the outburst of local pumpkins and apples around!  These two foods are not only my favorite foods of all time, they are also astonishingly good for you!  Here's the facts:

Apple (1 medium = 3" diameter) has:  95 calories, 4.4g fiber, 19 grams of natural sugar, 11mg of calcium (bones), 9 mg magnesium (muscle and nerve function), 8.4 mg vitamin C (eye site/protect from free radicals), and many other essential nutrients.

Pumpkin (1 C cooked, boiled, and drained without salt):  49 calories, 2.7 grams fiber, 37 mg calcium, 22 mg magnesium, 74 mg phosphorus (bone health), 564 mg potassium (electrolyte balance), and 12230 IU vitamin A (bone growth, vision, reproduction, cell division...) Note: an IU is an International Unit, which is used for the fat-soluble vitamins of A, D, and E.

The giant pumpkin that ate the smaller pumpkin! (Andrew and I carved this on Sunday while watching football)

All the other pumpkins that we bought and are going to consume (seeds and all)

My first batch of pumpkin seeds (recipe follows)

Pumpkin Seeds:
Preheat oven to 380 degrees.  Make sure the seeds have been rinsed, and set out to dry over night.
Coat with 2 t olive oil, 1/4 t salt, 1/4 t cumin, and a sprinkle of ground nutmeg.  Bake for about 15 minutes, checking and tossing every 5.  They are done when they are golden and crispy!!

Oh, and I have also been making my own bread!  I am using the one from a few posts can store the batter in your fridge for up to 12 days and the longer it sits, the more it tastes like sour dough!  All you need is 3 C warm water, 1 1/2 T salt, 1 1/2 T active dry yeast, and 6 C flour of choice (I have been using rye, whole wheat, and corn meal).  Let it proof for 2 hours then either bake in 1 lb batches at 375 for 45 minutes, or store in the fridge or freezer until you are ready for fresh bread!

Enjoy the local harvest and luana ola! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Beautiful Fall Weekend!

Although most of my weekend was consisted of working and homework/studying, Andrew and I did get to spend some time outside to enjoy some of the AMAZING weather we have been having!  It has been sunny and high 70s all week!  After some fun at the Halloween store on Saturday night, we woke to a beautiful sunrise, ate a quick breakfast, and headed outside to start our chores so that we could be done in time for football.

Andrew decided to do a little more relaxing before the work began...

 Flying leaves!!!!
 This is Bailey wearing her skeleton costume:
 It was a wonderful day, although the Titans lost (one of Andrew's favorite teams).  I had to leave at 6AM so I could make it to my 8AM class on time at Carthage and this is what I saw as I was walking down campus to my class...It has been like this all last week, I can't get enough of the lake!  I can't even imagine what Hawaii will be like, especially because Andrew and I will be together more often!
 A spider web in between the branches; kind of hard to see.  I love this time of year!!
 And finally, on the way home from school, I saw this tree while stopped at the red light just before my house.

I hope everyone has had a chance to get outside and soak up all the benefits of being in the sun (like Vitamin D and emotional happiness)!  The sun is one of nature's elements that can cure many illnesses.

Well, look forward to next week's post!  It's our 1 year anniversary (of dating)!!!  I can't believe it.  

I hope you enjoy my posts as much as I enjoy experiencing and sharing them with you!

Luana ola!