Friday, July 25, 2014

Zucchini Fettucini with Alfredo Sauce


My Mom was a gadget junkie, and it was always fun to see what the latest gadget was in her cabinet, and how it worked.  She had some pretty good ones that did some amazing things. I am not as "gadgety" as my Mom… mostly because I usually forget that I had a special gadget to do that special task… and if I do remember, it would take me a half an hour to get it out of the spot I had so carefully put it so that I could have a place for it when I wasn't using it, and when I was done with it, it took me another half an hour, to clean it up and put it back.   But, with that being said, I do have the occasion when a gadget catches my eye and I want to try it out.  This little Native Spring Spiral slicer, aka Zucchini Linguini maker was one of those occasions.  I saw it on Amazon, and liked the idea of it, because I have been wanting to come up with more creative ways to eat my veggies as I mentioned in back in May.  So I ordered it, and have had some fun with it.  This is not a promotional, by the way…I'm just saying.


And now, I give you: "Zucchini Fettucini with Alfredo Sauce";  Zucchini Fettucini, Zucchini Linguini,   I like the sound of them.   Steve loved my Zucchini Linguini.  As I have mentioned before,  he is a vegetable lover so he's been enjoying my "brainstorming"of vegetables and some of the recipes I have come up with. This recipe was fun.  Textures are an important aspect to the enjoyment of food.  For some reason turning Zucchini or squash into the shape and texture of linguini type pasta makes it extra inviting in my mind.  So if you have a vegetable slicer that will give you're veggies a shape like this, pull it out for Zucchini and squash season.  If not, slice your veggies up the way you like, and follow the recipe from there.




Prepare your vegetables: Run the squashes and carrots through the spiral slicer.  Slice the mushrooms, dice the onions and mince the garlic.


Begin by sautéing the garlic in two tablespoons of butter.


Add onions and sauté.


Add the sliced mushrooms. and 2 Tablespoons of Olive oil.


Add Carrots,


Zucchini,


and Yellow Squash.


......and stir


.....and saute until vegetables are tender but not over cooked.


See, its like Linguini... Spaghetti.... Fettucini; yum.


If desired, add  sliced chicken.


Place in a bowl and pour Alfredo sauce generously over the vegetables.


Stir together with fresh Basil or Parsley.


Serve as a side dish or a main dish.







Zucchini Linguini
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 small Zucchini cut like linguini
1 small Yellow Squash cut like linguini
1 small carrot shredded
1 small onion diced
8 oz of mushrooms diced
1 large clove garlic minced
1 or 2 leaves of fresh Basil or Parsley.
Sliced chicken breast (optional)

Instructions:
  1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan.
  2. Add minced garlic and sauté. 
  3.  Add Olive Oil into pan.
  4. Add Remaining ingredients one at a time and sauté gently until vegetables are tender.
  5. Place into a bowl and top with Alfredo sauce.
  6. Serve as individual servings accompanying a main dish, or add Chicken and serve as a main dish.



Alfredo Sauce
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups half and half
3/4 cup mozzarella or any white cheese
3/4 cup parmesan cheese grated

Instructions:

  1. In a medium Sauce pan, melt butter and stir in flour.
  2. Add Half and Half and whisk as you pour to keep the flour and butter well distributed.
  3. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Reduce heat and add cheeses. 
  5. Stir until well blended.
  6. Pour over pasta or vegetables.


Enjoy!




Monday, July 21, 2014

A Quick Couch Makeover



This couch was my Mom's couch, and now it sits here in our family room.  It was a beautiful couch in her Henderson, Nevada home, and now it is handsome couch in our Colorado Western home (at least I think so). At first I didn't think it was something I would have picked out  for myself, but I have come to realize how much it really fits with our "somewhat" "Cowboy" decor.  It has a "Western" look underneath all of the classy pillows. 


I do love the color and texture of her pillows (above), but they are the source of the clash.


We realized that the fringe and the metal tacks give the couch  that "Western" look, that we like,  and the couch fabric reminds me of a cross between burlap, linen and cordoroy

We decided if we changed out the couch pillows, we could change the look of the couch in a big way. 

So I took three of the pillows and made them new cases.  I went with a Faux Cow skin, which I got for 40% off at Hobby Lobby and some faux leather, which was purchased as a remnant.  

In less than an hours time I had the pillows done.

We liked it.

I took the turquoise colored pillows and put them downstairs in our den…. and they went perfectly there (sorry no picture yet).  Then I took two small leather pillows from down there and put them on this couch.


Before

After




Pillows are a great way to change up your decorating, without a huge expense.


Have a great week everyone!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Streams in the Wasteland


The sun is shining today, as it was yesterday… and the birds are singing.  It is beautiful out… its green; something we haven't seen in the middle of the summer in several years… green.  We have had an amazing week of rain, followed by this lovely sunshine yesterday and today… not scorching dessert sunshine, but comfortable beautiful sunshine. The grass is responding to all that rain and now sunshine by actually growing… the plants and veggies are loving it as well.  Rain; it is a blessing from God.  You appreciate the rain when it is scarce. I've always loved rain in the dessert.  In Arizona we got some tremendous rain… but only a few times a year.  It always gave a sense of wonder to us as kids when we were growing up… we would get our "inner tubes" or rafts out and take a ride in the washes… we didn't realize it was dangerous, it was just exciting to see all that water; we wanted to get in. There is something special about rain in the dessert, which probably  needs no explanation.  All thirst longs to be quenched.  The last few years, it has been almost like a dessert here in Colorado where we live; so much drought has taken its' toll. This week, we have been refreshed. The grasshoppers have been washed away (I have been praying for that.  So far they have not returned). The garden beds that Steve built me have held up well, and have protected all the vegetables from the hail we have had on several occasions. Everything is flourishing.  Steve and I video taped the rain we had a week ago.  What a deluge; I always think of the power of God in storms like that. I had to share it with you. I had a hard time getting the video to load, and then my son told me I would need to make a You Tube video to get it to load… so I did.  A "first" for me; I feel very proud.  I am sure that many of you wouldn't even blink at the accomplishment, but I always feel as if I am getting somewhere when I can actually figure out any of today's technology, and it really was easy to do after all. My film making skills aren't the best, and because I don't think of myself as a very good narrator, there is no talking in the video, but if you like to watch storms, I think you 'll like to see this,  and you will be able to see what a flood we got.   The river in the video is usually just a trickling stream this time of year; and the past few years has been dry.  I am filming through our upstairs window, and it is almost dark out; the flashes are from the lightning, not my camera blinking in and out.  Have a wonderful week end everyone.

 Blessings,


See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
Isaiah 43:19, 20



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Box Cake



You don't have to heat up the oven to make this one, which makes this classic dessert a great summer time treat. It is cool, creamy and delicious. I made this one for Steve's birthday dinner  last week, and ever since I have been thinking of making another.

The Ice Box cake became popular after World War I, during the 20's and 30's.  This was the time when people used an "Ice Box" to keep food cold. Thus the title "Ice Box Cake".  I think the title "Ice Box" must have hung on long after the Ice box was replaced by the refrigerator;  I remember our family calling the "Refrigerator" an "Ice Box" when I was growing up… and no that wasn't in the 20's and 30's…. it just so happens it was the 60's and 70's.


As for the Ice Box Cake, it remained popular for many years, and its popularity is rising again.  I have seen quite a few recipes for different variations pop up, which have made me want to make one of these cakes. Here is what an Ice Box Cake consists of: some type of cookie, (graham crackers, cookies or wafers), layered with Some type of cream (whipped cream or pudding), and put into the "Ice Box" for several hours or up to several days.  The whipped cream/pudding part causes the cookie/ graham cracker part to become cake-like as it sits in the refrigerator. It comes out like a very elegant dessert.

 For this recipe, you will begin by making 1 recipe of pudding (2 cups needed).  Click here for the homemade vanilla pudding I used in the "Berry Cream Pies".

 When pudding has cooled, mix it together with 2 cups of sour cream .  I did this the day before, and stored the pudding mixture in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it.

Measure 1 cup of peanut butter and 1/2 cup whipping cream into a medium sized mixing bowl.

Mix together until well combined.

 Add Pudding and Sour Cream Mixture to Peanut Butter Mixture and mix together well.

Slice bananas and have graham crackers and bananas ready to layer.

Begin to layer cake starting with Graham Crackers.

Top with pudding mixture…

then a layer of banana slices….

then another layer of pudding….

and graham crackers again.

Repeat all layers until all is used up.



Top with Whipped Cream.  Refrigerate 2 hours or more.

 Serve and enjoy.



Peanut Butter Banana Ice Box Cake
Ingredients:
1-2 sleeves graham crackers (I use whole grain organic) 
1 recipe vanilla pudding (store bought or make your own
2 cups sour cream 
1 pint whipping cream ( set aside 1/2 cup to mix with peanut butter)
1 cup peanut butter
3 medium bananas sliced
2 Tablespoons Organic Powdered Sugar  or Stevia to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:
  1. Make vanilla pudding and set to the side to cool.
  2. Add Sour cream to vanilla pudding and mix well.
  3. Mix together peanut butter and 1/2 cup whipping cream in a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add pudding mixture to peanut butter mixture and mix well.
  5. In an 8x8 casserole dish, begin layering ingredients as follows: graham crackers, pudding, bananas, pudding, graham crackers and so on until all is used up.  
  6. Make whipped cream with the remaining whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, by combining  all three ingredients together and whipping with mixer until peaks form.
  7. Top the cake with whipping cream (I put mine into a cake decorating bag and piped it on the top.
  8. Put  the cake into the "Ice Box" and chill for 2 or more hours.  
  9. Enjoy.