Friday, August 31, 2012

Honey Lime Tilapia

The original recipe may be found here. My version is below. 

Honey Lime Tilapia
4 fresh (or thawed) tilapia filets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup flour 
additional olive oil for frying
lime juice for drizzling

In a bowl, combine olive oil, honey, lime juice and zest, and crushed garlic. Pour over tilapia and let marinate. Add flour, a bit more salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, and lime zest to a bowl and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Dredge each piece of tilapia through the flour until you have a very light coating. I did marinade-flour-marinade-flour for a thicker coating. Add tilapia to the oil and cook until flaky and crispy on each side – about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove tilapia from pan and squeeze half a lime of juice over the fish. 

We ate this with steamed broccoli and cauliflower. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shrimp with Garlic

Yep, this is another one of those recipes I mentioned on Monday... Last night for dinner we had "Shrimp with garlic, on a bed bowtie noodles with parmesan cheese, with ribbons of corn". Haha- like my attempt at a fancy restaurant meal description?

On another note, I'm thinking of changing the blog title to Casa de Kangas. The domain is available, and since I'm no longer living in an urban area, it doesn't really fit for me to remain Urban Gardener Anna. Thoughts?

Anyway, back to the recipe... The original can be found here. But here's my version:

Shrimp with Garlic (about 3 servings)
2 Tbsp olive oil + 2 Tbsp butter (not margarine)
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 to 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder 
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and butter. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and paprika and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Increase the heat to high, add the shrimp and lemon juice, stir well, and sauté until the shrimp turn pink and are opaque throughout, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, and garlic powder. 

Serve over pasta that's been mixed with parmesan, pepper and butter. 

You'll notice my version of the recipe does not include the white wine or parsley, because for some reason I forgot the parsley even though it's in the recipe's title.We also added more fresh garlic and garlic powder because it didn't taste garlicky enough. 

Next time we make this, we'll add a sauce because the pasta was a little dry. I was expecting more sauce from the shrimp... My intent was to serve steamed broccoli and cauliflower with the shrimp, but we had some leftover corn on the cob that needed used, so it took priority.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice bake

For the original recipe for the Cheesy Chicken and Rice bake, go here. For my version, see below.

3 boneless skinless chicken breast, simmered until cooked through and shredded with forks
1 can green chilies
2 cups brown rice, raw, cooked per package instructions
15 oz can corn
30 oz can pinto beans (because Aldi's doesn't believe in smaller cans of pinto beans for some reason.)
Cheddar cheese (I used about half of a 12 oz bag of shredded cheese)
1/2 c salsa 
1 c sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt) 

You also need to add spices! I was telling the Hubs as I was assembling this dish that it must have been created by an American housewife that's never eaten real Mexican food. Add garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Chili powder would also be good. I'd say about 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, cumin and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder. 

Mix everything together, reserving some of the cheese to sprinkle on top.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is melty. This made about 8 servings in a 9x13 pan. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Roasted Garlic, Sweet Pepper, Steak and Mushroom Couscous

For lunches for the Hubs this week, I made Roasted Garlic, Red Pepper and Mushroom Quinoa, from this website, which I also found through Pinterest. I modified the recipe to use couscous instead of quinoa, and also changed the type and amount of peppers and mushrooms, and I added steak.

1 head garlic
1 box of couscous (5 servings)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 mini sweet peppers
about 8 mushrooms, chopped 
1-1/2 lb of steaks, cut into 1/2" cubes
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the top off the garlic and peel away the loose outside paper. Drizzle olive oil on cloves, wrap in foil, and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool.
Cook couscous according to package directions. While couscous is cooking, heat a skillet on medium heat and cook the steak. When almost done, add olive oil, red pepper and mushrooms and saute until soft, about 6-8 minutes. When couscous is done, fluff with a fork and add to peppers and mushrooms. Squeeze the entire head of garlic cloves into the couscous, mashing some with a fork and leaving others whole. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
The Hubs modified the recipe by adding leftover chunks of pineapple to the top of each container. This made 3 "man-sized" portions.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Burritos

Can I eat just the filling? Raw? I almost would!

For lunches this week, I made Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Burritos, from a recipe on this website, which I found on Pinterest. 
2 whole Sweet Potatoes, Peeled And Cubed Small
2 whole Jalapenos Diced
1 whole Red Pepper, Diced Small
1 whole Red Onion, Diced Small
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 pinch Salt And Pepper
1 can Black Beans, Rinsed And Drained (15 Ounce Can) cups 
Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
2 teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice
2 cups Shredded Cheddar
1 package Burrito-Sized Wheat Tortillas Or Wraps (6-10 Count)

In a bowl, toss your raw veggies in olive oil and season with spices. Place in a large baking dish and roast in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, tossing around halfway through.
Let cool. Add your roasted veggies to a can of rinsed black beans. Add cilantro and squirt of lime juice. Combine gently. At this point, mixture can be stored for later use.
Warm your wheat tortillas or wraps in microwave according to directions on package. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray or olive oil spray.
Add two heaping tablespoons of vegetable and bean mixture to center of wrap. Top with shredded cheese. Fold over, fold in sides, place in pan and continue to roll the others. Place into your baking dish, seam side down so that they stay together.
Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Baking this way will make the tortilla wrap crisp. For a softer burrito, spray burrito with nonstick spray, then wrap in aluminum foil and bake for same amount of time.
Makes about 6 burritos.

This made 5 burritos, plus about 1/3 cup leftover filling. I took the advice of wrapping them in aluminum foil and then baking them, so they would be easy to pack in my lunch.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Meals for week of 8/27/12

When the Hubs and I lived in Springfield, we worked different shifts. I worked 8-5 and he worked 3:30 to midnight. We rarely saw each other during the week, and didn't eat together during the week unless I started missing him and decided to take him lunch during his evening break.

Living here in the Cape area, we now work very similar shifts. I work 8-5 and he works 8-6:30 (four 10-hour days). We get to eat breakfast and dinner together every day now. Which means I have to cook for two every day of the week. Usually I'm in the middle of making dinner when the Hubs gets home, as I've either gone to the gym or walked Freddy after work and then book it home to cook!

I've been taking my lunch to work for most days of the week, but I also cook dinner and recently started cooking the Hub's lunches as well. This week I am making:

My lunches:
Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Burritos
Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad (This is if I run out of burritos)

The Hub's lunches:
Roasted Garlic, Red Pepper and Mushroom Quinoa (I'll post my revised recipe for this later, as I added beef and used couscous instead of quinoa!)

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake (We had this for dinner last night and there are at least 2 more meals in the pan. I'll post my revised recipe later!)
Shrimp with Garlic and Parsley
Crispy Honey Lime Tilapia 

Where did I find all these recipes? Pinterest!

Apparently his coworkers think his meals are fabulous and are always asking "What did your wife make today?"

Making a House a Home

When the Hubs and I bought our house in Springfield, our house never felt like a home. I think because we both knew it was a temporary location until we were finished with school and decided where to raise a family.

When we looked at the house we recently purchased, the first thought that ran through my mind was "I could make this house a home." I can take this house and fill it with memories, good cooking smells and a family.

I typically arrive home before the Hubs. When he arrives home, I usually making dinner and he typically (slightly sarcastically) says "Lucy, I'm home!" and I feel like we really are home.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freddy's new home

Freddy is moved into his new "home" at the farm. Dad and my brother built a fence between the old house, shed and cow pasture so Freddy can run around without being chained all day. He is currently chained at night so he doesn't get a wild hair and chase after the cows in the pasture.

Mom's parents donated this dog house to Freddy. Dad painted it and the fence silver. I think this color is temporary... 
You can see the cats don't mind him too much. He's learning to be diligent about eating his feed as soon as I put it out, otherwise the white cat decides to munch as well. 
Freddy's view all day. Jealous?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

House Progress

 We've been steadily working on our house. The bedrooms and bathroom are pretty much complete, except for some decorating.

No after photo yet, but here's the inside of the drawers!
In the kitchen, I lined all the drawers with a patterned Contact paper. We painted the cabinets all white; they were polyurethaned oak and they made the kitchen seem really dark. I'm slowly unpacking kitchen boxes. It is taking a little longer than normal for several reasons: 1. The boxes have been in storage since October, so there is dust, 2. We bombed for bugs when we moved the boxes to this house because we saw some spiders and roaches when moving boxes from the storage building to the Budget truck, 3. I found mouse poopies in some of the boxes. Needless to say, EVERYTHING is getting washed before going in the cabinets.

 The spare bedroom is painted and the bed is set up. We only have fleece sheets for this bed currently, so I will be shopping for new sheets and a comforter soon.

 The bathroom was all beige and we painted the walls yellow and accented with grey. The shower curtain, bath mat and towels are all shades of grey. The white bookshelf looking thing in the lower left of the photo will be hung near the toilet. In our previous houses we've always had piles of magazines and books by the toilet. I told the Hubs we are only limited to what will fit in this bookshelf and then we need to downsize the pile.


Our bedroom walls are the same color as the spare bedroom, except for the accent wall at the head of the bed. It is called "Grey Flannel" but appears purple, blue or grey depending on the lighting and what accessories are near it. We temporarily have our living room end tables in the bedroom, until we order our bedroom set. Then we'll finally have a headboard for the kingsize bed, with a matching dresser and matching side tables. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ooh baby!

My sister in law is having a baby! We already bought some items off her registry, but I wanted to give her some handmade items, too.

I made two baby bibs. The pattern for the pink and tan one can be found here. The pattern for the purple one can be found here.
My mom made the bootie/bonnet set. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

2012 Color Run 5K St Louis

Saturday, I participated in my first 5K, in St. Louis. It was called the Color Run, and was downtown. The charity supported by this 5K is Autism Speaks. There were four "stations", where we were pelted with color. See below for a map of the route and color stations. 

We stayed in the Hilton Downtown and walked to and from the event. There were over 15,000 people and I'm glad we didn't have to find a parking spot!

We registered as a team, but didn't have shirts made or anything. But there were several groups we saw that had themes. A lot of tutus. This group of women wore wigs and goggles.
this was blacktop
The color that was thrown at us was a mixture of corn starch and coloring. It was in squeeze bottles, like what you see BBQ sauce in at restaurants.

The color filled the air. Made for interesting colored boogers later.
The only requirement for the event was that we wear white shirts. We were covered in color at the end. Made for interesting showers!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Farmer Freddy

Freddy is getting HUGE! I still walk him twice a day, and every day I am shocked at how big he is getting and how much more pull he has on the leash. 

For awhile we were walking without the leash, but then the cows were moved to a different field and he decided it was fun to jump through the barbed wire fence and chase the cows, so the leash came back out.

My brother and I play a lot of football with him. Kind of like that game "Keep-away" we used to play when we were little. Daniel and I throw or kick the football back and forth and Freddy chases after it. Sometimes he gets to it before we do, but not always. 

The chickens are also getting big. In a couple weeks we'll probably start butchering roosters. 
Mid-crow photo: cock-a-doodle-doo!

Typical - Freddy trotting down the road with his tail up in the air and waggin'
Freddy is very curious about his surroundings. He makes me laugh everyday. Yesterday on our walk, he saw a turtle that was pulled inside its shell. Freddy went over to smell the turtle and it poked its head out of the shell; Freddy jumped back about a foot. It was hilarious! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to injure yourself

1. Decide to paint the wall above the bathroom vanity light fixture.
2. Make sure to tape off the light fixture so you don't get paint on it.
3. Unscrew half the light bulbs from the 6-bulb fixture since they will get really hot and make it sauna-like to paint in the bathroom.
4. Start painting, then (inadvertently!) rest your arm on the light bulb while you're reloading the paint brush with paint.
5. Don't realize that your arm is on the light bulb until you start painting again and wonder why on earth your arm is so hot.

Yes, that happened to me this last weekend. I was painting and burnt my arm pretty badly. I ran it under cold water for awhile and put ice on it. Last Tuesday the blister popped. The blistered area was about 1" square to start with. Wednesday I went to the doctor last Thursday and he gave me a prescription for a burn cream they use on burn victims.

For the last week I've endured questions about my suicide attempt. Seriously. Do I really look that unhappy with life right now? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

House work

This weekend we started painting the house. The crew consisted of my parents, brother, the Hubs, and on Sunday my cousin came over and helped.

Filling up the paint roller - kind of like a big syringe!

The Hubs decided to get this new toy from Lowe's. It's a paint roller, but the paint is stored in the handle of the roller. He painted the entire bedroom in probably less than 10 minutes.
The Hubs and my Dad were trying to use a Wagner spray gun to spray paint the cabinet doors, but the paint kept splattering. They thought maybe the paint was too thick, but even after thinning it down, it still splattered, so we decided to roll them instead.

Friday, August 3, 2012

What's left behind

 This is the first time I've moved into a house and there was stuff left behind. Random stuff.

Some of the stuff I expected: light bulbs and fly swatters. The aluminum foil and silverware was a little odd.

And then what I found in the bedroom was even stranger. 

Both times that the Hubs and I looked at this house, it just felt "right". I've joked with him that both times we visited the house, the sun was shining through the trees and I could almost hear an angelic "ahhh-ahhhh" singing. 

Last night I was prepping the rooms for painting, removing shelves and wall mounted accessories such as towel racks and light switch covers. 
 And then this assembled puzzle fell off the top shelf of the second bedroom. An angel/fairy. Creepy? or a sign?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

House Hunters: Rural SE Missouri Edition

Some of you may know that the Hubs and I have been looking for a house for awhile now. In January we made an offer on a house about 1-1/2 miles from the farm. The house was a short sale and in July the mortgage company selling the home decided they weren't selling it short sale anymore and that we would have to either purchase it at the courthouse auction or make an offer on it after it went through the foreclosure process. I was devastated. The house needed a lot of work because it had been vandalized and I wasn't looking forward to months of sheetrock, electrical, plumbing, flooring and painting, but I was looking forward to a home. 

In the meantime, the Hubs and I looked at another house. We looked at this house back when I first moved to the farm last fall, but at that point we didn't have enough money for a downpayment. And it seemed a little too far from the farm. (A whole 8 minutes)

Here are the specs on this house:
about 1300 square feet, no basement (slab house)
about 3 acres, with several spot places ideal for the Hub's dream shop, and a garden and orchard, and pool
no vandalism
requires repainting and new flooring, but not a complete remodel
8 minutes from the farm

Here are some before photos for you:
The front of the house. The two car garage is very small. We're thinking it will eventually be remodeled into a master bedroom suite. The house definitely needs some landscaping!
The living/kitchen/dining are all one big room. I'd like an island in the kitchen. And we need to figure out some new flooring; there are stains on the carpet.  I really don't like carpet, but wood flooring will cost as much as furnishing the entire house.
View out the back door.
The smaller bedroom had this lovely wallpaper border with bulldozers, dumptrucks and other construction equipment. My brother removed it while I was working on removing the beautiful wallpaper border in the bathroom.
 See? Lovely.
 The larger bedroom is a deep blue.
We have plans for painting this weekend! Colors are already chosen to coordinate with the new bathroom towels and bedroom comforter.

More before and after photos coming soon!
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