Saturday, August 30, 2014

Orcas Island - camping at Doe Bay {#gocamping} #getoutside #nature #pnw #washington

For years now we have wanted to go up to Doe Bay on Orcas Island.  Well, okay let me rephrase that I have wanted to go to Orcas Island actually ever since I read about Doe Bay.  Yes, I have been dreaming about this place that sounded so magical.  Sitting at a cove right above water it looks absolutely magical plus the resort is complete with a Sauna and hot tubs.  Now, you may not yet know this about me {and Ron} but we love Sauna; and as if not going to Germany would not be already hard enough for me but the thought on missing out on my several weekly trips to the Sauna just added more salt to an already open wound.  So yes,  since this is  was our summer of living outdoors and camping we reserved a walk-in spot at Doe Bay.  How was it?  Oh my - beyond absolutely magnificent; truly a walk in spot but it was basically just us right above the edge of the water.  Sea otters were feasting right by our campsite, the view of the water, the tranquility, the stars…it was such a reward for the seemingly long walk to the site.  Plus have I mentioned the Sauna yet?  Such a magical place - a beautiful big Sauna right behind the sunken hot tubs with views to the bay.  Yes,  we may have spent a couple of hours there every single day…just pure bliss.

Those of us living in the Pacific Northwest surely have all heard about the San Juan Island an archipelago located in the northwest corner of the United States and are part of Washington State.  There are a total of about 400 islands of which 128 or so are named and they lie between the continental coast of Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.  There is ferry service to four of the islands - San Juan, Lopez, Shaw, and Orcas - from Anacortes, Washington.  The islands are a nature lovers dream…wild life, hiking, sea kayaking…pure bliss; and yes getting there is already part of the fun; I mean who does not like to arrive at their vacation destination by ferry?!
Take a look…

After about an hour on the ferry we arrived at Orcas and drove straight to Doe Bay which is at the other end of the island.  The drive took us through the quaint village of Eastsound as well as through Moran State Park right below Mount Constitution….outdoor heaven, friends. Now can you guess how we spent our days?!  Oh yes,  we hiked…one we went up to Mount Constitution and walked up the last 1.2 Miles on the trail up

An other day we hiked around Mountain Lake

On the rainy day our not so much into hiking Mia Rose went on strike and refused to go on a little hike.  So Alena and I set out on our own on a little hike at Obstruction Pass State Park, yes we did get soaked but were ready for the Sauna and hot tub :)

But what about the kids?  Did they have fun?  YES - I can assure of that, we all made great friends and the kids had lot's and lot's of playtime {as well as s'mores} with their new friends while the adult had lot's of great conversation with our new friends.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention a few other great things about Doe Bay - not only is it scenic, relaxing but you will also meet the nicest people every plus there are showers, and a guest kitchen with two stoves, two refrigerators plus a dining area.  Perfect for camping on a rainy day…and meeting new friends

All of us caught the same ferry back to the mainland or America as they say on the island when it was time to say good bye….

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Crispy Chicken Legs for #SundaySupper #BacktoSchool {#dairyfree}

Time flies and we are still enjoying the rest of our summer…but you know what will happen next.  Right?!  It is back to reality - school is back in session, we all go back to our usual busy work days and activities.  This is the time when many of us look for recipes that are quick, delicious, and come together in a snap.  So without any further ado welcome to this week's #SundaySupper Back to School event bringing us over 40 different easy recipes.  The event is hosted by the lovely Tammi of Momma's Meals and Gwen of Simply Healthy Family; be sure to visit them.  Thank you for having us.

In our house an easy dinner means it is something that does not need a lot of preparation and can just be popped into the oven.  Chicken-legs fit that bill perfectly.  They are delicious, versatile, the entire family loves them, plus often there may be leftovers that can be turned into dinner the next day, or lunch.    This is why I bring Crispy Chicken Legs to the table today.  Juicy, yet crispy and on the table in less than 45 minutes.  First off, let me apologize for the bad picture…yes, it is not one of my best but please believe me that these chicken legs are absolutely delicious….

Crispy Chicken Legs  - {serves 4 with leftovers}
  • 6 skin on, bone in chicken legs {the entire leg - thigh and drumstick}
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1/4 Dijon Mustard
  • 2 - 3 C Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 TB of Poultry Seasoning Herb Blend {I use Spice Hunter}
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
 *** Preheat the oven to 425F ***
  1. Prepare one or two large shallow baking dishes
  2. Combine Panko crumbs with the herb seasoning and place into a shallow large plate
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken legs; lightly rub it into the meat
  4. Generally divide the mustard among the chicken and rub it onto the meat
  5. Roll the chicken  in the Panko herb mixture and thoroughly bread the chicken.
  6. Place the breaded chicken into the baking dishes and place in oven
  7. Bake for app. 45 - 50 minutes until juices run clear
  8. Serve with rice and a large side salad.

Are you now ready to check out all the other amazing recipes?! Be sure to check out all these other amazing recipes…
Back to School Beginnings
Back to School Lunches and Simple Suppers
Back to School Sips
Back to School Super Snacks
Back to School Sweets and Treats

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Make Pesto Cubes for #SundaySupper {Saving Summer}

Happy Sunday, all!  Welcome to the Saving Summer #SundaySupper event hosted by Stacy at Food Lust People Love and Tara at Noshing with the Nolands.  It is the time of year when produce is available everywhere in abundance, tomatoes are at their best and plants are overflowing, zucchini is everywhere, basil plants are over producing…it is also the time to preserve the harvest for the long dark winter months to come.  There is nothing like a sun ripened tomato in the middle of winter…

My canning method of choice - well, it may be a little unorthodox but I love it - freezing.  Yup, that's right.  I blanch beans then stick them in freezer bags.  Tomatoes? I cut out the stem, place them in freezer bags, and freeze them just like that.  Extra's get slow roasted and also frozen.  I pop blueberries into containers and yes, freeze them.  Peaches get blanched, sliced and frozen.  There are also strawberries as well as cherries and Pesto Cubes.  The only problem?  It seems that I am running out of space in my freezer….

Now let me tell you a little bit about Pesto Cubes - they are awesome; for a quick dinner I pop a cube right into the hot pasta and let it melt into it.  They are delicious plus so super easy to make.  Get all of the ingredients together and blend them in your kitchen machine.  Scoop individual servings into an ice cube tray, let them freeze, and when frozen pop them out to place in a freezer bag.  They are ready to go…

Pesto Cubes - makes about 20 cubes
5 C {packed} fresh basil, washed
2 C walnut
1 full head of garlic, individual cloves peeled {about 15 cloves or more}
1/2 C lemon juice
1 C olive oil
1 TB salt

***2 clean ice cube trays***

  1. Place basil, walnuts, and garlic in a kitchen machine. Chop fine.
  2. Slowly add lemon juice
  3. Slowly add olive oil
  4. Add 1 TB salt and mix in
  5. Using a teaspoon carefully scoop pesto into the tray
  6. Place in freezer
  7. When frozen - about 8 hours - gently pop the individual cubes by sliding a knife around it's edges out of the ice cube trays.  Place immediately into freezer bags.
  8. Put on pasta, soups, etc.  - Add cheese if desired when cooking

Now be sure to check out all the other great ideas on how to save summer….

Learn how to …

Sip sunny cocktails and smoothies

Scoop up special salsas and sauces

Jump into jellies, jams and preserves

Pucker up for pickles

Slurp and spoon soup and a side dish

Dive into divine desserts

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Veggie Medley on Polenta for #ChooseDreams #WeekdaySupper

Happy almost mid-August.  I am excited to participate in this month's #WeekdaySupper with the theme of quick as well as easy meals to fit a Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle  sponsored by American Family Insurance.  Every day of the week we feature a different recipe for a dish that is healthy and on the dinner table in about 30 minutes;

Monday –     Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Couscous & Heirloom Salad by Foxes Love Lemons
Tuesday –     Chick Pea Tabbouleh with Grilled Chicken and Artichokes by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
Wednesday – Black Bean Lettuce Wraps with Grilled Corn Salsa and Cilantro Lime Rice
                      by Ruffles & Truffles
Thursday –   Bacon Ranch Quinoa Chicken Salad by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Friday –       Summer Veggie Medley on Polenta by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

be sure to check out the Health and Fitness #ChooseDreams Pinterest board for many recipe ideas as well as tips.

This is the time of summer when produce is available in abundance from gardens, in CSA shares, in the grocery stores and on the Farmer's market; buying seasonal vegetables is economical and sensible on the budget.  Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini…are all reaching their prime right now which also equals healthy dinners. It is easy to fill the plate with vegetables that are filling and yet satisfying.

One of our favorite summer recipes is this easy Summer Veggie Medley with added garbanzo beans for protein served over smooth, comforting polenta.  The perfect dish!!!  All you need to do is cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces, toss with olive oil, and pop the dish into the oven.  Make the polenta while the vegetables are baking and in about 30 minutes dinner is on the table.   It is a dinner my entire family loves...

Summer Veggie Medley
1 eggplant + salt to drain
2-1/2 lbs tomatoes, diced
2 zucchinis, sliced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
3 small onions, coarsely sliced
6 garlic cloves, coarsley chopped
1 can garbanzo beans drained
1/3 C olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper or more to taste
1 C grated Parmigiano Regiano {optional}

4 C vegetable or chicken broth
1-1/2 C polenta meal
2 tsp Earth Balance vegan "butter"
1/2 C grated Parmigiano Reggiano {optional}

*** Preheat oven to 450F ***
  1. Cube, and salt eggplant; place in a colander and set aside. 
  2. Prepare all the vegetables
  3. Toss the vegetables together with the drained eggplant cubes {drain the water} and the drained garbanzo beans in a large bowl together with the olive oil
  4. Place the vegetables in a large shallow baking dish {I use a pyrex type dish} stir the vegetables after about 15 minutes {be careful not to burn yourself} Bake for a total of about 30 minutes or until vegetables are fragrant.
  5. While vegetables are baking prepare the polenta.  Note: this will take no more than 15 minutes.
  6. Heat broth in a large pot; when the broth starts to simmer slowly add polenta.  Using a wooden spoon stir the into the liquid.  Be very careful, as the polenta will splatter.  Turn down the heat and continue stirring until desired consistency.  Add vegan "butter" {or butter} together with the Parmigiano Reggiano {if using}to the polenta.  Serve once the butter has melted. 
  7. Add salt and pepper to the vegetables to taste.
  8. When ready to serve - arrange the vegetables on top of the polenta and enjoy.

American Family Insurance encourages us to follow our dreams,   #ChooseDreams and thrive. Healthy food choices combined with an active life style not only can help us reach our dreams but it also gives us more energy.   For many great ideas and suggestions to reach your dreams be sure to follow #ChooseDreams  and connect with American Family Insurance on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+,YouTube, or LinkedIn

Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Spinach Pancetta Beef Rouladen {Spinach Panchetta Beef Roll-ups} for #SundaySupper

This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Sunday everyone;  I am so excited to participate in this week's Celebration of Beef for Sunday Supper event.  Today twenty of us will feature a variety of different beef dishes; each one with a different twist.

Beef is a favorite in our house any time of year ~ a quick stir fry, a delicious special occasion steak, a nice roast, stewrouladen, gulasch and yes when camping beef is our dinner choice. We just returned from our camping {tenting} vacation to Orca's Island and guess what we had for dinner?  Yup, you are right it was beef;  beef is so versatile.  We thinly sliced a steak and placed it in the pan with onions, peppers as well as seasoning for easy beef fajitas. Another night we fried up lean ground beef with seasoning for beef tacos. It was perfect!

For great beef recipes and ideas be sure to  follow our Beef Pinterest Board, follow The Beef Checkoff on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Are you ready for Spinach Pancetta Beef Rouladen? Delicious thinly sliced beef stuffed with spinach, pancetta, sun dried tomatoes, and walnuts spell perfection.  A perfect summery twist on the Roulade I make in the winter time; instead of pancetta you can also use prosciutto. Take a look - what do you think?

Spinach Pancetta Beef Rouladen

4 slices of beef roulade
   1 Tb salt
   1  tsp pepper
   1  tsp dried Italian herbs
   1  tsp fresh lemon zest {from an untreated lemon}
1/2 C fresh basil {packed}
1/4 C walnuts
   3 TB Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
   4 garlic cloves
   1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
   8  thin slices of pancetta or prosciutto
   1 C walnuts, toasted in a pan and coarsely chopped
1/2 C dried tomatoes finely sliced
   2 C washed fresh spinach
       Kitchen twine
For roasting
    2  TB Canola OIl
    1  large carrot, cleaned and chopped {1-1/4 C}
    1  medium fennel bulb, chopped {1 C}
    1  medium onion coarsely sliced
    1  TB tomato paste
  1-2 tsp salt
    2  tsp Italian herbs
    1  tsp pepper
  3/4 C  dry red wine
     3 C  water
For the gravy
1-1/2 TB honey
   1/2 tsp  dried chili flakes {or more to taste}
      1 TB lemon juice

*** Preheat the oven to 350F***

  1. Lay out the beef roulade {thin slices of top round work great}
  2. Lightly the meat with the salt/pepper/herb seasoning {you may have some leftovers of the rub}
  3. Prepare the pesto by placing all of the ingredients in a food processor; process until the ingredients come together into a smooth paste
  4. Divide the pesto among the four rouladen; smooth the pesto onto the entire roulade {inside only}
  5. Place two slices of pancetta or prosciutto onto each of the rouladen
  6. Divide the nuts and tomato slices evenly among the four rouladen and spread on top of the pancetta{prosciutto}
  7. Top each roulade with spinach
  8. Carefully roll up each roulade and tie it with twine {here are more details}
  9. Heath the oil in a oven proof dutch oven  
  10. Brown each roulade {I brown two at a time} from all sides.  Once they are browned from each side, take them out of the pot and set aside.  When all of the rouladen are browned
  11. Add - if necessary - a little bit more oil and roast the carrots, fennel, and onions until fragrant.  
  12. Add the tomato past and roast for another minute or so
  13. In the next step add the wine, carefully stirring up all bits and pieces {be careful not to burn yourself}
  14. Add back the rouladen together with any juices that have collected on the plate
  15. Add the water and bring everything to a slow simmer.  
  16. Cover and place in the oven; cook for about 90 minutes turning them every 30 minutes.
  17. When the cooking time is over, remove the rouladen from the gravy.  Place them on a plate, wrapping them in foil.
  18. Pour the gravy together with the vegetables through a strainer.  Press the vegetables through the strainer.  Return the smooth gravy to the pot; bring to a slow simmer then add honey, lemon juice, and chill flakes to taste.
  19. Place the rouladen together with any juices that have collected back into the gravy.  Gently reheat the rouladen.
Yes, there are quite a few steps but it is definitively worth the effort.  Mia Rose ate an entire roulade by herself…

Serve with oven roasted potatoes and a large salad.  Enjoy!

Now check out all the other amazing beef recipes...
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

  Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


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