I “Pickled” my Beets – Re: Garden Update

This does not in any shape or form resemble a recipe but I still wanted to share one of the joys of being able to grow some veggies in my little gardens! I didn’t have many beets, probably about a dozen in total but when I think beets, I think pickled beets or in the winter…. plain old boiled beets with melted butter on them.

Considering we are going through ANOTHER heat wave it was definitely going to be pickled!

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I boiled the beets. I brought them to a boil and let them simmer for about 30 – 45 minutes until softened. Next I peeled them. Once cool, beets are usually very easy to peel. The skin generally will “rub” off in large pieces.

Then it was time to slice them. The thickness is up to you. I generally slice mine to about 1/4″ thickness.

I placed them in a large plastic container, with a lid…. I knew I wasn’t going to actually “can” these because they don’t last long enough so the plastic container was perfect.

I put 3 whole cloves in the bottom of the container and then poured a mixture of vinegar and water over top to cover the beets. Again, this comes down to personal preference. While I prefer my to be very vinegary, Chris does not so I compromise. I use a 50/50 ration, give or take. If it doesn’t smell like there is enough vinegar I add more.

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And that’s it. I put the lid on the container and put them in the fridge to chill until we are ready to pig out! No science involved here, just personal preference and a bit of time!

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Sandie

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Sunshine Blogger Award

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We would like to start by thanking https://mwsrwritings.com for nominating us for this award. We really appreciate it… it always nice to recognized for something you create!

As per the nomination post, here are the rules!
Rules are…
Thank your nominator.
Link or ping the post back to them.
Display the picture on your post.
Answer their questions.
Provide questions for the nominated people you choose.

Note: As awful as it sounds, I am pretty sure that we were nominated for another award a month or two ago and I can’t seem to find the link so I want to apologize to the nominator of that award. It isn’t that we didn’t appreciate the nomination, it’s just that my injured brain forgets things and it got lost in the spaghetti that is my brain now. Our family has also been busy enjoying every moment of baby time, which can be very distracting (in a good way)!
First we will answer the questions given to us by our nominator, https://mwsrwritings.com (and yes, we will provide the link to her blog as many times as we can… we hope you enjoy reading her poetry as much as we do!):

1. What makes you cry?
Sandie: Sad movies, sometimes even ones with happy endings.
Kim: Post-pregnancy – EVERYTHING! Pre-pregnancy, and still more than most other things, anything involving animals. I can’t watch animal rescue or hospital shows without crying my eyes dry…. even when everything turns out okay. I watched a documentary while I was pregnant and cried for about 6 hours because the “mommy kitty” didn’t make it.

2. What gives you joy?
Sandie: Now, every time I see my new grandbaby smile!
Kim: My baby girl! Every day I think I couldn’t possibly love her more… and then the next day comes and I do!

3. What is your favorite book and why?
Sandie: This one is hard…. reading is my addiction… I don’t think I can give just one title so I will instead list a genre… paranormal mysteries
Kim: I’m not as big of a reading fan as my mom but if I find a book I like then I won’t put it down until it’s done. I really like the Inspector Gamache series of books by Louise Penny. I don’t think I could possibly pick one book that’s better than the others. She’s truly an incredible writer. She hooks me from the first page of each book.

4. Who is your hero and why?
Sandie: My hero is my grandmother, Emilie. She is the one person who has always, always, always, been there for me no matter what.
Kim: As a child, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my hero. Even today, most of my heroes are caped characters found in the pages of comic books (or on television). I not-so-secretly wish that I had super powers so that I could make the world a better place. When I return to reality, I think of those who have accomplished great things despite their situations. When I was in elementary school we did projects on heroes and I chose Helen Keller. Her accomplishments are extraordinary and still an inspiration to me. Similarly, I read a story a few years ago about a man with no legs who climbed Kilimanjaro. I keep his story at my desk at work. Not only do their stories help to put things in perspective when my life is going through a rough patch, but it inspires me to never stop reaching for my goals.

5. Favorite food?
Sandie: Potato Soup… this sort of reverts back to question #4. Potato soup is something that always reminds me of my grandmother as it is one of the favourite things she makes for us when we visit.
Kim: I second potato soup. Whenever I’m not feeling well, it’s always an excuse to ask my mom to make some. I would also add my mom’s cherry cheesecake. It’s always been my favourite.

6. Your reason for blogging?
Sandie: In all honesty, I/we started this blog more as something to try to occupy my mind while I have been off work for the past 2 1/2 year (and counting) from a brain injury. Living in the country and being unable to drive/work was giving me cabin fever and a lack of direction. Blogging ended up becoming a way for me/us to share the things that we love to make/do with other people.
Kim: While I haven’t been actively blogging for a while because of my pregnancy and now my time as a new mom, but I love having opportunities to write. Writing has always been a passion of mine.

7.Your favorite movie and why?
Sandie: An Officer and a Gentleman, even though I don’t generally like chick flicks AND I always cry when he carries her our of the factory lol!
Kim: Fight Club. Nothing compares to the twist of the movie the first time you watch it!

8. What is your favorite number?
Sandie: I don’t have a favourite number.
Kim: 27. I was born February 7 and so I’ve always considered 2-7 to be my lucky number(s). Since I got pregnant with my first child last year at 27 years old, I definitely still feel the number is lucky.

9. One thing you have learned about life?
Sandie: Shit happens, scoop it up and move on
Kim: One thing I’m still learning… you can’t control everything around you but you can control how you react/respond.

10. What would you say to your younger self?
Sandie: Don’t be such a dumbass lol
Kim: Take a chill pill!

11. One thing you’d change about the world and why?
Sandie: The ill treatment of children around the world.
Kim: I am so fortunate to live in Canada where we have free health care. I wish the luxuries of free health care could be afforded to others around the world.
OUR NOMINEES: Please check out their blogs!

https://daybydaymt.wordpress.com/

https://shopandbakewithconnie.com/

https://simplychronicallyill.com/

https://craftcirclediys.wordpress.com/

https://haphazardhomemaker.com/

https://crochetcraftingcom.wordpress.com/

Our questions to our nominees:

  1. What is your favourite lullaby?
  2. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  3. Favourite dessert?
  4. Favourite time of year, and why?
  5. If you could have a sit down with one famous person, who would it be and why?
  6. What is your favourite childhood place to visit?
  7. If you could own/operate your own franchise, what would it be?
  8. What is your favourite family recipe?
  9. Could you last a week without your cell phone?
  10. What was the best birthday you have had?
  11. Snowball fight or water fight?

Garden Update

I can’t remember what number “Garden Update” I am on but I really wanted to share the mini bounty I picked from the garden yesterday morning along with a progress report on some of the other things I’m growing!

This is what was ready to be picked! Some little red potatoes, cherry tomatoes and some beets. The beets I might “pickle” for later!

Last week I trimmed back most of the excess leaves on the big tomato plants in the hopes all the tomatoes will ripen faster. It seems to be helping. I was so worried I was doing it wrong and I was just going to kill the plant!

I have my first baby green pepper! It’s about 2 inches across and growing.

And here are my watermelons. I was very specific about calling them watermelons… according to Dillon I can’t keep asking people to come check out my melons lol 😳

I only have 4 of them so far but considering they were just an experiment I am quite impressed with myself lol!

As you can see, black thumb notwithstanding, I am actually managing to grow some veggies for my family and I to eat!

I have already started planning my “Garden Expansion” for next year 😮

Sandie

Air Fryer – Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings

Let me start by saying that Chris is on holidays, halfway through, and he has thrown my schedule off lol…. so I am blaming him for the lack of or tardiness of my posts! Sorry Chris!

Okay….until last week I had really only used my air fryer to make fries even though I know they are capable of much more….. so I decided it was time to try something different.  I chose chicken wings.  Chris LOVES chicken wings, Dillon eats them but he isn’t the fanatic that Chris is.

I have to say, these did turn out really well and they were thoroughly enjoyed! I served them with pizza made with the Pizza Hut Crust recipe I posted a few weeks ago!

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Sandie

keep reading!

Nutella Mousse

Sorry I have been absent for a few days. It’s been busy here. I had my out of town doctors appointment on Thursday, meaning nothing got accomplished that day.

Yesterday Chris and I were out on the water most of the day. We came home tired and sunburned but Chris was very happy the weather finally cooperated while he was still on holidays lol.

Before those two crazy days I made some nice Nutella mousse for dessert!

Sandie

Here are the 3 ingredients I used to make it!

I put the whipping cream in the bowl of the stand mixer with the sugar….

And whipped it until stiff peaks formed.

I added the Nutella…

And whipped it until it was mixed in and there were no streaks.

And that’s all it takes to make a flavourful Nutella mousse for dessert!

Recipe

Nutella Mousse

Preparation time: 5 minutes Servings:4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Nutella

Directions

  1. Add whipping cream and sugar to bowl of stand mixer and whip until stiff peaks form.
  2. Add nutella and whip to mix until there are no streaks.
  3. Serve in individual bowls.

Uncle Ben’s Beginners Cooking Lessons

I came across a very interesting website the other day. Uncle Ben’s is offering online cooking lessons, using their products, to teach kids how to cook!

What an awesome idea! Kudos to them for doing something like this!

I have included the link for their Beginners start page and will also include a link to one of the recipe lessons.

I hope it helps many kids start early and gain a love for cooking!

Sandie

https://beginners.unclebens.ca/en-ca/cooking-lessons

Here is a recipe for Chili and Rice to teach kids about stirring in a recipe!

Here is the link:

https://beginners.unclebens.ca/lessons/en-ca/activity/measuring

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner

I thought I would share a recipe I found at:

https://frugalhausfrau.com/2018/07/10/unstuffed-egg-roll-skillet-dinner/

It sounds so delicious!

Sandie

From https://frugalhausfrau.com:

I thought I might have made a new invention when I made my Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner not too long ago. See, I was going to make Egg Rolls, but for some reason, I was just ravenous.

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner

“Well, I’ll just put a few bites in a dish, and make Egg Rolls with the rest” were my famous last thoughts as I had a second bowl, then decided I needed to just make Egg Rolls another time. That filling is just so good! Best of all, it’s not deep fried and its low carb, too. So none of the guilt that goes with egg rolls. But then I had to do something with my Egg Roll Wrapper, right?! Oh well. Progress, not perfection, as the saying goes, but a few strips of the egg roll wrappers, fried up in a skillet made a fun garnish.

About Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner:

Well, as it turns out, there are other recipes for Egg Roll Skillets, so I’m not the “inventor” I thought I was. There ya go, I missed out yet again on fame and fortune. Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinners are a great idea so I can see why they’re getting popular on the internet and on Pinterest. All the goodness of Egg Rolls, none of the fuss or extra calories, so easy and so quick to make.

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner is just full of good stuff. Mine has cabbage, carrot, and celery, and can be made with ground chicken, turkey, pork or beef. All those veggies are so good for you to start with, but since it’s your skillet dinner, add anything else you’d like that even loosely fits the Egg Roll/Asian theme. Maybe water chestnuts? Bamboo Shoots? Mushrooms? Bell Peppers?

After my first go around with the actual Egg Roll recipe and the eating thereof, I made it a second time just as a skillet dinner, modifying it just a bit, then a third time. Because I promised myself I’d actually make the Egg Rolls and I knew if I started the filling again, I’d just eat it again, I bought two cabbages so I could make Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner and the actual Egg Roll recipe. The Egg Rolls will be coming soon, but in the meantime, enjoy this easy Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner.

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner

Making Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner:

This recipe couldn’t be easier and it’s so customizable. I started out with a pound of ground meat and 3/4’s of a head of cabbage along with the other veggies and I came up with that ratio because that’s how much cabbage fits in my biggest, 12″ skillet. If you want, you can play around with those ratios, less meat, more cabbage, less cabbage, more of the other veggies. You can even go vegetarian. Whatever floats your boat. You just can’t go wrong.

I did end up keeping a couple ideas from my egg roll recipe. One is to add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the ground meat mixture and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. It keeps the meat softer and more egg roll like and absorbs a little excess moisture. That step can be skipped if you’re short of ambition or time or if cornstarch (arrowroot can be used) doesn’t fall in your diet plan.

The biggest thing I did was to be true to the flavors of my very Americanized Egg Rolls. I love them, and the Egg Rolls have very simple flavors but a fantastic dipping sauce that I call My Favorite Asian Dipping Sauce. That dipping sauce is full of flavor: soy, ginger and garlic and scallions and sesame oil. And a few hot pepper flakes. So it makes absolute sense to me that rather than adding a lot of those flavors to the Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner to just make up a batch of My Favorite Asian Dipping Sauce, use it to flavor the skillet and pass the rest for those that want more zip. Then there’s bound to be a little of the dipping sauce leftover for another stir fry in the future and it keeps forever in the fridge.

Don’t forget the Sriracha for those that really want to add some zip to Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner.

My Favorite Asian Dipping Sauce

My Favorite Asian Dipping Sauce

Saving Money on Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner:

This is a skillet full of goodness at a super budget price. Really inexpensive as is, there are a few shopping strategies that can apply to lower the cost even more.

First of all, the ground meat can be chicken, turkey, pork or beef. Choose what you like and what fits your dietary and budget constraints. I lower the cost of ground pork, turkey or chicken by buying either the shoulder or whatever poultry parts, light or dark or a combo I want to use, respectively. Then cube it (keep it cold) and pulse it in a food processor, about a cup and a half at a time. You’ll have your ground meat for a fraction of the cost and you’ll know exactly what’s in it and what the meat to fat ratio is and know it’s clean.

Cabbage, onion, celery, and carrots are always some of the cheapest veggies and generally don’t go on sale in my area, except maybe around St. Pat’s. Check Aldi, especially for the onions, carrots, and celery. Cabbage is a hit or miss item there. When buying cabbage, watch for the per head or per pound pricing and if it’s per head, get the largest. If you really need a fast option, consider cole-slaw mix but you’ll pay 4 to 10 times over the cost of buying your own veggies and prepping them. Be sure to have another use (like cole-slaw) for the rest of the cabbage. Carrots are usually cheaper in the larger bags. Ginger I buy and keep in the freezer – it can be grated right from the frozen state.

The Asian ingredients are always cheapest around the Lunar holiday (usually January) when they’re often on unadvertised sale or at an Asian market. Did you know Soy sauce doesn’t have to go in the fridge? But the sesame oil does and if it sits there for a long time can solidify. Just bring it out ahead and it warms right up.

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner

Unstuffed Egg Roll Skillet Dinner

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • 1 pound ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or brown sugar, optional
  • 3/4 head medium sized cabbage, cut in shreds (see note)
  • 2 carrots, shredded or cut in matchsticks
  • 3 tablespoons Asian Dipping Sauce (see recipe)
  • 1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the meat and tablespoon cornstarch. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery and ground meat mixture. (If using ground turkey or chicken, add a tablespoon of oil first,) Cook, using a potato masher to break up the meat until meat is cooked through. Drain fat if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and sugar, if using.

Toss in the cabbage and carrots and drizzle with three tablespoons Asian Dipping Sauce. Stir and cover for two to three minutes. Uncover and use a spatula to turn mixture from top to bottom. Cook one to two more minutes until cabbage is at desired tenderness. Add a little water if mixture begins to darken and stick to bottom.

Garnish with green onions and serve with more of the Asian Dipping Sauce and Sriracha, if desired.

Note: if serving small children, you might want to cut the cabbage into more of a dice to make it easier for them to handle.