Friday, January 30, 2009

A Tale of Twelve Peppers

I heart bulk cooking. It saves time, money and just makes things run more smoothly when I have a meal to just pop in the oven or something easily "thrown together."
I don't do it often, but perhaps once a month, I'll shop at a local fresh fruit/veggie market and cook as much as I can. This time I bought a dozen green peppers that were on sale. Cut the tops off the peppers, parboiled these, and place them in ziploc freezer bags. This gives me an easy portion of pepper to add to a sauce, a stirfry or whatever needs it!
First things first--chopping up a head of green cabbage, 2-3 onions, 2 pkg mushrooms, minced a bulb of garlic, 2 yellow squash, 2 zucchini and some scallions--ooh and some red peppers to boot. Whew.
While that was getting done, the peppers without tops were parboiling (5 min each) in a big pot of water. Then I set them aside to cool.

They look so good, don't they? Just waiting to be stuffed with all those veggies.

So, now on to sauteing. Oregano is my friend. I love oregano. I love basil too. My kids often say, "mom you are so in love with basil, you should marry it." But, I'm cheating on basil lately with oregano. Sorry basil. So, I take no caution at sprinkling a ton of oregano in this mixture, sea salt and fresh ground pepper on these veggies and then I saute it all in olive oil. Then, when each bit was done, I'd set it aside in a bowl. This whole process took a little over an hour. But--so worth it. So, it's all done, spiced up, sauteed and ready to move on in life.

I managed to make a few veggie lasagnas with this. (Of course, I added some of the chopped tops of the green pepper to this mix.) I made about five all together--though two were in pie dishes. So, I was able to freeze five meals. Just basically layered sauce/lasagna noodles/ricotta/veggies/mozz repeat top with sauce!

I then took the rest of the veggies and stuffed the green peppers. You'd be surprised how many vegetables you can actually stuff into a pepper. Would you? Hmmm...maybe that was a dumb thing to say. It's not alarming how many veggies you can fit into a pepper. But, it's nice. Nice because I took those peppers, two at a time and put them in freezer bags and froze them! This has been so great. Once, I've had "stuffed peppers" for dinner just by topping them with cheese and baking them in sauce. But, the majority of the time, I have just taken one pepper at a time, defrosted it for a minute in the microwave and the sauteed/heated up/baked it to add to a meal. No chopping that night, no mess to be made or cleaned up. So, for two hours of chopping, sauteeing and packaging up--I got a lot out of it. Twelves peppers plus veggies=many meals. Anyone who cooks knows how much time this saved me.

Here are just a couple of the meals:

Chicken sausage with beans and veggies over rice.

Shrimp sauteed in white wine with veggies:

So, my photos really just show a tale of two peppers, but you get the drift.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Painting for the family

This was made for my new gorgeous nephew, Kaiden! During my husband's visit to South Africa, he got to spend lots of time with the little guy. [Me, jealous!] I hope they love these letters for Kaiden.

This H was made for my mom for was supposed to be for Mother's Day last year but you know how that goes! I painted, crackle painted; decoupaged some amazing scrap paper and floral cutouts from wrapping paper; scanned Proverbs 3:5 from a vintage bible, then dipped it in instant coffee grounds that I mixed with a bit of water to antique it and added that; scrap letter accents; and then the black rub-ons were the final touch before a nice varnish. Oh yes and I also added a clear sticker with just the words. I was pretty content with the way it came out--but more importantly, I think my mom loves it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No, this is not just a pile of homeschool curriculum brochures that my baby boy dumped on the floor during discovery time. This is actually what life has felt like while my husband was away in South Africa visiting our beloved family there. Do I really need to even explain?
Snow. [shoveling on no sleep!] Snow causing cancellations of my social functions!
Lonely. Sick babies. Missing hubby.
Sick Mommy.
Boys missing their daddy.
Come home Honey!
I have learned great compassion for the lonely hearted these past two weeks and am thankful for the new found empathy. Lessons are good, but tiring.
I did enjoy all the extra special time with the boys. And, of course, being able to drive hubby's new Jeep was fun. I may steal it.