Sunday, April 29, 2012

Salsa Sunday: All About Blackberries

A few weeks back my husband and I planted loads of blackberry plants. Hopefully next year we will have alot of this...

And hopefully I wont use all of it to make this fabulous (and easy) salsa!

Blackberries are a beautiful berry. I did not want to make the error of paring it with something that would not be complimentary to it. So after thinking about the salsa basic ingredients there were only three things that I knew would compliment the blackberries for this salsa. So here it is ladies and gents...

Blackberry and Avocado Salsa

One large packet of blackberries, washed a diced in halves or thirds 
one large avocado, diced
1/2 a bunch of cilantro, washed and diced. Leaves and stems.
1-1/2 juice from lime
1 tablespoon of sugar
dash of salt

So after making this salsa, I would recommend starting out by cutting the blackberries in half on in thirds. That way the berry is a bit smaller for overall ease of eating the salsa. However, it is just as good with whole berries so if you are strapped for time, just skip the cutting.

You start by adding your salt and sugar to the berries. This is to draw the natural juices from the berry, which will add to the overall flavor of the salsa and sweeten up the few tart berries you may have in the mix.

Now try really hard to not add whipped cream to this and eat it right then and there!

While those berries are sitting in sugary goodness, turn your attention to dicing up the avocado and cilantro. All I had were these mini avocados; so I used three minis instead of one large. Can you believe that there was a time when my son would only eat these avocados? We had loads of these around! Good thing we live in California!

Oh and don't forget the lime. To think...I use so much lime I really should plant a few trees.

 Then add all your ingredients to your bowl. As you can see this is a simple salsa combination we have here. We have the sweet berries, the nutty and smooth avocado and the cilantro to add some mild spice. No onion here! It would be too much of an overpowering flavor and we are looking for a complimentary salsa, not a confusing mess. I guess you could add jalapeno...but I also feel that the heavy spice would take away from this delightful combination.

Then you stir it up...see how those juices combine to make this salsa a beauty!

And seriously try not to eat this in two seconds...It was so good. Before we knew it the salsa had disappeared and I was still hungry for more!

Hopefully another salsa to add you your list. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making and eating it!

                                   Buen Provecho!
~ Misguided Maiden

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saucy: Chile Verde Sauce

Whenever there are particular products on sale I like to bulk up. I am pretty sure you do too. You can save quite a bit of money when you buy items on sale! You can also save money when you get the chance to make particular food items from scratch! I love to make sauces from scratch. Sauces that my mother taught me, that my grandmothers taught me and that my friends and relatives have taught me. These lessons in food all have memories for me.

I grew up with my mother making green chile enchiladas for dinner on special occasions. Practically everything was made from scratch; but what I remember most was helping my mother make the Chile Verde Sauce in big batches and freezing leftovers for future meals.

From there I was able to work the sauce to my liking and make my own version of the sauce that my mom taught me and share it with my friends. Since then I have had many great experiences with different friends in the kitchen, teaching how to make the sauce and then canning or freezing large batches of it to split for future dinners or future tamale making days. In the kitchen you can learn so much about someone. Its because of sauces like these that I have made so many wonderful friends.

So I share it with you here...

Chile Verde Sauce

*This recipe will help you make about 1-3 servings or 3-4 large Ziploc bags for the freezer, or 6 large canning jars.*

10-15 pounds of tomatillos (washed and husk removed)
1 Jalapeno
1 Medium Yellow Onion Cut in Half
2 Bouillon Cubes (Chicken or Vegetarian Vegetable)

Stock Pot
Water for pot
Ziploc bags for freezing or storing or Canning Supplies if canning

So we start out with the tomatillo. Such a neat looking veggie if you ask me...or is it a fruit? Anyways, I always try to buy these when they are at the bargain price of 2 pounds for one dollar. Then I buy about 50+ pounds. Now you can see why it would be good to have a friend over to share the load (and the wealth).

For regular spice (mild) you want to have one jalapeno. The jalapeno does add flavor. If you need more spice add another one. boil a few if you feel like you will need to have a few on hand just in case you don't consider the sauce spicy enough.

And one onion.

Now here is where I differ from my mother recipe. My mom used broth for her flavoring; but I just use these babies for two reasons: One, the more broth the thinner the sauce and I like mine to be a bit thicker (if you need it thinner later you can always add to it), and two, these cubes pack alot of good flavor, not to mention that I was a vegetarian for many years and I had to figure out other options to make my sauces!

Then you wash and take those husks off the tomatillos like so...

Add your ingredients to your stock pot.

Fill that pot up!

Set the pot on the stove and set the temperature to high to get the water boiling.

Once that waters boiling, set it to low or medium low (depending on your stove), cover and let it cook...till you see this...

 Oh yeah...its ready...This takes about 20-30 minutes.

I realized that I forgot to take a picture of me staining out the water. so remember to do that and then add your tomatillos and other ingredients into the blender (don't forget to take the stem off the jalapeno before blending).

Look at that!

You may have to blend a few batches and then mix it all together in a bowl or if you have a hand blender you can mix it all up right in your stock pot! I really need to get one of those...they are great for making sauces.

Then you have this...its beautiful, fragrant, and TASTY! Try in these two items I posted about:

In future posts I will share the many items you can make with this wonderful sauce...In the meantime, try it out, tell me what you think and make some with your friends!

                                    Buen Provecho!
~Misguided Maiden

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Salsa Sunday: Crazy for Cauliflower Salsa!

This one is for all you cauliflower lovers out there...

Now I will admit...I am not a huge fan of cauliflower. Don't get me wrong I can enjoy a good bit of cauliflower if the right scenario is presented to me. Such as: torture by fire, whip or death by tickling. But when I whipped this little baby up all I could say was "give me more!"

So for all of you with a sophisticated palette come join me on a little adventure.

Cauliflower Salsa

1 small head of cauliflower steamed but still firm, cooled and diced.
1 tomato, diced
1/4 a red onion diced
1/2 a bunch of cilantro, washed and diced 
12 slices of pickled jalapenos (at your preferred spiciness) diced
Salt and lime to taste

Complimentary Chip: Pita Chips, Lightly Salted

So there it is. You either love it or hate it. However, there is hope for all the haters out there. I believe my mom mentioned this recipe years ago and I had never thought to try it till now. I am glad I did though!

So get that water boiling, place you cauliflower in and...

Set your temperature to low and steam them for about 3-4 minutes. You do not want soggy vegetables. They need to still have some crunch to them but slightly cooked.

 Then strain our the water and place in the fridge to cool down. You want these babies cold. Then hide the evidence of the smell in your kitchen. You do not want your cauliflower hating husband to discover what you have done.

Once the cauliflower has cooled, chop it up like so...

Dice up your jalapenos. These really make the salsa so if you are not a spice person make sure to get the mild ones and not the hot pickled jalapenos.

Add you remaining ingredients to the mix, add salt and lime to taste and stir baby stir...

And in that stirring is where the magic happens. Sure you can eat it which a chip...but lets up the ante a little and eat it with a tasty pita chip! Now its all gone here at our home. Cauliflower lovers beware!

                   Buen Provecho!
~Misguided Maiden

Salsa Sunday: Breakfast Salsa

Hey all!

So I just realized that I completely forgot last weeks Salsa Sunday Post! How DARE I!!! Sorry about that...time can get away from me sometimes. So this Sunday I will have two posts for you. Lets start out with the salsa I made the family for breakfast this morning. It is FRESH, simple and quick to make...all my favorite things when I am still trying to wake up in the morning.


1.5 cups of Tomato cut in large pieces.
1/2 cup of cilantro diced
1/4 cup of diced red onion
salt and lime to taste (I used garlic salt)
Optional: Diced jalapeno if you need some spice
Tools: Blender, hand mixer or food processor, strainer

Here I am using Roma tomatoes, but any tomato will do.

Place in your blender and.

Pulse till you get it chopped up but not pureed.

Strain out some of the liquid.

Now your fresh tomatoes are ready to go!

Dice up that cilantro. Oh the kitchen smells good!

And dice up that red onion...

Mix it together and add your lime and salt to taste and you are ready to put it on these babies...

Breakfast soft tacos? Yes please! YUM! Obviously this salsa can be used on other meals as well. It is a great salsa; and when tomato season starts your going to need all the recipes you can get your hands on!

              Buen Provecho!
~Misguided Maiden

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Can Count To Ten - 123 Art Wall Tutorial

Hey All...

Its been quite a week! Between work and two nights of evening public meetings I have had no time to post on the blog. When things get busy with work all my extra time goes straight to my boys (Hubby and David) and home obligations (tending to animals and general items on the ranch).

Now that I have some of my work items out of the way, as well as taxes (ugh...), I can happily get back to a little me time. So with that I was finally able to finish the second piece of artwork/educational tool for my sons room.

The first piece of artwork was the ABC Wall and it was a whole lot of fun. But I have to say...this one was just as fun and I got to paint with some color! What did I pursue you ask?

Since David is happily learning his ABC's everyday I wanted to add his 123's in the here we go!

1 2 3 Wall

First you need your supplies:

Watercolor or Bristol Paper
Your choice of paint & colors
Brushes of varying sizes
3M Command Fasteners
10 Matching Frames
Your Numbers (Font Type and Size) you will be using

This is the color palette I went for...something bright like the frames on the ABC Wall. I also wanted to put some focus on complimentary colors.

To get the correct size of paper for each frame I used a piece of the glass from within a frame and traced out ten pieces and cut them out.

Then I used the frames to set the perimeter so I knew what was not going to show. Then I drew out the numbers lightly with a pencil. You can also place print behind the paper and trace in a bright window.

Then you get to painting. At some point I thought I had the great idea of just painting the background color completely over the number. Yeah....that only worked for the numbers with yellow backgrounds. The others...not so much. So my advice would be this: If your background is darker then yellow, paint around the numbers and keep them white!

After a few coats these numbers really POP! Now its time to hang up these beauties!

Here is the wall. I want the 123 artwork to be very structured and grid-like vs. the ABC artwork which is more chaotic. I brightened up the picture above and below...because it was a bit dark at the time these pics were taken.

So here it is on the wall. Very clean and streamlined but with amazingly bright colors!

Now lets learn to count to Ten!

The first time David saw this he wanted me to count the numbers over and over again!

Now on to the next piece! I hope you are inspired to create! This was a immensely fun project and the end results were very rewarding for this mama.

                                     Much Love,

~ Misguided Maiden

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

So this year's Easter was low key. I LOVED IT! Just me, my hubby, David and our brood of animals. After church (which we left early due to our poor teething boy) we came home, finished our half-prepared dinner from the night before and relaxed and played with David.

One of the unexpected items of the day came early in the morning...David and I were up and hanging out while Daddy got a little extra shut-eye. When BAM! A little bird hit the kitchen window. I quickly went outside to see if the little bird was OK or dead...well he was OK (whew!) but pretty shaken up and in need of some care.

So I woke up my hubby and had him watch David while I blanketed the little bird to calm it down (wish I got pictures of this....stinking hindsight). Then after a few minutes I picked up the little bird and perched it on my finger, allowing it to catch it breath. I inspected the wings and tail and found everything to be in good order.

As the little bird was perched on my finger David got a close-up of his current favorite thing...BIRDS. Of course this was on the other side of a sliding-glass window. This safety measure was for the bird of course.

After awhile, the little bird flew off and allowed me to get a snap-shot or two of it (as payment I'm sure) before he rejoined its friends with one tall tale to tell them!

So I hope your Easter had a little adventure it as well as ours. Between the bird and wrestling kitties we certainly had some adventure here!

                               Happy Wrestling!
~ Misguided Maiden