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Monday, April 30, 2012

New Beginnings

Hi Boys and Girls!

Just got back from Virginia. I was there three weeks and had the privilege of witnessing the birth of my granddaughter, Sarah Rachel…what an experience! Virginia is a beautiful state. I did not get to see a lot of it because more important matters were at hand…New Beginnings…A new life brought into this world.

 The cutest little baby girl!

Isaac Henry, 19 months, of course did not remember me. The last time I saw him, he was 6 months old. So, you can see he is not sure of this woman just picking him up and loving on him. But before long we were having fun and going places. The most fun was Boxerwood Gardens. http://boxerwood.org/visit/index.asp This was a fun place for kids of all ages. The 20 aces was left by a doctor and his wife for the enjoyment of discovery. There were huge turtles in a pond, hiking trails with discoveries around every turn and lots of play areas for little tykes. Isaac especially like the running stream where he played with the rocks for over an hour.

Isaac really did not know that this little bundle making funny noises, squeaks and burbs was a little sister. But by the time I left he knew she was special...A real thing…not a doll, not a toy but a real living human being.

Since I was there 3 weeks I did a lot of cooking. Personally, I love anything someone else cooks for me. I knew my cooking would be greatly appreciated. Out of all the dishes I made, one really made a hit with my son-in-law…my famous risotto! There is no recipe but I will try and re-create it for you.

2 cups Arborio rice

2 Tbls olive oil

1 onion, chopped

½ cup chopped celery (celery hearts preferred)

1 cup peas (broccoli or asparagus work also)

3-4 organic chicken and herb sausage, sliced (I use Buddy’s Natural Chicken)

1 32 oz Pacific Organic chicken broth

4-5 sprigs of fresh basil

Parmesan cheese

Sauté the onion and rice in olive oil until onion is translucent.

Add the herb sausage and continue to sauté until lightly browned.

Add the celery and continue to cook for about a minute.

Add the vegetable along with the chicken broth.
Bring to a boil and lower heat.

Place sprigs of fresh basil on top.

Cover pan. Simmer for about 35-40 minutes.

When done, gently stir rice.

Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Adjust this any way you like. Add more veggies or less if you prefer. I sometimes do not add the sausage. My husband makes it with only rice and chicken broth...BORING...but any way you make it it will be good. This picture is before I made the final stir.

Another favorite was Orange Beef with Broccoli. This comes from the cookbook Reader’s Digest Vegetables for Vitality. http://www.amazon.com 

I think I have mentioned this cookbook before. Everything is good in this book. Here is the recipe but I am leaving out the nutritional values. By the way, all the recipes have the nutritional content at the end of each recipe.

Orange Beef with Broccoli

2 tsp cornstarch

¼ cup dry sherry

2 TBLS reduced sodium soy sauce (I substituted a mixture of Sake and sesame seed oil only because I did not have dry sherry or soy sauce).

¼ tsp baking soda

12 oz flank steak, cut into thin strips

4 tsps olive oil

4 TBLS orange zest (finely grated orange rind, but not the pith)

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

5 cups broccoli florets and stems (preferably organic)

1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks

4 scallions, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup jicama matchsticks

In Medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, sherry, soy sauce, and baking soda. Add steak, tossing to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

In large skillet, heat 3 tsp of oil. Reserving marinade, adds beef, half of orange zest, and pepper flakes to skillet. Stir-fry until beef is just cooked, 3 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Add remaining oil, broccoli, bell pepper, scallions, and garlic to skillet. Cook 3 minutes, Add ½ cup water. Cook until broccoli is crisp-tender. 2 minutes.

Stir 1/3 cup water and reserved marinade into skillet. Bring to boil. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Return beef to skillet. Add jicama. Cook until beef is heated through. Garnish with remaining orange zest.
Yes, it is as good as it looks!

I had a chance to visit a darling quilt shop (I have not met a quilt shop that is NOT darling)! It is in Fairfield, VA.

The Quiltery. They had a lot of Civil War fabrics batiks, baby fabric...and lots of threads. Prices were comparable to Texas. The old house was perfect for a quilt shop. It has creaky hardwood floors and lots of ambiance.
The Quiltery in Fisherville, VA.

So, now I am back home and trying to adjust to no babies. Shannon’s family is complete.

I am grateful I could help her and be there to see Sarah enter the world.

Try these recipes and tell me what you think. In the meantime, cook something for a friend. Better yet, have that friend over for lunch and make a special meal…no reason…just because it is good for the heart and the soul!

Until next time…kiss a baby!