Thursday, June 27, 2013

Heat,Herbs,& Hot weather fare

It almost feels like Groundhogs day around here, the movie that is. It starts like this: you wake up its hot by 8am, you putz around trying to accomplish something but you can't cause it is so flipping hot and humid, you want to eat but you can't cause you have no appetite cause it is too flipping hot and humid, You get a massive mid day to early evening severe thunderstorm cause it is so flipping hot and humid and finally you just go to bed cause your exhausted and cranky cause,...did I mention, let's say it together "It's so flipping hot and humid outside."

So here is what I did accomplish & remedy the heat at the end.

I did all herbs on my deck this year. Herb and flowers to cook and ward off mosquito this year.
adorable planters from Jo Ann
Scented Geranium
Thyme,Oregano & Pink Geranium
I lined the planter with moss from my yard and put the herb in and filled with potting soil.
Various Basil varieties
Dill, Oregano, & Mother of Thyme
Mexican Tarragon
Curry..this smells amazing
Lemon Grass and Chocolate mint
An Heirloom Dahlia in a planter on the deck ...will be easier to dig out the tuber come winter
Raspberry, Apricot,& Chocolate mint infused water
Avocado Feta Dip
 and of course the daily stormy clouds

Well, I accomplished all of the plantings on the deck and put together those adorable bike planters. Quick easy and fun to do. The moss not only looks fabulous but helps keep in the moisture too. I got the planters at JoAnn's at 70% off so they were about $5.00 each. My kind of deal!I love the Fleur di Lis on the spokes.

With this heat you just want something refreshing and lite to eat . Its bad enough I have to fire up the stove for dinner (cause you cant grill because of the weather) so I don't want to do it for lunch too. I needed something to satiate my hunger. This Avocado Feta dip is the way to go.  A few pretzel flats and it's just enough to fill your belly and get you through to dinner on a hot day. Warning, try your best to not eat the whole bowl !! Its hard but walk away :-0 It is very filling.
3 Avocados mashed
Feta cheese I use French Feta about 1/2 a cup
Juice of 1 lime
Cilantro chopped ...remember keep the tender stems they are very energenic
Optional some Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese but not necessary ..Mix all together add some S&P and Enjoy!

My friend who owns the farmers market got some great mint varieties in this year ...Raspberries came in this week and Ifound soem beautiful necatrines. I am not much of a flavored beverage drinker and after 3 c-sections  my bladder is a tad weak. So too much iced tea keeps me..well you get the point. I love Herbal/ fruit infused waters . This one was a huge hit in the house to where my picky neice was hoarding it until I assured her it wasnt anything complex and could easliy just add more water to the mixture.

A pitcher of water, a handfull of raspberries, 2 nectarines cut up & a few sprigs of mint. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes. You could sweeten it if you find it necessary but I think you'll find that it's not. When the pitcher gets low just add more water.

It hits the spot !!

It is now Thursday ( we have tornado warnings today ) and it has been the same all week here and looks like it is going to continue through the weekend. I will try not too grumble about it anymore I promise!

Stay Cool,

PS... Did I mention the flipping Flies and Mosquitos!!! ;-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Busy Summer days & a busy day recipe

A nice Father's day moment...
A shared birthday...
 A couple projects finished and Flea Market finds...
  Enjoying the blooms...
A quick Friday night meal
Summer is off to a busy start. Weeks of never ending yard work, we finally got it finished and can now enjoy the blooms. I love the blue hydrangeas against the red Lilies (believe it or not they are called "Ming")

Father's day included an 11 mile bike ride, some rest time afterward on our back deck and some grilling.

My daughter's 20th birthday sharing it with her Uncle with a big family dinner.

I finally finished the baby bib prototype for a girl. It took long enough I know, I know!! This is the crocheted ruffle version. I am going to try one with a fabric ruffle. I will do custom orders of these on my etsy shop. Same goes for the teeny tiny crocheted Pansy flowers. I finally mastered the vintage pattern (I use mastered loosely) but I think they look well enough. I am making them with the vintage threads I got a few weeks back.

As we are talking of baby bibs and things of a tiny nature.... I am so excited about the birth of  Will and Kate's baby. I am a complete Anglophile! Isn't that book above just so fitting. I can't even find a copyright date in it. As well as being an Anglophile, I have a love for all things Disney. I was so excited when I found these baby blocks last week while antique shopping with my sister at the Golden Nugget flea market in Lambetville NJ. I have been going there since I was a wee one with my parents. The big joke is that she is the one looking to purchase and I am just along for the ride (she has a big shabby chic business on Ebay) and I am the one always ending up finding items and her not so much ! I had three purchases within the first five minute of arriving!

The recipe... this is my Thai'ish fried rice recipe...why Thai'ish you ask ??? Cause I know very little in this area of cooking but had relatives who lived there. So I figure that makes me an expert, right?? hee hee
No really, I just use a Thai soy sauce, Black Thai soy sauce to be exact. It is very thick and has brown sugar in it. The recipe follows ..WARNING... its another of my "about" recipes!

Thai fried rice with orange infused tofu
For the tofu:
1 pkg extra firm tofu
about 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour
juice from 1-2 oranges
brown sugar about 1/4 cup
cube the tofu and dredge in the flour, quick fry in a wok with some Canola oil till brown, transfer to a baking dish squeeze orange juice over tofu and sprinkle the brown suagr on top. Bake at 350 until sugar carmelizes and juice is bubbling.
For the rice:
About 2-3 cups jasmine rice cook as directed on package.
Meanwhile cut up all your veggies. I use onion, zucchini, broccoli, red pepper and Napa cabbage. You can add whatever you like. Stir fry in the wok with some Canola oil about 2 tbs. till just soft, do not over cook your veggies. Transfer to a bowl. Crack 2-3 eggs into the wok and scramble. Then add the cooked rice and push to the side of wok. Now add  about 3-4 tbsps of the black soy sauce and 1-2 tbsps of a light or thin soy sauce with 1 tbs of sugar in the raw. Mix until the sugar dissolves in the sauces and then mix all together with the rice. Now add the veggies and give it a good stir and last add the the tofu. Serve immediately.

Well this is the beginning of my summer is yours going ??? What are you finding, doing, making etc....???

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,

* i use Healthy boy brand Thai soy sauces
** make sure you try to catch a view of this weekend's Super Moon!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Some ease & easy recipes

 So we took it easy this week with some time outside and bubble fun  in the evenings (who needs Xbox!)

  Bubbles and were talking

 Second day of bubbles ...note the outfit his fashion sense!
 some garden pretties...

 And then the storms this morning...
This is at 9:30 ominious.
 I got prepared...
 and started baking...
 and cooking...

 I had other plans today to finish up some projects but I got the cooking bug. This often happens during stormy weather for me. Though the past two day the weather was gorgeous and I spent one of them biking to our local Starbucks. I didn't realize I was going that far just got on my bike and began to ride. Would of been nice if I had brought my wallet, but hey what are teenage kids for... I called my daughter, made her come and meet me and then she BOUGHT the coffee. Sweet!! Then I decided to throw the bike in the back of the truck, you know one step at a time. The next trip will be a round trip ;-).

 OK back to the cooking ...I have been wanting to try a Chocolate cream cheese muffin, I found this recipe and altered it by using 1tsp. dutch processed cocoa, 1 tsp. Hersey's cocoa and I added 1 tsp baking powder as well. They were delicious but I am still looking for a more denser muffin ( Back in my working days the coffee shop across the street from my shop had the best Chocolate cheese muffins, I also met my husband there so extra bonus!). The recipe for the chocolate muffin batter is egg less and not much fat at all, so...if you omitted the cream cheese you have a great Vegan chocolate muffin.

 I usually keep my recipes vegetarian however I have four kids who are not(one daughter is). Here is an easy and light summer recipe I created, Yogurt marinated chicken thighs and cucumber yogurt sauce with coconut lime rice. I have a big group to feed so you can scale it down.

For the chicken:
2 packages organic chicken thighs skinless and boneless
1 cup Greek yogurt or however much needed to cover the chicken
 lime juice form 1-2 limes
seasoned salt, I used Borsari salt but you could also use Mrs. Dash lemon pepper and sea salt
Mix all together and let marinate for a half hour to an hour. I grilled my choicken but you could bake it as well. Grill time about 15-20 min. these thighs are pretty thin so they dont take long

For the Cucumber yogurt sauce:
1 Cucumber chopped
1 cup greek yogurt
seasoned salt see above
a handful of Cilantro chopped rough..make sure you add some stems , the tender ones as they are a very energetic food for the body
Mix together refrigerate

For the rice:
2 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
1 Tsp. butter
1 can lite cocunet milk
Juice of 1-2 limes
cilantro chopped again for garnish

I cook my rice in a Turbo cooker that my mother bought from an infomercial. I made fun of her but damn can that baby cook some rice!
Melt the butter in the pan, add rice and toast for a minute or so.
add can of coconut milk and some water..a great tip when cooking rice add enough water to cover the rice as if your hand was laying on top of the rice and you would want to cover it as well.
add lime juice, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until done and water evaporated. Garnish with chopped Cilantro.
This is a very refreshing recipe for a hot summer night and reheats very well.

 So now that I got the cooking out of the way maybe tomorrow I can get back to my projects that are so close to being close yet so far.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Razors Edge

Have you ever felt that you were balancing on a razors edge . One edge filed with joy and wonderfully happy moments, the other edge despair,fear and moments of anger. Yes, this has been the past week for me . I don't mean to bum you out on a Monday morning but the name of this blog is call "All Things Ming" and so that means you do get all of me ...sorry :-( .  I usually like to stick with upbeat positive, creative posts, but lets face it life is not always upbeat and positive.  So when I started this blog my intent was to remain true and share all aspects of my life. Hoping that maybe me sharing my experiences, may they be good or bad help others in some small way. Maybe helping someone relate to a situation they are experiencing and find a small bit of comfort or insight. So here it goes...I hope by writing and sharing my feelings it will serve as a release for me.

It's been a wonderful and productive week in so many ways. Yard work with my children on a sunny day finishing quite a big job while laughing and talking with them.  Spending another sunny day with my daughter on trip to New Hope PA. Working on my first Annie Sloan paint project and absolutely loving it and  looking to paint anything and everything i can with it. Celebrating my wedding anniversary and going to our favorite restaurant in Philadelphia. Sharing the excitement of my 6 year old as he finishes up kindergarten and looking forward to summer "so we can be together all day" as he puts it . Wonderfully great stuff right???

Serenity prayer from AA
 So why is my heart crushed just as well. Why am I in such despair at the same time? I am watching a much loved family member throw their life away due to prescription drug addiction. We are talking about a highly educated, extremely privileged being here.  Beauty, intelligence, success, the whole package now on its way to ruin.This is not the first in my family either. This epidemic has almost ruined entire portion of one of my siblings family. Watching it, dealing with it, feeling it has left its mark and taken its toll. Yet at the same time has brought such clarity and insight. How can that be ... because it has brought me to such states of despair and sadness to where I have to put all my defenses, strategies and identities down and sit in surrender. Surrender ...that word eluded me for years . I didn't believe in it. Yet when I found it WOW ! Such experiences in growth and movement appeared. I wasn't frozen in fear and anger anymore, I wasn't stuck . I could find ground in the  despair and not fall prey to it.This doesn't happen overnight and they still rear their heads but I am no longer stuck in them.

 One surrendering situation... going to AL-ANON  and to realize I am powerless in this. I cant stress enough how important it is for people in these situations to seek the support of this organization. I learned the three C's ...I didn't CAUSE this, I can't CONTROL this , and I cant CHANGE this. Cause I was killing myself mentally trying. I learned it doesn't matter your social standing this disease can happen and affect anyone. So I can't stress enough. If you are in a situation like this or maybe feeling vulnerable or out of sorts over a situation please seek help and support its out there and it is ok to use it. Find your serenity in a difficult situation, don't be afraid, it there for you.

Pema's book "When things fall apart" is amazing
Pema Chodron , Buddhist nun
And I will continue on this razors edge... for such is life, we can't have the good without the bad, the dark without the light , the joy without the sadness...

Well thank you for listening and being here with me. It has helped writing and sharing.
 I will be back tomorrow back with my usual posts with some creativity to share. 

In light and love,