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FOOD & HOME

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Learning to Sew

The House on High Street
Ok, it’s official. I finally purchased my Birthday Gift from Mom and Dad…a sewing machine. After months of research, reading, email dialogues, visiting manufacturers, etc…

I decided upon the Brother Innov’is 1250D. This machine sews, quilts, and performs embroidery. Yes, Disney embroidery. So, my goal is to be making quilts, window treatments, clothes, and adding uniquely embroidered designs to my creations. I am more than excited!

For those of you who know me, you understand that I have a tendency to advance rather quickly in the domestic department. A gift I shall attribute to God. I’m thankful because it will certainly come in handy now that I am making more things by hand.

Sewing has been on my bucket list for many, many years. I have always wanted to design clothes. I have always felt a bit disgruntled whenever I purchased an item that was merely the closest I could find to the idea and quality I would have preferred. I’m not trying to discredit my favorite retailers and brands. There are some really good ones out there! But, it seems like more often than not, I am settling.

So, here I am…at 41. Not sure if I’m taking on this hobby a little too late…or a little too soon??

Last night, my brother-in-law called me “old lady” when I mentioned how excited I was to get a sewing machine. Don’t worry, seamstresses. I put him in his place. And, I promised myself that I WILL create a beautiful velvet dress for his daughter next year. My brother-in-law HATES velvet.  It makes him cringe. LOL

Also, I know my husband will be critically looking over my shoulder for the next several months keeping me accountable to produce quality garments, window treatments, etc. that will justify the cost of this piece of merchandise.

Hey, it’s my birthday money! I could have used it to buy clothes or jewelry. At least I invested in a gift that will keep on giving!

Ok, wish me luck. I know I have my work cut out for me. It all begins with opening this ever-so -intimidating, over-sized box glaring at me on our kitchen table. Well, I shouldn’t say “glaring”…I mean, Mickey looks fairly harmless and somewhat inviting.

Here goes nothing…

Rachel Maria's Oh So Tender Short-Braised Ribs

Rachel Maria's Recipes

Recipe Yields 2-4 Servings

Ingredients

*3 lbs. (4-6) Beef Short Ribs (Cut 2″ thick)
* 2-3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* Kosher Salt
* Ground Black Pepper
* 1 Medium Yellow Onion – Chopped
* 2-3 Carrots – Chopped
* 3 Cloves Garlic – Chopped
* 2 Tbs. Tomato Paste
* 1 Cup Dry Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
* 16 oz. Beef Stock
* 1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
* 2 Bay Leaves

Recipe

* Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
* Season Ribs on both sides with Salt and Pepper.
* Add Olive Oil to coat bottom of a Dutch Oven over a Medium High Flame.
* Sear Ribs on for approximately 5-8 minutes on each side.
* Remove with tongs and set aside until all ribs are seared.
* Add more oil to the pan.  Saute’ Onion and Carrot for 3-5 minutes over Medium High Flame.  Continue stirring and gently scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to pick up brownings and flavor from the meat.
* Add Garlic (chopped in smaller pieces) and continue stirring for 1-2 minutes.
* Add Tomato Paste. Continue to gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
* After a few minutes add wine and stir together on Medium flame. Cook a few more minutes.
* Gently arrange ribs back into the Dutch Oven.
* Pour Beef Stock over the ribs.
* Add Thyme Sprig and Bay Leaf.
* Transfer to your oven & Cook for 2-3 hours.
* Remove the ribs (they may be falling apart, off the bone) and set aside.
* Use liquid as is, strain it, or add a little corn starch mixed with hot water and heat over a medium flame (stirring) until reduced.
* Serve over mashed potatoes topped with your preferred style of gravy.

*I use a Dutch Oven. However, a Crock Pot works just as well. Simply transfer the meat and liquid (created by sauteing vegetables, adding tomato paste, wine, stock and seasonings) – to a crock pot and cook on Low for 5-6 hours or High for about 3 hours. You will know when these ribs are ready as they are falling off the bone! Enjoy.  

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Flat Roof Coating

The House on High Street

Oct 27 Decisions… re-coat, re-roof on top of old, tear off and re-roof new, change roof pitch, or add new type of roofing material. With a slew of other projects that required funds, Scott and I decided to re-coat the roof, since the current roof was in OK condition. (Per 2 roofing companies’ opinions and that of our home inspector.)

Rachel Maria's Chili

Rachel Maria's Recipes

Ingredients

2-3lbs. Lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
3T. Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion
4 Cloves Garlic Chopped
1 Green Pepper Chopped
3-4 Stalks Celery Chopped
1-3 Jalapeño and/or Chili Peppers (optional for extra spice)
1 Pkg. Chili Seasoning
1 Large Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 Jar Salsa
½ C. Ketchup
2 T. Liquid Smoke (optional for extra heat)
¼ C. Chipotle flavoring peppers in can or marinade in bottle (optional for smoky flavor)
3 T. Sriracha (optional for extra kick)
1 Can Dark Kidney Beans
1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Kernel Corn

Garnish Options

Green Onion
Sour Cream
Black Olives
Fresh Chopped Tomato

Directions

  • In a Large Pot add Olive Oil to a Med-High Flame.
  • Sauté’ Chopped Onion, Celery, all Peppers, and Garlic until translucent.
  • Add meat and break apart with wooden spoon over medium heat.
  • Add Chili Seasonings Packet and continue to stir with wooden spoon.
  • Once meat is no longer pink, stir in Chopped Tomatoes, Salsa, and Ketchup.
  • IF you prefer a little kick, heat, and smoky flavor – Sriracha, Liquid smoke, and/or Chipotle.
  • Adjust to Medium-Low.  Cook for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse Beans and Corn in a strainer before adding for a remaining 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with Sour Cream, Green Onion, Black Olives, Tomato, and serve with Chips.

EXTRA Ordinarily Yours

Starting a Home Renovation

The House on High Street

During the past 2 weeks, we have been doing more “behind the scenes” work in preparing for the renovations of The House on High Street. Such as… completing loan applications from a few banks; interviewing contractors; building a portfolio of ideas, meeting with an architect, making dozens of lists (from budgetary to DIY project lists); and of course, arguing over just about every detail (we are learning how to have productive arguments)… 

Rachel Maria's Modified Version of Chef John's Maple-Brined Pork Loin

Rachel Maria's Recipes

**Rachel Maria modified this (already delicious and suitable) recipe by The Chef John, found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/maple-brined-pork-loin/

**Total Prep Time: 8-10 Hrs (6-8 hours to refrigerate Pork Loin in Brine Mixture)  

Rachel Maria’s Modified Version of Chef John’s Maple-Brined Pork Loin

Ingredients

  • 2-2.5 lbs. Pork Loin
  • 4-6 Cups of Water
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbs. Tomato Paste
  • ¼ C. Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbs. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Ground Gineger
  • 2-3 Tbs. Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbs. Rosemary
  • 2 Tbs. Sugar
  • Dijon-Syrup
  • 3 T. Dijon Mustard
  • 3 T Maple Syrup

Instructions

  1. Combine Brining Ingredients in a large bowl or container.  Whisk together.
  2. Submerge pork loin in water mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°
  4. Remove pork from Brine mixture and gently pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Salt and pepper both sides of pork loin.
  6. Add 2-3 Tbs. Vegetable Oil to a cast iron (or oven-proof) skillet.
  7. On Med-High heat– Sear both sides of Pork Loin (3-5 minutes each side).
  8. Remove garlic cloves from Brine liquid and add to skillet (Discard remaining Brine Mixture)
  9. Transfer skillet to oven (uncovered)
  10. Cook for approximately 25 minutes/pound.
  11. In a small bowl, mix Dijon Mustard and Maple Syrup which together makes “Dijon Syrup”.
  12. After 40-45 Minutes: Remove Skillet from oven.  (Be careful NOT to touch the pan without oven mitts!)
  13. Pour the Dijon-Syrup on top of the pork.
  14. Place back in oven for another 10-15 minutes OR once the pork reaches an internal temperature between 145-150.
  15. After removing the pork from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
http://lewoman.com/rachel-marias-modified-version-chef-johns-maple-brined-pork-loin/

Rachel Maria suggests serving this with Spinach & Fresh Garlic and Sweet Potatoes. Enjoy!

EXTRA Ordinarily Yours

 

Rachel Maria's Quick & Easy Shrimp Fra' Diavolo

Rachel Maria's Recipes

Recipe Yields 2-4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

* Fresh Shrimp or Frozen set in cool water until defrosted (Figure 5-7 per person)
* Garlic (3 Cloves or 10 for the Italians)
* 3 T Tomato Paste
* 1 C Red Wine
* Cubed Tomatoes (2-4 Fresh or 1 Lg. Can)
* Hot Sauce (Sriracha) OR Red Pepper Flakes
* Basil, salt, pepper,
* Your Favorite Pasta (Rachel Maria Recommends Angel Hair or Thin Spaghetti)

DIRECTIONS

* In a Saute Pan – Saute’ Garlic in on Medium High Heat in EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) until soft
* Add Tomato Paste & stir
* Pour in Red Wine & Stir
* Add Cubed Tomatoes, Hot Sauce, and seasonings
* Lower Heat.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
*Add to your favorite pasta with lots of Pecorino Romano & Your Favorite Glass of Wine

 

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