Michelle's Blog

My life as a wife, homemaker, friend, Christian

Tangy Shrimp with Summer Veggies – in a Pita! June 25, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — mrswade @ 9:40 pm
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This is originally intended to be a salad but makes a great dinner when stuffed in a whole-wheat pita.  Fresh, filling and healthy!

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Tangy Shrimp with Summer Veggies Salad

  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup parsley sprigs
  • 4 scallions/green onions
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (or more!) lemon juice

Directions

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, parsley, scallions, jalapeno, garlic, oil, lemon juice, cooked shrimp, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Let marinate for 5 minutes before serving

You can buy pre-cooked frozen shrimp for easiest prep, or raw shrimp.  To cook shrimp: bring large saucepan of water to boil.  Add the shrimp and 1 Tbs salt and cook until the shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain and run under cold water to cool

 

Pita

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions

In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir to blend. Let the yeast stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the salt. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated and the dough gathers into a ball; this should take about 4 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Place a large pizza stone on the lower oven rack, preheat the oven (and stone) to 500 degrees F.

Punch the dough down, divide it into 8 pieces, and gather each piece into a ball; keeping all of them lightly floured and covered while you work. Allow the balls of dough to rest, covered, for 15 minutes so they will be easier to roll out.

Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball into a circle that is about 8-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Make sure the circle is totally smooth, with no creases or seams in the dough, which can prevent the pitas from puffing up properly. Cover the disks as you roll them out, but do not stack them up. Put 2 pita rounds at a time on the hot pizza stone and bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bread puffs up like a balloon and is pale golden. Watch closely; they bake fast. Remove the bread from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes; they will naturally deflate, leaving a pocket in the center. Wrap the pitas in a large kitchen towel to keep them soft.

ENJOY!

 

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PUPPY! June 23, 2009

Filed under: home — mrswade @ 8:50 pm
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Introducing Maeberry Blossom!  

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We had been looking for a puppy for a little while with no luck.  We were looking for a lab/golden retriever mix specifically.  This mix was the same as my first dog, “Kitty.”  She was the best dog ever and because Jake hadn’t had a good experience with the only family dog he’d ever had, we wanted the same mix.  Labs and Retrievers are such good dogs, very people pleasing and loyal.

I had been on craigslist every day looking for puppies with no luck.  I suddenly got the idea to look at the Seattle Times online classifieds.  And then, there she was, on the first page in the pets section!  “1/2 Golden Retriever 1/2 Lab Pups”  “Wonderful gentle, low-key pups looking for forever homes. 2 Males, 3 Females. 3 are chocolate, 2 are black.”   I called the lady on wednesday and asked to come see the puppies friday.  She said call back friday to see if there are any left because many had called on the puppies.  I knew we had to see them that day, Jake and I decided to go see the pups that same day before community group. 

We met the Kelly (Mae’s foster mom) in the small town of Hobart and drove out into the sticks to see the puppies.  When we got there, Maeberry and her sister ran over to greet us, happy and full of life, ready to play!  Her sister was black and smaller, both were super cute.  Mae was a little less hyper and wanted to hang out with us more than her sister and we were both drawn to her.

Her parents were rescues (along with another female).  When Kelly rescued the dogs from a “lab breeder,” Mae’s mom (the only golden the breeders had) and her dad were incredibly skinny.  Kelly took all three dogs to get fixed but they wouldn’t spay Mae’s mom because she was so skinny.  They told Kelly to nurse her back to health and then they would spay her.  As she started gaining her weight back, she kept gaining and gaining, come to find out, she was already pregnant.  The other female’s foot had been ran over by the breeders with a car and had not been treated.  When we got there she had lost her entire front leg due to infection.

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Mae has been such a sweet puppy, she is fun and playful, very smart and has such a loving disposition.  We love her so much 🙂  God has blessed us so much with her!  Thank you Jesus 🙂

 

neglect May 19, 2009

Filed under: Random — mrswade @ 1:48 pm

School and moving have forced me to neglect this poor little blog for the last month or more.  I’m starting to cook and actually live life apart from school again, so I’ll hopefully get some posts up soon 🙂  In the mean time, check out my portfolio and feel free to pass it along to any interior designers or people who might know interior designers 🙂

http://michellewadeinteriors.wordpress.com/

 

Dining Room April 3, 2009

Filed under: Creativity,decorating,home — mrswade @ 12:09 pm
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When I’m stressed, or just daydreaming, my mind always goes to interior design, specifically in my own house.  A couple weeks ago I went on a field trip with Interior Design II to find inspiration for our project this semester, the lobby of a dorm on campus.  It was SO hard for me to pay attention to what would work in the Penn Lobby and not just focus on what I wanted in my own home!  We went to a hotel called The Nines in Portland, and it was gorgeous!  I was super inspired by one of their dining areas!  Here are a few pics before I go on:

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I at first fell CRAZY in love with the canning jars sitting on re-claimed wood shelves along the wall.  I loved the variety of colors, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, grey.  I have never considered myself to be a big purple fan…actually…I’ve never liked purple, but I LOVED this purple!  I loved it combined with all the other colors.  I also loved all the textures!  This dinning area was super elegant yet still very cozy!

I want to do something similar to this in my dinning room.  I would like to only have one wall of reclaimed wood shelves (built by my loving husband 🙂 ) that not only serves as decoration, but serves as storage!  I plan on canning a lot this summer (which I’m sure I’ll blog about a little later) so this is not only gorgeous but functional!

My dining table at the time was strictly green and yellow, just like my kitchen, a “happy fruit” theme of lemons, limes, pears and apples.  So, it didn’t quite fit the new look I’m trying to go for, however my dishes were already perfect for this theme.  I love my dishes, they are perfect for every-day use and elegant enough for special occasions!  At Fred Meyer I found, on super sale, some great eggplant and cream, chunky plaid place mats and napkins.  I got 4 of each for around $10 total and saved more than I spent!  The place-mats have one purple square that has the texture of a dish cloth, kind of waffle-y.  I love that it mixes things up a bit.  I already had yellow napkins and they also go perfectly with my purple place-mats.  I have dark, olive green glasses, another of the many colors I found in the dinning room at The Nines.  When Jake and I were in California, visiting his grandparents, we went garage sale-ing and there I found 4 super cute purple bottles, and 6 amazing vintage, orange, glass plates.

Today I set them all up, and LOVED the result!  All I need to do now, is can away and get Jake to make me some shelves when we move into our new apartment!  Maybe work on getting a different dinning set as well…

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Daffodils that Jake picked for me, from the side of the road, on our 4 year dating anniversary 🙂
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I found this at a lighting store on our Portland field trip and thought it would go really well with the rest of the design for the dinning room.  Of course it is thousands of dollars, but I still really liked the amber and the frosted glass.

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That’s all for now 🙂 but I’m sure I’ll have plenty to show later!

 

Homemade Crackers! YES!

Filed under: frugal,Recipes — mrswade @ 10:32 am
Tags: ,

While attempting to buy nothing in a box and make everything I can in my own kitchen, I find a lack of snack foods.  Planning meals is one thing, but what happens if you get a little munchy before or after?!  I made biscotti, which was REALLY good but not something you can sit there an munch, it’s a one-time-snack. 🙂  Mikaela did these first and recommended them to me.  The recipe came from one of our favorite food blogs, 101cookbooks.  They were UBER good! yay 🙂

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If you have trouble tracking down semolina flour, just substitute white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour), it will be make a slightly different cracker but should still work. To get creative with your crackers you can top them with lots of things before baking: freshly grated cheese, artisan salts, cornmeal, a dusting of your favorite spice blend, seeds, or a wash of your favorite flavored or infused oil. You can simply cut the unbaked cracker dough into various shapes using one of those pizza cutting wheels.

1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

special equipment: pasta machine (optional)

Whisk together the flours and salt. Add the water and olive oil. Using a mixer with a dough hook attachment mix the dough at medium speed for about 5 – 7 minutes. Alternately, feel free to mix and then knead by hand on a floured counter-top. The dough should be just a bit tacky – not too dry, not too sticky to work with. If you need to add a bit more water (or flour) do so.

When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball. Now cut into twelve equal-sized pieces. Gently rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 450F degrees. Insert a pizza stone if you have one.

When the dough is done resting, flatten one dough ball. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, shape into a flat strip of dough – I can usually get down to the 4 setting on my pasta machine w/o trouble. Pull the dough out a bit thinner by hand (the way you might pull pizza dough). You can also cut the dough into whatever shape you like at this point. Set dough on a floured (or cornmeal dusted) baking sheet, poke each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing, add any extra toppings, and slide into the oven (onto the pizza stone). Repeat the process for the remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. If you don’t have a pizza stone, bake crackers a few at a time on baking sheets. Bake until deeply golden, and let cool before eating – you will get more crackery snap.

I added some of my fresh herbs – thyme and rosemary, garlic salt, parmesan, seasoning salt and sage.  They were all VERY good and very easy!

 

Tomato Mozzarella Casserole

Filed under: frugal,Recipes — mrswade @ 10:12 am
Tags: , , , , ,

This one’s from my very dear friend Mikaela.  🙂  I was a little nervous about it at first because I’m really not a casserole fan, and I thought it would be really heavy because of the cheese.  NOT SO! It was AAAAAmazing! 🙂 yum!  

We took her suggestion to add some meat (but I accidentally added too much, so it didn’t all fit in the pan.  It’s ok though, because I had a make-shift spaghetti for lunch the next day with the noodles that didn’t fit. 🙂 

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dry pasta (recipe calls for Ziti, but I used rotini… really, any short, sturdy pasta will work)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbls. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbls. Fresh chopped basil (or 2 tsp. dried – I used Italian Herb Seasoning instead)
  • 1/2 tsp. (or more) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 8 oz (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup. grated parmesan cheese
Directions
Cook pasta according to package in a large pot.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Put back in pot and set aside.  In a 12″ skillet, cook ground beef.  When done, drain off fat and rinse in a colander and add minced garlic cook until until tender, but do not brown.  Add tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Stir in basil, sugar, and salt.  Add sauce to the pasta and toss, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen sauce.  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread 1/2 of the pasta mixture into an oiled 9 x 13 baking pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 of each type of cheese over the top.  Spread the rest of the pasta mixture, then the rest of the cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Thanks Mikaela!
 

Dressings

Filed under: frugal,Recipes — mrswade @ 9:52 am
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Again, I’m stealing these recipes from Lindsay over at Passionate Homemaking.  I love salads, but usually the only dressing Jake and I ever had on hand was ranch, it seemed way too expensive to get a bunch of other kinds of dressings, especially since they all had high fructose corn syrup in them.  I knew you could make salad dressing but pretty much thought that consisted of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Not so!  I made Italian, Caesar, Ranch and Creamy Lemon Poppyseed.  yuuuum! 

 

In front: Ranch in an old grated parmesan tub. In back from left to right: Caesar in an old olive oil bottle, Creamy Lemon Poppyseed in an old honey bottle and Italian in an old vanilla syrup bottle.

In front: Ranch in an old grated parmesan tub. In back from left to right: Caesar in an old olive oil bottle, Creamy Lemon Poppyseed in an old honey bottle and Italian in an old vanilla syrup bottle.

Ranch

Jake and I normally only like Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch and really don’t like the kind you find at parties that is really thick.  This stuff is in consistency more like the party dip ranch, but I like it just as much as the Hidden Valley.  Jake still prefers Hidden Valley but likes this stuff as well.  It’s very thick, but you could probably thin it out with some milk.

  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives (I never have used these, as I don’t keep them on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Caesar

This recipe doesn’t have a raw egg in it, which I’ve heard that the majority of caesar dressings have, I may try a different one after this one is gone, but this one is really good.

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbls. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbls. anchovy paste (did not add, I am not a fan!)
  • 1/2 tsp dijon style mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbls. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper

Creamy Lemon Poppyseed

I wanted to try a poppyseed dressing, this one is really good but I have found two others that I really want to try.  This amount fit perfectly in my honey bottle, so if you use yours up, put it right back in. 🙂  Yummy with fruit, nuts and cheese on the salad.

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijo-style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbls. poppy seeds

Italian 

I haven’t had this one more than once, but it was really good when I had it and Italian is Jakes favorite.  This one is easy to make and is a good staple salad dressing.

  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoon of whole grain mustard or dijion type mustard
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of Stevia, or 2-4 teaspoons of sugar or natural sweeter

Combine all ingredients and mix well before using.

 

Also,  note on making dressings.  If the dressings call for oil, add it last.  Combine all the herbs, spices, salts, sugar, etc in the vinegar first because they dissolve better in vinegar, the oil keeps things more separated.  Once everything is dissolved, then add the oil and shake! 🙂  

ENJOY!