Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring is here!

Spring has finally come to England... and that means GARDENING!  I started sprouting seeds back in January... and now I actually have plants!

 Ok, admittedly the first three pictures are not from seeds... these are plants from last year that are flowering...

 Ok... the shallots and onions in these two pics aren't from seeds either - but I did plant them last winter and they grew... does that count?

These are the real baby plants from seeds - I grew  them all on my own - and didn't kill them (or many of them - so far)

Biking is hard

So, I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been living up to the name of this blog lately.  I can't even remember the last time I was out on a bike before today - at least a month, probably more.  And before that, it was almost exclusively on my trainer inside the house, in front of the tv.  The only time I've even thought about riding was when I went home to Denver for a week and had a beautiful sunny afternoon walking along the Platte River that actually made it physically painful to not be on my bike.

But it's been over 70 degrees and sunny all week (which never happens in England) and I was starting to feel a little guilty for wasting the beautiful weather by sitting around inside.  I haven't been inspired to do anything (my husband deployed earlier this week) and it's been really difficult to get my butt off the couch.  But I told myself I would feel better if I went, and I did! There is something about being outside in the sunshine that seems to make everything else just a little bit better.

However... there are a few things I learned that I want to share with you...

Biking is hard.  Especially when the bike is not held up for you and you have to do this thing called balancing.  It's much harder when the bike is moving.  You also have to shift (and not when Coach Troy from Spinervals tells you to - you have to decide!).  It's best not to attempt complex moves like getting a bottle of water from your cage and drinking - for some strange reason, the bike tended to go all over the road when I tried that. 

But despite all that, it was a great day out on my bike.  One that makes you remember that you actually do love cycling and that, even for just a few minutes, it makes everything else better.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Impromptu Crab Fried Rice (or Crabby my Mom called it)

First off, let me apologize for having basically disappeared over the last few months.  Life has definitely gotten in the way... and I wasn't feeling all that inspired.

But, I recently discovered a service here that delivers organic produce to your house (fabulous!) and got a few boxes with some weird stuff in them (nothing for this recipe specifically), but the need to go out and figure out what to do with things like Swede (or Rutabaga), Kumquats and Jerusalem Artichokes, made me feel inspired to cook again.  Which for me, right now, is pretty impressive.

So... I also got some crab meat in the magical package of food delivered to my house and decided I would make some crab fried rice. 

It ended up being kind of a non-traditional stir fry, just because of what ingredients I had in the house and had to use up, but it was really good! Not great with measurements because I kind of just threw everything in the pan, but this is a recipe that is meant to be experimented with, so go crazy!  This made enough for 2 servings.

  • Crab Meat (about 100g)
  • 1 zuchinni (shredded)
  • 2 carrots (shredded)
  • Garlic
  • Fresh Grated Ginger
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Brown rice, cooked (about 1 cup)
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • Olive oil
1.   Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute the garlic, ginger and spring onions until fragrant (30 seconds or so).
2.  Add carrots and zucchini and saute, stirring occasionally.

Cook until the carrots are tender (1-2 minutes).  Add the cooked brown rice and the hoisin sauce.  Stir to incorporate and heat through.

3.  Add the crab meat to the pan, stir and cook until heated (1 minute or so).

Voila... crabby rice!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Potato, Leek & Ham Soup

I went to the farmers market this morning and found some great leeks - or leek, since I only bought one...

I've actually never used leeks before, so I went on a forage through the interweb for some good recipes to try it out in and found one for a Ham, Potato and Leek Soup on that sounded worth a try.  Plus, I had some ham in the freezer that I needed to use up, so this sounded perfect!

I did make some modifications to it - most significantly the addition of garlic - yum!!

Potato, Leek & Ham Soup
Serves 4-6 depending on whether it's a meal or appetizer
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes 
Cook Time: 25 minutes

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cups leeks, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Potatoes (I used about 15 fingerlings that I got at the market, but 2 large russets would work fine too), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic - about 1 chopped cloves
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley
1.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

2.Add the leeks, cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Until they look like this...

2. Add the potatoes, garlic, chicken broth and pepper.

3.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
4.  Using a blender (or food processor), process until smooth (or you can leave some chunks in - up to you). 
3.  Stir in diced ham and milk.  Garnish with the parsley.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Salsamole? Guacasla? Avosalsa?

I was craving fresh salsa... the chunky kind that just tastes like summer...
We had gone to the market and ended up with some ripe avocados, which never seems to happen to us - we always get the ones that are hard as rocks.

So I wanted to combine the two - but we couldn't decide what it should be called.  The hubby voted for Salsamole - which I'm a little partial to, but maybe not totally accurate.

Anyway, it ended up being pretty great - and easy to make!


  • 2 large tomatoes (or a bunch of cherry tomatoes - more flavorful, I think)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to taste - I used about 1/4 cup but I like cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno - if you like it spicy, leave the seeds in, or if you're like me and you're not too big on spice but just want some flavor, take the seeds out
  • Juice of one lime
1. Chop the tomato
2. Chop the onion and add it to the bowl

3.  Chop and add the cilantro

4. Chop the avocado and jalapeno, add them to the bowl.  Squirt the lime juice over the bowl and mix.
5. Dig in and enjoy!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What I've been eating

Apologies for it having been so long since I last posted.  Live has been crazy the last few weeks.  The junker car we bought broke, so we had to buy a new one - which promptly also broke.  My mom came to visit and then I got sick :-(  But I'm back now and I wanted to give you a taste of what I've been eating while I've been gone.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of most of it... oops! But they're all still great recipes!

Jamie Oliver's Eggplant Parmesan - This was fabulous! It wasn't a traditional eggplant parm where you fry the eggplant, but it ended up tasting that way and was a TON healthier.  It also reheated well the next day for lunch.

Butternut Squash with Browned Butter & Thyme -  a fabulous fall side dish! We got some great butternut squash at the market and this was just the perfect recipe to try it out.  Comfort food at it's best!

Mushroom Lasagna - this was AMAZING! It tasted like an alfredo sauce, but without any actual cheese! My mom said, "restaurant quality!"  Keep in mind, this isn't particularly easy and takes up a bunch of pans, but it was well worth it.  I used portobello mushrooms and spinach lasagna noodles, but I think next time I would mix and match a few different types of mushrooms.  Give it a try and let me know what mushrooms you used and how it tasted!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipe Recommendations

I thought it might be good to share some of the recipes I tried from other sources recently, without modifications, that I found to be really great.  You should give some of them a try too!

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken Wings from  These were awesome, amazing yummy goodness and I can totally understand why she made them one of her favorite recipes.

Chicken with Shallot-Apricot Sauce from CheapHealthyGood This ended up being really good - something a little different with a savory bite from the balsamic vinegar.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic from  If you've never been into Brussels sprouts before, you haven't tried these.  Tangy from the balsamic, and super-easy.  These will definitely become a staple in my recipe book!

Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts from,
I had some leftover Brussels Sprouts from the recipe before and on the spur-of-the-moment, trying to come up with a veggie to go with dinner tried this out.  They were pretty awesome too! Hubby liked these better and I liked the balsamic ones better.  Try them both and let me know what you think!

What do you think of this kind of post? Interesting? Helpful? Should I keep doing these?