May 22, 2008

Spain Here We Come

My husband and I leave tomorrow morning for a long awaited vacation in Spain. A three week vacation to be exact.

Why Spain? Well, as you've probably read on my blog before, my husband's mother was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. She moved over to the US after marrying my husband's father. They live now in Mt. Vernon, MO.

We are traveling over to Spain with my in-laws and will have the opportunity to meet my husband's family in Spain, which will also be their first time he will meet his family in Spain as well.

We are very excited and have been packing for about a week now. My lovely girlfriends are taking care of our "kids" while we are away, as well as watering my gardens and flowers. Thank goodness for great friends.

I will not be posting anything on the blog until June 13, when I return from vacation, so here's a recipe to leave you with.

1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup of water
1 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 tsp. of ginger

Mix ingredients. Add meat and turn occasionally for best results. Marinade 6 hours in refrigerator. Broil or grill.

May 21, 2008

Friendship 4-Ever

I am very fortunate to have a group of very good friends. It’s funny how we develop and grow our group of friends through the years. I have high school friends, college friends, work friends and then friends that have come into my life many other ways.

(PHOTO: Lane, Ginger, Tyne and Kala at MU Graduation.)

One of my best friends, Lesley, is now married to a wonderful guy and just finished up her Masters in Oklahoma. She was my maid of honor in my wedding and I in her wedding. Although she doesn’t live close, she remains one of the true people that know me and who I am.

Then there are my three girlfriends that I am constantly with as they live close by. Kala, Danielle and Tyne I met all through my previous job at the Brownfield Farm Radio Network. These three girls mean very much to me. We are together as much as possible, but that is getting ready to change…why?

Well, Tyne finally graduated from MU this past weekend. It was kinda strange at graduation- watching her graduate finally because I first met her when she came to Brownfield for an internship. She was a little sophomore in college then, now she is a graduate that will be starting at Monsanto in June. Where does the time go?

Wherever the time goes, I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends in my life.

To celebrate my very wonderful friends here’s a recipe that’s perfect for any summer BBQ with friends.

BBQ Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts
1 cup of Your Favorite BBQ Sauce
¼ cup beer
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp. lime chipotle powder

Mix everything together. Place chicken in a bowl with the mixture. Let chicken marinate for at least 2 hours.

Get grill nice and hot and grill ‘em up. good.

May 6, 2008

Beef Stir-Fry with Snap Peas

Beef stir-fryHere’s a new recipe I tried a couple weeks ago that’s quick and easy to make and not to mention healthy!

This meal took me about 28 minutes to make and was really worth it. My husband and I love homemade stir-fry that we can cook together. You can also use shrimp for this recipe instead of beef.

(This photo isn’t mine, as it’s from Marth Stewart's Everyday Food. My photo didn’t do this recipe justice, so I’ll let the professionals take this one.)

Beef Stir-Fry with Snap Peas
Serves 4
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced crosswise, halved if long
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
12 ounces snap peas, strings removed
5 to 6 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced diagonally
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like it)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)

In a medium saucepan with a lid, bring 2 cups salted water to a boil. Add rice; return to a boil. Stir once, and reduce to a simmer. Cover, and cook until rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. (*Don't stir you rice when it begins to cook, that breaks the starch down and you'll get mushy rice.)

Ten minutes before rice is done, place steak in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch, and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Cook half the steak until browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes (steak will cook further in step 3); transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef.

Add snap peas, white part of scallions, ginger, red-pepper flakes, and 3/4 cup water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook until snap peas turn bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Return steak to skillet until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and mix in green part of scallions and lime juice. Serve with rice.

May 5, 2008

Spring Asparagus Pasta

Ahhhhh……Spring is in the air and the thought of fresh produce is just around the corner. Farmers’ markets have some produce right now, but in about three weeks lots of produce and fruits will be ripe for the pickin’.

I spent the past weekend on the farm with my parents. My husband was at Table Rock Lake pre-fishing for a tournament he has this weekend. So, me and the kids (Rudy & Liz) made our way to the farm on Thursday night. Lots went on this weekend….

My hometown farmers’ market celebrated it’s opening ceremony this past weekend and I attended. I also visited the Simpson Strawberry Farm to tour the family’s farm/Agritourism operation. My mother and I painted one of the bathrooms my parent’s are remodeling. (My parents are crazy. Seriously. They are building a lake house, remodeling their house on the farm, putting in a HUGE garden, trying to keep up with our registered Charolais and Angus cattle and landscaping the front of the farm house.) Why on earth would anyone put all of this on their shoulders at once I don’t know. But, they are.

My mother was very thankful I came down and helped her paint. She is already planning the next room she wants to paint…God love her!

I do have a point to all of this….this weekend was about the most relaxing I’ve had a quite awhile. One main part I love about going to the farm- no cell phone service! Peace, quite…all you hear is the cows moo-ing and the birds singing. Oh, one more thing I love about my parents house- no internet. Even when I want to check my email, I can’t. How wonderful is that!

Here’s a recipe that’s in-season right now that makes a great weeknight meal. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Spring Asparagus Pasta
2 lbs. of asparagus
salt for water
2 T. olive oil
8 cloves garlic shaved thin and then julienned
1 C. shallots peeled and julienned
pinch of crushed red peppers
2 lemons juiced
3/4 C. fresh chives chopped fine
1 lb. angel hair pasta
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese freshly grated

Rinse the asparagus and remove the bottom inch of the stem. Cut the tips into 2 inch pieces. Cut the remaining piece julienned. Set the asparagus aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. In a large nonstick skillet, saute the garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes in olive oil, until tender but not browned. Add the lemon juice and reduce by half.

Drop the pasta and the asparagus tips into the boiling water. Cook until the pasta is ala dente, about 3 - 4 minutes. Drain for a few minutes and add to the pan.

While the pasta is cooking add the remaining asparagus to the pan with the shallots and saute until they begin to wilt. Toss in the chives, the pasta and cook until the remaining water has evaporated. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat and add the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 - 6.