Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Colorful Cabbage

Here is another Wordless Wednesday post to brighten "hump day".  I love the vibrant green of this gorgeous cabbage-  if only the humble cabbage knew it could be pretty?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tips On How To Cook Morels


Look at the lovely treasures my oldest son brought home for us! 

Morel mushrooms are a real find and they are only around for a short period of time during the spring.  The first time we tried to cook these little guys up it was an epic fail!  I didn't know what I was doing, so we enjoyed a mouthful of gritty sand.  Fast forward a few years, I am now able to serve up some savory morels that will melt in your mouth.  They are a perfect side to steaks, burgers, and pastas.

I had to ask around the neighborhood and learn a few tricks before I was able to create a good morel dish.  I thought I would share a few tips of the trade so you don't waste a valuable heap of mushroomy goodness.

Here are my favorite tips:
  • Fresh is best!  Prepare them shortly after picking or within a day or two.
  • Store the freshly picked mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator if you are unable to cook them right away.
  • Cut the mushrooms in half to make them easier to rinse.  The insides can be full of sand and they are hard to clean unless they are halved.
  • Clean them gently.  I use a colander and rinse them several times with "soft" running water.  If you turn your faucet up high, it might break the stems and tops into small pieces.
  • Rinse and rinse again.  I always rinse them several times, because sand isn't very appetizing in your dinner.
  • Let the excess water drain off or blot them carefully with a towel.  I always let ours sit in the colander for a bit before I cook them so they are dry.
  • Fry them!  I like them sautéed in butter with a little salt and pepper.  My son prefers to dip them in pancake batter and cook them that way.  I have a friend who is adamant that you need to roll them in eggs and Ritz crackers before frying. 
  • Serve and enjoy!

Do you have any tips for cooking morels?  Please share!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Tips to Pack the BEST Care Package!

It's summer time here in Nebraska and my middle son is away at camp for a week.  This is his first extended camp, usually they last for 3 days, but this time he is away for 7 WHOLE days.  His brothers and I decided we would send him and the Troop a package of goodies.  After a few hours of brainstorming and debating ideas of what to pack, we finally settled on a few treats.

Here are a few tips to help you pack the BEST care package!  EVER! 

  • Choose items that won't melt in a vehicle or the summer heat.  Can you imagine receiving a special package from home, only to find a puddle of chocolate inside?  Yuck! 
          Here are a few suggestions (a lot of these are from teenage boys):
Small Bags of Chips
Pop Tarts
Powdered Drink Mixes
Granola Bars
Non-Chocolate Candies
Gummy worms
Pixie Stix

  • Add something homemade or special for the recipient.  We baked up a batch of sturdy cookies for the boys.  My Grandmother used to mail O'Henry bars to my Uncle or his favorite sugar cookies.  If your package is going a long way, store a slice of bread in with your cookies.  This will keep them moist!
  • Include small books or cards.  These could be Sudoku books, word finds, jokes, playing cards, or trading cards. 
  • Enclose a hand written note or letter.  You are showing the person that you value them enough to sit down and write. 
  • Choose a box to fit your needs.  We used a flat rate shipping box from the Post Office, but you can use whatever your items to fit snuggly and prevent shifting. 
  • If you have extra space inside your box, use lightweight materials to secure the contents.  Here are a few ideas that are economical:
air popped popcorn
grocery bags
crumpled newspaper
  • Finally, don't include items that will get you in trouble with the United States Government.  Liquids, alcohol, and fireworks are probably on the no mail list.
I can't wait to hear how the boys enjoyed their care package!  Do you have any tips or suggestions?  Share them in the Comments!