Friday, August 19, 2011

Cabin Trip 2011 Part 6 {What Kept Us Busy}

Motorcycles and crashing them

Cleaning wounds

Lots of braids (14 heads to be exact including my own) and 1 hair wrap

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Brown Family Slideshow


Guatamalan Tacos

Black beans
Corn Tortillas

Okay, I know, I don’t have amounts. That’s mainly due to the fact that the amounts will vary based on how much you want to make. I usually use a whole bag of beans, a head of cabbage 3 to 4 cucumbers, half an onion, 4 or 5 tomatoes, and 3 or 4 limes when I make this for the family. To start, cook the beans in a 2 to 1 ratio of beans to water just like rice. Don’t drain the beans when they are done. In a large skillet/frying pan put a small amount of oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion to the oil. This should be cut into strips, but left relatively large. When the onion has started to soften, but before it’s completely done, add the bean/water mixture. Be careful when adding the beans as the oil will be hot. Mash the beans and let them simmer down to a thicker consistency. Add salt to taste. In a separate bowl, combine shredded cabbage, sliced cucumber (I usually quarter the slices as well so that they fit in the tacos better), and diced tomato. Add the juice from the limes, and mix everything well. Prepare the tortillas by frying them in a small amount of oil. Take the tortillas, and put a small amount of beans in the bottom, then top with the salad mixture. If you like, you can top with pico de gallo, or you can also add chicken or beef, but these are great just vegetarian style as well.


Pico de Gallo (see below)
Half a head of cabbage, shredded
4-6 limes
1-1½ lbs salad shrimp (the small kind)
2 cucumbers, sliced then quartered

This is the salad that I made for the pot luck birthday party in February. I don’t know if anyone really liked it or not, but thought that I would put this up anyway. This is simple, especially if you already have some of the pico de gallo made. I usually add the whole batch of pico, but if you think that it will be too much you can add less. This can be eaten with chips, or you can use romaine lettuce to make a “boat” and fill it with the ceviche as well. You can also substitute chicken instead of shrimp if you are against the slaughter of small sea creatures, or just don’t like the way they taste :)

Pico de Gallo

8-10 medium sized tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
About half a bunch of cilantro
1-2 limes
1-2 jalapenos

Chop everything a small as you can. If you prefer a milder salsa, use only one jalapeno, and clean out the seeds. Using both jalapenos with seeds and pods will make a VERY hot salsa in most cases. Add salt to taste.

Muscle Beach Lemonade
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
7 cups water
1 cup sugar
Mix lemon juice water and sugar till totally dissolved in 2 qt pitcher. Cut lemon rind halves in fourths and add to the pitcher. Add ice to the top of the pitcher and chill.

Banana Banana Bread
Original recipe yield:1 - 9x5 inch loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
We followed another readers advice and baked at 300 degrees for 1 hr and 15 minutes for less brown crust. We liked it! I left the other info, just to give you more options. Another tip that sounded good that we planned to try was sprinkling brown sugar over the top before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

As usual, I included the changes I made. These are the cookies I made for Cameron's blessing.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

I also added a few chocolate chips just under half a bag I think...

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. Put batter in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake.

Pumpkin Cookies from Thanksgiving

This is exactly how I made them :)
½ cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups pumpkin puree almost a whole large can
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
About ½ bag chocolate chips
About ½ cup butterscotch chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 degrees C).
Cream together the margarine, vegetable oil and sugar.
Beat together the egg, vanilla and pumpkin.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; combine with pumpkin mixture and stir in chips
Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. (I used my cookie scoop and flattened the top to make them uniform and small) Be careful not to overbake.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 oz) black beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, with liquid
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix

In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat. Drain, and set aside.
Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend, and cook on Low setting for 8 hours. Laura also sometimes adds a can of rotel tomatoes. (they are tomatoes mixed with chilies. This would make the soup a bit hotter) Also, Laura uses the frozen costco super sweet corn instead of canned.

Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 lbs of chicken breast fillets
½ cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup masa harina (it’s a corn flour)
3 cups water
1 cup enchilada sauce
16 oz velveeta
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
Garnish: Shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled corn tortilla chips, pico de gallo

1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken breasts to pot and brown 4-5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside.
2. Add onions and garlic to pot and saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent. Add chicken broth.
3. Combine masa harina with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl and whisk until blended. Add masa mixture to pot with onions, garlic and broth.
4. Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, cheese and spices to pot and bring mixture to a boil.
5. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer soulp for 30-40 minutes or until thick. (stir occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom)
6. Serve soup in cups or bowls, and garnish with cheese, chips and pico. The recipe for the pico is below, but I often just buy the fresh salsa from the produce department instead.
Pico de Gallo
2 medium tomatoes, diced
½ cup diced Spanish onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-ribbed
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh cilantro
Pinch of Salt

The Cheesecake Factory Chicken Madeira
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
8 asparagus spears
4 mozzarella cheese slices
Madeira Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced fresh white mushrooms
3 cups Madeira wine
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp butter
¼ tsp black pepper
1. Heat up 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover each chicken breast with plastic wrap then use a mallet to flatten the chicken to about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper.
2. Sauté the chicken fillets for 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until the chicken has browned just a bit. Remove chicken fillets from the pan and wrap them together in foil to keep them warm while you make the sauce. Don’t clean the pan. You want all that cooked-on goodness to stay in the skillet to help make the sauce.
3. With the heat still on medium, add two tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for about two minutes. Add the Madeira wine, beef broth, butter and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until sauce reduces to about one quarter of its original volume. When the sauce is done it will have thickened and turned a dark brown color.
4. As the sauce is simmering, bring a medium sauce pan filled about halfway with water to a boil. Add a little salt to the water. Toss the asparagus into the water and boil for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus spears. Drop the asparagus in a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking. The asparagus should be slightly tender when done, not mushy.
5. Set oven to broil. Prepare the dish by arranging the cooked chicken fillets on a baking pan. Cross two asparagus spears over each fillet, then cover each with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Broil the fillets for 3 to 4 minutes or until light brown spots begin to appear on the cheese.
6. To serve, arrange one or two chicken breasts on each plate, then spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons of sauce over the chicken.
Makes 2 cheesecake factory sized portions which he said is equivalent to 4 sensible sized portions. Also, in the description he said that they serve this with mashed potatoes on the side for those of you who haven’t had it before. So you will have work those in to the recipe too. J
P.S. I have substituted a combination of grape juice and chicken broth in another recipe like this because I was afraid the grape juice would overpower it. But maybe you could just use the juice straight across. Todd said it is a sweet sauce, I have never had it…

(I don't know if you remember, Taryn, but I promised you this recipe FOREVER ago)
I usually make this in a 9x13 pan, but I will admit it overflows half of the time! It worked better in those deeper foil pans of moms. If you do use a 9x13 and don't want a lava filled oven, put a cookie sheet on the lower rack to catch drips.
Tara's recipe for Lasagna
1 jar/can of spaghetti sauce (26 oz) (I've used everything from Hunts to Prego)
1-2 lbs hamburger (I usually just use save money)
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/2 tsp of garlic salt (I just shake a little in, I don't measure)
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 cup of water
Brown beef and onion in large pan, add everything else and simmer for 30 minutes. If you don't want to simmer it that long, just add a little less water. If I don't have paste, I just add another can of tomato sauce and cut out a little of the water. In fact, you can chuck ALL of the ingredients beside the hamburger and onion and just use 2 bottles of premade sauce if you want to. I would add a little extra water (about 1/2 cup) for the noodles to absorb. The reason I add extra water is because I don't cook the noodles before I put them in the lasagna. If you do cook your noodles first, you don't need to add any extra water.

1 full package of Lasagna Noodles (16 noodles)
1-2 lbs grated mozzarella
1 (24 oz) pkg cottage cheese (the larger size)
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (overflowing)
1 tablespoon dried parsley

While the sauce is simmering, Mix cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and parsley. To layer lasagna, start by spreading some sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then lay 4 noodles on the bottom. (I usually have to break up the 4th noodle to make it fit.) On top of the noodles put 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, then I sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on that, then the sauce and again with the noodles, and so on. On the top layer you just put sauce directly over the noodles and then more mozzarella. I use all of the sauce by the end. Make sure the noodles are thoroughly covered with sauce, so that they will cook completely. Put foil over the pan, but dome it so it doesn't touch the cheese. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, then take off the foil and bake for another 20 till the cheese is starting to brown on top. Take it out of the oven and let it sit for 10-15 minutes (this just helps the noodles absorb more liquid) and then serve! If you do cook your noodles first, you can also cut baking time to 40 minutes. Just take off the foil 20 minutes earlier or don't use the foil at all.

Book of the Month

Inheritance Cycle: Christopher Paolini

This is another incomplete fantasy series, but I chose it for the book of the month because first of all, it is really good. Secondly, it is currently what both Jess and I have enjoyed reading as of late. Currently there are three books:

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesméra, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspiring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn’t know whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle–one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.
Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life.

OATHS SWORN . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide.
Following the colossal battle against the Empire's warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.
First is Eragon's oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran's beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix's clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength - as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices - choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.
Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?

I do warn any who read these, there is still at least one more book that will be coming out, and they are pretty adicting. I for one don't mind waiting too long for a book, but put off reading them until now because there was a decent amount of time that passed between books 2 and 3. I have only just started the series myself, but already feel like I'm going to really enjoy it. Jess has read books 1 and 2 and will start on the 3rd as soon as she finishes her current read.

Previous Book of the Month Selections

The Chronicles of Narnis: C.S. Louis
Breaking Dawn: Stephanie Meyer
The Host: Stephanie Meyer
The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy: Frank Beddor
The Fablehaven Series: Brandon Mull
The King Raven Trilogy: Stephen Lawhead

Upcoming Trips!

Moyle Jensen Family Reunion on June 18th