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Javanese Marinade for Lamb Shish Kebabs To share or not to share? That was my dilemma. Should I reveal a family favorite recipe or should I keep it a family secret? Recognizing that life is infinitely better when shared and acknowledging that my mother-in-law graciously gave this recipe to me, I gladly present this tried-and-true Javanese Marinade for Lamb Shish Kebabs for you to enjoy. The remarkable flavor combination and the ease of preparation make it a winning entrée. It’s so good, you, too, may find yourself questioning whether or not to share the recipe!

Javanese Marinade for Lamb Shish Kebabs
From the recipe collection of Mrs. Y. Chang

INGREDIENTS
1 cup oil
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup chopped onions
3 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon coriander seed
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
Curry powder, to taste
Chili powder, to taste
Ground cumin, to taste
Leg of lamb, cut into chunks

DIRECTIONS
1. If using bamboo skewers, immerse them completely in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan filled with water for about 30 minutes.

2. Debone the leg of lamb or purchase a boneless leg roast, trim fat, and, cut meat into 1-inch chunks.

3. In a large bowl combine oil, soy sauce, chopped onions, ground ginger, coriander seeds, vinegar, brown sugar, curry powder, chili powder, and cumin. Stir to mix ingredients.

4. Add lamb chunks to the bowl of marinade; stir to coat all pieces of meat. Cover bowl and let marinade overnight in the refrigerator (or a minimum of 4 to 6 hours), stirring periodically.

5. Before grilling, let meat come to room temperature. Thread chunks of meat onto skewers.

6. Grill the kebabs.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I use canola oil and light soy sauce in the marinade.

2. My husband, who usually makes this recipe for family events, told me that he always adds way more spice and brown sugar than the recipe calls for. Since the last three spices are added to taste, here are the amounts that I generally use with good results: about 3 teaspoons of curry, 1½ teaspoons of chili powder and around 3/4 of a teaspoon of cumin. Start with those quantities and then add more seasonings and brown sugar as you see fit.

3. I also add a couple of twists of my black pepper mill to the marinade.

4. There is no added salt, because of the amount of sodium in the soy sauce.

5. If my husband and I make lamb shish kebabs for a crowd, we divide the meat into large zip-type plastic bags and pour some of the marinade into each bag. While marinating, we periodically flip the bags over and massage the bags to distribute the marinade.

6. I like to intersperse fresh mushrooms, chunks of onion, and green peppers in between the pieces of meat to add color and interest.

7. Don’t overcook the lamb; in my family, medium-rare is preferred.

Enjoy!

Red Roses Dozens of long-stemmed red roses sit on my kitchen table. The gift of these magnificent flowers symbolizes love, but for me they also represent a passage of time. I am a firm believer that every birthday is special and should be celebrated without hesitation. With another big milestone birthday under my belt this week, I remain philosophical. Getting old does not scare me, but the mere thought of not being true to myself, of living an unauthentic life, does. I may no longer be “younger than springtime,” but there’s still plenty of spring in my step, enough curiosity to keep me engaged in the world around me, and an immeasurable amount of space in my heart with which to welcome love and joy.

#1 – Never Stop
25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing For Yourself No matter how old you are, you need to strive to be true to yourself. Along that line, Marc and Angel’s list of 25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself, is an excellent reminder for all of us.

#2 – Simple Beauty Tips
Beauty Tips Some of the best beauty products are right under your nose and in your kitchen. According to InStyle, “Honey has exfoliating natural enzymes and is loaded with humectants, which reduce the loss of moisture.” Check out InStyle’s 20 Timeless Skin-Care Tips to learn about other simple beauty tips.

#3 – Art and Our Inner Child
Javier Perez Ecuadorian graphic designer Javier Pérez, brings out the inner child in all of us when he combines everyday objects with a few touches of his own to create whimsical scenes. Check out his fun Instagram Experiments series.

#4 – Wonders Around The World
Iguazu Falls View breathtaking wonders around the world in spectacular high resolution by taking 360° virtual tours at AirPano. Scroll through the selection of sights at the bottom of the page and select which attraction you would like to “travel” to. For maximum enjoyment, watch in full screen mode. Listen to the enchanting background music as the camera pans through each scene. Click on different icons that appear on the screen to enter rooms or to view scenes from different angles. Simply incredible! To see the complete list of virtual tours, click here.

#5 – The Fountain of Youth
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Sophia Loren

Enjoy your weekend! Now go and spread joy!

Pineapple-Lemon Iced Tea

Pineapple-Lemon Iced Tea What? O.C.D. iced tea? I need that! After putting on my reading glasses, I realize that it is not O.C.D. iced tea, but rather O.C.C. iced tea. O.C.C. stands for the Oahu Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii. With a pedigree like that, one would expect a thirst-quenching tropical-flavored drink. This recipe does not disappoint: the fruity sweetness of the pineapple juice balances the crisp tartness of the lemon juice, while the subtle hint of mint refreshes and brightens the beverage. Whatever acronym floats your boat, you’ll enjoy sipping this super easy-to-make iced tea on a warm and sunny day!

O.C.C. (Pineapple-Lemon) Iced Tea
A Taste of Aloha Cookbook

INGREDIENTS
1/2 gallon water
12 tea bags
3 sprigs fresh mint
1 and 2/3 cups sugar
12 ounces pineapple juice
6 ounces fresh lemon juice
Additional mint sprigs, for garnish
Pineapple spears, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring water to a boil and steep tea bags and mint. Remove mint after 3 minutes.
2. Continue to steep tea until it is very dark. Remove tea bags.
3. While tea is still warm, add sugar and juices, stirring to dissolve sugar.
4. Pour into a gallon container, adding enough water to fill to the gallon level.
5. Chill.
6. Serve iced with mint sprigs and pineapple spears.

Makes 1 gallon

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used a good brand of regular-sized English Breakfast (decaf) tea bags.
2. The next time I make this, I will try using a sugar substitute.

Enjoy!

Lizards fighting Posturing and positioning themselves, two blue belly lizards eye each other contemptuously. Using my deck as their battlefield, they crawl around in a strategic circle formation. In a flash the battle begins: one lizard lunges at the other and chases it away. Retreating, but not far away, the second lizard charges back towards the other. Charge and retreat; charge and retreat; charge and retreat; the battle continues. Studying these two rivals, I recognize that they are not only fierce competitors, but also survivors. Each sports a regenerated tail. Given a particular threatening situation, some lizard species have caudal autotomy, the ability to self-amputate their tails. Equally amazing is the fact that they can also regenerate new tails. This ability to shed or let go of an integral part of themselves in order to survive fascinates me. I ponder how this concept might apply to humans. Not in the physical sense, of course, but in the spiritual and emotional sense. What do we need to let go of in our heads or in our hearts in order to survive and regenerate?

#1 – Japanese Philosophy and Art
Kintsukuroi Comparing the kintsukuroi pottery process to trials in life, metaphysical teacher, author, and spiritual guide Carrieanne Fonger says, Take a moment to remember all of your own broken places. Instead of filling the memories with shame, guilt, sorrow or regret, fill those broken spaces in your life with gold. Think about how each circumstance changed you for the better, helping to shape your character and make you who you are – “more beautiful for having been broken.”

#2 – Backyard Fun
Outdoor Summer Fun Spending time in the outdoors can regenerate the spirit. There’s no need to travel far, either. Just step into your backyard. To that end, here are 31 DIY Ways to Make Your Backyard Awesome This Summer. What fun!

#3 – Easter Peeps Flower Vase
What if you stuck a slightly chipped or ugly vase inside a clear larger vase and used the in-between-space to place decorative elements? You would be giving new life to the smaller vase and creating something beautiful at the same time. Easter Peeps and Flower Centerpiece

#4 – Out of the Mouth of Babes
“There’s plenty of reasons to dance; you just have to look for them,” says this wise young soul. Watch this video and feel renewed and invigorated.

#5 – Let Go, Evolve, and Change
Kintsukuroi

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
Joseph Campbell

“Life is a gift, and should be cherished, lived and experienced. Though experience often reveals itself as pain in this world, it is still purposeful, it still has its place in the evolution of our spirit.”
Michael Poeltl, Revelation

“Change always comes bearing gifts.” Price Pritchett

Now go and spread joy!

Savory Brunch Muffins

Savory Brunch Muffins 12 – 1 = 11. But in the world of muffins, 12 muffins – 1 muffin = 1 very happy tummy. Combine traditional brunch ingredients – eggs, smoked salmon, and fresh dill – and present them in a delightful and portable manner. These muffins, topped with crunchy and salty potato chips, make for one fabulous brunch-to-go, or serve them hot at your next brunch gathering.

Savory Brunch Muffins
Better Homes and Gardens

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill
2 oz. lox-style smoked salmon, chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
1 cup wavy potato chips, crushed

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease twelve 2½-inch muffin cups or line with parchment paper squares; set aside.

2. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

3. In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, butter, and dill; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Gently fold in salmon and chopped eggs.

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Sprinkle crushed potato chips over batter in cups.

5. Bake 15 minutes or until golden-brown. Cool in cups on wire rack 5 minutes.

Makes 12 servings

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I cut parchment paper into roughly 5-inch by 5-inch squares. Try not to get any batter on the paper when filling the cups. After baking, any batter stuck to the paper will appear as dark brown spots. This is not the worst thing in the world, but it will look a little messy.

2. Place the potato chips in a plastic bag and crush with your fingers. Some of the potato chips should be slightly pressed into the batter or else they will all fall off after baking.

3. Don’t overbake these muffins or they will be dry.

4. The next time I make these I will add a pinch of black pepper and some snipped chives or chopped green onions to the batter to enhance their flavor.

5. Because of the salty potato chips and smoked salmon, there is not a lot of additional salt added to the batter. If you like your food saltier, cautiously add more salt only after you have determined the degree of saltiness of the salmon and potato chips you are using. Not all smoked salmon or potato chips have the same amount of sodium.

Enjoy!

Hummingbirds A dumpling-shaped hummingbird perched on a feeder and uncharacteristically took his time sipping nectar. After every sip, he looked around leisurely. When another hummingbird frenetically approached the feeder, the first hummingbird remained calm and shared the feeder with the newcomer. The plump little bird said to the busy bird, “Hey dude, what’s the hurry?” The other bird did not pause and continued to feed. The plump bird made another attempt at communication and said, “Whoa! Slow down dude. There’s plenty of food for both of us. Life is short. You gotta take some time to savor the moment.” The busy bird stopped and, without a word, he flew to a perch and sat down. He looked across at the plump bird and replied, “Thanks. Thanks for the reminder.”

#1 – Bird’s-Eye View
Bird's-Eye Views of the World Have you ever wished you could be a bird soaring through the sky? Imagine having a bird’s-eye view of the world and, if you did, how spectacular Niagara Falls would appear from above. Check out the photo series How Our World Would Look If You Were a Bird and see some pretty incredible landscapes.

#2 – Crocheting for Tortoises
Now, I’ve seen it all. I don’t know whether tortoises really need sweaters or not, but since I have been flexing my new crochet skills to make things for my upcoming grandbaby, I appreciated these clever and funny attempts at trying to keep tortoises warm.
Crochet for Turtles

#3 – Gift of GIFS
Nature Gifs A “graphics interchange format” or GIF (pronounced jiff) is a compressed image file format, which allows images to be transported quickly over the Internet. This technology allows us to see limited movement or animation on websites. Lucky for us, because we can view funny bloopers or cute puppies on Facebook or watch impressive nature scenes from 14 Reasons Why Nature Gifs Are Your New Favorite Thing.

#4 – Organic Foods
Organic Foods Fact or Fiction If you’ve ever questioned whether it’s worth spending extra money to purchase organic foods, you may find answers to some of your questions in Organic Food: Fact or Fiction from YOU Beauty.

#5 – Pooh, Piglet, and A.A. Milne
A.A. Milne Quotes

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’”

“Sometimes,” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

“What day is it?” asked Winnie the Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.

Enjoy your favorite day! Now go and spread joy!

Coconut Curry Chili

Coconut Curry Chili He wanted curry. I wanted chili. Lucky for him, I compromised by making a chili dish with an interesting flavor twist. Coconut Curry Chili looks like a typical chili and packs the heat of a chili, but sports an Asian-inspired flavor combination. It’s a snap to throw together, but don’t hurry this curry. The flavors need time to meld. A bowl of this hot spicy chili fills you up and fires up your taste buds.

Coconut Curry Chili
Adapted from an Allrecipes.com submission

INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound ground turkey
2 (10.75-ounce) cans tomato soup*
1¼ cups water
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed**
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed**
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup mango chutney
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup coconut milk, divided use
Chopped cilantro, optional for garnish
Light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, optional

DIRECTIONS
1. Cook the ground turkey in a skillet over medium heat. With a spatula or spoon, break it up into small pieces. Cook until completely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off as much grease as possible.

2. Combine tomato soup, water, and minced garlic in a large pot and bring to a boil.

3. Add the turkey to the pot and return the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.

4. Stir chickpeas, red kidney beans, carrot, chutney, curry powder, onion powder, salt and pepper into the turkey mixture; bring to a simmer; place cover on the pot and cook until the chickpeas are tender, about 15 minutes.

5. Stir in 1/4 cup coconut milk into the chili, return cover to the pot and simmer another 15 minutes. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk into the chili, stir, and simmer 30 minutes more.

Serves 6

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used ground beef, because that’s what I had on hand.

2. *In order to make this recipe lower in sodium and more flavorful, I substituted a 32-ounce box of low-sodium roasted red pepper and tomato soup for the two cans of tomato soup and the 1¼ cups of water.

3. I added a whole carrot, chopped. The more veggies, the better!

4. **To make this chili more substantial, I would add one more can of garbanzo beans or one more can of red kidney beans.

5. To make this a vegetarian dish, replace the ground meat with firm tofu, cubed. Add it towards the end.

6. This chili is great over freshly-cooked brown rice. Top with chopped cilantro and light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, if desired.

Enjoy!

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