STRAWBERRY POTS, HOW TO WATER

Strawberry pot, how to water

Found this Post in a Group that I belong to. I wanted to share it with you all. Thank you Lance.

Gail

I always have trouble watering this strawberry pot. When I water it from the top, soil and water always pours out the holes. It makes a mess and I have to add more soil to the plants. It drives me crazy. I saw this on pinterest. Poke holes in a plastic bottle and put it in the middle of the pot then add your flowers.. This way the water comes from the center and the excess drains out the bottom without losing soil from the sides.
You can’t see the bottle once the plants fill in.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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MOBILE WATERING SYSTEM

Mobile watering system

Is this not the absolute coolest? What will they think of next? Talk about recycling, eh?

CONFETTI COOKIES

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     We’ve all had those grocery store bakery cookies.  You know the ones I’m talking about, the pretty frosted sugar cookies.  Yes, they are pretty, but flavor?  It just isn’t there.

     This is my basic go-to recipe when I want a soft frosted cookie.  Love that it’s adaptable.  You

can change the flavor of the cookie by omitting the vanilla and adding lemon, orange, raspberry,

cinnamon, peppermint, spearmint , anise, almond, coffee extract, or whatever you’re in the mood for.  Someone in the family loves chocolate chip cookies?  No problem.  Separate a little of the cookie dough and add chips.  If you’re doing orange or lemon, add a bit of zest to the batter and also to the frosting.  And of course, add the same extract to the frosting.  Color the frosting?  Absolutely!  It makes them more fun.  Put more than one color on the same cookie if you want to.  I do.

COOKIE INGREDIENTS:  YIELD 42 Large Cookies

4 ½ cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

¼  tsp salt

3 sticks salted butter, room temp

1 ½ cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 TBSP vanilla extract or another extract of your choice.

 

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

6 cups 10x

1 stick salted butter, room temp

2 ½ tsp vanilla + ½ tsp almond or another extract of your choice

2 TBSP milk or half and half

2 Dashes salt

Food coloring to tint

Sprinkles

 

COOKIE PREPARATION:  As always, I bake these on my stoneware sheets.  If you prefer, you can line regular baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.  Keep an eye on them because the baking time may vary.

In your mixer bowl, combine butter and sugar.  Blend 2-3 minutes on medium speed until soft and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Add whatever extract you want.  Add baking powder and salt, beating until incorporated.  Add flour last and beat until well mixed in.  Cover and chill for one hour.  This allows the butter to set up a bit and the cookies won’t spread.    I us my 2” (2 TBSP) cookie scoop and then slightly flatten each cookie with my fingers or a spoon.  Bake in a 350° F oven for about 12 minutes.  To test for doneness, touch the centers.  You want them set, but not over baked.  Don’t let them turn brown or your soft cookie will be a harder texture.  Cool on sheet for 2 or 3 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE:  If you want to make two or three different flavors, transfer small amounts of dough to small bowls add a little extract.  Do the same with the frosting.  Make the frosting, then separate to small bowls to change the flavors or tints.

 

FROSTING PREPARATION:

Put butter in mixer bowl and beat on medium speed for 30-45 seconds.  Add extract, salt, and milk.  Add confectioner’s sugar and beat until fluffy.  If it seems too wet, add a bit more sugar.  If it seems too dry, add 1 tsp milk or half and half.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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APPLE CINNAMON LASAGNA CAKE

APPLE CINNAMON LASAGNA CAKE

apple cinnamon lasagna cake (2)

 

     I wanted cake.  I didn’t feel like a cake with gobs of frosting, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted.  I needed something lighter.  I quickly scanned my fridge and counter.  I had strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and 2 frozen bananas.  Nope.  I wasn’t salivating, so that wasn’t going to work.  I had one apple.  What to do; what to make.  

     Just like you see in the cartoons, a light bulb went off.  It nearly blinded me, but luckily I’m OK now.  

     I made a loaf cake and layered it with apples, dates, walnuts and a brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Of course you can skip the dates if you want, but I love them!   You could substitute Craisins instead of dates.  I’m sure they will be perfect with the apple/cinnamon/walnut flavors.  You don’t have to do any swirling, just layer the ingredients and you’ll end up with an absolutely delicious cake with a moist light crumb.  No frosting needed. 

     Sprinkling a little cinnamon sugar (the same as you’d put on toast) on top turned the exposed walnuts into candied nuts.  Oh my!!!  Ice cream with caramel sauce drizzled when serving?  Or ice cream with chocolate fudge sauce drizzled?  YES, please!

INGREDIENTS

½ cup sugar

1 stick salted butter

2 large eggs

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup milk

¾ cup chopped apple (1 medium apple)

5 or 6 dates, chopped (or chocolate chips or craisins)

¼ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup brown sugar

1 rounded tsp cinnamon

Extra cinnamon and granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

Caramel sauce is optional

 

PREPARATION:

In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and brown sugar with a fork, removing any lumps.  Set aside.

In mixer bowl, beat sugar and butter for about 2 minutes at medium speed.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add Vanilla, salt, and baking powder.  Alternately add flour and milk, mixing until incorporated.

In a standard 5” x 9” loaf pan, butter the sides and bottom.  Pour in approximately ¾”  batter to cover the bottom of pan and sprinkle dates, chocolate chips or craisins on top.  Add half of remaining batter, sprinkle half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, half the apples, and half the walnuts on top.  Add remaining batter, remaining brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, remaining apples, and the last of the walnuts.  Press lightly with your fingers or a fork to embed the toppings.  You don’t want them falling off later.

BAKE at 350°F for about 40 minutes.  Use toothpick test.  The top will be golden brown and if you used a glass loaf pan, you’ll be able to see that the sides are a nice rich brown.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

Apple Cinnamon Lasagna Cake (3)

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APPLE CINNAMON LASAGNA CAKE

 

SUN TEA, Cheaper way to have your tea

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     Warm weather is coming which means it’s iced tea time. Here’s a great money saving and healthier alternative than buying bottled iced tea.

     I never buy it, so I’m not sure, but I’ll guess that a 16 oz bottle of pre-made tea is probably about $1.75. To me, that is ridiculous when I can make a half gallon of sun tea for 18 cents. You can add your own sugar and lemon if you want. No chemicals, no artificial flavors or colors, no aspertame. Just pure tea and water.

     Yes, 18 cents for 2 quarts of iced tea. I make it all winter, just letting it sit on the counter. In my photo, this pitcher has been on the counter for two or three hours. You don’t need sunlight. On sunny days I do put it outside. The sun heats the water and the tea brews much faster.

     I use 5 tea bags, and you can buy a box of 100 for $3.60. The glass pitcher I use is by Anchor Hocking and I think it was around $6. I have two of them so one can be in the fridge and the other one is either being washing or brewing the next batch.

     Ha Ha Disclaimer: I know you wouldn’t haul around a 1/2 gallon glass container, so if you’re going out, you’ll have to think of something else i.e. a sports cup or something similar. For at home drinking though, you can’t beat making your own.

     So there’s my 2 cents for the day. Hehe.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

 

BLUEBERRY SCONES

BLUEBERRY SCONES

Blueberry Scones (6)

Scones are not at all hard to make.  Nor are they time consuming.  There is nothing like a hot scone straight out of the oven.  The slightly crispy edges and flaky interior are so satisfying.  I think they are best eaten warm, cut in half, spread with a little butter, and drizzle honey and cinnamon.  And then there’s Bob.  No butter, no honey or jam, no nuffin’.  He likes them just as they are. 

   I think it’s time for High Tea! Jolly good!

INGREDIENTS:  Yield 10 large scones

 

 

2 cups unbleached AP Flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

¼ rounded cup granulated sugar

1 TBSP baking powder

1 TBSP cold butter, cut into pieces

2 large eggs

1/3 cup sour cream or vanilla yogurt

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp lemon extract

1 TBSP grated lemon zest (use the lemon for sun tea)

1 cup fresh blueberries, picked over, rinsed, and drained well

2 TBSP melted butter

OPTIONAL:  ½ tsp Cinnamon, Coarse sugar to sprinkle on top

PREPARATION:

Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add cold butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingers. (I like to use a pastry blender cause my hot hands melt the butter).

Whisk the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon extract in a small bowl.  Add zest. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. This a little dense and very easy to work with.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Flour your counter and place the dough on the counter.   Fold in half, press down, rotate, repeat.  Do this 6 times.  Add blueberries and knead 2 more times until they are mixed through the dough. (An alternative is to pat out the dough and then press the blueberries into the dough.  No broken or split berries this way).  Press the dough into an 8 ½” x 8 ½” square.  It should be about ½” thick.  Cut into 10 triangular scones.  (See photo).  Place on a stoneware baking sheet, or Parchment lined baking sheet, or well-greased cookie sheet.

Brush with melted butter.  You can sprinkle with a bit of a coarse sugar if you’d like. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate tray 180° and continue baking for another 9 or 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.  I always bake mine on stoneware, so baking time could differ if you use something else.

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BLUEBERRY SCONES

Blueberry Scones (7)

 

SAVORY CREPES WITH ASPARAGUS AND HAM

Crepe with asparagus, ham

     These delicious crepes were so much fun to make, and something different to serve your family.  AND, I used  leftover ham.

 

INGREDIENTS FOR SAVORY CREPES:

2 large eggs

¾ cup milk

½ cup water

1 cup AP flour

3 TBSP melted butter

Pinch of Salt

Herbs: Parsley, Basil, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder

OPTIONAL: Spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, cooked scrambled or fried eggs, rice, orzo

 

PREPARATION:

For some reason, crepe batter turns out best if you mix it in a blender or food processor.  Put all the ingredients in the blender and pulse for 10-12 seconds.  Done.  Easy?  You bet!  Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about an hour to allow the bubbles to escape.  It will give you a stronger crepe with less likelihood of tearing when you’re cooking them.  The batter will stay fresh for a couple of days if you have extra.

Preheat a small cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium/high heat.  Add butter to coat the bottom.  You’ll need about ¼ cup of batter poured into the middle of the pan for each crepe.  Quickly  swirl so the batter spreads evenly.  Cook for 45 – 60 seconds, and then flip over.  I flipped them in the air to see if I could do it.  It wasn’t hard at all and was pretty cool.  Try it; just don’t try flipping them up to the ceiling.  You may be wearing a crepe across your face if you do. Cook the second side for 30 seconds and then place the crepe on a platter to cool.  -OR-  you could have all the fillings laid out and let people fill their own as they come off the heat.  Crepe party!  The crepes should be slightly crisp and very lightly browned.

 

FILLING: 

As I said, I used leftover ham, which can be sliced, or chunked.  I cooked the mushrooms in a 10” skillet, and then cooked the asparagus in the same pan for about 3 minutes until tender.  (See photo).  I drained the water, put the mushrooms back in the pan and then pushed them to the side.  I kept the ham, asparagus, and mushrooms warm while I cooked the crepes.  (See photo).  The cheese was added individually as I filled each crepe.

If you want to assemble them before serving, store filled crepes in a 275° F oven to keep warm.

If you want to use up all the batter, completely cooled crepes can be stacked and stored in the fridge or freezer.

NOTE:  If you want to make dessert crepes, just add 2 TBSP sugar and  1 tsp vanilla to the batter.  Of course you’ll omit the herbs.  Then fill them with fruit, cream cheese and fruit, jam, sprinkle powdered sugar on them, etc.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

Crepe

ASPARAGUS

cREPES

Crepe with asparagus, ham

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BRUSCHETTA ON CIABATTA ROLLS

BRUSCHETTA ON CIABATTA

     We ate them with butter right out of the oven.  You can dip them in flavored olive oil.  We made sandwiches, and I made the most delicious Bruschetta. I always used to make Bruschetta out of leftover hamburger or hot dog rolls from the store. Not anymore. They don’t hold a candle compared to using Ciabatta as your base. 

     Since Ciabatta is mostly a slightly crispy outside with little bread inside, they are ideal for making Bruschetta.

     Here’s how I did it.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Ciabatta rolls (or other roll)

olive oil

Fresh tomato, diced

Pepperoni, diced

Sweet Mini Peppers, chopped

Garlic, chopped

basil

Dash Italian seasoning

Parsley

Grated Italian cheese blend
OPTIONAL:  Spinach, onions, olives.

PREPARATION:

Cut Ciabatta rolls in half. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bread, then start piling on the ingredients. Top with cheese and put in the oven or toaster oven at 400 °  F until cheese is melted and slightly brown.

Eat. Yum!

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

Ciabatta Rolls

Bruschetta

BRUSCHETTA ON CIABATTA

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BROWNED BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Browned Butter Choc Chip Cookies

There’s something homey and comforting about Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Everyone loves them, and for good reason.  They’re delicious.  For years though, I was plagued by flat cookies.  You know the ones I mean.  They’re beautiful when they come out of the oven, but as they cooled, they became flatter than a fritter. What was wrong that it happened time and time again?  

     It had to be the recipe on the bag.  Something or some things needed serious adjustments. I decided that browned butter was the first place to start.  Eureka!  It made all the difference.  The texture is wonderful, the centers are moist and chewy, and the edges are perfectly crisp.  Even the flavor is better.  So here is my all-new recipe and how I did it. (Yes, of course I had to change almost everything.) 

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ sticks salted butter, roughly chunked

¾ cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 – 1 ½ tsp Saigon Cinnamon

½ tsp baking soda

Dash of salt

2 cups AP flour

1 rounded cup chocolate chips, I like semi-sweet

OPTIONAL:  Pecans, walnuts, raisins, dates, coconut.  Bob doesn’t like coconut and I love it.  I always bake one plain batch and add 1/3 – ½ cup coconut to the remainder of the dough before baking.

YIELD:  If using a large cookie scoop, the recipe will give you 24 large cookies.  If you add a cup of nuts, you’ll end up with a few extra.

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Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Browned Butter Choc Chip Cookies

SPANISH RICE WITH MEAT AND BEANS

Spanish rice with meat and beans

     We had a Mexican Fiesta, the other night.  Sometimes I just want it, you know??  I love how this dish turned out.  It was a perfect blend of rice, a little meat and beans, and seasonings.  Give it a try!  It’s quite simple.

INGREDIENTS:

½ lb ground meat (beef, sausage or pork)

1 T olive oil

¼ cup chopped onion

1 clove minced garlic

3 sweet mini peppers, chopped

1 cup uncooked rice

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

1 large tomato, diced

1 can chicken broth

2 TBSP tomato paste (Freeze remainder)

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp coriander

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

½ can beans, black or kidney

Grated Mexican cheese

PREPARATION:

In a large heavy skillet, add oil.  Brown ground meat along with peppers, garlic, and onion.  You shouldn’t have much grease, if any.  Add rice and diced tomato.  Sauté for a few minutes.  Add chicken broth, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.  Add drained beans and seasonings, and cook until no more liquid remains.  Top with Mexican grated cheese.

 

NOTE:  Since I don’t like tomato plants in my belly, I quarter the tomato, hold each quarter over the sink and push the seeds out with my thumbs.

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Spanish Rice with Meat and Beans

 

Spanish rice with meat and beans (3)

Spanish rice with meat and beans