There’s a Hummus Among Us

Nothing fancy or revolutionary. Just a share. Simple recipe, tasty dip, no limit to customizations. Maybe more bean dip than hummus, but whatever. Hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas. Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans. Why can’t they just have one name? Everybody wants to be original I guess. Scholars are at odds about the origin of garbanzo, thinking Old Spain played a role. Either way, just knows that this legume leads a double life. But do not confuse with a chickling pea which apparently contain the toxins associated with lathyrism. [Had to the Google this.] Lathyrism is a paralytic condition, uniquely identified by the atrophy of gluteal muscles (buttocks). I didn’t see that definition coming… maybe I can get a hall pass at work for lathyrsim. Seems like this might also be near epidemic in some places. 🙂

I don’t keep tahini handy, but I usually have a can or two of garbanzo beans in the pantry and a never ending supply of garlic and olive oil. There are so many different things that you could do to kick the hummus up a notch. Experiment!

Smoked Paprika Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans ( drained and rinsed)
  • Minced garlic, a lot (~ 4 TBPS +/-)
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Smoked paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans
  2. Add to food processor or blender with a tablespoon of water and olive oil. Process. This might take quite a bit for it to start looking smoothish. Also add little amounts of water. The liquid helps.
    1. Note: I over packed my food processors (2 cans might just be too much) and had to unload some, make a mess, and process with a smaller bit first to get it going and liquid enough to process the rest, once I added it back in.
  3. Take a break from blending and add in the first go round of garlic (~ 2T), salt and splash of lemon juice
  4. Mix/process again, each time it is getting creamier and creamier. If it is still looking dry, add a little more water and oil (I do about a TBSP of water and tsp of oil at a time)
  5. Stop and taste the hummus so far. It probably needs more garlic and salt, so add some. Mix again.
  6. Stop and taste. Add more of what it needs. Also add another squirt (~ 1tsp) of lemon juice and I mixed in some of the smoked paprika at this point.
  7. Keep mixing in the food processor until it tastes good to you and is nice and smooth.
  8. Things to maybe add in for fun: siracha, roasted red peppers, cilantro, parsley, other herbs, green olives, carrots, ginger, rosemary, chipotle ……
  9. Round up dipping vehicles.

Time for me to go get off my lathyristic glutes! Thank you to Wikipedia, the all-knowing, and Huffington Post for some additional ideas on variations.

Enjoy and feel free to share your hummus recipes or variations!

Summer Pea Salad – Dress it up or dress it down

This is a family favorite and in its honor, my mom is the star chef (note her hand performing the tasks with surgical precision) and we are posting from her (guest) kitchen. The origins are unknown but the recipe is loved by many. There are some many variations, but today I share with you the basic framework.

Essential Summer Pea Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shelled peas, fresh or frozen (don’t worry about defrosting before hand – probably not canned mushy IMHO)
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese (choose a camp: cube or shredded)
  • ¼- ½ cup ranch dressing (premade or powder mixed with yogurt or mayo), depending on how saucy you are
  • ½ cup diced onions, any color
  • 3 hard-boiled egg, cut into chunks

Instructions:

  • Mix everything all together!
  • No really. That’s it. Serve chilled.

Mods and Variations

  • Avocado
  • Bacon
  • Different cheeses: goat, parma, bleu
  • Radishes
  • Almonds
  • Curry spice
  • Cayenne
  • Celery or carrots
  • Fresh mint or basil
  • Asparagus
  • Macaroni (cooked)


Ingredient staging “bloopers” – my mom is coachable though!

A bit too Taj Mahal

Hmmmmmm

What is your family’s pea salad recipe?

Sites for inspiration and confirmation

Well I’ll Be – Kalbi Korean BBQ Short Ribs

I like to think of clever phrases or parallels for my blogs. This time I kept thinking of “Romancing the Meat”, playing off of Romancing the Stone…. Until I googled what its origins looking for facts… hmm, not going to work this time according to Urban Dictionary….

So, in other news today, here is a quick and delectable recipe for Korean Kalbi (gal-bi) BBQ short ribs. If you have never experienced Korean BBQ, you haven’t yet lived. Personal favorites are spicy pork and of course, short ribs. Paired with Kim Chi, it’s a palate pleaser, and no one should be frightened by the reference a foreign country. Today I share with you our simple approach, including hacks, to make these short ribs at home for a perfect backyard get together.

Kalbi Korean BBQ Short Ribs

Tips:

  • Soak in Coke. Soaking the ribs in cola helps to soften the meat, sweeten and remove the blood. Do not think that cream soda would work just fine (yes, speaking from experience) and I wouldn’t recommend diet cola because of the fake sugar and after taste. I know some people swear by 7-Up or Asian pear juice. We soak and then drain before adding marinade, but it could be incorporated it into the marination phase, although you would need much less liquid I think.
    • Coke did not sponsor this post! So no shameless intentional adverting…. It just rhymes with soak better than Pepsi…
  • BBQ sauce from a jar. I haven’t yet made it from scratch, because it is really all about convenience for us with this meal. But of course, now I am feeling lame for even suggesting and will have to attempt (did you know I am a tad competitive?). Stay tuned.
    • Ingredients are basically: soy sauce , rice wine/mirin, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic (see, no excuse)
  • Korean ribs are a different cut than American, also called flanken. They are thin sliced and cook up fast. But by them at an Asian grocery store so you don’t get ripped off (if you have access to one)
  • Great for freezing and cooking in a jiffy. Stock up!
  • Lots of napkins!

Instructions

  • No real prep needed. Defrost ribs if required. Ours were fresh and weighed in at 4 pounds for each pack. If you are going to freeze them, “unit dose” it into smaller portions more suitable for your family size.
  • Place ribs in a big bowl and pour in the cola. We used a full 2 liters for all 8 pounds but often a couple cans is enough. I think this is something that you really just make work with what you have. Just not cream soda….
  • Cover and soak for a while. No clear time but maybe 30 minutes or so. It will get nice and frothy.
  • Pour off the cola and then dump in the marinade. Again, we used a full bottle because of quantity and didn’t want left overs.
  • Massage it in and let it sit for a few hours to over night or freeze for future use. You can also toss in thick sliced onion rings and grill those later too.
  • When ready to eat just fire up the grill and go.

If you have a Korean grocery store near you, see if they have a pre-marinated meat section. We love our local H-Mart’s marinated meat bar. By the pound, you can buy tasty spicy pork, flavorful chicken, bulgogi beef and sometimes Kalbi. Makes for such an easy dinner and perfect vehicles for eating kim chi.

Do you have a favorite marinade to share?

Reach & Read: The Art of Racing in the Rain

Get the Kleenex out and put away your pride! Dog lover or not, this book conjures up many human emotions, cleanses the tear ducts and refills the soul. This Seattle story is told from the unique perspective of Enzo, the dog. It reinforces all those humanoid projections we place on our pets and is 100% effective in delivering the heart of the book. The author reportedly drew from three buckets of inspiration: a documentary film called “State of Dogs” about the Mongolian belief that the next incarnation for a dog will be a man; the poem, The Revenant by B. Collins, about a euthanized dog who reminisced about his dislike for his master and the last element, the part about racing, derived from a friends personal trials and interest in racing. The author’s website is informative and even has recipes (charred broccoli!), Enzo fan paraphernalia etc. Check it out here. The story is not all tears though. There is a particularly vivid but dark scene yet in hindsight humorous involving hallucinations and zebras…. “Somewhere the zebra is dancing”. That is the hook….

But beyond a great read about the tough decisions, staying the course, doing the right thing and all the subsequent cascades of said decisions, it is brimming with nuggets of wisdom in the form of notable quotables.

There is at least one for every situation or moment you may be swirling in. Some favorites as I couldn’t chose just one…

Attitude:

“Your car goes where your eyes go. Simply another way of saying that which you manifest is before you. I know it’s true; racing doesn’t lie.”

“That which is around me does not affect my mood; my mood affects that which is around me.”

Life skills:

“Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I will never interrupt, I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversation constantly.

Keen Observations:

“The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of words, can still be so wonderfully vague.”

“So much of language is unspoken. So much of language is comprised of looks and gestures and sounds that are not words. People are ignorant of the vast complexity of their own communication.”

Courage:

“There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.”

“To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live… to say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to.”

There are many a great blog review about this book that I encourage you to check out either before or after you read it. Let me know if you want to borrow my copy!

Lavender Sachets – Keep your drawers smellin’ fresh

Another speedy but highly satisfying craft. I have an abundance of lavender growing at my house because 1) I love it! 2) Smells good! 3) Thought my bees would like it (not so much) and 4) drought tolerant (read – lazy).Cut out fabric. I really like to use charm packs as they are already a great size and have pinked edges. For the back I use scraps or linen. Cut it about 1 inch bigger than the top piece. If using a charm pack, they measure 5 inch square.

Sew almost all the way around the squares. I did this batch with wrong sides together so seams are exposed, but you could put the right sides together, sew and then flip out. Probably wouldn’t need the extra inch on the back piece. Be sure to leave yourself about 2 inch opening to fill with lavender. Also, if you want to put a loop of ribbon or twine so the sachet can hang, just create a loop and place in between fabric and sew over it when going around.

Fill the sachet with lavender. I use a funnel, but don’t try one that is too narrow or it won’t go through. You could also use paper and roll to make a funnel. For these sachets I used just under a cup of seeds. I also picked out the pokey bits.

Get ready to sew the opening shut. I like to gently shake to get the lavender to settle to the bottom and then pin it shut parallel to the edge so the stuff doesn’t tumble out. Sew it!

Trim around the edges and you are DONE!

Did Somebody Call a Plumber? To fix a slow draining front-loader…

DON’T!

I’d call a plumber if it’s a bachelorette party (bowchickawowwow), but not if your washer is a bit sluggish in the draining department. It’s a quick fix-a bit like a box of chocolates and eating a Tootsie Pop, all in one.

SITUATION: You know that aggravating feeling when it says 1 minute remaining on the washer but it takes 30 minutes…. in other words, your front loader washer isn’t draining and completing the rinse cycle very quickly or effectively, despite a good faith spin. You might also notice that stuff doesn’t seem as “clean”. And

BACKGROUND: April 2, 2011 – I fixed my first front loader washer. At first it was sluggish, then all but quit draining meaning no rinse and no clean cloths. I had tried running empty loads, extra hot, extra spin to no avail. Rather than read the manual (wherever that is) or call a plumber – I googled and won!

ASSESSMENT: Stuff gets left in pockets and whipped out during the vicious spin cycle and then sucked down and out with the water only to be caught in a course strainer, pump filter, crap trap, whatever before going to out to sea. A good thing if you wedding ring went for a ride but cumulative effect of coins, paperclips, bobby pins, lint, thread etc equals clogging.

A watched pot never boils but neither does a plugged crap trap on a front loader.

RECOMMENDATION: Unclog the strainer! Clear the crap! Flush the filter! It’s really easy and depending on how you have your washer and dryer arranged, easier than others. My brand of washer is a GE Adora, but this in principle would apply to other front loaders.

First thing:

  • Locate the general spot of your strainer, screen, trap, filter whatever. On this model it is on the front of lower portion of the washer. Many arrangements will have a drawer or pedestal underneath, making the next step much easier. Our’s sits on the floor, decreasing leverage and access for this fix.

Then

  • Remove the front cover. There were three screws: right middle and left that required a Philips screwdriver

Now

  • Place a tray or bowl under the opening where the strainer is and SLOWLY (REPEAT SLOWLY) begin to open by turning to the left (leftsy loosy). Water that didn’t finish draining and is in the hose will begin to come out. Depending on how clogged this might be a lot of water requiring you to start and then stop and tighten the drain back up. Don’t just unscrew really fast as water will gush out and probably overfill your small vessel.

Continue

  • To slowly open and drain out the water and until it is basically out. Then unscrew all the way and pull out the strainer.

Now

  • Pause and start to ponder that mushy mess be? Dump it into a dish, dissect it, marvel at its wonder and, of course, post pictures on Facebook to have others guess at the culprit(s).

Exhibit A: Apirl 2011 Jackpot!

Contents – eight knee high pantyhose (yes 8!), lint and thread mash, 85 cents, a key, a few loose screws (hehe) and bobby pints. Many Facebook friends swear there was a cellphone in there….

Exhibit B: July 15, 2013

Contents: no where near as exciting…. Although I had been looking for those cork screw bun holder dealybobs….. This time I fixed it before it got way out of hand. Knowledge is Power!

Finally

  • Replace the strainer, screw back in tight and replace the front cover. This was a bit tricky to do (get the holes to line up while tightening) but not by any means impossible.

Happy Washing! Yours Truly ,

Maytag Megan

(look at this artsy off-center washer shot! Doesn’t it just say, honey come use me!)

BONUS: Do your clothes smell mildew–ish in your front loader? All you need to do is not shut the door in between washers so that it can dry out. You shut the door, it never dries and gets pretty funky smelling, which then gets in your clothes. Same thing if you leave a load in there too long after washing, it doesn’t dry and starts to get smelly. If this happens, I recommend rewashing, maybe a little hotter water than normal (but know what’s in there so you don’t shrink it) and/or running an empty load with vinegar in the detergent slow plus minus some baking soda inside.

Other sites, if you don’t believe me:

The Bee People: Chapters 4 & 5


Chapter IV: Her Honey Sac

What do you suppose becomes the of the nectar Miss Apis gathers with her hairy tongue? … She does swallow it but that is not the end of story. When it is swallowed, it passes into a little honey-sac which is not as large as a sweet-pea seed and is so delicate that it looks like a soap bubble.

This honey-sac is in the big end of the abdomen … It holds less than a drop of nectar, and we may call it the jug or bottle in which Miss Apis carries the blossom nectar home; for she does not swallow it for her own use, but that she may bear it to the hive for the baby bees to eat…. Some of the honey passes on into the true stomach of the bee which is just beyond the honey-sac.

It is curious that everything Miss Apis eats has to be swallowed into the honey-sac before it can get into the stomach, and yet the honey is always clear and pure. Honey and pollen go together into the honey sac, yet the honey in the comb contains almost no pollen. The reason is, Miss Apis strains her honey before she puts it in the comb….

When Miss Apis gets to the hive, she makes the muscles of her honey-sac squeeze the honey into her mouth and she then puts into the honey-comb.

Chapter V: Ambrosia and Nectar


Of course no one, not even Miss Apis nor the lovely Venus herself, could live entirely upon nectar. We know that the gods and goddess, when they had a party on Mount Olympus always had ambrosia as well as nectar. They sat around and had it passed to them by the graceful goddess Hebe…. I have no doubt they often ate and drank more than was good for them, just for the sake of having her bring them one more cup of nectar or one more slice of ambrosia. The nectar of the gods was like honey, some say that nine-tenths of it was honey.

Just what ambrosia was, I am not able to say, but I suppose it was like the best bread that ever was made on the earth, only a great deal better and like the most delicious cake that ever was concocted for Christmas time, only a great deal more delicious; and like all bonbons and good things rolled into one, only a great deal sweeter and finer than anything we can possibly imagine….

Her [Miss Apis] nectar is the sweet juice of flowers and her ambrosia is the pollen of the flowers – a very precious ambrosia indeed. […]

Key Points:

  • Yes, basically honey is bee vomit
  • Bees put pollen in separate cells of the honeycomb. It is a protein source for them.
  • Some ancient tombs were even shaped as beehives
  • Apollo’s gift of prophecy first came to him from three bee maidens. I was stung three times last year…..
  • Stemming from the side effect of mead, classical Greek language use the phrase “honey-intoxicated” for “drunken
  • I don’t think the goddesses were eating the potluck classic salad with marshmallows when they talk about ambrosia – they were sure missing out. I love potluck classics!

I share with you words and illustrations from the public domain M. Morely book – The Bee People. Published 1899; designed for third to fifth grade readers with goal to learn “how to observe” but plenty for adults to learn as well. Life lesson, bee truths and a gauge to see if we have made progress over the last century. If you find something interesting take 5 minutes and do some extra research. Bees are amazing creatures!

Excerpts –

Resources


Reach & Read: Crazy Little Thing

Crazy Little Thing – By Tracy Brogan

I can’t even really tell you how this ends, so no spoiler risk, because I couldn’t finish it. I was just not that into it, found it predictable and destined for a Lifetime Movie special (I do like Lifetime, there is a time and place). I have started, stopped and finally stepped out of the competition at Chapter 8. I should have known it would end this way, when I had to read the opening sentence three times to make sense of it. It just didn’t flow right- a bit off.

“My husband had a talent for putting the dick in unpredictable, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to catch him at an office party with his hand up the skirt of a giggly, jiggly redhead. Or that he had mistletoe dangling from his belt buckle.”

[insert mental image of down hill]

From what I did read, I enjoyed the charismatic Aunt Dody, who contributed great one liners – e.g. “Pish Posh” and set the rest of the book up with foreshadowing in the form of Tarot cards. I am sure that Sadie and Tan Running Man McDreamy will hit it off in one way or another, with at least one detailed hook up and the gay supportive friend will help her feel better with a makeover but I can’t get over the clichés and word plays that litter majority of sentences. For some this might be just what they enjoy and need, I think it just entered my book line up at the wrong time.

Megan and Gin: I don’t mind cleaning with Pine-sol and love the forest, I tried to enjoy you gin, give you a few chances, tell myself it is the right thing to do, but alas, I am done trying and staying with vodka.

How to lose 15 pounds (of fabric) in two weeks!

Yes, it is true; you too can lose 15 pounds of fabric in two weeks! Just set your mind on finishing your PhD (projects have done), UFO (unfinished objects) and random WIP (works in progress). My current PhD was two quilt tops and one unstarted kit of fabric starting to seriously languish.

Project #1 – Let the Sunshine In Quilt

This one has its own post with lots of details about the process but still required setting my mind to finish and sending it off to the long arm to complete the sandwich. This unloaded about seven pounds of fabric from my stash: top, back and binding. Pffew! King size effort!

Project # 2: Poppies Quilt

Confession – secretly I like to sing “I love it when you call me Big Poppy!” when thinking about this quilt (Biggie you left us too soon) but the other confession is that I have had this fabric for two years now, just sitting in my stash waiting for I-am-not-sure-what. Fabric was a birthday gift from my mom during our visit to the Sisters Quilt Show in Oregon. A MUST attend event for quilts and those that appreciate the fiber arts. The pattern is Shenadoh by Creative Sewlutions. Google it to see the many variations in fabric and color. Skys the limit.

The pattern is actually pretty simple, quick to assemble and a great way to showcase a big print. For me the hardest part was deciphering the cutting instructions. It is off at the quilts and when it returns will be set for our queen size guest bed. This one weighed in at about four pounds for the front, top and binding. In addition, the guilt of having it sit for so long AND not displaying a single quilt on any of our own beds. Shame on me…..

Look at the pretty poppy in my yard this spring!

Project # 3 – Daytime Strip Tease

This work of art also has a detail post but got hung up waiting for me to decide on final size, sewing a back and quilting it on my machine (just stitch in the ditch). I had contemplated cutting it up into smaller matching toddler quilts but decided to leave it whole and move on with life. Off to the long arm this went too. I was on roll and just wanted to be done. Quilting on my personal machine can be done but can also be quite the feat. Daytime Strip Tease was a real stash buster and not just because of the front but also the back. It is pretty darn scrappy and basically nothing on the back is on the front but in the end it all works out. And it’s still a quilt….if not more so. I used up some pieces left over from other projects and some that I like but am not sure where I would use them, especially if they were too big for a bow tie (think nuts and bolts, mother boards, Scotties etc). This quilt weighed in at about 4 pounds as well.

So, when facing that bin, box, room, household or pin board of unfinished or not even started projects, make some decisions

  • Get on with it and finish (or outsource to someone to finish), make it a special day or two weeks
  • Change course or repurpose
  • Toss, stuff a dog bed with or send to GoodWill
  • Be ok unpinning….

No matter what be honest with yourself, don’t be afraid to delegate (oooh, I say that at work too) and it will not reflect poorly on your awesomeness as a crafter.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! (Thank you Wayne G!)