Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spanish Rice

Oh, this past week our household has been a whirlwind of volunteer activities!  Spring is always a very busy happy time at the 5 museum complex - the Springfield Museums - where I give tours to groups of students who are visiting on School Field Trips.  History and Art are fascinating!  The Springfield Museums is a beautiful complex with large life size bronze statues of Dr. Seuss and of Horton on the green.  Yes, Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was born in Springfield, MA and his work is honored with these sculptures and with many more.

This past weekend our Town Green here in Longmeadow was filled with talented crafters and artists, food and local history.  Visitors enjoyed themselves while chatting with friends.  Long Meddowe Days is in May and my hubby was on the planning committee.  

Dinners have been quick, easy and nutritious.  With all of the bustle on the home front, I was so pleased one night to locate 2 Cups of the "leftover" Rice, served two days earlier, in my fridge.  It was the beginning of Spanish Rice.  Was that ever a time saver after a non-stop day! 

Spanish Rice

1 lb. Ground Beef, browned
1 can (15 oz.) Tomato Sauce
1 can (15 - 20 oz.) Tomatoes - whole or pieces, drained
1 Green Pepper - cut into strips, optional
2 Cups cooked Rice

1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/4 tsp. Basil
1 Tablespoon chopped Parsley

  1. Brown 1 lb. Ground Beef.
  2. While browning Beef, combine Tomato Sauce, Tomatoes and cut Green Pepper in large pot and simmer.
  3. Add browned Beef and stir.
  4. Add in cooked Rice, Oregano, Basil and Parsley.  Stir well and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. Stir occasionally while simmering.
This quick and easy meal simmered while we watched the 6:30 PM news.  After dinner was finished there was "some" remaining Spanish Rice that was placed in a small bowl.  It made a great lunch for my hubby the next day.

Do you use leftover Rice in another meal?


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blueberry Bread

A good amount of yardwork in the perennial gardens was accomplished yesterday.  The Iris buds are getting ready to blossom and the Peonies, too.  After dinner I opened our freezer door to "graze" for dessert.  Yes, a container of ice cream was located, but the slices of Blueberry Bread caught my attention.

About three weeks ago I had baked Blueberry Bread.  It was after I searched for a new blueberry recipe that would not need a lot of attention.  I had defrosted 2 Cups of the berries in my fridge and didn't have  time to bake the muffins.  The 2 Cups of defrosted Blueberries beckoned to me whenever I opened the fridge door.  I located a Blueberry Bread recipe that required far less Sugar than Flour.  Better yet, typical of a dessert bread recipe - it took little time to prepare!  The Blueberries were added last.  I wasted no time in printing out my find!

Soy Milk, Olive Oil, Cinnamon and Nutmeg are staples in my kitchen, so I adapted Diana Rattray's Blueberry Bread recipe found on southernfood.about.com.  This time I used the 1 Whole Egg rather than my customary 2 Egg Whites for the Whole Egg.  

After the bread cooled, I sliced it and we found it moisty and delicious!  The remaining slices were placed in sandwich bags and then into a Ziploc Freezer bag.  Into the freezer they went to be enjoyed on another day, such as yesterday.   

Blueberry Bread
inspired by Diana Rattray on southernfood.about.com

Oven:  350°F     Time:  70 Minutes

3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Egg, beaten
1 and 2/3 Cups Soy Milk
1/4 Cup Olive Oil for sauteing and baking
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 and 1/2 to 2 Cups Blueberries, can be frozen and defrosted

* About 2 Tablespoons Additional Flour to coat Blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with PAM.
  3. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients and stir.
  4. In a medium bowl combine beaten Egg, Soy Milk, Olive Oil and Vanilla Extract.
  5. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until moistened. 
  6. Coat Blueberries with additional 2 Tablespoons Flour.  When coated they do not all sink while baking.
  7. Add Blueberries to batter.
  8. Place batter in loaf pan that has been sprayed with PAM.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 70 Minutes.  Test for "doneness" with cake tester/toothpick coming out clean when inserted.
  10. Cool on cooling rack for 10 Minutes before removing from loaf pan.
  11. Remove from pan and allow to cool before wrapping. 
Yes, Vegetable Oil and Milk can be used, but I now substitute these products with Olive Oil for sauteing and baking and Soy Milk. Do you use either of these products more often, now?

This Blueberry Bread tastes best if you can wait 1 day before cutting into slices and eating.  It's also a GREAT treat to bake and freeze the individual slices for another time!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Many years ago while browsing in the gift shops in Essex, CT a small plaster plaque caught my attention.  This plaque claimed its territory in the middle of family photos on our "wall of fame".  My younger son gave this name to our photo wall that's located in our Family Room.  :) 

Two decades plus a few years have passed since I made this purchase.  I always smile whenever I glance up and read these words of wisdom.  Today is a fun day!  

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


...rethinking the process is needed!  That certainly was the situation Sunday night after my yogurt fiasco!  In the early afternoon the milk was prepped and I happily filled my Donvier yogurt containers.  The timers were set.  I had a wonderful chat with neighbors and even more neighbors while taking the daily walk.  In other words, the entire afternoon was spent outside enjoying the sun filled day.  Later that evening the two yogurt makers' buzzers signaled that it was time to place all of the containers in my fridge.  Oh, much to my great surprise all was not well in the yogurt department.  Everything remained in a liquid state and down the drain it went.  :(

Perhaps the milk was too hot when I added the culture.  Maybe I miscounted the amount of yogurt I added.  It still remains a mystery to me, because I used my thermometer.  This did happen about 1 and 1/2 years ago.  Whatever the reason, I started anew today.  The view outside my front window still shows the tulip beds, but the flowers are closed while the rain falls downward.  

Sure hope the yogurt - with a new starter - is in a solid state tonight!  :)