Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


One of my favorite things to do with spinach

This is one of my favorite things to make whenever I need a quick side dish.

A spinach and tomato side dish that I love.

I don’t really have a name for it, but love its simplicity and flavor. And you can’t beat how quick it is to cook up! It’s also great in wraps.

Though I change some of the ingredients each time I make this, four things are always in there: spinach, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. Sometimes I’ll add in mushrooms and onions. Sesame seeds and pepper have made appearances. But those four ingredients are a must.

This go ’round, I threw in some left over rice, onions, tomato paste and some dried sweet basil:

Tonight’s rendition features rice, onion, tomato paste and basil along with the main four: spinach, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.

After a bit of warming and wilting on the stove top, the spinach-tomato side dish was ready for plating. I paired it with oven-fried chicken and baked potato.

Spinach-Tomato Side Dish

1-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 handfuls of spinach leaves
16 oz. can of diced tomatoes or 2-3 large tomatoes chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
Optional: onions, mushrooms, sesame seeds, spices and anything else you may want to throw in

  1. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic for 1 minute. If using onions, add them and sauté with the garlic.
  2. Add tomatoes and cook until heated through. At this point, also add any additional vegetables and spices.
  3. Add spinach and cook until leaves are slightly wilted.
Enjoy!
    
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Delicata squash

Lately I’ve been trying out fall squashes. Butternut, spaghetti and delicata are now marked off the list.

Delicata, seen below, is the most recent squash I’ve tried and I love it! It’s sweet, smooth and great with a variety of seasoning — from good ol’ standbys salt and pepper to sage or cinnamon.

The first time I made delicata I sliced the squash in half, seeded it and sliced it into half moons. After tossing the squash in a combo of olive oil and sage, I baked it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turning half way through the cooking time. Wonderful!

Last weekend, I wanted to create something using some tomatoes from the garden. This dish was inspired by tabbouleh, a dish that uses bulgur, a grain; tomatoes; mint; lemon juice and olive oil.

I also made pan-fried, thyme-rosemary-sage chicken breasts. This may not be the proper way to use herbs with chicken, so if you know a better technique, please let me know!

Both recipes are below.

Delicata Squash-Bulgur Salad (serves 2)
Ingredients:
1 delicata squash
1 medium tomato
1/2 cup of bulgur
1/2 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp. tarragon leaves (or other spice, such as sage)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut delicate squash lengthwise and seed.

Cut squash in chunks and place in oven for 20 minutes.

Place bulgur in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Cut tomatoes into chunks and mix in a bowl with bulgur, squash and spices.

Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a bit of olive oil if you like.

Thyme-Rosemary-Sage Chicken Breasts (serves 2)
Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
4 tsp. sage
4 tsp. thyme
2-3 sprigs of rosemary (or 2 tsp. dried rosemary)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat large skillet over medium heat. When warm, pour in about a tablespoon or two of olive oil.

Rub 2 tsp. of sage and thyme on one side of the chicken breasts. Also sprinkle with rosemary. Place seasoned side down on skillet. Season other side of chicken.

Cook about 3 minutes on one side of chicken until brown. Then turn over and cook for a couple more minutes then reduce heat and cover skillet.

Cook for about several minutes until chicken is cooked through. I let it cook at a low heat for 20 more minutes while I cooked the rest of the meal.

Salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!


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Photos of scarf, sweater and tomato update

One down, one to go
I finished the first of two scarves last night:

This alpaca yarn feels so good and it’s so pretty. It’s going to be hard to turn this loose for Christmas.

Chris said I should buy some more alpaca yarn and make one for myself.

The pattern uses a traditional ripple pattern that is commonly found in afghans. I think it translates beautifully into scarves.

I can’t wait to see how the other scarf turns out. It’s colors are just as pretty.

Photo update
Here’s the sweater all washed and blocked. It’s no where near as stretched out and frumpy as it was last weekend when I completed it.

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Green is definitely my color.

I’m also glad I didn’t sew the collar shut. I think I like it open. Do you?

Tomatoes galore!
I canned six more quarts of tomatoes this morning! I can’t believe how many tomatoes we’ve gotten this year.

We didn’t tie the plants up, so many have been lost to rot because they sat on the ground too long or we overlooked them as they hid underneath leaves and stems.

We also had a lot of ants, roly polys (pill bugs) and slugs we had to fight tomatoes for.

I’ve canned 2 quarts of tomatoes with chilies, 17 quarts of diced tomatoes, 1 pint of diced tomatoes and 3 pints of salsa. That is a blessing!

That doesn’t include the quart of basil-garlic tomato sauce we made earlier in the summer to can with the peach chutney disaster (had to throw out all 7 pints because it burned and tasted awful; apple cider vinegar does not substitute for white wine vinegar!) and canned peaches (1 quart).


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Canning tomatoes and sweater update

This weekend I canned 7 quarts of diced tomatoes and 3 pints of salsa, loaded with peppers — jalapenos, a few cayenne, banana peppers (sweet and hot) and some green pepper.

 (All photos by E.A. Seagraves. Do not use without permission.)

One quart didn’t get quite full of tomatoes, so I topped it off with water.

I also finished my sweater! I still need to wash it and block it before I wear it.

The collar is supposed to be stitched together in the front, but I didn’t like it. So I clipped it and decided to let it hang.

The sweater is “Tanglewood Pullover” by Beryl Hiatt and Linden Phelps from the book “Handknit Style II.”

Chris and I also picked out some fabric for some other Christmas present projects and I started crocheting other gifts last night. Here’s the fabric we picked out (not sure why the photo is uploading sideways):



We picked the fabric up from Mountain Plain Fabrics in Hillsville, Va.. It mostly carries quilting material so the selection isn’t that varied as far as fashion fabrics go, but the fabric they do have is beautiful and the staff is incredibly helpful.

I can’t wait to stitch this fabric up and present them at Christmas!
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Here are the knitting book and preserving book for the projects above. I highly recommend both. The sweaters are superb and the Ball canning book is full of useful tips and recipes.

   


Hubby’s shorts, some tomatoes and brie dessert

Current projects
I haven’t undated with any photos of my current projects, mostly because none have been finished in awhile!
For the past two weekends I’ve worked on a pair of shorts for Chris. I am using BurdaStyle’s Jochen pattern. This is the first time I’ve used a print-at-home pattern. I’ve been using the traditional tissue paper patterns, which I use to trace out the size I need and then use that.
Let me tell you, I think I like printing out the pattern so much better. Because I’ve got the pattern saved on my computer, I don’t feel the least bit guilty in cutting off the larger sizes. If I need a larger size, I can print it off.

I also don’t spend hours taping together tracing paper and tracing out the pattern I need.

The downside is printing at home does use a lot of ink and paper. I did use the back of recycled paper so that helped somewhat. And recycled printer paper lasts longer than tracing paper because it’s thicker. Still a bummer about the ink though.
I am using remnant material that Nannie gave me. I really liked the fabric, but didn’t have enough to cut all pieces out of it. So, luckily, I had a blue in a matching shade and it works perfectly for inside pockets. Thanks to Ferny and lonemoose, BurdaStyle members, for the idea!
(Please do not use photos without permission.)
This is the front pants leg and pocket./Photos by E.A. Seagraves
With this pattern, which is actually a really nice pair of slacks that I’ve altered into shorts, I had to learn how to put in a back pocket. It took a while for me to study it and figure out what I needed to do, but I think I handled it okay. What do you think?

I hope to finish these before it turns cooler. All that’s left is the center seams, waistband, zipper, buttons and hemming.
I’ve also been working on this sweater since February. I’m knitting on the collar now. So it’ll most likely be finished before the fall.

Tomatoes
I have to say, despite early nibbling by deer, rot and insects, our garden has been a success! Look at this haul.

I plan to can these this weekend. Probably can more diced tomatoes and some salsa. I canned 2 quarts of diced tomatoes with chilies and 4 quarts and 1 pint of diced tomatoes the other weekend.
A dessert to try
For my birthday earlier this week, we bought a small wheel of brie cheese. I turned four triangles into dessert last night with left over egg roll pastry I had on hand and blackberry jam.
I got the idea from the web, but can’t seem to find the two recipes I’d found before.
I basically placed the brie in the middle of the pastry and topped it with jam. Then I folded it up and placed the folded side down. I sprinkled it with brown sugar and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
It was very tasty! You should give it a try.


Garden bounty no more

Chris and I planted two types of tomatoes (12 plants in all), green pepper, cayenne pepper, cabbage, cantaloupe, basil and oregano in our garden this year.

Everything has been taking off and looking wonderful. There were several dozen little green tomatoes and I couldn’t wait until they ripened.

But, unfortunately, in one night deer ate every single on of the tomato plants, little tomatoes and green peppers. This was in despite of the fishing line strung with plastic bags that was supposed to scare the hoofed nuisances away from our 8′ by 8′ garden.

Man, I was looking forward to tomato sandwiches, homemade salsa and pasta sauce!

Luckily, we still have three green pepper plants we placed in pots inside. So we should still get some peppers.

For next year, Chris and I are planning fences that, hopefully, will be deer resistant. It’s gonna have to be tall enough so the deer can’t jump over it or reach over.


Although we’ve had some setbacks with the veggie garden, most of our other plants are doing fine, including this gladiola (left) and these purple cone flowers (right), shown here growing among Maximilian sunflowers.