Sunday, April 27, 2014

Redbud Chef Salad

Redbud Chef Salad.....strange sounding, isn't it?

This is a Redbud Tree in bloom - they are beautiful............
and just this year, I found out that they are also.... edible.  Hmmm.

I like finding wild edibles and learning how to use them, so I went right out to our tree and ate 2 of the flowers. They were a bit sweet with a rather mild flavor.
The Redbud tree looks more purple when seen at a distance..... as shown here.  Up close, they look more pink.

We have had redbud trees for years and I never knew they were at all edible. As I study more and more wild edibles, it is amazing how many things God has provided for us.... many of them in our own yards. Remember though, to always be very sure before you eat anything you are unsure of... there are also many toxic plants out there. Do your research and be safe.... and enjoy.

Here are the redbud flowers we picked for our salad.  Actually, I had already made a salad with a few redbud flowers in it a week earlier, and everyone ate the salad. One son needed a reminder that not cleaning up the plate meant no dessert, so............ he ate it reluctantly. He did agree that they didn't seem to taste bad, but it was odd to eat flowers....especially pink ones!

Here is our base salad..... Romaine lettuce, carrots, and oranges.....

Yes, this is a big bowl.... we have a rather large family and for this meal, we decided to have a chef salad with baked Cheesy Tortilla Triangles. My daughter, who writes Wholesome Joy Photography blog wrote a post on these. They were really delicious and went well with the salad. Even our guys were content with the salad meal, although they had their doubts at the beginning! :)

These are the Redbud flowers after being washed and sorted a bit. We still removed more of the stems after this picture, but we did not remove all of them.... and we didn't even notice them when we ate.

Now I have added :

Hardboiled eggs
Marinated Chicken breast

Next came.....

Redbud Flowers
Shredded Cheese

Another picture..... I LOVED how colorful this salad was......

One thing I wanted to put on the salad was red onion slices.... I think it would have added greatly to the flavor, but we were out of them.

I would also love to add peppers and cucumbers and broccoli.... and there are so many other possibilities.

Next, I put Ranch Dressing all over it........  There are many other dressings that could have tasted great also... but this time, we used Ranch.

After tossing the salad, we served it on the plates and then added....

Sunflower Seeds
More Shredded Cheese

                                Redbud Chef Salad     
Romaine Lettuce - 2 heads, washed and torn
Carrots - 2-3 sliced
Orange - 1 - peel, cut each slice into 3 or 4 pieces
Marinated Chicken Breast - 1 cup or more
Tomato - 1 large - cut up
Hard boiled Eggs  -5 peeled and sliced
Redbud Flowers - washed and stemmed 
Sharp Cheddar Cheese - 1 cup
Ranch Dressing
   Toss all together, then serve on plates and add the following to the top of each....
Sunflower Seeds
Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Optional additional ingredients: peppers, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, or anything else you like
Serve with Cheesy Tortilla Triangles


The Cheesy Tortilla Triangle is shown on the far left of this picture. I did not take a good picture of it and I should have..... they were very good and my daughter did a great job of making them.

You can go to her post here.....

Cheesy Tortilla Triangles

  So, you can see that even though this was only a salad meal, it was quite substantial and all were satisfied and did not leave the table hungry. The Cheesy Tortilla Triangles really helped complement the salad. We heard many comments of "This meal is SO good." That was funny because the guys had not been too excited about eating another flower salad... or a salad-only type of meal....... so they were surprised at how tasty and filling it was.

  Thank you for visiting my blog today.  I hope you have a wonderful day. :)

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Making A Flagstone Path

 We made a new flagstone path..

We had  put in a flagstone pathway a few years ago....and I have loved it! One section was damaged, though when we built a shed because the Bobcat machine we used rolled over the path many times....and it wasn't built for that purpose!

The poor path was broken a LOT, especially half of it.  We used the broken path for quite a long time..... then my guys tore it out in preparation for replacing it..... so we lived with the dirt  in the path for a few months.

Here, they have put up a form on one side of the path and were planning stone placement and breaking stones, where needed.  The first time we put the path in a few years ago, my dad was here to supervise the project with my guys, but he wasn't available this time as he lives a few hours away. Only one son  remembered much of the process, but he lives on his own now and wasn't here, so another son (son #2) was learning as he did the prep work...... he did a good job. :) He worked really hard on this project - digging it out, leveling it, making forms, doing stones, etc.

 For the start of the cement part of the project, our oldest son came over to get us started. He is the one who had mainly worked with Grandpa in doing the original path, so he had some idea of how to do it.  He worked to mix the cement....this little pile is one bag of cement.... it took a lot of cement. We just used the quick mix cement where you mix it with water.
 Another load dumped.... after dumping the first few loads, the guys were rather discouraged as it was very slow work, but they kept at it and worked faster and faster!

I was pleased with how nice the forms looked.... son #2 had never done it before.... and he did a good job.

By the way, I LOVE curving much more interesting that straight ones for here.
This was many loads of mixed cement..... they would dump the cement in and then level it a little, then put stones in, working them down into the soft cement, trying to get them as level as possible. Then they again leveled off the cement around the stones.

Since there were no experts here, it was a learning process, but they did so well. Son #1 was here for about half of the path and he taught his brothers, then he had to leave, so they took over. What a blessing that he could come.

We use such projects as on site "shop classes" for our homeschool and it is amazing what skills our guys have learned in this way.

 This is a closer shot and actually, the cement is probably deeper than the original path was...... we don't plan to run a Bobcat over it again, but you never know!   :)

We ran low on cement so sons #2 and #4 made a run to buy more while the other 2 continued working here.
 Just a bit more left to do..... Son #3 has been working hard on this part with mixing cement and doing the process......  You can see the rocks on the grass.......they would have to choose which ones would work well in different spots.
All finished.... now needs to dry and cure. The cones were put up to remind all of us to stay off of the path.

All of the guys worked on the path.... my husband worked with them with mixing cement part of the time, although he was at work for most of the job. The girls helped by bringing out drinks and making shortbread for treats for the weary workers.... and all worked on clean up duty.

We left it alone for a few days.

 This shows the original path on the other side of the stairs....  we are still using this one.... you can see where they patched the corner while the cement work was being done.

Now the path goes both ways again. I LOVE paths. When we moved in here, there were no paths.... now we have several!  I like to walk to my gardens without walking in the mud. We live in the city, so we need to keep things looking "pretty" as well as useful. :)
 The path above shows what is left of the original path on the left of the stairs and the new path on the right side of the stairs.
The guys hauled a lot of dirt in to bring the yard level up to the level of the path. You can see in the pictures above that the path stuck up way above the ground...we wanted it to all be pretty level.

 I love the new path.... although it still looks "rough" with dirt and a bit of excess cement, but I was so glad to get it done before winter. The dirt and roughness will smooth out more as the path is used.
 The path helps much. We tried to keep costs down as we did it and we re-used some of the stones from the original path.

Future Post Alert
By the way, there was extra cement left, which I just couldn't let go to waste...... so, I decided to try making homemade stepping stones. It was something I have never done before, but I tried it and will be making a post on it, with pictures. You can sign up to receive it in your email(enter your email to sign up) or just check back to see it if you are interested. I learned some things in that project and plan to try it again sometime.

Here is our path adorned with the beautiful fall leaves from last fall.  I am enjoying having the path this spring as I am starting to work on the gardens.
By the way, one lady commented on my previous post of Removing A Little Wall project and then asked, "What's next?" I chuckled over that comment and we do tend to have many projects going on here, so this answers her question, and I will continue to add more projects, recipes, and more. :)  Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you have a great day.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Removing A Little Wall

We have some walls in our house that are meant to be decorative - they are only about 4 feet tall and have spindles that go up the rest of the way. I like that they are not full walls and so they allow better light and view.....but we are tired of the spindles.

This is one of those of 5 in our house. We took the carpet out of the family room and put down ceramic tile, which we is so much better than the old carpet.

Anyway, as you can see.....the tile is down, but we hadn't yet done the grout work, when...........we talked about that little wall....... and decided to do something about it.

We wouldn't have known how to do this, but my brother does....and he tore into it.  

Pretty soon......the wall was gone. The wall was only a couple of feet long, but it made a HUGE difference in opening up  the entrance to the family room. 

Looks better from both sides..........except for all of that drywall dust which tends to get into and on everything. See it all over the wall?

Since the floor was already down, we had to take up some of the ceramic tiles and replace them. We were able to walk on the flooring since it had already cured enough, but the new tiles had to be avoided, so we put up hazard cones and I marked the tiles with an orange X.  We didn't want to step on them and make them unlevel or dislodged from their position while they dried/cured.

We also had lots of company, along with our own large family, so we wanted to make sure everyone knew where NOT to step. Thankfully, our signs were successful.

Finishing off the little wall that was left .... and adding caulk and paint completed the job.
 What a difference it made.  We love this and if we hadn't already put hardwood flooring in the living room, we would do the same thing in there. However, replacing the hardwood floor under where the walls are would be too big of a job, so we are not going to do it.  

We do really like how this job turned out though and it is surprising what a big difference removing a 2' wall can make.
Thank you for visiting my blog today.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Homemade Sub Sandwiches

This post is about homemade submarine sandwiches.  We enjoy them.

We make these several times a year - everyone in the family loves them. 
 First step is to make the homemade bread - This time I left it a bit "sticky" to have a lighter bread.  I put the "loaves" into greased pans - these are 11" x 17" and 11" x 13", so these will be long loaves.

Basic Homemade Bread Recipe

After they are in the pan, I spread...or glob butter on the top.
 Then I make parallel diagonal cuts in the top.....I don't know why other than it makes it look more like sub bread. :)  These cuts are not very deep.
This has parsley sprinkled over the top - sometimes I use parmesan or romano cheese on top.

The bread dough was just plain bread this time, although many times I will make an herb bread with Italian seasoning in the dough.

Now it needs to set to rise. 
 Allow the dough to rise....this should have waited a bit longer in order to rise more, but we had to hurry. The house was cool enough that the rising took longer.
The bread bakes at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. I don't want it hard, but it needs to be done.

After removing from the oven, I put it on a wire rack and cover with a dish towel so it doesn't dry out and get hard.

 The bread is not very thick.....I sometimes make it thicker, but some of us like it thinner, so this time the bread is only about 1 1/2"-2" thick or so.

Using a large bread knife, I slice the bread horizontally and open each loaf up, leaving it lying open. 

I put a layer of plain salad dressing on the bottom half and then layer a couple of layers of deli meat on the dressing- this time I have smoked turkey and oven baked chicken. Sometimes we use more or other kinds of meat.

While the bread was baking and cooling, we were slicing and preparing our ingredients for the subs.

The cheese goes next. Sometimes, I buy sliced deli cheese - this time I cut some that we had....we used Monterey Jack and Sharp Cheddar Cheeses this time. We alternated them on the sandwich and put them at an angle, then put tomato slices on top.

In summer when we have our own fresh ingredients, we add more tomatoes and other veggies....this time, the tomatoes weren't even ripe, so we just put a little on. 

Continue building..........

 Next layer is ..... pickle slices........and then onion slices. I separate the onions and don't put lots, but they do add great flavor to the sandwich.

Next we layer the lettuce -this is Romaine lettuce, but anything works.  On the inside of the top, I put Ranch Dressing and Mustard.   Mmmmmmmmmmmm..........

Time to close them up......and slice.

I put them on a large tray to put on the table.  I have a large family and several boys....who eat a lot.

We served potato chips and kombucha with our sub sandwiches.....

They were wonderful!  By the way, my son just walked by as I enlarged the above picture and  saw it....he said, "Ohhhhhhhh.....that looks good......we need to make those again." :)   He tends to be ready to eat most of the time!  (We had these just a few days ago, but will probably make them again soon.)

In case you were wondering, there was nothing left! Sometimes we can have a few left for the next if we have pasta salad or something with it......but this time, they ate everything!!!!

You can do many variations to this....leave off what you don't like.....add other stuff.  You could add avocado, peppers,  more meats or cheeses, other dressings, make the bread thicker - I have made it very thick before and my husband LOVES it that way....this time we made it thinner because of trying to reduce the breads and starches so that a couple of family members could recover totally from the flu. Lots of possibilities with could even do a chicken salad and lettuce sub or meatballs or whatever you would enjoy.

Thank you for visiting my blog today.

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