“I think the most significant work we ever do, in the whole world, in our whole life, is done within the four walls of our own home.” – Stephen R. Covey

Friday, January 29, 2010



See mom, aren't you glad I didn't have bird feed in there and then they got stuck trying to get seeds! Looks like a jail cell for the birdies!

Hi, yes I played in the snow today... how can you tell?!

Daisy likes frozen green tomatoes left over from the fall garden... shes weird.

I shoveled the driveway before Chad got home... but it was already covered in a dusting by the time I got finished and went inside to get the camera and come back out! Hard work!

Shrubs in the front yard covered in ice and snow.

My poor planter box that used to be full of pansies and now is full of snow!
How we are keeping warm tonight (insert hot cider with cinnamon liqueur)!

Daisy seems pleased!

Adventurous Dinner Night

Here's the run down:
1 Hungry Hubby
1 Adventurous Cooking Wife
Random stuff in the pantry
2 New recipes
1 Delicious (and quick) meal

*I also served steamed veggies from the Whole Foods deli*

North African Meatballs with Couscous and dried dates
(courtesy of Melissa D'Arabian of Food Network)


For the North African Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped briny olives ( I used Kalamata)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (Didn't have any on hand - I KNOW, THE HORROR! - I used chicken stock)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (couldn't find it in the depths of the fridge so I used ketchup, I KNOW THE HORROR)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 pound ground beef (I used ground turkey-cheaper and no grease)
  • 1/3 cup finely ground rolled oats or fine bread crumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for cooking
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (Didn't use)
  • Couscous with Dried Dates, recipe follows


To make the North African Sauce:

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and olives and cook for 1 more minute. Add the white wine, deglaze the pan, and let it reduce for a 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, canned tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon, and simmer to blend flavors, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To make the Meatballs: In a medium bowl, add the egg and tomato paste and stir until smooth. Add the cilantro, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon and mix until well blended. Stir in the ground beef and oats, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and combine gently after each addition. Do not overmix. Rolling with your hands, make about 32 meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter.

In a large saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat, and brown the meatballs in batches until golden on all sides. Add more oil, as needed. Transfer the meatballs to the pan with the sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve over the Couscous with Dried Dates.

Couscous with Dried Dates:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried dates (I used Craisins and forgot to chop them)
  • 1 cup quick-cooking couscous
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the water, stock, and oil to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the dates followed by the couscous. Cover the pan tightly with a lid, remove from the heat, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Hungry Hubby liked and got seconds... I think he was finally glad it was a dish that didn't revolve around chicken.
Adventurous Wife liked and thinks it was probably pretty healthy too!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Here are a few pics from over the holiday...

Muenster, Texas

Daisy in her Christmas Sweater

Daisy frolicking

Trout Ranch

site of infamous bonfires

Getting the metal detector ready to look for lost arrows!
Chad and Matthew got bow and arrows for Christmas

My handsome husband

Would you believe that these are OK pictures and not from when we lived in NEBRASKA!?

Can you spot the white puppy?!

With ice like this... I think the STOP sign is just a suggestion! Drive at your own risk!

We had to put the truck into 4-wheel drive just to get into the driveway!