Car Camping – Farris Style

I am a big fan of camping! Particularly – car camping. (However I recently purchased a backpack and hope to become proficient at the kind of camping where you haul everything up the trail with you in a little bag!) The great thing about car camping is that you can chuck everything into the trunk and backseat of your car in about 15 min for a last minute camping trip and if you bring too much stuff or forget something and have to run to the store – it doesn’t matter! 

If you haven’t figured it out yet – we Farris’ like to eat good food. And if I’m going to be camping I’m going to be cooking over a fire. (None of that bring-your-own-gas-grill stuff for me!) So the challenge is to make good food over a wood fire! Veggies, some kind of meat and some sort of bread seem to be a winning combination!

For dinner there was grilled shrimp on a skewer along with grilled veggies and lightly toasted bread! (Tip: I always bring my own grill grates to lay over the top of the rusty one that may or may not be provided.) I cut up some zucchini (long big strips), quartered some bell peppers and cleaned some mushrooms (leaving them whole). Tossed the whole bunch with some olive oil and salt and pepper and grilled them until just tender! Also sliced up some crusty bread and threw that on the grill. The shrimp we kind of cheated with by buying them pre-skewered from the seafood section of our local grocery store. When grilling shrimp it is important to keep a close eye on them and pull them off almost before you think they are done… Over cooked shrimp is dry and chewy.

Of course… because we waited too long to get all of this going, we were cooking in the dark (no pictures) by the light of one small flashlight and the dimly burning camp fire. It was challenging. All-in-all though – it was a delicious meal!

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27th Birthday Blog Party!

It’s my birthday! Twenty-seven years ago today I was born in Portland Oregon to the best parents on earth!

Birthdays are interesting things. When I was younger I always thought I would wake up feeling different somehow… Older maybe. I always felt the same – although I usually felt pretty special 🙂 My family has some great birthday traditions… When I was little we would wake up to a bedroom completely covered in crepe paper! We would have to climb out of it like a spy through laser beams or rip our way through in order to get to the door. As I got older my parents decided that toilet paper was cheaper, so from then on we just got our room “toilet-papered”. One year (when I was either 21 or 22) my dad called up my neighbors/good friends and (easily) talked them into toilet-papering my entire apartment! This year I won’t be waking up to a room strewn with toilet paper. I will instead be waking up at 5:00 am to go to work and cook for 10.5 hours. I’m not complaining. I’m grateful to have a job! I’ll be celebrating my birthday with my sisters on Sunday when we go camping! And next week I’ll be able to see my family and have a little family party…

With my brother at my birthday last year!

Another family tradition that we have is that the birthday person always gets to pick what they want to have for dinner. And when I was little we had “money  cakes” that were just traditional style cakes with coins stuck in them! (Don’t worry, the coins were thoroughly washed.) We always got really excited if we got anything bigger then a penny 🙂

This year I want to start a new tradition! I want to celebrate with all of you by hosting a little blog party/giveaway! I’m going to give away a gift box filled with stuff from a couple of my favorite local shops (spices, teas, possibly chocolate), simply because it’s my birthday! In order to be entered to receive this gift box of foodie goodies you need to leave me a comment telling me what your favorite birthday tradition is!

It would make my day if I got a whole bunch of comments – so spread the word!

June Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

My foodie pen pal this month was Sloane from Florida! It was so fun to come home from an eight day trip and find a package of goodies waiting for me 🙂 I loved the Mango Coconut Water which I slurped down the second these pictures were taken… And the delicious Almond & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar was gone by the end of the night 🙂 (The almonds and sea salt were perfect together!) I have yet to use the Quinoa, Pesto or Risotto but I’m scheming up some delectable dishes for each. Thank you Sloane!

Want to know more about the Foodie Pen Pal program? Want to join? I highly recommend it! Check out the details and sign up here: The Lean Green Bean.

Creamy Onion Coconut Curry Soup

Soup close-upI was inspired today while reading the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig & Sally Fallon. This fascinating book takes an in-depth look at good fat (animal fat, nuts, whole dairy, anything from the coconut, etc.) and the positive effect it can have on our weight and health.

 

diced onion

Halfway through page eight the idea for a delicious new soup struck me and I immediately jumped up and rushed off to make it.

Some trial and error later and I landed on the perfect combination of savory mouth-watering richness. If you love spice: add some cayenne pepper or extra chili flakes. Serve on it’s own or with some warm, crusty bread.

This soup is creamy and satisfying – the perfect dish for a rainy day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

Coconut Onion Curry Soup

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 16 oz chicken stock
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2-3 pinches red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Melt the butter and coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Finely dice the onion and add to the saucepan.
  • Cook on medium heat until the onion begins to caramelize (about 8 minutes).
  • Once the onions have caramelized slightly, add the curry powder and salt and stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. (At this point the soup can be pureed if desired – either in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Take soup off the heat and ladle into bowls.
  • Spoon some of the coconut milk into the center of each bowl and lightly swirl in with a spoon.
  • Sprinkle the red chili flakes on top of the soup and serve immediately!

Makes enough for 2 large bowls or 4 appetizers.

Curry Coconut Soup

Bragging Rights & Chicken Curry Salad

I need to brag a little bit.

Recently I made all of the judge food for our Regional speech and debate tournament (about 120 people, 3 meals a day, 4 days). I had some excellent helpers! (See picture.) I couldn’t have done it without them.

Now the part that I’m bragging about is this… One day for lunch I made four salads. Southwest Quinoa, Chicken Penne Thyme, Greek Orzo and Chicken Curry. Everyone LOVED them! Everyone. I’ve received e-mails saying how great the salads were! (Everyone except some guy who wanted some meat. Beef to be exact. Chicken wasn’t cutting it!)

I love it when I can make people so happy that they won’t stop talking about it.

I thought I would share one of the salad recipes with you!

Chicken Curry Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 4 cups diced chicken
  • 1 granny smith apple – diced small
  • 2 cups celery – chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup red onion – finely diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Optional – sliced grapes or chopped walnuts

 

Instructions

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste, taste, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. (It should be bold in flavor and taste slightly stronger than you want the salad to taste.)
  2. Add salad ingredients and combine well.
  3. Taste again and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve as a sandwich or wrap filling or an it’s own. Enjoy!

 

For the Love of Cooking

There’s something about it…

The sharp stinging smell of freshly crushed garlic.

The satisfying connection as a sharp knife effortlessly slices through a ripe tomato.

The sizzle-pop as diced onions hit a pan coated in hot oil and the mouth watering smell that follows as they slowly caramelize in the heat.

The rainbow of colors that can be in an omelet pan or a shrimp salad.

Everything about cooking – I love!

Basil Mint Lemonade – May Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

Exciting stuff! This month I actually GOT something from my newest foodie pen pal 🙂 She sent me a recipe that she recently posted on her blog for Basil Mint Lemonade AND everything I would need to make it! Including a pitcher and two cups… sugar… lemons, basil, mint… Everything!

I waited until I went to visit my family and then made the lemonade for a nice Memorial Day treat 🙂

I’ve included the original post from Smitten Foodie where you can find the recipe and a beautiful picture of her lemonade!

The following is “Lorna’s simplified version of how to make fantastic lemonade”. Enjoy!

First you need to wash and peel several lemons, trying very hard to only get the yellow part and none of the white.

To make the simple syrup combine the basil leaves, mint, lemon peel, sugar and water in a medium pan and bring to a simmer. Take the syrup off the heat and let it the flavors get all infused together for about an hour (or longer if you feel the need to take a Sunday afternoon nap).

My sister Abby was my assistant photographer/chef! She did a good job putting up with my bossiness in the kitchen. Actually – she does pretty well putting up with all of my bossiness 🙂The next step in the lemonade adventure is to find a man with strong hands (aka Dad) or use a lemon juicer to squeeze all of the many lemons and limes needed for this refreshing drink!

Last but not least – combine all ingredients, add water and… Enjoy!

Thank you Connie for this fun package of goodies!

A few extra thoughts about this recipe:

We discovered the fact that the addition of the lemon/basil/mint simple syrup is an out-of-this-world addition to iced tea! Seriously – I think I like it better then the lemonade. The basil is what really does it. SO good.

That’s all!

(OOPS! Totally forgot to add info about the Foodie Pen Pal program! Be sure to go check out The Lean Green Bean and get all the details from Lindsay here —-> Foodie Pen Pals)

Hooked on sandwiches

Sorry I’ve been gone so long :-/

Thought I’d take a moment to try to make your mouth water! Check out what I’ve been eating recently…

– Multi-grain bread, toasted with butter

– Creamy goat chevre

– Sliced turkey breast

– Spicy sprouts

– Sliced tomato, cucumber and red bell pepper

A little salt and pepper and… Voila! Best Sandwich Ever!

Dinner with the girls…

My family has scattered to the four corners of the earth. Well – more like the 2.5 corners of the earth. My brother got on a plane to Korea last week and most of my family moved to the middle of Washington on Sunday. It has been a tiring and emotional couple of weeks. I hate saying goodbye, however temporarily or short term. Thankfully two of my sisters are staying on this side of the state, and my best friend Ayla is sticking around for a little while.

One of our goals for the summer is to make dinner together once a week. It will be a challenge because we all have pretty different schedules – but we’ve already succeeded once! Last night we had the welcome addition of the youngest member of Hannah’s host family join us…

For dinner I made fresh gluten-free, corn-free pasta! Ayla actually did all of the hard work, she rolled it all out while I worked on the sauces. Gluten-free dough is much more delicate then regular dough but as long as you pay attention and work a little slower – there shouldn’t be any problems. The nice thing about it is even if it does fall apart you can just squish it back together and start over!

The recipe I used for this pasta is an adaptation of a recipe from the Gluten-Free Girl – Shauna Ahern.

Note: When working with gluten-free flours and adjusting recipes, it is important to use weight instead of volume to measure them. That is why I have the weight of each flour in this recipe. I also used only guar gum instead of a combination of guar and xanthan gum because xanthan gum is a byproduct of corn.

Homemade Gluten Free Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1.25oz amaranth flour
  • 1.25oz millet flour
  • 2.125oz potato starch
  • 2.5oz quinoa flour
  • 3 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, make a well in center and pour in the whisked eggs and egg yolks.
  3. Stir all ingredients together with a fork until mostly combined.
  4. Using your hands, knead remaining dry ingredients into the dough until it is completely incorporated. (You will know the dough is complete when it feels kind of like play-dough.)
  5. After making the dough – tear the dough into golf ball sized pieces, flatten with your hands and dust with a little millet or quinoa flour to limit the stickiness.
  6. Use either a pasta maker or a rolling pin to roll the dough into thin sheets. Roll each piece as thin as you can before it starts to tear.
  7. After rolling the dough out, use either a knife (or a pizza cutter) or the fettuccine setting on the pasta machine to cut each piece into ribbons of pasta.
  8. Toss the cut pasta with a little flour so that it won’t stick together when you are ready to cook it. Always cook pasta in a large pot with plenty of salted boiling water. You want the pasta to be able to roll around freely and not stick to itself. Salt the water until it tastes like sea water. That gives your pasta extra flavor! This pasta is done cooking very quickly so you want to check it after it’s been cooking for just a few minutes. You don’t want it to be over cooked because it will just turn to mush. When done, drain it and add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking.

To top the pasta I made two different sauces. The red sauce was made with canned grape tomatoes, tomato paste, sauteed garlic and onions, white wine, spinach, diced zucchini and sea salt. Delish 🙂 I also made a seafood sauce that used two cans each of Trader Joe’s crab and shrimp (including the juices), lots of butter with sauteed garlic, onions, leeks and mushrooms, as well as white wine and sea salt. At the very end I added half a pint of heavy cream and kept it on the heat just long enough to get hot.

Even Hannah liked this sauce and she doesn’t like seafood! We also sauteed some asparagus in butter and salt and ate that on the side.

All in all it was a great evening, especially because we were able to Skype with the family and get a tour of the new house!

I wonder what we’re having for dinner next week?

Winter Blues Solutions

During these cold, gray days of winter it can be extremely easy to fall into a less than cheerful mood. Ok – maybe I’m understating the problem. We can get depressed, grumpy, mad at the world. We can start to go just plain old stir-crazy! Clouds and below freezing temperatures seem to amplify the rest of life’s little problems.

It is important for our sanity (and the sanity of those around us) to go to battle against these bad-mood monsters!
*Check out this post my mom mentioned that takes a creative look at a similar every day challenge many of us have: here.
I decided to write this post because the gray skies of winter have a pretty big affect on my mood. It is much harder to be grumpy when the sun is shining brightly and it’s warm enough for shorts and a tank top! I have to continually fight against my bad mood. Everything I do can affect my mood in some way or another when the sky looks gloomy.

So how do I fight? There are the obvious ways: reading the Bible regularly, spending time in prayer, getting enough sleep (all areas I could improve).
There are other things we can do that may not be quite as obvious… I take liquid Vitamin D and an herbal extract Good Mood Tonic every day. Reducing sugar intake and increasing “good fat” (coconut oil, cod liver oil, etc.) intake is important for energy levels and over all well being. Having a clean (and organized!) living space is key to a positive outlook on life. Consciously enjoying the little things in life is very important! Take the time to enjoy and appreciate those things that we wouldn’t get a chance to do if it was warm and sunny outside. Things such as – savoring a cup of hot tea… Working on a puzzle while the wind howls outside… Filing your taxes in less then fifteen minutes because you live in Washington and don’t have to file state taxes! Walking through a field of untouched snow in the moonlight… Watching the snow falling outside while you fall asleep. Little things can provide some of life greatest joys!

Don’t let those winter doldrums get you down… Fight back with every “little thing” you’ve got!

What are some of the ways that you combat the winter blues?