Today I had a rare day off. My dad and I travelled the river roads in northern Iowa; these are the small river towns nestled in the bluffs overlooking the Mighty Mississippi. The view is magical, and the hills were all green and gently rolling. I couldn't get over the beautiful houses in some places. They were made of brink with natural stone incorporated into them, or of logs mixed with stones. They looked like some of the farm houses I used to see in Canada.
We visited Dyersville, and stopped to eat at Country Junction, which we always liked. The Plaza Theatre Antique Mall was still there, which is sort of a comfort. So is the Farm Museum and the Ertl store. I made it home in time to start dinner for my family, and I have a couple of tips.
1.Navy Bean Soup; this was a quick recipe. Saute in half TBSP butter and enough olive oil to coat a large Dutch oven about half a chopped onion. Add half can Herdez salsa casera, mild. Add 3/4 can chicken or vegetable broth. Add one 12 oz can navy beans. I threw in dried vegetable flakes and a few pinches cilantro. Last, I crumbled some dried mint. This was from an organic bouquet I had purchased. I brought it to a boil, and let it simmer for half an hour. It has a nice, savory taste.
2. Read this in the latest Doll Castle News, July/August issue. Use vinegar to clean old dolls, windows, the toilet, various surfaces. Check their site. Just Google their name and you will find them. Some very good cleaning ideas.
3. I made brine for my Feta cheeses, both sharp made with sheep's milk and the typcial store variety made with goat's milk. It was very easy. I just put the cheese in a deep bowl, and added cold water a quarter of the way up. It made a very good brine, and moistened the cheese the way I like to cook with it. Add fresh basil leaves, and sliced homegrown tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, and you have a great salad.
4. Simple, refreshing and healthy dessert. Open one small, chilled can mandarin oranges, any brand. Take one small container Greek yogurt. I like Athenos honey. Layer the bottom of a small, maybe six oz. round class with the yogurt. Top with mandarin oranges. Garnish with fresh blue berries. Chill.
For anyone out there interested, the KU Paralegal Studies Craft and Cooking Encyclopedia is out!
Have a Happy Week!
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