It’s hatch green chile time!

Here in Austin, the grocery stores get excited each year at this time for hatch green chiles to arrive from Hatch, New Mexico. I have no idea if this is a thing in other parts of the country or not.  The grocery stores offer both fresh and roasted hatch chiles and a variety of other hatch flavored foods.  Chuy’s even makes a special menu that we always go check out.

For dinner this week, I decided I wanted to make something with hatch chiles for the first time in my 9 years in Austin. I decided on a play off of chicken salad that uses tofu instead. I combined extra firm tofu, patted dry, with diced red onion, roasted hatch chiles, sunflower seeds, and mayo.  We ate the tofu salad as an open faced sandwich on a slice of sourdough bread topped with a slice of heirloom tomato.  Man, did they turn out spicy! I used 6 roasted chiles, 3 of them mild and 3 hot.  On the side, I made roasted cauliflower tossed with olive oil and rosemary from our garden. It’s really the only thing left alive.

I decided that while the 110 degree air outside probably could roast the cauliflower and chiles, it most likely would take too long.  Instead, I fired up the grill and roasted them myself.

Cauliflower and chiles, ready to roast:

After roasting:

I then had to remove the skins from the chiles because they are quite crisp. Luckily my husband mentioned that because I was ready to leave them on.

Tofu, onion (at the bottom) and the chiles ready to go:

Mixed with mayo and sunflower seeds:

Served open-faced with a slice of heirloom tomato:

All in all, a quite tasty sandwich. Sometimes I feel that food made with hatch green chiles isn’t all that exciting. However, I definitely enjoyed this sandwich, especially after my mouth stopped burning.

Making some random foodstuffs…

This week I tried making some strange food.  Last week I encountered a recipe for Caramelized Peanut Butter Banana Quesadillas posted to the Craftzine blog. Bananas, marshmallows, and Peanut Butter – some of my favorite foods from when I was 12.

We just happened to have some left over tortillas and a looming bike ride so I decided to try this for breakfast.  However, my adult self decided the marshmallows and butter would be too much. I took a single tortilla, covered it in a thin layer of peanut butter, sprinkled on some brown sugar and added a layer of banana slices on half of the tortilla.  I folded it in half and toasted in in a frying pan. It came out quite tasty this way. Next time I won’t bother with the brown sugar, it just made a mess and didn’t add anything.

The second random food I made this week was a blueberry dessert.  We had some blueberries that weren’t all that exciting to eat so I decided to try to make them into a blueberry crumble dessert. I made the mistake of just winging the topping. I used oats, flour, yogurt, and honey. I accidentally poured too much flour in and the mixture got too doughy and didn’t turn out so great. Next time I’ll make more of a dry topping because the blueberries were tasty underneath.

Dear cats, stop stealing my coasters!

I have a set of coasters that are made of felted wool (knitted by me of course). They are very absorbent and make great coasters. They also attract cats like crazy. In the middle of the night, one of our cats steals the felted wool coasters and leaves them on the floor in the hallway.

Using a multi-colored wool yarn that had been given to me as a gift, I recently knitted up a rectangle and felted it.  Felting rarely turns out a perfect square, so I had to trim the edges to make a coaster.

I rolled up the extra felted material, added a bow and call my creation a cat toy. So, dear cats, stop stealing my coasters!

Making stuffed berries

I came across a post on Craftster via the Craftzine blog about a super easy no bake summer dessert that I decided to try.  The chocolate chips I got for the raspberries were a tad bigger than normal and sometimes were difficult to get in the berries without splitting them.  With the help of a strawberry huller, the no bake cheesecake filled strawberries turned out great! I plan to take them to a party for others to enjoy 🙂

Cooking with Quinoa… a fun grain!

Ever since I came across quinoa, I’ve been interested in recipes that I come across that use it. It’s a very small seed and when you cook it up, it opens up and looks like a little spiral.

Tonight I used this recipe but modified it to my taste of course. I added zucchini, garlic, some left over vegetable broth, more thyme, oregano from the garden, and a special spice mix that I got at the Savory Spice Shop on 6th Street.

The ingredients ready to go – carrots, zucchini, onion, tomato, and garlic:

First, the onions were sauteed in a bit of olive oil and some crushed garlic:

After appropriately cooked, but not overcooked so they would stay crunchy, I added the quinoa and toasted it for a few minutes:

Next, the vegetable broth and water along with herbs (thyme, oregano, pepper, spice mix) were added to the pot. That simmered for a few minutes and then the carrots and zucchini was added:

After the liquid was absorbed, the tomatoes and spinach were mixed in. I had a bit too much spinach and had to take some out. Whoa, so much spinach!

Once the spinach was fully cooked down, I served it with some shredded Parmesan on top.  Not bad for a light summer time meal, but I’m still trying to figure out how to get more flavor in quinoa dishes.

Look at all of those colors – such a healthy dish!

Recycling bike inner tubes into a phone case

Okay, so I only used a small part of a bicycle inner tube to make a phone case.

Next week I start training for a half marathon that takes place in November. I also decided to start using a fitness tracking application called Endomondo. To use Endomondo, I need to carry my phone with me on my runs which I’ve never done before because it’s big and I’ve not a found a good case for carrying it. At the Urban Assault Ride put on by New Belgium brewery, one of the schwag items we came home with was a little pouch made out of a bike inner tube which gave me this idea. The inner tube will help the phone stay dry while I sweat like crazy in the Texas heat.

This weekend I decided it was time to make the phone case with the start of training on the horizon.  I grabbed an old mountain bike inner tube and cut off a piece of it. After my first attempt at making the case ended up just a tad too small, I succeeded on the second try.

One of the trickiest parts of this case was the zipper. I had to deconstruct a zipper so that it would be on continuous piece by folding it in half and putting each end into the zipper pull. You’ll see what I mean in the pictures at the end.

First I cut the tube down the middle and washed it. Next, I sewed on the zipper to one side:

Next, I folded the zipper over and top-stitched it:

Then, I added the piece needed to put a strap through (normally I wear a dog leash around my waist, which is the best place to attach a phone).  Then, I folded it in half and sewed the bottom together.  I then had to turn it to the right side and try to attach the zipper pull, which turned out to be quite tricky the second time. After enlisting the help of pliers and my husband, I got the zipper pull attached and turned the case back inside out and sewed the smaller end together.

After that, I trimmed the edges near the seam and turned it right side out. Complete!

Some useful tips: rubber isn’t that hard to sew, but it’s tricky to get it to feed correctly through the sewing machine. I had to play with both thread tension and the foot tension to get it to work correctly.  Sewing through more than two layers  gets more difficult.

How to heal dog paws / make your dog sad

How to heal dog paws / make your dog sad: Apply bag balm to affected areas of pads. Cover with a sock. Wrap tape around top of sock to hold it on. Watch as your dog gives you sad eyes.

Our 50 pound dog has little tiny paws. They are also very sensitive. When we go for long walks or runs on rough ground, she often ends up peeling parts of her pads off and then limps around for a week while they heal. I think it also happens when she runs for too long on hot concrete. In order to help them heal and to keep her from continuing to chew on them, I use the above method to protect her paws for a few days. It happens so often that I purchased little kids socks to use. I also use paw wax to help protect them so that this doesn’t happen, but often I can’t predict when they will become sore.