28 September 2016

The Humble Apple Wedger & Corer

100_6880Apple season is in full swing in the mountains of north Georgia.  In fact, the Georgia Apple Festival (it's 45th year!) begins in less than two weeks.  I visited Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge yesterday, and found people by the bus load carrying out apples by the bushel.  According to their website, varieties that include Golden and Red Delicious, Mutzu, Rome Beauty, and Granny Smith are currently available.

Personally, I'm anxious to get my first taste of Arkansas Black.  And I'm counting on some  fresh, sweet Fuji apples to go in the planned crock-pot apple butter.  Those should be coming available soon.

Here are a few landscapes of Mercier from about a month ago.  Very pretty place.  Can you imagine all the fruit and produce harvested?

Mercier and More

I've been told, if you do a lot of baking, cooking, and / or canning with apples, the peeler-slicer-corer is a must-have.  The cost doesn't seem prohibitive to me, but I don't consider myself enough of an apple professional to warrant such equipment at this time.

However! My apple wedger and corer thingamabob is useful and awesome.  I was surprised, first, at how heavy it was – not cheaply made at all – and second, the blades are sharp enough to require little muscle.

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It's super easy to use, especially for turning your single apple into an 8-piece snack.  I even like it for prepping the apple for peeling, since I find it pretty simple to take a knife and peel each wedge.  And, of course, separating that core without waste.  Huge plus!

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So where do you fall with apple preparation? Are your knife skills superb and no additional tool is necessary, are you a professional peeler-slicer-corer user, or do you (like me!) find the humble wedger and corer to be a simple, easy-to-use time saver?

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Shout out to Georgia Grinders creamy peanut butter! All natural, hand crafted goodness.

Shared at Wonderful Wednesday and This is How We Roll.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my apple-ful mountaintop to yours!

14 September 2016

Need More Soil! (Almost Wordless Wednesday)

That's what this field pea seedling was yelling at me this morning.  It's light years ahead of its siblings in growth, for some reason.

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Just look at those roots!

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Shared at This is How We Roll.

From my fall garden to yours!

08 September 2016

Salsa Chicken & Rice Burritos

SalsaChicken & RiceBurritosI love that my mother is on facebook.  Even though she doesn't think the commenting back and forth gives me a valid reason to call less, it's all good.  Plus, I get to see her recipe shares.  We have pretty similar food tastes – good and bad (sorry, Mom) -- so I usually pay attention to the links she sends to her timeline.

A most recent share was for homemade chicken burrito bowls that were actually to be prepared for lunch over a period of about four days.  The recipe was from Tasty on BuzzFeed.  With over 640,000 views, you might have seen it.  Anyway, I liked how the chicken and fixin's were prepared, so I decided to have it for dinner last night.  I kept it more to true burrito style, though.

I went from pinning the recipe post to Pinterest, to saving it to my "cookbook" in Evernote.  If it makes it to Evernote, it's a keeper.

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As you can see, the onions and peppers, as well as the boneless chicken, is baked all on one pan – love that.

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In addition to the salsa chicken, peppers, and onions, we add black beans, corn, and rice.  You can prepare these separately, or cheat like I did, and use a frozen blend.

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Put everything on a burrito size tortilla, top with cheese, and roll her up.  You can make it small enough to hold in your hand, or big enough you need a fork.  (I needed a fork.)

Salsa Chicken & Rice Burritos

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed)
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), sliced
  • 1/2 large white onion, sliced
  • olive oil for drizzling, abt 2 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning (try homemade!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 pkg frozen corn, black bean, rice blend
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
  • burrito size tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F, and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Place chicken, peppers, and onions onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle taco seasoning evenly over both sides of chicken breasts. Salt and pepper the onions and peppers. Toss to coat.
  4. Top each chicken breast with salsa. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165°
  5. While chicken, onions, and peppers are baking, heat the corn and black bean blend until warmed through.
  6. Once chicken is done, allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice into strips.
  7. Assemble burritos with tortillas, salsa chicken, onions, peppers, and vegetable blend with rice. Top with cheese and roll up.
  8. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 - 3 servings

Shared at This is How We Roll and Happiness is Homemade.

07 September 2016

Homemade Smoky Taco Seasoning Recipe (and a Reminder)

Homemade Taco SeasoningThere are a million places on the web to find a taco seasoning recipe.

Seriously.  I just googled "homemade taco seasoning" – without the quotes -- and received about 1,170,000 results in 0.64 seconds (thank-you-very-much).

So this post is not so much about the recipe (though one does follow).  It's more about the reminder.  Why do many of us go out and buy a packet of taco seasoning, when we can make it ourselves? Wasting that dollar, when we all know those dollars add up.  I know I'm guilty of it.  If you're like me, you probably already have the spices needed to make taco seasoning sitting in your pantry.  If not, the one you might be missing is worth the small investment even if you only cook at home a few times a week – the ingredients are not uncommon or rare.  And you can control the heat.  And the salt.

And the smoke.

Yep.  I typed smoke.  You see, the only paprika (a needed ingredient for taco seasoning) I had in the pantry was smoked paprika.  But I went with it! And it was good! So don't be scared if that's all ya got.  It works, too.

Homemade Taco Seasoning (Smoky or Not)

The following makes about the same amount as in one of the store-bought packets.  I only needed a tablespoon, so cut it in half, and still had a bit extra.  Credit to Food Renegade for the recipe.

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (smoky or not!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (optional; I just gave the grinder a couple of turns)

Mix it all together and store in an airtight container.  If you'd like to make a bigger batch, visit the link above for a quintupled recipe.

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Stay tuned for a recipe using this homemade taco seasoning!



Shared at Coffee and Conversation, This is How We Roll, and Happiness is Homemade.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a very small commission if you click a link and buy something. This helps pay for the RV, supports our mountain homestead dream of owning land, as well as my blogging activities, and makes the dogs' tails wag.  Hopefully, the purchase benefits you, too!  The price you pay will be no different than if you arrived at the same destination through any other link. My opinions are my own, to be sure. If I link to a product and say I like it -- I truly like it! Thanks for reading, following, and supporting Stephlin's Mountain.

From my smoky mountaintop to yours!

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