29 September 2012

Southwest Tastes

I sure do miss my green chili and anyone who has lived near a part of the States that can get fresh roasted Hatch Green Chili and then moved away from that area will understand what I mean when I say that I miss my green chili.
Yesterday Arthur was looking through one of my cookbooks and he saw a picture of some food and he said "Let's make this."  Sweat-Hot Chili on page 33 from Gary Darling the chef at Aunt Chilada's in Phoenix, Arizona.  One of the ingredients for this recipe is a Green Chili Sauce, and lucky for us the cookbook provides a recipe to make your own homemade Green Chili Sauce (page 42).

 Green Chili Sauce
            (Makes 2 Quarts)
2       Quarts beef Stock
1 1/2  Yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped (we used 1 red)
2         Green bell pepper's, seeded and chopped
6         Green Onions, chopped
1          Medium Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped 
1 pound Green Chilies, roasted, seeded and cut into strips 
1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
1 Tbs. Salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3          Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

3/4 cup lard (we used butter)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Bring the stock to a boil and add all the ingredients except the lard and flour.  Simmer the sauce, uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Melt the lard (butter) in a skillet over medium heat and, when hot, whisk in the flour, a few tablespoons at a time.  Stir the roux until it reaches an almond color, then whisk it into the sauce.  Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
Note:  This sauce can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days, and will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Green Chili Sauce in Sweat-Hot Chili Recipe over Rice.

I wish I could say that the recipe was a success and Arthur thinks that it was, but once you have real green chili and I mean Hatch green chili, then everything else doesn't compare.  We made the Sweat Hot Chili recipe with it even though this recipe also calls for Jalapeno peppers and we don't have those here I just substituted a little hot red pepper straight from Katerina's garden.

Sweat-Hot Chili 
            (Serves 4)

3 Tbs.  Lard (I used olive oil)
10 ounces beef sirloin, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 3/4 cup Green chili Sauce (made above)
4 Jalapeno chilies, seeded and cut into thin rings (I used 2 small red peppers, whole)

1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
4 Tbs. chopped green onions, white part only
4 cilantro sprigs

 In a heavy saucepan (I used my non-stick skillet), heat the lard or olive oil over medium high heat.  When hot, add the cubed beef and brown on all sides.  Add the green chili sauce and jalapeno rings to the pot and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with a sprinkling of the two cheeses, green onions, and a sprig of cilantro.  
We didn't have the 2 cheeses listed above but I am sure it will be no problem finding them in the States and cilantro, well I could grow my own, but we have parsley growing wild in the garden so I just used that.

We had enough sauce that the next day I poured it over pasta and there was still leftover's so that I put the rest in the freezer and will probably use it to make enchilada's or smothered burritos.
Southwest Tastes is a great cookbook, I love the way they interview the chefs at different restaurants from around the Southwest, some recipes are hard to duplicate (does anyone really use lard anymore), especially here in Greece, but I know that I could open this book up every day for a year and find a new recipe to try.

24 September 2012

A Contest I could win but need your help

Who is up for free fabric?  or I should say free fabric for me!  Or you could win free fabric too, just let me know. 
In my last post I warned about having a Pinterest account but know I am so hoping you do.  Because I want you to go to my account and re-pin your favorite fabric bundle that I have picked from Fresh-Squeezed Etsy Shop.
And we have a winner- Savannah Bop was the one most pinned!

A Bunch of Fun, I removed

Prairie Sunshine

Help me pick out the one to get I will be making some fabric baskets for the kids room.  We just put up an electric blue curtain, so this is why I like the blues and we have some green pillows from IKEA.
If you want to join in the contest let me know and I will re-pin yours too!
Deadline is on Wednesday, so not much time.

Update:  Randi the shop owner had such a huge response that there is no way she could seriously give a bundle to everyone (unless if she didn't want a shop anymore).  So this little challenge is going to become a monthly activity, how fun.

22 September 2012


I would love to make this quilt that is over at Moda Bake Shop, the colors just pop and are from a favorite designer of mine Sweetwater ( I even have some of their scrapbook stuff).  I need some school spirit here to get my kids up and feeling better so they can get right back into the swing of things and go to school!
I am new to sewing and I think I do more brain thinking and picture looking than actual sewing, but there are just so many pretty things to make and so so many fabrics.  This contest name is "Love it, Pin it, Win it" and my other favorite thing to do other than computer window shop is to look at Pinterest, if you don't know what Pinterest is then you should keep it that way, because I know that I am addicted.  But if do know then you should come check out some of the stuff that I pin, especially my quilt section, what do you think?  To many right, but they all look like so much fun to do, well wish me luck because the Moda Bake Shop is giving away a couple of prizes and one of them is all of the material needed to make the quilt of the winners choice.  WOW!

Craft Table

I am so excited to announce that I got a craft table, a tall one that I can cut fabric on and put together scrapbook pages with out the worry of the kids getting up there.
 Even the drawers are hard to open, Nik couldn't open them, this makes me so happy!
 My craft cart that holds my 12x12 paper even fits underneath, and on this side I have 2 shelves to put books on, I am always looking for more room for all of my books.
We also got a package from Grandma Peters and it had some scrapbooking goodies inside for me from Technique Tuesday.  And a totally cute outfit for Katerina and swim trunks for Nik, Thanks Mom.

Here's Katerina having TukTuk the doll model the shirt we got from Grandma Peters.
 Last Saturday we went shopping in Larissa and I picked up a printer for my new craft room, it was 29euros and the ink was 12euros and the cable 3, so total 44euros.  But when we got home and tried to hook it up they had given us the wrong USB cable to the printer, HELLO, you sold me the printer you would think they knew what kind of cord it needed.  Luckily we only had to drive to Trikala to get it replaced and not the 1 1/2 drive to Larissa.
I also found these totally cute winter boots for Kat and only 25euros, can't wait for her to wear them they are super cute, okay I can't take very good pics but trust me they are cute.
One precious picture of Kat showing off her new backpack in front of her school, she modeled for me about 4 pictures and then said "done" and that was the end of that modeling session.  P.S. she is wearing my dress from when I was little, yah, so cute.
We stayed home the last few days since Nik got a huge sickness, all of the yuckiness from school and he gave a little bit of it to Kat, Grandma and me.  Hopefully we will be back in school on Monday, I want to start using my new pretty craft table!

16 September 2012

First Week of School, CHECK!

Our first day of school started on Tuesday, September 11 at 9:30am.  It was like an orientation day, but instead the school got blessed by a Greek Orthodox Priest, it was a long blessing about 45 minutes the kids and the parents were getting a little ansy in the warm school room.  Nik was super good and sat military straight during the whole blessing, I was across the room with Arthur and Katerina.  After the priest blessed the room he went around with a bunch of basil and you could kiss the cross and he would bang the oil dripped basil on your head (still thankful I am not fully blessed by the church).  This activity happens at all of the schools and this is why they start at different times, but all on the same day.

In typical procrastinated Greek mindset, the school never contacted us about when school was going to start, instead Arthur had to go to the school to find out the time and date, this was the Wednesday before school started so unfortunately I didn't do what I planned by starting waking the kids early for at least 2 weeks before school started, oh well, I think they are better at waking up than me.  When Arthur went to the school they only told him the date, we found out on Monday what time school would start the next day.

After the blessing the head teacher told us what would be going on at the school, the drop off time is at 8:30 and pick up is at 12:15.
There are 4 teachers and about 40 students, this is just pre-school and kindergarten.  On this first day Nik's teacher wore a Marilyn Monroe  halter dress that ended at mid-thigh (THIGH), and 5 inch heels.  I'm  guessing she is single and was hoping some father's would come, but there was only Arthur and one other father and a grandfather there, all of the other adults where women.  Nik's school has 4 rooms, 3 classroms filled with lots of toys and activities and 1 room to eat in.  Arthur's father went to this school when he was young at that time it was all of the grade levels in one school.  After the introduction we went home.
So happy to be starting school

 On the next day we dropped Nik off at school and then Katerina and I walked over to her school, it's about a 15 minute walk and she loved it.  Her school is really cute with 2 rooms, one with a plastic slide and 2 cars and the other room a table and puppet stadium, plus a small room to take their snacks in.  I stayed with her for about 30 minutes then I tried to exit the room, I only lasted 5 minutes outside because I could hear her crying, I went in again and hung out another 30 minutes then took her home.  We waited at home untill it was time to pick Nik up, but then the school called us at 11:45 and asked us to come get him.  I was like uh-oh he did poopoo in his underwear (one of my worries) but no - the school had ended early at 11 and he was the last kid there (oh my I'm one of those parents).  While I was there they told me I needed to pack a lunch for him (only 2 kids had no snack that day) and that I needed to pick him up at 11 on the next day.  I came home and railed at Arthur because obviously they must have said something about the pick up time and about fixing a lunch for Nik, but he says he didn't hear anything about the school day ending early and he was under the impression that they were going to provide the snacks.  UGH!
Too cute Kat at her school

Thursday, we pack a lunch, sandwich, apple and a few chips, Take Nik to school and then Katerina (we drove today because I wanted to buy her a back pack before her school started).  I stayed with her for 5 minutes and then left her there for an 1 1/2, she cried for a little bit but was pretty good.  Then I picked Nik up at 11, I was the only parent there and he was the first kid being picked up (what in the world is going on?)  The teachers said that he was a very, very good boy (at least something is going right).  But then they inform me that chips aren't allowed in the lunch along with chocolate and a few other things (at least I think they allow peanut butter here in Greece).  We go home and Nik has a little poopoo in his underwear but not to bad.
The next day same routine but this time Arthur goes to pick up Nik, he arrives at 11 (the time they told me in the morning when I dropped him off) to find out that the kids can stay till 11:30, so of course Nik doesn't want to go.  So Arthur goes to a friends house that is right across the street from the school.  I get a call from Katerina (GiaGia) stating that Nik had run to Koka Roka away from his teacher's at school. (once again OMG)  I called Arthur not knowing why he didn't pick Nik up, this is when I was told that he was at his friends waiting for it to be 11:30.  So Nik was kind of freaked out because when he ran away 2 of the teacher's chased him and he ran the majority of the way when he ran into his god-father, the god-father talked to the teacher's and then carried Nik the rest of the way (just down a hill) to Koka Roka.

Well that was the first week, I hope next week, when we go to the normal times and schedules that everything will work out better.  Wish us luck in understanding the f%$*$# Greek system and their inability to be up-front (the reason you don't want to do business with Greeks).

P.S.  7 in the morning is to early, I hear the roosters crowing!

02 September 2012

Up-Cycle Project

My next project is to take these 2 shirts and make some fun stuff with them.
The red long sleeve shirt is a maternity shirt that I won't be using again so I thought  I would use the collar and buttons along with some material to make Nik a Hawaiian shirt like shown here.
Nik modeling the Hawaiian shirt material, I only have 1/2 yard, I think it fits.
 For Kat I will be taking the Victoria Secret shelf bra tank top that never fit and cut out the elastic to make her a tube top t-shirt dress with some of this cute ladybug material below.
She loves this material if I let her get into my stash she quickly grabs this one.
I will also use the tank top to make a purse like this women did here and for a tank top for Nik.  The rest of the red material from the maternity shirt will be used to make a dress for Kat like the ones shown here and hereNap Time Crafters is working on a pattern for the type of dress I will make.  Here are a few more cute pictures of the Kat.

Let's see how both materials look together, lookin good kiddo.

01 September 2012

Nik's visit to the doctor

 On Sunday we took Nik up to the hospital in Thessaloniki for a check up with his doctor who did his surgeries when he was little.  We have been having trouble with him not doing really good poo-poos and since he will be starting school soon we wanted to check that everything was okay.
The doctor did a little check and Nik was crying and holding on so strong that he decided it would be better if he did everything while he was sleeping.  So we checked in, but since I had given Nik a little bit of food before we went in they had us wait 6 hours so they could do the anesthesiology safely.  When he was little it was so much easier to send him into surgery but now he know something is going on and he cried and kept yelling "Mommy I don't want to go, your making me sad." when they came to take him up.  This of course had Katerina upset and she kept crying "Niko, Niko." and holding her hands out to him, and this made me sad too!
But he came back quickly, less than 1/2 hour and was knocked out, but at least Kat settled down once she saw her big brother was okay.  They thought that they would send a camera up the next day and then maybe surgery the next, but both of those things were taken off the table when all of the big doctors had a powwow about what to do and they decided that he is to young to have another surgery and to just try some new medicine.  On Sunday Nik had to go hungry but he actually did pretty good and didn't complain until night time when he wanted some milk.  That night we had 2 room mates a boy who got burned by hot oil, ouch, and a boy who had been having headaches for a couple of weeks, they found a tumor just behind his ear, scary.  The boy with the burns went home on Monday and the one with the tumor moved rooms so we had the whole room to ourselves on Monday night and the whole family slept there, the first night Arthur slept in the van.  We went home on Tuesday with a bottle of milk of magnesia cost $2.
Of course no trip to Thessaloniki can go with out stopping at the mall and having some KFC and Chinese food for me.  The streets of Thessaloniki were empty of shoppers but the mall was packed, not with Greeks but with Serbians, Russians, and other western Europeans.
So happy the start of the trip

Super crazy face

Funny faces together

This rocker toy was a lifesaver, it kept Kat busy for hours.

Pretty tired

Do you see Kat in the background climbing? That's my kids for you.

 Nik's doctor Kristos Stefanidous
chalkboard activity at the mall, they had a whole section of stuff for kids.