Maybe Not So Authentic Panzanella Salad

Hey everyone,

I have been SO BUSY lately! There have been mass amounts of canning happening in our household. We put up a ton more dill pickles this weekend, and I made my first batch ever of canned tomato sauce. Delicious! I’m pretty impressed. I’m also pretty impressed with this:

Panzanella Tuscan Salad

My changes:

  • The recipe normally has red onion in it, theirs doesn’t for some reason. I used chives instead ..oh the bounty of the garden…it had to be used!
  • I make about 5458898589% more of this than their recipe. Only one tomato and 5 basil leaves? My garden demands I use far more or it will go into rebellion mode.
  • DO NOT toast the bread. Use a stale bread, that’s really the whole point of this. Using ends up that you have around. It really needs to be a crusty harder bread so it doesn’t get too soft. Don’t use croutons. Please. Plllleeeaaseee.
  • I also would have added kalamata olives..if I had them, but I didn’t.
  • A heaping spoonful of pesto. This is a new one. I liked it, a lot. Then again, we put pesto on hot-dogs last night for dinner, and I liked it – a lot. Don’t knock it till you try it, it’s pretty darn good!


Happy Eats!


Delicious Orzo & Dill Pasta

Lately I’ve been slightly obsessed with orzo. I love pasta. In fact, that might be the biggest understatement – I love pasta. This primarily comes from my even bigger love of carbohydrates in general. Needless to say, starchy tasty orzo is a perfect fit.

Orzo & Dill

1 box orzo pasta

1 large tomato

2 tbsp fresh dill (or to taste)

Approx 1 c. mozzarella

1 tspn italian dressing seasoning

2 tbsp italian seasoning

2 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper to taste


  1. Follow directions on orzo box and cook to preferred consistency
  2. Dice one large tomato (2 if you have more to use up)
  3. Rough chop dill
  4. Rough dice mozzarella if preferred
  5. Whisk Olive Oil, Italian dressing seasoning and Italian seasoning together
  6. Add olive oil herb mix, tomato,  dill, and mozzarella, to orzo and toss
  7. Salt & Pepper to taste

Pickles, Jam & Hot Days, Oh My!

This weekend has been absolutely ridiculous, in such a good way. It felt like a beautiful fall day, even though it’s only early August. Early August also means plenty of produce coming to fruition in the garden, and wild berries in the fields. From the tomatoes, to the peppers, to the blackberries – it’s all coming in.

This plethora of produce means only one thing: canning! I had quarts and quarts of wild blackberries that the Fiance and I have picked over the last couple weeks (with more to come), as well as some Maine blueberries my Dad gave us. Add in some super clearance strawberries which were just begging to be jammed and I was off. Add in some zucchini and cucumbers and that makes for a lot of canning in one weekend! The following was made:

  • 6 Jars Blackberry-Strawberry Jam
  • 5 Jars Blackberry-Blueberry Nutmeg Jam
  • 7 Jars Dill Pickles (cucumber)
  • 7 Jars Bread & Butter Pickles (Zucchini)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Fall is right around the corner, and there is nothing like it for me here in Maine. Have a great week everyone!

Happy Homesteading,


Homemade (nosomuchbecausemyovenbroke) Pita Bread

Pita bread sandwiches! Well, it was suppose to be Pita bread. First things first: Pita bread is super easy to make. It’s a beginners recipe, and that is precisely what I am in the bread-making world.

The problem: It would have been really easy if my oven worked properly. The thing is, it only ever heats up the way it’s suppose to about 50% of the time. This turned out to be a riot (sarcasm) at last year’s Thanksgiving when it didn’t want to get hot enough to cook a turkey. Thankfully my wonderful fiance’s Dad had his turkey fryer (we have two turkeys, large family). Needless to say, we had two fried turkeys…which are so delicious.

I digress. Pita bread.

The recipe I used was wonderful & very similar to this one  from The Fresh Loaf (I can’t seem to find the blog again for the recipe I used). Due to the lack of adequate oven heat however, my breads cooked way too slow and I ended up with focaccia like personal bread rolls. Delicious none the less, and actually substantially easier to make a sandwich on. Still disappointing there was no Pita POOF but it’s all good in the neighborhood.

Andy made a mean batch of roasted red pepper hummus up, while I made the dough. Then we went and picked a ton of wild black berries (more on that this weekend when I make jam). When we got back I baked the bread, and then this morning made some killer sandwiches.

Pita Recipe:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 packet yeast (or, if from bulk, 2 teaspoons yeast)
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening


  1. Knead all ingredients together until your dough comes into a ball and is just not sticky to the touch. I used my kitchenaid and dough hook for this and it worked like a charm.
  2. If using the kitchenaid pull off the dough hook and reform into a quick ball.
  3. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl – I like using a plastic on myself). Cover and set in a warm spot that isn’t drafty for roughly an hour.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and put your stone in if you’re using one (I like them personally, but didn’t use mine – I will next time)
  5. Pinch down the dough to release gases. Divide into balls. The Fresh Loaf recipe says it makes 8 pitas. The recipe I used had just a little less ingredients in each department, so I got 4.
  6. Let the dough rest in the balls for 10-20 minutes. This should give your oven (if it isn’t mine) significant time to heat up and get a nice hot heat going.
  7. If your oven is like mine, kick the door on it a few times, walk around frustrated and then play with the dogs for a bit. This could take a while.
  8. Roll each ball out into a dough that is roughly 1/2 inch thick -eyeball it.
  9. You can probably get 3-4 large ones on a pizza stone at once but you might want to test one before baking the rest.
  10. These take NO TIME to bake. You should watch them puff right up. It takes literally about 3-5 minutes, adjust time to get the right color you like. Some people don’t like browned pita’s, some do.

( the bottoms of my bread)

Note: Because the heat is SO high on these, I’ve heard spritzing the inside of the stove with water after you put the pita’s in will help reduce any bubbles in the bread.  Since my oven never got hot enough I didn’t have to spritz.

You’re done! Just try not to eat them all before your lunch the next day.

Sandwich Recipe  (enough for two sandwiches):

1 Tomato

1/2 Avocado

1 cup mixed greens from the garden (we used purple lettuce and spinach)

Deli Turkey (optional, omit if you’re a vegetarian)

Directions: Spread your bread with hummus all throughout. This will protect the bread from sopping up the tomatoes.  Slice up all the other ingredients and layer in. This is enough to make two sandwiches believe it or not. Pad that pita out with lots of greens.

It’s simple, it’s yummy. It took me 5 minutes to assemble them, and I was out the door.

Happy Eating!


Chic’ Chic’ Chicken & Rice Soup

Chicken. Good.

Rice. Good.

Veggies. Good.

Writing? Not so good tonight.

Must shove mouth with food.

*Nom Nom Omfh Mm Grrrgg*

Chicken & Rice Soup

-tablespoon olive oil

-teaspoon white wine vinegar (sure why not, it was in the cabinet)

-2 cups zucchini, diced and seeded

-4 stalks celery, diced

-1 cup mushrooms, sliced

-4 medium carrots, diced

-2 large tomatoes, chopped

-garlic cloves to taste, chopped

-1 cup spinach fresh loose leaf spinach

-3-4 leafs basil (roll leafs up together with the spinach and rough chop)

-3 cups brown rice

So here’s the lowdown of what I did:

  • saute the carrots & celery first
  • add in the mushrooms
  • smell how good it is already
  • immediately appreciate your garden 10 fold
  • throw in the garlic
  • do it up with the diced tomatoes. so. so. good.
  • saute for another 5
  • water time: put it the rice, and then enough water to cover all the veggies and rice – plus a few more cups. Keep adding as it cooks down until there is enough broth for you. All the starchy goodness thickens it up. YUM.
  • throw in that wine vinegar
  • throw in the spices you want (bullion, salt, pepper, yadda yadda yadda – I’m addicted to fresh crushed cumin seeds  myself)
  • throw in the zuc’s
  • let it simmer quite a while
  • put in the parsley
  • throw in the spinach
  • let it go like…oh, 5 more minutes?
  • Totally and completely appreciate the simple things in life, like a hot meal.

I didn’t teach you how to make the dumplings, because we’re testing different recipes. This was my childhood recipe for starchy heavy dumplings – flour and water until its like a paste and then put spoonfuls in to boil in the broth. That’s it. There, see, I just taught you. Flour. Water. Pasty consistency. Drop in and let boil. Mmmm….

EAT UP.  This is so delicious and can be made with literally any vegetable you have around. It’s a great dish for using up whatever is in the garden, or the fridge.

OH – and the whole point of this: make up a dish for lunch the next day 🙂 Or two days. Or 5. Go nuts.