A Teaser And National Can it Forward Day

There’s something about August that always reminds me of watermelon, tomatoes, and plum jam.  There are a surprising number of watermelon farms in Indiana, where I grew up, and the melons would be at their sweetest in the late summer.  We’d always pick up a few from one of the roadside stands and have them cut up in the fridge for easy snacking.  This was also the time of year my mom and grandmother really got canning fever.  By August, my family’s garden was rolling in tomatoes (which we’d can for future pots of chili in the fall and winter) and the plum trees were dripping with fruit (which also got canned into golden, sweet, sticky plum jam).

Little House. Big Heart. | Easy Home Canned Tomato Juice

Late summers in Texas give a slightly different (but still familiar) picture.  Instead of plums in my parent’s back yard, we have a friend’s fig tree that is positively drooping with almost-ripe figs.  Our garden is scarce in tomatoes, but we have tons of peppers.  And then there’s the watermelon – Texan watermelon, instead of Hoosier.

What’s a girl (and her unwitting husband) to do with all this bounty?  I don’t know, maybe make Chili-Peach jam with some juicy Texas peaches?  Or maybe some fig jam perfect for a fancy cheese plate? Or maybe whip up a Watermelon-Basil gin fizz? Oh, the possibilities!  There might even be a giveaway or two…

All that (and more) is coming to the Little House soon. In the mean time (to whet you canning appetite) be sure to check out Ball Brand’s (of ubiquitous blue Ball jar fame) International Can-It-Forward day live stream here.  They’re mixing up some really great recipes that just might get you inspired!  I’m excited to be working with them on the recipes I mentioned about (hasn’t it been to long since I posted a recipe anyway?)!

International Can-It-Forward Day 2014

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Our Weekend

Don’t forget to enter our Diamond Candle Giveaway! There’s still three days to enter!

Since we’re still in a bit of a leftover induced coma, today we’re sharing some snapshots from our long weekend.

We had some close friends over to celebrate Thanksgiving. We had the usual spread; two turkeys, two dressings, corn souffle, cranberry sauce,  sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts… and more. There was so much food!

Thanksgiving 4_LHBH

Thanksgiving 3_LHBH

Thanksgiving 1_LHBH

On Friday, we picked out our very first real tree. Kevin played shy, but we eventually found just the right one.

Kevin at Home Depot_LHBH

Christmas Tree 1_LHBH

Christmas Tree 2_LHBH Saturday morning saw us don our ugly sweaters and reindeer hats, dress up the doggies, and head to Fair Park for the Ugly Sweater Run. The girls weren’t too thrilled to be wearing sweaters, but they did enjoy the run.

Ugly Sweater Run 1_LHBH

We spent Sunday after church working on our exterior Christmas lights. Kevin braved a crepe myrtle tree to put lights on our roof line (DO NOT use a ladder in the same manner as him) while I scaled our giant live oak.

Exterior Illumination 1_LHBH3

Exterior Illumination 2_LHBH

What did you do this weekend? I hope you were all safe and had a wonderful holiday!

Thrill of the Grill: Grilled Chipotle Lime Pork Tenderloin

Thrill of the Grill is a weekly feature this summer on LHBH where we’ll be sharing our favorite summertime grill recipes. You can check out our other recipes here!

It’s been a couple weeks, but we’re back with the latest installment in our Thrill of the Grill series, Chipotle Lime Pork Tenderloin! It’s one of my faves. The spicy, smoky chipotle and the tangy lime are the perfect pair for a pork tenderloin and a couple margaritas.

Chipotle Lime Pork Tenderloin Header Image

Grilled Chipotle Lime Pork Tenderloin

prep: 30 minutes (+24 hours marinate time)
cooking: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 whole pork tenderloin (NOT the kind packed in marinade)
1 c. lime juice (fresh please, not the bottled stuff)
1/4 c. honey
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo (depends on how daring you are)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tbsp. cilantro
2 tsp. salt
zest of one lime
Prep:
1. In a high sided container, add your garlic and lime zest.
Garlic and Lime in the Marinade
2. Add in one or two (or three?!) chipotle peppers in adobo. You can find these in the latin section of most supermarkets. Kevin and I love chipotle peppers (so we tend to go heavy on these), but if you’re not into spicy one pepper will give you the smoky goodness without the bite.
Chipotle in Adobo
3. Add in the lime juice, honey, cilantro, and salt, then hit with a hand blender. If you don’t have a hand blender, your regular blender will work fine, too.  Set aside.
Blitz
4. Next, remove the silver skin from your pork tenderloin. Silver skin is a connective tissue that’s pretty tough and is typically removed before cooking. To remove it, use a thin, sharp knife inserted under the silver skin about a half inch from the end. Gently wiggle it back and forth until you can get a finger under it, then simply pull it off the tenderloin. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, ask your friendly grocery store butcher to do it for you. If you do try it, BE CAREFUL!
Remove the Silver Skin
5. With the silver skin removed, you’re ready to marinade. Pour half the marinade into a plastic bag over the tenderloin. Seal it up, making sure to get as much air out as possible. Marinade in the refrigerator at least four hours; overnight would be better (we went with a full 24 hours). Oh, and refrigerate the reserved marinade!
Marinade Tenderloin Overnight
6. When you’re ready to cook, make sure to clean and preheat you grill. Place the tenderloin  directly on the grill.
Grill Tenderloin and Corn
7. Every few minutes, turn the tenderloin a quarter of a turn until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F (60C).
Grill to 140F
8. Once the tenderloin reaches 140F, pull it off the grill. At this point you have two options: rest it for at least 5 minutes, slice, and serve OR post-marinade for 10 minutes. We really like to post-marinade pork because it tends to dry out really quickly. To post-marinade, create a little boat out of foil. Place the tenderloin on the bottom, then pour over the reserved marinade. Seal up and allow to rest for about ten minutes.
Post Marinade
9. When your porky tenderloin is done with it’s siesta, slice it on the diagonal and serve.
Chipotle Lime Pork Tenderloin
We served ours with some homemade sangria and spicy grilled corn. Ole!
Grilled Chipotle Lime Tenderloin
What have you been grilling lately? Are there any recipes you’d like us to feature? Are you perplexed when it comes to planking? Vexed when it comes to grilled veg? Let us know and we’ll try to help you out!

Thrill of the Grill: Pineapple Teriyaki Grilled Chicken

 Thrill of the Grill is a weekly feature this summer on LHBH where we’ll be sharing our favorite summertime grill recipes. You can check out our other recipes here!

I am so excited to share this recipe with you. It’s so easy (even if it seems terrifying at first) and is one of my absolute favorite things to grill for friends! That big, juicy bird looks so impressive coming off the grill! Anyone you serve it to will think you’re an amazing grill master (and that’s all before they take their first bite)!

Pineapple Teriyaki Grilled Chicken from Little House. Big Heart.

I will throw a disclaimer out there right off: this is not true teriyaki. I’m aware of that. This is my interpretation that I threw together in my kitchen and while it may not be 100% authentic, it’s awesome. In fact, it led one of our friends to introduce me as “Jess. She just made me some awesome chicken.”

So if you want your friends to introduce you as the creator of chicken deliciousness, try this recipe. If prepping a whole chicken scares you, try it with some whole leg quarters. If you’re not into dark meat, try it with some skin-on chicken breasts. Seriously. Just try it.

Pineapple Teriyaki Grilled Chicken

prep: 30 minutes (+24 hours marinate time)
cooking: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
1 whole fryer chicken, about 4 lbs
2 c. pineapple nectar
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 whole pineapple, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
Prep:
1. Clean your chicken, being sure to remove all the, um, “good stuff” from inside and making sure there aren’t any feather stubs left on the skin. This was our chicken. We called him Alfie (aka. Stormageddon).
Meet Alfred
2. Spatchcock your chicken. Yes, you heard that right. Spatchcock. It’s a real word that I try to work into conversation as often as possible. If you’ve never spatchcocked a chicken, watch this video. It shows really simply how to flatten your chicken into a little birdy pancake. If you’re too chicken (harhar) to attempt spatchcocking yourself, ask at your local grocery store. Any butcher worth his salt ought to be able to spatchcock your bird.
Spatchcocked Chicken
3. Once you’ve dispatched of your chicken, you can turn your attention to the marinade. Combine the pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic into a bowl and whisk to combine. If you have fresh ginger, feel free to sub it in for the dried. We would have done the same but our grocery was out of fresh ginger!
Homemade Pineapple Teriyaki Ingredients
Homemade Pineapple Teriyaki
4. In a large plastic bag, add your chicken and the marinade. Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing and place on a cookie sheet on the lowest shelf of your fridge. You could get by with just 8 hours of marinade time, but given 24 hours this bird will really shine.
5. The next day, preheat your grill. Once hot, pat your chicken dry with a paper towel and add to the grill cut side down. Turn your him every 10 minutes or so. I found the easiest way to do this was to grab him by the legs and flip. I tried tongs, but the legs were definitely the easiest! If the skin starts to look black, don’t panic. It’s supposed to look that way. I promise it will be delicious.
Grill the Chicken
6. When your probe thermometer (you do have one of those, right?) reads 155 degrees Fahrenheit in the fattest part of the breast, it’s time for this birdy to come off the grill. Cover him with foil and let him chill out for at least ten minutes. In the meantime, grill up your pineapple.
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
7. Serve with the grilled pineapple and a few good friends (ours was poolside).
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Grill Asparagus and Pineapple
Give this recipe a try for your next cookout. It’s sure to impress your friends and it tastes pretty good to boot. Have a great weekend!
Have you ever spatchcocked a chicken? Do you also giggle like a 12-year-old when you say “spatchcock?” What’s your favorite thing to grill for friends?

Thrill of the Grill: Grilled Margherita Pizza and Balsamic Romaine

Welcome to the first installment of Thrill of the Grill!

Today’s recipe is one of our favorite summer meals. We love grabbing a couple tomatoes and a few sprigs of basil from our garden and having a simple grilled Margherita pizza. Throw in some balsamic grilled romaine and it’s the perfect Meatless Monday meal!

Fire Grilled Margherita Pizza and Romaine from Little House. Big Heart.

Grilled Margherita Pizza and Balsamic Grilled Romaine

prep: 10 minutes
cooking: 10minutes

Ingredients:
For the pizzas:
1 box Jiffy pizza crust mix
1/2 c. olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely  minced
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 small tomatoes, washed and sliced about 1/4″ thick
1 ball mozzarella, sliced 1/4″ thick
10 basil leaves, washed
For the romaine:
1 head of romaine, halved
balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
salt & pepper
Prep:
1. Preheat your grill and clean the grates.
2. Prepare the boxed crust mix according to package directions. You could make homemade pizza crust here, but for time and convenience’s sake we usually go with the Jiffy. After the dough has risen, divide it into two halves. With a dusting of flour on your countertop, roll your crusts out. Don’t worry if they’re perfectly round; ours usually come out looking something like pizza amoebas. Make sure you keep rotating the crust and adding more flour as your roll to prevent it from sticking.  When the crust is about 1/8″ thick, lightly flour the top and fold it in half twice and move it to a cookie sheet or cutting board for transport outside.
Roll Pizza Dough
3. If you haven’t already, slice your tomatoes and mozzarella. You can use shredded mozzarella for this, but I think the ball mozzarella make a big difference in flavor. Go ahead and halve your head of romaine and remove any of the outside leaves that don’t look great.
4. In a small dish, combine the garlic, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. This is one of my favorite concoctions. We use it for everything from grilling to dipping bread to topping salads. It’s wonderful!
5. Head outside with all of the ingredients, a pastry brush, tongs, and an nice cold beverage.
mis en place
6. Gently place the crusts directly on the grill grates. This is sometimes easier said than done with a hot grill so have someone there to help you maneuver the crusts!
Grilled Crusts
7.While your crusts are cooking, brush the romaine halves with the olive oil mix. Be careful not to add too much oil or they’ll cause the grill to flame up when you add them.
Grilled Romaine
8. When the crusts start to bubble and just turn brown around the edges, go ahead and give them a flip.
Bubbily Crust
9. As soon as you flip, brush on a light coating of the olive oil mixture. If you prefer, you could also go with a tomato sauce here.
Olive Oil Crusts
10. Now for the fun bit (you’ll notice Kevin get to do it): the toppings! There’s no rhyme or reason to how you add your toppings – just get them on there as quickly as you can. Once they’re on turn the grill down to low.  and close the lid for about two minutes.
Add toppings
11 . After two minutes your pizza and grilled salads should be ready to come off. We usually use tongs to slide the pizzas off the grill and directly onto a waiting cutting board.
11. Add the basil to your pizza and drizzle the warm romaine with balsamic. Enjoy!
Fire Grilled Margherita Pizza
These are really fun to do for a group of people because everyone can help make their own dinner and the clean-up is a breeze!

And last but certainly not least, we have a giveaway winner to announce! Congratulations to Christine for winning the Weber Skewer set! Email me your address, Christine!

Give Away!

Have you ever made grilled pizza? What’s your favorite toppings? Have you tried grilled romaine before?

Thrill of the Grill: A Giveaway

Kevin and I are really excited to announce our “Thrill of the Grill” series!

thrillofthegrill

We had originally planned on doing a week, but when we sat down to pick our our favorite grilling recipes we couldn’t narrow it down to just five.  Instead, we’re going to be featuring a grill recipe every Friday throughout the entire summer!

IMG_1677

So to kick things off right, we’re giving away one of our favorite grilling tools – skewers!

7pc Skewer Set by Weber

We love this set because the handy stand allows for easy turning and keeps your kabobs from sticking to the grill! Plus, it’s made by Weber (and they pretty much wrote the book on grilling).

THE SWAG: One Weber 7-piece Skewer Set

TO ENTER: Comment on this post and tell us your all-time favorite grill story. Have you ever accidentally caught your teriyaki chicken on fire or saved a party with your perfectly grilled burgers? Maybe your dog ran off with your grilled pizza (it happened to us last week) or you trekked out in 12 inches of snow to fire up the grill in January?

GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm

NUMBER OF WINNERS: One lucky LHBH reader

THE FINE PRINT: One entry per e-mail address. Well select the winner using random.org and announce it here on Friday. Good luck!

Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Portobellos

Today we’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled TREEzaster 2013 coverage to bring you (by popular request) the recipe for my quinoa and black bean stuffed portobello mushrooms.

I’ve stuffed a juicy, grilled portobello mushroom cap with quinoa, black beans, and tons of veggies. Paired with some cilantro lime black beans and avocado slices, it’s a perfect Meatless Monday meal; it’s even vegan (I think)!

Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Portobellos

prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
4 large portobello mushroom caps, rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic,  minced
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup quinoa, prepared according to package directions
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
juice of one lime
olive oil
salt
pepper

Prep:

For the mushrooms:
1. Preheat your grill.

2. Rinse and trim your portobellos, then dry them. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Place the portobellos stem side up on the hottest part of the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip. Remove and cover with foil to keep warm.

For the filling:
1. If you don’t have any leftover quinoa on hand, prepare one serving size according to the instrucions on the packaging.

2. Rinse and chop the bell pepper, tomatoes, and garlic.

3. In a skillet, heat 2 tsp. of olive oil until shimmering. Add the bell pepper and a pinch of salt. Sweat until the pepper are just soft, then add the garlic.

4. When the garlic begins to just soften (but not brown), add the diced tomato (you could use canned tomatoes, but make sure you go with no salt added) and allow it to cook for about a minute.

5. Add the frozen corn (yes, it can still be frozen) and cook an additional minute.

6. Add the black beans and the quinoa along with the lime juice and cumin. Cook about one minute.

7. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the cilantro.

8. Top the grilled portobellos with the quinoa and black bean mixture and enjoy!

***

This was definitely one of the best things I’ve cooked in a while. The quinoa and black bean mixture is awesome by itself (I brought leftovers for lunch today and will probably eat it cold) and would also be great on some grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

I usually don’t post recipes the first time I make them, so I don’t have many pictures for you today. If you have any questions about the recipe, please ask them in the comments below!

This entry was posted in Cooking.

To recipe or not to recipe?

That is the question.

When we first started LHBH up (almost two years ago… eek!), we blogged recipes almost every week.  Over time, we’ve posted fewer and fewer recipes. Lately, we haven’t posted any (the last were during Souper Week in the fall).

Finished french onion soup

We’re not a foodie blog… not by a long shot. At our core, we’re a DIY blog. But for us, DIY isn’t just working on the Little House. It’s the way we live our lives –from the way we cook to the way we travel– how can you fully live your life if you don’t do it yourself?

So today our question for you is this: Would you like to see recipes again on LHBH?

This entry was posted in Cooking.

Handyman Wednesday: Purging Crawfish

Hi everyone.  Today I wanted to share with you what Jess and my steps to cooking up squeaky clean crawfish.

Chances are, if you buy live crawfish they were caught in the process of munching down on some food and that’s a good thing. If they weren’t eating, then they wouldn’t grow.  However, if you don’t “purge” your bugs before you cook them you might end up eating their last meal along with them (if you get what I mean). If you’re like me, eating the the crawfish’s waste sounds less than appetizing.  Thanks to our good friend (in our dreams) Alton Brown from Good Eats, we we able to purge the crawfish so they would be squeaky clean before we ate them.  Here’s how.

Step 1: Get an aquarium pump (20 Gallon Size) from your local pet store or Amazon.  Get the tubing and an airstone to attach to it.

Aquarium Air Hose Aquarium Air Pump Aquarium Airstone

Step 2:  Get a big cooler large enough to fit all your crawfish with several inches of water covering them.

Step 3: Connect your aeration system together and install it in the cooler.

Step 4: Rinse crawfish 3-5 times until the water is clean and clear.  GET THICK LEATHER GLOVES FOR THIS… they might be small, but their claws hurt!

Take a Bath

Step 5: Insert bugs into cooler and wait.  Make sure when you close the cooler lid you don’t pinch off the air hose.

Cooler Purge

Step 6: In water from your faucet, there is no oxygen for the crawfish to survive.  All the oxygen in the water comes from the bubbler we built.  Therefore, don’t change the water too often.  About once every 6-8 hours is plenty.

Step 7: Cook Crawfish! (Alton Brown has a custom recipe for this…we listen to Alton).  Be sure to pick out the dead ones.  We had about 5-10% die on us.

Craw and Corn

Have you ever had crawfish with a poopy tail? How does a Real Estate company sell its office without causing confusion?  Why is there a disclaimer on the Allstate Auto Insurance commericals that says “Not available in all states”?  If you jaywalk in a J shape, then are you automatically considered a criminal mastermind?

Boiling Over

Have you ever had one of those perfect weekends where weather, friends, and good times all came together just right? One where halfway through Tuesday morning you’re still thinking about what a great time you had?

Yeah. This was one of those weekends.

It started out with Kevin and I running our first 5K ever (The St. Patrick’s Day Dash Down Greenville) with my parents (who drove down from Indiana for the occasion).

Our First 5K!

Not only did we run it, but we both finished! Kevin and my dad finished in around 35 minutes. My mom and I were a bit slower, coming in at just under 45 minutes (my goal). It was a (very) slow jog, but I managed to run the entire three miles without stopping!

Time

After the 5K, we met up with a couple of friends and watched the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We even dressed up the pooches!

Indy in a Tutu  Rosie in a Tutu

Parade

After the parade we wandered back to the Little House just as people were starting to arrive. We had about twenty people come to the boil and still ended up with tons of leftovers! Besides the crawfish, potatoes and corn, we had Kevin’s jambalaya, my mom’s lamb stew and bread pudding, Guinness and Bailey’s cupcakes, and fondue!

guinness and baileys cupcakes

Guinness Irish Stew

jameson bread pudding

Craw and Corn

 Crawfish

Lots of Crawfish

We finished the night up with a fire in our new fire pit and a couple rounds of Kings, a favorite card game from college.

kings

Our boil was a huge success!  We’re so happy to have such a great backyard entertaining space that we can share with our friends and family! Thanks so much for your encouragement as we were getting everything ready!

How was your holiday weekend? Did you do anything special on St. Pat’s?