Monday, June 4, 2012

Muffin's love Empanadas!

Me and my boy
Hey There Sleepy Muffin Readers!

I am so thrilled that its almost officially Summer! Mr. Muffin and I have been going through a transition lately of trying to recycle more, eating at home, composting, and trying our hand at growing our own fruits and veggies (that last part is more Mr. Muffin - not me). In addition to that, I can't believe my boy is already 4 months old. He's already become quite a character by laughing, giggling, and jabbering to anyone who will listen. He loves grabbing his feet and trying to stick his toes in his mouth.

Our first sunflower!

One of our favorite activities lately has been visiting the local farmer's market in Coppell, Texas on Saturday mornings. Its hands down the best one in the area. They have all sorts of goodies both grown and locally made. One of my favorite finds lately have been eight ball zucchini. My favorite way of cooking it has been sauteed in butter with a little garlic and onion.

Peach inspecting Pattypan squash and Okra seedlings

Anyways.....back to what we've been up to:
Mr. Muffin, has gotten into the urban farming concept and has started two beds. One with Patty pan squash, Okra, summer savory herb, tomatillos, and ground cherries. The other bed has bush cucumbers, heirloom watermelons, and purple hull peas.  As you can see, they're doing very well so far aside from some hungry pests that seem to like okra leaves. Peach seemed a little interested in the bed but for the most part she keeps away thank goodness. We're looking forward to seeing how well they turn out.

Purple Hull Pea seedlings

A couple of weeks back, we visited a restaurant called El Guapo in Denton after visiting their farmer's market (I bought some sunflower sprouts that were quite tasty in my salad - by the way). I decided to order chicken empanada's which was a lucky choice. They were so crispy and bursting with flavor, I was instantly in love. Since we had some leftover taco meat tonight I decided to try my hand at making some. They turned out extremely well and were fairly easy to make so I figured I'd share the recipe with you:

Little Sleepy Muffin's Empanadas

  • Cold taco meat (use your favorite type of meat)
  • Shredded Cheese
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Lard
  • 1 Tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Cups water
  • Extra flour for dusting

Using a cast iron skillet is the best way to fry hands down!
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Once combined, mix in the butter and lard and combine so it creates a cornmeal like texture. Now, comes the messy part: gradually add in water and knead the dough until its been combined completely and smooth. If you have kiddies, this is the part that they would find particularly fun. After the dough is ready, separate it into about 10 balls (give or take). Take a doughball and manually work it into a thin disk large enough to place a small spoonful of taco meat and shredded cheese. Fold the disk in half and seal the empanada with a fork around the edges.

fried clamshell-looking goodness

Next, fry those baby's up! Unfortunately, I didn't gauge how long to fry them but I fried them long enough to brown it on both sides. Once they're done cooking, serve them up with salsa, queso, or enchilada sauce. Also, I must apologize because I can't really tell you how many empanadas this batch makes: Mr. Muffin and I were enjoying them so much that we didn't bother trying to count how many they made.

*yawn* Well, I'm getting tired folks.

Until next time,

The Little Sleepy Muffin

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chickens, Veggies, and Goat's Milk - Oh My!

Hey there Muffin Readers!
The Muffin-lette's grand debut!

Its been a while hasn't it? I know....I know..... Muffins can be so flighty. 

Well not entirely. As you may have known we had a little muffin-let baking and he was born a few months ago. Its taken some adjusting to a new member of the family but its overall been great. I just can't believe that he's already three months old already!

Anyways, I've missed talking to you guys and figured its time to stop being a lazy muffin.

Veggie Patch!

As you can tell, Spring is in the air! After doing a ton of running around today we decided to check out Homestead Farms in Keller, Texas.

I had heard about a farm that was practically in the middle of the 'burbs but never got a chance to go and check it out. Well, it was such a lovely day outside that we all packed up in the Muffin-mobile (sorry I couldn't resist calling it that) and drove out there.

Hey there Mr. Chicken!
When we got there we parked right in front of their vegetable patch, jumped out and started exploring the various goodies they had currently growing. The patch wasn't particularly large but it definitely wasn't a typical backyard veggie patch. They had all sorts of  wonderful things growing such as watermelons, squash, onions, heirloom tomatoes, garlic and peas. 

After looking around the veggie patch for a bit we wandered into their store where we bought some peaches, a half gallon of fresh goat's milk and a goat meat snack. In case you're wondering, a goat meat snack appears similar to a Slim Jim but much, MUCH better. 

Next, we went out back to check out their rabbits and chicken coops. I got to admit that these chickens were very pretty and healthy looking.

Overall, Homestead Farms was a small operation but I loved that they have a farm in the middle of the suburbs that services the area and that they were super friendly. This place was a nice and relaxing spot that is kid-friendly and easy to find.

If you're in the area I'd strongly recommend checking them out our take a look at their website here: . They are in the middle of an expansion project and can really use your help to raise funds by buying a Homestead Farms t-shirt for $15. I'm definitely planning on getting one myself sometime soon.

Side Note:

Speaking of Goat's Milk.......

A few days after our excursion I decided to make some biscuits to go with dinner one night. I have a go-to recipe I use off of Allrecipes but of course, I have to put a Muffin-y spin on it and swapped out goat's milk instead of buttermilk this time around. After dinner, Mr. Muffin and myself declared them to be my best batch ever so I figured i'd share the recipe with all of you:

Little Sleepy Muffin's Goat's Milk Biscuits (serves 2)

2/3 Cup flour
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 Cup Lard (yes, its bad for you but it makes tasty biscuits)
A Pinch of Salt
1 Tsp Sugar 
 1/3 Cup Goat's Milk (or use Buttermilk for the less adventurous)

Throw it all in your mixer and mix just until combined and it starts to pull away from the side of your bowl. If its still too soft sprinkle in a little flour until it starts to pull away but dont take too long.

Once your dough is set, flour your counter, sprinkle some flour on your dough and fold your dough about 15-20 times - Do not over knead!

When your dough is finally ready, mush your dough into a square sized shape of about 4"x4" (What?? Muffin's are impatient and dont currently like their existing rolling pins!). 

Using your knife cut your biscuits into quarters and shape the rough edges. I discovered a while ago that portioning out biscuits this way instead of using a circle cookie cutter was quicker and a much more enjoyable way of making biscuits. 

Plop those babies in a baking pan and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with some homemade preserves or butter.

Click here to view the original recipe

Until next time!


The Sleepy Little Muffin 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

That Time A Muffin Went To A Glass Studio

Good Evening Sleepy Muffin Readers!

Tins of colored glass
So I don't know if you knew this, but aside from Muffin's being sleepy (they are even more sleepy after a long weekend full of tasty leftovers) they are also very curious. My curiosity prompted us to attend the Near Southside Art Goggle a little while back and we happened to stumble upon SiNaCa Studios while listening to the Whiskey Folk Ramblers perform (awesome band might I add). SiNaCa studios we soon discovered, is a school of glass with an adjacent gallery that showcases artist's creations.

Fast forward to this past weekend: the in-laws were in town and I was trying to think of someplace we could check out that was not a mall or something "usual" and would interest everyone. Since we happened to be in the area, I suggested that we go check out SiNaCa- I just wasn't expecting anyone to be working with glass while we were there!

Kevin McGhee working with the beginnings of a blown bowl
As soon as we walked into the gallery, I was already checking out the next room where they had the kilns running (See? Muffin curiosity at its finest right there). We immediately were invited to go over and catch some of the action going on inside as they worked with molten glass.Of course, I didn't need a second invitation and made my way over - woohoo!

In a nutshell, we were absolutely amazed that these guys start off with a small blob of virgin (clear) glass, and after adding in pieces of colored glass it eventually turns into this breathtaking piece of art.Of course, what kind of post would this be if I didnt elaborate on the process?

As we watched the guys form their piece, our visit made me realize that to make a single bowl, it could easily be a two-man process and both people needed a good amount of skill and trust in each other. Especially when one person is blowing the glass through a special pipe and the other person is rolling that same pipe to make sure the glass is distributed evenly.
See that bowl forming?

Once the blob had been blown a small bit, it would be reinserted into the kiln, taken out, have colored glass added, formed, and the process would be repeated until it reached the ideal color content they desired and the appropriate size for them to start forming the bowl. Unfortunately, I was so fascinated by the process and what was going on that the details are starting to become a little fuzzy (sorry).

One thing Kevin or his associate Clifton mentioned, was that when they're forming a piece, they water the tools they use to keep the temperature down which in turn, prevents the glass from sticking to their tools, thus allowing them to form their pieces  however way they want. They also said that there are many things that could be used as a tool to help form the hot glass such as a mold, a wood paddle or even a pad made out of wet newspapers provided they were wet and the temperature was kept down low enough that the glass wouldn't stick to it.
After a certain point, they opened up the hole that would become the bowl's opening using centrifugal force and gravity to give the bowl its height and shape.Clifton mentioned that this method is ideal for forming the bowl, however if your glass is too thin it can mess up the overall shape of the bowl or it can even cause your project to come off the pipe and end up as a mess on the floor.

As you can see from the pictures, that bowl has already started developing some really beautiful color patterns and it wasnt even completed yet. They showed us that hot colored glass will change in color over the time it cools so that you never know what the end result will look like until the piece has completely cooled. Meaning, that sometimes a piece might not look very nice when they complete it, but after it has cooled it might had developed some amazing unique color patterns that they were not expecting.
Kevin and Clifton (right) working together on the blown bowl

Sadly, our demonstration ended after a while - but we stuck around and chatted with Clifton about SiNaCa itself and discovered that it is a non-profit organization that is available to anyone in the community who wants to hone their skill in glass working from beginners to seasoned experts. As you can guess, the pieces available in their gallery were made by many of the artists who use the facilities at SiNaCa. I also discovered that you can take a number of different classes to try your hand at working with glass to make your own creations.  I truly felt like a small child in a huge toy shop - there was so much to look at and take in.

Overall - visiting SiNaCa Studios was truly an amazing, amazing experience, I really can't say enough good things about this place. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful - if you're ever in the area, stop by say hi and help support this local spot! I cant wait to sign my husband up for one of their classes or even try my hand at glass working myself.

Until next time!

The Little Sleepy Muffin

P.S:  I want to thank Kevin, Clifton, and the staff at SiNaCa for the wonderful time and experience we had at your studio this past weekend. Thank you for answering all our questions and allowing me to take photos. My only regret was that my photos cannot do your work justice.