Tales of a Wookie Wife: Fueled by caffeine and good intentions. Feed hairy man. Clean house. Be fabulous. Repeat. You can learn more about me here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Southwest Beef Fajita Soup

Well, that's a mouthful, eh?  This is my last in the "What the hell do I do with all the fajita meat that was on clearance?!" series.  You probably thought you'd seen the last of that long ago, but I found this one lurking in a folder, all but forgotten.

And all that fuss over a little soup.  Okay, so its a lot of soup.  This stuff FILLED my two largest soup pots.  I think I ended up with something like 5 or 6 quarts of soup.  Sometimes I over-do it.  We ended up rushing around to families' houses trying to pawn some off there was so much.

Basically, if you're cooking for a crowd or want a soup that's good to put up for the winter, this is your best bet.  It freezes beautifully and is still just as good when thawed and heated up.

First off:  MEAT.  There's about half a pound of pre-seasoned fajita skirt steak in there.  Pour water in until it is just a few inches over the top of the meat, and set it on high.  This stuff will need to boil for about 3 hours, or until the meat starts to fall apart.  Keep adding water so that it stays a few inches over the meat while it is cooking.

Next, chop up one large (or in my case, two small) onions and add them to the pot.  You can do this before or after the meat falls apart, it doesn't really matter.

Then, add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of garlic.  Once again, before or after meat falls apart, all a matter of preference.

After the meat falls apart is when you add the rest of the vegetables.  You'll notice there is a TON of different stuff in this soup.  When we were at the store, I asked the Wookie what he wanted in a soup and he listed off bacon, peas, carrots, corn, tomatoes, green beans...Zucchini & poblano got tossed in due to a massive fridge-cleaning-out-about-to-go-bad vegetable...exodus...thing.  Anyway, I had two zucchini sitting in the fridge, so those got chopped up and tossed in, too.

Dump in a can of diced tomatoes.  Do not drain.  No draining.

One can of green beans...Again, no draining.

Now, this is where my picture folder starts to get fishy.  I added one large poblano pepper, a whole bag of frozen carrots, one of corn, and half a bag of peas...But where the pictures of all this got off to is anyone's guess.  So just close your eyes and imagine all the pretty, brightly-colored vegetables being tossed into the pot.

Got it?


Here was my starring spice lineup.  I kept it fairly simple.  I used four bay leaves (two per pot once I discovered there was so much I'd have to split it up into two pots), and about a tablespoon of cumin, a tablespoon of cilantro, three of parsley, and sea salt and black pepper to taste.  I'm guesstimating here, since I sort of eyeball my spices.  Keep in mind, I made mine strong since I ended up making rice to pour the soup over, so you may want to start by adding half the amount of spices, let it simmer 15 minutes, taste, then repeat until you're happy with the flavor.

Next, the bacon.  Fry up 6 to 8 slices, then chop it and add it to the mix.  I forgot to take pictures until I was about to scoop the last piece that had escaped into the pot, so that's all you get.  I totally sucked at the picture thing with this recipe, but it is soooo tasty.

Make some rice to pour it over if you want and that's it!

Wookie Wifey

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Random Photo Post 3 - Water

Its time for more random pictures I took, yay!

A bit of back story:  I took these pictures during the huge flood in early '11.  I spent nearly the entire flood out in the woods with the camera because everything just completely came alive.  I'd drag back up to the house drenched and with mud all over my boots and I loved every minute of it.  This is just a few of my favorite shots, but I think all said there ended up being about 700 pictures I took around that time, so there may be more to come one day!


Wookie Wifey

Monday, April 16, 2012

Craft Oranizing! {Embroidery Thread}

With all the crafting I've been doing lately, I've ended up with a ton of embroidery thread loose and just begging to get tangled with anything that dares venture close enough.

See?  Trouble waiting to happen.  This bag works fine before you've used any of the floss, but as soon as you use some those little paper thingies never seem to stay on.  They either tear off, fall off, or just do a disappearing act that would make anyone playing Vegas scratch their heads in wonder.

My solution?



Enter, an old card-stock DVD case.  I had a few of these lying around...Any sturdy-ish, thin card-y substance will do.  I just cut it into an "I"-shape with a slot on each end to hold the ends and wrapped the extra thread around them.

I tried a few different shapes, but ended up sticking with the "I"-shape as it seems to work best.  Now I can get anything I need without having to untangle shit.  Nothing kills your craft buzz worse than a bunch of knots.

The Wookie Wifey

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Robot Felt Plushie DIY

Dude, I am so on a massive plushie kick.  I'm like a toddler that's just learned to work the light switch.  This little guy is one of the cutest freakin' things I've made to date.  In case you are behind and some of this post seems to be missing something, you can get a full, in-depth tutorial on felt plushie-making here.

First, I cut out the basic shape of his body (2 layers, one for his back side).  As usual, I used no pattern, just sort of winged it.  I chose the embroidery thread I wanted to use and cut out/tried on different face pieces until I found one I thought was cute.  I should have taken pictures of the faces I decided not to use because some of them were unintentionally creepy as hell.

His antennae are made from leather crimps.  I just grabbed some pliers and pulled on them until they got expanded to where I wanted them.  It would probably be easier to take the springs out of some old broken pens with the clicky-top, but I improvised.  His heart innards are some pieces I gutted out of an old watch.

Stitch all his parts on.  I chose a different colored stitching for his parts than for his outside because I wanted him to be approximately ten kinds of colorful.

Sandwich some foam between his layers, sew him up, and DONE.  The springs I just jabbed in once I got to about where I wanted them to go on his head, then went back over/around them a few times while sewing so they would be secure.

Here's a close-up of his little heart so you can see the parts I used...I stitched these pieces on in plain black thread so the focus would be on them, not the stitching.

The Wookie Wifey

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Venison Lettuce Wraps

This is one of the best things I've made to date.  Now, since I'm still learning so much when it comes to cooking that will probably be an updated statement next week...Or maybe not.  These were so good I imagine they may stay at the top of my list for quite some time.

First, brown 1/2 pound of ground venison in a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Once its browned, add about a teaspoon of minced garlic, stir it up, and let it sit for a minute or two.  Wipe the grease splatter off the stove before photographing.

While the meat is browning, get your sauce ingredients together (soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, ginger, sugar, and siriacha sauce) and slice up about 1/2 a small onion and one small poblano.  I only chopped up a half and wished I'd put in the whole thing.

Once the beef and the garlic have simmered for a minute, add about 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 more tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 knuckle pinch of sugar, and 2 tbsp of cock sauce.  Stir it up, then toss in your onions, peppers, and whatever other vegetables you want in there.  I used two different stiry-fry mixes I had in the freezer, so we ended up with squash, cauliflower, asparagus, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, and snap peas in addition to the onions and poblano.  It was a delicious enough mix that I'll be making sure to use the same next time.  If you are using frozen vegetables, let them cook for a minute before throwing in the fresh vegetables, otherwise they will get over-done.

While your vegetables are cooking to the desired softness, prep your lettuce.  Peel off the leaves you want to use for wraps, wash them, then cut off the tapering, bitter end so you're left with something roughly oval-ish.  If you're using cabbage you can skip the trimming and just wash the leaf and use as is.

Line them up on a plate so they may await their destiny.

Once the vegetables are to your desired consistency, pile that shit into the lettuce leaves and dig in!  This was incredible.  Now I'm hungry again.  I'm going to have to start posting while I'm eating whatever I've made so it doesn't keep making me hungry every time I post.

<3 The Wookie Wifey