Hobos, aka super easy, no mess, good eats! (Best “bachelor” dinner ever!)

Ready to eat!

What are hobos many are asking…..well hobos are quite possibly the best thing to happen to the home cook since Better Homes and Gardens, or Martha Stewart, or even good  butter already in its own little butter dish! They are the essence of quick, easy, and no fuss cooking that also happen to taste really good. Now, we aren’t talking haute cuisine here, though you could definitely throw in some shredded duck, gouda and hericot verts. I’m talking quick and easy down home “Taste of Home” style cooking. And they are delicious, so I see nothing wrong with that!

(And again, pardon the crackberry pics, I’m sorry I’m sorry, still can’t upload the camera pics….using the crackberry)

Fresh From The Oven

I still remember the first time I had hobos….we were out of town visiting some friends of the family, oh I must have been about 12 or so.  Suzie (that’s who we were visiting) was all about  simple easy cooking, and she made these things called hobos (she also made this killer white lasagna I’ve never been able to duplicate)…they were delicious, and quite possible the simplest meal ever made, we all loved them. And thus, my love affair with Hobos (gee that sounds weird) was born.

The grease from the cheese separated out a bit 😦

You can make them any way you want really, beef, chicken, pork, tofu, you name it. Just pick your protein, veggies, and seasoning. For this instance I did ground beef, potatoes and cheese, but you seriously can use whatever your heart desires.

potatoes spread outI did make one HUGE mistake..... I ran out of tinfoil!!!!!!!!!!!! I literally went to make the hobos, and had NO tinfoil! Only Parchment Paper. And while parchment is GREAT for baking cookies, it just doesn't do the trick for Hobos! IT seemed to not keep the moisture in as good as foil does. (ok so the meat was a little dry...) and it cooked MUCH faster than usual.....don't get me wrong, they still tasted GREAT, just knowing how they usually are, it was a little off.Assembled and ready to bake!The pictures kind of go in reverse order, but you can get the idea. You literally can make ANYTHING you want!!!! I don't usually use this much cheese, but someone was in a cheesy mood.Packets in the oven

Some flavor ideas are:
Chicken, carrots, and gouda
Ground beef, red peppers, thyme and mozz
Boneless pork chops, cauliflower, rosemary and cheddar
Ground beef, potatoes and ANY kind of cheese
TOFU, lemongrass, carrots and peanut sauce (yes KERRY that one is for YOU!!)
Chicken breast, green beans, red onion, feta and a touch of greek dressing.
Chicken, broccoli and cheese
Tofu, soy sauce, baby corn and carrots
Boneless pork shops and sweet potato
And as hunting season approaches… VENISON!!! If you need flavor ideas to pair with Venison, check out Brandi’s recipe box!
Ok, so those are just a few random ideas, but you get the picture, you can basically do anything you want!
The “rules” are simple really…
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Decide (most likely ahead of time) what kind of hobos you want to make
Season your ingredients how you like them (S&P, seasoned salt, grinder, whatever)
Assemble (veggies on bottom, protein on top)
Roll up packet (same method as with the beets)
Bake for 35-40 minutes
Take out, rest for 5 minutes
Throw out the foil, eat and enjoy!
OH! You could also use brown rice, just make sure it’s the par or already cooked kind, and throw it in cold, it will warm up and soak up the flavors of the protein and spices you are using. Steamfresh by Birds Eye makes a brown rice you can find in the freezer section, (there’s no bad ingredients I swear!) and just cut open the bag and portion it out as you like.  Seriously, it’s really that simple! If you have any questions let me know!

“Glow Jars” How did we not think of this as kids??

Growing up, “Glow Sticks”  were about the coolest thing ever, after Atari of course!  The other night I was working on the facebook page for the blog  (If you haven’t liked it yet go and like it here!) and I came across the coolest post. It was from Sweet Art Supplies, they had actually “shared” it from lil blue boo and I was awestruck, how had we never thought to pop them open?!!?! 

Green Jar was cut open then poured in, cracked just at the end to get the rest out. The blue jar was cracked entirely, shook and then poured in.

Please pardon the awful pics. The crackberry isn’t so great with the closeups and the laptop is still getting worked on so I can’t upload pictures. (Oh how I miss my laptop!)

Spaced out a bit

 I tried doing it a few different ways. Added water, added ice, shook, didn’t shake, cracked didn’t crack. The winner was just cutting the top and pouring it in.  And then cracking the remaining glowing love in the stick until it pours out and into the jar.  Regardless of your stick emptying method, just remember to shake the jar well once it is tightly closed.

Entirely cracked and poured in, the first trial

Ice is not a good thing to add!All of these were done with one stick at a time, I didn't mix any colors, but that would make an excellent project to do with your kiddies!!! Last night I made glow jars with Taylor and Olivia and they loved them. Although Olivia enjoyed them more than Taylor did, but she's also a little older.Water isn't so great either!

I keep all glass jars that I use (rather than tossing or sending them to the recycling plant. They come in handy for all sorts of things, (Overnight Oats, soup or sauce leftovers, rice storage)  but if you don’t have any you could just go to your local Agway or Farm store and pick up some Ball Canning Jars. 
 This is a super easy and safe craft for kids. And just in time for Halloween!!! You could easily tie a string or ribbon around the lip of the jar (Or glue it  around lid) for easy carrying.  It’s a fantastic alternative to candle lit walkways as well, and much safer than open flames. And unlike “fire” kids can handle it themselves!! 

State of the Garden Address.

It is now October, but being that is eighty-five degrees today one would never know that!  However, last week was indeed cold enough to kill off all the peas, and this was quite sad indeed.  The Cucumbers, Squash and Zucchini were all awash, literally, after “Hurricane Irene” and I made peace with that then.  The tomatoes over at lucky shoe are pretty well finished, I need to take the stakes out of the ground.  the pictures below are lucky shoe in the beginning.  As for the clover, that is the second 4leaf  clover I have ever found. It took me 29years to find my first, and that one now resides in a cookbook in California. It  moved by accident; but that is a story for another time. 😉

The Tomatoes continued to bear fruit up until the other day when I harvested the last of the beautiful Green Tomatoes we’ve been getting.  They actually will be taking a short trip to a friend’s house in Baltimore where I belive they will be fried, yes more food porn.  The Lettuce produced its last harvestable leaves about two weeks ago. The basil is pretty well done and gone to seed.  I put most of it into a basil bouquet for my friends parents when we went up to stomp grapes for wine making.  I WILL indeed write a post about that, but those pictures are on my laptop, which is currently half dead but being revived, ahh yes it’s been fun here lately.  PS: (these two pics below  here were taken an hour apart (plants are side by side though)….amazing how the weather changes)

The purple green beans never got bigger than about 3 inches long, maybe it’s just me, but I expected them to be bigger…yes yes folks, let’s hear the comments… Regular Green Beans are doing great, even if I only get a handful at a time. Just as an FYI for everyone,  “Kentucky Wonder” not such a great wondrous varietal, however they are large!  The carrots are thriving, and the peppers are doing really well! Seriously, the Jalapeno and Thai hot peppers are doing the best they’ve done all year, I am floored!

My "harvest"

This was Riley's reaction, when all I came in with was one handful of beans

Lessons learned….start earlier!  I did 148 tomato seedlings, 148 pepper seedlings, 40 onion seedlings, and 32 carrot seedlings. Those were all started indoors around April, the only seedlings that actually survived and were able to be planted were the tomatoes. The peppers  did wonderfully and then died for no apparent reason, oh except the half that never ever sprouted! (Hello heartbreak)  The onion and carrots never got anywhere at all.  Maybe this year I will invest in some grow lamps, bringing them in and out every day and night was not so successful.  (now all those are what was planted indoor as seedlings, NOT what I planted directly into the ground) The seeds I planted directly in the ground in May/June are what is currently doing great, just very very late in the season, so again, best start earlier!  Also, I learned I need to make sure I read the packets carefully. I thought I was planting seeds for lettuce heads in the lettuce row, but it was actually more cutting lettuce, so I had no actual heads. Which I really wanted. I thought I was planting buttercrisp, but it wasn’t, too many late nights planting!

Seedlings sprouting

Tomato Babies

Carrots and Lettuce, early stages

And my favorite garden lesson, is still of course “Pruning”, whether I like it or not, and I don’t, I still can’t fathom it, but it’s required and works.  So that’s where the garden is now…..almost done. Not as thriving  and lush as I hoped for it,  but a semi productive season and most definitely not a total loss.  The plan this year is to start in the next few weeks to prepare for next year…..we’ll see what happens….

A nice juicy steak… eat responsibly

When you walk through the supermarket, as you pick out your items, do you ever wonder where it all comes from?  Do you ever wonder what goes into the food you are putting into you?  Have you ever contemplated how many steer it took to fill that case of shrinkwrapped ground beef?  How many were harvested for that pile of cryo-vaced tenderloin?  Don’t worry, I’m not a vegetarian, I am not going to blast meat eaters. I LOVE meat, juicy and rare, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled to perfection or braised for hours. I like to butcher it, I like to cook it, I like to look at it  grazing or laying in the mud. I like beef.  (And chicken and pork too) But I also RESPECT it. I respect the life that was given for me to enjoy that amazing steak, or chicken, or bacon. And there was a life sacrificed for it.  Somewhere along the line we started to forget that. We look at meat and poultry in the grocery store just like any other item there, something that was produced, packaged and put on the shelf for our consumption, but we forget there was a life attached to it!  That animal made the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy them, the least we can do is respect and appreciate that sacrifice, and honor it in our actions.

Most people buy their meats at the “Supermarket” for convenience and cost; they think it’s easier and cheaper, but in reality it isn’t.   Saturday we are picking up a beef share from a local farm.  We’ve been waiting for this since May, yes, May, so it’s been a long wait.  It’s Black Angus, grass and grain fed beef from a closed farm in Stone Ridge, NY, CEO Natural Beef.  The farm is owned and operated by the Osterhoudt Family;  their steer is born, bred and bled all on the same land.  They live naturally, graze as they like, sleep when they want, in general they live a good life.  When it’s time comes, it takes a walk up the hill where it gets harvested for families like ours.  There’s no shoving the steer into a truck and hauling them away, there’s no confined spaces or torture, no force feeding or overcrowding.  They live as nature intended, imagine that!  And just how much does this amazing quality of life cost us? Drumroll please…. $3.10 per pound, for 1/4 share of a steer, yep, less than the cost of ground beef at the Supermarket! (usually around $3.99 per lb) So that excuse of beef being cheaper at the store, doesn’t hold water here!

And I have to say this….this beef is like no other! I fell in love with it at first bite, literally. I was at Gunk Haus (one of my fav places to eat) and I had the burger for the first time; I was floored at the flavor.  I’ve had some tasty meat in my day, but NOTHING has been this flavorful, this delicious, this amazing. The meat had deep levels of flavor; and I’m not talking about that gamey grassy taste you normally get from grass fed all natural beef, this was different. THIS beef could put KOBE out to sea…… I had to ask Dirk (one of the owners) where he got it, so he told me, and I googled my little heart out till I found their number! (he gets it through a local distributor) So I called, and had a lovely conversation with Holly (the Mom of the Farm) and we arranged that my sister and I would come up and get some of the beef before committing to a share. Becky needed a little convincing ;-), of course, the minute she tried the steak, she too fell in love, and so did Taylor! This meat makes the “stuff” in the “grocery” store, taste like the styrafoam tray it comes in!  I really cannot speak highly enough of The Osterhoudt Family, or their Farm; they are some of the most lovely people I have ever met, and they really care about what they do and put their hearts into it

Point of my ramble is this, THINK before you consume! Plan your meals, utilize “leftovers”; turn your leftover steak into quesadillas, or something! Don’t just carelessly toss it aside.  Eat responsibly, eat locally.  Have  respect for the life that was sacrificed to put that food on your plate!

*All pictures in this post were taken at CEO Natural Beef farm in March of this year.  I don’t know which steer we will be eating, but she sure will be good!

“Change the way you think, change the way you eat, change the way you live, change the way you look at the people around you, change the way you look at life, change the way you look at the world, change the world.” –  Jessica M. Berardi