My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Carrot Cake and Icing

It just would not be Easter at my house without Carrot Cake. This is one of the first cakes I ever made. I've tried other recipes and always go back to this one, so you know how old this is. Old fashioned Carrot Cake only had Icing between the layers and on top. It's your cake frost it any way you like.

Carrot Cake
10-12 servings
print recipe

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated raw carrots
1 cup nuts, chopped, I use black walnuts, use what you like

Sift together all dry ingredients. Add all other ingredients together, except nuts, and mix. Add nuts. Grease and flour 3 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Add batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.

1(8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 box (1-pound) confectioners' sugar
1 cup chopped nuts, whatever you used in the cake

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla then confectioners' sugar. Beat until well blended. Add nuts. Frost cake as you like.

Brussels Sprouts with Onion and Bacon

I have no idea why so many people say they don't like Brussel Sprouts. It is important to get the small young ones for the best flavor. Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables. Sometimes you have to cook what you like and let everyone else join in or not. After all it's got bacon and butter in it, how bad could it be. The next time you are thinking about having green beans, have Brussels Sprouts!

Brussels Sprouts with Onion and Bacon
Serves 8
Printable Version

1/2 pound lean bacon, finely diced
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter)

In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.

Saute the onion and garlic in the bacon grease over low heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add brussels sprouts and stir them around so that they are coated with the bacon grease.

Add the broth and cook, covered, over low heat until the sprouts are easily pierced with a fork, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in the butter just before serving. Garnish each serving with bacon bits.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd is just another one of those wonderful things to have on hand. This recipe makes enough for a tart or at least 18 tartlets, with leftover lemon curd. Leftovers are what you are looking for here. This stuff is heavenly by itself, on a muffin, toast, scone, pound cake, etc. It saves for at least a week in the refrigerator and can also be canned.

Prep time is about 15 minutes and cook time about 10.

Lemon Curd
3 cups
print recipe

3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 or 4 lemons), never the bottled stuff
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix to combine.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

You can now fill a tart shell, or the frozen (thawed) miniature phyllo tart shells from the grocery. Either may be topped with raspberries and/or whipped cream.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Asparachoke Salad with French Dressing Piquante

This is a really, really old Southern Living Recipe, that I have used for 30 years. You will love the French Dressing Piquante for other salads as well. It is so easy, takes less than 5 minutes, and should be made a day or two ahead. Perfect for Easter dinner.

I'm giving the recipe as it was printed in Southern Living, in 1972, however I use fresh asparagus spears when they are in season. Roast or steam them to crisp tender stage, just a few minutes.

Asparachoke Salad with French Dressing Piquante
8 servings
print recipe

1 (1 pound) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
1 (1-pound can asparagus spears, drained and chopped
3 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 cucumber, peeled, and sliced very thin

Prepare the above and keep refrigerated in separate containers. Just before serving, place in a large bowl and toss gently with Fresh Dressing Piquante.

French Dressing Piquante
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
print recipe

1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili sauce (optional) I like it
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup oil (preferably half olive and half salad oil)

First, mix all dry ingredients in small bowl. Put in electric blender (or jar with tight lid) with all other ingredients except the oil. Blend well, than add oil in several portions, blending after each addition. Chill before using. Dressing is better if made a day or two before using.

Roast Leg of Lamb

In the next couple of days is the time to do your grocery shopping for Easter dinner. This will be the true test of your friendship with your butcher. You really do want that lamb, pork roast, ham or whatever de-boned. Save the bones.

Some groceries and meat market will not allow their butchers to accept money for extra services, so be prepared. If I know I'm going to need extra services I always take a jar of homemade jam, jelly or preserves with me, they love it. This time it was homemade Sweet Potato Butter. I'll give you the recipe later

After 20 some years this is still my favorite Roast Leg of Lamb recipe. If you have folks coming for dinner that swear they don't like or eat lamb, just don't tell them what you're having. When everyone starts commenting on the meat and asking what cut it is, simply say, "That's really good isn't it. It's all in the marinade.", and let it go. If they want the recipe, tell them you'll e-mail it later.

Roast Leg of Lamb
Plenty for a dinner of 8
print recipe

1 (6 pound) leg of lamb
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
Stuffed olives

Trim excess fat from lamb. Mix all other ingredients except olives and rub thoroughly into meat on all sides. Prepare Marinade.

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
3 or 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Gouge holes about 3/4 inch deep all over the top of lamb by inserting sharp edge of paring knife and scooping out as if coring an apple. Into each hole pour a little of the Marinade and insert a stuffed olive, like a stopper. Cover meat and refrigerate overnight. Roast uncovered at 350 degrees for 3 hours, or until tender, basting with remaining Marinade and adding small amounts of hot water if needed. Remove meat; skim off fat in pan; add enough hot water to make a rich gravy.

COOK'S NOTE: Variation: Season lamb as desired with (dry seasonings) and grate over the top a whole green apple and a whole onion. Bake slowly, basting with dry sherry during cooking.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Week - Holy Week

To me Easter Week-Holy Week has always been my favorite holiday week of the year. You're not rushing around like Christmas. When we were kids you got a new "Easter Outfit" for church on Easter Sunday. We had to dye Easter Eggs early in the week so the food coloring would be gone from our hands before Sunday. You got the week off from school. There were always lots of Easter Egg Hunts to decide which to go to, who was coming to yours. They couldn't all be on Sunday.

Mom and Mammaw would be deciding what to have for Easter Dinner and how many people would be there. It really didn't matter, there was enough food to feed an army. Who ever heard of only one meat for a holiday dinner. What if someone didn't like ham. you better have a platter of fried chicken and a beef roast also, and you know how your Dad loves pork chops. I can hear them now.

When it came to food, more was always better. Who knew how many desserts you would end up with. It seemed everyone who came thought they should bring a dessert. We had pies, cobblers, usually peach or blackberry, always a Carrot Cake and Jam Cake. Most importantly it was our first freezer of homemade ice cream after a long cold winter. I don't care how many ice cream makers they invent the flavor will never be like the old-fashioned hand churned. Ice cream has to set and ripen you know.

There were so many church services to attend starting with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and finally Easter Sunday. My favorite Easter Service has always been Sun Rise Services. When I lived in Florida our church had Sun Rise Services on the beach. There is nothing more beautiful.

The big event when we were little was "What would the Easter Bunny bring". There was always three Easter baskets left outside the "Back Porch" door for my brother and sister and I. These were homemade, because the store bought ones didn't have enough stuff in them. They had lots of chocolate candy, jelly beans and something wrapped in gold foil that I didn't like so I traded them for something else. Of course there was a little stuffed bunny. All of this sat in a basket with that green grass stuff and covered with cellophane with a bow at the top. I think we got Easter baskets until we graduated from high school.

So this week we will be planning Easter Dinner and a little more spiritually tossed in to help us remember the reason for the season.

Buttered Parsley Potatoes

Everyone knows how to make parsley potatoes, but I get so involved in making mashed, casseroles, twice baked, etc. I forget how wonderful these simple easy little potatoes are. Plus they are a great side for any meat.

Buttered Parsley Potatoes

Peel small potatoes and boil in salted water until tender. As many as you need. Drain, return to hot pan, cover and let set 5 minutes and roll in melted butter. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley. How hard was that!

I don't think you need a Printable Version.

Potato Sauce

This is the most wonderful sauce to serve with buttered new potatoes, everyone will love it. Unless you are having a party you might want to cut this in half.

Potato Sauce
Makes about 3 cups
Printable Version

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
Salt and Pepper

In a glass dish, stir everything together. Check salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. How hard is that.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Legend of The Sand Dollar - Saints and Scriptures Sunday

While flipping through my Bible this morning to decide on a scripture to write about for Saints and Scriptures Sunday, one of my bookmarks kept falling out. I'd pick it up put it back and it would fall out again. After going through this 2 or 3 times, I looked at the bookmark, and this is what was printed there.

The Legend of The Sand Dollar

There's a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely
You'll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman's spear

On one side the Easter lily
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Remind us of His Birthday
Our Happy Christmastide.

Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread Good Will and Peace

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread His Gospel
Through all eternity.

How beautiful is that. No known author.

Have a blessed week. Come back tomorrow, we start recipes for Easter.

Tomato-Red Rice

I guess, from trying to read what's on this yellow pad, that someone gave me this recipe when I lived in Charleston, S.C.. They eat rice with everything, it really is a great recipe. I wish the organization angels would come in here and help me out, this place is a mess.

It makes a fabulous side dish to serve with just about anything.

Tomato-Red Rice
4-6 servings
print recipe

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped smoked sausage
One 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup converted rice
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a two quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sausage and cook, stirring, until the onion is transparent, for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, rice, broth, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sweet Smelling Flea Shampoo for Pets

I don't believe there is anything that will keep your yard completely flea free. Treating your yard is one of the best methods of controlling a flea population. Professional help is usually needed if you have a bad infestation.

One of the most common reasons pets get fleas is that they have dry, flaky skin, which makes it easier for the fleas to get a foothold and is easier for them to obtain their meal of blood. If the animal gets adequate exercise they will not have as many fleas.

Sweet Smelling Fleas Shampoo for Pets
print recipe

1 cup Castile soap (liquid)
1/8 ounce of essential oil of pine
1/8 ounce of essential rose oil

Place all the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake to mix well. Add the mixture to your pet's bath water and the fleas will be very unhappy.

Grilled Mushroom Salad With Bacon

I hope you have your grill cleaned and ready to start doing a little outside cooking, or not. Your mushrooms can just as easily be done in your grill pan on top of the stove.

How can this be anything but wonderful with mushrooms and 1/2 pound bacon.

Grilled Mushroom Salad with Bacon
serves 6
print recipe

1 pound large mushrooms, your choice
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use less)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Lettuce leaves
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat grill to high. Cut off the mushroom stems flush with caps. Brush with olive oil. Place on the grill, turning and basting occasionally, until browned and slightly softened but still firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. In a bowl, add the lemon juice, mustard. Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk in remaining olive oil until sauce is well blended. Thinly slice mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and scallions to the sauce and toss. Cover and marinate, tossing occasionally, 1 to 2 hours at room temperature. Place on lettuce leaves and top with bacon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm Happy Because It's Feel Good Friday

This is really fun! Everyone should be doing "Feel Good Friday". Remember girls I'm old so I had to start writing mine on Monday so I wouldn't forget anything.

Saturday-Sunday - We had a beautiful week end. Got a little yard clean up done. That always feels good. Plus Randy, my nephew has the garden almost ready for planting.

Monday - Rainy and cold. That's great I need the rest and its a perfect day to make Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup. That will use up the last of the turkey bones in the freezer. I got to blog all day. That feels really good.

Tuesday - My nephew, Randy, is coming for dinner. I'm making Chicken and Rice Perlow, one of his favorites. He is such a food critic. This is the same kid that use to eat ravioli out of a can and think it was good. Now he wants to tell me when to increase the saffron or curry. I created a monster. He always makes me smile, really, laugh out loud.

Wednesday - Bible study Wednesdays are so much fun. We study for 1 hour and eat for 2. The food is always fabulous. Our oldest member, Louise, is 90 and doesn't attend very often. Oh, its not because she's 90. She is too busy, with her garden, cutting the grass or painting her house. True. You have to love country women, not only do they make you feel good they keep you on your toes. I have never heard one of them say they were "too old" to do something.

Thursday - This is really a "feel good" day. My brother, Larry, stopped by for coffee this morning, that's always nice. He has always wanted to take a cruise, actually to Alaska. He was to go last year and something happened, he didn't get to go. This year we have decided he and I are going in August. What great fun that will be. His wife, Jo Ann, doesn't like to travel, or maybe it's just fly and cruise, I'm not sure. Anyway I'm sure he will bring her a nice gift. Think of all the pictures I'll have to share and lots of new recipes. I'm so excited.

I've had a wonderful week and hope you have too. Do something nice for yourself everyday, even if it's only a few extra minutes in the shower. Thanks for letting me join in on "Feel Good Friday".

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

What a great recipe and it's right from Jif Recipes. You can make two or three different kinds of cookies with one recipe. Cute! Since this is their recipe I'm plugging all their name brands. Which are excellent anyway.

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
5 dozen cookies
Printer Friendly Version

1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 to 1 1/4 cups Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups biscuit baking mix

Beat sweetened condensed mil, peanut butter, egg and vanilla in large bowl until smooth. Add biscuit mix; mix well. Chill at least 1 hour. I have chilled overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with fork in criss-cross pattern.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned (do not overbake). Cool


Peanut Blossom Cookies: Prepare dough as directed above. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Do not flatten. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake as directed above. Immediately after baking, press solid milk chocolate candy drop in center of each ball.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Gems: Prepare dough as directed above. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Do not flatten. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb in center of each ball of dough; fill with desired flavor of Smucker's Jelly, Jam or Preserves. Bake as directed above.

Anyway You Like'em Cookies: Stir 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped peanuts, raisins or flaked coconut into dough. Proceed as directed above.

My Greatest Weakness

Mama Kat's is a wonderful blog that has a writers workshop each week, that I rarely venture into except to read. The reason being, I'm not a writer. This week I could not resist. When she suggested we call friends and ask them our greatest weakness and write about it, I thought. Is she completely out of her mind. Why would I want to call 10 friends and find out I had 10 different weaknesses. I really don't need that kind of abuse. I'm picking one that I think is my greatness.

I hate to clean. I hate to clean because I don't know how, therefore I'm not good at it. That may sound stupid to a lot of you but until about 5 years ago I've always had someone to clean for me. Of course my Mom before I left home and then from age 18 on a cleaning person. Now don't get to impressed. I was in the hotel/motel/ restaurant business for years. Have you ever seen a hotel without lots of maid, of course not. I'd send one of the maids to my house a couple of times a week and everything was fine.

I'm not a lazy person, I love to do laundry, cook, grocery shop, all of that stuff. I just don't know how to clean. When I moved to the country, 9 miles from nowhere, and 1/2 mile down a dirt road, off of one of the most dangerous roads in the county. Not many people want to make that trip to clean your shabby chic house.

I have found the perfect solution, try it sometime. If someone stops by, which is poor manners anyway, pull out the vacuum in the middle of the floor where they can see it. Grab your cleaning supply caddy thing and put it in plain view, put on a pair of rubber gloves and tie your hair back in a bandanna, and answer the door. If you keep everything together you can have this done before they get out of the car and ring the bell. I keep the bandanna and rubber gloves in the cleaning caddy, for quick grabbing. They would have to be a fool not to see you are in the middle of cleaning.

A perfectly spotless house is overrated anyway. I really feel sorry for Martha, except maybe for her money.

Well, the vacuum is already out you might as well at least run it in the middle of the floor. Just remember one thing. You will have plenty of time to clean when those sweet little ones are grown and gone.

Other than that I'm absolutely perfect. Thank goodness I didn't ask anyone else.

Smothered Green Beans and Potatoes

When you see the word "smothered" in a recipe you know it is Southern, and that nine times out of ten it will involve a roux. It will not be listed on the point chart for Weight Watchers either.

Smothering extracts the very heart of the flavors of whatever is being cooked. Something as simple as green beans and potatoes, smothered in their own juices, become nothing short of amazing.

Smothered Green Beans and Potatoes
6 servings
print recipe

1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3/4 pound)

Fry the bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until slightly crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Add the flour to the fat in the pan and stirring constantly for 5 to 8 minutes, make a medium brown roux, the color of peanut butter.

Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the salt, cayenne, black pepper, and water. Stir until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the beans and potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Potatoes should be fork tender. Uncover and cook for about 3 minutes.

Fold in the reserved bacon and serve immediately.

More Critter Control- Snakes and Skunks

I have never had a problem with snakes. Good thing, because I probably would have moved back to town.

There are only four poisonous snakes in the United States. These are the rattlesnake, copperhead, coral snake and the water moccasin. Snakes are one of the best controllers of rodents and should be tolerated unless you have the poisonous type on your property. In that case call Animal Control. If you don't know what kind you have just call and say it looks like one of the above mentioned poisonous snakes or they will not even bother to come.

Repellants Don't Repel
There are no snake repellants that have been tried that will work to keep snakes away from your property. A number have been tried commercially and they end up killing the snakes. I'm not into killing anything, except maybe a fly or a spider.

If you have a snake in your basement or signs of one, such as a snake skin. They will eventually move on when the food supply runs out. Unless of course the house has been built around the snake and all escape routes have been sealed off. Now we're back to Animal Control or a big brave man who will move that little critter outside.

Out Smelling a Skunk
I have used this since shortly after moving back to the country after having one of my sweet doggies sprayed by a skunk. Everyone has a remedy for getting rid or the smell on your dog, but no one could tell me how to keep it from happening in the first place. Until now.

If you take some old clothes that have been worn and not washed and pour some household ammonia on them then leave them out where you expect the skunk to enter the yard or garden. Right, like they are going to send me a text before they get here. I put this in all four corners of the yard. This will repel them and they will never come back. I have a huge yard and have actually seen skunks go around my yard, but never back in it. Skunks will remember the smell of ammonia and rarely come back to a location where they smelled the order.

I do pour more ammonia on the clothing every few months in case they have friends that haven't been there before.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

African Beef Peanut Butter Stew

National Peanut Month is almost over so I'm going to throw in a few more peanut and peanut butter recipes for your enjoyment.

In Senegal this popular stew is called Mafe, and can be made with beef, lamb, chicken or vegetables. There are many versions of this popular stew all over the continent.

Before we start just let me say, in my opinion there are only two kinds of peanut butter, homemade and Jif. Unless you own a peanut farm, so you can control the quality, I'd go with Jif.

Also, I'm assuming you will be using some of the wonderful chuck roast you cubed up when they where on sale and stuck in the freezer. Smart girl!

African Beef Peanut Butter Stew
4-6 servings
Printer Friendly Version

1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter (Jif)
2 cups beef broth (chicken if using chicken or lamb)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped carrots
2 pound, beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (same amount for chicken or lamb)
Salt and pepper, or House Seasoning
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes and the liquid
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf

In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter and the beef broth until well blended. Set aside.

Season the meat with salt and pepper. In a large saucepan or stew pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat.

Add the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and carrots. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the meat and continue to cook, stirring ofter, until it is browned on all sides.

Add the peanut butter and broth mixture, tomatoes and liquid, thyme, and bay leaf.

Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

Taste and salt and pepper if desired. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Serve over rice. Yummy.

All Natural Secrets to Pest Control

I have recently noticed from reading some of the blogs I follow that my dear friends are starting to have a problem with pest of various sorts. Now when I moved back to the country, 8 years ago and 9 miles from nowhere, I knew I would have to do something about insects and critters. I found this wonderful book by Dr. Myles H. Bader - 1001 All-Natural Secrets to Pest Control . I would give a web site but I can't find one. Maybe you'll have better luck.

All the farmers were dying laughing at my "home pest control". Do I care, they work. Ants are a problem no matter where you live. The problem is there are so many kinds of ants. I'll give you a couple and move on to another pest. If you have a special problem leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

Feed Them Melon
If you have a bad ant problem and can't get rid of them, just leave a slice of watermelon or cantaloupe in your yard far from the house. Maybe your neighbors yard. They would prefer melon to anything you have in the house (most of the time, unless you spilled honey on the flour).

The Ant Trapper
The following ingredients will be needed:
6 tablespoons of granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey or molasses, standard grade
10 small plastic lids or bottle caps

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly until it is smooth. Place a small amount of the mixture into the lids or caps and place them near an ant trail or near there mound. The mixture can also be spread on a piece of cardboard or small stick and placed in their pathway or in a crevice.

Getting Rid of Ant Hills
The following ingredients will be needed:
1/4 cup of liquid hand soap
1 gallon of cool tap water

Place the ingredients into a bucket and mix well, then pour 1-2 cups on the anthill and repeat after 1 hour to be sure that the mixture penetrates deep into the chambers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just A Little Chat

This morning the worse thing in the world happened! My coffee pot would not brew. Of course I went into instant panic. You know what they say, "The elephants I can handle the gnats drive me crazy." Lucky for me about this time Larry, my brother, e-mailed to say his was coming down and bringing this new coffee he wanted me to try. I explained the situation with the coffee maker. As brothers most of the time do, he had a solution. He was bringing an old coffee maker he uses in his office. Whew, I didn't have to get dressed and go to Wal-Mart at 6:30 a.m. The people at Wal-Mart have no idea how grateful they should be.

He brought these wonderful Brazilian Espresso coffee beans, that a friend had sent him. It is imported and distributed by Joy Brazil Coffee, Inc.

Now when someone has just saved your life, it is only good manners to do something to thank them, right. Remember I haven't had coffee yet so it can't be anything too complicated. I open the "icebox" and there is that big wonderful bowl of Icebox Spoon Rolls dough that I made yesterday. I throw enough dough into a muffin pan to make 4 of these babies. Brush them with a little melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. I am saved. When they have finished baking and the fabulous new coffee has brewed I serve the rolls with butter and Sweet Potato Butter (that's a post for later).

You would have thought I had made him a 5 cheese omelet, home fries and sausage gravy and biscuits the way he was moaning over those rolls and coffee.

Just goes to show you, it's the little things that drive you crazy and the little things that make us happy.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

What could be more wonderful than making and eating a Fresh Strawberry Pie after picking those beautiful strawberries you grew with your own little hands.

Okay, so you remembered I can't grow weeds, let alone strawberries, I got them from a neighbor down the road. Which means I have to make two pies. I can't just take the mans strawberries and not make him a pie.

This is so easy and you will be so proud of yourself for not buying that awful sicky sweet glaze they sell at the grocery next to the strawberries. Yuk. This is the recipe I have used since the late 70's.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
1 9-inch pie
print recipe

1 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipping cream, not the stuff in the can

Wash and hull (take the stems off) berries. Mash and strain 2 cups berries. Combine juice, sugar, and cornstarch; boil slowly for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Soften cream cheese with a small amount of cream and spread in the bottom of a baked 9-inch pie shell. Put 2 cups hulled berries on top of the cheese. Pour glaze over. Chill. Just before serving spread sweetened whipped cream over the top. Serves 8

Deluxe Chicken Casserole

This is just one more reason I try to keep chopped chicken/turkey in my freezer in 1 and 2 cup portions

If this dish reminds you of similar casseroles some of us had growing up, then you will enjoy it as much as we did. The chopped nuts are an added pleasure

I like Ruffles potato chips on top of the casserole, because that is what my mom used. The salty, crispy ridged chips add just the right finish to each bit. Other potato chips will work as well.

Deluxe Chicken Casserole
6 servings
Printer Friendly Version

1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
2 cups coarsely crumbled potato chips

Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine mayonnaise and water, stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Add mayonnaise mixture to chicken mixture. Gently fold in egg slices.

Spoon mixture into a greased 11 x 7-inch baking dish; top with potato chips. Bake uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.

Thanks for this to Trinity Episcopal Church, Edisto Island, South Carolina

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Your Ordinary Scalloped Potatoes With Ham

I really don't care if every single one of you already have this recipe, because it was on that papery thing that covers your Southern Living Magazine this month. I'll bet you tossed it or haven't bothered to make it, or don't subscribe to Southern Living.

Do you really think they are going to give us a crappy free recipe if they want us to buy a new cook book from them. Not a chance. The addition of sweet potatoes to this makes all the difference. This will be a favorite. Maybe even make you order the cook book.

Not Your Ordinary Scalloped Potatoes With Ham
Serves 6
print recipe

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 pound, about), sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 baking potatoes, 1 1/2 pounds, about), sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chopped cooked ham
2 cups (8-ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Saute' onion in oil over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat, and set aside. Place potatoes in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine flour, salt, and pepper; sprinkle over potatoes, tossing to coat. Arrange half the potato mixture in a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish or 3-quart gratin dish. Top with remaining potato mixture. Pour cream over potato mixture. Dot with butter, and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 50 minutes. Uncover, top with remaining cheese, and bake 20 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and cheese is browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Crack - Saltine Cracker/Cookie/Candy Things

You read it right. In the 70'' this was called Crack. I guess as time went on and things changed, not many moms wanted to say they were making Crack for little Johnny's class at school, so everyone just called it whatever they wanted.

This thing has more names than I can list. Everyone calls it something different.These things have been around forever, I remember my mother making them. Trisha Yearwood used something like this in her recipes in this months Country Living Magazine. All the recipes are the same, you can change your toppings around a little if you want. I don't remember what she called hers because I'm to cheap to buy the magazine. She had lots of good stuff, you might want to pick up a copy. By the time I got home I could only remember three of them. What do they say, "The mind is the first to go".

Crack - Saltine Cracker/Cookie/Candy Things
Yield: 40 things
print recipe

I (16-ounce box saltine crackers, you won't need the whole box
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar (I prefer dark)
1 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pecans, or 1/2 of a 12-ounce bag of bits of brickle

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
3. Arrange the crackers snugly in a single layer, filling the sheet completely, about 40 crackers.
4. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat.
5. Add the brown sugar and mix well. Let it cook a few minutes.
6. Pour the butter mixture evenly over crackers, spreading as necessary.
7. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the butter is bubbly.
8. Remove the sheet from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crackers. If using bits of brickle sprinkle them on now also.
9. When the chips have softened, spread them over the crackers with a knife.
10. Sprinkle with the nuts.
11. Let the cookies cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting between the individual cookies with a spatula.
12. Remove them to a plate, keeping them in a single layer.
13. If you don't remove them while they are still warm, they will stick to the foil.
14. If you can not cut them for some reason, break them up like peanut brittle.
15. Chill completely.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Icebox Spoon Rolls

I was standing in line at the grocery yesterday, I love it when the line is long, or someone needs a price check, you get to read all the magazines and tabloids free. Trisha Yearwood, I just love her, was featured in Country Living with old fashioned recipes from her Momma. Sometimes all I need is a little memory jog to remind me of things I haven't made for awhile.

This is my Mom's recipe, which looked the same to me as hers. No, I did not buy the magazine. Why would I pay $4.00 for recipes I already have? These are wonderful and you'll be so glad to have them in the icebox, how long has it been since you heard that word, waiting to pop in the oven and bake. The dough will keep several days in the "icebox".

Icebox Spoon Rolls
depends on the size
print recipe

1 package dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water (105-110 degrees)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup melted shortening or lard (do not use oil)
1 egg
4 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup self-rising cornmeal

Dissolve yeast in water; add remaining ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate, covered loosely, until ready to bake.

Spoon into well-greased muffin tins. I use two big spoonfuls place side by side, so they pull apart easy. Fill it to the top ; brush with melted butter. Now you can sprinkle course salt, dried rosemary or oregano on top Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Brush again with melted butter and serve. Only bake as many as you need and save the rest of the dough for later.

See how easy that was with no pictures or tutorials to confuse you.

Healing Our Brokenness- Saints and Scriptures-Sunday

The days are flying by. I feel like I just wrote a post for The Kennedy Adventures Saints and Scriptures Sunday. I so look forward to this each week. I'm back to using my Daily Lenten Reflections - Love that Beckon - Paula D'Arcy, pamphlet. Each day of Lent I have read and studied this. This is a feel good thing. Hope you enjoy.

Healing Our Brokenness

"There is a simple writing exercise that asks the question: What would bring greater peace to my life? When the question is answered honestly the writer inevitably uncovers an inner wisdom. At some level we know why a deeper sense of peace eludes us. We know when and how we betray ourselves. We know the things that strengthen us and those that weaken us. And we know that the responsibility to live from a kinder, deeper love is up to us, and us alone."

"For it is from within, from the human heart," says Jesus, "that evil intentions come" (Mark 7:21).

"It is our task to bring to the things that are broken (in this world, in us) the power to change them. "Come follow me" is not an invitation to a grand adventure. It is an invitation to transform our hearts. Sooner or latter we must see ourselves as we truly are. There are no incidental acts of violence, and no insignificant words of judgement and hate."

Burn in me a heart of love and a sense of responsibility for the birth of love in this world.

Have a blessed week. See you next Sunday for more Saints and Scriptures.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Miss Lexie's Pineapple Casserole

This is one of my very favorite Sweet Potato Queen recipes. I believe this was originally in The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, but I know it's in The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook. This qualifies for both regular food and Southern Funeral Food. The last time I took this to a funeral luncheon I thought those folks were going to eat the flowers off my bowl. This is great with any pork or chicken dish.

Miss Lexie's Pineapple Casserole
4-6 servings
print recipe

"You want to drain a 20-ounce can of pineapple (in its own juice) chunks or tidbits. Save 3 tablespoons of the juice and mix it up with 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons flour. Stir that mixture in with the pineapple and 1 cup sharp grated cheese. I have never tried making this with fat-free cheese and would personally consider the act to be blasphemous, but I have used some reduced-fat cheese when it was all I had and it came out okay. Dump all that into a greased casserole dish. Melt 1 stick butter and stir it up with 1/2 cup Ritz crackers and put all that on top of the pineapple stuff and bake it at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, and prepare to be comforted."

So says the Queenly of the Queens.

Boys R Us Beans

Don't make me keep telling you that everything that I post through Saturday March 20 will be from The Sweet Potato Queen's Books - Jill Conner Browne, unless I tell you different.

No words can describe how good these beans are. I don't remember which book this was in, that is why it's so important that you get them all.

You really don't need anything else for supper, well maybe some corn bread and sliced tomatoes.

Boys R Us Beans
6-8 servings
print recipe

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 regular size cans of green beans, use home canned or fresh if you have them
6-8 slices of fried bacon, crumbled

Melt together the above and stir in the 2 cans of green beans. Put in a whole bunch crumbled bacon and cover with foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.

Pineapple Vodka

Let me apologize for not posting this last week, I really meant to so it would be ready for this weekend. Make a batch today and it will be ready for next weekend. This is wonderful. Keep some made all summer. This recipe is in Jill Conner Browne's new book American Thighs.

Pineapple Vodka
1 liter
print recipe

"Get 8-10 (20-ounce) cans of pineapple rings packed in JUICE-do NOT get the kind packed in syrup. Drain the juice off as much as you can-you don't have to, like blot the pineapple or anything-don't try to complicate this-it's easy. Dump the drained pineapple into a big container and pour a liter of GOOD vodka over it. Put the lid on the jar or bowl and put it in the refrigerator and let it sit there - LET IT SET THERE- for one week. One week is 7 days - so after 7 days have come and gone-then you may drain off your vodka and get really happy. Just shake it with ice and pour into your chilled martini glass and mmmmmm."

If I were you I'd plan this so it would be ready for a Friday. Girls you could have a "Feel Good" week end not just Friday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What Makes Me Smile

There is a wonderful blog, the Girl Next Door Grows Up, and every Friday is Feel Good Friday. You get to write about things that make you happy. This week it's things that make you smile. What a great idea, I don't always stop to think about that, because I'm happy most of the time. Here goes!

First let me say that I'm much older than most bloggers, no I'm not telling you how much older. I smile the first thing before getting out of bed just because I'm alive. My first words are always the same, "God what can I do for you today." He lets me know later.

I have two little Yorkie puppies, Annie and Mazzy, that make me smile or laugh out loud just looking at them. They are always into something. When the sun comes up outside I go to check for the donkeys, Candy and Pepper, Wolf the horse, and all the other wilder animals. Sometimes my brother, Larry, is out really early feeding the cattle. I can wave and see if he needs a cup of coffee. All these things make me smile. Yesterday was the last radation treatment for my friend Linda that had breast cancer. She is doing great.

Yesterday when I was out all 19 big old trees in my yard had buds on all the branches. The baby rabbits are starting to come out of their nest. Robins and all the birds are singing away. My nephew Randy, will plow the garden this week end so we can get the salad garden stuff planted.

Today I can hang my bed sheets out on the line to dry and have wonderful smelling sheets tonight. I'm making peach and blackberry cobblers to take to olders neighbors today. Fruit that I froze last summer. Yes, there are people older than me. There is so much "happy " stuff to do.

I promise I'm trying to keep this short. For the past couple of days I've been posting about The Sweet Potato Queens - Jill Conner Browne Festival in Jackson, Mississippi. These books don't make you smile, they make you laugh out loud. The really good belly laugh that we all need at least once a day.

Before I go to bed each night I always smile and say,"God, I hope I got most everything done that you wanted."

Don't worry about the laugh lines, they are all worth it.

Death Chicken

Yep! This is another Sweet Potato Queen recipe from The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass-Cookbook. I have made this several times, but it is also what's for dinner at my house tonight. I have a busy day. I can throw this together in a few minutes stick it in the oven and have time to blog for two hours. Works for me. Like most recipes, unless you're baking a cake, this is just a guide, add to or take away anything that you think sounds better.

Death Chicken
4-6 servings
print recipe

"Start off right by lining a 9x13-inch pan with 6 or more slices of uncooked bacon. (We recommend more, naturally. You know, some people like to say "Less is more," but we are just the kind of girls who believe that more is more-and also better.) This is just the perfect start to a perfect ending of just about anything, in my opinion. Next, pour 1 cup uncooked rice over the bacon. I love it when you don't have to cook the rice first, don't you? On top of the rice, put some chicken pieces-happily, the skin must be left on for cooking purposes-and you may use white, dark, whatever you want. Salt and pepper the chicken a little bit and sprinkle a little paprika over it. Then whisk together 1 can cream of cream soup and 1 cup water, adding a little bit of garlic salt, a pinch of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon oregano, and 2 to 3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes. Pour all that over the chicken and cover the whole deal with heavy foil (emphasis on heavy; it matters.) Cook it at 300 degrees for 2 hours, with no peaking."

So says Jill Conner Browne The Sweet Potato Boss Queen.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Twinkie Pie

If you don't make any other recipe from this 3 day Sweet Potato Queen marathon of recipes, make the Twinkie Pie. This is heaven!

Twinkie Pie
depends on who's eating maybe 4-6 servings
print recipe

"You start with Hostess Twinkies - don;t even mention the fat-free variety to me: They are an abomination and should be outlawed. Cut them in two, lengthwise, and put them in a 9x13-inch pan-or whatever size you want, depending on how hungry you are. Then make up some vanilla pudding-the kind in the box, whatever brand you grab first, it doesn't matter. Spread the vanilla pudding over the Twinkies. Cover all that with sliced bananas, strawberries, peaches-whatever kind of fruit you want. Now, if you are really and truly just absolute total white trash at heart, you may use fruit cocktail. Put it in the refrigerator, and when it's cold, eat it until you either get full or sick."

And you wonder why we all love Jill so much!

"Get Back Granny Sweet Potato Cobbler"

In case you haven't guessed by the name of the recipe, yes, this is the first of The Sweet Potato Queens recipes. It is also included in my Southern Funeral Foods. There is no way to describe how wonderful this is, just make it. Thank you Jill Conner Browne!

"Get Back Granny Sweet Potato Cobbler"
10-12 servings, maybe more
Printer Friendly Version

"First thing, boil some sweet potatoes (remember the skins come off easily after they're cooked). You need about 2 cups of sweet potato chunks to make this stuff (2 or 3 sweet potatoes). Now melt a stick of butter in a 13x9x2-inch pan - anything that starts out like this is gonna be good, don't you know? Okay, then heat 2 cups of water and two cups of sugar until the sugar melts. Then make a dough out of 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, 1/2 cup shortening and 1/3 cup milk. Roll that dough out to a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick and sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of nutmeg. Put your sweet potatoes on there, and roll it up, and pinch the ends together to seal them. Then slice that roll into about 15-20 pieces and put them in the pan of melted butter, pour the sugar syrup over them, and bake the thing at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until golden brown."

Just to be on the safe side, don't serve this when your Grandma's around.

Jill Conner Browne and The Sweet Potato Queens

Jill Conner Browne, New York Times bestselling author and Boss Queen, tours and speaks full-time about all things Queenly.

I am not a Sweet Potato Queen wonna be, maybe a little. I am a Jill Conner Browne wonna be. She is so funny and so talented. So she is a little racy at times. She is not saying anything that all of us have not thought at some time or another, just didn't have the balls to say or write.

Have you ever had a bad day or just felt depressed, stupid question? Don't reach for that bottle of anti-depression pills or box of wine, course a little wine never hurt anybody. Pick up a copy of one of Jill's books. If you don't own one, may I suggest that you start with The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love. I will bet you money that within 3 months you will own them all. You will be laughing so hard you will have to stop reading. Jill's books are my favorite pick-me-upper. These books are not the ones to grab and jump in bed expecting to be lulled to sleep.

In case you have been living in a cave for the past several years and don't know who The Sweet Potato Queens are, this is their official website. Their festivities this year are from March 18-21, and always in Jackson, Mississippi. Their Sweet Potato Queens Parade is always the 3rd Saturday in March. For the next few days I'll be giving you fabulous recipes from some of the Sweet Potato Queens various books. Of course I'm only sharing the ones I've actually tried. I promise we will run out of time before I run out of recipes.

See you guys later today with my first in a series of Sweet Potato Queens Recipes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dr. Seuss' Deviled-Green Eggs-and-Ham

Green egg and ham might not be a part of your normal repertoire. I first made these several months ago to honor Dr. Seuss' birthday. This storybook favorite has been turned into appetizers so appealing you'll want to eat them at your house. You'll want to eat them with your spouse. Try them! Try them! If you will, with basil, chives and even dill.

Just for a change omit the prosciutto and mustard and you have Creamy Goat Cheese Deviled Eggs with Herbs.

Dr. Seuss' Deviled-Green Eggs-and Ham
12 appetizers
print recipe

6 hard boiled eggs, halved and separated
2 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
6 tablespoons good mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chives, chervil, dill or basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced prosciutto

Place egg yolks in medium bowl; mash with fork until crumbled. Add cheese, mash until combined. Stir in mayo until smooth. Stir in all other ingredients except egg whites.

Spoon or pipe mixture into whites, garnish with a tiny sprig of herb used in mixture.

Reuben Casserole

Okay, I thought I had finished with the corned beef stuff, but I happen to remember this recipe that I hadn't made forever. This is like a big Reuben Sandwich without the bread. It gets rid of the last of the corned beef and uses some of your Easy Homemade Sauerkraut. This is yummy good.

Reuben Casserole
6-8 servings
print recipe

6 cups crushed potato chips
2/3 cup of hot water
2 eggs beaten
2 tablespoons Russian dressing
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1 pound of sauerkraut, drained
2 cups chopped corned beef
8 ounces Swiss cheese, sliced
1/4 cup chopped olives

Combine potato chips, water, eggs, dressing, and caraway seeds. Spread 1/3 of the mixture on the bottom of a greased 12 x 8-inch baking dish. Top with half each of the sauerkraut, corned beef, and cheese; repeat the four layers. Top with remaining mixture. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated through and top is crisp and golden. Garnish with olives.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Truffles

Okay, so they might not be served at your local Irish pub for St. Patty's Day,they are still wonderful. Actually they are great to have sitting around any time you have guests. A candy tin or dish of Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles make a fabulous gift for any occasion.

Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Truffles
About 1 pound
Printer Friendly Version

1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 egg yolks

Melt chocolate over very low heat. Stir in Bailey's and cream.

Beat egg yolks, stir a small amount of chocolate mixture into eggs, then slowly add the eggs to the chocolate mixture. Mixture will thicken. Add butter.

Refrigerate overnight, or several hours.
Using two large spoons or a small ice cream scoop, form small balls.

Roll in powdered sugar, then cocoa. The brand of cocoa with chocolate bits works nicely.

Irish Creme Liqueur

Have you checked the price of Bailey's Irish Cream lately, $30.00 a bottle on sale. Okay, so I still buy it on occasion. To be honest this home made recipe is just as good if not better. A friend gave me this recipe about 5 years ago. She is a liquor sales person, strange. You can make a big vat of this for $30.00, and it keeps refrigerated up to a month. Also makes a great gift.

Don't get all twisted about the eggs, the whiskey will cook them, much like lemon juice does in mayo.

Irish Cream Liqueur
about a Fifth
Printed Version

1 3/4 cups good Irish whiskey
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
1 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons instant coffee (regular or espresso)
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender, mix well. Put into a fifth bottle or pretty decanter. Keeps refrigerated up to 1 month. Stir or shake before serving over ice or in coffee, if desired.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Brandied Carrots

I flat stole this recipe from another blog that I recently found. Recipes From The Farmer's Wife. This will certainly be one of my favorite blogs, do check it out. These are fabulous, even if you hate carrots, it must be the brandy. This will be the way my carrots will be prepared for St.Patricks' Day dinner, and anytime in the future. Certainly a big improvement over throwing the carrots in with the corned beef to over cook and get mushy.

Brandied Carrots
4-6 servings
Printer Version

1 pound carrots, peeled
1/2 stick butter (more if you like)
1/4 cup brandy
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (I used fresh grated ginger)

Cut the carrots in half and then in quarters (to resemble sticks). Arrange in a baking dish.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the brandy and ginger, cook for about 5 minutes.

Pour the butter/brandy mixture over the carrots, cover and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hours(testing for doneness) in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven.

Cook's Note: Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top if you think your carrots might be a little old or not as sweet as you like them.

Shepherd's Pie/Meat Pie Topped with Champ

I'm bringing this back from the archives for St. Patricks'Day. The only thing we are going to change is the mashed potato topping, if you like. Use your favorite mashed potato recipe, enough to serve six. While the potatoes are cooking melted 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan, add 6 chopped green onions and saute' until limp. Add this to your mashed potatoes before topping the meat mixture. No need for the cheese. Now you have Meat Pie topped with Champ, a Northern Ireland dish.

There are so many variations of Shepherd's Pie; sometimes lamb or left over roast beef are used. Basically, it's simply a dish of meat with a covering of mashed potatoes. I have found that the addition of a little wine is a tasty touch, but not necessary.

It's a quick, easy and economical dish. The meat mixture can be made in the morning or even the night before, refrigerated and reheated before topping with the mashed potatoes and cheese. Sometimes I add a cup or so of frozen baby peas before the mashed potatoes.

Shepherd's Pie
4-5 servings

Printable Recipe

2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium sized carrot, finely diced, or large grate
1 pound ground beef, lamb or pork
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water or broth
Salt and pepper to taste (House Seasoning is best)
1/2 teaspoon thyme (do not omit)
1 tablespoon flour
2-3 cups mashed potatoes (don't use instant)
1/2 cup grated cheddar for topping

Heat the butter or oil in a skillet. Brown the onion, carrot, and garlic just until limp. Add the ground beef, and cook just until lightly browned. Sprinkle in the flour and stir, adding salt, pepper and thyme. Now add wine and broth or water. Simmer 10 minutes.

Lightly grease a 9-inch square or similar size baking pan. Fill with the meat mixture. Spoon mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with the cheese, or not, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Irish Soda Bread

You just have to have Irish Soda Bread with whatever you are having for St. Patty's Day. I guarantee you I have tried 15 different recipes of this easy bread and really never liked any of them. So every year I try another one. This one popped up on one of my favorite blogs a few days ago, so here I go again. I did a test run on Friday. I am throwing away all of my old recipes for Irish Soda Bread. This is finally it. I am not even open to suggestions. Thank you, thank you Stephen Cooks.

"This recipe calls for baking the bread on an oven stone, using a wooden peel to handle the bread. That method produces the best crust but there are other options; the bread can be baked on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan - lined with parchment paper - or in a loaf pan prepared with a spritz of cooking oil.

Irish Soda Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Print Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons granulated no-calorie sweetener, such as Splenda (I use sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into 3/8-inch cubes and frozen 30 minutes
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup raisins or currants
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place flour, sweetener or sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a food processor bowl and pulse three or 4 times to combine.

Add the frozen chunks of butter. Pulse repeatedly until the mixture feels like coarse corn meal.

Pour the flour/butter mixture into a roomy mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon, make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk gradually, stirring constantly to combine.

Stir in raisins and caraway seeds

Turn the dough onto a floured board. Using floured hands, shape dough into a flattened round about 8-inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining one tablespoon of sugar. Spread corn meal on the peel and transfer the dough to the peel. Slide the dough onto the stone.

Bake bread until brown, about 25-35 minutes. A tester inserted into center should come out clean, or a thump on the bottom crust with your thumb should produce a hollow sound.

Cool bread on a rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, within 24 hours."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saints and Scriptures Sunday - Matthew 5: 13-16

I love The Message, The Bible in Contemporary Language, because it's so easy to understand. One of my favorite things to do on a cold dreary day is simply to snuggle up with Annie and Mazzy, the puppies and The Message.

For more Saints and Scriptures visit The Kennedy Adventures.

Matthew 5: 13-16
Salt and Light

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage."

"Here is another way to put it; You're here to light, bring out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand - shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up to God, this generous Father in heaven."

Our spirit doesn't change as we get older,it is very much alive as we age. Jesus described the mystery by saying "You are the light of the world". Not exclusively in your youth, or your prime, but always. This day.

Today, I am called to be attuned to the wonders of everyday life, great and small. I pray for eyes to see all that is before me.

Have a blessed week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Corned Beef Recipe From My Back Porch

Why would I waste time posting a Corned Beef Recipe when there must be at least 50 out there, all basically the same. However, the one I'm using this year I got from Seriously Good. No, I'm not corning my own beef, but I do like the idea of cooking it in the oven. I swear I'd ask Kevin Weeks to marry me if I were younger, or he was older. The man can cook! Plus, he's funny.

If all this is just too overwhelming use the recipe on the back of the corned beef package, I did for years and it was just fine.

I will be giving you a fabulous Irish Soda Bread recipe and a Shepard's Pie. You do know that Shepard's Pie is made with lamb and a mashed potato topping and a Meat Pie or Cornish Pie is made with beef and a pastry crust topping. Well, you know we Americans can screw up anything, even food.

See you Monday. Don't forget Saints and Scriptures Sunday tomorrow. Also, don't forget to set your clocks ahead tonight.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Salad de Colores

What a delicious salad, but more than that it is beautiful. You know what they say, "please the eye". The colors and fresh taste of this will make you know spring is here. Great with anything hot off the grill or to brown bag with a few slices of ham, steak, turkey, etc.

All the vegetables in this salad are shredded, torn, chopped or sliced. Cabbage, spinach, bell pepper and carrots are tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and topped with pumpkin seeds.

Salad de Colores
Serves 5
Printer Friendly Version

I bunch fresh spinach - torn, washed and dried
1/2 medium head red cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, sliced very thin
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
1 ounce pumpkin seeds (optional, but very good)

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, cabbage, carrots, and bell pepper. Add enough salad dressing to coat. Toss and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and salt and pepper if desired.

Grilled Salmon

Now that the grill has been cleaned top to bottom. That was an all afternoon project. Grilling season is officially here, unless of course we have a late blizzard. I don't care I'm still not putting it away.

Grilling season to me means easy fast cooking. Throw a piece of meat in some marinade, or rub it down with a nice spicy rub and throw it on the grill.

It is Lent so I'm posting seafood of some sort each Friday. That is no problem for me since seafood of any kind is my favorite.

Grilled Salmon
6 Servings
Printer Friendly Version
1 1/2 pound salmon fillets
Lemon Pepper
Garlic Powder
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Season the fillets with the lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt. In a small bowl, add the rest of the ingredients. Place the fillets in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over. Seal and shake to coat the fillets. Refrigerate for at least 2 hour. Preheat grill for medium heat. Place the salmon on the grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Don't over cook.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lime Jalapeno Slaw with Peanuts

It doesn't matter if everyone in the house hates cabbage, they will love this. Wonderful for cook outs, tailgating or taking to potlucks, no mayo, nice and healthy. Take for lunch with a piece of left over chicken.

Lime Jalapeno Slaw with Peanuts
2 servings
Printer Friendly Recipe

2 cups finely shredded cabbage
Juice of 1 lime
2-3-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Jalapeno pepper, finely minced, seeded if you like
Cherry tomato halves
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Handful of toasted peanuts, chopped

Finely shred cabbage and set aside. Mix together;lime juice, minced ginger, wine vinegar, sugar, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, pour over cabbage, toss . Add jalapeno, tomatoes, red onion and cilantro, toss to combine. Toss in peanuts and give one more toss.

Fabulous Sweet-and Sour-Pork

Yes, Fabulous!. Lots of sauce and lots of flavor. Serve the ribs over plenty of rice for sopping up the extra sauce.

I replenished my supply of country ribs last week when they were on sale for $1.79 per pound, of course next week they'll be .99 per pound.

This is a great dish for family meals, church suppers, potluck dinners and Southern Funeral Food meals.

Fabulous Sweet-and-Sour-Pork
6-8 servings
Printer Friendly Version

3 pounds country-style pork ribs, cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose white flour
1 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (20-ounces) pineapple chunks in juice (do not drain)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the ribs in a large baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the ribs from the pan with a slotted spoon. Pour off the drippings, leaving about 1/4 cup in the baking pan. Blend the flour into the remaining drippings until the mixture is smooth. Return the meat to the pan, along with the remaining ingredients, and bake 1 1/2 hours, basting every 20 minutes.

Serve and wait for the raves.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Recipes on Packages and Cans

Have you ever thought about how much money food companies have spent to perfect the recipes they put on their packages and cans? Millions! Stop and think about it for a minute. If you want the best Oatmeal Cookie recipe, doesn't going to the Quaker Oatmeal box make sense? It's the best recipe I've found. Did you realize that more people make the pumpkin pie recipe on the back of the Libby's Pure Pumpkin can than buy Mrs. Smith's Frozen Pumpkin Pie. What about all the cookie and candy recipes on the packages of chocolate. Fabulous! These are just a few.

Some of our favorite recipes growing up were on the labels of Campbell's Soup cans, still are, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Smothered Pork Chops, etc. Rachel Ray may think she invented 30 minute meals, but they have been around longer than she has.

We need to get back to the basics a little bit more. Everyone needs a good amount of butter and bacon grease in their diet, not every day, but treat yourself now and then. When I want comfort food I need mashed potatoes, fried chicken, smothered green beans, fried corn, chicken and dumplings, pinto beans and some cornbread. Yes, maybe all in one meal.

The only point I'm trying to make is look on your packages and cans for great recipes. Most of them are very quick and easy, and enjoy a really sinful meal, just because you can.

Any other useless information you need please leave a comment and I'll try to help. Now I'm starving and I think I'll make a protein shake.

Egg Salad Sandwich

I have no idea why I'm thinking about an egg salad sandwich in the winter. That is usually a summertime thing for me. Maybe I'm just wishing it was summer. Do I ever. Or maybe it's because I have a dozen eggs that I need to use.

You realize that 90% of the challenge here is properly boiling the egg. You want to boil it so the center sets yet stays moist. Please, let's try to avoid the green/grey ring that surrounds the yolk in many hard boiled eggs. The key is to avoid over cooking, and to dunk the eggs in a bowl of icy water to stop the cooking after they are removed from the hot water. Always buy good quality eggs, or get them from your neighbor - but keep in mind, the fresher they are, the harder they are to peel after boiling.

Egg Salad Sandwich
4 sandwiches
Printable Recipe

6 large eggs
1-2 tablespoons good mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper
1 tiny squeeze of lemon juice
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 bunch chives. chopped
2 small handfuls of lettuce
8 slices of whole grain bread, toasted

Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by 1-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn of the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly 8 minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready when the eggs are done cooking place them in the ice water for 3 minutes, long enough to stop the cooking. Crack and peel each egg, place in a medium size mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, a couple generous pinches of salt and pepper, now mash with a fork. Don't over do it, you want the egg mixture to have some texture. If you need to add a bit more mayo, go for it a little at a time.

Stir in the celery and chives. Taste, adjust the seasoning - add more salt and pepper if needed.
Toast your bread and make your sandwiches. I like to put a little more mayo on the toast before adding the lettuce and egg salad.

Potato and Sausage of Choice Casserole

I make this when I'm in a hurry or don't really want to cook. It really is very good and you can spice it up more with sliced Jalapeno peppers or use Pepper Jack cheese instead of Cheddar. A salad and good bread is all you need to have dinner on the table.

Potato and Sausage of Choice Casserole
6 servings
Printer Version

1 pound of sausage, mild , sweet or spicy, Italian, turkey, andouille, Jimmy Dean, I don't care.
1 can of cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup of chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups sliced peeled potatoes, very thin, 1/8-inch
2 cups (8-ounces) shredded cheese, cheddar, pepper Jack, Colby, whatever you like.
Minced parsley or cilantro for garnish

Remove casings from sausage. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain well, remove from skillet and set aside.

Add butter to skillet; add onion, celery and green pepper, sauteed for about 3-4 minutes. Combine soup, milk, salt and pepper and add to the onion mixture.

In a greased 2-quart baking dish, layer half of the potatoes, soup mixture and sausage. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cheese; bake, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley or cilantro if desired.

Cook's Note: The addition of a few thinly sliced mushrooms doesn't hurt this recipe either.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Peanut Butter Crispy Treats

Have you every in your entire life heard of anyone that didn't like Rice Crispy Treats? Me either. This is simply a peanut butter version with extra yummy power. After all it is National Peanut month don't forget.

Peanut Butter Crispy Treats
Makes about 36 balls
Printer Friendly Version

4 cups crispy rice cereal
1 3/4 cups mini chips, raisin, M&M's Mini Baking Bits, or your favorite add-in)
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter

Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Combine cereal with baking bits or chip; toss together in the pan. Over low heat, melt the marshmallows, peanut butter and butter. When melted and smooth, pour evenly over cereal mixture and toss until well coated. With buttered hands, shape into 1 1/2-inch balls; place on waxed paper. Cool until set. Store in tightly covered container.

Don't worry about storing them, they'll be gone in an hour.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chicken with Peanut Curry Yogurt Sauce

Who knew peanut butter could be so versatile. . "Curry" means sauce, and there are as many versions as there are cooks. In India, making curry is serious business, and curry powder is made every day. We should be so lucky. If you are lucky enough to live by a Foods of India store or something like that, you are very fortunate.

There are many people who think curry is a spice, not so. Curry is a combination of spices ground together. For example; coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, black pepper,bay leaves,celery seed, nutmeg, cloves, onion,red pepper and ginger. This is why it is serious business and I buy mine already done.

Chicken and Peanut Curry Yogurt Sauce
4 servings
Printer Version

2 tablespoons canola oil
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper, or both
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup extra crunchy peanut butter (Jif)

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often until just tender.

Stir in the curry powder and cook about 1 minute.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring often until just done. Stir in the peanut butter and heat through. Add the yogurt and stir to combine well.

Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring often until the sauce is hot.

Taste for salt and pepper if need. Serve with rice. Good stuff!

Cook's Note: Even if you think you hate yogurt you will never know it's there. It's only a base and all the flavor is from the curry and peanut butter.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saints & Scriptures Sunday - The Teachings of Jesus

I have really come to enjoy posting on Dianne's blog on Saints and Scripture Sundays, plus hearing of her adventures with the kids during the week. She is away this week end in "blogging boot camp", there will be some stories there this week.

I was going to post something from Mark this week, but I can't seem to get away from the Daily Lenten Reflections booklet. Isn't it funny how one message will hit you one week and something entirely different the next.

The Teachings of Jesus

Would I have listened, had I lived at that time" Would I have set aside responsibilities that seemed fiercely important in order to hear what he was saying? Would I have pondered the words in my heart? Would I have been open enough to hear the truth expressed in an unfamiliar way. If others in my family (or my friends) had found his thoughts blasphemous, would I have trusted my own inner authority? How would I have resolved my fear when the paralytic stood up and walked away? Or when the daughter of Jairus was healed? Which words might have made it possible for me to turn toward his beckoning? Would I have seen past my love of certainty to the truth in both him and me? Can I do that, even today?

What compels us, finally, to open ourselves up to the mystery? Where do we find the courage to let love, and not knowledge, drive change? What in me turns, at last, to the power of the inner heart?

So many questions to be answered and so little time to find the answers. Let's get started.

Today I pray to be unafraid of truth and the changes it may bring.

Have a wonderful blessed week.

We are cooking with peanuts and peanut products this week.

Bourbon Marinated London Broil

Finally it's going to be 50 degrees this week end. If I don't have to shovel a path in the snow to the grill and chip the ice off the grill lid, it's warm enough to fire that baby up.

Did you realize that London Broil is a preparation, not a cut of beef? True. London Broil is normally prepared with flank or top round steak. It is all in the marinading. Bad marinading, bad London Broil. There are lots of good marinades, I happen to like this one because of the bourbon.
Bourbon Marinated London Broil
4 serving
Printer Version

1/2 cup good Ky. bourbon
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt (optional)
2 teaspoons black pepper
t teaspoon ground ginger, or fresh grated
1 1/2 pounds top round or flank steak, about
1 1/2-inches thick

Combine all ingredients, except steak. Place the beef in a gallon zip top bag and pour the marinade over. Turn to coat. Refrigerate 6 to 24 hours. The longer the better. Turn occasionally.
Preheat grill to medium-low. Pat beef dry and place on grill. Grill for about 12 minutes, turning once, for medium-rare, is there any other way. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Baked Beans In Maple Syrup

Everyone has their favorite baked bean recipe. This is one of mine. This one is fast and easy. Throughout the summer I'll probably post ten more. I'm always finding one I "like better". There is just something wrong about having a cook-out without having some form of baked beans. Sort of like having cobbler without vanilla ice cream. Why bother.

Baked Beans in Maple Syrup
6-8 servings
Printer Friendly

2 16 ounce cans baked beans
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons catsup
1/2 teaspoon A-1 steak sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
6 slices of bacon

Combine all the ingredients, except the bacon, and mix well. Place in a 1-quart baking dish. Place the bacon on top. You can cook this on the grill for 30-45 minutes. If you cook this in the oven, preheat to 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or more.

Apple Butter Bread

There is nothing more wonderful than a big slice of homemade bread smeared with home make apple butter or strawberry jam. I made jars of both last summer and fall. It's always a good idea to keep a few loafs of several types of bread in the freezer. They are great for unexpected guest and gifts. A loaf of bread and a jar of apple butter or strawberry jam, what a nice gift.

This is one of my brothers favorites, of course, food anything is his favorite. This bread with apple butter or strawberry jam is a total breakfast or snack.

This ones for you Edie.

Apple Butter Bread
1 large loaf
Printer Friendly Version

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup apple butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs to mixture and beat well. Combine buttermilk and soda. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in apple butter and chopped nuts. Pour into a greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until toothpick tests done. Cool in pan 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan onto wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Creamed Seafood Topping

Not only is this a great dish for Lent, its great for any night that you are in a hurry or too tired to cook. Everyone loves something they can plop on top of a big baked potato. Yummy and filling!

This is definitely for seafood lovers.

Creamed Seafood Topping
6-8 servings
Printed Version

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and half
2 slices toast made from white or wheat bread, crumbled into small pieces
1 teaspoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard, Dijon or deli
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked through twice for shells, or 2 cups cooked chopped
Salt and Pepper or House Seasoning

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. Saute' the onion and green pepper until tender.

In a small saucepan, make a white sauce by melting the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour and slowly add the half-and-half. Stir until thick, about 2 minutes.

Add the sauteed vegetables, the toast, ketchup, mustard, and lemon juice. Add the crabmeat or shrimp to the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Warm gently.

Serve over baked potatoes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pretzel-Peanut Bark

I am so happy that it's National Peanut Month that I just made a Peanut Butter, Banana Milkshake. You know, 5-6 scoops of vanilla ice cream, a big ripe banana, some milk, half and half is better, and a big glob of peanut butter and turn the blender on. Now I'm all set to type this post.

This is terribly yummy!

Pretzel - Peanut Bark
Makes about 8 cups
Printable Version

18 squares white chocolate (1-ounce each)
Any kind of good white chocolate just so it's 18-ounces
3 cups skinny pretzel sticks, broken into small pieces, not crushed, then measured
2 cups dry roasted salted peanuts

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth, or melt in the microwave in a 2-quart glass dish. Microwave on high (100%) for 1 minute, stir, and microwave on high for 10 seconds more. If necessary, microwave on high for an additional 10 seconds, and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in the pretzel pieces and peanuts. Stir well with a flexible spatula.

Spoon onto the prepared cookie sheet, spreading the mixture out so that the ingredients are relatively evenly distributed.

Allow the chocolate to cool for several hours or refrigerate for 45 minutes or until firm. Break the bark into irregular pieces, like peanut brittle. Store in cookie tins, or package in Chinese food take-out cartons lined with waxed paper.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

I think the reason more people don't cook pinto beans, or other dried beans for that matter, is it takes too long on the stove and you have to watch them, for sure they will boil dry and burn. I have never been a big fan of pinto beans in the slow cooker, because they don't get soft enough or creamy enough or something. Anyway, I found this Paula Deen recipe several years ago and just loved it. You don't have to check it all the time to see if more liquid is needed, just go on about your business. Get your hair cut and a manicure and pedicure, you have plenty of time. Make some coleslaw before you leave!

If you have gotten one of those big ham bones from Heavenly Ham or Honey Baked Ham like I told you, there will be plenty of meat to pick off the bone and put back in the beans for a one pot meal.

FYI, Julia Child says that the slow cooker is the only way to cook dried pinto beans, after they have been soaked at least 10-12 hours.

Slower Cooker Pinto Beans
Serves 10-12 (You know these are better two or three days from now)
Printable Version

1 pound dried pinto beans
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 pound ham hocks, or
1/4 pound streak o' lean (you don't need this with the ham bone)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter), Paula's says optional, I say not.
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe is on the blog

Wash the beans and soak overnight in sold water. Or use the quick method and boil the beans in plenty of water for 2 minutes, then allow to sit for 1 hour.

Drain the beans and dump them into the slow cooker. Stir in chili powder and oregano.

If using ham hocks, soak in a separate pot in 4 cups water for 2 hours. Add the ham hocks and soaking liquid to the slow cooker. If using streak o' lean, cut the meat and put it in the slow cooker with the beans. If using the ham bone, just throw it in the slow cooker with the beans.

Saute' the onion in the fat in the skillet or saute' the onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion to the beans. Add the House Seasoning, start with half the amount, correct it later. Stir well.

Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 5-6 hours.

If using ham bone, remove from beans and let cool until you can handle. Pick off the meat and return to beans. Throw the bone to the dog.

Chop Suey Salad

Chop Suey Salad is one of the salads From The Stanley Demos Cookbook, that he served with Calf's Liver Provencale.

Chop Suey Salad
2 servings for dinner
Printable Version

For 2 person, peel and dice half a cucumber in 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a woooden bowl. Add a small onion chopped, a quarter of a head of lettuce diced, 1 small whole tomato diced, a small clove of garlic chopped fine, 1/2 carrot diced, 1/4 green pepper diced and 1 fresh green onion diced. Mix all ingredients with 1 cup of sour cream. Refrigerate until all of the ingredients are cold. Serve on chilled plates with leaf lettuce. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley or chives. This salad also makes a wonderful luncheon dish.

Calf's Liver Provencale

How this brings back memories! The Coach House in Lexington, Ky. for years was one of the finest restaurants within a hundred miles, and always my favorite in my young adult life. Stanley Demos, the owner/chef, was the kind of guy everyone wanted to know and be friends with. Some of my favorite recipes still are from his The Stanley Demos Cookbook, copyright 1961. This is only one of them, and the introduction to the recipe is from Stanley.

"There are many types of Liver - Pork, Lamb, Beef and Chicken. But the most tender and flavorsome one, is Calf's Liver. This delicate "foie de veau" is rather an expensive item, so it's really a treat to serve. Besides being very nutritious, it's a good change of pace victual.

There are many ways to prepare Calf's Liver. I think it's merely a matter of taste, and how one feels at the time of preparation. One time it might be Calf's Liver with Onions, Calf's Liver with crisp Bacon or Calf's Liver with Bearnaise Sauce. My favorite is with garlic and potatoes, a delicious combination, and one that everyone enjoys." Stanley Demos

Calf's Liver Provencale
Printed Version

Allow 2 nice slices of Calf's Liver per person, sliced 1/2-inch thick. Put some shortening in a skillet and let it melt. Salt and pepper the Liver. Roll lightly in flour and brown quickly. Put in a serving platter and keep warm. Remove excess fat from skillet and put in a half stick of butter and melt. Into the melted butter, add 1/2 cup blanched diced potatoes. Let them brown lightly. About 30 seconds before removing them from the heat, add a small clove of garlic, chopped very fine, and saute until garlic and potatoes are well mixed. Scoop this over the liver. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Chicken Livers are also excellent prepared this way.

COOK'S NOTE: Stanley is also the one who told me to never buy beef liver if I had a choice, to always buy Calf's Liver.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Michael's Pork Chops - Mac and Cheese Casserole

My niece Angie is married to one of the most wonderful guys on this planet. Michael is the kind of guy that you wish your daughter, sister, best friend, etc. would marry, or that you had found him first. You know the kind, cooks, cleans, does laundry, is the perfect father, good looking. Man, some people have all the luck.

Some time ago I decided to come up with a recipe for Michael. The recipe is original, but the concept is from my ex-mother-in-law. I'd tell you her name but I can't remember it. Well, it's been 40 years.

Anyway, Michael loves macaroni and cheese and he loves pork chops, so I put them together for a fabulous casserole. This can be made ahead or even frozen before baking.

Michael's Pork Chops - Mac and Cheese Casserole
4 large servings
Printer Version

4 Loin pork chops, about 3/4-1-inch thick
Seasoned flour for dredging pork chops

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups good cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups elbow macaroni (8-ounces) uncooked
1/2 cup buttered bread crumbs

Dredge pork chops in seasoned flour, fry in small amount of oil for about 6 minutes per side. They will finish cooking in the casserole.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Blend in flour, salt and mustard. Add milk and cream, stirring constantly until thickened a little. Add 1 1/2 cups of cheese, heat until melted, stirring. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook macaroni as directed, combine with sauce. In a buttered 2 quart casserole add half of the macaroni mixture, top with the 4 saute pork chops, do not overlap. Pour remaining macaroni mixture over pork chops. Top with remaining cheese, and buttered bread crumbs, sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and bubbly.

Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

I was looking through an old Paula Deen cook book for something and came across this recipe. She was doing an Elvis Birthday menu. I have made these for years, but thought, what a great recipe for National Peanut Month. So here you are. I really didn't think it necessary to provide a "Printable Verson" of this recipe, I think you can remember it.

If you have kids in the house, this would be a real treat on a Saturday morning.

Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
1 sandwich

2 slices of good white bread, homemade is best
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 small ripe banana
2 tablespoons butter (1/4) stick)

Spread 1 slice of the bread with the peanut butter. Slice the banana evenly over the peanut butter. Top with second slice of bread. Spread the outside of the bread with butter. Fry the sandwich in a small skillet over medium heat until the bread is browned on both sides.