15 December, 2011

Garlic Rolls

Garlic Cheese Rolls remind me of my childhood.  Growing up in Lincoln, NE, home of the legendary Valentino's pizza restaurant. We liked to order their garlic cheese bread. Valentino's is a Lincoln tradition.  Unfortunately, big business has changed it's quality and taste over the years.  Nevertheless, we still enjoy visiting whenever we're home.  Just forego the buffet and carry out one of their pizzas.  Their "Special" pizza was always my favorite.  I've never had any other pizza that tastes like it.

Back to the rolls- - -I'm kind of a garlic bread forager.  If there's any kind of left over bread on my counter, chances are it will be made into some garlic bread with the next meal.  It called being resourceful. :)

I like to kick up my GCR by using some Parmigiano Reggiano (always freshly grated) on top.
I used some Publix bakery hamburger buns.  Their bakery bread is pretty good for a grocery chain. You could use whatever bread you've got on hand.
Turn on your broiler.
Split the buns in half
Spread butter over rolls.
Lightly sprinkle some garlic salt on top
Cover with about 1 T. (or more) of Parmigiano Reggiano freshly grated.
Put them under the broiler and watch closely.  They should be browned and the cheese bubbly.


12 December, 2011

Much to do

Wow, it's been nearly a month since I've posted.  I guess that's an indication of how things have been around here.  Lots to do, but where is the categorized list of "to do's" I need to accomplish?  This procrastinator's "to do's" don't seem to start rolling until I terrifyingly see the end of the tunnel and the pressure begins to be applied. 

Things are just kinda crazy right now.  Unfortunately, I've never been a planner and organization is not familiar to me, so having to plan an overseas move has been a little nerve racking.

After doing lots of research and getting much advice on what you can't get in Brazil I thought I'd let you all know exactly what I'm stocking up on and hauling down to South America in my samsonite.  

Everything cost more in Brazil.  A lot more. 

My boys love peanut butter (we all do).  I've been told many times that you can't find PB in Brazil.  If you can find you some, you may pay through the nose for it.  There is supposed to be Brazil's "version of PB" (can i just say ewww), but good ole' Skippy or Jif...not so much.  That had my boys a little frightened.  How will we survive without Jif??  So, we've got a case of PB for the first 6 months in Brazil.  If we decide to stay longer than that, we'll make our own. 

REAL maple syrup. This supposedly cost 3-4X more in Brazil than what we pay here in the states.  Hopefully these three jugs will survive 40,000 feet for 10+ hours. 

Nestle, semi-sweet, chocolate morsels are an American institution... but not if you live in Brazil. Chocolate chips like these are a special thing there I guess.  My hub's finance department there have already made it known (to my hubs and then he relayed it to me) that they love cookies.  "We like chocolate chip!" was the command request made by his department when he told them his wife liked to bake goodies now and then and bring them to the office.  Me... in the kitchen... following a recipe in metrics.  You see, I rebelled against metrics in school. 'When will I ever use this?' I said.. so needless to say, I'm a bit rusty in the metric dept.   We may all be in trouble. :) 

Have a beautiful week!
Tchau y'all!

17 November, 2011

Cubed steak with potatoes and gravy.

Comfort food at its best.  Cubed steak and mashed potatoes.
This has always been a staple for fall and winter at our house.  It's super easy and really delicious. It's just got my midwestern roots written all over it.

4 cubed steaks
1 can cream of mushroom
1/2 soup can of water
4 russet potatoes
whole milk
salt & pepper

Get your skillet (i like to use my iron skillet) nice and hot so when you throw the steaks in, they begin to brown, not boil in their juices.  Salt and pepper to taste as you brown both sides of steak well.  Remove the steaks from your skillet and put into a baking dish.  Add the can of cream of mushroom to the same skillet stirring to get up all the brown bits from the bottom.  Fill your soup can half full of water and add to the skillet.  Stir until smooth.  Pour soup over the steaks so they are completely covered (this keeps them from drying out)   Cover with foil and bake at 250 degrees for 3 1/2 hours.  
Boil your potatoes until fork tender and drain.  Add the butter, milk, salt and pepper to taste.  After the steaks have slow baked in the soup it makes a really good gravy.  Serve steak with mashed potatoes.

02 November, 2011

"expatriate" sounds so brave!

Expatriate= (in abbreviated form, expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing. 

 My husband has accepted an expatriate position with his company in Brazil.  Our family will be moving there soon.  Excitement and nervousness abound as we get ready to take on this huge adventure!  The Lord seems to be opening doors all over the place.  It is amazing to see Him work and know that as long as we are faithful, and walking in obedience, we are in His will.  That is comforting.

                                       What comes to mind when you hear "Brazil"?

Do you think of the Amazon?

Soccer maybe?

 (on the left is, Ronoldo, soccer super-star,) 

                                                                   RIO DE JANEIRO?  ALSO CALLED Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) is the major city in the southeastern of Brazil, once capital of the country, and also during the Portuguese empire, now is the capital of the state of the same name. It’s famous for its carnival, samba and spectacular natural settings; in addition Rio is home of 23 beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema and more, an almost continuous 73 km ribbon of sand. 

I know a Brazilian blowout comes to my mind
(i may get one there at some point)

I've been trying my best to learn a bit of Portuguese before heading over there. I understand some, but when it comes to trying to have a conversation, well, let's just say I need a lot of instruction yet. :)

So, as we get closer to our departure, this blog will change a bit.  I hope to learn much about the people, the language, and the culture.  I will be sharing those experiences.  I know I'll miss the states, but time will fly as it always does.  I hope to have the opportunity to share the love of my Savior, Jesus, Christ with those who need to hear.  May He be glorified throughout this exciting, new time in our lives.



30 October, 2011

P i Z Z a @ h o m e

My (and my oldest son's) favorite homemade pizza is the Napoletana (below).  If you're not an anchovy fan let me just apologize in advance.  I happen to love them in many things and have even been known to eat them plain!  I prefer them most in my salad dressings, melted in my pasta sauces, and on top my favorite pizza. Here's how you make a Napoletana pizza...
Start by making your favorite crust.
top with your favorite marinara 
now mince up 3-4 anchovies and dot all over the pizza
a couple handfuls of capers
a sprinkling of oregano
a little bit of mozzarella cheese
a drizzle of olive oil over the top
Bake on top of a hot pizza stone for a perfect crust. This pizza looks like it has a handle. ha ha

                                            And for my younger sons--pepperoni of course. :)

14 October, 2011

Spring Rolls

I love Asian food, particularly Thai.  When we eat at our favorite Thai restaurant we order spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce for an appetizer.   These are incredibly easy to make at home.  A trip to the Asian market is in order to get a few of these ingredients like the rice papers, Thai basil, and the sweet chili sauce.  That part if always fun for me though.  It's an adventure!  Spring rolls are healthy, lo-cal, and delicious.  You can also use pork instead of the shrimp or forego the meat and make it veggie only.

Find the rice wrappers in your local Asian market.     Above is how they look dry.

  • cooked Jasmine rice
  • 8 rice wrappers 
  • 8 large cooked shrimp - peeled, deveined and cut in half
  • shredded carrot
  • bean sprouts
  •  chopped fresh Thai basil
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • leaves  of korean lettuce, chopped

  • Run a rice paper until water for a few seconds to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the center, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of rice, basil, carrot, bean sprout, cilantro and lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Serve with peanut sauce.  For the sauce I used sweet chili sauce mixed with a little crunchy peanut butter.  This sauce is terrific.

07 October, 2011

The Spanglish Sandwich

I've seen the movie Spanglish several times.  I think I've seen nearly every Adam Sandler movie out there.  He's a great father in the movie and just an overall sweet guy who puts up with a lot from his nuts-0 wife.  I like to see him play that type of role. 

Tea Leoni plays the selfish, narcissistic, mother who you love to hate.  We can only laugh at her horrible exploits knowing it's all  purely fiction (although I'm sure the situation does exist somewhere). 

Adam Sandler has a scene where he's making himself a sandwich at home.  If you're watching it and happen to be hungry, well,  I bet you'll want to make that sandwich.  It was created by a famous French chef especially for the movie.  


3 slices of bacon
2 slices of a thick roll or bread (or of your choice)
2 slices of monterey jack cheese
1/2 tsp of mayonnaise
2 pieces of butter lettuce
2 slices of tomato
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, fry up your bacon. When it’s done, remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Place your monterey jack cheese on one slice of bread and place it under the broiler until melted (I did it in a conventional oven). Take the other slice of bread and spread the 1/2 tsp of mayonnaise (you can obviously add more if you like).
If you have a non-stick pan, melt butter over medium heat and fry your egg.
If you’re using a skillet like I have pictured above, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.  When it’s hot, crack your egg and fry until done.
Assemble the sandwich, placing the bacon on the slice with the cheese and the lettuce, tomato and fried egg on the other. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and bring the two slices together. Cut in half and enjoy.

01 October, 2011


Basically, you can be assured that if my family is eating dinner at an Italian restaurant of any consequence, and there is calamari on the menu, it will be ordered, consumed, and enjoyed in typical Poe family fashion.  My boys LOVE calamari!

I wanted to do calamari for an appetizer before my pasta main course tonight. When I walked in my friendly neighborhood Publix and asked for squid, i did get some looks.  The seafood chic kindly escorted me to the freezer where the frozen squid live.  She looked at me questionably as she handed me the package of freezin' cold squid.  It was 2 lbs. of squid and tentacles for about $15.  Remembering the price of a calamari appetizer,  the $15 seemed like a bargain.  This would make enough for about 8 people

So the day you want to cook the calamari you need to thaw them in some cool water for a couple hours. 

Here's the recipe: serves 6-8

Olive oil or canola for deep frying
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. calamari, cleaned (you can fry the tentacles too if you like) That is my hubs favorite part!
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. dry breadcrumbs (I use Progresso Italian)
1/2 t. salt
Marinara sauce (recipe below)

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees  and line a rimmed baking tray with paper towels. 

Pour enough oil in a large, deep saucepan to come about a third of the way up the sides and heat to 350.

Cut the calamari crosswise into 1/4 inch thick rings in a medium mixing bowl.  combine the flour, breadcrumbs, and salt.

In batches, add the calamari to the flour mixture and toss just to coat.  Add the coated calamari to the oil and deep fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Do not crowd the calamari in the oil.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the calamari to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while frying the remainder.  Let the oil reheat to 350 between batches.  Put it on a platter and serve with marinara. 

 Good can of San Marzano tomatoes (such as Cento)
small can tomato paste
1 t. fresh or dried basil
 break the tomatoes apart into pieces in your pot. add the tomato paste and let it simmer for 25-30 min.  Add basil last.   Serve with the above calamari, or mozzarella sticks, or as a base for your favorite pasta sauce.  

27 September, 2011

Humble beginnings at 4001 1/2

 I've found myself reminiscing recently with a couple different people about our old hometown of Omaha.  Recalling so many things about our time there has gotten me homesick in a lot of ways.  I met my husband there, had 2 of my children there, and made many wonderful friends and memories.

When I met my husband he was recently out of the Air Force and sharing this little, yellow, alley house (below) with a friend and one or two other buddies who might as well have been paying rent since they almost lived there.  It was a definitely a bachelor's pad.  T.V. trays were a permanent fixture in the living room, messy bedrooms and strewn clothes on furniture, and good luck finding a clean dish to use for the non-existent food in the fridge. Don't let me forget to mention the couch on the front porch (that's called Bachelor pad ala white trash).  I think it belonged to their landlord who lived in the house directly in front.
Do you see the little part of the house sticking out with the four windows on the right? That was the kitchen.  It was a galley kitchen literally not much wider than what you see there.  I went over one day when they were at work and cleaned the place up, washed every dish in the kitchen, and made DLP and his friends dinner.  When they walked in the to a clean house, the dirty dish-free kitchen, and a homemade meal they thought they'd died and gone to heaven.  I will say my cooking wasn't amazing when I was in my early 20's but with guys used to a constant diet of fast food and ramen noodles I guess it tasted pretty darn good.

DLP's  roommate eventually moved out, DLP and I got hitched and had the place all to ourselves. I picked out a classic blue/white pinstriped sofa and loveseat (which would still look great now, btw, that's a whole other post).  Our first son came along the following year.  We bought our first home a few months later.  There are so many wonderful memories in that little yellow house though.  It will forever be special in my heart. 

The little yellow alley house.  4001 1/2 was the address!

12 September, 2011

Pie is the new cupcake

Cupcakes are so yesterday.  Pie is where it's at these days.  It's not that I don't like cupcakes (truthfully they're not my preference) but I'm really just over the cupcake craze.  Bring on the pie!

As I welcome fall weather I have a few pies on my list that I've been wanting to make.  As I've stated before I don't run my oven from May to August.  September can also be somewhat iffy depending on the temps here in Tennessee.  This was the reason I used a pre-made graham cracker crust for this pie.  Homemade pie crust would be much better though and I will do that next time.

Banoffee pie originated in England.  It was first made in 1972 at a pub called The Hungry Monk. The ingredients are caramel made from cooking cans of sweetened condensed milk, bananas, and whipped cream.  So here's what you'll need:

Banoffee pie

  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • your favorite pie crust
  • 3 large bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped and chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425.
Pour condensed milk into pie plate. Cover pie plate with foil and crimp foil tightly around rim. Put in a roasting pan, then add enough boiling-hot water to reach halfway up side of pie plate, making sure that foil is above water. Bake, refilling pan to halfway with water about every 40 minutes, until milk is thick and a deep golden caramel color, about 2 hours. Remove pie plate from water bath and transfer toffee to a bowl, then chill toffee, uncovered, until it is cold, about 1 hour.
While toffee is chilling bake your crust if using a traditional one. If using a graham cracker crust no baking is needed. Cool piecrust completely in pan on a rack, about 20 minutes.
Spread toffee evenly in crust, and chill, uncovered, 15 minutes.
Cut bananas into 1/4-inch-thick slices and pile over toffee.
Beat cream with brown sugar in a clean bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds soft peaks, then mound over top of pie.

My boys and husband say this is one of the best pies they've ever tasted!

Chicken Noodle Soup

I love easy, uncomplicated recipes.  My family loves chicken noodle soup.  It's the traditional variety they crave.. just good old chicken, broth, and the classic veggies with basic seasonings. I know some like to go the faux yellow coloring route.   No yellow food coloring please.  There is something so charlatan-esque (yes i just made that up) about that.  Stay the natural path and you won't regret it. That yellow stuff doesn't look like real chicken broth.  Sorry.

I make large batches and freeze it in portions for later meals.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 whole chicken, cleaned and dried (make sure you take out the giblets)
4 c. water
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. carrots cut in 1" pieces
1 1/2 c. sliced celery
1 c. chopped onion
8 oz. wide egg noodles
1/4 c. chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Cook chicken in the water and broth in a 4 or larger qt. pot.   Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 min.  Remove chicken and let cool.  Strain broth through a colander and even cheesecloth if you want a really clear broth (I don't do cheesecloth).  Put strained broth back in pot and start heating.  Taste and see if you need to add salt.  Add celery, carrots, and onion.  Simmer 15 minutes.  While the veggies simmer pull the meat off the chicken into bite size pieces and set aside.  Add noodles and cook 8-10 minutes.  Add the chicken and parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste.

08 September, 2011

south seas steak quesadillas

The title of my blog is reminiscent of Wheel a Fortune's "Before and After" category.  I haven't watched that show in forever but I always liked that category.  Is it even still on?  I believe Pat Sajack's helmet hair could withstand just about anything-- rain, wind, natural disaster.  It would be the last thing standing for sure.  Anyway...I'd like to buy a vowel.  An "A" for Aqua net. 

Beef.  It's what's for........ whatever you want it to be for.  :)  

Top Sirloin is good.

 These cow tutorials always interest me.  I always seem to forget where each cut comes from though so a refresher is good.

Whenever top sirloin goes on sale I like to stock up.  I like the leanness of the meat and it's so great in so many different dishes.  

South Seas Steak is is one of my mainstay meals.  It's super easy, fairly healthy, and really tasty.  

South Seas Steak:
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper 

3 pounds top sirloin 
1 T. onion (fresh or dried is okay)  Mix marinade together and cut sirloin into strips.  Put it all into a zip lock bag and marinate at least 6 hours or overnight. 

 Drain marinade and place on a large jelly roll pan.  Turn on broiler and put meat  on the top rack of the oven 1-2 minutes for medium rare or longer if you like it more done. It's great with a baked potato and a salad.
 I got busy with dinner and forgot to take pictures after it was done.  sorry.  you should try this tho'.  I think you'll like it.

Now for the quesadilla bit...

So, if you have lots of leftover steak as I did quesadillas are a great lunch or dinner the next day

 Saute up some red peppers and red onions with a little salt.

 I like to brown my meat in the skillet a little while I heat it up for the quesadillas.
Butter your skillet,  lay your tortilla down, sprinkle a light layer of cheese (I like colby/jack blend), put on steak strips,  add some peppers and onions, sprinkle more cheese, and cover with another tortilla.  Butter that tortilla and flip.  Let melt and watch carefully so you don't burn it.

I serve this with homemade salsa.

06 September, 2011

Fall and Boots go together

This weather is bringing to mind FALL... my favorite time of year is drawing ever closer...and  although they're forecasting warm weather well into October, that hasn't hampered my yearly desire to search for a new pair of boots.  I'm always on the lookout!  Here's a few of my favorite I've discovered lately.  
Although some of these boots I've chosen are completely out of my price range I like to use them for inspiration in finding more abstemious choices, but no less stylish.



Drooling. These Manolo boots are AmaZing!!  These would go great with everything from short/long skirts  to jeans.


Classic combat boots
Oh. my. these boots are ridiculously cute.   The 3.75 heel is too high for me but the style is so amazing I wanted to include them.  If you click on the link you can see more views of them and understand the "cuteness factor".  Zoom in on the lace placket.  love it.

Frye Melissa riding boot

Each year I find at least a few styles of Frye boots that I'd love to have.  These are classic and exude taste.  I'm fairly certain they will never go out of style.  <3



A great ankle boot with timeless chicness.  I loved the leather and the tassel on these.  too cute and just the right height for me.

Snap you up some boots.  I suggest Ebay or even Craigslist (be safe).  You'd be amazed at  the bargains you can come across.

Cabot 3 year cheddar

Have you tried Cabot's 3 year cheddar?  If you fancy a strapping, robust, and brawny cheddar this is your cheese!    It's really wonderful with wine or whatever you'd like to eat it with or melt it on.  I buy mine in 2 lb. bricks at Costo (pic above).  approx $12 for the brick is a real bargain.  It puts to shame some cheddars twice that price.

22 August, 2011

Chicken Burgers and an orzo dish

Costco is a favorite place of mine to shop.  For those of you not familiar, it's similar to a Sam's wholesale warehouse except better.  I've belonged to both and Costco is much better imo.  Unfortunately there are only two Costco stores in the Nashville area.  Both are around 25-30 miles away from me.  Nevertheless I try and trek there at least once a month to pick up surplus size packages of things we use...toilet paper, paper towels, real maple syrup, peanut butter, etc..you get the picture.
My mom in law went with us a couple weeks ago and she decided to pick us up these chicken burgers for our dinner that evening.  My husband and boys turned up their noses and were very skeptical.  I,  on the other hand thought they sounded pretty good.  She also bought some really great chibata sp? buns to go along with them.   I was happy that they all loved the burgers!!  My husband said he would even eat them for his lunch.  A major nutritional breakthrough in DLP's life!!!  :)

They are precooked so you can either just heat them on the grill (how we cooked them first)  or use your George Foreman to heat them well (that's what I did tonight).  You could also use a fry pan or microwave but I prefer the grilling methods.  So, we at them again tonight.  I bought chibata bread since I couldn't find those special buns.  I toasted the bread up which was really good also. 

Nutrition FactsServing Size 1 burger Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 50
Calories 140 % Daily Values*Total Fat 6.5g10% Saturated Fat 2.5g12% Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 70mg23%Sodium 560mg23%Total Carbohydrate 3g1% Dietary Fiber 0g0% Sugars 2g Protein 22g 

I served them with this http://allrecipes.com/recipe/orzo-with-parmesan-and-basil/detail.aspx This recipe is super simple and has great flavor  .  You could really switch it up however you like and what flavors you like.  I thought mushrooms would have been really good in it.  I like to brown the orzo really well-like rice a roni.  It tasted better than the picture looks. :)

06 August, 2011

a d v e n t u r e . . .

i applied for one of these this week.  i hope to get to use it before i die.  :)

exciting?  i certainly hope so.

04 August, 2011

Chicken Breasts Pierre

Chicken Breasts Pierre was our dinner tonight.  I found it on allrecipes.com.  It's a unique flavor and really good.  I served it with buttered egg noodles and a green salad.  Here's the link to the recipe:

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used boneless skinless breasts and thighs)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1/2 cup water (I used half water half white wine)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce


  1. In a shallow dish or bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and ground black pepper. Coat chicken breasts with flour mixture. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown chicken on all sides. Remove from skillet, and drain on paper towels.
  2. In the same skillet, combine the tomatoes, water, brown sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt, chili powder, mustard, celery seed, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and return chicken to skillet. Cover, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is tender, no longer pink and juices run clear.