26 January, 2011


Another day of sledding (after school work)

White Stilton with blueberries

Cheese is surely one of my favorite things to eat. If there was only one thing I could eat on earth for the rest of my life, that thing would most likely be cheese, well a variety of cheese with some crackers, fruit, bread and wine.  Let's don't forget the wine please. :) I love to try all different kinds of cheese, and, well, we all know cheese and fruit go together like peas and carrots, a horse and carriage, etc. right?  There is simply nothing better than a sharp, flavorful cheese, some figs, grapes, or berries, a loaf of hearty bread, and a nice bottle of wine.  It's delicious simplicity!
I love Stilton cheese.  I don't buy it often but I think it's a terrific tasting cheese.  I had heard of Stilton with blueberries and thought it must be magical so imagine my pleasant surprise when at my local Mt. Juliet Kroger I spied a basketful in the deli.  It's not a bargain cheese mind you but it's oh so worth the steep (okay perpendicular) price you pay for it.  This cheese is actually delicious enough to serve for dessert, and some people do just that.  Oh, it's so good, and if you get a chance to try it you won't regret it.  If by chance your local supermarket doesn't carry it here's a quick link to buy some on Gourmet foods.  The next one I'm going to try is mango/peach.  Oh my.

You can google it to compare other sites and prices if you're interested.  Get interested.  You won't regret it. 

22 January, 2011

Pancake & Sausage Poegriddles

McDonald's is probably my least favorite fast food place.  I rarely if never take my kids there to eat and actually find their coffee the only redeemable product they serve.  Unfortunately, my kids do happen to like their McGriddle breakfast sandwiches.  I haven't eaten one in years but they are undeniably good and I've always wanted to make my own at home.  I can control how much sugar and salt go into this homemade version.                                                  

So start out with your favorite pancake recipe and your favorite roll sausage.  I use Tennessee Pride sausage and make thin patties about 3-4" in diameter.  Fry these up while you prepare your pancakes.
My buttermilk pancake recipe is
1 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 egg
1 T. baking powder
dash salt
1 c. buttermilk
little milk for thinning
2 T. canola oil
mix all this together lightly, don't overmix.  For the Poegriddle pancakes I used a little extra milk to thin out the batter.  You want a thinner pancake, not a thick, puffy one to make these.
When you pour the batter on your griddle let it cook a little until you see the bubbles and the edges are dry.  At this point take some real maple syrup and lightly drizzle some around the pancake.  Wait a little while and then flip the pancake.

I use Costco's Kirkland brand real maple syrup (below)
Drain the sausage on paper towels and when the pancakes are cooked and cooled assemble your Poegriddles. You can add a fried egg and some cheese too if you like. This one was for my youngest son and he likes sausage only.  

These were really delicious and didn't take much time.  The pancake batter can be stored in the fridge a couple days.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Soup beans and Happy Birthday DLP!

Soup beans are so simple and economical.  It's amazing tho' how delicious something as simple as beans can be if you know how to prepare them.  I try to make a pot of beans at least once a month.  If I have time I like to make a skillet of cornbread with them also.  They are delicious alone or as a wonderful side dish to catfish (my favorite), or whatever you're making. For this recipe I use the slow cooker, but you can also make them on top the stove.  The slow cooker allows you to just "set it and forget it" which is great for me.
DLP likes to eat them with green onions.  Spoon in one hand, onion in the other.  It really does taste good together.
1 lb. dry pinto beans
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 pound ham hocks
2 c. water
2 c. chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
*soup bean seasoning to taste
Wash the beans and soak them overnight in cold water.  Drain them and place in crock pot.  Stir in chili powder.  Add ham hock and then add water and chicken broth.  Add onions with beans and meat.  Stir in some special seasoning to your taste and then cook on high until very tender (6-8 hours). I make these the first day and then refrigerate them until the next day so flavors have all loved on one another a good long time thus resulting in a crazy delicious soup+bean marriage.  Yum! 

*soup bean seasoning~
1/2 c. salt
1/8 c. black pepper
1/8 c. garlic powder
mix and store in container.

17 January, 2011

Seared Salmon with balsamic glaze

My whole family enjoys salmon.  I usually end up just drizzling olive oil over it, sprinkling it with a good fish seasoning, wrapping it up in heavy foil, and baking it at 425 for around 20 minutes.  It's delicious this way, but my boys asked for a sweet glaze tonight and so I looked for a recipe.  This recipe is another one from my church cookbook.  It's also from Rhonda P (the same lady with the spicy minestrone).  She is two for two so far.  :)
This was an awesome change from our usual way of eating salmon and the balsamic sauce was tangy and quite delicious with the fish.  This recipe is a keeper.

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 T. lemon juice
4 t. packed light brown sugar
4 salmon fillets
2 t. vegetable oil
Stir together vinegar, water, lemon juice, and brown sugar.  Pat the salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a 12" non stick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Increase heat to high and sear salmon, skin sides up, until well browned, about 4 minutes.  Turn fish over and sear until just cooked through, 3-4 minutes more.  Transfer salmon to plates and carefully add vinegar mixture to skillet (liquid will bubble vigorously and steam)  Simmer stirring until thickened and reduced to about 1/2 c. about 2 minutes.  Spoon the glaze over the salmon.

Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper
 Sear the fillets skin side down in the hot pan.  Doesn't that look good?

My pictures weren't that great tonight.  My boys were in a hurry to eat and I didn't have time to set up a good shot.  It was delicious.  Trust me.

12 January, 2011

The 3 C's


Spicy Minestrone

As these frigid days of winter rage on so does my search for new soup recipes  that are satisfying and simple to make.  Chili, hamburger soup, beef stew, and ham and bean are the usual suspects in my soup repertoire.  Here is a recipe I've been looking at for awhile now.  It's from my church cookbook and it's from a lady named Rhonda P.  I love minestrone and one with some meat in it is even better.  My husband and boys would simply laugh at any supper served them absent of meat.  I don't care either way but the sausage gives it great flavor anyway.  It's a man thing.
5 slices bacon, diced uncooked
2 c. onion, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 lb. sausage (I used hot Jimmy Dean)
8 c. beef stock
2 T. basil
1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 t. cayenne
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. salt
2 c. potatoes, diced
28 oz. can tomatoes, cut up with juice
1 c. egg noodles
4 c. spinach, torn into small pieces
grated Romano or Parmesan
Saute bacon, onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms for about 10 minutes, adding a little butter if necessary.  Add remaining ingredients except cheese and simmer 1-2 hours.  Top with grated cheese.  
I served with garlic cheese bread.

11 January, 2011

Vodka Cream Sauce

I first saw this recipe years ago on Emeril's Food Network show.  I was intrigued by the vodka, mesmerized by the color, and convinced by the cream.  After all heavy cream in anything is bound to be delicious right?  If you're scared off by the vodka, the alcohol is all cooked out of it and you're just left with this really great flavor that is hard to identify (if you didn't make it or aren't familiar with what you're eating.)
You could add some kind of meat or chicken if you like.  I like it just like it is with some crusty bread and a nice glass of wine.
Vodka Cream Sauce:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c onion, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne or rigatoni (I mixed it up with what I had)
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and onions. Gently saute onions for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add vodka to the pan.  Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.  Serve with crusty bread and a salad.

10 January, 2011

Hot Chocolate

Knowing how to make a delicious cup of homemade hot chocolate is fundamental to being a good momma.  

After all, why would you serve your kiddos unknown ingredients from a packet when making it from scratch is so easy.

HOT CHOCOLATE: serves  4
4 t. Hershey's unsweetened cocoa
8 heaping t. sugar
2 dashes of salt
4 c. cold milk
Mix your cocoa, sugar and salt in a heavy bottomed pot.  Turn on your heat to medium high add about 1/2 c. of your milk.  Stir well until no lumps remain. Stir continually so it doesn't burn while you add the remainder of your milk.  Heat until milk is hot.  You can adjust it to your taste adding more cocoa if you like it chocolatier or more milk if you like it less chocolaty.  

08 January, 2011

Carrs' first game

His team won by 1 pt!  Yay!!!

06 January, 2011


  • I don't know why I don't make it more often.  It's so good and as my kids get a bit older and are beginning to like more things I won't be the only one eating it.  If you do happen to be the only one eating it, it keeps well in an air tight container or in your freezer for a long while.  Feel free to substitute your favorite nuts or dried fruits.  I've made it with many different combinations I've had on hand and it's always delicious.  I always double the recipe.
  •   3 c. old fashioned rolled oats
  •   1 cup slivered almonds
  •   1/2 c. pecans
  •   1/2 c. walnuts 
  •   1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  •   3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
  •   1/4 cup wheat germ
  •   1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  •   1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  •   1/4 cup honey
  •   1/4 cup vegetable oil
  •   3/4 teaspoon salt
  •   1/2 c. dates (my favorite)
  •   1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 250 degrees 

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, wheat germ, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, honey, oil, and salt.

 Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven.  See how it got nice and brown?  Now add raisins and dates and mix until evenly distributed.
Granola is delicious anytime.  This is ReAl wholesome cereal you made all by yourself!  A couple handfuls in the afternoon make for a great pick- me- up snack.  I also love to eat it with yogurt.  
Granola is good.  :)

05 January, 2011

Sofa talk

My leather sofas have seen better days.  We need some new furniture. We've actually been looking for some for a couple years now, but I, unfortunately, haven't found anything in my price range that I like enough to purchase knowing I will undoubtedly have to live with it for another ?? years. :)  I'm totally open to coordinating different pieces if we could make that work.  I also don't mind vintage or gently used pieces.  I will have to know the background of the piece tho' and give it a thorough "smell down" before any decisions are made.  I get the funniest looks when i go to look at furniture.  Some people will sit down first.  Some people rub the nap back and forth with their fingers. Some take off the cushions.  I am a smeller.  I give the sofa the "smell down".  I have the nose of a bloodhound (sometimes much to my dismay) and if the couch has been smoked on, peed on (or worse), vomited on, etc... my nose most often will warn me. STAY AWAY! This is probably the reason we most often buy new furniture.  There is some really nice furniture to be had out there though.  Classifieds, Craigslist (always be cautious), and garage sales can be terrific resources to find some really nice pieces.
Leather is what we like for its durability and ease in cleaning.

Here's some of my favorites:
A Chesterfield is not practical in size (for a large family) or cost but I still love it.

Loooovve it. If only I had $15,000 to spend on a sectional all would be settled.

return to the land of the living (sort of)

Excuse my pictures today.  My camera was on manual and I couldn't get the settings right and I didn't feel like trying too hard. :)
After 4 1/2 days in bed with the flu today I finally have the energy to get outta bed, supervise some schoolwork, and make my kids a quick lunch.  All three of my boys and I have been taking turns at being sick since the day after Christmas. That is not a fun way to spend your vacation and I can't blame them for feeling a little gypped when your off days are spent in bed with a fever, chills, and horrible body aches. No fun.
I did a quick scan of my fridge this morning and noticed some produce that needed to be used, that along with a desire to drain some stuffed sinuses and noses(via jalepenos)lead me to make some pico de gallo.  Pico de gallo is one of my favorite things.  I can eat it with a spoon all my itself.  You can also drain a can of black beans, stir them in, and serve it with chips, then it's a little more satisfying and even a meal.  I didn't have beans so I just made the pico and piled it on some Boar's Head rosemary ham and jerk turkey sandwiches. 

5-6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
3-4 jalepenos, chopped fine (less if you like mild)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 lime 
kosher salt
Chop first 3 ingredients and toss together. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lime in and kosher salt to taste.  Serve with chips or anything you might like it on.