Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pineapple Salsa.....


Spring is upon us and we will soon be thinking about grilling outside again. One of my favorites is chicken with pineapple salsa. It gives you these refreshing bites of goodness that you can't turn down. Hope you enjoy. As always, this is a recipe you can change to suit your own taste. I love recipes like that, don't you?
Pineapple Salsa
1 can (8 oz) of crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits, undrained
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup red sweet peppers, chopped
2 tsp red onion, diced
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or cilantro)
1 tsp of lemon juice (or lime)
1 tsp - 1 Tbsp sugar to taste (start with 1 tsp, you can always add more.)
Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate till serving. This is generally enough for four servings. If using cilantro, I would use the lime juice. Cilantro and lime are a common combination.
Till next time.....

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hens and Chicks......

I bought some red hens and chicks last year for my patio planters. Although they grew beautifully, they did not turn red. I was greatly disappointed. I left them out all winter as I had no place to put them inside and my Gram left her's out. So I figured they would be okay.
This spring they looked really healthy and had started to "perk" up after the long dormant winter. So I gave them a drink of water and they are looking great. They are even turning red. So maybe it takes a year for them to get their coloring. At any rate, I have a chick that "hatched" the very end of summer last year and it made it through the winter as well. Since I don't normally have a "green" thumb. I am thrilled!            Till next time...... 


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Decorah Bald Eagles........


The bald eagles are nesting in Decorah, Iowa and the little eaglets are hatching. Two of the three have already joined us and there is one more to go. This is an amazing opportunity to see. I watched it last year and again this year. Fascinating! It is an awesome experience. They give some really close-up shots of the eaglets and the adult eagles. It is the chance of a lifetime to see. Here is the website to watch them. Decorah Eagle Webcam
Till next time.....

For photos I can't take, I sometimes use Public Domain Pictures. They have an assortment of photos and only ask, that you link back to them. Photo is courtesy of: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pineapple Angelfood


Pineapple Angelfood Cake
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in Juice, undrained
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) Jell-o vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 cup thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
1 pkg. (10 oz.) round angel food cake, cut into 3 layers
10 small fresh strawberries, for garnish.
Mix pineapple and dry pudding mix. Gently stir in Cool Whip.
Stack cake layers on plate, spreading pudding mixture between layers and on top of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour. Top with berries.
Yield: 10 servings.

If you can't find nice strawberries and blueberries, toasted coconut or raspberries on top, works great, too.
This is a cool, light and scrumptious dessert for any occasion.
Till next time.....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spicy Tartar Sauce.....

Okay, it's still Lent and I am getting tired of fish. We've had it fried, broiled, baked, and boiled. So let's spice it up a bit. I am not one that likes fish very much to start with. I eat it because it is good for me. But to make it more palatable for me, I make my own tartar sauce. I use sandwich spread, pickle relish, diced onion and a dash of cayenne pepper.  The amounts of each item is up to you. I like it mixed up fresh; so for one serving, here are approximate amounts.




 
Spicy Tartar Sauce
1 lg serving spoon of sandwich spread
1 tsp pickle relish
2 tsp diced fresh onion
A pinch of cayenne pepper.
Mix well and chill till ready to serve.
The beauty of this sauce is that it can be made fresh each time you have fish and you can adjust the ingredients to suit your own taste. Easy on the cayenne pepper, till you taste it. You can always add more, if you like it with more heat. This will definitely spice up that fish dinner. 
Till next time.....

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Life Is Short....


Life is too short to be sure. Many of us don't take time to recharge and take time for ourselves. The last few years, I have taken mini vacations and explored local areas. There is so much to see here, I don't need to go far. I chose a suitable B&B, made my reservations and then sought out the tourist and non-tourist attractions in that area. This year I will be visiting a new B&B, a State Park, a  Winery for a wine tasting, a Zoo for a Safari ride, an Aquarium, a SAC Museum, a Chocolate factory/store and a nice sized Shopping Mall. If time allows will have lunch at a favorite restaurant, not far from where I  will be staying. I will have no cooking, no phones, no TV and no interruptions for 4 days! Just sightseeing and relaxing on a deck with a glass of wine. You see, it's not where you go or even how long you will be gone. that is important. What's important is, that you take time for a change from your regular routine and get away from it all. No matter how enjoyable your life is, it is always nice to go away for a change. It will change your whole mental outlook on things. Besides all that......you deserve a chance to do some fun things for no reason at all; except for the fun of doing them.
Till next time.....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Daffodils ..........

One of the first spring flowers to come forth are these lovely yellow blossoms. Who can resists such beauty? I  always want to pick a bunch and bring them inside. But I stop and think....if I don't pick them....they will last longer. So they are still in the garden for all to enjoy.
Till next time......

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring!

Today is the first day of Spring! The trees are waking up after months of being dormant. A new season is beginning with new life all around us. Isn't nature wonderful!
Till next time......

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie.........


Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb ground beef or 1 lb lamb
1 large onions, finely diced
3 -4 large carrots, finely diced
1 cup frozen peas
3 -4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 glass red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup stock
1 large quantity mashed potatoes ( estimating about 6 cups, fresh or leftover)
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Sauté carrots in the olive oil until starting to get tender. Add in the onions and sauté for a minute or two then add the meat. Season with black pepper and thyme. Cook until browned then drain fat. Add the butter and peas. Sprinkle with flour and stir through. Add tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow to reduce down until you have a thick meaty gravy. Season to your taste. Remove from heat. Grease an oven proof dish (9x13 works for me, as does an oval baker) with butter and add the sauce. Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Brush with egg and bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top. 
If you want to top it with a little extra flavor, use Colcannon instead of the plain mashed potatoes. With the added flavor of cabbage, onion and bacon in the Colcannon: it has to be good! Serves 4-6
Till next time....
May you enjoy the goodness of Irish cooking and may you never go hungry!
Legend of Saint Patrick 
Good St. Patrick traveled far, to teach God's Holy Word
And when he came to Erin's sod, a wondrous thing occurred
He plucked a shamrock from the earth and held it in His hand
To symbolize the Trinity that all might understand
The first leaf for the Father
And the second for the Son
The third leaf for the Holy Spirit
All three of them in one.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Colcannon....


For those of you who aren't Irish, you may wonder what Colcannon is. It is an Irish dish of cabbage, potatoes, onion and bacon. It is a delightful dish and a perfect accompaniment to any supper, not just on St. Patrick's Day. It will be the perfect side dish for your corned beef supper. It is also a great covered dish recipe for your next Pot Luck supper. Your bowl will be empty when you come back home!

 


Colcannon
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 slices bacon
1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter, melted
Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain the bacon; reserving drippings, crumble and set aside. In the reserved drippings, sauté the cabbage and onion until soft and translucent. Putting a lid on the pan helps the vegetables cook faster. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the melted butter. Serve immediately. You will REALLY enjoy this recipe.
Till next time.....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pimento Cheddar Cheese Spread......

Here is another cheese spread to help drop those ugly pounds that crept up during the winter months. You can still enjoy the flavor without all the extra calories. No one will know you took out some of the calories. But as with any food, don't over indulge.
Pimento Cheddar Cheese Spread
1 cup reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup fat free cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup fat free mayonnaise
1 4-ounce jar sliced pimientos, drained and chopped
2 tbsp red onion, grated
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
Dash of pepper
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheeses until smooth and fluffy. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. Entire recipe is 12 servings
Remember, as with any spread, you can add what you want to it. Fresh parsley would be a nice addition and add some additional color to the spread.
Till next time.....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Pioneer Woman - Black Heels to Tractor Wheels......

I spent a good part of last night reading this book and finished it this afternoon. I guess I was expecting to read more about her and how she got into the food industry. That was a total misconception on my part. It was definitely Ree Drummond's story of her meeting, courtship with her husband (Marlboro Man), their wedding with all the preparations, doubts  and the birth of their first child. It was her adjustment from life in the city, to life on a working Oklahoma ranch out in the middle of nowhere. She also told of her horrific honeymoon. You must read this book to find out why it was horrific. For worst honeymoons, her's has to rank near the top! I was forewarned there was some pretty graphic stuff in the book. But I wasn't told what it was. I only found a sentence or two that one might consider graphic. If you are into love stories, I would give this a 7 on a scale of 1-10. Since I don't read a lot of love stories, my 7 is a decent rating.
Till next time......

Friday, March 9, 2012

Taco Dip.....

Okay, you just got home from the Dr and he gave you the bad news. You need to lose a few lbs. Yuk! You sure didn't want to hear that, did you? But sooner or later, most of us get the news to drop a lb or two. So here is a recipe to let you enjoy life and not add on any more pounds. The spice is there and the flavor is there. So dig in and enjoy it, with a few carrots or celery sticks.
Taco Dip
2 8oz. pkg. fat-free cream cheese
1 teaspoon Taco Seasoning
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 cup chunky salsa
1/3 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/3 cup ripe olives
In medium bowl, stir cream cheese with a spoon until soft. Stir in taco seasoning, parsley flakes, and salsa. Add cheddar cheese and olives. Mix well to combine.
Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
8 servings: Serving size is 1/3 cup
Till next time......

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad......


This is one of those fresh salads for the summer that is just too good to pass up. But you can enjoy it in the winter as well. Have some hot biscuits with butter or jam and you have a complete meal. You can change up the veggies. Add some grape tomatoes, olives, broccoli, or sliced red onions. You can use spirals or bow tie pasta instead of the penne pasta. Do what you want to with this recipe, make it your own. If you are looking for a Lenten meal, drain a few tins of tuna and top the salad with tuna instead of chicken before adding the dressing. 
After all, tuna is the "Chicken of the Sea".
Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad
3 Tyson's Fully Cooked and Grilled Breast Fillets
2 cups penne pasta (spirals) cooked, drained and cooled
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3/4 cup ranch-style salad dressing
Cook chicken according to package directions. Cut into cubes.Toss chicken, pasta, zucchini, squash and peppers together in large bowl.Combine cheese and dressing in small bowl. Pour over chicken and pasta mixture. Toss to coat. Chill before serving. 4 servings
Till next time...... 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Crossword Puzzles....

I work the daily crossword puzzle every morning. Today, I was curious about the different subjects they cover in one puzzle. I was amazed. There were questions about Vocabulary, Greek Alphabet, Grammer, Cooking, TV, Art, Poetry, History, Geography, Music, English, Spelling, Movies, Mathematics, Foreign Languages, Fashions and Different Cultures; all in one puzzle! Can you believe it! I guess that's why they say working a puzzle each day will keep your brain alert. So whether or not it will ward off any loss of brain power as the years progress; it is certainly a good exercise for your brain.
Till next time......

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunsets Are Irresistable....


I cannot resist taking photos of a sunset. The beauty of it cannot be compared to anything else. You might say I am addicted to them. I watch until the sun is almost completely gone. I am almost mesmerized by their beauty.Till next time......

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Modern Technology or An Oxymoron.......

I know appliances get out of date very quickly these days with new models coming out all the time. This photo is a Microwave Sun Tea Maker. That's right....a microwave sun tea maker. My microwave is only a year old but the sun does not shine in my microwave. So my question is....should I buy a new microwave or just continue to make my sun tea on my lovely sunny patio? Yes, of course, I will continue to make it on my patio. If there ever was an oxymoron, this is it. Sun tea is made by the sun heating the water and thus brewing the tea. Pray tell me, how can you make SUN TEA in a microwave! 
I think the manufacturers are getting desperate for new ideas for new products. I mean really......sun tea in a microwave. Ridiculous!!
Till next time......

Friday, March 2, 2012

Changes of Nature......

No matter where you look this time of year, there is something beautiful to see. These seeds create a lovely little pom-pom of beauty. I love the change of seasons; as each season has it's own beauty if you take the time to look. Enjoy the different seasons of nature and of life. We all know there are many changes in the seasons of life and beauty in each one.
Till next time.....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Old Movies......

Did you ever have an afternoon that was rainy and blah? Well, yesterday was one of those days. So I got out the old movies and selected two Disney films. Pollyanna is a little girl that brings gladness to a town that is pretty much controlled by her aunt, played by Jane Wyman; with whom she is sent to live with. Richard Egan stars as Jane Wyman's love interest. It's an amazing story that I would recommend watching. It came out in 1960 but is just as good today as it was back then. It is one of those films you can watch over and over again.







Parent Trap came out the next year. Both films star Haley Mills and she plays the part of both twins.  Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara play the twins divorced parents. In Parent Trap, twin girls are separated at a year old. Each parent takes one of the girls. One lives in California and the other in Boston. The girls meet at Summer Camp and figure out, they are twins. From there, the conniving twins do everything they can to get their parents back together. To complicate things, their Father is engaged to be married. Believe me, the twins are very resourceful and imaginative. It is fun to see how they manipulate and sabotage their Father's engagement. It was a very fun afternoon watching these two movies from the past.
Till next time.....