Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Memorial Thank You.........

Today, a time to remember
 those who gave all.
God bless them &
Thank you so much.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

White BBQ Sauce.......

Our summer season for grilling starts this weekend, with Memorial Day. We all love a good BBQ sauce. Most of them are tomato based. But Bob Gibson from Decatur Alabama, concocted a white BBQ sauce back in 1925. It is different from any other sauce, but in the South, it is considered a household staple. Give it a try and see what you think. Cut up some chicken pieces and get to grilling. This sauce is good on pulled pork, burgers and chicken and for marinating, basting and dipping.

White BBQ Sauce from Alabama.
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp restaurant ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Creole mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne OR 2 tsp prepared horseradish
Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate up to 1 week.
Till next time.........

Friday, May 27, 2016

Corn Hole (Bean Bag Toss) ..........

How many of you have played Corn Hole as a child or adult? I grew up playing this game. Here is a sample of what the game board looks like. You can make the board as plain, fancy or funny as you want to make it. Sometimes there is a clown head and the hole is the mouth. There are 8 bean bags or corn filled bags in two different colors. You stand at the given line and toss the bag to sink it in the hole for 3 points. A bag on the wood is only 1 point. You take turns tossing the bag. The first person to get to 21 wins. This game is popular because it is age and gender friendly. As they say in the South, Ya'll kin play! With Summer coming up maybe this is the time to bring out the board and get everyone involved in a fun game.
Till next time...........

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Southern Cheese Dip (Charleston Style)..........

With football season not too far away, I was looking for a dip that was different. This one fit the bill perfectly.  Sometimes you just get tired of the same old food and REALLY need a change. You will love this warm dip.
Southern Cheese Dip (Charleston Style)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 dash cayenne pepper
8 butter crackers, crushed, such as Ritz
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Corn chips, crackers or bagel chips, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper. Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch pie pan. Top the mixture with the cracker crumbs and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon. Serve immediately with corn chips, crackers or bagel chips.
Till next time........

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Baked Apples.........

Got some apples that need used up? Well, in my house, that means baked apples or apple crisp. It may be an old fashion dessert but it's still delicious and wonderful.
Baked Apples
4 large baking apples
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Wash and core apples, leaving enough of the core at the base of the apple to contain the filling. Combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans in a small bowl. Roll log shapes of the mixture and press enough into each apple to fill the core. Fill a 2-quart baking dish with about 3/4 cup water, or enough to cover the bottom. Place the apples upright in the dish. Bake until the apples are soft and the filling is browned, 1 hour.
Till next time.......

Friday, May 20, 2016

Portobello Burger.........

On a healthy note, why not try a Portobello Burger. This burger looks as good as any beef burger and is so much healthier and it has the feel of beef. Sliced avocado is also a nice touch to this burger. You can add all sorts of veggies to this burger and it will be great. Give it a try.
Till next time.......

Portobello Burger
1/2 cup purchased pesto
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 sourdough, whole grain, or ciabatta rolls, split horizontally
4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out
Olive oil
4 cups arugula (about 2 ounces)
4 slices provolone cheese
Sliced red onion and tomato
Stir pesto and mayonnaise in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill rolls, cut side down, until lightly
toasted. Transfer to plates. Spread grilled side of rolls with pesto mayonnaise.
Brush mushrooms on both sides with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill,
round side up, 4 minutes. Turn mushrooms over. Cover and grill until mushrooms
are tender, about 4 minutes. Place provolone on mushroom to melt. Place 1 mushroom on each roll bottom. Top each with red onion & tomato pieces to cover, then with Arugula or Butter lettuce. Press rolltops over and serve. YIELD: Makes 4 servings

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Homemade Bread...........

Today was bread making day at my home. So got out my recipe, ingredients and the bread machine. It takes about 3 hours from start to finish and then at least an hour to cool it before slicing it. So you want to make bread on a day you are staying home.

There is nothing like the smell of bread baking in your home. Or the taste of it after you slice into it. This is a white bread and turns out perfect every time.
Till next time........

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning........

I truly enjoy a good Jerk Seasoning. Season your chicken wings, legs, thighs and breasts. This seasoning will definitely darken your chicken, but it's supposed to. That's all those yummy spices and seasonings doing their job.

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
1 Tbsp garlic powder
4 tsp dry thyme leaves, crushed
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
In a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake together all spices and seasonings. Store tightly covered at room temperature.This is one time when you do NEED all these ingredients. You can't have Jerk Chicken without all of them. Don't skimp or take shortcuts on this seasoning. Hope you enjoy the Caribbean Jerk Seasoning.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Asian Dry Rub........

We all like to spice up our menu from time to time and this will definitely do it. I like to use spice rubs a lot, as it give a great flavor, without a lot of work.

Asian Dry Rub
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp crushed anise seeds
1/4 tsp ground clove
Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
Good on pork or poultry.
Till next time.......

Monday, May 16, 2016

DIY Cleaner.........

Many of you use Lysol or Clorox wipes to tidy up your homes. But what if you didn't have to use chemicals to clean with. Here is a DIY cleaner that works on faucets, glass sliding doors, glass table tops, door knobs and even your computer keyboards. It has 3 ingredients and it's items you already have in your home; water, dish soap and alcohol. I have allergies and I do try to stay away from any unnecessary chemicals. Give this little cleaner a try, you will love it!!
DIY Cleaner
12 oz water
1/4 cup alcohol
4 drops of dish detergent
Stir and pour into a spray bottle and it is ready to use as a spray. Or cut about 6 inches off of a good paper towel roll (not the cheap kind), put it in a plastic container with a lid and pour the liquid over it. Then pull out the cardboard roll and pull a paper towel from the center. Make sure there is plenty of the cleaner to dampen the roll. There you go, you have a DIY wipe and no chemicals.

Till next time........

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cannoli Dip.............

One of my favorite flavors is cannoli filling. There is just nothing better than that in my world. For some reason, the Italian restaurants here do not serve Cannoli. I have requested it several times to no avail. So this dip is my answer to having that taste. 
Cannoli Dip
2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange liqueur 
(or 1 Tbsp orange zest)
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Mix the ricotta, confectioners' sugar and liqueur in a bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips. Serve with strawberries and wonton triangles, pita chips or graham crackers for dipping. 8 appetizer servings. 
Till next time...........

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Jalapeno Butter...........

You all know my penchant for few ingredients in a recipe. I've always maintained you do not need ALOT of ingredients to make a dish taste good. No matter what the Food Shows tell you; you do not need 20+ ingredients. Here is one of my favorite butters for steak and it only uses 3 ingredients. You can use any grilled steak; but porterhouse and filet mignon are really good with this.

Jalapeno Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened 
1 fresh Jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped 
1 clove garlic, minced
You can mixed this with a spoon but I like to make it in my food processor. If you have a small processor, like I do, it is so much easier. Then put it on some plastic wrap and form it into a roll, twist the ends of the plastic and refrigerate till it holds it's form so it can be sliced on the steak. This is also good on veggies, when you want that extra kick.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pesto Cheesy Chicken Rolls...........

This is what's for dinner in the near future. It's different and that pesto adds just the extra element you are looking for. There's only 5 ingredients plus your cooking spray; so how simple is that!!
Pesto Cheesy Chicken Rolls
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
4 thick slices of mozzarella cheese
1 cup prepared basil pesto
1 or 2 beaten egg whites
Bread crumbs
cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pesto sauce onto each flattened chicken breast. Place one slice of cheese over the pesto. Roll up tightly, and secure with toothpicks. Dip in beaten egg whites and roll in bread crumbs.  Place in a lightly greased baking dish and spray with cooking spray. Bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until chicken is nicely browned and juices run clear.
Till next time..........

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Nishnabotna River..........

A rare opportunity was granted to me one morning. This was along the Nishnabotna River. A quiet place to just relax.

As you can see, the water was really low and the sand bars were visible.
Till next time........

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Apricot Mustard Mayo..........

I'm guessing this time of year, you are looking for something different to eat. Well, with the grilling season upon us, here is my idea of the perfect lunch. Take a chicken breast and pound it out to about 1/4 inch or maybe 3/8 inch. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and grill until cooked all the way through. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside. Combine equal parts apricot preserves, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise. Add cayenne to taste. Refrigerate until needed. 
Spread apricot mustard mayo on two slices of marble rye bread (my favorite bread) or a sesame seed bun. Then lay down some baby spinach, very thin slices of red onion and the chicken breast. Now that's a perfect spring or summer sandwich! 
Apricot Mustard Mayo
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
1/4 cup apricot preserves
Cayenne to taste (optional), but I like it.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, apricot preserves in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Till next time.........

Friday, May 6, 2016

Wax Begonia..........

Some things are just too pretty not to share with everyone. This is a yellow wax begonia. It was taken after the rain was over and the sun had gone down.
Till next time........

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mexican No Fry Ice Cream............

Not everyone has a deep fryer or wants to take a chance on frying ice cream balls. However, if you freeze the ice cream very hard; it is not a major deal. You only have them in the hot fat for 10-15 seconds till the corn flakes are golden and crispy. 
But here is a recipe I like: no frying involved. Don't leave out the cinnamon, it is a very important part of this recipe.

Mexican No Fry Ice Cream
5 cup Corn Flakes
1/2 cup Butter
2 tsp Cinnamon
4 tsp Sugar
Vanilla Ice Cream
Scoop and form Ice cream into approx 2 1/2″ balls. Place in muffin pan and then into freezer for 1 hour. Pulse corn flakes in food processor to crush. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in crushed corn flakes and cinnamon and cook, stirring constantly, about 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and stir sugar into mixture. Pour into a shallow dish and allow to cool. Place ice cream ball into mixture and roll to evenly coat.
Press corn flake mixture around outer surface if a thicker coating is desired. I like to drizzle honey over it and top with whipped cream and a cherry; as that's the way it was always served to me at La Mesa. But you can serve it topped with chocolate syrup, caramel topping, whipped topping and cherries; as desired. It's your ice cream, so top it anyway you want to.
Till next time.......

Cinco de Mayo...........

The Fifth of May!, commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. They hold parades, have Mariachi music, Pinatas and dancing. A time to party!
Till next time........

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Black Bean Salsa..........

Another dish for Cinco de Mayo is Black Bean Salsa or Cowboy Caviar. This is good anytime! So mix up a batch and give it a try!! Open the bag of tortillas and have yourself a snack.
Black Bean Salsa
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
4 Tbsp lime juice        
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 cans black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 can corn, drained
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced fine
Fresh Cilantro, 1 handful, chopped
1 avocado, diced (optional)
*Celery and/or green pepper can be used instead of avocado.
Pour dressing over all and chill.
Put this delicious side dish on your party table and enjoy!
Till next time.......

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mojito time.........

You can't have a Cinco de Mayo party without a pitcher or two of Mojitos! This Mojito recipe has a bit of a "kick". But that's what makes it so good.
Jalapeno Simple Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 Jalapeño, halved and seeded

Add the sugar, Jalapeño and 1 cup water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and let cool for 1 hour. Remove the Jalapeño before using.
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 limes, halved
Club soda, for topping
9 ounces clear rum
 Divide the mint leaves between two pitchers, and muddle. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime into each pitcher, then add the simple syrup, evenly divided. Fill the pitchers with ice and top off with club soda. Add the rum to one of the pitchers. Stir and serve.
Till next time........

Monday, May 2, 2016

Layered Bean Dip.............

Cinco De Mayo is fast approaching. If you are planning a party to celebrate this fifth day of May; you might want to try this layered bean dip.
Layered Bean Dip

1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 package (1 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1 cup chunky salsa (any variety)
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (8 oz)
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained (1/2 cup)
1 medium tomato, diced (3/4 cup)
Cantina tortilla chips or Blue corn tortilla chips, as desired. In medium bowl, mix refried beans and taco seasoning mix. Spread mixture on large platter. In another medium bowl, mix cream cheese and chiles. Carefully spread over bean mixture. Top with salsa, lettuce, cheese, olives and tomato. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy your party! 

Till next time........