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It’s Been a Looooong Time

Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I know you missed me. :) My husband I entered a chili cook off at his job. I can’t believe HE didn’t win! He said some venison chili beat out my black bean carnitas chili in all its slow-roasted, fall off the bone goodness. Oh wait! HIS black bean carnitas chili in all its slow-roasted, fall off the bone goodness. Several requests for the recipe which I made up as I went along. It’s scribbled on the back of some cardboard. One day I’ll transcribe it. It’s all good because employees purchased tasting samples. The money went to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation? Fund?

I’m about to enter my big season of cookie decorating so you know how I roll. I’ll be a bakin’, decoratin’ and pitcher (picture in Southern-speak) takin’ fool. I can’t wait. I have a new cookie cutter/message set that’s way cool.

I’m entering my Sorority’s (local chapter) bake off in the cookie division. I’m dreaming up my theme and what I’m going to do. I’ll post AFTER the event on December 14, 2013.

Take Care!

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7 Layer Salad!

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Do you remember your first 7 Layer Salad? I understand that it’s a southern old school staple, but I believe my first taste was AFTER I graduated from college! I told you in my mini bio that my food experience as a child wasn’t always or even mostly southern on a regular basis!

Anyway, I had a jones for a 7 Layer Salad for the Fourth of July. I love how all the textures come together with that creamy sweet salad dressing (mayo, vinegar and sugar) to pull all the salad together. All my salad favorites together–onion, cheddar cheese, iceberg, peas, bacon and eggs. My salad palate is more refined now such that I almost turn up my nose to iceberg lettuce except on a sandwich and I try to stay away from mayo on a salad (talk about old school–no salad dressing in the fridge? Momma concocted some mayo and ketchup and called it Russian dressing).

This 7 Layer salad is different than the one I/we devoured on the Fourth and Fifth of July. This one is on an iceberg wedge. There’s something super retro about a wedge salad. Dontcha think? Anyway, instead of nearly arranging all the layers, I carefully sprinkled the ingredients on the wedge. This version, I added left over fresh corn on the cob that I reheated in the pan after the bacon was just about crispy and I added Savory Spice’s Italian Dressing Spice Blend to the dressing (recipe below).

Dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp Savory Spice Italian Dressing Spice Blend

Mix well with a whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust the flavors by adding more of the ingredients (that’s how a real scratch cook rolls). Make sure the dressing is pourable but not runny.

Assemble your salad and enjoy!

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Stuffed Poblano Peppers

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I’ll bet Peter Piper’s Poblano Peppers don’t taste like mine! Gah! I’ve never made stuffed poblano peppers and in fact, I’ve never eaten a poblano (I don’t think). They are hotter than I thought but not as hot as a jalapeño. Be careful when you chop them. Trust me when I tell you.

This is such a simple recipe. It’s decadent but you don’t feel stuffed when you eat it. It’s my new version of comfort food. It has just the right amount of zing that goes with Tex-Mex or Southwestern or Mexican food. In case you want to make this, here you go.

Of course I made up the recipe, but I kept notes for my fans.

2 poblano peppers, split and seeded
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 green onion finely sliced including white part
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 ear corn, slightly roasted and kernels removed
1/2 c cheese (Mexican mix)
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup black beans, drained
3/4 cup yellow rice
3 tsp Lode Red Adobo seasoning (savory spice) or cumin, salt, paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder and pepper combo

Mix chopped veggies, corn, beans together and seasoning. Fold in rice, cheese and sour cream. Fill peppers, top with additional amount of cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

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Smoothie Like a Sunday Morning!

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This was some kind of good! Gah.

I don’t usually mix dairy and fruit, but I did this morning. It all started with that yucky allergic reaction to a facial moisturizer last week. I have been on prednisone the miracle drug from hell all this week. It causes all sorts of crazy temporary side effects–sleeplessness, headaches and water retention. But may face is clear from the reaction. Anyway, on Friday, after a long day not really because I was enjoying running errands on my day off, I noticed that my feet were swollen which is not how I roll unless I’m pregnant but that ain’t the case so don’t start the rumor! And GASP! My ankles were swollen too. Ugh! What to do?

Because my life revolves around ‘doing the research’, of course I did the research. Yep, fluid retention in the lower legs can be a side effect. So I read on. Blah blah blah. I find out that you have to drink more water to retain less water (umm ok) and there’s something about the sodium blah blah and that potassium helps balance something or other it made sense a couple of days ago, probably the sodium, which is part of the water retention. I get to drinking water. I realized I had had three Cokes within the 24 hours prior to this ‘incident.’ Oh yeah, caffeine is a culprit too. Whoops!

Because I HAD to run to Walmart to get the largest bag of laundry detergent pods in the world 77 of them, for a hot minute, I considered purchasing a diuretic. Nah. Too much research ahead of me. So I decided to handle my business. I found a smoothie made with fruits that I like that are high in potassium. I can’t have bananas because I’m allergic to them–hospital action.

On Saturday, after my first installation of my Couch to 5K, I head to Whole Paycheck in my running/walking gear like all the cool moms–except my gear wasn’t as cool as theirs. My Saucony Progrid Guide 6 shoes and my technical socks were on point though. Haha. I had on my Wayfarers of course. I digress. I purchase the Whole Foods for my smoothie and one of their Memorial Day meal bundles for my family.

Here’s what I purchased (sorry no pictures):

1 large very juicy red grapefruit
1 small cup’s worth of strawberries from the salad bar (I later froze these)
1 365-brand vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt

You will also need 1/2 cup of orange juice but I had that at home.

Here’s what I did:

I removed the grapefruit skin and cut the fruit probably some seeds too and placed all of it in the blender. I added the frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup of yogurt and blended until smooth. What the heck? It’s a smoothie! Duh!! (The original recipe I found online called for a banana (I’m allergic), honey and wheat germ.)

It was perfect. I didn’t add honey. The sweetness from the strawberries (or strawbears as my boss Mary’s 20 month old son E calls them) and the orange juice was just enough. Plus the red grapefruit was just so danged good.

Oh yeah, my ankles are no longer swollen but it’s probably because of all the water I drank. They went down before I even made the smoothie. Haha.

Isn’t the paper straw so retro?

Aaachoo! And other things like that!

Welp, it’s day 4 days since this stupid rash thing has been all over my face. Since my new food allergies and this horrible pollen season, I’ve been super diligent with avoiding the allergens I can avoid.

Here’s what happened. I ran out of the fabulous AVEDA Kinetics facial moisturizer last week. I have gotten every drop out of that 20 oz-? $77 bottle of moisturizer. I decided to use another sensitive skin moisturizer. Wrong move. My face started breaking out all over. The rash is still there, it’s not as noticeable but it’s there.

I’m now on a 14 day prednisone course. I’ve been down this road. My side effects are usually: headache, sleeplessness and muscle aches (less often). I also am severy watching what I eat to reduce the likelihood of weight gain and water retention.

What’s for Dinner? (Oh Crap! I Don’t Know!)

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It’s the age old, cliche question I get from my crew–what’s for dinner? When I don’t have a thought in my mind and I haven’t put meat in the ‘fridge the night before to defrost it, I’m in trouble.

All. The. Meat. Is. Frozen. Rock. Solid. Sooo, what will thaw out in the microwave and not be compromised in texture by doing so? Dontcha hate when some parts of the meat begin to cook before being thawed in the microwave? Well, I do. But cooking some meat from a partially frozen state is fine–ground beef to make spaghetti, same for chicken breast fillets if your grilling them or baking/broiling them. I digress.

So I stumble upon two Italian sausage links that I nicely wrapped in freezer paper, labeled and placed in those plastic freezer bags that rhyme with Lip-Zoc! Ha! I pulled out a partially full bag of egg noodles and decided I’d make a casserole of some sort. Because I had not put away the jar of chicken bouillon cubes from the night before, I figured I’d use some to season the water for the egg noodles.

After defrosting the sausage, I cut a slit down the side to remove the casing. I figured it’d be quicker to cook the sausage if I cooked it in pieces. Let me tell you, it was easier and it made it looks like I had a TON of sausage. I browned the sausage on the stove top.

After draining the noodles and browning the sausage, I dumped them together in a square glass dish, the size you bake brownies in. Well with a casserole, you need some ‘glue’ not cream of anything soup here because I think it’s gross and all of it tastes like it came out of a can to pull the ingredients together. Hmmm.

Whelp, I have milk, eggs and cheese. I heated some milk, added two eggs and prayed they didn’t scramble because I didn’t temper them. I added a couple of handfuls of fiesta blend cheese to the milk mixture. Voilà! Believe it or not, I’ve seen some people spell that word ‘Walla.’ Seriously?. I poured this mixture over the noodles and sausage, topped it with a bit of the cheese blend and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top for good measure. I put it on the oven to bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Isn’t that the formula for all casseroles?

My fingers are crossed. I’m waiting for it to bake. I’m sipping in Kool-Aid lemonade and am too lazy to change the channel from Sponge Bob, yeah, the remote doesn’t work. When the casserole ‘s done I’ll get up.

If it looks good, I’ll take and post a picture. If not, I may still post a picture. Who knows?

RESULT: It turned out great!!! Gah, it is so good. Now I need to create a recipe so I can repeat this casserole.

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Sunday Pork Roast. Gah it Smells Soooo Good!

It’s a dreary (as in cloudy not much going on) Sunday afternoon here. I did water our new shrubs. Somebody should have recorded that because I’m no outside person. I’m prepared a roast pork piece of meat because I don’t know which cut this is.

Here’s what I did: I liberally rubbed the pork with the Sage and Savory and the Tiny Town Turkey Rub. I used the kitchen twine to hold the pork together and keep its shape while browning and baking. I dusted it with flour and browned all sides and both ends in vegetable oil on the stove top.

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The Devil is in the Details: Baked Deviled Eggs

My dear friend Brenda invited us to a fish fry and of course I asked what she wanted me to bring. She said I should bring whatever I wanted to bring. I told her I’d bring deviled eggs. That started our conversation about how quickly the eggs disappear when they are part of the spread.

So I’m thinking, hmmm, how do I make enough eggs that there will be more than 10 minutes’ worth on the table. I decided I would boil 3 dozen eggs in the oven. I’ve heard of people doing that and there are a ton of sites on Pinterest and other blogs that provide the instructions for doing so.

I’ll tell you, these eggs were the creamiest, smoothest ‘boiled’ eggs I’ve ever eaten. Gah! I swear. The. Best. I posted on Facebook what I was doing and some asked why? how? Why? I don’t own a pot large enough to boil that many eggs. Also it would take me longer than 30 minutes to boil that many eggs. Final why: because I could.

How? Well, here’s how I did it.

Preheat oven to 325.

On a mini muffin tin, place eggs horizontally across the wells (not in the wells). DO NOT ADD WATER.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place eggs in an ice water bath for 10 minutes.

Crack and peel eggs.

Jerk! Quick Midweek Meal.

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Doesn’t that jerk chicken sandwich look just divine? It was soooo good, tender and flavorful. How did I do it you ask? Here goes…

It was midweek and I knew I wanted to prepare something good and flavorful not just cooked meat. Many times during the week most of the week , I find myself cooking a piece of meat, adding a starch and opening a bag o’ salad. Because I hadn’t marinaded the meat overnight, I was concerned that the jerk flavor profile wouldn’t make it’s way all the way through the meat. So I decided to use my handy meat mallet to pound the meat to within a 1/4 inch of its life. HAHA. I added olive oil to two glass dishes and added the chicken to one dish and pork to another. I sprinkled jerk seasoning liberally over the thinly pounded pieces of meat and added orange juice on top–not too much, just enough. I made sure to flip the meat to evenly cover all pieces.

I used my handy dandy electric skillet as a flat top grill so to speak. Perrrfecccct! I drizzled the griddle with olive oil and grilled sliced red onions until brown. I then grilled the meats (pork with pork then chicken with chicken–thou shalt not cook them together) for a few minutes on each side until done.

I prepared a jerk remoulade (fancy word for mayonaise with jerk spices). My family had the choice to make sandwiches or eat the meat as an entree served with buttered rice and bag o’ salad. I chose the sandwich which I served open faced with jerk remoulade, Swiss cheese, topped with grilled onions and a side of potato chips.

Now you want me to give you my recipe? Well, it’s an approximate recipe. You know me by now. often times i dont use a recipe at all or I use one as a suggestion. HAHA

Jerk Marinade
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c orange juice
2-3 tbsp jerk seasoning

1. Pour oil in glass container for marinating.
2. Place the thinly pounded meat in the oil, flipping to coat both sides.
3. Generously season both sides with jerk spices.
4. Add orange juice.

Set aside for 15 minutes. Remove from marinade and place on hot griddle.

Jerk Remoulade
1/4 c mayonaise
1 tbsp jerk spice

Mix well and set aside.

More pictures of the final product–pork on the left. I sample ate one sandwich of each and my favorite was the pork sandwich. Gah. I’d love one of those sandwiches now!

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I Know Which Side My Bread’s BUTTERed On!

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This venture keeps me right alongside my southern roots, just not modern southern roots. On today’s venture I made BUTTER. Yep! Butter. Why? Because I can! But why you still ask. A dear friend and Soror told me she made butter for a scratch made cake. Wow! Very impressed.

Figuring it took hours to make butter, I was content to think WOW. I hadn’t asked how she made it because I didn’t ever imagine I’d make butter. All I could think about was olden times with a woman who looked like Holly Hobby was churning butter in one of those wooden churns.

I decided to research making butter and learned that I had the primary modern kitchen appliance–my kitchenaid stand mixer. Love. I ran the technique by that friend whom I mentioned earlier. Yep. That’s what she used. In fact, she’s the one who shamed me when I told her I didn’t own a kitchenaid stand mixer about three years ago. She encouraged me to ask my husband for one for Christmas. Other than my engagement ring, this is the Christmas gift I’ve gotten the most use from. Love.

Today I had to take my college aged daughter to Harris Teeter for supplies for a dorm program and I couldn’t resist. I bought a pint of heavy whipping cream and a fresh French baguette from their bakery. My daughter’s used to my folly and just kept it moving like this was normal for anyone to walk past the dairy case filled with butter, select whipping cream to make butter and leave very excited to make butter. Yes. I’m doing too much. Being extra. It’s okay.

All you need is 1 pint of heavy whipping cream, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of salt and your kitchenaid stand mixer. At most it took 20 minutes. I began making it while our dinner was cooking–actually the fingerling potatoes were roasting. The butter was ready to be served with bread at dinner.

Instead of writing out the instructions, I’m sending you to the website I used: Brooklyn Farmhouse. I chose this site because it had great pictures.

I don’t plan to make our family’s butter for the rest of our lives, but I sure plan to make butter again ’cause I can.

Here are step by step pictures of my butter making venture.

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