Friday, November 30, 2012

Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread

I had a request yesterday to post my cornbread recipe, simple comfort food at it's very best. I grew up eating cornbread made in iron skillets, I'd watch Mom as she stirred the egg and buttermilk into the cornmeal mixture. She'd pull the hot skillet from the oven and pour the bacon grease into the golden batter, then quickly pour the whole shebang back into the sizzling skillet and pop it into the oven. In no time dinner would be on the table and a thick slice of golden brown cornbread would be on my plate, already buttered... Mom's do that for the ones they love! 

Step by step, The Cornbread Gospels has many recipes for regional cornbreads. They vary by yellow or white cornmeal, sweetened or unsweetened. There's no wrong way to make this comfort food, but this recipe is as close to the one Mom made in her kitchen on Summit as you can get!

Dairy Hollow House Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread
From The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon
Cooking spray 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1 1/4 cups buttermilk 
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 egg 
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil 
2 tablespoons butter 
1. Preheat over the 375F. Coat a 10-inch cast iron skillet with cooking spray. 
2. Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. 
3. Stir baking soda into buttermilk in a small bowl. Whisk in sugar, egg and oil. 
4. Place prepared skillet over medium heat; add butter. Heat until butter melts and starts to sizzle. Tilt pan to coat sides and bottom. 
5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and combine quickly, using as few strokes as possible. Scrape the batter into prepared pan. Bake until cornbread is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool a few minutes and slice into wedges to serve. Serves 8. 

*The daughter of writers Charlotte Zolotow and the late Hollywood biographer Maurice Zolotow, Crescent Dragonwagon writes "Nothing is wasted on the Writer" on Typepad. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Moravian Chicken Pie

We had stew and cornbread last night for dinner, perfect for a cold night. I have trouble sometimes deciding what sounds good, I love to try new recipes but more often than not, I return over and over to the ones we love. Sometimes I just reach back to places we've lived to remember some great recipes I learned in different regions. We moved to Wilkesboro, North Carolina in 1989 after Tyson bought Holly Farms. Wilkesboro was a beautiful little town in the NW corner of the state, the Blue Ridge Parkway was just a few miles away with it's breathtaking views of the smoky blue mountains. We only lived there a year, but we spent our time wisely sightseeing and tasting our way through NC! 

Wilkes County was a very confusing  place to drive, many of the roads were named for churches. When I'd ask for directions, they'd say "Turn down Brushy Mountain Baptist Church Road, then go about a quarter mile and turn right on Welcome Home Baptist Church Road. If you see Moravian Falls Church Road then you've gone too far!" It was kind of funny but not when I was crazy lost! That reminds me of another great thing about North Carolina, Kingswood Chicken Pie that the Moravian Falls Church made for fundraisers.The Wilkes Journal- Patriot printed the recipe and I couldn't wait to make it. I clipped the recipe and glanced over the ingredients. I looked twice and re-read, it had to be more than this...that's not enough ingredients for a proper Chicken Pie. But I was thinking Midwest Pot Pie and this was Moravian Chicken Pie. The Moravians settled in the area a century ago and they are famous for this dish made with not much more than chicken, chicken broth, flour, and butter. It's a meat pie, just simple comfort food. 

Just click on the title to print~
Kingswood Chicken Pie
(clipped from the Wilkes Journal-Patriot)

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup Crisco
8 tbsp cold water
Mix into soft dough. Handle as little as possible. Roll out half the dough to fit a greased pie plate. 

3 cups finely chopped chicken
1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in the crust, sprinkle with flour and pour chicken broth gently over the filling. Cover with top crust, pinch edges of crust together to seal and flute around the edges. Bake at 375 F oven for 60 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crockpot Turkey Breast

Inside this steamy crockpot is a great, simple dinner that will transport you to Grandma's house on Thanksgiving! I made this recipe in addition to the big turkey on Thanksgiving just so we'd have plenty of our family's favorite white turkey breast. It was so good, it upstaged the Big Bird! You're not going to believe how easy this recipe is, 3 little ingredients... just click the title to print!

Frozen turkey breast, thawed 3-6lb average size (I used a small 3 lb.)
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 package Knorr Onion Soup mix

Thaw the turkey breast in the fridge. Wash and dry turkey breast, rub with butter and coat with the onion soup mix. Place on high for 1-2 hours and then on low for 2- 4 more hours. The time varies with the size of the turkey breast. I tested mine with a meat thermometer and it's done at 165 degrees. So moist and the flavor was out of this world good!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Move

Busy week ahead with Grandma's move coming up, packing, organizing 65 years of treasures. It's hard for her I know, I can imagine what I'd be feeling. It's a new chapter of her life, being waited on at Brookstone Assisted Living may be the hardest part for her! Until this past year, she swung her legs out of bed to make breakfast for Grandpa and her every single morning. Dishes done, she swept and cleaned the house, did wash and maybe even ironed some clothes before she sat down to read the newspaper. Everything changed when Grandpa needed nursing care. 

The job of deciding what to take, what to leave and what to find a new home for has been difficult for Mom. There's just too much in our lives that is important. It's amazing the amount of paperwork that is necessary these days, and it needs to be organized or the minute you need it you can't find it to save your life! Pictures too, they are all precious memories. I'm sure it feels like a blink ago that my husband was just her little blonde-headed boy riding his bike. I know, cause that's how I feel about our daughters who are now raising their kids!

If all the packing isn't bad enough, Grandma is learning how to use her new Smart Phone! If you ask her if she likes it, she'd probably say "NO" because it's not user friendly... YET! Like everything else in life, you get better with practice. I'm pretty sure she wasn't born knowing how to make the best pies, it took awhile and this will be the same! She has a new Facebook page with friends and family who can't wait to share their lives with her every day... 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ready for Santa

This may be the first year in a long time that I haven't got my Christmas cards started. This week for sure, I've got to go card shopping. This is the kind of card I love, it has to have a house that says Home Sweet Home!

I hope that's what our house says to the people that drive by. We don't have lights on the eaves anymore, the eaves are just too high. The first few years we did put them out, but in reality the only ones that see our lights are a handful of neighbors who live past us on South View Drive.... and the deer!

It was in the upper 30's yesterday when I took our new camera out to give it a trial run before I wrap it! Do you do that too... try out the presents before they go under the tree?

We were pretty successful on our Black Friday shopping. We started Thanksgiving night, going to Walmart for their 10-11 sale. The deal was when they exausted supply, they gave out gift vouchers to order the item to be shipped before Christmas. That's great marketing on their part, customers leave happy. That's what puts a kink in Black Friday shopping... all that trouble and leaving empty handed. The next stop was Kohl's, doors opened at midnight and the line was really long. We waited in the car since it had started drizzling rain. It took awhile to find the item we went for, but checkout was easy... they had a sales clerk directing traffic! Saturday we went to Sam's Club and took advantage of their all day sale items, I'm feeling pretty good about getting at least a few items checked off our shopping list!  

Lots of "glitches" in our Christmas plans this year; we can't all be together, some of us are moving over the holidays and some of us are having surgery. But Christmas will come, we do know that. And I know that Santa will be making a stop at my house, I have my stockings hung! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Waffle House Waffles

Last year's Black Friday midnight shopping started with a first ever (at least for me) trip to Waffle House. My GRANDson had filled me in on their scattered, covered and smothered hash browns. He's only 12 but he's been introduced to Waffle House by his parents, preparing him for a life of many tastes and flavors, people and food! Make no mistake, it's more than just a big breakfast... 
it's a slice of Americana and you KNOW I that!

Did you know that Harvard Business School says Waffle House is one of America's top examples of  entrepreneurial achievement? No other chain has a fan club like Waffle House, loyal customers who are greeted with a big "Hello" as they enter, no matter what the time of day or night.

When we got there around 11, the place was packed. Nearly every booth was taken, even the stools at the bar were occupied. My husband, the world traveller, says the bar has the "choice seats," since you can watch your meal being prepared! The waitress couldn't have been nicer, or more efficient. She had our coffees poured within minutes and our order placed. Everyone was talking about going shopping, there was a camaraderie between us... preparing for the start of Black Friday!

As delicious as Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings was, my waffle with a side of crispy bacon really hit the spot! If you've led a sheltered life like me, give Waffle House a try the next time you're hungry! Don't have a Waffle House where you live? Todd Wilbur of Top Secret Recipe fame shares Waffle House's signature recipe...

Waffle House Waffles
Makes 6 waffles~to print the recipe go HERE

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Stir to combine.

In another bowl lightly beat egg, add sugar, butter and shortening. Mix well with a mixer and then add half and half, milk, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend and mix briefly, only stirring to incorporate  the two. It's ok to have a few lumps in the batter. Overmixing will make for tough waffles. 

Spoon 1/3-1/2 cup batter onto hot waffle iron and bake 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with butter and syrup.

For the best clone of this 50 year old secret recipe, refrigerate the batter overnight! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Life's Little Hiccups

You better have a sense of humor or life's little hiccups are gonna make you crazy. I do, have a sense of humor and have hiccups... OFTEN! Sunday I had just got the last ornament put on tree #2 and finally set down. The house was quiet, hubby had went to a basketball game and I was planning some serious Pinterest Pinning. That's when the floor above me shook, well maybe it was more of a thump or a shudder but it got my attention! The squirrels make a lot of noise out on the deck chasing each other, but this definitely wasn't a squirrel.

I went up the stairs to investigate and checked out the bedrooms, didn't see a thing out of place. Then I noticed a round chunk of wood in the doorway leading to our closet. I walked inside to see the full length clothes rod broken in half, 10 feet 6 inches of clothes on the floor. Luckily the shelf above was still attached or I would have cried. It took a good 30 minutes to carry clothes to guest bedroom closets, they weighed a ton so I think the rod did a pretty good job holding out for 7 years!

Mom used to say "Laugh or cry, take your pick!" I think it was kinda funny. I think that means I'm coping well!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mud Street Muffins

If you have company coming for Thanksgiving weekend, you're probably planning your meals and want to make some extra special recipes to spoil them. I have just the recipe, from Mud Street Cafe at Eureka Springs, they share their famous Mud Street Muffins with us! It's unique, just like everything on their menu... in fact they are winners of Arkansas Readers' Choice Award for their adventuresome breakfasts and delicious desserts.

Located in  what the locals call "Underground Eureka," the building was built in 1888. At that time it was street level but frequent rains would cause the property to flood so eventually the street was built up, putting their present location down a flight of stairs. It's a beautiful building with wonderful old limestone walls, large wooden beams and stained glass lighting.The centerpiece of the dining room is a turn of the century oak bar with beveled mirrors. They feature Eureka's unique local art on the walls, it's a great place to go if you are anywhere near NW Arkansas!

The muffins can be prepared with any kind of fruit you like, fresh or frozen. The crumb topping is to die for, and you can even customize with balsamic vinegar, juices, ginger or nuts if that's to your liking! Mud Street is known for it's innovative dishes and this one is definitely "gourmet!"

The Mud Street Muffin  Just click the title to print!
Preheat oven to 400° for regular oven or 350° for convection oven. Spray 12 cup regular muffin pan or 6 cup large muffin pan.

Crumb Topping
Add to food processor:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Process ingredients with enough soft butter to form heavy crumbs and set aside.
Dry Ingredients
Sift together in large bowl:
2 generous cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Any spices being used
(see note below)

Wet Ingredients
Have prepared 2 cups fruit, fresh or frozen
(see note below)
In a 2 cup measuring cup add:
1 Tablespoon any kind of vinegar (balsamic is wonderful!)
2 teaspoons vanilla and any other flavorings to be used (see note below)
Fill to 1 and 1/3 cups with milk and microwave for 45 seconds. In a separate container melt 1/2 cup of butter in microwave. Beat 1 egg into liquid ingredients and add melted butter and beat in.

Add and combine fruit (and nuts to taste if using)to flour mixture, make well in center and add liquid mixture & fold in gently. DO NOT OVERMIX - this will toughen the muffins. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. If using nuts in the muffins sprinkle same on top of batter in cups. Sprinkle generously with crumb topping. Bake for 26 minutes then test for doneness. Muffins should be firm to the touch. (May take as much as 5 min. more baking time) Let muffins sit in pan on cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before attempting to remove. (longer is better) Use table knife to help lift muffins from pan.

Any kind of fruit can be used. Cut up into pieces about the size of 1/2 inch of your forefinger. Try different combinations of fruit. If using frozen fruit, do not thaw before hand. Frozen fruit like peaches, blackberries, mangos need to be cut into pieces as above. There are all kinds of fruit flavorings available. Add a teaspoon to liquid ingredients to match fruit in muffins. Use fruit juice to replace part or all of milk. If using acidic juice like orange or pineapple (with pineapple tidbits for fruit) then omit the vinegar altogether. Add orange or lemon zest to dry ingredients. If you want lemon muffins replace vinegar with 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and add a Tablespoon of lemon flavor. Be creative with spice combinations. Use fresh ginger finely chopped. Experiment!! Have fun!!! no matter what you do, the results will be, at the very least, "interesting"; and at best sublime!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Aunt Zesta's Pies

Thanksgiving 1950
Grandma Risley with her Grandchildren
Turkey Day can be a little nerve-racking for a new cook, or if you have a houseful of guests and you're trying to make everything come out perfect. No one ever said family gatherings were easy, it's just that our Moms and Grandmothers made it look that way! Practice made for perfect meals, but in reality they probably flubbed up on many occasions before they got it under control!

Uncle Tracey, Aunt Zesta and cousins Shirley, Patsy and Betty
I was talking to my cousin Patsy the other day and I told her I sure wished I could bake a pie like her Mom, Aunt Zesta. She was a master of pie making, each slice picture perfect. I don't think there was a pie college that all of my female relatives graduated from, but they all had degrees in crust making and filling finesse. Aunt Joy, Aunt Hope and of course my Mom and Grandmothers could turn out a holiday meal in two shakes of a Revere Wear pan. And they did it with everyone in the family underfoot in their little kitchens!

Shirley, Betty, Patsy and my brother Sheldon
Our family compiled a cookbook years ago, it was the brainchild of my dear Aunt Joy who loved to cook for all of us. As I turned to "Desserts" to look for pie recipes, I couldn't help but notice just how fat that chapter was! There are 6 recipes for pie crust, each a little different from the others. Hmmm, I've had all of these through the years and they were all Blue Ribbon good, so what's the real secret? Maybe, just maybe it's the hands that made it and the love that was rolled inside. 

Uncle Tracey, my Dad and Uncle Walton
Just in case you are the cook this year and you have a few questions that need answering.... here's a list of hotlines and websites that might just save you from making the meal a "learning experience!" Most of these have a hotline and email that works all throughout the holiday season so keep this list handy.
All times below are Central time.
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: (888) 674-6854. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays year round; 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day; recorded food safety messages available 24 hours a day. Email mphotline.fsis@usda.govThe website features tip sheets and an automated response system available 24/7, including "Ask Karen."
National Turkey Federation: Recipes, FAQs, chef demos, tips
Butterball Turkey Talk Line: (800) 288-8372. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through next Wednesday; 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays Nov. 23-Dec. 26, plus the weekend before Christmas; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 24. features tips, recipes and FAQs. Email Connect with other Thanksgiving cooks on or follow @Butterball on Twitter.
Honeysuckle White Turkey Line: (800) 810-6325. 24 hours daily during the holiday season. Recorded messages on a variety of topics. has tips, recipes, FAQs. Live help from a consumer response specialist, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, (800) 532-5756 (not Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day).
Jennie-O Turkey Hotline:(800) 621-3505. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays. has recipes, tips and FAQs.
Reynolds Turkey Tips Hotline: (800) 745-4000. 24 hours daily during the holidays. Recorded messages on thawing and roasting turkey. More at
Epicurious: Recipes, slide shows, videos and more at the website.
Fleischmann's Yeast Baker's Help Line: (800) 777-4959, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Answers here and at to questions about breads and rolls.
Food Network: Thanksgiving menus, recipes and tips at Share your photos, peruse thousands of Thanksgiving recipes and talk turkey in reader forums.
Better Homes & Gardens:Holiday survival guide
General Mills' Betty Crocker help line: (888) 275-2388. 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. has recipes, menus, tips and more.
Pillsbury: Tips, menus, recipes, holiday ideas
Land O'Lakes: Recipes, FAQs, baking tips, videos at the
Crisco Pie Hotline: (877) 367-7438. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays year-round; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 15-24 and Dec. 13-23. More at
Libby Consumer Hotline:(800) 854-0374. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays year-round. Tips, advice, recipes using canned pumpkin and at
Ocean Spray Cranberries:(800) 662-3263. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays year-round. has recipes, menus, tips, FAQs.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Tried and Trues

Grandma's in the kitchen, making the memories!

This time next week, the turkey and dressing will be in containers in the fridge, waiting for that perfect after Thanksgiving sandwich or a full go-around... the rewarming of all the goodies left. We do it up right; starchy sides, rich desserts and buttery breads so by the time the next day rolls around we're still not hungry even though it's been hours since we ate! Nothing really sounds good except maybe a turkey sandwich.

It starts off plain, just the turkey and the bread... maybe some romaine lettuce and a few slices of tomato. Then a little cranberry sauce, that's when you spy the dressing/stuffing and make the decision to warm up a little dab to put on that sandwich. It was so good after all and would make this plain, diet version turkey sand a little more festive! Before you know it you have a Dagwood in your hands and you are miserable, again!

When it comes to holidays, we celebrate with food and plenty of it. That's the way my parents did it, and my grandparents and all of the ones who came before that. The ritual that we call Thanksgiving is all about the deliciousness of our lives, being together and remembering those who have gone on before. Not to be tampered with, this is what makes Thanksgiving so very special...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On the Border Chicken Tortilla Soup, I know the secret!

Just in case I get sued for printing this recipe, I'm changing the name a little! My favorite Saturday lunch out has got to be a hot steaming bowl of On the Border's Chicken Tortilla Soup... oh baby, it warms my cockles! I've tried many recipes and never found anything that comes close to their signature taste. Their salsa is distinctive and we love it too; fresh tomatoes, serranos, cilantro, lime but it's another thing I can't seem to copycat no matter how hard I try. 

They always send home salsa and chips with us, a trick I know... they have us HOOKED already! Most of the time, we use the salsa for Sunday omelets or weekday breakfast tacos, delish. But yesterday, when I saw that On the Border container setting on the top shelf in the fridge it just clicked...Signature Taste, that's the distinctive flavor that I couldn't quite place! So, I got my soup pot out and made the closest knock-off Chicken Tortilla Soup to theirs I've ever tasted! Before I do one more thing, I'm going to copy this one down. And then I'm going to share it with you guys!

One more suggestion, if you do have an On the Border near you... go for lunch and just smile and tell them you would like to take the rest of your salsa and chips home. The waiter always brings a container of fresh salsa and hot chips back with our ticket and then you have the beginnings of this great soup!

Almost On the Border, Really Close Chicken Tortilla Soup
1/2 c. On the Border salsa 
4 cups good quality chicken broth, I used Knorr Homestyle Chicken Broth 
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 c. diced onion
1 carrot sliced thin
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
bite size rotisserie chicken breast for each bowl
1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro, for topping
1/2 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

2 ripe avocados
On the Border tortilla chips

Heat chicken broth to boiling in a large saucepan. Add salsa and rice to broth. Add onion, carrot, zucchini and/or yellow squash and simmer 15 minutes or until veges are just tender. To serve, break a small handful of On the Border chips into bottom of each bowl. Ladle soup over tortilla chips. Top with chicken, cheese, cilantro, more chips and 1 fat slice avocado. 

*If you don't have an On the Border close to where you live, no problem... they sell their salsa and chips at Walmart. Not quite the same but pretty close!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The View

After a few windy days and then Sunday's rain, the leaves are almost off the trees. They are everywhere, knee deep in some places and glued to shrubs. We'll tackle them next weekend, mostly just blow them into the woods but even that is a job. My "yard guy" works for free, give him a good breakfast and he makes quick work of the leaves!!!

Fun to watch, the squirrels are busy outside finding acorns, hiding acorns and eating acorns! The birds and squirrels share a platform feeder, no sense fighting the battle to keep them apart. Just about every kind of bird visits the feeder including crows. They were lined up on the deck railing today, thrilled that I'd put banana chunks out. I wish I'd got a picture of them balancing in the feeder! Like most weekends, it flew by and Monday arrived in a blink. 

I'm wondering if retirement will slow down life. We both preface many of our sentences with, "When we retire..."No specific plans, but just knowing that we'll have longer than 2 days a week to "get things done" makes us feel like life is going to be easier. I hope so anyway. We built this house 7 years ago and it's a lot of work keeping up with the maintenance. It's beginning to creep into our minds that a smaller house might not be a bad thing, just not yet.

I don't want to give up fishing off the dock, picnics on the boat and especially the view...

But you know what I've learned in 42 years and 17 moves? Sometimes the next view is worth the wait!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monkey See, Monkey Do

How can I be this old and never known how to open a banana correctly?
Monkeys have been doing this all along.. 
you simply pinch the opposite end to open perfectly, no strings! Found this on Pinterest, my home away from home... you know what I mean. I pin and learn, pin and relax, it's not an addiction~ I'm preparing for a big test down the line!

This isn't the only thing, there are other things I've been doing all wrong...

Here's another DUH moment, basketweave your bacon for that perfect BLT! Just cut the slices in half and weave under and over, bake or fry and you will have bacon in every single bite!

So irritating when I boil eggs and peel away over half the egg white ending up with UGLY deviled eggs. For perfectly peeled eggs every time, just add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water you boil them in! 

Soggy tacos that break and fall apart ruining your fiesta? From America's Test Kitchen, a better way to make your taco. Just line your shell with a lettuce leaf... why didn't I ever think of that??? More tips on making the perfect taco when you visit their website!

I have a drawer full of gadgets for each and every thing I do in the kitchen. All I need is a pair of tongs to get that last drop out of those expensive lemons and oranges!

Cutting cherry tomatoes one by one? Yes, that's how I do it too! A much faster way is to sandwich them between two plastic lids and you're done in no time!

One last tip and this is a good one... hate to peel potatoes? A quick dip in boiling water and the skins slip right off, who knew!

Saving time and money- thank you Pinterest!
Visit my Kitchen Secrets board on Pinterest

Friday, November 9, 2012

Martians... Really???

I found this great website recently that lets me write a short column in a pretend newspaper. This is perfect for birthdays and GRANDkid achievements, but it would be hilarious for anyone who needs a smile! I can hear the wheels turning right now... have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Moving Forward...

This has been a hard week. My Mom has been in the hospital since Friday so I've not been home much. It's sad to see her health failing, she was strong for a long time. Her dementia keeps her from being able to tell me much, but when she woke up one time she was making ice cream with her Mom... a favorite memory she used to re-live. I can see expressions that help me to understand her feelings, even though she can't speak. So many helpful people all along the way to  give me hope and courage, placed there "strategically" I'm sure! I do feel a strength that comes from my faith, it's there even on the darkest days.

At this stage of my life, the one thing I can count on is that the horizon is always changing. I really never know what the day holds until the sun comes up. But one foot in front of the other is how I make it, and for America that's how we will overcome the many hardships we are facing right now. Working together toward a goal, it's senseless to lay blame and complain. Moving forward is the only answer and we can do that if we set aside party affiliation and focus on the task at hand. I'm in line to do just that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Long Island Medium

Have you seen this show on TLC? The last time I saw it, Theresa Caputo was at the nail salon having a pedicure, her toes were down in the little soaking tub and she was having a conversation with her best friend when in walks a spirit. Really! The lady next to her had brought one with her when she came and set down beside them. What else could she do, she had to tell her that her Mother was there with her and that she appreciated all that her daughter had done to care for her during those last few difficult months. She wanted to tell her that she was thrilled to see she was getting married, finally! There's always that shocked look when she spills out the information to a perfect stranger. By the time she gets finished telling you things that just couldn't be known unless, well unless it was true, she makes a believer out of nearly everyone.

Mom told me once that when she and Daddy first moved to California, they had their fortunes told by a lady on the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz. Just a fun thing, they didn't believe it was possible that she could foretell their future. They walked away knowing that a baby boy would be born, followed by a daughter. Sure enough my brother was born the following year and then I came along 6 years later!

I'm not sure if I would ask a medium any questions, I like the surprises along the way!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ike's Vegetable Soup

It's Election Day, for many of us we are glad it's here and anxious for it to be over! I'm ready to cut back spending, starting today and to celebrate no more phone polls--- we're having Eisenhower Vegetable Soup for dinner! I found an interesting site while surfing the other day, The National Archives Presidential Libraries. From there I began reading and came across some great recipes and history associated with each President. There's actually a cookbook, Eating with Uncle Sam: Recipes and Historical Bites from the National Archives, with stories and recipes that were First Family favorites! 

The only five-star general ever to be elected President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower was no stranger in the kitchen. Throughout his Presidency, Eisenhower used the kitchen on the third floor of the White House to prepare his favorite soups and stews. His directions tell a lot about the era and his cost saving ways... I like that Ike!

Dwight D. Eisenhower's Vegetable Soup
1 meat bone
a couple pounds of mutton or beef soup meat
5 quarts water
small piece of garlic
black pepper

President Eisenhower's directions:
"The best time to make vegetable soup is a day or so after you have fried chicken and out of which you have saved the necks, ribs, backs, uncooked. (The chicken is not essential, but does add something.)

Procure from the meat market a good beef soup bone – the bigger the better. It is a rather good idea to have it split down the middle so that all the marrow is exposed. I frequently buy, in addition, a couple pounds of ordinary soup meat, either beef or mutton, or both.

Put all this meat, early in the morning, in a big kettle. The best kind is heavy aluminum, but a good iron pot will do almost as well. Put in also the bony parts of the chicken you have saved. Cover it with water, something on the order of 5 quarts. Add a teaspoon of salt, a bit of black pepper and, if you like, a touch of garlic (one small piece). If you don't like garlic, put in an onion. Boil all this slowly all day long. Keep on boiling till the meat has literally dropped off the bone. If your stock boils down during the day, add enough water from time to time to keep the meat covered. When the whole thing has practically disintegrated, pour out into another large kettle through the colander. Make sure that the marrow is out of the bones. I advise you let this strain through the colander for quite a while as much juice will drain out of the meant. (Shake the colander well to help get out all the juice.)

I usually save a few of the better pieces of meat to be diced and put into the soup after it is done. The rest of it can be given to your dogs or your neighbor's chickens. Put the kettle containing the stock you now have in a very cool place, outdoors in the winter time or in the ice box; let it stand all night and the next day until you are ready to make your soup."

For more information about this recipe or any of Dwight Eisenhower’s favorite foods, you can check out the “Ike and Mamie’s Favorites” web page.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Washing away troubles...

We stood at the sink at Aunt Nadine's house, washing up the dinner dishes. I was washing, Nadine drying and Mom T set at the kitchen table. We were laughing and talking, enjoying each other's company. I can remember a time when dishwashers were not a part of our lives, washing dishes three times a day or more was just a given. Not a bad thing, there were many problems that were solved right there at the kitchen sink. I can remember my Mom and her Mother taking forever washing the dishes, I would help a little with clearing the table so I was there for part of the conversation. Their voices would go up and down, from audible to barely heard- discussing everything from politics to who wore summer white after Labor Day... 
it's a southern thing. 

Clotheslines too, they are gone from yards, even Grandmas have dryers. Once a Mother/daughter chore that gave the chance for serious talks as Mom gathered and folded the clothes and  I helped with the clothespin bag. Sad really, gone forever are those bonding times when hot sudsy water or fresh folded laundry meant you were loved. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Alice Springs Chicken

So good, Outback's own Alice Springs Chicken! Just click on the title to print the recipe...
  • Alice Springs Chicken
  • Honey Mustard Marinade:
  • 1 c. Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
  • 1 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Chicken:
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms 
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
Combine the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Place chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour in about 1/3 of the marinade. Seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Chill the remaining marinade until later. After the chicken has marinated, remove chicken from bag and discard the marinade that it has been soaking in. 
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and heat an ovenproof frying pan large enough to hold all four breasts. Sear the chicken in 1 tablespoon oil in the pan for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from heat but keep chicken in the pan. 
Saute the mushrooms in butter in a small skillet. Brush each seared chicken breast with a little of the honey mustard marinade, reserving some to serve on the side later with the dish. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. Stack two pieces of cooked bacon, crosswise on each chicken breast. Spoon the sauteed mushrooms onto the bacon, being sure to coat each breast evenly. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese evenly onto each breast followed by 1/4 cup of cheddar. Bake chicken breasts until cheese is thoroughly melted and starting to bubble, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving and serve honey mustard marinade on the side.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Early Voting

You're either like Maxine or you know someone just like her... or both! The older I get, the more I LOOK just like her : ) sigh~  Mornings my get-up is pj's, pink houseshoes and if I get cold while surfing the net, I add a sweater from the hall closet. When I was younger, I would have literally died if someone caught me in this homeless person outfit... now not so much!  We live far enough out in the country that unannounced company just doesn't happen, good thing!

And then there are the people who are LIKE Maxine; brassy, bossy... they shoot from the hip. They don't have any problem letting you know their view on politics or religion. I have one person in mind here... she boldly told a neighbor she didn't like her landscaping, or the mix match cabinets in their kitchen. Hey, that is actually a trend Maxine! Can you imagine letting loose like that on someone? We might want to, but manners prevent us from going there.

Watching the debates reminds me that a little Maxine is not a bad thing. If we don't stand up for what we believe to be important, then we blend with the masses. "Toot your horn" my Dad used to say. We voted last Saturday to miss out on the crowds that I expect will be there come election day. Last week I noticed a lot of cars around City Hall on that first day of early voting. That's a real good indication that we all want to have our voice heard this election. Make sure your vote counts! 

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