I love the taste of...

January 9th
My Mom's Cauliflower
On one of my visits to Greensboro this past fall, my dad and I got to reminiscing about favorite foods that my mom used to cook. One of those was this very simple cauliflower recipe that she made when ever she was trying to avoid carbs.  If you close your eyes it kind of tastes like macaroni and cheese. 
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, base trimmed
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used about 1/3 of a cup)
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tsp prepared mustard ( I used a Dijon)
Salt and pepper

Cook the cauliflower whole in boiling salted water, 15-20 minutes. Drain well.
Place cauliflower in a shallow baking dish.
Mix mayonnaise and mustard, spread over cauliflower.
Top with cheese.
Bake at 375 for about 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Give it a try. It's yummy

October 24th
Apple Pumpkin Muffins 
 I've shared this recipe before, but not in this section of my blog. Here is the link to the original recipe. I omit the cream cheese layer because Alan's not the biggest fan of it. We love them without it, but I imagine they would be even better with it.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped apples, peeled
  • Cream Cheese layer:
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Streusel:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • *Glaze (optional)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
How to Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line a muffin pan with liners, or spray pan with cooking spray
  3. Prepare muffin batter by whisking together flour, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
  4. In another bowl mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Mix these wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients until incorporated.
  5. Stir in chopped apples.
  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
  7. Cream Cheese Mixture:
  8. In mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, milk and vanilla together until smooth. Place a heaping teaspoon of mixture on top of pumpkin batter.
  9. Streusel:
  10. Using a fork or pastry cutter, combine all ingredients until they form a coarse crumb. Sprinkle evenly over all the muffins.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Drizzle with glaze if desired (just mix powdered sugar and milk together until smooth)
October 18th
 I've been meaning to post this recipe for a while now. My Sister in Law made these for us when we were visiting Memphis over Labor Day weekend. You can't really go wrong with hot dogs and bacon, but the dipping sauces really added some extra zing. I haven't made them yet, but I'm going to very soon.
Here is the link to the recipe.

March 22nd
Spring Penne 

I saw this recipe mentioned on another blog and decided to give it a try. I needed to use up some asparagus and English peas. The only changes that I made, were to add a little white wine with the chicken stock, some grated lemon peel and shrimp. Grace and I really enjoyed it. I will probably make it again.

February 23rd
 Pinterest to the Rescue
It's been a while since I've shared any of my Pinterest experiments with you. Last month at my stamp club get together, Jennifer brought a very yummy chicken dish. I'd seen this recipe and pinned it but never given it a try. Hers was so good and guess what? I just happened to have all of the ingredients on hand to make it. 
Before baking

After baking
All you do is place some chicken breasts, potatoes and green beans in a baking dish, drizzle with half a stick of melted butter and sprinkle  on a whole package of dry Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix. Cover with foil and bake for about an hour. 
I'm going to be honest and tell you that my chicken was a bit on the dry side. When I questioned Jennifer about this, because hers was super moist. She told me that she used a whole stick of butter and cooked it all for about an hour and 20 minutes. Also, I used fresh green beans and she used canned. I don't thing that mattered at all. Needless to say, Grace and Alan enjoyed it and I only had to wash one pan.

January 17th
Grace's Spanish Tortilla with Brava Sauce
There are several nice things about having Grace back home with us, but one of the best is that she's been doing some of the cooking. This past week she made her special Spanish Tortilla which is sort of like a dense potato omelet. She hasn't written down the recipe for me yet, but it's basically chopped potatoes, cooked with onion and garlic and then mixed with beaten eggs and sliced sausage and cooked again like a giant potato pancake. Take my word for it that it's very tasty. My favorite part of the dish however is the Brava sauce that we ate with it. It's kind of like a ketchup/mayo combination. I do have the recipe for it. If you don't want to make the tortilla make the sauce. It's great with French fries.

Brava Sauce
3 TBSP olive oil
4 large Russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 TBSP minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 TBSP Paprika (Spanish if you have it)
1/4 tsp Tabasco
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
In a saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is soft. Turn off the heat and add the paprika, Tabasco and thyme. Stir well. Transfer to a bowl and add the ketchup and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.

December 8th
One of my new favorite things
 This stuff is so good. I would send a bottle of it to all of you, but it has to stay refrigerated. I made up this salad last night and had it again for lunch today. All it's missing are dried cranberries which I plan to run out and buy as soon as the roads are cleared of snow. 
I used:  Romaine lettuce, halved red grapes, sliced banana, Feta cheese, walnuts and crumbled apple smoked bacon. The pictures do not do this salad justice. I know it looks kind of yucky, but trust me it is really, really good. I like mine with freshly ground pepper.

September 26th
As promised, here are the links to the recipes that I mentioned.
 The beans were my favorite. I made the tomatoes because I had a ton of them in the garden. I'd say they turned out OK. 

July 28th
Quinoa Tabbouleh
It's been quite a while since I've shared a recipe with you. Here is one from my local paper that I have made several times this summer. I can't seem to get enough of it. It helps that I have an abundance of mint and parsley in my garden.
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
6 TBSP lemon juice(divided)
2 cups cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper
2 cups chopped cucumber
3 scallions or red onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup chopped mint leaves

Cook the quinoa in the chicken broth and 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice. I put it in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the broth is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, chop up everything else, add the rest of the lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.Add the cooled quinoa and chill for at least an hour before serving. 

I also make this with bulgur, a combination of bulgur and quinoa, I've even added couse couse. I get mine at Trader Joe's. When I'm really desperate Costco sells a very good Quinoa salad already made.

April 12th
Nutella Banana Bread

 I've shared my most favorite banana bread recipe ever with you before. If you scroll down quite a bit you will find it. Last week I decided to try a new recipe that kept popping up on Pinterest. for Nutella Banana Bread. As you can see I made two small loaves which was a smart idea, because I sent one with my Dad to Tennessee and I pretty much ate the second one all by myself. Can you believe that Alan and Grace think that banana bread tastes like rotten bananas? Really? They do not know what they are missing.
I used more Nutella than the recipe called for, because I wanted to use up my jar. It is supposed to be very moist which makes it extra yummy, but a tad messy. It was easy to slice though, so not too messy. I'm thinking that it's probably more of a desert "cake" kind of bread, but it you like chocolate for breakfast than go for it.

February 26th
Cream Of Spinach Soup
I have had this recipe for a very long time. While Alan and I were in graduate school up in Wisconsin one of our married student housing neighbors shared it with me. It's been one of my favorites ever since and I probably make it at least 2-3 times a winter. I have changed it up over the years, making it an easier process. The original recipe had you putting all of the hot cooked ingredients into a blender. I use my immersion blender right in the pot and it works out just fine.
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Cups thinly sliced onions
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1 tsp. curry or cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cloves, nutmeg and black pepper
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 lb cooked frozen spinach.
1 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Heat oil in pot and add onions and garlic. Over med-high heat saute until tender. Add cumin or curry and stir rapidly for 15 sec. Add cloves, nutmeg and pepper. Next I add the broth, spinach and rice and just cook until heated. I use my immersion blender and blend it all up until it's smooth enough for me. You could put it into your blender in batches if you want to. Now add in the milk and salt to taste. (If you are going to freeze it this is a good stopping place) When ready to serve add the cream and heat until warmed. Sometimes I drizzle it with the lemon juice and sometimes I just forget to. Remember, this recipe came from Wisconsin, so I'm sure the milk was probably whole milk. I usually use skim and instead of cream I often substitute half and half or even fat free half and half. It does make it less creamy, but I think it's probably a little better for you.

January 23rd
I had some leftover ham from Christmas that I chopped up and stuck in the freezer for just this reason. I love bean soup and this one may just be my favorite. I think it's the combination of flavors, but the rosemary really makes it special.Click here for the recipe. Tuscan White Bean Soup

November 13th
Aunt Trudy's Fire Crackers 
OK, I'm just letting you know that these crackers are not for the faint of heart. These babies are SUPER spicy. I guess you could make them less spice if you wanted to, but then they wouldn't really be Fire Crackers would they? My Aunt Trudy has been making them for years and I finally decided to give them a try. What a hit at our neighborhood Halloween party, and they went over very well at a chili lunch we had a work last week. I decided to share the recipe with you, just in time for the holidays. You are welcome!
 1 box of Saltine Crackers (4 sleeves) Aunt Trudy uses whole wheat ones to make a "healthy" snack. In the picture above I used the Mini ones, in which case you need two boxes.
1 1/3 cups Canola oil
1 pkg dry Ranch salad dressing mix
4 TBSP crushed red pepper
Mix the oil, dressing and pepper in a small bowl.
It works best if you use two gallon size zip lock bags. Divide the crackers between the two bags and add half of the oil mixture to each bag. Shake the bags to evenly cover the crackers and then let them sit on your kitchen counter for about 4 hours. Every 30 minutes or so shake the bags and turn them over. That's it! No baking! Give them a try if you are brave.

I'm taking these little bags to my co-workers today. Happy Thanksgiving! 

October 16th
Autumn Vegetable Soup by Ellie Krieger
I can't believe that it's been almost 2 months since I shared a recipe with you. Good thing this isn't a cooking blog. Everyday I get an email from the fancy folks at Fine Cooking. I usually just hit delete, because honestly, their recipes tend to have way too many ingredients listed that I don't already have on hand in my kitchen. 
Last week however, this yummy soup popped up and I had just purchased butternut squash from Costco and a bag of kale from Trader Joe's. What a happy coincidence. 
I was very happy with the way it turned out. I think the addition of allspice, cayenne pepper and chickpeas really jazzed up what could have been plain old boring vegetable soup.
I've never cooked with kale before. I know it is supposed to be so good for you, but all of the washing and soaking to get it clean seemed like too much work. Kale cut, washed and ready to use was no trouble at all.
The recipe made quite a bit. I froze some and sent some back to school with Grace. Hope you give it a try.
Here is the recipe with a couple of my changes.

2 Tbs. olive oil
3 medium carrots, cut into bite size chunks
1 large onion, cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups 1/2 inch-cubed peeled butternut squash ( I used 3 cups because that's what I had)
1/4 tsp ground allspice (I used 1/2 tsp)
pinch cayenne pepper (I used 1/4 tsp)
salt to taste
1 quart lower-salt chicken broth ( I used 1 box broth and 1 box stock)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted diced tomatoes)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups packed, coarsely chopped kale ( I used the whole bag pictured above)
1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the squash, allspice, cayenne, and 1 tsp salt. Stir to combine. Add the broth, tomatoes with juice and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the kale and the chickpeas and cook uncovered until the squash is tender and the kale has wilted, about 15 minutes more. Discard the thyme sprigs before serving.

August 29th
Raspberry Pie

Yesterday my local grocery store had raspberries on sale for $2.00 a pint. They were beautiful, huge berries, so I picked up two boxes, then I saw the cutest little mini pie pan set and threw that in my cart too.

 I'm a sucker for pretty much "mini" anything, especially muffins, cakes and pies. I followed my regular recipe for fruit pies, a little sugar, cornstarch, tapioca. I also used the ready made rolled up pie crust, because making crust is my least favorite part of pie making. I know some of you probably think it's SOOOO easy.... Not as easy as opening up a box and unrolling dough. 

Alan and I ate half of the pie last night and are looking forward to finishing it off tonight. The kit came with two little red pie pans, so I think next time I'll make two pies, one to eat and one to freeze for later.
Shoo Fly!!!!

August 27th

I might have really gone a bit bonkers this time. If you follow me on Pintrest, you may have noticed that I've pinned a lot of recipes for dog treats lately. Our dog is so spoiled. She is a dog cookie eating machine. The problem is that she doesn't like the "cheap" treats. I have purchased them all and I have had to throw away a ton. Money down the drain. My thinking here is that she loves eating "people" food, so maybe if I make her cookies she will think that they are "people" cookies and I just might be able to save a little money.
This is the first recipe that I tried. All it is is whole wheat flour, baby food beef and some beef broth. OK, so I added a few sprinkles to make them look even more like people cookies. She loved them, especially the day they were baked. I've noticed that they seem to have lost their crunch and she's not quite as excited about them. I'm going to try sticking the ones that are left back into the oven for a few minutes to see if I can crisp them up again.
Don't they look just like peanut butter cookies. I think they look even prettier stored in a "cookie" jar.
I told you, I think I really have gone a little bonkers.....

August 1st

I don't know if you have heard, but this has been the hottest summer ever. Just when I thought that I was going to have a great garden harvest... things went from bad to worse. Yesterday I was out inspecting the damage from the heat, lack of rain and stupid squirrels. It's just sad.... I was happy to see that the basil for whatever reason seems to be enjoying the elements. I picked cherry tomatoes, basil, rosemary, thyme and parsley and then made the most delicious pasta dish (from Pintrest) check out Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken I've been looking at this recipe for weeks and just the picture makes my mouth water.

July 25th

Here's another Pintrest find for you. I made this squash casserole the other night for dinner. It's very different from my mother in laws squash casserole. Very little fat and not what I'd call "creamy". I love feta cheese and the "tartness" that it adds along with the squeeze of lemon. I did add a little chopped onion when I cooked the squash and garlic.

I also added plenty of pepper and a little salt. These are my favorite Trader Joe's finds right now. I'm a little bit bummed because TJ's has discontinued the Flower Pepper. Isn't that always the way? They get you hooked on a product and then "poof" it's gone forever. Hopefully something new will come along soon.

July 14th
I can't believe that I haven't shared a recipe with you since May. I am such a slacker these days. To be perfectly honest with you I really haven't cooked much since then and the stuff that I have cooked I've already shared with you over the past 2 years. I am a creature of habit and when I find recipes that I like well, I just keep making them over and over and over. I have tried a few new recipes that I found on Pinterest that are definitely worthy of sharing. Since I still have not figured out all of the Pinterest copyright rules, I'm just going to give you the links.

 Our favorite find so far this summer were these yummy Honey Lime Chicken Skewers. I doubled the recipe and we seemed to eat them for days. They have a bit of a kick, but in a good way.

May 11th
I forgot to tell you about the Quick and Easy Salsa that we also had during our Cinco de May celebration. Of course I found the recipe on Pinterest. It made a bunch and it was really good. I think it's called Easy Blender Salsa. give it a try.

May 5th
Cinco de Mayo
Here are the recipes that I used for our Sangria and Paelle. They were both super easy to make so I'll be making them again, maybe even for company.

May 1st
My Mother in laws Pepper Steak (Sort of...)

So, while shopping at Costco and Trader Joe's last week I found the cutest little tomatoes and bell peppers ever.

Why do I think miniature food is so darn stinking cute? No idea, but I bought them and brought them home. I spent a few days just admiring them and then decided that maybe I should actually use them up before they turned to yuck. I dug through my recipe box and found Mary Ann's Pepper Steak recipe. I just happened to have all of the ingredients, but when I read the directions and saw that you were supposed to cook and simmer the beef for over an hour, I knew I'd be making a few adjustments. Sorry Mary Ann.
To speed up the process I chose to use precooked beef that I had also gotten at Costco. So, basically I cooked the veggies I used several tiny tomatoes, 4 tiny peppers and 1 giant onion) in some olive oil, added in the beef strips and made the sauce. It was done in under 20 minutes. My kind of meal. I did add a couple of chopped up green onions just for color.
For the sauce: 1 cup beef bouillon
1 cup water
1 Tbsp corn starch
4 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste.

April 27th
Another Salad
This yummy salad required absolutely no effort on my part. I bought this Quinoa salad already made at Costco the other day. I've been eating it for lunch every day and loving it. Yesterday I had it with a couple of pieces of leftover steak and today I'm finishing up some grilled Asian chicken (Trader Joe's) from last nights dinner. The salad is full of tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. I'm calling it Super Healthy Salad.

April 24th
Spring Salads
you might remember me talking about this salad last spring. I've tweaked it just a little to include some of my Trader Joe's favorites. The Herb Salad Mix makes a lovely base for strawberries, dried cranberries, these Spicy-Sweet Pecans a little goat cheese or feta topped off with Fat Free Balsamic Dressing. I really could eat this every day. Oh, don't forget to add a little chopped up bacon bits!

April 21st
If I lived in Spain, I would eat olives and drink sangria every single day. As it was, I ate olives and drank sangria for 6 days in a row. Soooo Good!

Can you see the water in the distance. That is the Mediterranean Ocean. I'm not kidding. This might have been my favorite meal of the whole trip. Grace and I had the seafood paela and Alan had a giant steak.

Most of the sangria we had was made with red wine. We did have a white wine sangria at one meal. It was OK, but we all preferred the red.

Churros and chocolate with Alambra beer made for a tasty snack. Churros and chocolate without the beer made for a tasty breakfast.

That about covers all of the foods that we ate on our trip. Like I said before, Alan and Grace did not really appreciate me taking pictures every time we sat down to eat. I got as many as I could. Hopefully it's enough to give you a good idea. Everything we tried was delicious.

April 17th
I have to say that we didn't hold back in Rome. We ate like kings every day. Breakfast was included with our hotel room and it was a giant spread of "traditional European foods". One of our favorite places was a sidewalk cafe on the street right outside of our hotel. The price was right and wine was lovely.
First day lunch:

Dinner and Desert!

Day 2 Lunch

I think you can pretty much tell that we ate a lot of pasta, pizza and yummy desserts. I also tried to get a cappuccino every where we went. We even made it into one of the oldest coffee houses in Rome thanks to a recommendation from a friend. You pay for your drinks at the register and then stand at the counter while the very cute Italian guy makes your coffee. So fun to watch.

April 16th
Vacation Food
I'm going to post some pictures for you of the absolutely delicious food that we at on our trip. I don't have pictures from every meal, because Alan and Grace thought it was pretty embarrassing every time I pulled out the camera at a restaurant, but you know me... So here is what we ate in Paris

Lots and lots of croissants

Bottles of fancy water

Lots and lots of wine

Escargot, french onion soup and some kind of mushroom dish

Creme Brulee

Lots of tiny cups of coffee

Croissants with chocolate in the middle
March 25th
Lemon Cake
I ask you, does this look like diet dessert to you?

I found another kind of strange cake recipe on Pinterest. This one uses a box of lemon cake mix and a bottle of 7- UP. I forgot to buy the soda when I was at Kroger the other day, so I decided to try it with some of my Trader Joe's bottled water.

It worked! I made it in a 13 X 9 inch baking dish. It didn't raise all that much. Alan thinks it looks like cornbread. All I can tell you is that it tastes like lemon cake. Cake + Fat Free Cool Whip + Fresh Fruit = 2 points on my Weight Watcher's plan. 2 POINTS! I will be experimenting with this idea in the future.

March 20th
Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I know it sounds a little strange, but it was really very good. This recipe is another Pinterest find. Here is the link. I will most definitely make it again. It made a ton. There is still some in the refrigerator. Next time I make it I'll either freeze half of it, or take it to a neighbor. I wish I had thought about doing that this time. Oh well...

March 16th
St. Patrick's Day Cookies
Pinned Image
I found this recipe on, you guessed it PINTEREST. I actually made the cookies last weekend so that Alan could take them to work to share with all of his lab people. He says they were a big hit. If you plan to make them, I'd add more green food coloring than you think you should. I wish that I had put in just a few more drops. The dough lightens up while it's cooking. At least mine did.

See, this looks pretty green to me

Once baked, not so green

March 13th
Another one of my Pinterest finds from last weekend. Roasted Mushroom Medley 
I just have to say that I LOVE mushrooms. Alan does not share this love, so I made these last Friday while he was at work. What a shame that there was no one to share them with. I will be making them again very soon.

Start off with a bunch of herbs

2 pounds of mushrooms

Mix together with some olive oil

roast in the oven for a while

Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar LUNCH!

March 11th
Trader Joe's (again)
Here's what's for dinner

3 ingredients. How can you go wrong. I cooked up some chicken thighs, poured a jar of TJ's Masala Simmer Sauce over the chicken and "simmered" it all for about 15 minutes. Served with TJ's Naan and a salad. Fast, Easy and YUM!

February 28th
Recipes From Pinterest

Before baking

Over the past weekend I decided to actually make some of the recipes that I have pinned on Pinterest over the past month. What's the point of saving them if you never give them a try? Friday night I made the Pizza Bake found here . I tried to make it a little more Weight Watcher friendly by using whole wheat pasta, low fat sausage, turkey pepperoni and low fat cheese. It turned out pretty well. It made a ton and I really should have split it in half and frozen half for another day.

After baking
I also made the Weight Watcher friendly Corn Chowder found here.

I love Corn Chowder and this one did not disappoint. I did add more milk and a little more chicken broth because I wanted it to be a little thinner and creamier.

Finally, I made the Barefoot Contessa's Baked Lemon Chicken Sunday night.Sorry I didn't take any pictures, but here's the one from Pinterest and the recipe is here.

It was very good. I did not use chicken breast with the skin on because I didn't pay attention to that little detail when making out my grocery list. Oops.

February 18th
Pretty Cakes

I made this cake to serve while Mary and Charlie were in town last week.  I found it on Pinterest and thought it sounded like something that I would enjoy. You can find the recipe here if you want to give it a try. I have to warn you up front that it's all from scratch and takes a while to put together. On Monday I baked the cakes in my 4 small cake pans and only used two. The other 2 are hanging out in the freezer, waiting for more company to arrive. I made the raspberry curd on Tuesday and then the lemon butter cream frosting on Wednesday. I put the cake together Wednesday night and we ate it Thursday. Seemed like a long process to me but it sure did turn out pretty. I don't think that I will refrigerate it the next time I make it. The frosting needs to be room temperature. Let me know if you try it.

February 14th
Chocolate Valentine's Day Cupcakes

I mentioned these special little treats a while back and forgot to give you all of the details. I found this recipe on Pinterest and couldn't believe that each cupcake only counts as 2 points on my Weight Watcher's plan. The ingredients are a little strange, but I promise, if you use a chocolate cake mix you will not even taste the pumpkin. If you are feeling brave, give them a try and see for yourself. Click here for the link

February 13th
Most Anything Cooked In My Crock Pot

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Working my way through some of the many recipes that I have "pinned" from Pinterest over the past few weeks, I found this one that I just happened to have all of the ingredients for. I just love when that happens. It's like a 3 ingredient Crock Pot dinner, but I did add chopped bell pepper and onion, because I had them too. I used Chicken thighs, because that's what I had, so I didn't shred the chicken. We ate it over pasta and it made more than enough for two dinners. Give it a try.

February 6th
Did you know that February 4th was National Make a Pot of  Soup Day? I didn't until I read that on another Blog. It just so happens that I have been kind of in to soup lately and actually made a pot on Saturday. What a coincidence. I made the standard, Zero Points Weight Watcher's Vegetable Soup. Not much to it, just a bunch of chopped up veggies and some chicken broth. It is pretty filling, and since it's zero points, it's the perfect thing to eat after you have gone to the movies and maybe eaten more popcorn than you should have, if you know what I mean.

February 4th

I'm kind of annoyed with the good folks at Quaker Oats. For what ever reason they have quit making that yummy hearty crandberry oatmeal that they got me hooked on last winter. I have been trying several new brands and flavors and so far my favorite is Trader Joe's Apples & Cinnamon. I have also been trying out new ways to make my morning coffee taste good. I've never really liked coffee creamers, but this one from  Coffee Mate called Natural Bliss is pretty good.

January 22nd
Weight Watcher's Baked Pasta
I don't know what it is about the 3rd week of a diet. The first 2 weeks I'm motivated and excited about the plan, but then the 3rd week gets here and I'm already tired of being on a diet. I new that I had to work hard this week to keep my momentum going.  One of the things that usually helps me is to actually get in the kitchen and cook something "good".  This week I made a very tasty and filling pasta dish taken straight from our Weight Watcher's Weekly, this little handout that is given out at each meeting.

I found this delicious low fat sausage at Trader Joe's

The house smelled great while the whole thing was cooking and the best part was that it made 8 servings.

Sorry I don't have a picture of what it looked like when I took it out of the oven. We were in too big of a hurry to dig in. It was yummy and just what I needed to stick with the plan.

January 14th
Still Eating Healthy

Maybe I don't LOVE these noodles, but they sure are pretty darn good. Have you heard of them? I first read about them here a while back, but never actually bothered to look for them in the store. The other day when Grace and I were at Fresh Market, there they were, just sitting there by the dairy foods. They were even on sale (which could mean that no one is buying them, or they are very popular). They are made out of Tofu and yams I think, but they pretty much have no calories. There are NO Weight Watcher points in a serving. So far we (when I say we, I mean Grace and I. Alan won't even touch the things) have had them with spaghetti sauce, and last night we actually had a 0 point dinner, lightly steamed veggies with fat free balsamic vinaigrette on top of the "noodles".

The only kind of strange thing about them is that they smell a little funny. The package calls it a "unique odor". The directions tell you to rinse them well and then boil them for about 2-3 minutes. I dare you to give them a try.
January 8th
Eating Healthy
Since joining Weight Watchers last week, my cooking has been a little bit limited. We are trying to follow the week 1 plan, which is easy, but not very creative. Grilled chicken was on the menu for last night and I decided to jazz it up a bit using some of the amazing spices that that our wonderful family members living in Wisconsin sent us for Christmas. Thanks Don and Melinda!

I used a little olive oil, white wine and the bottle that says its "good on chicken". I'm not exactly sure how to figure the points, but I am very sure that it was a tasty, flavor filled meal.

January 1st
Happy New Year Good Luck Bean Soup
The best way I know of to use up leftover Christmas ham.  I pretty much follow the directions on the back of the dried beans package. I like to cook the onion, carrots and celery a bit before adding the stock, tomatoes, beans and ham. I use tomatoes with jalapenos for a little kick and the 12 bean package for all of the pretty colors.

December 11th
Red Velvet Brownies (again)

So I actually followed through with my idea to try and make the Red Velvet Brownies a little easier and I'm happy to let you know that the end result wasn't half bad. Not quite as good as the original, but a whole lot faster and just as pretty.  All I did was add 1 whole bottle of red food coloring to a box of brownie mix. I did decrease the water  by a smidgen. I'm not a huge fan of canned frosting, but with the added white chocolate shavings or curls on top it was OK. If you are in need of a "pretty" holiday dessert, you might want to give these a try.

December 7th
White Castle Casserole

I've actually never had a White Castle burger. I understand that I am missing out. Well, that depends on who you talk to.  The ladies at Girlfriends, the nail salon that I visit every two weeks are always sharing recipes and I'm always trying to remember them, because you can't really write things down while you are having your nails polished. They are all huge White Castle fans and hence the White Castle Casserole was born. I think it sounds more like a Pampered Chef recipe, but regardless I decided to give it a try last night. One lady said that her teenage son told her it was the best thing she had ever cooked. I don't know about that, but Alan really enjoyed it. Seriously, how can you go wrong with 2 cans of Crescent rolls?  Next time I make it I'm going to add some squirts of Ketchup.
2 sheet of Crescent rolls
1 pound hamburger
1 pouch of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Cheddar cheese Or sliced American cheese
Hamburger dill pickles.

How to Prepare White Castle Casserole

Layer 1 sheet of the crescent roll in casserole dish, brown ground beef and onion soup mix together and put on top of it. Be sure to drain as much fat off the beef as possible.
Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of meat. Squeeze mustard on top of ground beef and layer pickles on top of mustard. Top with 2nd sheet of crescent roll and bake according to package or until it looks done.

December 6th
Pumpkin Curry

I'm really trying hard to not become a seasonal food hoarder. It is my tendency to want to "save" things for a special occasion. I know this is silly, especially when it comes to food. It's just the way I am. Sunday night I am happy to say I  used up two Pumpkin items that just didn't get used during the fall. The first was something that I really wanted to try, but was afraid that Alan would be totally grossed out by it. William-Sonoma's Pumpkin Curry Simmering Sauce. I bought the last jar way back when and have just been waiting for the right moment. I wish I hadn't waited. Alan loved it! Can you believe that I'm saying that? He really did love it. We ate it with Trader Joe's Nan and we ate every bite.

The second thing didn't go over quite as well. I used  a box of  Tastefully Simple Pumpkin Bread and turned
it into two little bundt cakes. I thought it was very tasty, but Alan found a couple of tiny pieces of nuts and decided that I was trying to poison him. I gave the second cake to our neighbors and I'm sure they will enjoy it.

December 2nd
Update on the Red Velvet Brownies mentioned below. OMG!!!! They were the best brownies ever. I'm so glad they turned out because I would have felt awful if they didn't.
Don't get me wrong, the recipe was not all that hard to make and the ingredients were pretty common, but I'm just wondering if I can get the same kind of affect using a box brownie mix and a bottle of red food coloring. I'm going to give it a try and let you know. The red with the white frosting makes for a very festive holiday desert.

November 30th
Red Velvet Brownies
Just in time for the holidays...
We do this Birthday Buddies thing at work and today it is my turn to bake  a little something special for one of my co-workers. I saw the recipe for these brownies in the December issue of Southern Living Magazine, and then again in the special edition Southern Living Christmas at Home. I figure if a recipe catches my eye twice I should give it a try. I decided to double it and make two pans of brownies just in case they actually taste as good as they look. I was a little afraid to add 2 whole 1 oz. bottles of red food coloring, but I guess that's what makes them festive...

In this picture you can kind of get the idea of how red the batter was before I baked them. I'm talking RED.
A lot of cream cheese frosting and white chocolate curls later and here they are. I have no idea how they taste, but they sure look pretty.

Happy Birthday Kim!
November 21st
Spicy Pretzels

When Jacqueline came to visit for the Breeder's Cup, she brought with her a bag of yummy pretzels made for her by Molly. Molly is one of Jacqueline's co-workers and apparently a great cook. Who knew? All I knew was that I needed the recipe. Molly was kind enough to share it and give me permission to Blog about it. Thanks Molly. Jacqueline sent me the recipe by text, actually through 5 texts, so it's kind of in an abbreviated format, but well worth making if you want to add a little spice to your life.
2   1 oz. pkgs of Ranch Dressing Mix
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp Konriko hot & spicy jalapeno seasoning
1 12 oz bottle of Buttery Oil for popping corn
3 15 oz pkgs of pretzel sticks

Toss everything together in a very large bowl. Spread on baking sheets and bake at 200 degrees for 1 1/2 hours stirring every 15 minutes.

NOTE: I had a difficult time finding the Jalapeno spice in my local markets, So Jacqueline popped a container in the mail for me. I have the best friends ever.

It makes a lot. I'm taking one tin to my Dad and one tin to David. They both love SPICY

November 13th
An Autumn Feast

This picture is a reenactment b/c I forgot to take pictures of the actual meal
I mentioned that my cousin Edward came for dinner last Friday night. Here is what I served:

Roasted Rosemary Pork Loin
Sweet Potato Casserole
Wild Rice Salad and Rosemary & Sea Salt Rolls from the Fresh Market

The rice salad is my favorite, so I'll start with that. I found the recipe in the November issue of Southern Living magazine. If you have a copy it's on page 149 and it's call Cranberry-Apple Rice.

Cook and cool long-grain and wild rice mix (I used 2 bags of the 90 sec. stuff)
Combine rice, fresh baby spinach, diced apple, dried cranberries, chopped celery, sliced green onions and chopped pecans. They don't give any quantity measurements, so as much as you want or have on hand of each thing. Toss it all with some of this Honey-Cider Vinaigrette ~ 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1 shallot, minced, 2 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 2/3 cup Olive oil.  combine the first 2 ingredients in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk honey and next 3 ingredients into the vinegar mixture. Add oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisking constantly until well blended. Or you can do it my way and put everything into a jar and shake it like crazy until it's mixed. I used about 1/3-1/2 on my rice salad. The rest is great just on a tossed salad.

The Roasted Rosemary Pork Loin recipe I got off the computer. I just happened to still have fresh rosemary in my garden, so I used that. You will need:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried rosemary or 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
Preheat oven to 350
Crush garlic with rosemary,salt and pepper making a paste. Pierce meat with a sharp knife in several places and press the garlic paste into the openings. Rub the meat with the remaining garlic mixture and olive oil.
Cook until the pork is no longer pink. 160 degrees or about an hour and 1/2. Remove roast to a platter. Heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits. Serve with pan juices.

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole This recipe comes from Food.Com I made it in individual dishes, but it would be great as a side dish to take to a potluck too. You will need:
5 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the topping:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn flakes slightly crushed
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Mix all 8 ingredients together and pour into greased dish(s). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle topping over potatoes and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.

October 23rd
Tomato Soup
Last Friday I picked what I think might be pretty close to the last of our tomatoes. Can you believe that we are still eating garden tomatoes in late October?

Anyway, I decided to roast them using this recipe and then turn the tomatoes into soup. What a great idea, and what a delicious soup. I served it to our company Friday night with grilled cheese sandwiches and there was still plenty to stick in the freezer for another chilly night.

Tuscan Tomato Soup
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 small onion diced
3 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (I used 1 can with my roasted tomatoes from above)
2 cups chicken stock (I think I used one whole "box")
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 cup basil pesto (I used the pesto I made a couple of weeks ago. Closer to 1/2 cup)
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Add cream and pesto.
Blend to desired consistency ( I used my immersion blender, but a food processor would work too)
Season with salt and pepper (I added a few drops of hot sauce just for kicks)

October 20th
Meatloaf (finally)

Here it is. The long awaited, talked about many times, Matchless Meatloaf. This is the way my Mom made her meatloaf and I have to say it's the best I've ever tasted. We love it and it makes the best meatloaf sandwiches the next day. YUM!
3 Tablespoons molasses
3 Tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 Tablespoons ketchup
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
chopped parsley, salt and pepper
3 pounds ground beef
Mix it all up. Use your hands if needed. Mold into a loaf shape in a shallow baking dish and squirt some extra ketchup over the top.bake at 350 for about and hour and a half. (I usually cover it lightly with foil for the first hour or so and then remove the foil for the final 30 minutes)
To be perfectly honest, I never measure out the ingredients. I just squirt and pour in what I think looks right.

October 14th
Carrot Soup

This is my new favorite quick go to lunch. I found it in the health food section of my local grocery store for less than I found it for at Whole Foods. I can get 3 lunches out of one box. All I taste is the carrot and the ginger, I'm not sure where the cashew comes in, but it sounds healthy right?

Until I add the corn chips. I love a little crunch with my soup. I also love the orange color even if it's not pumpkin.
October 10th
Peachy Chicken

OK, so this post is really about my cast iron grill pan. Have I told you about this pan before? I don't think so. I bought it several years ago because I wanted a grill pan. Good reason, right? Well, I don't know much about cast iron. I read the "seasoning" directions that came with it and I thought that I followed them, but every time I used the pan it smoked so bad that I had to open all the windows and run around shutting off smoke detectors all over the house. Very frustrating. The reason I bought the thing in the first place was that I wanted to be able to start a dish on the stove and then move it to the oven to finish cooking. Sounds like a good idea. The lesson here is to never give up. I just kept smoking up the house and then one day... no smoke. I don't know what happened. I wish I did, but apparently the pan is now correctly "seasoned".

I use it pretty often, mainly for chicken. One of my quick go to recipes is this Peachy Chicken. I use whatever chicken I happen to have, breast, thighs, bone in, bone out. It doesn't matter.

All you need is a lemon, some peach jam, garlic and red pepper flakes. I add a little olive oil to the pan, salt and pepper the chicken and then squeeze half of the lemon over the chicken. Brown the chicken on the stove just long enough to get some grill marks on both sides. In a little bowl combine about 1 cup jam, a couple of teaspoons of minced garlic, red pepper flakes to your liking and the juice of the other half of the lemon. Mix it up. Spread this over the chicken and then pop it in the oven to finish cooking. usually about 30 minutes or so will do it. I think this would be great with apricot jam, or even orange marmalade too.

October 7th

This morning when I was out in the garden picking some of our last tomatoes before the squirrels could get to them, I noticed that my basil plant was looking like it was ready to be made into Pesto. I love it when I just happen to have all of the ingredients on hand when I get the desire to do a little cooking.
I basically followed Ina's recipe, except that I toasted my nuts slightly.

If you click on this picture, it should get bigger so that you can actually read the recipe.
Last year I used one of Martha's recipes which called for blanching the basil first so that it would keep it's pretty green color. I didn't think it made that big of a difference so I decided to skip that step this year. I know you are probably thinking something like ( who is that girl dissing Martha, and what makes her think she is even on a first name basis with the woman?) I guess I'm just feeling a little crazy today.

I made three little jars for the freezer, with just enough left over for my lunch.

October 4th

I know I told you that I'd share my meatloaf recipe, and I will, just not today. Today I want to talk about cookies. Some people out there think that cookies are only for children. Can you believe that? Well, not us. We are adults that enjoy a little cookie, usually on a daily basis. Could be the reason that my scale won't budge, but so be it. Today I want to tell you about one of my favorite "Autumn" cookies. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip with Chocolate covered Sunflower Seeds. Doesn't that just sound like Autumn in a cookie. All I do is follow the cookie recipe on the container of Old Fashion Quaker Oats. I use half a cup peanut butter and half a cup butter instead of shortening.

I add in a package of mini chocolate chips and a container of autumn colored chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Mix it all up and bake as directed. I think these might even count as healthy.

These Halloween Oreo's on the other had, probably not so healthy, but very tasty.

October 1st
Perfect Mashed Potatoes

We don't eat a lot of mashed potatoes around here. Alan doesn't really care for them. He'd rather have fries. I probably only make mashed potatoes a couple time a year. To be perfectly honest, I don't make the best potatoes. That is until now. I saw Ree Drummond make her potatoes on her new Food Network show and decided to give them a try. WOW! She says that you MUST use a hand held masher not an electric mixer. The mixer makes the potatoes "gummy". That must have been my problem. All I can say is these perfect potatoes helped make my perfect meatloaf even more perfecter. I'll give you the meatloaf recipe next time.
September 25th
Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I really try to avoid all things pumpkin until October, but yesterday was one of those chilly rainy days when all you want to do is bake something that smells yummy and cozy. I found this recipe on a blog the other day and thought I'd give them a try. I wish that I could tell you that they are my new favorite, but I can't. Maybe because I had to use so many bowls, I don't know. They came out looking just like the picture, just not tasting like what I wanted them to taste like. I'm going to probably just stick with regular cinnamon rolls from now on. I know that will make Alan happy.

September 20th
Chicken Brochette Pasta

At the Farmer's Market last Saturday we picked up a package of fresh pasta. We went with the garlic herb flavor, because Alan just wasn't feeling like the mushroom ones. I had some grilled chicken which I sliced and added to a simple sauce made out of diced tomatoes, chopped onions, and garlic. I added a bunch of chopped basil at the end and it made and very yummy Sunday supper. Now I think I need to learn how to make my own pasta. It can't be that hard.

September 18th
Apple Bundt Cake
What I really love is my new double mini bundt cake pan.

I picked it up at WalMart the other day because it caught my eye and it was SO cute. There is an apple bundt cake on the cover of this months Southern Living magazine. It looks so good and I would make it this very minute, except for the fact that it contains cream cheese and lots of nuts and Alan wouldn't eat a bite so I would have to eat the whole thing and that would not be a good thing at all. What to do? I'll tell you what I did instead. I Googled bundt cakes and found a recipe for an apple one that seemed to have pretty good reviews. Plain and simple, just the way Alan likes his bundt cakes.

I have to say that with a little caramel icing and a scoop of vanilla ice cream it was pretty tasty, and absolutely adorable. Click here for a link to the recipe. I was able to make 3 mini bundts. One for now and 2 are in the freezer.

September 12th
It is not a secret. I love them. and this is how I make mine thanks to instructions from Jacqueline, who I think learned from her sister. Girl Power!!
First I gather the ingredients, which means that I have to go out to the garden and cut some mint.

I use half of a lime per drink. Squeeze the juice into a glass using this fancy squeezer that Angela sent me.

Add lots of mint leaves to the juice, plus I quarter the squeezed lime and throw those pieces in too.

Use whatever tool you have to muddle the juice, lime pieces and mint together. I use this wooden Pampered Chef thing because it's what I've got.

Add in equal parts rum (I like spiced, but any kind is good) and simple syrup. Stir that all up and then fill the glass with ice.

Finally, top off with cold club soda. Give it another stir and take a sip. So refreshing!

September 9th

Remember these Kabobs from a while back? Well they were absolutely yummy the first night that we had then and maybe even better the second night. I know that there are people out there that hate left-overs, but I'm not one of them, especially if I can figure out a way to make last nights dinner look and taste like a brand new creation. I'm really not sure what to call this little dish, but I think I'm going to be making it again.

All I did was heat up the leftover Kabobs. I added a little extra chopped onion and garlic to the pan.

Cooked a pot of spaghetti, because that was what we had in the cupboard.

And there you have it.... Kabobetti

August 31st
Perfect Chocolate Sauce

This recipe is from Susan Branch's Blog entry dated August 27th It was super simple to make and it really makes a lot of sauce. She says that you should share some with a friend. Seriously? That is not going to happen with my sauce. Alan is the only one that I'm sharing with. I did add some vanilla and a pinch of salt, because that's what my Grammy used to do. Try it with or without and let me know what you think.
8oz box of unsweetened dark chocolate
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup light Karo Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cans of Hershey's syrup. I used a bottle and a bit because I had coupons
Melt the chocolate and the butter add everything else and heat until the sugar is dissolved. I don't think you want it to come to a boil. Cool and pour into storage containers, or just let it sit in a pot on the back of your stove.

There you have it. Perfect Chocolate Sauce without any fuss!
Peach Cobbler

This is the easiest cobbler recipe ever. I love it because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand, except for maybe the fruit and the ice cream. It works for pretty much any kind of fruit, fresh or frozen. Peach is just my favorite.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
2 cups blueberries, sliced peaches, apples.... mixed with 1/2 cup sugar
Melt the butter in a baking dish. Make a batter of the everything except for the fruit mixed with sugar. Pour the batter on top of the melted butter. DO NOT STIR. Put the fruit into the middle of the batter. DO NOT STIR. Bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees. Like magic the batter will make a crust on top of the fruit.
Sorry I forgot to take an after picture but take my word for it, the fruit will be on the bottom and the cake with be on top.

melted butter with batter poured on top

dump in the fruit and bake

August 23rd
My New Favorite Sandwich
I'm calling it a BBMT that stands for Bacon, Basil, Mozzarella and Tomato and I could eat one every day.

I wish there was a way to keep my tomatoes and basil growing all year long. There really is nothing better than a tomato from your own garden.

August 22nd

I have ALWAYS wanted to try making these cake/cookie treats but I never had the right pans. Thanks again to the Williams-Sonoma sales table I now own these pans and I am a making Madeleine's fool.

I was able to pick up the last 2 pans for just $7.00 each. That was like 50% off. I debated back and forth about whether or not to splurge on the $24.00 non-stick pan, but I'm so glad that I went cheap, because with a little non-stick spray and some butter my Madeleine's popped right out.

I used the basic recipe in the new Martha Stewart Magazine. I have to say they could have used a little more flavor. Grace suggested dipping them in chocolate. I think next time I'll add a little lemon zest or extract.

They are just so darn cute. The recipe says they are best eaten the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container. I think not. The better idea is to keep the batter in the fridge and just make a pan or two as needed. I was able to get 4 full pans and 1/2 of a 5th pan out or my batch.

Absolutely delightful with a glass of iced tea.
August 19th
Meyer Lemon Braising Base

What would I do without those people at Williams-Sonoma? They have gone and done it again.  I picked up this new sauce last week and we had if for dinner the other night. It was delightful and a piece of cake to prepare. I used my trusty Crock-Pot and that made it even easier.

Brown up some chicken. I had to cook mine in two batches.
 Have you ever tired these slow cooker liners? My friends Barb and Jorge turned me on to them and they make clean-up super fast. I think the food cooks more evenly too.

I wish I had a picture of the finished product, but it smelled so good we couldn't wait to taste it. We ate ours with egg noodles, but I'm thinking rice or couse couse would be great as well. You want something to soak up the sauce. If you don't have a Williams-Sonoma near you, you could just come visit us and stock up, or you can probably order it online. Something to try....

August 8th

I knew that this was going to happen. Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. All at once. I'm not going to complain just yet, I'm trying to keep up with them as best I can. Really, what could be better than garden fresh, ripe tomatoes? Maybe some tomato pie....

This is this years version. Extra basil because I've got a bunch of it, but other wise the same as last summer. Skroll down to July 21, 2010 for the simple recipe if you find yourself with a few extra tomatoes.

July 12th
Zucchini Bread

Finally I'm getting zucchini form my garden. Not a lot (yet) but enough that I decided to make some bread with it this past weekend. It turned out to be the BEST zucchini bread I've ever made. Grace said that it would have been better if I had added some chocolate chips, but I used all of those up in the Turtle Cake.
My secret weapon was a couple of little bags of trail mix. See, I was out of walnuts and I decided to improvise. The trail mix was made up of walnuts, pistachios,almonds, dried cranberries and dried cherries. I just chopped it up and tossed it into the batter. Really, really good idea.

2 cups grated zucchini
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or trail mix)
Grate zucchini and drain excess liquid. Beat eggs, add sugar,oil and zucchini. Combine dry ingredients and add to egg mixture, beating until smooth. Add vanilla and nuts. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans. (I used 3 little pans) Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45-60 minutes depending on the size pan you use.

Can you see all of the trail mix goodies?

July 8th
Turtle Cake

(Not the prettiest cake to look at, but  very yummy warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream)
This is Alan's favorite cake. His Mom used to make it all the time and since she knows he can't stand nuts she always left out the pecans (which in my mind are the "turtle" part, but what do I know?)
So this is our family "female" version of the recipe. Get it? No nuts...

1 box German chocolate cake mix, mixed according to the box directions. Pour 1/2 the batter in to a 9X13 pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Melt a 14 ounce bag of caramels, 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup evaporated milk is a small pot. Pour over baked cake, sprinkle with 1 cup chocolate chips (I use a whole bag) and for the male version 1cup chopped pecans. Pour remaining batter over the top and bake another 20 minutes. There you have it.

July 5th
The 4th of July

I mentioned yesterday that we were going with the traditional cook out 4th of July dinner.
Hamburgers, corn on the cob, deviled eggs and berry crisp for dessert.
I used some of the herbs from my garden to make an herb butter for the corn and that's about as fancy and things got. The Berry Crisp recipe that I used can be found here. Alan ate his with ice cream and Grace and I had whipped cream. Very, very yummy.

July 4th
Watermelon Daiquiris

A few weeks ago I bought a watermelon. It looked perfect on the outside, but when we cut it open it was not so perfect on the inside. The flavor was fine, but the texture was a bit mushy. I was pretty disappointed, because what do you do with a giant watermelon that no one wants to eat? Well, I Googled that very question and within seconds I knew the answer. You cut the whole thing up and stick it in your freezer and turn that melon into all kinds of yummy drinks. You can make smoothies, or slushes, or you can make watermelon daiquiris. Here is the recipe I used and I'm so glad that I bought that huge melon cause I have enough of it left for 3 more batches heaven.
4 cups cubed frozen watermelon
1/3 cup watermelon rum
1/4 cup orange juice
4 tsp powdered sugar, honey or Agave syrup
4 tsp lime juice
Put it all into your blender and blend away. I have an old blender, so it needed a little help. I added a little extra juice and rum. Don't forget the straw.

July 1st
Blueberry Lemon Tea Cakes

From the July 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Magazine (very last page)

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for pans
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
6 ounces blueberries (1 1/4 cups)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter nine 2 1/2-by-4-inch baking pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and syrup is thickened, about 4 minutes. Let stand while making cakes.
Meanwhile, combine heavy cream, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the vanilla in a bowl. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl.
Beat butter, lemon zest, and remaining cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in blueberries using a rubber spatula.
Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Transfer pans to wire racks, and brush tops of cakes with lemon syrup. Let stand for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes from pans, and brush all over with remaining syrup. Let cool completely on wire racks.

To make a large loaf instead of several little ones, use a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan, and bake for 55 minutes.

June 26th
Sally's Lemon Rosemary Chicken

OK, so this isn't a real recipe, but I thought the chickens looked so pretty when I took them out of the oven, and that they deserved a mention and a photo. All I did was stuff 2 chickens with lemon quarters and lots of rosemary from my garden. Then I stuck some lemon slices and rosemary under the breast skin. I brushed olive oil all over them and then sprinkled with lots of salt and pepper. That's pretty much it. Baked them in the oven at 350 for about and hour covered with foil and then another 45 minutes with the foil off.

June 21st
Blueberry Coffee Cake
This is the same coffee cake that I made last summer (skroll down to July 27th and click on the word recipe or just click HERE if that's easier).
This time I added some oatmeal to the topping for a little something and this is all that is left because it's that good.


The other day on my main page I talked about my love for iced coffee. I just wanted to let you know that I tried the Pioneer Woman Cooks idea using a cold brew and I think I'm going to be one happy camper all summer long. She says that the amount she makes usually lasts her 3-4 weeks. I didn't have a big enough container to make 8 quarts worth of the stuff, so I decided to cut it in half. I love knowing that the coffee is sitting in the refrigerator waiting for me. I might just put my coffee maker away for the summer. It probably needs a vacation...

June 14th
Probably because the buns are just so darn cute. Alan said they were a pain to grill. I don't care, they were tiny, little tasty 3 bite burgers. YUM!
I bought the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication called GRILL IT! and found the Cajun beer burgers recipe on page 81. This is just my opinion. I loved the burgers, but was not wild over the sauce. I think it had a bit too much beer taste for me. We turned the burgers into sliders because I couldn't resist the buns.

June 7th
Lemonade Stand Pie

My feeling about this pie is that you should keep one in your freezer at all times between the months of June and September. It is fast to make and delicious to eat, especially when it's blazing hot outside. The thing I really like about it is that you can make it as diet friendly as you like. If I'm feeling particularly "healthy" I use fat free cool whip, frozen yogurt and a reduced fat crust. I ALWAYS use the regular lemonade mix though, so I can't tell you how a sugar free mix would work. Sometimes we eat it plain and sometimes with fruit. I like the pink lemonade for color, but on the 4th of July I use regular and add strawberries and blueberries on top. Get it? Red, White and Blue. I know, I'm so cleaver. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

1 container Cool Whip (thawed)
2 cups softened vanilla ice cream
1/3 cup Country Time lemonade mix dissolved in 1/2 cup water
Mix all ingredients together (I use an electric had mixer) and pour into a graham cracker crust
Freeze at least 4 hours or keep in freezer until you need it.
Serve frozen

May 30th
Over the next few days  I'll be sharing some of the recipes for the yummy "summer" treats we enjoyed
over the Memorial Day weekend. I'm starting with marinated carrots, because I told my Dad that I'd post it and if I don't I will surely forget. This is the greatest side dish to have on had. It keeps forever and it's a vegetable so it's good for you. I don't know where the recipe came from. The handwriting on the recipe card kind of looks like my mother in laws, but I'm not sure. I've had it for a very long time, so you know it must be good.
1 can tomato soup
1 cup vegetable oil (I use about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Put the above in your blender and then pour over the following
4 cans drained carrots
chopped bell pepper 
chopped onions (sometimes I use purple, sometimes I use green)

May 6th
Kentucky Hot Brown

Another 1920's culinary creation.This open faced sandwich was thought up at Louisville's Brown Hotel. It seems that you either love it or you hate it. We have lived here almost a whole year and I have avoided the Hot Brown, just because. This months Southern Living covers some of the Derby hoopla and near the back of the magazine is a recipe for none other than a Hot Brown. I decided to give it a try and all I'm going to say is that it was not bad, but I probably won't be making it again any time soon. Click here for the recipe

Derby Pie

OK, so all of this derby cooking preparation is getting to be a bit much. I decided to take a little help from the kind Kern Family.The pie was first created by the family in 1954 for their Melrose Inn Restaurant. The pie was so popular that the Kern's trademarked the name in 1968. No one else is allowed to use the name, but many knock off recipes exist. It's pretty much pecans, chocolate chips and bourbon. Thank goodness you can pick up a frozen pie at just about any grocery store in town.
Kentucky Silk Pie

I guess this pie is also a Kentucky tradition. You serve it frozen, so I'm thinking that if we like it I'm going to be keeping one on hand just in case company stops by.
May 5th
Benedictine Spread

Who doesn't love "Green Cheese"? The story goes that back in 1920 a Louisville caterer dreamed up this spread and the little sandwiches have been a Derby food classic ever since. When we first moved to Louisville, I noticed the little containers of "green stuff" at the grocery store near the pimento cheese. I had never heard of Benedictine spread, so I pretty much ignored it. One day I asked a friend about it and her response was "Don't buy that stuff!" In her opinion the store bought spread is not "real". She gave me this "real" recipe and so I thought I'd whip some up for Derby. The main thing is not to overdo the green food coloring. It's not for St. Patrick's Day.
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
dash salt
dash red pepper or Tabasco sauce
1-2 drops green food coloring
The thinnest white bread you can buy

Shred or grind cucumber put in a towel and squeeze out the juice. Combine the pulp and everything else in your food processor and pulse until blended. spread thinly on bread or enjoy with veggies.

May 3rd
Cheese Straws and Crackers

I'm not sure why these things are so southern. but they are and they are a must have Derby appetizer.
As you can see, you can buy them in a box, or in a roll in the freezer section, or you can make them from scratch. I decided to try them all and then decide which I liked best. What can I say? I love them all!. The slice and bake ones also have chopped pecans in them, so if I had to pick I'd pick them. Here is an easy recipe. I made mine in my food processor and only baked half of the dough. I saved the other half for Derby Day of course.

1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese grated
1/2 cup butter, softened.
I put everything in the food processor and pulsed for a long time until it came together as a dough.
Allow dough to rest for 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator. Press dough through a cookie press onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and lightly brown.
Store in tightly covered container.

May 1st
Dainty Derby Desserts
Say that 5 times fast.
In addition to some traditional derby desserts that I'll be sharing with you later in the week, here are a couple of easy, delicious, and pretty deserts that are so small you may need to eat two, or three...

Strawberry Lemon Curd Parfaits

Mouse Filled Chocolate Cups

Both desserts are easy:
For the Mouse Cups, buy a box of chocolate mouse (next to the pudding). Make it according to the directions. Pipe it out into pretty little chocolate cups, add a raspberry and a mint leaf and you are good to go.
For the parfaits, cut slices of angel food cake to fit into your smallest juice glasses. Add a dollop of lemon curd (from a jar near the jam and jelly). Fit sliced strawberries along the side of the glass. Fill in with fresh whipped cream. Add another layer of cake, more whipped cream and a strawberry topper.
That's all there is to it.

April 26th
My Most Favorite Salad

I'm sure that this was a "real" recipe at one time, but like any salad, it's just a bunch or really good and really good for you ingredients tossed together. I think it might have actually been called "Spring Salad". I could eat it almost every day. Here's what I put in mine, but feel free to use your imagination. Be creative. It's Spring!

Baby spinach
Spring greens
Sliced strawberries
Dried cranberries
Feta cheese
Chopped cooked bacon
Toasted pecans
I use a balsamic vinaigrette, but if I remember correctly the recipe called for a raspberry vinaigrette.
Lots of pepper

April 7th
Lemon Chicken
(Fried Chicken with Lemon Sauce)
Some of you know that during my teenage years I lived in Taiwan. My Dad was stationed there and it was probably the coolest place to live ever. I spent 3 1/2 years eating Chinese food daily. So I got a little tired of fried rice, I never got tired of Lemon Chicken. This recipe comes from a "real" authentic Chinese cookbook called Pei Mei's Vol. II. I love this book. The pictures are so Chinese. One page has the recipe in Chinese and the next page has it in English (sort of). I hope you give it a try.
3/4 lb. chicken breast cut into 2 inch long strips.
Marinate chicken in:
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp wine
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water
1 Egg yolk
1/8 tsp pepper

3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp soup stock
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp. sesame oil
couple drops of yellow food coloring

Coat marinated chicken in 3 Tbsp cornstarch and 3 Tbsp flour mixed with lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Fry chicken in oil until golden, then fry again for 10 more seconds. Drain and remove to a platter.
Heat another Tbsp of oil. Stir fry the sauce and when it boils and thickens splash in the hot oil to make the sauce shine. Pour the sauce onto the chicken and garnish with sliced lemon and parsley.

April 5th
Lemon Bars (Squares)
What do you do with a giant bowl of lemons from COSTCO? Make lemon bars, that's what. The only problem was that I couldn't find my recipe. How frustrating. Last spring I found a recipe for the best lemon bars ever. I loved them because they reminded me of my mom's lemon meringue pie. I knew I had gotten it off of a blog, but couldn't remember which one. I searched and searched Saturday morning and finally... success! The problem was they weren't called lemon bars. They are called Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares . Whatever you call them they are very easy and very yummy.

March 29th
Oregano Bread

Do you own a bread machine? I have one, and I hate to say that I keep it around just so that I can make this super yummy bread. That's all I use it for. I worry about what will happen when it finally goes. Do I buy another one just to make a few loaves of bread a year? Probably not, so until then we are going to eat lots and lots of Oregano Bread. The recipe comes from The Bread Machine Cookbook by Donna Rathmell German. I've had it forever or for at least as long as I've had the machine.

Place ingredients in your bread machine in the following order.
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup Olive oil
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp oregano
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
2 1/2 tsp. yeast

I put my machine on the dough cycle, when that's done I divide it into 2 small loaf pans, let raise about 20-30 minutes and then bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. I just like to make 2 loaves so that I can freeze one. It's great with anything Italian, but also makes awesome BLT's.
March 21st
Zucchini Nut Bread Sandwich Cookies
On the last page of last months Martha there is an amazing recipe for yummy zucchini bread sandwich cookies. She even includes directions for a sweet little sticker label that you can print and use when giving the cookies as gifts. I made a batch to take to friends in Iowa. The only thing I'll do different next time is to make the cookies a little smaller.

Here they are before the addition of a cream cheese frosting filling.

March 6th
Meatball Sandwiches
Did you know that during the month of March you can get a 6 inch Italian Meatball Sub at Subway for only $5.00?  Well, it's true. Or, you can pull out some of the meatballs and sauce that you made a while back and stuck in you freezer and make your own yummy, delicious Italian Meatball Subs for free. OK, so I had to buy the rolls, but we are talking pennies. A little melted mozerella, a green salad and a glass of wine. I'd say that beats Subway any night of the week.

March 1st
Meatloaf, sweet potato fries and fruit salad
Grace was home for the weekend so I made a little comfort food for her. Now that she's back to eating meat it makes meal planning so much simpler. I have to say that I make a pretty darn good meatloaf, but since I kind of just throw all of the ingredients into a large bowl without measuring, I'll have to give that recipe to you some other time. The recipe that I want to share today, was one that I got off of another blog back during the holidays, but never got around to making. It's actually called Holiday Fruit Salad. It was very yummy and kept for days. I think we still might have some in the fridge. I had better go check.
February 20th
3 Old Bananas
Oh darn! The banana's I showed you below didn't get eaten. I was forced to make some banana bread. I used 3 little foil pans. I might decide to share with a neighbor. I wish you could smell my kitchen.

February 18th
Grammy's Banana Bread

These bananas are almost ready
I grew up eating this yummy bread. I think that it might actually be the first thing that I ever baked by myself. Can you believe that? I think it's kind of amazing that I remember that. I was visiting with my mom's mom, my Grammy Connie. I think I was 9 or 10, and she just gave me the recipe, showed me where all of the ingredients were and left me to be creative in her kitchen while she watched hockey, drank coffee and worked the New York Times crossword puzzle. Thank goodness I didn't burn the townhouse down.
1 stick softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
3 ripe bananas mashed up
1/2 cup nuts (Grammy used pecans, I like walnuts)
Cream butter, sugar and egg and vanilla. Add flour, soda and salt. Stir in bananas and nuts. Pour into a loaf pan. (I use 2 mini loaf pans) Bake at 325 for 45-60 minutes depending on the size pan you use.

February 14th
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Really, Alan loves the taste of Spaghetti and Meatballs. More times than I care to think about I have served him frozen meatballs covered in Ragu. I know. The horror of it all. At least I'm being truthful. The other night I decided to make "real" meatballs and homemade sauce. I've mentioned my affection for Ina Garten and in her book Family Style she has a recipe that looked doable. I seriously thought that using 3 different kinds of meat was a bit much, but who am I to arguehere for the recipe.

February 10th
The Best Soup Ever
Another great Costco find last week. A huge container of already peeled, seeded and chopped butternut squash. When I saw all of the cute little orange squares packaged and just waiting for me to take them home I couldn't resist. I love butternut squash, but I'm lazy and I really hate all of the work. Please keep your comments to yourself. Thank you.
I decided to turn my treasure into soup. First I roasted the squash with olive oil and a good sprinkle of Herbs De Provence and salt and pepper.

In my big red pot I cooked up some chopped onions and a little garlic. I used a large container of chicken broth added in my squash and brought the whole thing up to a boil. I popped on the lid, turned off the stove and ironed 10 pairs of pants and 12 shirts.

 I used my handy, dandy immersion blender to puree the whole thing added a touch of half and half and let me just say I was in heaven. Perfect!

February 7th
Something New
Last week I noticed that we were starting to get low in our "stock-upables", you know, TP, Kleenex, laundry detergent, that kind of thing. So I popped on over to my local Costco to take care of the situation. While getting my exercise walking up and down the mile long ailes, I got to taste a lunch worth of samples. I always feel so bad for those sample people. Everyone is willing to taste, but rarely do I see people actually buy the products. What can I say, I'm a sucker. I left with some Indian cuisine and we had it for dinner on Saturday. I have to say that it was pretty tasty and just in case you are wondering, Alan enjoyed too.

This is what I bought. Naan and Tikka Masala. Below is how I prepared it. The best part is we have two more meals of it in the freezer!

February 1st
Enchilada Casserole

A long, long time ago when Alan and I first started dating (remember, we were in High School) We didn't have a lot of money for eating out. We spent a lot of time hanging out at each others homes, especially around dinner time. My mother-in-law to be was an amazing cook. She did it all. I used to be in awe of how easy it seemed to come to her. She had a knack for getting the timing of the meal just right, and there was always desert. One of my favorite nights to be invited for dinner was Saturday. Saturday was ALWAYS Mexican night. As you can probably tell from the recipes that I've written about, I love Mexican food!  One of the dishes Mary Ann made was enchiladas. She made them in the traditional way. Corn tortillas, stuffed with beef, onions and cheese and rolled up into yummy little packages covered in a delicious red sauce.

Well, and I know you knew that there was a "well" coming. After Alan and I got married, I tried to duplicate this meal. I tried and I tried and I tried. I hated making enchiladas. I burned my fingers rolling up those hot little corn tortillas. The tortillas ALWAYS ripped and the whole thing just never came out looking very pretty.  It always tasted just fine, but you know I'm about the presentation and what I made was not presentable. That's when the idea of enchilada casserole came to me. Why not just make a Mexican lasagna like dish. Same ingredients (I've since switched to flour tortillas) just easier. Best idea I ever had. My people love this dinner. You can make it as big or as little as you like and it freezes wonderfully. Who could ask for more?
Brown about 1.5 lbs of ground beef. Add 1 can of Rotell tomatoes, some chili powder, cumin, garlic powder to taste. Find a pretty casserole dish and spray it with Pam. Pour a little enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Arrange a layer of tortillas cut into triangles. cover with about 1/3 of the meat. Sprinkle on some chopped onion, some shredded cheese and then drizzle on some more sauce. Repeat these layers until your dish is full, or you have used up your ingredients. I like to end with a cheese layer. Cover and back at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Remove the lid and let the top brown a little. Serve with your favorite Mexican toppings. We like: lettuce, tomato,green onions, black olives, avocado and sour cream. Couldn't be easier.
January 25th
My Mom's Super Easy Chili

Just because you asked. I'm a little embarrassed to share this because it is just so easy, but here goes.
When I make chili, I make a lot so that I can stick some in the freezer for one of "those" nights.
Brown 3 lb of ground beef with 1 large chopped onion.
In your Big Pot, or Crock Pot open and dump in 4 cans of tomatoes (any kind you like)
Add 2-3 packages of McCormick Chili seasoning
That's it. Try it with crackers, a little cheese on top. If you must have beans then add your favorite.

January 24th
Pecan Crunch Pumpkin Muffins

While looking for the recipe below, I came across this muffin recipe that I probably copied way back during pumpkin eating time. I looked in my cabinet and I even had a can of pumpkin that I also probably bought during pumpkin baking time. Oh well, considering that I still have Pumpkin Spice Tea and Pumpkin Spice Coffee it must still be pumpkin time at my house. I made the muffins this afternoon and enjoyed one with my cup of tea. I did substitute oats for the pecans in hopes that Alan might try one. 

January 23rd
Waikiki Meatballs

Ever wonder what 3lb of meatballs looks like?
One of Alan's all time favorites. He thinks it's originally from an old Betty Crocker cookbook, but who knows? These meatballs are a true labor of love. I guess any meatballs are. All the mixing and balling and cooking.... I have to admit that they are pretty good, and the idea of eating Hawaiian anything when it's 20 degrees outside is appealing. We enjoyed ours on egg noodles with some also yummy King Hawaiian rolls

Here's the recipe (I doubled it, because if I'm going to make them, I'm going to make a bunch)
For the balls
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
2/3 cup cracker crumbs
1/3 cup minced onion
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Mix all ingredients together. Shape into balls and cook in a large skillet until done.
For the sauce
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar
the juice from 1 can pineapple tidbits (save the pineapple)
1/3 cup vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
You will also need 1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
After you cook the balls, clean out the pan and saute the peppers and pineapple. Add the sauce and cook until thickened. Add the balls and heat through. Serve on rice or noodles.

January 22nd
Alabama BBQ Sliders
The BBQ that keeps on giving.
January 19th
Alabama BBQ Sauce

Over the weekend when I was in a cooking mood I decided to make some BBQ pork that Alan wouldn't mind eating pretty much for the rest of the week. Seriously, I don't usually get home from work until after 7:00 and we need somthing that is ready in seconds. I bought a good old Boston Butt at Kroger and cooked in at about 300 degrees for 3-4 hours. Let it cool and then shredded it to pieces. I stuck it in the refrigerator and then yesterday pulled it out, plopped it in the crock pot and poured the liquid gold on top. I asked my mother-in-law for permission to share this family favorite BBQ sauce. I wasn't sure if it was top secret or not, but she generously gave me the OK. I know you can buy some pretty good bottled sauces, but this one is so easy and just the right consistancy for BBQ pork. We love it! Thanks Mary Ann

This first recipe is the original, from a women's club in Aliceville Alabama. I'll send it, then I'll send the one I sorta "quadrupled" since I always needed more!

3 Tbs. ketchup                7/8 cup ketchup (sorta between 3/4 and l cup)
2 Tbs. vinegar                 l/2 cup vinegar
1 Tbs. lemon juice           l/4 cup lemon juice
4 Tbs. water                   l cup water
3 Tbs. brown sugar       3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. Worcester sauce l/2 cup Worcester sauce
2 Tbs. butter                 l stick of butter
l tsp. salt                       4 tsp. salt
l tsp. mustard                4 tsp mustard
l tsp. chili powder         4 tsp chili powder
l tsp. paprika                4 tsp paprika
l/2 tsp. cayenne pepper  2 tsp cayenne pepper
It depends on how much you use; the larger amount will save in the fridge but if you are just doing a pork roast ( smallish ) the first is enough.

Can you smell it? YUMMY!

January 16th
Amazing Chicken Tortilla Soup
I love this soup. I got the recipe off of the Internet a few years ago when I discovered that I actually like cilantro. Don't worry, there is not any cilantro in the recipe if you are not a fan, but adding a bunch to my bowl makes it extra tasty.

Serves 10
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
4 small or 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4(14 oz.) cans chicken broth
2(14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce.

Saute onion, garlic, jalapeno and green pepper in olive oil in a large pot until soft.
Add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil.
After about 15 minutes, remove the chicken and shred.
Return chicken to the pot and simmer an additional 45 minutes.
Serve topped with tortilla strips, cheese, sour cream and cilantro

January 11th
What's for Dinner Tonight

I seem to be making a lot of dinners from a jar lately. I'm not sure if that's because I've been so busy, or if it's just because I'm plain old lazy. Whatever the reason tonight's dinner also involved a jar. Knowing that I would be working at the yarn shop all day I kind of threw the whole thing together this morning so that I could just pop it in the oven when I got home. I love popping things in the oven. We aren't really sure what to call this pasta creation. Alan thinks Lasarotini with meatballs has a nice ring to it. All it is is a bag of frozen meatballs heated through, a box of cooked rotini, a jar of your favorite marinara sauce and some mozzarella cheese. I put it together like lasagna. Simple as pie and with a salad and roll from the Fresh Market delish!

January 10th
40 Garlic Clove Chicken

What can I say? I have found my new favorite chicken dish. I have never tasted anything so yummy from a jar. I followed the directions on the back using the oven method (because I never pass up an opportunity to use my big red pot) and I think it turned out perfectly. I didn't count, but there are at least 40 whole cloves of the tastiest, lemony garlic I have ever eaten. I used thighs and legs cause that's what I had, but I'm sure breasts would work just as well. I guess I'll be making another trip to the mall.

January 9th
Apple Crisp
 Shhhhh. This is my secret. Yes, I can make apple crisp from scratch, and yes, I know it's probably about the easiest thing in the world to make, but this stuff makes it even easier. I try to keep a package on hand at all time, because you just never know when you are going to have some apples that are not quite right for eating unless cooked. You know, just like that banana bread recipe that you use because you let your bananas get a little over ripe. Same idea.

Last night we used frozen vanilla yogurt, because it is January and we are trying to eat less....
A drizzle of warmed caramel sauce and you are good to go.

January 8th
What's for Dinner Tonight
Beef Stew
Green Salad
Crusty Bread
Apple Crisp with frozen vanilla yogurt
I know this is a repeat " I Love the Taste of" but really this stuff is good. I just happened to be walking through the mall yesterday and the lovely ladies at Williams-Sonoma were cooking up a batch of beef stew. I could smell it all the way down at Pottery Barn and hence we will be having it for dinner tonight. In case you need another reason; it snowed last night and it's cold. Beef stew is warm and yummy. Try it!
(I also bought the 40 garlic clove sauce for chicken. I'll let you know what we think)
December 24th

Grace's Baking
I went off to work and Grace got busy in the kitchen.
She made sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and fudge.  It's so nice to have little elf help this time of year.
December 5th
Beef Stew- Update
All I can say is "yummy!" As soon as I took the lid off the pot I knew it was going to make my taste buds sing, and it did just that.
December 4th
Beef Stew
I have to tell you that since I started my new job(s) cooking has be the last thing that I have considered doing. Poor Alan has had to fend for himself many a night. He hasn't complained, because he's a trooper. Today with the snow dumping outside I did get a small burst of energy and decided it was the day to try the jar of Williams-Sonoma Beef Stew Braise that I bought a few weeks ago. I never pass up a sample at Williams-Sonoma and the beef stew I tried was to die for. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the heavenly smell that is coming out of my oven means that the stew I made is going to be just as delicious.

It couldn't be easier. You brown meat in your big red pot. Add carrots and potatoes along with the braising sauce and some water. Cover it real tight. Pop it in the oven for 3-4 hours and it's done. I'll let you know how it turns out.

October 31st
Curried Squash Soup

This is one of my favorite "quick" soups. The original recipe comes from Bob Greene's The Best Life Diet cookbook, but I never make it exactly the same. I'll put my changes in ( ) but try his version first.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (I use 2 boxes, or 1 large can)
1/4 cup apple juice (I usually add 1 chopped up apple)
2  10 ounce boxes frozen winter squash (I use 1-2 butternut squash, cooked)
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 cup half and half
In a large pot, heat the oil and cook onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes, until tender.
Stir in broth, apple juice (apple), squash, curry powder and salt. Heat until it boils, stirring occasionally. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. (At this point I use my emulsion blender and puree the whole thing). Stir in the half and half. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
Goes great with cheese and crackers, or a hunk of good bread!
I made mine in my Big Red Pot, but any pot will do.  Enjoy!

October 26th
Chicken Cacciatore

I guess that's how you spell it? Anyway you spell it, it's some yummy. I got the recipe from my go to lady. Ree Drummmond of the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog is my favorite. Since buying my wonderful big red pot I've been looking for things to prepare in it. this cacciatore was great, easy and made a ton. We ate it for dinner Saturday night. I sent some back to school with Grace and Alan and I ate the leftovers last night from my cute little red pot. Hope you like it too.

October 20th
Waffles for Dinner
After spending the day making apple butter (see below) I must of had apples on the brain. I cooked up some baked apples with cinnamon and served them over absolutely delicious Gingerbread Waffles. Yum! The mix came from the Fresh Market and you can be sure that I'm going to pick up a couple more containers to have on hand.

October 19th
Apple Butter
Have I told you how much I love my red pot? Well, I do. I feel the need to cook something in it everyday. Today it was Apple Butter. Remember a few weeks ago when I told about the orchard that Grace and Alan and I visited? When we were there we bought a humongous bag of Jonagold apples with the intention of using them to make Apple Butter. The intention never went away, but the right time never presented it's self. Making Apple Butter takes time. You just can't rush it. Here is the recipe that I use. It's from a little booklet called Sweet 'N' Slow by Patricia B. Mitchell. I bought it years ago in Ashville North Carolina. Make some. It's really, really good.

First it looks like applesauce

Old Fashioned Apple Butter
6 lb. tart apples, cored and quartered
4-6 cups apple cider
3 cups sugar
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
Cook apples and cider in a large heavy pot (or a big red pot) until tender, about 30 minutes. Press through food mill or sieve. Boil gently 30 minutes, stirring often. Add sugar and spices. Cook, stirring, over low heat until sugar dissolves. Boil gently about 2 hours to desired thickness. Pour into hot jars. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Makes about 8 half-pints.

After several hours

Can you smell it?

October 15th
I wasn't sure where to put this post, because I'm not going to give you a recipe for chili. Doesn't everyone have a favorite chili recipe already? What I really want to share with you is my new pot. It's the most beautiful dutch oven ever.  I have wanted one for a long time, but these purchases take a lot of shopping around. I finally decided to go with the Food Network cast enamel model because in my opinion it had the best of everything. I really wanted a big one and this guy holds 7 quarts. I also wanted a round one and most of the big pots from other brands were oval. The color is also perfect. Red on the outside, white on the inside. I'm seriously in love with my new pot. 
Here's a closer look

It holds a lot of chili

October 6th
Who doesn't enjoy a tasty snickerdoodle cookie with a cold glass of milk? Alan's Mom gave me this recipe before we were married. She told me that they were his favorite cookie. So I made them in large batches. Years later he confessed that while he does love snickerdoodles, he really loves chocolate chip cookies. Go figure.... I especially like to make snickerdoodles in the fall. I think it's the cinnamon goodness.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco ( I know, but they just aren't the same without it)
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 400. Mix shortening,butter, sugar and eggs using electric mixer. Mix flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt together and then add to creamed mixture. Form into balls the size of walnuts. Roll balls in sugar and cinnamon. Place about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes.

October 4th
Aunt Eleanor's Caramel Icing

It wouldn't feel like fall without it. yummy spice cake with caramel icing. I'm warning you ahead that this icing is a little tricky. A lot depends on humidity and temperature and the barometric pressure. It always tastes great, it's just that sometimes it's soft and sometimes it's very firm.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in a large sauce pan; blend in brown sugar. Add milk. Stir constantly until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Blend in powdered sugar gradually. Add vanilla. Thin with cream or more milk if necessary. Quickly spread on cake before the icing cools.

September 29th
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Grace is coming home this weekend and she loves chocolate and zucchini and she enjoys them even better together.  I found this recipe on another blog, so I really can't take any credit. Trust me, this is some tasty way to eat your vegetables.

(adapted from a recipe in British Country Living magazine)
6 oz dark chocolate (70%)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 cup finely grated zucchini
2 medium eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil {edited 7/09 ~ I have reduced this to 1/2 cup with good results.}

Melt chocolate in double boiler~keep warm. Whisk together eggs and oil; blend in the melted chocolate; add the grated zucchini. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda; add the sugar and the dried cherries. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Pour into 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 - 30 minutes, until risen and skewer comes out clean.

September 17th
Great Aunt Mary's Granola

This is my all time favorite granola. My Dad's Aunt Mary used to make it every fall.  She lived on a beautiful farm in Tennessee and when we would visit at Thanksgiving I made sure that I got to stay with her.  My Grandmother's house was usually full to the rafters with kin folk, since my day was one of 5 boys. Aunt Mary didn't have any children and her husband died young, so her house was quiet and full of amazing food.  I think I like this granola recipe so much because it is slightly salty. Paired with yogurt it can't be beat.
7 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 pkg coconut
2 tsp. salt
2 cups nuts, seeds
1/2 cup raisins
Liquid 2 cups honey (I usually use 1 1/2)
3/4 cups oil
3 tsp. vanilla
Pour liquid over oat mixture stir well. Spread 1/2 inch thick on 2 large cookie sheets
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Stir once.

September 9th
Easy Sweet & Spicy Pickles
I am addicted to these things. I wish I could tell you why, but I can't. They are sweet and they are spicy and they are perfect.  A lady named Lynn brought them to the knitting pot luck supper last week and everyone loved them.  She was kind enough to share the simple recipe with me. Thanks Lynn.
2  30 oz. jars of dill pickle slices (drained)
4 cups sugar  
1 Tbsp Tabasco
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Put everything in a big bowl and stir gently to mix. Lynn leaves the bowl on her kitchen counter over night.  I started my pickles mid afternoon so I stuck them in the fridge so the cat wouldn't get in to them. In the morning put them in pretty jars. That's it! So simple. Keep refrigerated.

September 2nd
Morning Glory Muffins
While at the Fresh Market the other day I picked up this little package of muffin mix. I think I really just loved the package with the little yellow flower on the front. I made them for breakfast yesterday morning and boy were they yummy. Full of all kinds of things like carrots, coconut, raisins and more.  I'm sure I could probably figure out how to make them from scratch, but these were so good and so easy. 

August 28th
Peach Butter
I'm not even sure if my friend Angela is reading my little blog, but I have mentioned her name so many times lately, I'm guessing the rest of you think I don't have any other friends. Ang gave me this recipe years and years ago. It is tried and true and if you like a spicy, peachy jam, you will love this.The best part is that it's made in a crock pot (I pour it into a pot towards the end of cooking, just to thicken it up).

August 26th
Mixed Berries
I just found this tea and wish I had learned about it sooner. It is really good. The best part is that it's so easy to make. Fill a glass with cold water. Drop in a tea bag and wait a few minutes. I added a little squeeze of honey, stirred it up and filled the glass with ice and ta da. Try it!

August 21st
Chicken Fajita Pizza
I've mentioned this cookbook before. It was given to me years ago by my good friend Angela. On page 155 is one of my go-to recipes, especially when I have more bell peppers than I know what to do with. The recipe is fast and tastes great. I often change it up a bit, so my additions will be in ( ).

1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
(1/2 tsp ground cumin)
(1/2 tsp paprika)
1 Medium onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (I use a combination of yellow, red and green)
1 10 ounce can prepared pizza crust (Sometimes I make my own, sometimes I use frozen)
1/2 cup to 1 cup of your favorite salsa
1 cup shredded cheese. In the book she calls for reduced fat. I always use a combination of Cheddar and Monterey Jack

In a large skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray (I use olive oil), saute chicken over medium heat until done. Stir in seasonings. Add onion and pepper, cooking until vegetables are partially done. On cookie sheet or baking stone, unroll pizza dough. Bake the dough at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes until lightly browned. (I usually brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with a little chili powder and cumin). Remove from oven and spread with salsa and top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake for 10-12 more minutes.

August 14th
This Hot Egg Salad for Breakfast I saw the recipe on the Pioneer Woman Cooks Blog and had to give it a try. I made it while we had company and it was a huge hit. You whip up the egg part the night before and stick it in the refrigerator. Super easy and super yummy. If you have overnight guests, give it a try.

August 13th

layered salad to be exact
Isn't it pretty?
Almost too pretty to eat.

August 5th
Tomatoes and Basil
I have not done a lot of cooking lately. I could blame it on the heat but it's really because we have just been so busy. Last night I made poor Alan grill hamburgers (it was 102 degrees outside) because I didn't want to "heat up the house". Really, I just didn't want to cook... I did make some excellent (if I don't say so myself) bruschetta. Doesn't everyone just love bruschetta? I just like to say "bruschetta". I don't really follow a recipe, but I'll tell you how I make it.
You will need:
1 baguette (sliced, brushed with olive oil mixed with garlic powder and sprinkled with coarse salt and pepper, toasted)
A couple of tomatoes diced (sometimes I squeeze the seeds out)
About 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
About 2 Tbsp olive oil
Lots of chopped basil
About 1 Tbsp finely chopped onion (red, white, yellow, doesn't matter)
Salt and pepper to taste
That's it. Mix it all together and chill for a little while. Pile it on the toasted baguette and dnjoy!

July 28th
Blueberries still...
I did make the the recipe I mentioned yesterday and it was just as yummy as I was hoping it would be. Alan even ate a piece which surprised me because like I mentioned before he does not care for blueberries. Maybe he likes them cooked just like Grace. Anyway, give it a try if you find 2 cups of berries hiding in the back of the refrigerator. I also made these extra huge muffins. WOW! So good. The recipe comes from the April Midwest Living. I know, I don't live in the Midwest anymore. and yes, I am getting Southern Living now, but I still get Midwest Living and I enjoy it so there.
Blueberry Thunder Muffins
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2-2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tbs Sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Line 6 jumbo muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter with mixer for 30 sec. Add sugar; beat until well combined. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla (mixture will look curdled). Stir in flour mixture until just moistened. Gently stir in berries.
Spoon into prepared cups. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on tops. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Try to wait until they cool before taking a bite.

July 27th
More Blueberries!
When I found that squash in the back of the refrigerator yesterday, I also found forgotten blueberries. I think I was saving them for this recipe.  I saw it this morning and new that I would be making it this afternoon. It sounds like dessert for breakfast to me. I'll let you know how it turns out.

July 26th
Yellow Squash!
These cute little guys came from our farmers market. I thought that we would grill them with some other veggies, but for some reason we didn't and then I stuck them in the fridge and totally forgot about them. I hate when I do that. When I found them a few days later I decided that what they were really meant to be is Squash Casserole.
Not just any squash casserole. My mother in laws squash casserole. It really doesn't get better.

1 lb or so yellow squash
1 small onion, or half of a large one chopped
2 eggs
1 stick butter
1 cup milk
8 oz shredded cheese
About 14 crackers made into crumbs
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

I peel and slice the squash and add it and the onion with about 1/2 tsp of sugar to my steamer basket. cook until the squash is tender. In a bowl, place everything else and stir to combine. When squash is done, drain as much liquid as you can out of it. Add it to the bowl. Stir well and pour into a greased casserole dish. I usually sprinkle a little more cheese on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until set and browned on top.
(We like it best with pepper jack cheese, but it's great with Cheddar too. Sometimes I add leftover corn too) YUM!

July 23rd
Tomatoes still...
Yesterday one of my new neighbors showed up at our back door with a bag of tomatoes picked right out of her garden. Can you believe that? I was in heaven. Now that I am an official member of the Costco family I can buy huge quantities of bacon and spend the rest of the summer eating BLT's for lunch. 3 pieces of bacon for me, 1 piece for Maggie and 0 for Grace.

Even if I were a vegetarian I would probably have to give it up for a BLT. Instead Grace ate her fresh from the garden tomatoes with cottage cheese. Yum....

July 21st
Fresh from the farmers market. These babies were perfect in every way. As soon as I saw them I could taste TOMATO PIE
I'm not sure where this recipe originally came from, but I got it from my mom many years ago. It is so easy, but so good. You owe it to yourself to give it a try.

You will need:
1 frozen pie shell baked at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.
3-4 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and sliced

Filling: 3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheese
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1 Tbsp chopped bell pepper
( I usually add some fresh basil too)
Salt and pepper to taste

Arrange 1/2 of the tomato slices in the bottom of the pre-baked pie shell. Spread 1/2 of the filling mixture on top of the tomatoes and repeat the layers. Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top and bake @ 350 for 30 minutes.

July 15th
I love to cook, but more importantly I love to eat delicious seasonal foods. I really do think that certain foods should be eaten during certain times of the year. My family makes fun of me, but I just can't help but saying "I love the taste of summer (or fall or winter or spring)" when we are eating "seasonal" delights. Right now that includes watermelon, hamburgers cooked on Alan's new grill, and BLUEBERRIES. I love them in any form, but sadly I'm the only one in the house who eats them right out of the container. Alan really doesn't care for them at all and Grace told me just yesterday that she doesn't really hate them, they are ok so long as they are cooked. That explains why the blueberry bread that I thought I made just for my enjoyment is missing a hunk. That's ok though since the recipe is so easy and I just happen to have plenty more berries in the fridge.

Several years ago, and I mean several, like back in the early 90's,  one of my best friends from LSU, Angela, gave me a cookbook called A Trim & Terrific Louisiana Kitchen by Holly Berkowitz Clegg. I've made several of the recipes, but the Blueberry Bread on page 29 is by far my favorite. If you are lucky enough to have extra berries on hand give it a try. It freezes pretty well too, so you could make it now and then enjoy the taste of summer in the fall....
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted margarine (I use butter)
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 egg, beaten
1 cup blueberries

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, mix melted butter, hot water, orange juice, orange rind and egg. Fold dry ingredients into orange juice mixture. Fold in berries. Pour batter into a 9x5x3 loaf pan ( I use mini bread pans so that I can eat a loaf and freeze a loaf, or give a loaf to a friend) coated with non stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes big pan, 30 minutes is usually enough for the little pans. Remove bread from pan while still hot and spread with this very yummy glaze.

2 tablespoons orange juice                                    
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons honey
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan.
Boil for about 1 minute.
Spread over the top of the bread