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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Roasted Vegetables with Meyer Lemons


Last March, I won a Meyer Lemon Tree in a giveaway sponsored by Simply Citrus Nursery, and it has been an adventure! The lemons are finally ripening, and I am having a blast with all the possibilities! Find the giveaway story in the link above.

Beautiful Meyer Lemons, and they taste delicious!

I decided to start with what I had on hand. I love roasting and caramelizing vegetables in the oven, especially root vegetables! I had carrots, potatoes and onions on hand so I threw in some lemon juice and lemon slices. OMGoodness!!! We already ate one lemon by itself, but roasting the slices and eating them rind, pith and all was more than delicious! My mouth is watering as I think about it!

Roasted Vegetables with Meyer Lemons

Carrots, peeled and sliced into sticks about 2-3 inches
Potatoes, peeled and cubed
Onion sliced thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Dash of pepper
Dried basil, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium sized bowl add carrots, potatoes and onion.




In a small bowl, add the vinegar, lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk until combined.
Pour the vinegar mixture over top of the vegetables. Toss until well coated then pour them onto the cookie sheet.




Place in oven and roast for about 30 to 45 minutes until golden brown and caramelized. I like a good bit of color on my roasted vegetables, as you can see. Remove from oven. Transfer to a bowl. Serve warm.



Served on a pretty platter.
It tastes better than it looks, if that is possible!








Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Homemade Pretzel Bites

I was looking for some easy recipes for baked goods. I've always said that I'm not a baker. I do bake, but it's not my specialty. I ran across a recipe for pretzel bites from King Arthur Flour. The instructions seemed a little daunting, but they are really easy when you understand the steps. I wasn't aware that boiling the dough for about 30 seconds was the way they achieve their golden brown color. I really had fun with this recipe. It's easy and really a quick recipe!  Pretty good for my first time, I think.

I love pretzels!

 The dough came together quickly
and needed no adjustments.

I let the dough rest for 30 minutes,
while I prepared the water bath. 
I had to work quick with the boiling water process,
so I didn't get a picture.

Sprinkled with Kosher Salt and then
baked at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.

 They are crunchy on the outside,
and soft on the inside. Delicious!

Pretzel Bites

Dough:
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup water
Water Bath:
1 1/2 to 2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup baking soda

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large baking sheet.

Mix and knead the dough ingredients together. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the water bath. Combine the water, salt, and baking soda in a saucepan. The water should fill the pan at least 1 1/4" deep.

Punch down the dough on a lightly greased work surface, then divide it into 24 pieces. Cover and bring water bath to a boil.

Drop the pretzel bites, about six at a time, into the water bath. Cook for 30 seconds, then return them to the baking sheet using a slotted spoon or spider, and sprinkle with salt.

Bake the pretzel bites for 18 to 22 minutes, until they're a deep golden brown. Remove the pretzel bites from the oven, and serve with your favorite mustard, honey mustard or cheese sauce.








Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mama's Cookbook (ebook) on sale!

All this month, I will be offering my cookbook, "Mama's Cookbook" for sale as an ebook. It is a PDF file that includes many bonus links to recipes. You can print a single recipe from the file or print your own copy of the book. It has many pictures and extra stories behinds the recipes. Just leave your email address where prompted when you pay for your copy, and it will be emailed to you. From there, you can download the file and have a great cookbook as a resource to over 100 recipes for only $4.99! Just click the "Buy Now" button below!


***Also! You do NOT have to have a PayPal account. You can use any debit or credit card to make your purchase!***





























Monday, October 30, 2017

Pizza Toast


Mama called it Cheese Toast, but my son calls it Pizza Toast. It is such a simple, easy and tasty treat. Whether it'd for an after school snack or add meat for a meal, it's sure to please kids of any age! I used my own homemade Pizza Sauce, but you can use your favorite brand. I also used a Colby Jack Cheese blend, but again use your favorite. The possibilities are endless!

1 French Bread Loaf, cut in thick slices
Pizza Sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
2 cups Colby Jack Cheese blend
(optional) pepperoni, onion, peppers, olives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread slices of bread with a tablespoon or so of sauce. Top with the toppings of your choice, or simply top with cheese. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. If serving to children, be sure to let them sit until the cheese has cooled enough to be safe. 



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fried Chicken Caesar Salad



I used leftover fried tenders and made myself a Fried Chicken Caesar Salad for lunch! I love Caesar Salad of all kinds. Adding fried chicken, shrimp or crab to a Caesar Salad is a real treat on a hot summer day! 




Fried Chicken Tenders

6-8 chicken Tenders 
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce
2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Oil for frying

Make an egg wash by beating the eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce together in a shallow dish. Mix flour and spices in another shallow dish. Dip chicken breast pieces in egg wash then dredge in the flour mixture. For a thicker crust on the chicken, repeat that step again... egg then flour. In a heavy skillet, heat about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch of oil to 365 degrees. (Or heat a deep fryer to 365 degrees) Place chicken in hot oil. (If the oil is not up to temp, the coating will not stick. Do not crowd the chicken in the pan or it will boil in the oil and not fry crispy.) Fry for about 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and no longer pink inside. 




Fried Chicken Caesar Salad

1/4 - 1/2 cup Classic Caesar Dressing, to taste
6 fried chicken tenders, sliced
6 cups torn romaine lettuce
1 cup seasoned croutons
1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese 

Toss lettuce, croutons and dressing in large serving bowl. Top with chicken and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Roasted Vegetables!

Living in South Carolina all my life, I went through the eye wall of Hugo all those years ago, and I remember it all to well! The storm, the eerie calm and starry sky as the eye passed over, and the aftermath of the other side of the eye wall are still fresh in my mind with every passing storm. We are watching Irma and hoping for the best! I have a wedding Saturday to prepare for, and then we will decide what to do next. We are as prepared as we can be here in this ancient double wide mobile home. (that I hope does NOT become truly mobile!)

In the mean time, I'm cooking some foods that might perish if we are left without power for any significant time. Today I roasted some vegetables I had sitting around. Awesome flavors!



Potatoes, Carrots, Onions and Garlic Cloves
Cut into chunks, except the garlic. Leave it whole.

Tossed in oil and a little lemon.
Seasoned with basil, Kosher salt and pepper, to taste.
Roast on a baking sheet for about 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.


My kitchen smells amazing!




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hamburger and Potato Casserole with a Bechamel Twist


I was trying to figure out what to cook for supper with the things I had on hand. The cabinets are getting pretty bare, and those that know me, know that "running to the store" is not an option out here. I need a couple of hours to be able to do the shopping. Well, I had ground beef in the freezer and thawed it out. I had a few potatoes, a couple of onions and some cheese. Most recipes would call for some cream of mushroom or broth next, but I didn't have any on hand. I decided to go with a bechamel with a garlic kick. Here's a step by step, and the recipe is at the end.

Layer potatoes and onions.

Next combine hamburger, spices and bechamel,
then top the potatoes and onions.

Next Cheese!

Another layer of potatoes and onions.

More meat mixture.

Continue layering.

After 4 hours cooking on high.

All plated and ready to gobble up! It went fast!



1 1/2 lbs ground beef
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
2 garlic cloves, run through a garlic press
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp. Pepper
3 lbs. peeled russet potatoes, sliced
1 sliced onion
3 cups shredded sharp cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Brown the ground beef on the stove top. Remove meat and reserve grease. Add flour to grease and stir to cook the flour to make a roux. Add a little butter if needed. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil. Sauce won’t thicken until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in meat and seasonings.


In a Crock Pot* base, layer 1/3 of the potatoes. Salt and Pepper the potatoes, to taste. Add 1/3 of the onions, 1/3 of the meat mixture, and 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat the layers ending with cheese.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until the potatoes get soft.
*If you don’t have a crock pot, layer as instructed in a casserole deep dish and cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until potatoes are fork tender.





Monday, August 7, 2017

Hot Pepper Sauce for Collard Greens

With all the peppers the hubby planted, I have so much to make with them! Pepper Jelly, Pickled Peppers, Cowboy Candy (candied jalapenos) and much more! This was one that my MIL requested!


1 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
about 30 small peppers


Clean jar, lid, and band and rinse well.


Mix together sugar, salt and vinegar in a stainless steel saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil.

Fill jar with peppers and pour hot vinegar mixture over the peppers. Leave about 1/4 inch of head space from the top of the jar. Remove air bubbles in the jar by tilting jar slightly to allow bubbles to escape as pepper press against opposite side of the jar.

Wipe jar rim to clean. Place lid on top of jar and tighten ring.

Process jars in a water bath for 10-15 minutes.*

Store in dark, cool cabinet or pantry for up to a year.

*For a quick refrigerator batch, follow instructions as above, but after jarring, allow to cool and store in the refrigerator.







Thursday, August 3, 2017

Happy National Watermelon Day!

Happy National Watermelon Day! Here are some watermelon inspired treats to entertain you! I hope you enjoy them! Click on the links for the recipes. This first one is a watermelon cooler that is so refreshing on a hot summer night!


Next I have a refreshing fruit salad. I use the term "refreshing" a lot when talking about watermelon! It seems like a good word to use when talking about cold, juicy, yummy watermelon!


Next is the Hash House A Go-Go's Tower of Fried Green Tomatoes separated by homemade (or house-made) Chicken Salad with a Balsamic Drizzle all on top of a HUGE chunk of Watermelon!


Finally, just for giggles, Willie the Whale in Disney Inspired Treats! I had a little boy's birthday to carve a watermelon basket for fruit, and his theme was whales. We carved the watermelon into a whale! That was a fun one!


I hope you have enjoyed these watermelon treats!
Happy National Watermelon Day!








Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Grape Jelly and Mosto Cotto Balsamic


The hubby planted a cutting from his Dad's grape vine several years back, and we are now finally getting enough to can! This vine is special to the Vining Family (no pun intended!) because it was brought to this country by his ancestors. He told me last night that it was his great, great, great, great Grandfather's cutting that started the vine on American soil! What a heritage to pass down!

I washed and sorted the grapes.

This is some of the heritage that I have from my 
Grandmama Bradham. Her chinois or stainless steel
cone with pestle. You can see it was well used! The pestle
is seasoned with many grapes and other fruits and vegetables!

I got 8 cups of juice from the grapes.

About the Mosto Cotto...
"Also called vino cottosaba, and petimezimosto cotto means “cooked must.” The “must” is smashed grapes that in this case are cooked down into a delectable sweet sauce with the consistency of maple syrup. It is heavenly on fruit, cheese, or in salad dressings.

This is an ancient recipe found in countries all around the Mediterranean. It was originally used to create a sweetener in the era before sugar cane was introduced to that part of the world."

This is the mash or "must" (grape skins and seeds) that was left over.
I covered with water and simmered low and slow for 2 hours.
I added about 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, and continued to
simmer until it was the consistency of a light syrup.

Grape Jelly

8 cups grape juice*
10 cups sugar
1 T lemon juice

Combine juices and sugar. Bring to a boil, and boil until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F. Process in jars of your choice in a water bath per canning instruction.

*When using the cone and pestle, this recipe doesn't need the added pectin. The lighter colored grapes (less ripe) contain a higher amount of their own pectin.

For the Mosto Cotto, follow these detailed instructions.
How to make Mosto Cotto (Vino Cotto) recipe





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cantaloupe Jam


Since the hubby planted a bigger garden this year, I have cantaloupe coming in faster than we can eat it. I started wondering if I could save it somehow. Freezing is, of course, not an option. Then I ran across an article online about melon jam, and thought, why not??? So, after a little research, I came up with this recipe for cantaloupe jam! I will admit that I did not completely wash the salt off of the cantaloupe. I did want a little salty-sweet flavor. I also admit that we sprinkle a little salt on our cantaloupe and watermelon. It seemed like the right thing to do, and it turned out delicious!  If you decide to do it this way, taste the cantaloupe before cooking it down to make sure it's not too salty. If it is, rinse it some more. With the next batch, I'm going to add peppercorns for another "twist." I already have 2 more large cantaloupes ripe and sitting in my kitchen!


14 cups cubed cantaloupe, about 2 large cantaloupe
1⁄4 cup kosher salt 
4 cups sugar
3⁄4 cup bottled lemon juice

Toss cantaloupe with salt in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain.

Stir together cantaloupe, sugar, and lemon juice in a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered about 20 minutes or until cantaloupe is soft. Mash cantaloupe pieces with a potato masher. (I used a handheld emulsion blender.) Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, about 1 hour until it reaches 220 degrees.*

Ladle hot jam into a hot jar, leaving 1⁄4-inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim and apply the lid and band.

Place jars in water bath. Process jars 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.


*Cooking time may vary due to ripeness and water content.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Homemade Tomato Sauce


The hubby planted a huge garden this year. It's huge for us anyway! I've been making pickles, relish and pickled peppers from the massive number of cucumbers and jalapenos I've picked. Then, the tomatoes started coming in, and I became the Bubba Gump of tomatoes! Tomato Sauce, Tomato~Pizza Sauce, Tomato Salsa, Tomato Paste, etc. etc. etc. LOL

Quite frankly, I follow a lot of advice and recipes for canning from my BFFF (Best Foodie Friend Forever) Mary at Cooking With Mary and Friends! She is the Canning Queen! She has a lot of advice, notes and recipes with easy to follow instructions! Check her out when you get a chance at the link above!

For my tomato sauce, I had an abundance of sweetie and cherry tomatoes. The easiest way to deal with them is roasting. I cut them in half and spread them on a baking sheet, and sprinkled them with Kosher Salt.

 Lots of home grown tomatoes!


Sprinkle with some salt and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes soften
and the skins split and blister. Process in a food processor. Pack in pint jars with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Place the jars in a canning water bath for 35 minutes.

I made pizza sauce and salsa
from the tomato sauce using Mary's recipes.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Southern Style Tomato Pie


I asked the Hubby to go pick the ripest, prettiest tomatoes he could find from the garden. I told him that I wanted to cook a tomato pie. He said, "A what?" I laughed and told him he'd like it! Most people don't know much about tomato pie unless their Grandmama made it. Quite frankly, I don't remember Mama or my Grandmama making a tomato pie. The first time I tried it was in Santee, SC at Lone Star Barbecue & Mercantile. That first taste was enough to inspire me to make them from then on! I finished the pie and offered a slice to him. He is now hooked! I was short on tomatoes because I had already processed a lot for sauce the day before, so this pie is a little pitiful. The next one will be more substantial! LOL

This is what I found on the counter this morning!
I think he liked it! LOL

  • 1 - 9 inch pie shell (or homemade pie crust, below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups cheese I used a combination of Sharp Cheddar and Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat your oven to 350°F. Pre-bake the pie shell in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Lightly salt the chopped tomatoes and set them in a colander over a bowl to drain (I used my Easy Greasy Colander System.) while you are pre-baking the crust. Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes using paper towels.

Sprinkle a layer of chopped onion over the bottom of the pie crust. Spread the tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes.



In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

Place in oven and bake at 350° until browned and bubbly, about 25- 30 minutes.

My pie crust was a little thin and rustic,
but it was not soggy. It was crispy and delicious!

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 to 4 Tbsp ice water

Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse about 6 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse about 6 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas. 
Work quickly with the dough, you don't want the processor to heat up and start to melt the butter.

Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. 

Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a clean, smooth surface. Use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a ball. Work the dough just enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your hands will overheat the dough and break down the butter. This will make the dough tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough.

Sprinkle the dough with a little flour. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (You can freeze the dough for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

When you are ready to roll out the dough, place it on a clean, smooth, lightly floured sheet of wax paper. (You can place it on a counter top, but I like to transfer the crust on the paper.) Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick.

As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Place dough onto a 9-inch pie plate. (If you use the wax paper, it's ok for it to stick a little. I invert the paper over the pie plate and gently peel the wax paper from the dough.) Gently press down to line the pie dish with the dough. Crimp or pinch the dough around the top or press with the tines of a fork.