Thursday, December 27, 2012

One Little Word 2013

I wasn't planning to do a word for 2013. I found in 2012 that I needed to shift words about 6 months in.
In 2010 I did PURPOSE
2011 - PROMISE
2012 - HOME and RISE

As in the past, at the very moment that I declared I wasn't going to do a word next year my word presented itself ot me... 

The word that has come to me in 2013 is RENEW
I think it's a word that can have many aspects as the year goes on.

At the present time I embrace RENEW in the context of this verse which was also the inspiration for the word RISE in the second half of 2012.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  
Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays

I've said Happy Holidays for years. I like it because I feel it encompasses all of the holidays of the season from Thanksgiving to New Year. It is not a slight to Christmas - but Christmas is now past. It's a touchy point for me that people will now criticize & get all in an uproar whenever I use my favorite seasonal salutation. So now that 's been clarified...

Happy Holidays! 
I hope you had a Merry Christmas.
We had a lovely day with good food, a 3 hour power outage, some nice family time & plenty of holiday cheer.

I got a new camera. I don't know how to shoot in manual mode yet. Here's my first image. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

24 Hour Omelet

This recipe has been in my family since sometime in the 1970's. The note on my recipe card says that I got the recipe from my Mom who got it from Orange First Assembly of God church cookbook, which credits the Missionette girls as having submitted this recipe. This is one of those great casseroles you assemble the night before & baken the morning of your event. For the ham sometimes I just get ham from the service deli so I don't have to buy one of those mini hams. I have them slice it very thick then I cut it into cubes at home.

24 Hour Omelet 

7 Slices of white bread crusts trimmed
Butter (to butter bread slices)
3/4 lb cheddar cheese, shreddd (this amount of cheese is excessive)
8 eggs
2 1/2 Cups milk
3/4 tsp dry mustard (don't skip this adds nice flavor to the eggs)
Salt & cayenne to taste (I never put the cayenne)
Cubed Ham

Butter bread on one side. Cut up bread slices to line the bottom of a 9x13" buttered dish. Place the bread slices in the bottom of the pan buttered side up.

Beat or whisk the eggs on their own first, get them so they look smooth with no visible streamers of just the white this step will keep the egg mixture from separating overnight.  Add seasonings to egg mixture then while whisking, slowly pour in milk this also works to discourage seperation. Pour over bread, add a layer of cubed hame & top with shredded cheese.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Bake covered with foil at 325 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours, remove the foil cover for the final 10 minutes of baking.

Cut and serve.
Serves 6-8

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Menu 2012

DSC03501.jpg Breakfast
  • 24 Hour Omelet (an assemble the night before  egg/bread/ham/cheese casserole)
The Feast
  • Lime Ribbon Salad (my mom always made this I haven't had it for YEARS - it has a creamy pineapple layer in the middle)
  • Green Pea Salad (it's warm here I'm not feeling the usual hot creamy holiday veggie choices)
  • Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes (I'll probably add in some nice cheese)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce (because the men in my family adore it & I love the pretty color)
  • Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
  • Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider (nothing goes better with ham)
  • Gingerbread hot from the oven with Cool Whip
Photo is from Christmas morning 2011.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Are you cooking? I'm cooking, but I'm not cooking what I should be cooking. Here's a slide show of putting together TONIGHT'S dinner when I really should be making Turkey side dishes.
Happy Thanksgiving! May your turkey be juicy and your sides so delicious that your mother-in-law asks for your recipe. May none of it end up on your thighs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pinterest Pinning Success

I'm thrilled that I finally figured out how to again allow the pinning of recipe photos from my blog onto Pinterest. I've spent HOURS (more like days) over the past few months trying to fix this and it finally seems to be working, again.

Note: Each individual Photo to be pinned must be set as Public. I have over 1,500 photos on flickr so even though I will try to get at least one photo from each of the recipes on my blog changed over it will take me awhile & I will probably miss some.

If you run into a post you want to pin & you can't let me know in the post comment & I will try to go in & get that photo set to public the next time I'm on blogger.

I'm listing the settings I changed in case others are trying to figure this out & in case I need to make changes again - If this doesn't work for you there may be additional settings that need to be changed - the nuances of Flickr are a bit overwhelming to me. Be certain you understand the repercussions of changing any setting before you do it. I'm only reporting what I changed I'm not qualified to explain Flickr settings.

It seems the settings in question were:

1) Under Account/ Privacy & Permissions / Hide Your Stuff From Public Searches - (uncheck) Hide your photos from searches on 3rd party sites that use the Api...

2) Under Account/ Privacy & Permissions / Allow others to share your stuff / (check) Yes, that would be lovely.

3) Each Photo that will be allowed to be pinned must have its owner settings set to / Anyone can see this photo

Sorry for any inconvenience caused by not being able to pin. I had almost given up blogging over this issue because with a recipe site,    I understand that posts NEED to be pinable!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Green Pea Salad

This is a family favorite recipe, growing up we ate this rather than potato or macaroni salad. Made with defrosted frozen peas, it's cool and refreshing. Because it is made with sour cream which doesn't spoil easily like mayonnaise, it's a great salad option for tailgates, picnics & BBQ's.

Green Pea Salad

2 (12 oz) packages of frozen peas
8 ounces of sour cream
3 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
1/2 to 1 pound of crumbled bacon (the more the better)
4 hardboiled eggs, sliced
salt & pepper to taste
Let the peas defrost on the countertop, don't microwave them, you want them to stay chilled, but you don't want them frozen. I usually place 2 paper towels in the bowl with the peas in order to absorb the water on the peas as they defrost.

Place the peas in a large bowl that will allow you plenty of room to stir the salad. I like to salt the peas at this time & stir them so that the salt is evenly distributed. Add bacon & green onions and stir to combine.

Mix in the sour cream, add pepper and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.
I like to add the eggs last so they don't get completely beat up in the mixing.

If you want a more attractive presentation move the mixed salad into a smaller bowl, top with an additional sliced hard boiled egg & sprinkle with paprika.
Pea salad tastes even better on the second day and will last for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Time Saving Pasta Tip

Here's a great time-saving tip for pasta for salads & packed lunches. A full pound of pasta makes far too much pasta salad for my family of three, but when I cook the pasta I cook the entire pound. I pour the pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water until the pasta is room temp then I make half of the pasta into salad. The second half I store in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator. The pasta keeps in the fridge this way for a week or more. This enables me to make a quick pasta salad, a different flavor if desired, later in the week or the following weekend.

I've also found having cooked pasta in the fridge terribly handy for packed lunches. You can quickly mix up a single serving of pasta with salad dressing, or some frozen veggies and diced cold cuts, or make a quick homemade mac & cheese by whipping up a cream sauce in a skillet with a bit of cream and shredded cheese.

Pasta Mix-in Ideas - Mix and match:
salad dressing (creamy or vinegar based)
shredded (or cubed) cheese (consider Parmesan)
diced or finely sliced cold cuts (salami & ham are favorites)
frozen/canned corn
frozen green peas
grated carrots
snap peas
halved grape tomtoes
fresh herbs such as basil
cubed avocado
cheese sauce

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

This week I've planned meals for specific days as dictated by use-by dates of the meat I purchased & which nights I have very little cooking time. Tuesday I will pre-cook the taco items that need cooking & heat them up when we return home from appointments.
  Screen Shot 2012-06-18 at 6.10.12 PM Screen Shot 2012-06-18 at 6.14.03 PM
Five Spice Chicken recipe

I'm on Menu Plan Monday at

Friday, June 8, 2012

More Meal Planning - WorkFlowy & Recipe Listing

Sometimes I try a new recipe & really like it, then after time passes, I forget which magazine, cookbook or website the recipe is in.  So now when I decide to add a recipe to my regular repertoire I add the name & source on my workflowy recipe listing.

Here's how it looks in the collapsed listScreen Shot 2012-06-08 at 4.56.56 PM
Here's how it looks when I open the Recipe bullet on it's own page. Screen Shot 2012-06-08 at 4.53.38 PM

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'm Making Progress

I've broken my goal into small increments so I can focus on the daily progress & I'm making progress. (at the time of original posting this showed that I had lost 5 pounds)

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Plan Monday & My Meal Planning Process

I have a new meal planning process that I thought I would share.

I don't assign meals to specific days of the week. I choose a few meals that I'll make during the week, this leaves me wiggle room. Since my husband seldom eats dinner at home, I end up with leftovers & plan fewer meals. This way I'm planning for what is likely to happen & I don't end up having to toss food that's past it's expiration date.

I've recently begun using the website for organization. I've integrated it into my meal planning.

This week I began with leftover meat in  my fridge (sale meat for which I had no specific plan when I bought it.)  I listed the meat including the sell by or use by date so that I could easily remember what I had without having to go look in the meat bin of my refrigerator. I also have a link to my grocery list so that I can get there quickly. I mark each meal as completed as I make it (I liked to see items crossed off the list.) The next week when I make a new plan, I delete them. With Workflowy you can choose if you want to display or hide completed items.

Screen Shot 2012-05-21 at 10.19.19 AM

This week I have leftover turkey sausage & chicken breasts so I set about meal planning based on those items.  I've added the recipes I will make with each dish & where to find them.

******(Update I no longer use this app or website, it stopped working, it wouldn't sync and started saying certain items like onions were already on my list and simply would not add them!)********
While I was building my meal plan I also have a tab open at - This the grocery/shopping list app that I use on my phone. I love it because it's available for Android, iPhone (& iPad), Blackberry & as a website. I have it on my phone (android), my iPad & iPod Touch, and I've shared my list with my husband who has the app on his Blackberry. I can add to my grocery list no matter what device I have in my hand when I think of items to add, and it will be synced to all my devices. I can also send my list to an email address or print it from the website. Grocery IQ has a barcode scanner, so when I run out of a pantry staple I scan the empty box using my phone camera - and it adds that item to my grocery list. I've also found it's handy if my husband goes to the store because he may not know which type of Ritz crackers I buy, but if I've scanned the item it lists specifics and usually shows a picture.
Screen Shot 2012-05-21 at 10.22.46 AM
Screen Shot 2012-05-21 at 10.22.20 AM
So I've added to my grocery list & will take my phone with me to the market when I go shopping. I used to use a paper list, but I was often losing it, or forgetting to take it with me, thinking of items to add to it while I was at the doctor's office, or leaving it sitting on the seat in the car, in the parking lot of the supermarket. Keeping my grocery list on my phone has been a great solution for me.

This week I chose 1 cookbook - The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, and a stack of 3 magazines. I knew what my meats were so I looked through the indexes (I love magazines with a recipe index in the back!) for recipes that used those items. When I wasn't finding anything for boneless skinless chicken breasts that tickled my fancy & went well with the potatoes I wanted to make, I searched for chicken recipes on a site with which I have a paid membership. The quality of the recipes on this site make it worthwhile (to me) to pay a membership to have access to their full history of recipes (I believe that access to recipes from the current season of their program is free.)  I don't like to waste my time with recipes that turn out to be no good and I find that sites with user submitted recipes have a large percentage of those. I guess I'm picky.
Screen Shot 2012-05-21 at 10.54.52 AM
I'm on Menu Plan Monday at

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quick Weekday Migas

This is the new favored breakfast dish for school mornings in our house. Boy and Mama are equally enthusiastic so I thought I'd share it with you.

2 eggs
cream or half & half
tortilla chips
taco sauce
shredded cheese
butter or olive oil
ham (optional)

Beat the two eggs in a bowl with a dash of salt then add the cream or half and half (if you use milk you will get watery eggs - see my post on Perfect Scrambled Eggs for why.) Don't skip the salt, it goes a long way to eliminating that sulfer egg taste.

Crumble in a handful or two of tortilla chips, a squirt of taco sauce, and a pinch of finely shredded cheese. (A small amount of shredded cheese mixed into the eggs while cooking will melt and flavor throughout instead of just sitting on the top getting rubbery - it's a good way to get the flavor with fewer calories & fat.)  If I have the time I like to go make coffee at this point to let the tortillas soften up a bit in the egg mixture, some mornings I don't have the extra time, they still taste good if you don't.

Add diced ham to and 8 or 7 inch omelet pan, if you are using it. I buy a large ham at the market & use it for breakfasts over the next 2 weeks or so. If I plan to make it into eggs I dice up a few ham steaks and keep the dice in a zip-loc bag ready for using with eggs.  If you saute the ham in the pan a bit it will bring out more flavor.  When the ham is hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan.  Make sure you have a puddle of butter (or oil) that covers the bottom of the pan & pour the eggs into it.

When the edges of the eggs are just set, take a heat safe silicon spatula and pull 3 edges toward the center (See Scrambled Egg Post).  When edges are set again, repeat.  Now turn up the heat in the pan, when the full underside of the eggs looks puffed, turn the eggs. It will break into pieces, just turn each piece, if you wait until you can turn all the eggs in one piece your eggs will get dry.

The eggs will be done nearly as soon as you flip them, turn them out onto a plate, if you leave them in the pan, they will overcook.

Serve, you can add your choice of condiments, some ideas include: taco sauce, salsa, sour cream, avocado slices, guacamole - you get the idea.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Self Reminder

Why do I feel discouraged?
Why do the shadows come?
Why does my heart feel lonely and long for heaven's home?
For Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is he.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me.

From His Eye is on the Sparrow by Civilla D Martin

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More Move More Eat Well: One Thing - January


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Move More Eat Well

1_Jan_MMEW1_sm copy
I know you likely can't read it. I'm not sure I want you to.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oven Broiler Sandwiches

You don't have to have a panini press to make delicious hot toasty sandwiches at home. I actually DO have a panini press but sometimes I don't want to get it out, or clean it, or add the calories of extra butter or olive oil on the outside of the bread. I have been making oven broiler sandwiches for years, and they are oh so tasty! This is also a good way to make a large batch of sandwiches at one time. This is a great quick meal for Sunday afternoon when we get home, starving & everyone wants lunch QUICK.
I used:
Mortadella as best I can tell it's facy Italian bologna Boar's Head makes a wonderful one, it has bits of pistachios in it. Yumm! You want it sliced very thin.
Genoa Salami - much nicer than hard salami you want one that is a nice deep color, some of the supermarket brands are almost pale pink, they're not as good. Private Selections at Kroger is of a good quality.
Pepperoni - you just can't go wrong with a bit of spicy pepperoni on your sandwich
Provalone is my cheese of choice - but I was out so I used what I had in the fridge, today.
You can also add some ham (which will make the sandwich sweet)
or Turkey (using more turkey and less of the higher fat sausage meats will help the sandwich have fewer calories)
Tomato also makes a nice addition.
I used Sourdough bread, but any kind of bread or roll works well.

Mix up some mayonnaise with Italian Salad dressing and spared it on the bread.

Next I like to add a layer of cheese, this helps the meats adhere to the sandwich & not slip & slide around as much. If you're going to use tomato, add it next. Then add the deli meats, ending up with a bit more cheese, which will serve as sandwich glue.
Position the sandwich halves on a foil lined baking sheet & position under the broiler until the cheese gets melty and the edges of the meats begin to crisp & curl up, you're going to love the way this brings out the flavors of the meat.
Now add any mustard, pickles or other dressings you desire. I drizzled in a bit more of the Italian mayo dressing. Put the two halves together and return to the broiler until the bread is toasted, flip the sandwich over & repeat.

The possibilities are endless with all the different combinations of meat, cheese, veggies, spreads & condiments. Go forth & create your own winning combination!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chicken Stew With White Wine: Master Recipe Becomes - Chicken & Dumplings, Chicken Noodle Soup or Chicken Pie

Updated Feb 18, 2013

 This recipe comes out of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (Amazon Affiliate Link at bottom of post) It's his Basic Stew recipe the Chicken and White Wine variation. Jamie's base recipe calls for a can of tomatoes, I leave those out, my idea of Chicken comfort food doesn't include tomatoes. My family loves this recipe I have now made it as Chicken & Dumplings & Chicken Noodle Soup. It would also make a wonderful chicken pot pie. I used to make it with boneless chicken breasts, but after using boneless thighs, I will never go back. The thigh meat requires some trimming away of fat, but the results are worth it. The thigh meat remains tender & juicy, by comparison chicken breasts seem a little tough & dry, particularly in leftovers the next Day. As for the wine, I have used Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Vermouth & Sherry all are fine, it seems that just about anything that's light in color will do. This recipe can be made on the stovetop or in the oven. I prefer the oven as it produces a gentler, all over heat & I don't have to adjust the temperature as I would on the stovetop. Be sure that the pot you use is oven safe, you don't want to melt your handles.

Basic Stew Recipe Chicken With White Wine

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & sliced (I sometimes use 3 or 4 it adds more color)
2 celery stalks (use up to 4, celery adds a lot of flavor)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 chicken bouillon cube (I use Knorr – this item is my addition)
1 Tablespoon of flour (see the variation you are making for possible alteration)
1 – 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed & cut into pieces
2 cups of white wine
2 cups of chicken broth or stock (this makes up for the liquid in the can of tomatoes I omit)
1 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste

If using your oven move position a rack in the center of the oven & preheat to 350 F.
Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven or stock pot & heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the veggies to the pan and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally as needed (I like to use a bamboo paddle for this purpose) When the veggies are nearly ready add the thyme, bouillon cube and flour and stir frequently to cook off the raw taste of the flour.
Add the chicken pieces to the pan & stir. Add the white wine, chicken broth, salt & pepper, stir and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, they add flavor. Increase the heat if needed and bring to a bubble. Place the lid on the pot & either place in the oven, or reduce the heat to barely a simmer. Cook for 1 and ½ hours more (see notes for the variation you are making.)
Serves 4, generously

Chicken & Dumplings
If you want a thicker stew you can add an extra 2 teaspoons of flour at the stage where you added the flour (for a total of 1 Tbs + 2 teaspoons)
30 minutes before the stew is due to be removed from the oven remove the lid & check on it. Add more liquid if desired. It's now time to mix up your dumpling batter. I use Bisquick Baking mix & follow the directions on the box which calls for 2 cups of baking mix to be mixed with ¾ cup of milk (I use lactose free milk since I have some dairy issues.) Mix it up in a bowl with a fork. Pull the pot out of the oven & add dumpling batter to the top of the stew liquid – a large ice cream dipper works wonderful for this purpose & produces uniformly sized dumplings. Cook on the stovetop (or return to the oven) uncovered for 10 minutes. Then replace the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Ladle into large soup bowls and enjoy!

You may have misgivings about using Bisquick but that's how my Aunt Virginia always makes them, and she was a caterer. If it was good enough for her, it's good enough for me – and it produces wonderful fluffy dumplings.

Chicken Noodle Soup
For Chicken Noodle Soup check on the pot 30 minutes before it will be ready (after 1 hour of simmer time) Depending on how much broth is in the pot you may wish to add more chicken broth at this point. The soup will thicken a little bit after you add the noodles as they will add starch to the water.
I find that 3 oz of dried fettuccine noodles broken into 4 pieces produce the amount and size of noodles that I like. Add them to the pot at the 1 hour and 10 minutes point & return to oven with the lid on (or continue to cook on the stove-top, covered) until the noodles are soft, then serve. I found my noodles were ready after 20 minutes of cooking in the oven.

Chicken Pot Pie
Add 1 Tablespoon of flour at the point where you added the flour (2 Tablespoons total). When the stew is ready remove thyme stems, add 1 cup of cream & 1 cup of frozen peas. Remove from heat and allow to cool (hot stew will make the pie crust melt and fall into the broth, then it will not get crisp.)
Roll out pie dough to the size of dish you are using for your pie (be it one large pie – or two individual pies) I find that rolling together 2 rounds of Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough produces a thicker crust that is hearty & pleasing for chicken pie. Place dough on top of dish & crimp, then cut 4 or more slits in the dough to allow the steam to vent away brush with milk. Bake until browned and done, consult your pie dough recipe for an idea of how long and what temperature to bake.

A short cut to Chicken Pot Pie is to cut shapes or rounds out of the pie crust, brush with milk & bake on a baking sheet. Serve the stew in large bowls & float the pie crust shapes on the top. This is a great way to prevent having soggy pie crust if you're serving again as leftovers.
(photo coming soon Chicken in White Wine with Cream & Pie Crust Crackers.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Something New for 2012